Perspective Blog /

How I Encourage My Neighbors to Recycle

By Calisa Hildebrand, Fenton

I have a mug on my desk that says, “Think Globally, Recycle Locally”. This message is both a reminder that the actions we take at the local level ladder up to make a difference in the world, and that the rules of recycling vary at the local level.

I’ve had the honor to support Carton Council’s communications efforts for a few years. In my role at Fenton, a social change agency, we help organizations like Carton Council increase awareness of environment, health, and social justice issues, to name a few. In our work, we see that combining powerful messages and influential messengers is the best way to change people’s hearts and minds. Despite this – and the daily reminder my mug provides to “Think Globally, Recycle Locally” – I recently realized that I’d missed I huge opportunity to be my own messenger and get the word out about food and beverage recycling in my neighborhood.

I took my own advice and posted on NextDoor, the popular social networking service for neighborhoods. It’s a great way to update neighbors on what they can recycle, or even remind them about their upcoming recycling day. (Much better than the alternative, which is to chase people down on recycling day and lecture them about everything they’re doing wrong!)

At Carton Council, we’d love to encourage more people to “Think Globally, Recycle Locally”, and NextDoor is a great way to do that. If your neighborhood has a Facebook group or email list, then try those out to!

Here are my suggestions for posting on NextDoor:

  • Use Carton Council’s zip code locator to confirm that you can recycle food and beverage cartons in your area.
  • Introduce yourself in your post and include a photo.
  • Clarify that food and beverage cartons are recyclable in your neighborhood and provide a few examples (milk, juice, soup, water, wine, and broth all come in cartons and are recyclable)
  • Provide these 3 simple steps: Empty your cartons, toss them in the recycling bin, take the bin to the curb.
  • Include some extra tips people might not know: Keep the cap on when you toss it in the bin, no need to rinse, and keep the cartons uncrushed.

I also gave out some magnets and flyers to neighbors that requested them, as shown above. These will be available for some of our Carton Champions in September as well. If you’d like to hand out magnets and flyers in your neighborhood, join the Carton Champions Facebook Group here to participate in the giveaway on September 3.

I was pleased to find that my neighbors were very receptive to the message to recycle right. Some knew about carton recycling, while others had questions about the specifics. It was a great opportunity for me to share knowledge that’s important to me while also connecting with new people in my area.

Have you ever shared recycling tips in your community? What worked well for you? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at

Recycle on!
Calisa Hildebrand on behalf of Carton Council