Bethesda Green, the local sustainability initiative we helped launch in January, recently unveiled the first public recycling bin in Bethesda. At the time we launched Bethesda Green, I quoted the Chinese proverb, "If we don't change the direction we are headed, we will end up where we are going." Today, Bethesda is taking a step in a new direction.

You might ask why make such a big deal about one recycling bin? Changing the environment happens in steps, one bottle at a time, one bin at a time, one community at a time, and that's what Bethesda Green is all about. It is what happens when people think globally and start acting locally.

We weren't sure what kind of turnout we would get. We thought if 35 to 40 eager and dedicated people came to our first meeting, that would be a great start. More than 300 people showed up. We realized that even if the only thing Bethesda Green accomplished was to give these folks an outlet to express and act on their environmental concerns that would be a service in itself.

But now, just four months later, the volunteers are organized into different working groups and are starting to deliver results. Today's recycling bin is the first Bethesda Green program that allows residents to exercise a concern for the community's environment on a daily basis.

Thanks to the generosity of the Coca-Cola Company and our community sponsors as well as the support of Bethesda Urban Partnership, we will initially be placing 20 to 30 recycling bins in the most heavily trafficked areas of Bethesda -- Bethesda Row, Woodmont Triangle, and the Bethesda Metro. Once this initial test is implemented, we will seek to expand the program. And I'm confident that as Bethesda Green starts to deliver results, other communities will learn from our model and start taking their first steps in a new direction.

This is especially exciting for me because when Coke made its investment in Honest Tea earlier this year, many people were curious to see what would happen. Skeptics said we would be adding high fructose corn syrup to our drinks, and tripling the calorie count. I'm excited that the first public manifestation of our partnership with Coke, before we've even sold a single case together, is our mutual support of a sustainability effort in Honest Tea's hometown of Bethesda. There will be more to come.