September 14, 2018 - 12:16 pm

Entercom St. Louis (Y98, KMOX 1120, KEZK 102.5, NOW 96.3, KFTK 97.1) is gearing up for an awesome event this Saturday at the William J Harrison Education Center to help give back to the city we love! This community recycling event and environmental fair offers several different recycling opportunities as well as fun, hands-on learning opportunities from local environmental organizations. The event is free and open to the public, though some fees for recycling certain items may apply. While there are many important partners that bring this event to life (Brightside St. Louis, Saint Louis City Recycles, St. Louis Earth Day, EarthWays Center, St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District and Missouri Department of Natural Resources), we wanted to take the time to highlight how this recycling event got started! Shira Truitt, of The Truitt Law Firm LLC, made moves that mattered, and took the steps to get Unstash That Trash off the ground, providing St. Louis with an opportunity to shine.

Q. Where you are from?

A. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I attended Washington University for my MSW(Master of Social Work) and law degree, and remained in St. Louis.

Q. How did Unstash That Trash begin?

A. About three years ago, one of the organizations to which I belong challenged us to do some recycling.  I led the effort to establish a recycling event in an area of town that I knew had no recycling efforts.  Not knowing a lot about how these events were organized, but knowing that I needed to try, I made a series of cold phone calls.  I introduced myself to the recipient, told them what I wanted, and asked if they could help.  The very best phone call I could have made was to Tracy Haag, with the Department of Natural Resources!  Tracy called Matt with the Army Corps of Engineers and we spearheaded the first one!  The only challenge:  What do you call it?  I called my mom and asked her for a name.  We debated, laughed and joked about coming up with a catchy name for it but couldn't find one.  In frustration, mom said "they just ought to get rid of that stuff; it's just trash....they need to Unstash That Trash!”  With that, the name was given and the event went forward!

Q. Why did you decide to put the event in this location? 

A. My church is about 6 blocks from the area. Stacy Edwards, who manages the William J. Harrison Education Center, is a good friend and a sorority sister.  Since she is so welcoming, and she has allowed us use of the facility, and it's close to the original area, it seemed a very good fit.  

Q. What was the trigger for knowing there was a need for recycling in St. Louis? 

A. On the way to Mass, I kept running over items that should have been recycled. When I thought about it, I realized that there was nowhere to recycle in the area.  So, if you live in Baden, the closest place to recycle is during Earth Day, when recycling is available in Forest Park!  I understood, but could not accept the reason that people discarded things as they did.  

Q. Tell me about the first steps you took to get Unstash That Trash organized and developed into the successful event it has become.  

A. I called Tracy Haag from Department of Natural Resources, among others.  She was a gem!  I really liked her positive attitude, her winning spirit, and her ability to get things done.  She took the lead on it since she knew most of the people in her official capacity.  It was great to work with someone smart, fun, and energetic.  

Q. How have you helped this event develop and grow since it was established?  

A. We've tried a number of things!  The first year, we had it in the park on Halloween!  It was cold, rainy, and...fun! We were a determined group but turnout was very low. Then, all the moms told me Halloween was ALWAYS like that! So, I knew that we needed a new date and, to make it work, it needed to have a consistent date. The group wanted it to be before October, since weather becomes unpredictable. So, we picked the third Saturday in September.  Stacy Edwards very graciously agreed to allow us to use her facility, since we were close, they are a green campus, and she liked the community outreach we'd done.

Last year, we decided to divide duties so that we could concentrate a bit more.  Brightside St. Louis took on operations; with it they secured a 5k grant from Enterprise Foundation.  Further, they did the set up and the workflow so that the event went smoothly.  We provided food, music, and other fun things for participants.  Tracy went to work on securing exhibitors.  She did a GREAT job securing more people and bringing them to the table.  I took on publicity.  With it, I got ads in the St. Louis American, placed fliers in church bulletins, recruited volunteers from my parish, and appeared on Fox 2 to encourage participation.  It was our BEST YEAR!!!  We had a little over 500 attendees, solid community participation, and... FUN!  

This year, I am truly looking forward to the opportunity to have a positive impact on the community.  I really thank Entercom St. Louis broadcasting for helping to deliver that opportunity!  



About The Truitt Law Firm, LLC

The Truitt Law Firm focuses on Estate Planning, Probate, Business Law, Family Law, and some traffic law. The Truitt Law Firm practices in both Missouri and Illinois.  People can connect with The Truitt Law Firm, LLC through various social media:  FB page:  @thetruittlawfirmllc, twitter: @truittlawfirm, Instagram: @truittlawfirmllc, and YouTube: @thetruittlawfirmllc