Even in light of the current lagging statewide recycling rates, local FROG (For Recycling on Grand) collaborative members have been busy planning how we can increase recycling along Grand Avenue. FROG representatives from the Grand Avenue Business Association, the Summit Hill Association, the Macalester Groveland Community Council, the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County met in early January to lay out the details of a 2013 Work Plan that is designed to continue our efforts started in 2011to increase recycling, reduce waste and educate businesses owners, residents and visitors of Grand Avenue.
According to information gathered recently by MN Public Radio reporters, “Minnesota was an early leader in recycling, but in 2008 the recycling rate flattened out at 41 percent of waste discarded, and that rate has even started to decline in the last couple of years. The decline can be explained partly by a shift to lighter products: smaller newspapers, and food in plastic jars rather than glass. The overall recycling rate includes industries and stores, which are responsible for about three-quarters of all recycling.”
But these recyclable materials (paper, metals and plastic) that are not being recycled are, in fact, valuable resources simply being thrown away! They are then lost from our economy and into landfills or burned when they could have used in manufacturing and job creation. So this is a time when FROG sees the need to recharge our efforts to increase recycling and reduce waste along the Avenue.
FROG members know that “convenience” is a major factor as to whether recyclable items actually get recycled by Grand Avenue shoppers. That’s why starting in the fall of 2011, FROG began installing blue recycling containers at specific pilot locations along on both East and West Grand. At this time there are 13 containers on the Avenue. Good news was recently received from the City of St. Paul Public Works Department reaffirming that its staff will continue to regularly monitor and recycle the materials that shoppers and students place in these blue bins.
Next Steps for 2013: Of several elements, FROG will be putting an increased amount of energy into developing a business recycling/waste reduction recognition program for Grand Avenue businesses. It is likely some kind of FROG window decal will be developed that will indicate to customers just what kinds of recycling/waste reductions are being done at any participating business. FROG wants to not only encourage business waste reduction – which in the final analysis is a savings to any business bottom line – but also to celebrate and recognize those businesses who now and in the future are working very hard to “green” their shops.