Niagara Region Employs Students to Reward and Encourage Curbside Recycling
With a goal of diverting 65% of garbage from landfills by 2012, city officials in parts of Canada think they've hit on a unique solution to help convince families to recycle. They're employing a small team of students to scout out the neighborhood on garbage day and reward those who do it consistently well with a certificate for being a "Green Team All-Star" and a chance to win $150. And they won't come knocking on your door to drag you away if you're not taking full advantage of the recycling program or routinely going over the two container limit on garbage day either Instead, they'll come knocking on your door to have a friendly discussion about the positive benefits of recycling and why your participation is so vital. The auditors have been on the road for almost two weeks, and so far their findings aren't much of a surprise at all. It turns out that less than one-third of residents in the Niagara Region use the organics program, and only 180 out of 750 homes audited have actually put out a green bin with their kitchen and yard waste on garbage day. In some neighborhoods, however, blue and grey bin audits have shown participation rates as high as 94 per cent, and that's a great example of how successful the region can become as a whole. The question is what determines whether or not a neighborhood has such a high amount of participation in the recycling program, and I'd be willing to bet it's the level of education in the household, though no one has put that conclusion out there from the study as yet. Hopefully these students will be able to raise the level of education about the environment across the region, and maybe even serve as a model for how other cities and towns can employ some of their youth in a positive, pro-active way.