One of the activities that I miss most during this time of COVID-19 is volunteering. Before the pandemic, at least one weekend a month I had the opportunity to participate in a park, beach, or forest cleanup project. It was at these events that I began to meet my local political representatives. They would come out to see what issues inspired community action — and to lend support.
But hands down, my favorite volunteer event is the twice-yearly recycling event sponsored by two of my state’s politicians. For this event, residents come to a local park to recycle items like clothing and furniture. There’s a station where you can shred documents and recycle paper. And you can bring in old electronics like TVs and laptops to recycle.
But things were different this year. Due to the pandemic, the spring recycling event was canceled. And then the fall event was postponed. When we learned that there would be no e-waste recycling this year, a lot of us in my community were disappointed. We have no curbside pickup of e-waste so without that event, there is no convenient way to dispose of TVs, laptops, and cell phones responsibly in our area.
So, a lot of us wrote to our state senator on his Facebook page and sent him emails to ask for help with this problem. Our posts and emails must have made an impact because a separate e-waste recycling event was held in October!
And it was a resounding success! A total of 430 cars lined up and waited for 30 to 45 minutes to drop off their e-waste for recycling. Because of the pandemic, there were no walk-ins and we were not allowed to leave our cars. We just opened the trunk so volunteers could collect our electronics. We were happy to comply!
It’s gratifying to know that our small community action could make such a difference. By letting our senator know what we care about, we got our recycling event – despite the pandemic. So, raise your voice. Participate in local events that benefit the environment, meet your representatives, and let them know what matters to you.
As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can with what you have, where you are.” Together, we can make a difference!
Feature image courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels