Green Machine pedals through city parks
While playing Park City league softball last summer, Ed Parigian looked across the Jack Sutton Field at the trash cans and thought, "If I build it, they will come."
He wasn’t thinking about plowing his own baseball diamond in a corn field like Ray Kinsella in "Field of Dreams" who attempted to lure the spirits of past baseball greats to the living realm.
His purpose was to inspire all Parkites with the introduction of recycle bins at the parks.
"No one was recycling," Parigian said. "I couldn’t play unless I did something. It breaks my heart to see (trash). I don’t like it."
Since November, Parigian worked to get recycle bins and soon got three at the softball fields.
To further the effort, Parigian talked to one of his teammates, Stuart Nachlas, who was also interested in helping to bring recycle bins to the parks.
"He had things going already and asked if I wanted to volunteer," Nachlas said.
Together, and with bin donations from the city and Recycle Utah, they placed 20 bins around Park City.
Twice a week, they ride their bikes towing a cart and bring the recyclable items to Recycle Utah. They call themselves the "Green Machine," and they do it on their own dime.
"You got to give back," Parigian said. "I’ve got my money, I’m good."
They discussed driving to each location to pick up the garbage, but, biking would be more eco-friendly, which is the purpose of recycling anyway.
"We started to brainstorm and discussed that I would use one of my vehicles to pick him up. Then I suggested we should go with a more environmentally-friendly way and we would use bikes," Nachlas said.
"It’s carbon-free," Parigian added, "it’s more pure this way."
Nachlas said he was "huge bike fanatic" anyway and had the resources to pull this off.
"I had a cart that we rigged together and we slowly started a system where we found a route. For the first couple weeks we figured out how it best would be used to carry everything to and from the parks," Nachlas said. "If I had my choice, I would ride my bike to work and every day, all day, and I would do something green the rest of my life."
Recycle Utah, Nachlas said, donated another cart that Nachlas and Parigian will turn into a "double" utility cart that is capable of transporting more trash.
"They are starting a whole revolution about what’s really green and they are volunteering their time, it’s amazing," said Greta Andreini, the creative director at Recycle Utah. "It’s very unique and it’s a wonderful gift, they are giving themselves for the environment, it’s selfless. Those guys rock."
The Green Machine takes a route from the softball fields, to the skateboard park to the basketball and sand volleyball courts to the tennis courts and the other courts on Deer Valley Drive, Parigian said. They not only pick up what is in the bins, but they also dig out recyclable garbage in the trash.
"We go through the trash and get a lot of stuff, but I’d like it if people wouldn’t make us do that."
When Parigian reaches each bin, he feels like a lobster fisherman.
"It’s like I’m picking up a lobster trap and we say, ‘It’s a nice batch today.’"
Their catch each week is getting larger. At first, Parigian said, there wasn’t much to bring back as people were getting used to the bins, but now, they are bringing hundreds of pounds of trash to the recycling center.
"We are getting approximately 150 pounds every time we go," Nachlas said. "We are getting 300 pounds plus every week. One day we pulled out 200 pounds."
As the summer kicks in, along with warm holidays and more people anticipated at the parks, The Green Machine expects to do even more work.
"It will get heavy through the holidays and the big weekends," Nachlas said.
"I anticipate 400 to 500 pounds per week," Parigian added.
Parigian hopes that’s the case.
"We don’t mind carrying and extra 100 pounds," he said. "People should recycle and that’s what the bins are out there for. It’s something that needs to be done. You can’t have a park without it."
"We are hoping we can keep the support and everyone takes advantage of the cans," Nachlas added. "It’s a simple thing you can do. At home, recreating, it takes absolutely no effort. The biggest benefit is everybody has an opportunity to use these cans."
With all the work being done, Andreini said The Green Machine needs help to expand their quest.
"They need lots of volunteers, they are making a huge contribution to our environment," Andreini said.
"Possibly, we will need volunteers because this is rather big," Nachlas said.
So far, The Green Machine is run without any funds. If it does grow further, Parigian said, they may need some funding.
"We are starting to get costs," Parigian said. "So we might try to get sponsors on the bins or something."
Nachlas said Park City is slowly moving in a direction to become greener and will follow suit by using the recycle bins.
"The town, the people, everybody is thinking in more conservational terms, for the benefit of the world. Its one of those things, think globally and act locally," Nachlas said.
Parigian also said it’s easy to recycle and doesn’t take much time.
"People should care about this world," Parigian said. "It’s inevitable that humans will create waste. Anyone can recycle. People have to give back no matter what you do, if you are healthy, do something."
For more information or to volunteer with The Green Machine, call 729-0006.
Summit County and Park City’s elected leaders celebrated Earth Day by attending the signing of the Community Renewable Energy Act.