New summer recycling program helps build homes

The next time you're at a concert in St. Joseph like Parties on the Parkway or Sounds of Summer, you may notice white boxes strategically placed around the venue. They are part of a new program and partnership headed by the Ecumenical Eco-Justice (EEJ), an organization focused on environmental sustainability in St. Joseph.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 12:23 PM
Updated: Jun 18, 2019 12:23 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The next time you're at a concert in St. Joseph like Parties on the Parkway or Sounds of Summer, you may notice white boxes strategically placed around the venue. They are part of a new program and partnership headed by the Ecumenical Eco-Justice (EEJ), an organization focused on environmental sustainability in St. Joseph. 

Summer-long events like Parties on the Parkway or Sounds of Summer bring in hundreds of people which in turn vendors offering drinks and alcoholic beverages in plastic bottles and cans. Before the EEJ recycling program, those cans and bottles had no other place to land other than the trash can. 

"My husband and I have been coming to Parties on the Parkway for years and we have always had such a good time, but it made me really sad to see all of these aluminum cans just spilling out of the trashcans," said LuAnn Cadden, the EEJ recycling program creator. 

To change that, through Cadden, the EEJ worked with the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Partnership, and Downtown Association to bring recycling receptacles at all city-sponsored events.

"It's great when as a community we can find a nitch of something not being served and be able to fill it," said Natalie Redmond from the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, "Parties on the Parkway raises money for our beautiful parkway system and now we are further helping to keep it beautiful by recycling."

This summer, you'll see a white recycling box next to almost every trashcan. 

"We strategically place them around drink vendors and trashcans because we noticed that when people go for another drink they toss it in what's closest," said Cadden.

To amplify the project's effect in the community, the EEJ is also partnered with the St. Joseph Habitat for Humanity. All aluminum cans collected will be donated to St. Joe Habitat. The non-profit turns in those cans for money which goes towards building a home for a family in need. 

"Eventually, we will hopefully build a house completely from proceeds from recycled aluminum, we are at 30-thousand dollars from our 90-thousand dollar goal it's an amazing thing to see our community support," said Tim Osborn, from Habitat for Humanity. 

The EEJ recycling program will continue throughout the summer. 

Representatives from the multiple partnering agencies described it as a "win, win, win."

"What started off as a small project of not wanting to see the waste and making sure it goes to good, ended up being a great thing with partnerships with lots of groups who all decided the same thing; bettering the community by recycling," said Cadden.

If you would like to help Habitat for Humanity, you can donate aluminum cans you collect to the Habitat for Humanity Restore at 3131 Frederick Ave. To have a year-round aluminum can receptacle for your business or organization location contact their office at (816) 279-2552. 

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Moving into the weekend, we will be keeping an eye on the potential for flooding rain and strong thunderstorms. On Saturday, the rain might hold off until the afternoon but will be widespread late Saturday and into Sunday. This is when the heaviest rain should fall. Expect rainfall totals to be anywhere from 2-4 inches. This could bring area streams and rivers to flood stage so make sure you are watching out for that.
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