‘Rocco the Recycler’ invades Davis Park

‘Rocco the Recycler’ invades Davis Park


“Rocco the Recycler, Defender of the Environment and Friend to all Creatures Great and Small” landed at Davis Park June 18 during the middle of a news conference hosted by Rockford Mayor Doug Scott. The news conference announced a new recycling grant that was awarded jointly to On the Waterfront, Inc., and the Rockford Park District from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity that allowed the organizations to purchase 400 large blue recycling containers.

Rocco is the Festival’s new mascot whose job is to help make recycling fun. Rocco, played by Rocco Guglimetti, operations manager for Rock River Disposal, arrived at Davis Park from “Planet Smudge.” His mission is to save the Earth from being destroyed by garbage by promoting recycling at the Aug. 28-31 On the Waterfront (OTW) Festival. His planet, Smudge, did not recycle and is now so completely covered in garbage that no one can live there anymore, or so the story goes.

Rocco’s costume was made by Alan Williams and designed by Edgar Huerta, a fifth grader from Spring Creek Elementary School. A contest was held between all fifth grade students in the Rockford School District to design an outfit for a recycling super hero. Huerta was awarded passes to Magic Waters fun park by the Rockford Park District at his fifth grade graduation ceremony.

Rocco’s chest and cape bear the green recycling logo. His cape and bandana are made from cloth that replicates newspapers, and his costume is adorned with plastic pop bottle rings. He carries a megaphone made from a 2 liter Pepsi bottle that will be used to congratulate people when they are seen recycling on OTW grounds.

OTW patrons are encouraged to place their plastic bottles and No. 6 plastic beer cups into the recycling containers instead of throwing them into trash cans. Vendors will assist with the recycling project by recycling glass bottles, aluminum cans, and cardboard items. Last year’s OTW festival produced 52 tons of waste. The bins will also be used at this year’s July 4th events and at Fiesta Hispana.

Educational booths will be in the 23 WIFR Jazz Stage, ComEd Country Jam Stage and the RRstar.com Ethnic Village that will educate patrons on how recycling can help improve our environment. This year’s festival store will be selling several items made out of recycled materials including pencils made out of blue jeans.

Rocco and Scott will appear in this summer’s Fourth of July parade and will star in public service announcements for the Environmental Partnership with the City of Rockford, WTVO and Rock River Disposal.

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