The Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce is making it easy for area organizations to keep their special events neat, clean and environmentally sound.
Chamber Executive Director Luke Reven said Thursday that a $3,000 grant from the Northwest Missouri Regional Solid Waste Management District has allowed the business advocacy group to acquire 20 portable recycling bins that can be used to collect plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
The containers, which are mounted on portable stands, are lightweight, easy to set up and available free of charge to just about anyone who wants to use them.
Shortly after they arrived, the containers were set out at the Eugene Field Elementary School Field Day this week, where Reven said parents and students filled them with 13 pounds worth of recyclable water bottles.
Reven said he started thinking about ways the Chamber could promote recycling during last year's Nodaway County Fair Parade, which the organization sponsors.
The parade typically produces all kinds of trash, everything from campaign pamphlets to candy wrappers, and leaves a good-sized mess in its wake despite the best efforts of volunteers — including the Chamber's own "Equine Excrement Mitigation Crew."
Of course, the recycling bins won't be used to clean up horse manure, but they still should cut down on the number of pounds of plastic and aluminum currently trucked to a landfill following the parade and other Chamber activities.
"It always just felt wrong that it was such a mess," Reven said, "So since last summer I've been focused on ways to clean up our events."
When Reven learned the Chamber was eligible for the solid waste district grant, which also includes marketing funds to boost awareness about the importance of recycling, the one-time funding just seemed like a natural fit.
In addition to using the bins to collect recyclable cans and bottles, the Chamber will also have the material weighed in order to determine the program's effectiveness. Obviously Reven considers the 13 pounds of clear plastic collected at Eugene Field this week to be just the beginning of far bigger recycling returns to come.
Civic groups, churches and schools are encouraged to take advantage of the program by calling the Chamber at (660) 541-5171 and requesting to use the containers at no cost.
The only requirements are that participating organizations pick up the bins from the Chamber, track the recyclables collected, deliver collected material to a local recycler and return the bins after the event.