A while ago I wrote about running the Fred Hutch Shore run and noted, with dismay, the dozens and dozens of boxes of Talking Rain bottles of water that awaited the parched runners after crossing the finish line–I was grateful for the water, not so grateful to discover that there was no recycling for the hundreds of plastic bottles.
Each of those bottles would go straight into a nearby landfill.
So, I wrote the City of Seattle and asked about this situation. I received a response finally and first, first I want to give Chuck Clark, Direct of Seattle Public Utilities a big shout out: Thanks for writing back with some information. I really appreciated you taking the time and giving me some good info. I’ll attach the letter below.
I’ve highlighted one key statement below, but to cut to the chase, here you go:
Unfortunately, the event organizers failed to request recycling bins or assistance from SPU. SPU was never aware of this event because we never received a call from Shore Run event coordinators.
Okay. So, here’s what I’m thinking: Fred Hutch run has to get a permit to close streets, right? In the same step, doesn’t it seem like there should be a related process where the recycling needs get processed…whoa! all at the same time!
It would look like this: You get the permits to close streets and set up the course, and in the same process, maybe on the same forms, you submit recycling needs. The city–this great recycling City of Seattle–could even require it! Imagine!
It could happen right on the web, in fact. Here’s where the process for scheduling an event begins, with forms right on the web. And I’m betting there isn’t even a place that textually suggests the organizers contact SPU, not to mention request recycling help.
So maybe that could happen. I’d like to see it happen. I’ve got another race coming up next month–my hope will be that there is not only water, but recycling well represented. Until then, thanks Mr. Clark, for responding and hopefully we can someday hook up the two parts of the city gov to work together: permits and recycling. I’m sure it’s much more complicated than I imagine, but then what good is imagination if it doesn’t sometimes create a better world?