Blue bins spell end of volunteer recycling effort
Shirley Cotter, volunteer team have collected recyclables for charity weekly for 30 years
Curbside recycling is kicking CURB to the curb.
The end is near for Cleanup and Recycling Backers. Saturday, June 29, will bring to a close three decades of CURB founder Shirley Cotter and her volunteers accepting donations of recyclables weekly from 9 a.m. to noon at the Indianola Plaza.
"Sometimes, it's time to stop," Cotter said last week.
Ever since city officials began rolling out free curbside recycling to residences with four or fewer units a year ago, Cotter said she and her volunteers have had a good deal of time on their hands Saturday mornings.
"The best use of our time for our individual coordinators isn't just to sit there and be as lonely as Maytag repairmen," Cotter said.
She had hoped apartment residents and people who still wanted to help the charities CURB supports would keep the program alive.
"They wanted us to stay, so we thought, well, we'll give it some time," Cotter said.
The plan to keep operating for six months was scrapped when, two months ago, recycling at the plaza near the intersection of Indianola Avenue and Arden Road slowed to a trickle.
"We'll miss the people," Cotter said. "We have senior citizens who come and several who are handicapped we've been able to help ... but it's just too few and far between at this point. We're glad for the 30 years."
"At this time our community needs to recognize, thank and say goodbye to Shirley Cotter, the founder, and all the faithful volunteers that have worked in rain, wind, snow and heat through these past 30 years every Saturday," CURB supporter Debbie Staggs wrote in an email.
If not for the "kindness, generosity and sacrifice" of Joseph Bacca at Dixie International and Larry Ebert at Beechwold Automotive, CURB could not have thrived for as long as it did, Cotter said. They provided the free space for the program on Saturday mornings.
Proceeds from recycling donated items helped people in need with rent, utilities and food.
The program, Cotter said, was more a spiritual and educational effort than anything else.
"We started 30 years ago because the Lord said to be honest and faithful in small matters, and what could be more a small matter than our trash?" she said. "We've provided a lot of opportunities for people."
"The story goes that 30 years ago on a Saturday morning one van and a few volunteers stood in an assembly line unloading cars with newspaper only -- no glossy ads allowed then -- and threw them up into a van until it was bursting at the doors," Staggs wrote. "That's how CURB was born to Shirley Cotter.
"Boy, how things have changed through the years. ... Now that Columbus has big green bins around town and most residents have their own blue recycling containers, CURB doesn't seem to be needed like they used to be."
Staggs said she has donated recyclables to CURB on Saturday mornings and has seen the time, dedication, sacrifice, commitment and hard work of Cotter and the CURB volunteers.
"We as a Clintonville community need to appreciate this longtime nonprofit organization and the people that made it such a success," she wrote.
CURB will continue to host the familiar yellow and green bins at Auto Zone and the Whetstone Community Center for paper donations to help local charities, Cotter said.
"We're not completely finished," she said.