‘Totes McGoats’ a household name for recycling?

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NIAGARA FALLS (WIVB) — The city of Niagara Falls last January had one of the lowest recycling rates in the state, at just 4 percent. But since then, they’ve jumped to more than 20 percent. With the now famous Totes McGoat at the helm, expectations are even higher.

“It’s been exciting, and busy and happily exhausting,” said Brook D’Angelo, who’s the program coordinator of SWEET, which stands for Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Team.

She’s also the handler of one Totes McGoats, the city’s new mascot to spread the message to children about the importance of recycling.

But in imagining a campaign to educate Niagara Falls’ children, she never imagined this.

“I don’t think I got more than three hours of sleep,” she said.

The calls continued Thursday afternoon. In just the few short hours she was gone for a photo op with McGoats, the messages began to mount. There were nine in all.

And the attention isn’t just local. Calls from across the pond, online coverage across the country and even a fake Twitter account, which sadly had more than five times the followers as of late Thursday.

“This has gone beyond our expectations and we’re really proud of it,” D’Angelo said.

But if the point is education, and growing the city’s base for recycling, a viral sensation, could be just the trick.

“It’s been a very active day,” said Niagara Falls City Administrator Donna Owens. “A lot of people are interested in how this mascot will help us educate young people as well adults about the importance of recycling and reuse.”

Of course the new mascot for the city’s SWEET program was intended to be funny. And it was intended to gather attention, and attention it has certainly has.

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