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Green Start Initiative Facilitates Local Glass Recycling

Green Start, a student-run glass recycling initiative, conducts regular glass collections in St Andrews, as Fife Council does not offer such a service. The initiative started in 2020 as a way to facilitate recycling in St Andrews, as many people tend to throw glass in the waste bin instead of taking it to the recycling centre.  

Julia Marotta, Head of Marketing, clarified that Green Start’s “mission statement is basically to encourage recycling [in] the St Andrews community and provide employment for vulnerable members of our community”. To fulfill this mission, Green Start currently employs a local resident named Sandy to aid in collections.

Iona Dunn, Green Start’s Team Leader, explained that, “Sandy has autism. Part of the mission is empowering vulnerable members of the community. So his main employment is working with us, so he gets all the proceeds because we don't have any cost to cover other than when we bought the initial bags and we bought, like, a trolley for him to take all the gas in the bags to carry it to the recycling areas. But other than that it runs itself like a non-profit.” 

Collections run on a biweekly cycle, with Sandy visiting six clients in each collection. Students can access Green Start’s services through a link on the Fixr app or website and purchase a ticket for £4.50. The initiative’s team asks for clients’ addresses, as well as instructions if their flat is difficult to find. A member of the team drops off a bag the night before the collection, clients fill the bag with glass bottles, leave it outside their door, and Sandy picks it up on his rounds the next day and recycles it appropriately. Another member of the Green Start team accompanies him to assist in the work. All profits from the service go to Sandy.

In the past year, Green Start has seen significant growth in both their Fixr and social media followings. A member of Green Start told The Saint “We’ve increased the number of ticket collections and ticket sales by 20 per cent.”

Dunn explained that one of their short-term goals is to “enhance the awareness of the project and the number of collections and ticket sales.” This aim complements the enterprise’s overall vision of raising awareness about recycling and increasing sustainable practices in Fife. To do this, Green Start aims to collaborate with other societies and spread its message. In particular, they hope to partner with the Athletic Union (AU) since sports clubs frequently host socials that inevitably produce waste.

Green Start believes that the University could improve its recycling process, especially after big events. For example, there is no system in place for recycling bottles after Raisin, where plenty of glass bottles go to waste.

Dunn and Marotta hope to eventually have another beneficiary on the team. But for now, they are happy with just having Sandy on board. “Sandy’s been with us since the start of the project,” Dunn said. Dunn continued, “We know he’s very keen to do as many as he can. He’s excited to do the collections.” When the team asked Sandy how he felt Green Start has benefited him, he said, “It gives me purpose to do something worthwhile and fills my time.” Green Start can be found on Instagram at @greenstartstandrews.

Image by Green Start

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