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Prepare kids to insidiously organic infotainment – VC Reporter| Prepare kids for insidious organic infotainment – VC Reporter

Prepare kids to insidiously organic infotainment – VC Reporter| Prepare kids for insidious organic infotainment – VC Reporter

PICTURED: “Yakety Yak — Take it Back!” Ozzy Osbourne and other celebrities participated in this 1991 music video PSA about recycling from the Take It Back Foundation.

David Goldstein

You are insidious! Jim Polisini was my neighbor and he laughed.

After the incident, Insidiousness gained a bad reputation. Star Warsfranchise gave Darth sidious the name Darth Sidious to The Emperor in The Original Trilogy. I have never heard environmental outreach methods called insidious before.

Polisini commented on the strategy I and other local recycling coordinators use to increase participation in the curbside food scrap recycling program. We are targeting children because adults are more difficult to influence. We are making videos and providing material to teachers so that lessons about recycling food scraps can be taught in schools. Polisini might agree with your child if he or she comes home from school and starts to object to you tossing a banana skin in the trash.

Since January’s launch of curbside food scrap recycling programs for Ventura County, more people are adding food scraps to carts that were previously reserved for yard clippings or lumber. Despite this, facility operators reported that the amount of food scraps that these programs collect is much less than what our waste sort studies indicate is in the garbage.

We must make two changes in Ventura County households to comply with state mandates, reduce climate changing emissions from rotting trash in landfills, and improve soil with compost and mulch. First, we need to increase participation rates. This is the percentage of people who regularly place food scraps in their organics, formerly yard waste, carts. Second, we need to increase capture rates. This is the percentage that food is collected from participating households.

You don’t have to wait for your child or your neighbor to make you do it. You can both be a participant in the recycling process and increase your home’s capture rate by starting at the source of waste. Place a labeled, lidded pail on the kitchen countertop. You can also place a flip-top container that activates under your sink. Or, you could create a system to collect food scraps in the kitchen. Although someone in the household will be responsible for emptying the container into an organics cart every so often, it is likely that someone else is already doing the same thing.

Ventura County is not the only one to implement this outreach strategy for children. CalRecycle (California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery) is about launch a super agent to win young people’s hearts and minds. It will be a talking turtle called Turner, which you’ll see starting later in the month. This turtle might be able to recycle what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did for martial arts.

It is not a new strategy to focus environmental outreach on children in order to make positive changes in their homes. This strategy was perhaps most prominent in 1991 when cities decided whether to implement curbside recycling programs. Meanwhile, households decided whether or not to separate paper, plastic, and cans from other garbage.

Stewart Levine and Jolie Jones (daughter of Quincy Jones, a producer and musician) founded the Take It Back Foundation. They produced a music clip that appealed to children. It premiered on MTV on April 10, 1991. The video features top musicians Randy Newman, Paula Abdul, and B.B. King, Ozzy Osbourne and Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder and Kenny Loggins rapped and cavorted while performing Yakety Yak Take it Back.

The song was based on a 1950s song about rebellious youth and was shown repeatedly in 1,600 AMC movie theatres. Take It Back Foundation received a grant of nearly $300,000 from the California Department of Conservation to distribute the video and a teacher guide to 15,000 schools across the state. This is the memorable chorus that was included in the lyrics of the song.

See Also
Susha Cheriyedath, M.Sc.

Don’t be square, be a chump.

Don’t make this Earth a trash dump.

This planet is screaming, No more funk!

There’s no more space for junk.

Yakety Yak, Take It Back!

David Goldstein is an Environmental Resource Analyst for the Ventura County Public Works Agency. He can be reached at 805-658-4113 or

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