How to Create a Community Recycling Center

Learn how one environmentally concerned group created their own recycling center.

| July/August 1972


The recycling center should be easy to access for drop-offs.


If you're already living on the land, you may well lie awake quiet nights dreading the day when either people from the cities or refuse from those steadily expanding Big Towns will flow, relentless as swift lava, over your paradise . . . and if you're still trying to tough it out in a metropolitan area you're surely haunted—at least occasionally—by the vision of no pure land left to visit "out there" at all.

Clearly, something must be done. Population growth must be curbed and our rip-it-up-stamp-it-out-throw-it-away way of doing business replaced by something better.

But how does a mouse lean on an elephant? How do little individuals begin turning the monster around . . . even the tiniest bit? Well, a number of folks across the land have made their start by collecting and returning for remanufacture some of the incredible amount of waste the nation generates daily. A community recycling center can go a long way in keeping waste out of the landfills, and reduces the use of natural resources.

Sure, sure . . . we all know that such action is a stopgap and largely symbolic gesture. But it is a start, and a few groups—like G.E.R.M., in California—are even making it pay off.

The Green Earth Recycling Movement was established in June of 1970 and just 12 months later—in June of '71—we opened a permanent recycling center to serve Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach in Los Angeles' South Bay. The new facility (donated by the Redondo Beach City Council) covers an acre and is fenced, graded and landscaped. It was designed to accept six transfer bodies at once and sturdy elevated platforms at each station make loading the containers a breeze.

It took only a scant year of dedication, then, to establish a smoothly running, almost self-service center that turns a tidy profit. Yes, it was hard work . . . but we did it. So can you.

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