- Last year, the Niagara Falls Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Team introduced Totes McGoats, a "goat-human" hybrid, as a new mascot to encouraging children to recycling.
- Since being introduced, recycling in Niagara Falls grew from 4% to a 23% participation rate.
- Although recycling is increasing, some residents say it could still be improved. Therefore, a new bulk cleanup collection pilot program has been instituted, as well as a bulk leaf pickup for the fall months.
"Having an animal mascot we think is one of the ways that you can reach out to kids and get their attention," said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.
Despite being, well, a little scary, the intention behind Totes McGoats is to benefit the city for years to come. By encouraging recycling at a young age, children will grow to maintain sustainable habits and share those practices with future generations.
Overall, education is a main element to recycling that is lacking in the industry. Although municipalities and companies are doing their best to mandate certain recycling initiatives and reach zero waste goals, the benefit is lost if the consumer doesn't understand how to recycle. NWRA President and CEO Sharon Kneiss told USA Today in August that "Education is key" when it comes to recycling, and organizations — including NWRA, Recycle Across America, and Keep America Beautiful — will need to create more initiatives to bring educational resources to towns across the nation.