In April, 2010, Fauquier County applied for and received a $1,000 grant as part of Keep Virginia Beautiful 30 Grants in 30 Days program. With the grant funds, Fauquier County designed and purchased reusable grocery shopping bags to give out at various events that occurred during 2011. The purpose of the giveaway was to increase awareness about plastic bag litter and that the fact that reusable bags were better for the environment as a whole. The first event where these reusable bags were handed out was at the Fauquier County Public School annual benefits fair in August, 2011. Teachers and staff were very appreciative to receive our attractive bag but also receptive to the plastic bag recycling fact sheet that went along with it (FQ Plastic_Bag_Flyer). After the benefits fair, teachers who missed out, wrote us and requested a bag. This event led more schools to accept TREX’s challenge to collect from the community more retail plastic bags in the schools.
The second event where these reusable bags were handed out coincided with the county’s celebration of America Recycles Day on November 15, 2011. This year, the county’s recycling mascot, Ed E. Earth the Nature Ranger Rabbit, handed out bags to residents at the county’s main waste and recycling collection facility and at three grocery stores in the Town of Warrenton. This provided a wonderful opportunity to reach out to residents who otherwise did not know that plastic bags could be made into new items if only disposed of properly. Most residents were aware of the litter issue. The county thanked Bloom, Safeway and Giant for the opportunity to share in heightening of the awareness for the need to recycle in general in Fauquier County.Fauquier County thanks Keep Virginia Beautiful for its grant funds and feels as though litter prevention and recycling campaign was successful. Awareness is the key to success and if giving someone a small token to serve as a reminder of their needed participation.