For the past 25 years the city of Frederick, Maryland, has hosted a street festival in the fall. This event draws 75,000 people who flock the streets to hear live music, enjoy children’s activities and purchase items made by local artisans. The event is lacking in only one area: the area of recycling. For all of its years in existence the festival has never had the means to take on the task of recycling its cans, bottles and paper.
Last year a senior at the local high school decided it was time for a change and she and her friends organized a booth and volunteered to go around the festival collecting glass, plastic and aluminum waste off to be recycled. Can you imagine that? High school students, volunteering to spend precious weekend time, collecting trash without personal motivation or gain, I was impressed when I heard that. How many people do you know that would put themselves out like that? I don’t know too many adults, let alone any teenagers who would take that challenge on.
This year, their 25th anniversary year, things will be a little different, due in part to the efforts of last year’s senior and her group of friends and volunteers. This year the Coca-Cola Company, who has a bottling location on North Market Street, nearby the festival site, will donate 20 recycle bins to be set up throughout the festival area. Plastic and glass items to be recycled will be taken to the county’s recycling location and the aluminum collected will be resold for a small fund-raising profit.
What was really impressive about this story was the self-less-ness in which these students acted. They didn’t do this because it would win them an award or a grant or money in some other form; they did this because it was the right thing to do. How many counties, cities and towns could be forever changed if the same example were set for them? This story is one of those great examples of what kind of change one person can make. It should be a testament to us all that if we just put the effort out there, step out of our comfort zones, and did something we know is right, the great changes that can be made are infinite.
In just this example, you have to figure the impact the recycling will have if even just a few of the participants take a moment to notice the recycle bins and instead of carelessly tossing their waste to where it will not be separated and recycled, they did the right thing and put their waste in the designated bins. Any efforts to change have to start somewhere and it is commendable that after 25 years, it was a teen who took on the challenge to start the change at this event.
One extra gratitude extended to this amazing student is that this year she has designed a logo that will be throughout the event that will symbolize the idea that the residents of Frederick, Maryland Recycle; she calls it, “Frederecycle.”