The annual Recycling is a Work of Art painting contest, hosted by ecomaine, is underway. The company announced that it will accept designs through Aug. 23. The contest is an opportunity for Maine students, community groups, and artists to submit proposals to paint one of ecomaine’s 30-yard (22-feet long) recycling containers with messages of reduction, reuse, recycling and sustainability.

The University of Maine at Augusta’s architectural program’s 2020 Recycling is a Work of Art entry. For more information about the contest, visit Courtesy photo

According to an ecomaine news release, as many as six designs will be selected by ecomaine’s Outreach and Recycling Committee in September, to be painted in the fall. The winning painters will receive a $500 stipend as well as reimbursement for up to $500 in supplies. Additionally, the finished artworks will be “mobile masterpieces” as they are transported to and from ecomaine communities with their single-sort recyclables inside.

“This program is fun and educational, but it also serves the dual purpose of promoting recycling as well as Maine’s talented artists of all ages,” said Matt Grondin, ecomaine’s communications manager, in a July 21 email. “The quality of these designs and their messages really help ecomaine to spread the word about the importance of recycling in a unique way.”

Artists wishing to enter the contest must submit designs on templates provided by ecomaine, and must be a resident or work in one of ecomaine’s member communities. All templates, rules, guidelines, and timelines – as well as examples of past paint jobs – are available on ecomaine’s website. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021.

Town & Country introduces Local Referring Local program

Town & Country Federal Credit Union’s announced last week that its “award-winning Local Helping Local initiative has added a new element to continue to support local businesses, while rewarding current and new members, at the same time.”

Rather than provide the usual cash incentive for referrals, the program offers rewards, but with a local twist. Through Local Referring Local, existing members who refer new members receive a gift card to a local business of their choice in Cumberland or York county, and the new member who was referred receives the same option.

Through Town & Country Federal Credit Union’s new Local Referring Local program, existing members who refer new members receive a gift card to a local business of their choice in Cumberland or York county, and the new member who was referred receives the same option. Courtesy photo

The priority of the initiative remains “on supporting local businesses and highlighting the ongoing need to do so. Our commitment to the local community, where we live and our members live, is strong and Local Referring Local reinforces that,” said David Libby, president and CEO, in an email. “We wanted to create something that would benefit multiple constituencies and make sure the financial benefits stay local and support local and we have accomplished that objective with this initiative.”

“The impact that Local Helping Local has provided since we launched it days after the start of the pandemic in March 2020 has been incredible,” said Jon Paradise, senior vice president of communications, marketing and community outreach, in an email. “We have heard from so many local businesses, organizations and individuals grateful for the support they have received through this effort.

“From purchasing gift cards to hundreds of local businesses to encourage local support and providing thousands of dollars in financial support to non-profits and community organizations to deferring thousands of loans for members going through difficult financial times as a result of COVID and delivering hundreds of meals to frontline healthcare workers on multiple occasions, Town & Country is proud of the support and awareness we have provided. This new initiative is an opportunity to thank current members, welcome new members and support local businesses, many of whom continue to struggle.

“We are excited to continue to bring attention to the need to support local businesses, which are vital to our communities. Since March 2020, Town & Country has provided more than $200,000 in direct financial support to local businesses and nonprofits, in addition to helping and working with thousands of members at the same time.”

For more information about the new Local Referring Local initiative, visit