Michael showing off a favorite recycling tip: let your empty peanut butter or nutella jars soak overnight in a little dish water and soap, shake the next morning, and it will come right out. No scrubbing needed!
Meet Michael Whitney! He's our amazing recycling spotlight for October. Michael is a resident of Sandy, owns The Main Mouse Warehouse, (check it out here:
http://stores.ebay.com/themainmousewarehouse/) and recently learned about and signed the 20% Challenge, joining our campaign to increase Salt Lake County's recycling rate. Michael is no stranger to increasing recycling efforts, however. In fact, he is directly responsible for Salt Lake Community College's recycling program even existing (you can read that incredible story here:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/salt-lake-county-recycling/landfill-tour-testimonial-michael-whitney/306782496196151) We first heard about Michael when another SLCC student leadership group came out to the landfill for a tour. Their director told us his story and we just knew we had to meet this guy! We sat down with Michael in his Sandy home and had a wonderful chat about sustainability and recycling.
Michael prints all the shipping labels for his business on used paper with print on only one side./p>
He also has all his friends and neighbors save their boxes for him - everything he ships goes in a reused box! Why can’t all small businesses do that?
Salt Lake County Recycling: When did the importance of recycling hit you?
Michael Whitney: My parents took me camping a lot as a kid, so nature was always present in my life. It was at an early age that I realized national parks and other land was worth preserving. In order to preserve these places it takes some forethought and planning, creating these structures doesn’t just happen on its own. Through these experiences in nature, I learned we all had to work together to protect land, and through small individual acts, like recycling, we can make a big difference.
SLCoR: What recycling idea would you like to communicate to the masses?
MW: I really want to stress the importance of compost. Recycling is so important in preserving our natural resources and preserving landfill space, but we often forget about composting which, in terms of saving landfill space, is also greatly important. Recycling is a household name, I want the same thing for composting. It is being done so successfully in other communities like Seattle, I would love to see that same success reach Salt Lake County.
SLCoR: What recycling moment are you most proud of?
MW: The whole experience with getting Salt Lake Community College’s recycling program started was such a big deal to me, I'm really proud of the whole thing. But I have to say, having been away from campus for a year now, walking back through the school and seeing recycling receptacles still there, seeing them in use today, knowing the program is still flourishing even in my absence, that feels great. Such a moment of satisfaction.
SLCoR: Not to be a downer, but for awareness’ sake, what is your recycling pet peeve?
MW: People who are adamantly opposed to recycling for no apparent reason. Or those who think it’s somehow fun or funny to throw recyclables in the garbage. I just can’t wrap my head around it.
SLCoR: What else should we know about you?
MW: I feel like recycling is finally catching on. It's very encouraging, actually. For example, Sandy City now accepts all plastic containers, #1-7 for recycling, where before they were only taking #1, 2 and 4. There is progress. Our combined efforts do add up and make a difference. It's a matter of momentum, and I think we're gaining that.
Michael and his family save all their aluminum cans for a couple neighborhood kids who cash them in and put the money in a college fund. What a fantastic idea!
Thanks for being such a superb recycler, Michael!
Do you know a stellar recycler we should feature as our next Recycling Spotlight? Tell us about them! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Michael and take our 20% Challenge, pledge to recycle more and help Salt Lake County catch up to the national average!