Millbrook Exchange Community Center Recycling Case Study

By Kristen Aubut

Director: Billy Aubut
Assistant Director: Staci Sawyer
1905 Spring Forest Road
Raleigh, NC 27615
(919) 872-4156

Millbrook Exchange Community Center has provided recreation services to Raleigh residents since 1972. With thousands of visitors to the park each year, Millbrook Exchange has to manage a lot of waste. MECC Director Billy Aubut estimates that, of all the waste generated at his park, paper is the most abundant waste material. Fortunately, this paper, and much of the park’s other waste, can be recycled. Billy and Assistant Director Staci Sawyer have taken it upon themselves to see that the waste generated at their facility is disposed of in the most environmentally sustainable manner.

“There is no sense in a bottle, can or piece of cardboard just sitting in the landfill. Why not make those materials into something new?” said Aubut. “Millbrook is setting a recycling standard that we hope other community center directors will begin to live up to.”

Through the Recycling in the Parks program, Raleigh Solid Waste Services (SWS) provided Millbrook Exchange with outdoor recycling containers for aluminum cans and plastic bottles. These containers sit in two locations around the park and are emptied weekly by Raleigh SWS. Click here for a list of other Raleigh Parks and Recreation facilities participating in the Recycling in the Parks Program.

Once the plastic bottle landfill ban went into effect in North Carolina in October 2009, Aubut and Sawyer wanted to make sure visitors had access to recycling inside the building as well. Aubut cut a hole just the size of a can or bottle in a trashcan lid and placed the lid on a blue container labeled Recycle Here. The container sits just outside the basketball gym doors for easy access by gym participants. Posted on the wall above the container is a flier encouraging visitors to recycle.
Aubut created this flier using images he received from Raleigh SWS.

Aubut and Sawyer also made sure that all community center staff members have easy access to paper and cardboard recycling in the office. Under each desk, they placed small blue recycling containers for paper collection. Cardboard is piled up and kept out of the way in a closet. Staff members know that their supervisors are on the lookout for recyclables in the trashcan!

Millbrook Exchange Community Center generates about two large bags of recycling each week. Every other week, Aubut and Sawyer take turns emptying the contents of the indoor recycling containers. When it is Aubut’s week, he tosses the bagged recyclables in his trunk. On the way home from work, he goes by either the Jaycee Recycling Convenience Center or the North Wake Multi-Material Recycling Facility. Aubut says it only takes about 10 minutes to empty the materials into the containers, and then he is on his way. Recycling does take some effort, but Aubut knows it is worth it.

Aubut and Sawyer hope that their recycling efforts will inspire their fellow community center directors to make recycling a priority in their own facilities.

The North Carolina Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach has an abundance of resources to help you begin or maintain your recycling efforts at home, at work or on-the-go. Find these resources on our Recycle Guys, Recycle More NC, and RE3.org websites.


Dodge This! said...

Thanks for posting this good example of away-from-home recycling.

Water Tower Aficionado said...

Still working hard!