LEXINGTON, Neb. – When it comes to recycling, Thane Moore, the new director of Keep Lexington Beautiful, has a simple yet counter intuitive philosophy.
“You must unlearn old behaviors by learning new behaviors,” Moore said.
New recycling bins for aluminum, plastic and paper recyclables have been set up at all four elementary schools, the middle school and high school in Lexington, to promote recycling and to get students thinking more about environmentally sustainable habits, he said.
Lexington schools are participating in the Recycle Bowl Competition, a national recycling awareness campaign launched by Keep America Beautiful that goes through Nov. 15, Moore said.
Tom Ridenour, a resource teacher at Lexington Middle School, said five LMS students recycle and collect the material dropped off at the recycling bins around the school every two weeks, with the money from the recycled aluminum cans going to the LMS library to help fund the purchase of new books.
The plastic collected at LMS is taken to the elementary recycling trailers, Ridenour said.
Moore said starting recycling programs and awareness at the local schools was a great place to start, because students can spread the word throughout the community.
Moore also said he plans on collaborating with local civic and community groups on recycling projects as well.
“When a child is involved in activities their parents take an interest. If a student comes home and says, ‘Mom, why aren’t we doing recycling at home?’” that makes a difference and can help change habits, Moore said.
Another collaboration project Moore plans to do with local students is allowing them to submit drawings for a new logo for Keep Lexington Beautiful.
“I want a logo that says what Lexington is about,” Moore said.
Because the recycle logo, with arrows pointing clockwise in a triangular shape, is not trademarked, it can be used freely for promotional purposes, so Moore has talked to local students about incorporating the recycle logo into their drawing proposals.
“All you have to do is use your imagination, draw pictures on paper,” Moore said about the drawing process for a new logo.
Moore said Keep Lexington Beautiful would be participating in the Give BIG Lexington fundraising event in November, which could provide funding for his group to promote recycling in other communities or spearhead projects in the Lexington, such as creating a site in Lexington where recycle bins could be made, to name one idea.
“I envision the community making recycle bins,” he said. “I’ve been approached about working with probation workers for community service hours.”
Part of the struggle to promote recycling involves not giving into the accepted habit that throwing a can or plastic bottle into the garbage bin is good enough, Moore said.
“Being a part of society, society says it’s OK, just throw the can or bottle in the trash,” Moore said. “They haven’t gone the next step, instead of throwing it in the trash, put it in the recycle bin.”