Walking into the state fairgrounds this August, you will see signs that proudly proclaim “The State Fair of West Virginia recycles.” But perhaps what they should say is “Matt Tate recycles.”
Tate, of Mill Point, West Virginia has volunteered to spearhead the state fair’s recycling efforts for the past two years and plans to do it again this year.
His efforts to help the state fair go a little greener started with a few phone calls to the fair’s office in Lewisburg. There, he spoke with Marlene Jolliffe, the state fair’s manager. Jolliffe told Tate they could use someone to coordinate the fair’s recycling program. Tate volunteered to be that person.
When he took over the fair’s recycling program, Tate made a few simple changes that quickly cleaned up the recyclables. First, he pressed into use the fair’s newly donated cardboard recycling bins, which looked visibly different from the trash cans. Before the cardboard recycling bins were donated, the fair used barrels for recycling that only differed from the trash barrels in color.
“The big thing I tried to change was make sure that no recycling bin stood by itself. Because, if there’s just a bin there, people are going to use it as a trash bin. “But, if it’s next to a trash can, then they’d have to be kind of a jerk to put trash in it,” he added with a laugh.
During the course of the fair, Tate hauls a full pick-up truck load of recyclables each day. Each truckload is roughly 21 leaf and yard-waste bags full of recyclables.
In two years, Tate and his fellow volunteers have collected an impressive amount of recyclables: 2,833 pounds of plastic bottles and 478 pounds of aluminum cans. But Tate says he’s probably only catching about 40 percent of the recyclables on the fairgrounds.
“He has been instrumental in bringing attention to recycling,” Jolliffe added. “He’s also making people think twice about throwing their plastic water bottle in the trash and has sent a clear message about what true volunteerism really is.”
“It’s the West Virginia State Fair,” Tate said. “I feel like it represents our state. For recycling not to happen there, I think, reflects badly on us. Also, I saw it as a great opportunity to introduce people to recycling, because I know that recycling doesn’t happen in a lot of places and it’s definitely harder for it to happen in smaller communities. But at the state fair it’s pretty easy, and it could be people’s first introduction to the idea.”
I wish there were more people like Matt in West Virginia and around the world. Most people don’t relize what kind of damage a plastic bottle or a tin can have on our planet and our Oceans. Some think by throwing them in a regular trash can that it’s all going to disappear. When in fact they lay in the landfills around the country ruining our soil and drinking water from runoff. Or somehow end up in our Oceans killing the Sea Life when they mistake it for food.
So this year when you visit the West Virginia State Fair be sure to look for one of Matt’s recycling bins to deposit that plastic water bottle or tin can. Most of all let’s keep what’s left of our beautiful Mountain state beautiful by recycling!
Photo Credit: fensterbme via Flickr
- The Importance of Recycling (greenerthinking.wordpress.com)
- Recycling Fishing Waders For The Environment (wvoutpost.com)
- Martinsburg To Produce Recycled Fuel From Solid Waste Plant (wvoutpost.com)
- WV Makes it Shine! (wvoutpost.com)
- Methane Power Plant to Begin Operations in West Virginia (wvoutpost.com)
- Star Wars Imperial Walker Made From Computer Parts (wvoutpost.com)