There is a non-profit organization in Brevard that has captured my attention thoroughly and it has also captured my heart. Recycle Brevard is run by the amazing Marcia Booth, a woman who just wanted to make a change in her community, so she decided to BE THE CHANGE. I sat down with Marcia and interviewed her about Recycle Brevard and asked her to share her story about how this eco-friendly organization got started. I was amazed and astounded with what she told me and what she has done.
How it all began…
The first time Marcia felt the weight of the problem was when she went to tour a landfill in 2011 with her daughter and discovered that in Brevard County, only about 30% of recyclable material actually made it to the recycling facilities and the rest was landfilled. She looked around her in amazement as she witnessed mountain after mountain piled high with trash and wasted resources. As she let the sights and smells sink in around her, she watched her daughter’s eyes protrude from her head in amazement at the waste and pollution around her, she desperately wanted to find a way to help.
Marcia was determined to make a change and it got her thinking about why that problem existed in the first place. She proceeded to research more about the community and tried to find ways to recycle more of her own items. After some time, Marcia realized that a lot of the problem was that there was no place to conveniently take items to be recycled that couldn’t go in her recycling bin at home. Things like batteries, empty make-up, razor blades, unwanted remnants of fabric, plastics, and really anything else that we all regularly throw into the trash can.
So what did she do?
Marcia created a simple information sharing Facebook page and a blog. One of the first events she did under the ‘Recycle Brevard’ name was handing out recycling information at the Merritt Island Rotary Park grand opening event in April 2011. She gathered everything she could find on the subject including all the County’s brochures and educational information about the Brevard Zoo. She wanted to not only provide information on how to recycle properly to for residents but also provide them with examples of how that was making a difference and how it impacted the wildlife habitats in our area.
For about 6 years she volunteered around the community, helped others recycle and reuse materials and separated her own waste to recycle, donate to the Sharing Center, send for upcycling at TerraCycle and take to the Reuse Center in West Melbourne. This continued until 2017 when she opened an official location in Rockledge. She chose this location because she wanted something that was in her community. By opening up in Rockledge, she felt she was creating a convenient drop off location for all the Brevardians that lived too far from the Reuse Center to find it convenient to donate unwanted materials.
What is Recycle Brevard Anyway?
Recycle Brevard is a 501©3 Florida non-profit organization 100% run by volunteers that promotes and facilitates the practice of the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). Marcia has not only created a one-stop-shop for recycling, but she also provides educational information and spreads the message of environmental conservation and zero waste living through her website and social media presence. Recycle Brevard is focused on reducing waste and promoting sustainable living through advocacy, action, and education.
They offer free membership to their Recycling Club http://www.recyclebrevard.org/p/memberships.html to all public-school teachers in Brevard County. That gives teachers access to their Reuse Room. Teachers can also book educational programs for their students.
Recycle Brevard diverted more than 7,000lbs of waste in 2020 and will continue to help the community to divert thousands more from the landfill every year. Their mission statement says it all.
“To empower people, schools, and organizations to help preserve the environment and build, together, a healthy, harmonious, and stable community where there is no room for waste.”Recycle Brevard
What do they take for Recycling and Reuse?
Here is the main question, what can you take here to divert it from the landfill? Really anything EXCEPT for TV’s, printers, monitors, keyboards, and any Hazardous Waste items or chemicals. The following items are accepted at Recycle Brevard:
- Batteries (household and cell phone)
- Electronics and Metals
- No TV’s, Printers, Monitors, Keyboards, or chemicals please.
- These can be taken to your local Household Hazardous Waste drop-off.
- Reusable Materials for crafting
- Glass, Plastic, Straws, Cutlery, Papers, Cartons, Markers, etc.
- 6-pack Plastic Rings
- Used or New Printer Ink Cartridges
- If they are empty can be taken to Office Depot or Walmart, for example.
What can be recycled through TerraCycle?
Let’s talk about what items can be recycled though TerraCycle. This is really where it starts getting interesting! There are quite a few things on this list, but I will highlight the main ones.
- Stationary Items & Packaging including all brands of empty writing instruments, glue sticks, watercolor dispensers, paint sets, and flexible packaging.
- Brita Water Brand Items including dispensers, bottles, filters of all sizes, packaging, faucet filtration systems, and pitchers.
- Burt’s Bee’s Products including personal care, lip care, and beauty care packaging.
- Colgate Oral Care including toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrushes, toothpaste cartons, Wisp mini-brushes, packaging, and floss containers.
- Please note: Electric toothbrushes, battery toothbrushes, and/or their parts are NOT recyclable through the program.
- Air Freshener Recycling including all brands of air freshener cartridges and plugs, packaging and flexible film packaging, and trigger heads.
- Razors including all brands of blades and razors (systems and disposable units, and replaceable-blade cartridge units), rigid plastic packaging, and flexible plastic bag packaging.
- Instrument Strings including clippings from any string instrument and any brand.
- L.O.L. Surprise! Including all L.O.L. Surprise! packaging, accessories, and products.
- Personal Care and Beauty including all skin care packaging such as lip balm tubes and caps, soap dispensers and tubes, body wash caps, lotion dispensers and caps; hair care packaging such as shampoo caps, conditioner caps, hair gel tubes, and caps, hair spray triggers, and hair paste caps; cosmetic packaging such as lipstick cases, lip gloss tubes, mascara tubes, eye shadow cases, bronzer cases, foundation packaging, powder cases, eyeliner cases, eyeliner pencils, eye shadow tubes, concealer tubes, concealer sticks, and lip liner pencils.
- Food Storage Containers of all brands (plastic and glass).
- Swiffer Pads including dry, wet, XL, WetJet, and Duster Refills.
You can find a full and extensive list of products that can be collected at http://www.recyclebrevard.org/p/terracycle-accepted-waste.html
What can you do to help?
As amazing as Marcia is, she can’t do this all on her own. She has many wonderful volunteers who help make the dream come true. Unfortunately, much of Recycle Brevard comes right out of Marcia’s pocket and due to COVID-19, she has been unable to host any fundraisers or other community events that usually help her to sustain this organization. Any donations are always appreciated and go directly back to help further extend the reach of education of this wonderful organization. They also help purchase recycling boxes to send off these many items for recycling.
Another easy way to help if you are a business would be to become a TerraCycle drop-off location for one or a few different items. You can even collect within your office! This is a great endeavor for any business because it costs nothing and is hassle free. It will also help build awareness to your business as we will advertise these drop off locations regularly and feature posts on Social Media showcasing your businesses environmental stewardship. Please contact Recycle Brevard or respond to this blog if you are interested in becoming a drop-off location in Brevard county.
Marcia is a woman who wanted to make a difference, so she decided to be the change. Recycle Brevard is a unique non-profit organization that prides itself of encouraging waste reduction in the home and in the community. Every town could use a place like Recycle Brevard, and every town could use a Marcia Booth! Recycle Brevard is a one stop drop-off location for recycling and reuse. You can collect many things that would normally go in the trash and keep them from being completely wasted resources that end up in our landfills. I hope this blog will encourage anyone in the Brevard County area to consider how they are impacting their landfill and their environment and aim to reduce, reuse and then lastly, recycle before throwing trash away.