Turn Waste into Resources by Playing the Recycle Game

by Shondra Watson for SUST 210

We all know that Chicago is a city full of people, businesses, and communities. Although its northwest neighbor of Schaumburg is not equally as large or busy, as a thriving city of about 75,000 people it does have its fair share of families and workplaces. Each one of these families and communities can play a part in contributing to the environment while having a little fun in the process.

As a busy wife, mother, student and employee, I don’t have a lot of time to commit to some of the issues that I believe in. However, I discovered a way to play a role in sustainability. We can do the little things that count. Recycling is a great way to turn waste into resources. It conserves energy, reduces air and water pollution, decreases greenhouse gases, and conserves natural resources.

Prior to researching and discovering ways to contribute to the well-being of our planet, I was somewhat aware of the effects my actions had on our environment. Yet I felt it was extremely hard to live a life of environmental consciousness. I would ask myself, “How can little old me make a difference?” I thought that sustainable living was only for environmentalists and scientists.

In addition to my stepson and daughter maintaining their normal household chores to get an allowance, they also compete every couple of weeks to see which one has a full recycle bin and not a full trash can. This concept is rewarding and educational, because they have to take time to research what can and cannot be recycled, while participating in some friendly competition.

I have also implemented this game at my office. The maintenance woman compares the garbage can and the recycle bin from each person in my department to determine who has the largest batch of recycled materials; the winner receives a free lunch from our Director each month.

This has allowed my family and co-workers to engage in a friendly game, become more knowledgeable about what can and cannot be recycled, and have a little fun while helping to conserve more of our natural resources. The recycle game is a win-win for everyone, and it is especially a victory for our planet as well.

Exercising a sustainable lifestyle does not have to be a daunting task. Simple things can make a big difference. My family and colleagues have made some small changes that are helpful and contribute to improving the health of the environment. I have started to practice eco-friendly routines within my home and workplace that allow me to help, not harm, the earth. My family and I are making efforts to better our future, and your family can too!

Each week during the Fall 2014 semester, students in Prof. Mike Bryson’s SUST 210 Sustainable Future and SUST 240 Waste classes at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts on urban and suburban sustainability issues to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.

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About Suburban Sustainability

Founder and editor of the Schaumburg's Sustainability Future social media project (est. Earth Day, 2011)
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