Most of us learned the words “throw that away” long before we learned the word “recycle”. So maybe some remedial education is in order? I had the opportunity to visit WM’s Recycle America Educycle Center in Grayslake, IL a few weeks back.
Lisa Benoit is the education coordinator, tour guide, curator and chief cook and bottle washer at the Educycle Center, one of only 6 in the country. Besides Grayslake, there are Education Centers in Little Rock, AR, Twin Cities, MN, Milwaukee/Germantown, WI, Elkridge, MD , Pembroke Pines, FL, and San Leandro, CA. Centers are being developed at Tucson, AZ, Raleigh, NC, and Houston TX as well.
The Educycle Center, located right at the WM Recycle America’s Lake County Material Processing Center in Grayslake, IL was established for citizens of all ages who want to learn more about recycling and what part they play in proper solid waste management. Exhibits, displays, visual presentations and on site experts help everyday citizens understand their role in the success of recycling and resource management. The Educycle Center mantra is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover. Corporate and community programs, recycling center and landfill tours and special events throughout the year serve the greater Chicago area and further. Visitors to the Educycle Center can learn:
- Best practices and good waste management
- Waste prevention and minimization
- Alternative purchasing and recycled content purchasing
- How to best use recycling systems, and what to put where!
While I was there a group came in from a packaging firm, looking to see how their packaging might be redesigned or take advantage of existing recycling systems to prevent it becoming waste. They were enthused about the concept of the Educycle Center, and based on the questions I heard them ask, their internal wheels were churning with new ideas to take back to their product design.
An old Chinese proverb says: “Think a year ahead, plant grain. Think 10 years ahead, plant trees. Think 100 years ahead, educate the people.” The WMRA Educycle Center is definitely thinking 100 years ahead.