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Recycle today for cleaner tomorrow: City unveils new recycling campaign

The City of West Fargo is setting in motion a new recycling campaign in conjunction with Cleanup Week May 5 through 9, featuring a little man with a megaphone, that you will be seeing everywhere on posters and promotional materials.

"West Fargo recycling challenge" is the theme for the program which will be outlined during a press conference Monday, May 5, at 10 a.m., at West Fargo City Hall, 800 4th Ave. E.

West Fargo City Commissioner Lou Bennett, who holds the Sanitation Department portfolio, is spearheading the effort along with Flypaper Creative Services, a student run ad agency at Minnesota State University Moorhead, operated by seniors Serena Knutson and Amber Houselog, who serve as account manager, and writer and designer, respectively. Dr. Jody Mattern is their advisor.

Knutson, who is majoring in public relations and advertising, said being a part of formulating the campaign has been fun, interesting, and a very rewarding experience. She and Houselog researched what other communities were doing with their recycling efforts and went from there, spending approximately six months on the project.

The City presently has a curbside recycling program in place that has rotating days for collection. Bennett said the goal set for residents is to expand upon that and meet the challenge of a 25 percent increase over last year's figures of 583 appliances, 28 tons of glass, 1140.19 tons of compost, 277.36 tons of paper for an income of $4,160.40, and 11.42 tons of tin and aluminum for an income of $3,239.70.

As part of the public relations campaign, the slogan "West Fargo Recycling Campaign 2008 - Get Up, Get Out, Recycle" was developed, along with posters and a direct mail piece being distributed to 673 residents in the Eagle Run development urging residents to "recycle today, for a cleaner tomorrow." The mailer contains an invitation to the press conference and the opportunity to stop by the City Sanitation Shop at 117 8th St. W., to pick up a free recycling bin so participating residents can begin their own in-house recycling efforts.

Bennett said that Eagle Run was selected because it is one of the newer areas that has not been directly involved with any previous recycling efforts, and it has an excellent age demographic to target. "Eagle Run is a new community with a lot of youngsters. We feel this is a good mindset to help us achieve our goals. The youngsters are more conducive to wanting to get their parents involved and will hopefully bug their moms and dads and say 'hey, let's do this together.'"

"We are hoping all residents will start a recycling project within their homes, or if they currently recycle, continue and expand as much as possible," Bennett added. "We have a lot of new residents that were not here for the last campaign in 1998, so our hopes rest largely on adding new residents to the program."

Five hundred bins were given away at that last City promotion, and this year, the goal is 673. In addition to the bins, residents will also receive recycling fun facts and an updated 2008 Trash Manual, including information about West Fargo's Sanitation Department and current recycling abilities.

Recycling trucks and other City vehicles will be highly visible, with magnetic recycling campaign logos positioned on each side of their vehicles as a reminder of the need to recycle.

Additional pick-up points are also being established around the City for larger recyclable items such as cardboard, plastic bottles, and other items not easily picked up at curbside.

The curbside pickups will continue to concentrate on papers, aluminum cans and glass bottles. Residents who are not presently sorting these items are asked to do so by either placing them into separate paper sacks or individual bins when they set them out for collection. Doing so makes it easier for sanitation crews, who otherwise must do the sorting.

"We hope to keep reminding people of the importance of recycling," Knutson said. "I'm anxious to see how many people will show up at the press conference and how many bins will be given out. I'm really excited to see people of West Fargo meet the challenge, and at the end of year to see what the results are. I really hope everyone takes the challenge seriously. This is an important issue for a city on the grow."

Bennett agrees. "The monetary aspect from the recycling proceeds is not a significant amount, but the big factor is that for every ton of material we recycle that is a ton of trash we are not responsible for paying Fargo for the use of their landfill. In addition, that will help extend the life of their landfill and our own landfill.  Besides, we think recycling is the right thing to do."

Bennett added that he is extremely appreciative to West

Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern, fellow City Commissioners Mark Simmons, Bryan Schulz and Brenda Warren and the entire City staff for their assistance with this endeavor.

Local Boy Scout Troop ??? has also been assisting with the effort, helping deliver posters and assist with the packets that will be placed in the bins when they are given away. The work will count as part of their community service requirements for scouting program.

Bennett is also quick to praise Knutson and Houselog for their efforts. "They have both done a wonderful job and furnished services that would have been cost prohibitive had we hired a commercial advertising business to formulate this campaign for us. They are professional, helpful, have fantastic ideas and have been very timely with their work, doing themselves proud. My special thanks to Dr. Jody Mattern for her efforts in making this service available to the City and for all her support to Serena and Amber."