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San Angelo Standard-Times (Texas)
Reasons abound as to why someone would feel glad or sad following a high school football game.
You know, there's that whole "win, lose, how you play the game" standard. But those didn't exactly apply to why Sonia Faucher felt quite sad.
No, Sonia's after-game sadness was brought on by... (ahem) — trash. Piles of it along the steps, and between the bleachers, at San Angelo Stadium after Bobcats and Chiefs games.
"I walked the Stadium many times after football games last year, and could not believe how sad it looked," Sonia said. "I could not understand how much we love our Bobcats/Chiefs and leave their house in such a bad shape after having had the privilege of being there to enjoy an evening of fantastic high school football."
Seriously. Sonia decided something not only should be done. It could be done.
By her estimation, between 60 and 75 percent of the trash was plastic, clean cardboard and aluminum cans — all 100-percent recyclable.
All well and good.
Except, there's a not always convenient process in recycling. And if you have bins, well who gets the bins there, empties them and puts them back in place? And who wants to take the time to sort and process at a football game?
Well, if you mix the will with a way, and add Sonia Faucher, the answer is — maybe not simple, but — easy enough.
Key, Sonia figured, would be getting the plastics before they are tossed in the general vicinity of a probably overflowing bin. Oh, and a little bit of team-spirit laced "do it for a better world."
"Soft education about recycling," Sonia called it. "Humanize it a bit."
Football season was about to start when Sonia contacted Marc Baker, SAISD assistant athletic director, with a three-fold plan.
She would coordinate a team of 10-to-12 Game Recyclers, who would wear royal blue shirts with the triangular recycling logo on them and carry large blue bags.
The recyclers walk the bleachers during the game collecting primary recyclables — plastic bottles, aluminum cans and clean cardboard.
Meanwhile, messages appear on the Jumbo-Tron, and announcements are made draw attention to the Game Recyclers, admonishing fans to be responsible trash throwers.
Finally, on the morning after the game, volunteers would come into the stadium and clean up.
Sonia said she recruited organizations looking for service projects, like Scouts, school service groups or church youth.
There wasn't enough time before the season's first game to assemble a full team of Game Recyclers. Nevertheless, Sonia said, tsk, tsking any hard work she'd put into it, it was obvious they were on a winning streak.
"I put one blue recycling bin that belongs to the CHS Band Booster Club in the concrete bleachers where middle school sits," Sonia said. "I was just curious to see how it would be used. When I picked the bin up after the game, it was three/quarters full with only recyclable items. The students recognized the bin and its logo and used it properly. A friend of mine told me on Sunday her seventh-grade son mentioned the presence of the blue bin and said he didn't understand why there was only one in the whole section."
By the second game of the season in the stadium, the difference was amazing.
Postgame, the stadium was decidedly less trashy. But also, during the games, there seemed to be an "esprit de corps" among the people - putting their bottles and cans in the recycling sacks - thanking the Game Recyclers for being there.
Today, Friday night football. In the future, who knows?
Sonia sees the plan working for all kinds of events from the rodeo, to festivals, track meets, with this small plea — if you, or your group are looking for a good, easy, worthwhile service project, she's got a deal for you.
For more information contact Sonia Faucher 325-277-5550 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Candace Cooksey Fulton is a freelance writer living in San Angelo; Contact her at email@example.com
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