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In 2007, the sound of a glass bottle crashing into a dumpster inspired Brenda Rising-Moore to bring recycling to the Broad Ripple community in Indianapolis. As then-owner of Union Jack Pub, she had heard many bottles breaking in the trash over the years. There was no glass recycling at the time, so bottles just ended up going into the trash, then to the landfill. “I thought it was a tragedy,” she said. “We should be doing better than this.”
One thing Brenda strongly believes in is that nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. With this in mind, she connected with friends Lisa Laflin and Tammy Stevens, asking them how they could fix the broken system. Luckily, they introduced her to Carey Hamilton, the Executive Director of the Indiana Recycling Coalition.
With Carey, Lisa, and Tammy providing support, Brenda led the charge of revolutionizing glass recycling throughout Broad Ripple. First, she joined the board of Green Broad Ripple, a nonprofit focused on making Broad Ripple the first Green Community in Indianapolis. Once involved with the group, she helped spearhead the Broad Ripple Village Recycling Program, which focused on tackling the problem of glass recycling.
Thanks to Brenda’s passion and perseverance, a white and orange dumpster for glass collection was brought to Broad Ripple by Strategic Materials, a local glass recycler. At first, it was a battle to get other restaurants, businesses, and people involved in the project. According to her Recycling Rock Star nominator, Neal Bennett, “Brenda showed unerring dedication to this program. From an idea originated over casual conversation, to tons of glass collected and recycled per month, she never gave up when circumstances got in the way. She tackled each question and problem with consideration and grace.”
It’s been more than a decade since Brenda championed bringing recycling to Broad Ripple. Although she’s retired from the restaurant business, she is still passionate about sustainable practices, especially minimizing food waste and supporting food scrap programs.
When Brenda was asked what she wished everyone knew about recycling, she remarked that “just the smallest things can make such a big difference.” And did she prove that! The Broad Ripple Village Recycling Program has recycled 2.6 million pounds of glass to date, largely because one person cared about a single glass bottle shattering in a dumpster.
Written by Lindsay McGuire