Joint Council 13 Gives Turf a New Home
When Joint Council 13 special event coordinator Roy Gillespie got the phone call from St. Louis Green about recycling artificial turf throughout the community, he was taken aback.
“At first I thought the proposition to reuse turf in the community was crazy,” Gillespie said. “But then I considered it, and I realized that there were many ways we could put the turf to use.”
Thanks to the combined efforts of Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis Green, and the Teamsters, communities throughout the St. Louis area will be gifted with bails of used artificial turf to beautify community establishments.
The turf on the football field of Washington University in St. Louis was installed in 2004 and was approaching the end of its useful life as an NCAA Division III competitive playing field surface. However, the turf was still safe and viable to use throughout communities for many different purposes and projects.
According to Gillespie, Washington University did not want to put the million pounds of used turf in the landfill and instead contacted St. Louis Green, a nonprofit environmental group, who then contacted Gillespie at the Teamsters to ask if he knew of anyone who could put it to good use. Gillespie got in touch with community groups, athletic associations and neighborhoods in need to gauge interest in receiving the used turf.
To Gillespie’s surprise, everybody wanted the turf.
“The communities are extremely excited,” Gillespie said. “My phone has been ringing off the hook. The demand is beginning to exceed to supply.”
Nearly 30 community organizations and establishments are receiving segments of the turf, including sports complexes, playgrounds, senior citizen areas and various other places. The turf is saving communities hundreds of thousands of dollars in decorating and rehabilitation projects.
Working with the community is nothing new for the Teamsters. “Joint Council 13 is very community-minded,” Gillespie said. The Teamster locals and members within Joint Council 13 continuously support a wide range of community efforts including support-the-troops projects, disaster relief and faith-based projects.
About 20 Teamsters volunteered their time and energy recently to transport the materials from Washington University to various locations within surrounding communities. These communities rallied citizens to install the turf at the predetermined locations. With more than 400 bales of turf distributed to areas of need, this project and partnership was able to brighten and bolster communities for many years to come.