ENVIRONMENT, big issues facing every community, everywhere.   Most of us already recycle, whatever we can, the newspapers, waste paper, big plastic, bottles etc.,  But what about that pesky plastic grocery bag? No.   Or the newspaper wrapping? No.  or the bread wrapper? No.  bubble wrap? No.  
 
We are faced with a dilemma.  We are drowning in those plastics that are ‘not’ recyclable.  But wait.   They are recyclable, with the right outlet.
 
TREX, yes, the company that makes the composite boards for decks, and furniture and railings, etc. use those products in their recycling to produce usable, durable products.  So, instead of those bags getting dumped in a landfill, or worse, a stream or water supply, they would like your bags.  Nice, but what does this mean to Rotary?  A little-known recycling program by TREX enables a win-win-win situation for communities, local schools, and service groups.  For every 500 pounds (yes, that is nearly 41,000 plastic bags), an organization gathers and recycles, TREX will provide a TREX bench back to them.   There is a caveat. An organization is only eligible for 1 bench per six-month period.    Some of the groups are able to gather 500 pounds in only three or four weeks.  So, what happens the rest of the time?
 
Amanda Flores, a relatively new, but very energetic member, brought this program to our attention because she is aware of the program going on in the Lake Stevens area. They have three or four groups participating.  They have two pick-up points (TREX provides the collection bins).  Group #1 manages until they have collected 500 pounds.  They check each bin a couple of times a week, tie them up, weigh them and deliver them to the recycling site, which is often a local grocery store.  Then Group #2 is up for their turn at managing, collecting and getting credit for their bench.
 
The Community Service committee is looking at handling the same thing here for Mill Creek.  Our goal is to involve other service groups and clubs   With six we can rotate ‘management’ so that, hopefully, each group would earn two benches per year.   They can place the benches anywhere they choose.
 
Rotary’s function in this is to get it started.  Start with six, then, as it grows and the participation in the community grows, add another six to rotate their locations. Our vision is to make Mill Creek GREEN.  If we could change the habits of ourselves and our friends to no longer just toss that non-usable plastic, we can make a huge difference in our environment. Please watch for further details as we get this up and running.  We will need a cadre of volunteers to handle the management during our couple of weeks.  Amanda would also prefer to co-chair this with someone, so please consider jumping in.
 
Also, please start saving all that plastic. You will be amazed at how quickly you have a bundle.  For information on TREX, go to  trex.com/recycling/recycling-programs.
 
If you want to volunteer, or have additional questions, please feel free to contact Amanda Flores a.flores@7olives.com