Creating Environmental Awareness 2

How Recycling Impacted One Chandler Family

 

The City of Chandler offers a comprehensive recycling program that goes beyond helping the environment. For Chandler resident Chelle Daly, the program, and others like it, play a significant role in her family’s lives.

“I grew up by Chicago and I was in grade school when curbside recycling started,” says Daly. “It was limited what could be recycled there but we recycled everything we could.”

She says that at the time only glass, paper and some plastics could be recycled in her area. Since moving to Chandler in 1998, she involved herself more in recycling efforts. But a lot of inspiration for her involvement came from her grandmother.

Daly’s grandmother recycled and would look for cans to turn in at the local recycling center for money.

“It was something she and her friends did when they were on walks, they would pick up cans off the street,” says Daly.  “After a while they started picking them up out of the recycle bins too because they would get a little cash for it.”

One day, a police officer stopped them and cited Daly’s grandmother and her friends for what was technically stealing from the city. They appeared before a judge not long after.

“The judge looked at them and asked, ‘Ladies are you going to do this again?’ My grandma was mortified and said, ‘No, your Honor.’ So we teased her for years that she was corrupt. That was always a fun family story,” Daly shares.

Reducing Waste, Saving Money

The City of Chandler’s recycling policy is right in line with Daly’s desire to make a difference. She says the program is perfect for her and her family, taking minimal time but still providing a large benefit, and not just to the environment.

“I have a strong sense of awareness that for all of the income the city receives for recycling it reduces my trash fee,” says Daly.  “I know the more I can get out there on the curb the less I’m paying once a month when I’m paying my city bill.”

City of Chandler statistics show that Daly is correct. According to the city’s website, disposing one ton of trash costs $40 while recycling one ton of materials earns the city about $25. Recycled items only account for 25 percent of all refuse.

“I know that if everybody recycled, even just 75 percent of what you could recycle, we’d all see our monthly (waste) bills go down,” says Daly.  “It takes the same amount of effort to put it in the recycle bin as it does in the trash.  I don’t see this taking up any more time than anything else.”

Making a Difference

For Daly, the key to recycling success is not purchasing many non-recyclable materials to begin with. She says buying in bulk, avoiding potentially wasteful unnecessary purchases and making your own supplies can help with the burden that Chandler and many other cities face.

“I think the best thing we can do is to not generate too much stuff that needs to be recycled,” she says. “Try not to bring the waste in to begin with.”

For more information on what materials are accepted and how to get involved visit Chandler’s recycling webpage at www.chandleraz.gov/recycle.