Madison Environmental Group turns businesses’ trash into treasure
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Samson-Samuel says the impetus for the project came both from the company’s involvement with the Sustain Dane MPower Champion program (which had put Madison Environmental Group on the radar of Monroe Street’s small businesses) and the example EZ Office Products had set with its own recycling program — demonstrating the power of both nonprofit and for-profit organizations to effect change.
But while Madison Environmental Group had its own influences, Samson-Samuel hopes the company can help influence others as well.
“We had volunteers who walked from business to business to go and take the materials back to the office, and so that can be done on Monroe Street, that could be done on Atwood, that could be done on Willy Street,” said Samson-Samuel. “So in places that have concentrations of small businesses, finding someone who is a champion of that could get it started. And then it’s not a lot of work to collect it, and then you have someone come and pick up the fluorescents and you coordinate where the materials go.”
While Samson-Samuel does acknowledge there’s a PR benefit to spearheading this program, she says it’s also personally fulfilling for her to be able to give back to the community.
“I would love to be able to continue this, because we get to play matchmaker,” said Samson-Samuel. “We get to match up businesses that want the material, like bubble wrap, and a company that gets too much of it — we can pair them up. Or we can get fabric over to the Madison school district so that teachers have creative material that they can use in their art classes. Or bringing materials over to the Children’s Museum so that kids can see that, oh, this is supposed to be waste, but I get to create art out of it.
“So it’s that ripple effect of affecting other areas, so I would love to see it replicated.”
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