Rusted recycling containers getting green new look

It’s a rare sight to see both sustainability and beautification wrapped up into one community project on a street corner that many pass each day, much less two. However, such a project has been the newest addition to the intersection of Walker and Young, where the paint-chipped, rusted recycling bins that marked Cooper Young’s recycling initiative for many years have been replaced.

The new containers were brought together out of the collaborative inklings of Get Green Recycling and Project Green Fork, who wanted to provide larger and more accessible recycling bins that would encourage residents to participate in the environmental efforts of both organizations. The containers are leased by the Shelby County Office of Sustainability, and maintained, cleaned and organized by both GGR and PGF for the betterment of the neighborhood.

But they haven’t stopped there. To fit the vibe of the Cooper-Young neighborhood, Madeleine Edwards of GGR and Margot McNeeley of PGF enlisted the help of the Urban Arts Commission to curate murals on the surfaces of the green-hued containers. After a committee was formed, they reviewed the various submissions for eye-catching concepts that would fit “the kind of vibrant, creative community that fosters such projects,” Edwards said.

Their process led them to artists Kong Wee Pang and Jay Crum, who will be designing and painting the receptacles within the next couple of months. In addition to these colorful initiatives, the pair also has plans to develop the landscape and lighting around the bins as long as funding permits.

As with all community projects, funding was the major roadblock that had to be cleared before they could bring their proposal to fruition. The two met with Andy Ashford, director of Public Works, Paul Young and Christine Donhardt of the Shelby County Office of Sustainability and Julia Hicks with First Congo to find a creative solution to their fundraising problems, without having to deplete funds from the departments or put a strain on the city.

But thanks to the crowd funding platform Kickstarter, they received more than $4,000 in donations in a little less than a month.

“This project is a fine example of what can happen when people see a need and resolve to try and drive change,” Edwards remarked. “We feel it will have a rippling positive effect.”

– By Joshua Colfer

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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