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Recommit to Recycling

Photo taken by Shelby Lopez

When mandatory curb-side pick-up for recycling ended in Rochester, a group of people who still believed in the benefits and principles of the practice stepped up to fill the void and encourage alternate options to just adding more waste to our ecosystem. The non-profit Friends of Recycling was formed two years ago, and has been committed to educating and involving the community to participate and promote a ‘green’ infrastructure ever since. When Chad Hisey learned about the group through a newspaper write up, he joined the group, and quickly put himself on the front lines of raising public awareness, becoming the organization’s project leader. In addition to one-on-one engagements with people he meets, Chad hosted a public forum at the public library in January of 2020 to share and solicit ideas related to recycling ideas and projects. The meeting yielded some solid suggestions for ideas that will hopefully be put into action in the near future.

They included:

- Initiatives to promote local businesses who are selling green (sustainable) products rather than throw away products; - Partner with Terracycle to recycle more. Terracycle is a recycling company out of New Jersey that works with manufacturers and communities around the country to close the loop on products that are otherwise unrecyclable. They do this through upcycling and repurposing items into new products; - Community composting; - Partner with RHS engineering classes to sponsor contests related to upcycling projects.

“There’s so much we can do recycling-wise to make a better community and a better planet,” Hisey said. “Our goal is to help people to realize their role in making it happen.” | Photo above is property of Friends of Recycling

An important part is reminding people that they can do their share by being more attentive to their relationship with the materials that infiltrate their lives. Reducing the use of ‘single-use’ plastics is crucial, and understanding how the rate of depletion of plastic, and materials like aluminum and glass impact the environment over the long run is important. Last year, the Friends of Recycling worked with local restaurants to help them get away from “single-use” plastics by supplying them with a month supply of over 33,000 paper straws. “That number for such a small community is huge! Think of all that plastic,” Hisey said. Misinformation about what materials can and can’t be recycled needs to be corrected, and simple steps, like obtaining a previously owned book from Goodwill, or borrowing one from the library instead of buying new can have a greater impact if more people practice them. “When buying things, choose products with less packaging or reusable packaging (glass jars instead of plastic),” Hisey says. “Rethinking waste is something we should all do. Composted food scraps and yard wastes become the fertilizer for growing more food; it’s a cycle, and the theme of all cycles is ‘closing the loop.’ We need to close our loop of perpetual consumption and waste before it’s too late.” The Friends of Recycling are always looking for new ideas, volunteers, and to answer any questions you may have.

Contact Chad Hisey at (574) 201- 8857, or at, and on Facebook.

HOW DO I RECYCLE…. - Styrofoam? White foam with no ink can be put with plastics. - Bubble Wrap? Bubble wrap can be put with shopping bags at the stores who take them. - Egg Cartons? Local hen owners who have surplus eggs might be interested in taking them off your hands; reach out in the community to find out. - Everything Else? The Fulton County Solid Waste District has bins located around Rochester for public self-served drop-off of most common recyclables, and their main location at 1452 Wentzel Street will take care of even more materials and lend a helping hand unloading it if needed.

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