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Fox Run Residents Run Their Campus' Recycling Program

August 1, 2011

NOVI, MI (August 4, 2011) -- "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Do without."
For people who lived through the Great Depression and World War II -- or whose parents did -- that little ditty represents words to live by. So it's no surprise that Fox Run retirement community residents in Novi helped to develop and now oversee the recycling program at their 120-acre campus. . In 2010, Fox Run's combined total of paper, cardboard, metal, and plastic saved 98 tons of trash from the landfill; that's roughly 300 cubic yards. Proceeds in 2010 from the community's paper recycling, which benefit Fox Run's benevolent care fund, totaled $1,337.27. Total collected for the fund since the inception of recycling at Fox Run in 2004 has reached almost $8,000.
A committee of residents interested in recycling spearheaded the effort to recycle papers, junk mail and magazines. Residents Doreen Poupard, Peg Quigley and Carolyn Benivegna formed a steering committee and explored what could and couldn't be accomplished. Fox Run staff contacted recycling companies and negotiated contracts that added cardboard, metal, and plastic to Fox Run's program.
Both Poupard and Quigley had lived in communities that recycled---Poupard in Ann Arbor and Quigley in Troy. "We had a little green in our hearts," Poupard says.
The steering committee's key to success lay in its comprehensive and methodical approach. It launched a pilot program that included just two of Fox Run's residence buildings. Things expanded gradually from there.
The approach comprised four components: education, convenience, monitoring, and recognition. "We created handouts, held information sessions, and recruited resident volunteers to meet with anybody who hadn't attended a session," says Poupard. The sessions were humorous show-and-tell presentations of what could and couldn't be recycled and why. The committee also videotaped one of the sessions and aired it on Fox Run's in-house TV channel. In May of 2011, the committee also sponsored an educational session on plastics including a speaker and a video.
The four components remain in place today. New residents receive information about recycling and even get a tour of their building's recycling room.
Poupard and Quigley served as recycling coordinators for their residence buildings early on, and each still does. Every building also has a cadre of volunteer monitors.
Glo Whan is one of Meadowbrook Square residential bulding's seven monitors. The Ford retiree who worked for Ford Motor Land Development Corp. says her recycling is ingrained. During World War II, she recalls, "My mother washed and ironed the tin foil, rolled it on a paper towel roll, and re-used it. That stuck with me."
Whan checks her building's seven 96-gallon recycling bins once a week to remove items that don't belong or are in the wrong bin. She never has to trudge out into the weather to do it because Saeger made recycling convenient---she located each building's recycling room on the lower level by the elevator.
Fox Run's clubhouses and kitchens also participate. They crush the large aluminum cans and bind up cardboard from their supply delivery's. The Hunt Club Café at Fox Run recently switched from non-recyclable Styrofoam takeout containers to reusable plastic ones.