An innovative downtown recycling project will soon be implemented on a trial-basis in downtown Grand Forks.
Aaron Hendricks, co-owner and operator of Rhombus Guys Pizza in downtown Grand Forks, alongside Leah Rae Amundson, Public Works Service Coordinator for the City of Grand Forks Public Works Department, and the city contractor, Waste Management, Inc., have joined forces to organize a public recycling project that is rumored to kick-off early this fall.
The downtown recycling project is one that has been in talks for quite sometime, having been a prominent focus area of the Greater Grand Forks Environmental Resource Committee’s Green Initiative- a comprehensive effort put together by the mayor to make Downtown environmentally sustainable, competitive and attractive. It operates on the evaluation of environmental issues based on criteria involving increased efficiency; cutting costs/saving money; and cleaning the environment.
The project began as a meeting organized through the efforts of Hendricks, in conjunction with LeahRae Amundson.
Hendricks, who requested each business on the 300 block of Kittson to participate in an organized recycling effort, received interested responses from each of the businesses he spoke with.
“Initially I decided to look into recycling as an option for my business because I was intrigued by the scientific aspects of global climate change. As I started to notice more and more reports, I read more and more, and watched more and more about global climate change on television. I learned that as each new report came along and as more and more data was being collected, the prognosis became worse and I wanted to start doing my part to help.
Rhombus Guys Pizza looks like just that, a pizza joint located at 312 Kittson Avenue, looming in the dark shadows of the Plain Brown Wrapper in downtown Grand Forks.
Hendricks, however, attests that Rhombus encompasses an entire green lifestyle.
“We have come to a point in time when we need, to take measures to ensure that the human race can live on happily and healthily in posterity. Recycling is a virtually effortless way that each of us can be doing our part to ensure the future for others.”
The City of Grand Forks is currently receiving quotations for a specialized lid design for a cardboard recycling receptacle, which will be placed in a central location on the 300 block of Kittson Avenue—the block on which Rhombus is located.
The lid design will encourage users to break down their cardboard boxes, while also helping to prevent illegal dumping. The lid of the receptacle will open automatically only as it’s being collected by the front-load style truck, preventing the use of the receptacle for anything other than recyclable cardboard.
“There are certain challenges associated with pioneering a recycling program downtown, the largest of them regarding area. Because the downtown area is so compact, finding a place for people to recycle and do it effectively poses a bit of a challenge. We are hoping to lock down the recycling effort downtown and use it as a model for moving forward,” said Todd Feland, Public Works Director for the City of Grand Forks.
To help the effort along, the City of Grand Forks Sanitation Department will co-locate a standard refuse container for putrescible (food, restroom, household) waste.
Following placement and evaluation of cardboard-only recycling on the 300 Block of Kittson, the City will explore additional recycling opportunities, including the feasibility of single-stream style recycling options—plastics, aluminum, and glass recycling, as well as opportunities for expansion of recycling receptacles to other downtown areas.
“I think there is a common misconception that only people that take a particular interest in the environment should or can be involved in a project or an effort such as the recycling initiative, but really all people should be concerned about the environment—recycling encompasses all people, from those who may take an interest because of the actual environmental reason, to those who may choose to be involved for economical reasons,” said Hendricks.
“The great thing about this project is that it is driven by grassroots, and hopefully the individuals that expressed interest in recycling options downtown, will help police it. Having people develop the idea and want to see it implemented is a plus over having to force something onto people who don’t want it,” added Feland, the Public Works Director.
Single stream recycling and customized containers will help ensure the sustainability of the pilot program in the downtown trial area. The project will be monitored over the coming months, and modifications and improvements will be made as necessary.
For additional information about recycling options in the Grand Forks area, check out: http://www.grandforksgov.com/gfgov/home.nsf/Pages/Recycling.
To request containers for recycling, contact Grand Forks Public Works Department at 701.746.2570.
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