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A Word About Recycling with Ollie Maier

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Came across an article in a Resource Recycling newsletter which might have some useful suggestions/tips for all involved in curbside recycling or drop-off site recycling.

Most were common sense ideas, some of which we just haven’t thought about recently. The reason we are mentioning them in this column is some can involve you, the homeowner.

The article started, “Chances are, you’ve heard of the concept of a ‘life hack.’ The term, made popular online over the last decade, describes simple strategies and techniques that a person can use to manage time and daily activities in a more efficient way.”

The author of the article believes the same concept might be used for recycling. Just small and simple activities can improve a recycling program at little or no cost.

One of the first steps is to identify those who might be willing to provide input for improving the process.

“Whether it’s trained citizen recyclers, dedicated local businesses, or members of a local ‘green team,’ every community has recycling champions sprinkled across it,” the article read.

The next step might be to set up periodic meetings of those champions (whatever might work best for those involved – quarterly, semi-annually, annually. At such meetings, everyone can give an update, share concerns and discuss strategies that combat issues like contamination. And in between such meetings, or when such meeting are not practical – summer vacations, weather, etc. – the telephone or email might be used. Just a reminder that input for improving the program or making it easier/ more effective or efficient is always welcomed from all concerned.

And don’t forget the importance of education. One of the areas I truly pray these columns help do, or they would just be a waste of your time and mine. By letting others know what would be helpful, whether as a homeowner, a recycling materials gathering vehicle, a drop-off site, a MRF, all can benefit. This is especially important when it comes to contamination problems.

Let’s not forget the importance of reaching out and influencing the next generation, our children and grandchildren. They are key players in recycling’s future. Contests, poster campaigns, etc. might be used in schools. Course we all know, parent’s participation in recycling has the biggest impact on them.

The article also suggested having recycling facilities invite users to tour their operations. This can be especially important for our lawmakers so they realize how important their actions/efforts are. Are the laws on the books helpful or a hindrance? Are new laws necessary? We pay their salaries and they work for us, so the importance of them knowing cannot be over-stressed. Remind them how recycling can fuel job growth and bring other benefits to the economy.

I hope the tips given in this article may be helpful to you. If you have other suggestions, please let me know and I will try to incorporate them in one of these columns.

Till next week, do have an enjoyable and safe one.


Ollie is a local citizen concerned with the environment and helping others. A retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, he is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos and received his degrees at Texas State University where he worked on staff before totally retiring. For questions or comments, he invites you to call him at 512-353-7432 or e-mail