CLARKDALE - Guests on the Verde Canyon Railroad are now recycling aluminum and plastic on board the train.
"It's on the train," said Lorena Williams, operations director for Verde Earthworks, a locally owned recycling company serving residential and commercial customers.
Williams said that every day, the on-board recycling containers are filled during the scenic train ride and then emptied into larger containers on the railroad's grounds.
"Though the support of the Verde Canyon Railroad made this recycling effort possible," Williams said, "it was one woman's passion that carried it through. Brandi Lee Cooper, an Arizona native and passionate recycler, spearheaded the movement to install recycling containers on the train for the customers to use."
But Cooper is reluctant to take credit for the effort. "Robin Brean basically made it happen," Cooper said. Brean is the general manager of the railroad.
"She facilitated everything," Cooper said. "We had to outfit the entire train - outdoor and bar cars - with trash cans."
Cooper agrees, however, that she believes strongly in recycling. "Ultimately, I feel like we're taking people into one of Arizona's most pristine riverine corridors, and it's important that we walk the talk," she said.
Cooper said that the special on-board recycling containers are marked for aluminum and plastic only, the bartenders and waitresses do recycle many of the glass containers used. She also said that Brean has had a cardboard and other materials recycling program going for the buildings and grounds of the railroad.
According to Cooper, customers are pitching in when it comes to on-board recycling. She said the waitresses, bartenders and car attendants explain to customers that the railroad is now recycling. They tell the customers where the recycling bins are located.
Cooper said that one of the most exciting aspects of the recycling program is the fact that Verde Earthworks isn't sending the recycled material to China. "This stuff is being recycled right here in Arizona," she said.