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Recycling Association Getting SMART About Making an Impact

May 1, 2007 — The St. Croix Recycling Association looked to the future Tuesday evening at Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School when association members set firm year-end targets for recycling, composting and educational projects.
Julie Wright, Resource Conservation and Development Council coordinator, began the meeting by telling the 14 members in the focus groups how to develop their objectives using a method derived from the acronym SMART — specific, measurable, audience, realistic and time.
In writing SMART objectives, participants were advised they should use words that described specific outcomes, set measurable indicators of progress, answer what the audience gets out of the project, be realistic, and set a time frame.
Once these objectives are established, association members can go after funding from grants or donations from foundations and businesses. At previous meetings the groups discussed short-, mid- and long-term goals.
The participants then organized themselves into specific focus groups.
The aluminum can recycling group's objectives are to increase the percentage of cans recycled from 5 percent to 10 percent by the end of December 2007.
Victor Martinez Jr., from EZ Recycling Center in Peter's Rest, said, "A goal of 100,000 cans a month could be reached."
He currently picks up cans at 15 restaurants and bars on St. Croix. He told the group he doesn't have the manpower or equipment to do more than that a day. The group would like to establish a short-term publicity campaign to mobilize organizations, such as churches, to help recycle.
The Reuse and Reduce project group also set the date of Dec. 30 to assemble art kits for students from kindergarten through grade five at public schools. The kits will consist of clean paper, plastic and Styrofoam to be used for art projects, as suggested by local artist Betsy Campen.
This will save the schools money on art supplies, and it will be coupled with educating the children on recycling.
There is also a group set up to promote composting to reduce the yard and food waste entering the landfill and to reuse these materials as soil enhancements for gardens and landscaping. There will be the implementation of Vermiculture Composting, which is done with worms eating organic waste, using black and white newspaper as bedding and creating fertilizer.
These group plans led to a discussion of the need for the V.I. Waste Management Authority to help by setting up drop-off depots, such as tents for the short term, and then buildings for the long term.
The organizational objective, also adopted at the Tuesday meeting, is to have a membership committee set up by July of this year with around 50 active members to elect a steering committee.
By November, the group wants to have reviewed plans and create a task force to begin fund-raising.
WMA Environmental Educator Dee Osinski said, "At least by November we will have a body of people and we will have established plans."
Membership fees will be discussed and then set at the association's next meeting on June 5 at 5:30 p.m. at Larsen School.
Osinski added, "I'm very pleased that the group is synergized on the time line in the review of the project plans and getting them off the ground by December. The group has spoken."
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