Each song on EVERY DAY IS EARTH DAY presents a problem that affects our Earth -- from litter to gas-guzzling SUVs -- without seeming overly preachy. But despite the somewhat depressing material ("We Americans we love to drive fast cause we're a nation that is drunk on gas/But one of these days those oil wells will be dry and all our grandkids will be asking us why?"), the songs manage to remain upbeat. "Re: Recycle" is an up-tempo country- and blues-influenced number that has a lot of "yeahs" and "ooh yeahs" to sing along with. Recycleman gets you to repeat the word "Compost" over and over again in the song of the same name, and "Stuck on Trash," a jam-band sound reminiscent of the Grateful Dead, is all about reducing waste. "Oil and Water Don't Mix" with its guitar-driven melody has a Latin flavor and talks about how oil can contaminate our water supply.
Recycleman fights apathy, ignorance and trash, and he does it all wearing a rubber kilt. He's Recycleman. Well, actually, he's Pete DuBois, a mild-mannered Clark County public works employee.
DuBois' alter ego, Recycleman, visits area schools wielding a guitar and wearing a costume made of truck-tire tubes to instill a love of recycling in youngsters. To add volume to his message, Recycleman travels with a band, the Dumpster Divers.
Part of DuBois' job is educating the public about the importance of recycling and reducing waste. Recycleman was born about a decade ago, when the county got an Environmental Protection Agency grant to make a video about recycling. Inspired by the video, DuBois started his educational tours. He dressed up in a plastic recycling bag decorated with trash.
"The costume was not cool. It even actually involved some blue tights," DuBois said. DuBois went on one school district tour, but hung up his tights after that. "Recycleman was in retirement except for special sneak engagements," he said.
He resolved to bring Recycleman out of retirement when he found hundreds of plastic bottles during an audit of a middle school's trash. "We saw this huge need at the school where they were throwing away all these plastic bottles," he said.
He put together a band, the Dumpster Divers, and he made over Recycleman to be less inspired by Hefty and more by "Mad Max." DuBois' rubber kilt is decorated with crushed pop cans. He also wears a red and white cape and a chest plate decorated with the universal symbol for recycling, a triangle made of arrows.
"The band was my idea," DuBois said. "I'm a musician, I play guitar and write songs. The songs I write, for one reason or another, are about trash." A few of his song titles include, "The Milk Jug Stomp," "Compost," and "Stinky, Stinky Landfill."
DuBois' passion for fighting waste is just as strong, with or without the cape. In addition to Recycleman, he works with local schools that have a curriculum devoted to environmental awareness called Earth Savers.
For Earth Savers, he does a "dumpster dive," technically known as a garbage audit: sifting through trash and finding what people are throwing away instead of taking to the recycle bin.
DuBois doesn't do it for the glory or the cash. Whether he appears as the enigmatic environmental hero Recycleman, or just hardworking Pete DuBois, his mission is the same. "The key piece is just to get the word out."