Turning 40 - A Year of Celebrations

As we approached our 40th Anniversary year we thought about how we wanted to celebrate and share with the community. We are an education and outreach organization. Our name is Recycling Connections. Everything we do, we do it for the greater good and to share our knowledge and expertise in reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost is our top priority. Making connections around the communities we work in is what we love to do. We also wanted to be sure to have some fun along the way.

It was difficult to plan during a pandemic. We weren’t sure exactly how our ideas would come into fruition and if we could even share it with others. Regardless, we kept planning. Here are some highlighted activities offered so far in 2021 to celebrate:


CERTIFICATE OF COMMENDATION FROM WI GOVERNOR EVERS

Our first order of business was getting a Certificate of Commendation from the Wisconsin Governor for major accomplishments achieved across the organization’s 40-year history. The official date we became a non-profit organization was January 29, 1981. So, on January 29, 2021 we gathered “virtually” via zoom with our current board members as well as past & present staff and close colleagues. We called on the help of Rep. Katrina Shankland who ‘presented’ the certificate to us and then we had a virtual ‘cheers’ together over zoom, starting our celebratory year off with a bang.


STICKER DESIGN CONTEST PROMOTING WASTE REDUCTION AND REUSE


In conjunction with the commendation event, we kicked off another of our anniversary events - the Sticker Design Contest. Our board and staff came up with 7 slogans to, in the end, be made into stickers. The slogans were as follows: Think Outside the Trash; Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without; You Can’t Change The Past, But You Can Change The Future; This World Is Changed By Your Example, Not Your Opinion; Sexy Recyclers Do It Again and Again and Again…; Reuse & Repurpose for People & Planet; You Too Can Stop the Spread of Landfills.


Our design contest brought together 15 artists of all ages who gave us more than 50 sticker designs and produced 7 amazing stickers that we could not be more proud to hand out at our events. The stickers can be viewed and purchased via our online store.


EARTH DAY BALE MAZE AT UW-STEVENS POINT

We announced our Sticker Design Contest Winners at our next anniversary celebration event, the Recycling Bale Display in the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Sundial. This project was extra fun because we brought together a couple of our favorite recycling industry colleagues in Central Wisconsin; UW-Stevens Point Office of Sustainability and Campus Recycling as well as the Portage County Solid Waste Department. We created the number “40” out of cardboard and aluminum recycling bales that were generated from the UWSP campus recycling. Made out of almost 40 bales, the display included educational signs that shared information on UWSP campus recycling, local recycling tips, and state/national/global recycling facts & figures. The display was on location for 3 weeks from mid-April to early May. On Earth Day, Recycling Connections held a small outdoor reception where we were able to physically receive our certificate of commendation from Rep. Shankland, participate in other campus Earth Day events, talk with people about our display, and not only hand out our new stickers but also present prizes to our sticker design winners.




PROGRAM OUTREACH TRAILER


One of our dreams as we look to the next 40 years is to get Recycling Connections out in the public eye more. One of the ways we would like to do this is by having a mobile programs trailer. In order to achieve this, we knew we needed to find a trailer and raise some funds to purchase the trailer. With two of our staff members having birthdays in May they created a little competition to see who could raise $500 first to go towards a new trailer. These ladies are loved because both of them made it to their $500 goals and collectively raised $1,000 to go towards our new programs trailer. Another staff member will see if she can meet or beat their $500 raised to go towards a birthday “wrap” for the trailer. In addition to helping us with educational programming, this trailer is allowing Recycling Connections to launch their newest service, Near Zero Event Services. Learn more at https://www.recyclingconnections.org/zero-landfill-events.


EDUCATIONAL KIOSK ON DISPLAY ALL SUMMER

Having a presence in our community has been important to Recycling Connections. We have loved having an office space off Main Street and feeling connected to downtown Stevens Point. We knew we wanted to do something where we could have some presence and share a bit about what we do. To achieve this, we created an educational kiosk, made from nearly 1,000 recyclable bottles, that is on display from Memorial Day through Labor Day along the Green Circle Trail between Pfiffner and Bukolt Park. The kiosk not only promotes reuse by its construction design, but it also shares educational tips and information. We included signs, interactive games, and childrens books for visitors to enjoy. We received shredded rubber tires from Liberty Tire Recycling for the floor of our kiosk which is another great example of a reuse material, and also makes for an inviting place to hang out. On site is an “activity box” that challenges visitors with what plastics are “To Bin or Not To Bin” in your curbside recycling bin. We encouraged people to take the additional challenge of signing on to Plastic Free July to reduce their use of single-use plastics. If you haven’t visited the kiosk yet, stop by any time before Labor Day. Learn more about the kiosk in the story captured by news.



We couldn’t be happier with how our anniversary celebrations have been going. It has been fun to share these events with our community. To see pictures and follow along as we journey through the year join us on our Facebook and Instagram pages. More fun to come as we begin the next 40 year journey!


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