Do you recycle at home? The little green bins are free from the City of Jackson and allow you to place your paper and plastic curbside every two weeks for convenient pick up.
For businesses in the neighborhood, though, recycling is not so cost effective – or easy.
That’s something Fondrenite Karissa Bowley noticed working at a neighborhood restaurant throughout high school and then on college breaks. The 23 year-old Rhodes College philosophy major is back now, full time, and has begun a business sparked by her passion to build a better planet.
Bowley’s service, Environmentality, is geared toward providing small businesses with recycling pickup, something that was inspired by her “compulsive desire to recycle” and her time at Sal & Mookie’s.
”I was reading more and more about the way we mindlessly consume and throw things away,” she said of her earliest awareness. “So at [Sal & Mookie’s], I told them I would start collecting their recycling.” One of her managers suggested that on delivery day, she could take card board boxes off their hands. “If that’s all we can recycle here for now, then, yes, I will do that,” she said, volunteering to provide the service for the last five months or so.
With Environmentality, Bowley hopes to solidify the arrangement. Â “And I want to support them in their decision to recycle,” she explained. “I hope to talk with them, to get some plaques going on that say ‘This is what we do.’ I want them to be public about it.”
Working at Beth Israel Pre-School part time, Bowley also voluntarily recycles there. And, once a month, she places ten bins at Fondren’s First Thursday, her only paying client to date. “Each time around, I’m trying to place them where they can collect the most recycling.”
Prices for pickup are insanely low while Bowley builds her business. “I don’t want it be costly to recycle. I don’t think it should be de-incentivized.”
Bowley said it’s hard to nail down where this passion began. “Maybe it’s that I have been in institutions where I see people consume mindlessly,” she noted. A semester abroad in Ghana and a later trip there also put a face to the cause. “People really reuse things. If they want a toy, they make a bottle into a toy. They don’t throw things away so frivolously. That’s a great skill.”
In addition to the pick-up service, Bowley sees Environmentality as a way to help individuals and educate about the effects of waste in our communities. “I want to make sure people know where to get their free bins and to give them a number to call if recycling isn’t coming [to their home],” she said. “I’ve talked to people who say, ‘I want to recycle — I’ve been collecting cans.’ They are interested but just don’t seem to know how. If I can make it easier, I want to help them.”
Bowley said recycling is a “right now” kind of issue. We have the power, she believes, to steer the fate of our planet. “Everything that comes to you, you will redirect that. You’re not there simply to consume. You’re the middle man between that and a landfill or the ground – or new life for that trash you produce.”