For the 77,000 residents in Clinton County, recycling has been important for many years. They are the recycling and waste management for the county, overseeing 2 drop off recycling centers and several waste collection events. The drop off centers are both self service centers, open 24 hours. The 2 big collection events that Clinton County puts on occur in the fall and in the spring. In between these, they also have many single day events for unwanted medication, as well as year round collection programs for cell phones, batteries, thermometers, syringes, and electronics.
These programs have been successful because of education. If Clinton County can get the education out there and available, then people will know they have the option to recycle. They have also found that you do not need to spend very much money on education and outreach to have successful programs. Clinton County only spends 3% of their annual budget on education and outreach. Social media is a major focus for them in this way. Clinton County took a few years to get up to speed, but now that they use social media, they have found it to be a great way to help grow their collection events.
“We are small but mighty”
Part of the collection events success is not only teaching the community, but listening to the community and what they want. Each area is different and has different interests, needs, and goals. For Clinton County this need is medical disposal, and so that is what they are focusing on for the future. Medical disposal and Opium are very big right now in our society. The substance abuse council partners with Clinton County to help find proper recycling for prescription medicine disposal. In the future they want to continue to make these existing programs more accessible by finding these committees or groups, like the substance abuse council, that can partner with them and help Clinton County promote their programs.
When Clinton County looks to the state as a whole, they believe that in the future the state needs to work on providing consistency for recycling. Currently each drop off and curbside recycling system is unique as to what they accept. If the state were to require more uniform standards, we would have an easier time recycling. Until then, Clinton County won’t stop trying to help all 77,000 of their residents to recycle.