Jessica du Maine has worked with Saint Louis City Recycles on numerous volunteer projects since we started 3 years ago. We want to recognize Jessica as an outstanding volunteer and model recycler for St. Louis City! We sat down with Jessica to find out a bit about her and how she became passionate about recycling. Thank you Jessica for sharing your passion for the environment and being such a great Recycling Ambassador for us!
What neighborhood do you reside in? Why did you move into the city?
–I was raised here in St. Louis and went to Catholic schools growing up. My high school was an all girls school so it was quite a shock when I went to college at Missouri S&T in Rolla for electrical engineering. In 2001, I moved back into the city in Visitation Park because I was looking to enroll my children in a gifted school program. After the last of my children had graduated high school, I moved to Alexandria, Virginia to work as a patent examiner, but eventually moved back to St. Louis.
How did you hear about Saint Louis City Recycles and come to start volunteering with us?
–Well, I keep my ear to the streets and see what’s happening around sustainability and the environment in St. Louis. If you want to get involved with the community, it’s important to listen to what’s going on in the community and see what people are talking about. That is how I found out about Saint Louis City Recycles.
You have volunteered with Saint Louis City Recycles a couple of times now. What has been your favorite volunteering experience and why?
–The most recent volunteer experience I had at the Recycling Extravaganza was so impressive! There were so many cars coming through to bring items to recycle or reuse. It was a really well organized event and a great benefit to the community to provide a way for materials to get a second life.
What is the earliest memory or experience with recycling? How did this start you on a path as a life-long recycler?
–I taught for 10 years at St. Louis Community College (STLCC) – Florissant Valley. One of my friends Peggy Moody, who was the The Sustainability Champion for the STLCC District, organized a tour of the single-stream recycling Materials Recovery Facility in 2006. This was the first experience I had with seeing the materials I recycle actually go on to be automatically sorted on a complex conveyor belt and bundled into like materials. This gave me a new sense of motivation and understanding of the process.
If you could give one recycling tip to St. Louisans, what would it be?
–“Man, just recycle.” St. Louis has it so easy with the dumpster system. Pay attention, though when you use the dumpsters! Often I see recyclables in the yard waste dumpster and when I request mulch, I find tiny plastic pieces in the mulch. This isn’t good for anyone.
Why is recycling important to you?
–We only have one Earth, so we need to protect it and take care of it. Recently, I learned about how scientists are finding plastic in some of the smallest organisms like plantin and shellfish. And praying that our food doesn’t kill us is the most important part of the meal!
If you could improve one thing about our recycling system, what would it be?
–Signage and marketing in local newspapers, like The St. Louis American, is very important so all residents can easily find out information about what can be recycled. Updating the dumpster signage with easier images and wording would be extremely helpful to curb contamination and get people who do not recycle, to start recycling.
Do you want to volunteer for us too? E-mail us and become a Recycling Ambassador today: Recycle@stlouis-mo.gov