A toast to sustainability | ParkRecord.com

A toast to sustainability

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

How will you celebrate Earth Day this year? How about raising a glass to the planet and to those who promote environmental awareness in Park City?

Recycle Utah kicks off its annual Sustainability Week and membership drive Sunday, April 19, with an Earth Day Party at Squatter’s Roadhouse Grill and Pub from 5 to 9 p.m. The celebration is just the beginning of a week of festivities promoting Earth-friendly attitudes and endeavors.

Tickets to the Earth Day Party are $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, and include dinner and two drink coupons. Everyone who attends the event will be entered in an opportunity drawing featuring items made by local artists, Recycle Utah’s custom reusable water bottles and Earth-friendly gift packages.

The party will also feature the entries for Squatters’ second annual EcoSculpture Contest, which local students constructed entirely out of recyclable and reusable materials. The contest winner will be announced at the end of the evening.

Recycle Utah is encouraging Parkites to salute Earth Day, April 22, by becoming members of the nonprofit. The current economic climate has presented a tremendous challenge for the organization, says Executive Director Insa Riepen. She explains that due to the decreasing value of recycled commodities, the center has been losing upwards of $10,000 each month.

Still, Recycle Utah is committed to continuing its service to residents and businesses in Summit County. "We are expanding our ReStore and summer programs, we are accepting more items, and we continue to provide a full-service recycling center accepting more than 40 different products," says Riepen. "We just need to figure out how to make it sustainable."

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Individual memberships are $20, family memberships are $40, corporate memberships are $150, Super memberships are $600 and Earth Guardian memberships are $5,000. Companies or individuals may sponsor a bin for $1,200. Member donations are tax deductible and benefits include discounts on green products, invitations to special events, monthly e-newsletters and more. New and renewing members can sign up at the Earth Day Party or online at http://www.recycleutah.org.

Earth Day celebrations continue throughout the week. Starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at the Library and Education Center, Recycle Utah will announce its Park City Solar Thermal Challenge, with a goal of installing solar hot water and heating in 100 homes this year. Installers will be on site to provide information on the Fast Track Solar Thermal Program, which Riepen describes as a "red-carpet service" to speed up the installation, approval and rebate process.

At 6 p.m., Park City Mayor Dana Williams and Environmental Sustainability Manager Diane Foster will make a presentation on the local community’s carbon footprint. "This is something the city has been working on for a long time, and this is the first time this discussion will be brought to the general public," says Riepen.

To top off an evening of environmental consciousness, the Energy Film Festival, featuring documentaries on all things energy-related, will premiere at the Santy Auditorium from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

On Wednesday, community members are invited to start off Earth Day with free bagels and coffee at the Recycle Center, 1951 Woodbine Way, between 10 a.m. and noon. From 5:30 to 9 p.m., the center will host the "Reuse/Recycle Your Precious Jewelry" event. Alix Railton from Park City-based Happy Dragon Designs will provide free consultations about updating heirloom pieces and Park City Jewelers will be on site to make offers on gold jewelry and gems. To RSVP for this event, call 649-9698.

Fourth-graders from Summit and Wasatch counties will get a special look at water conservation and pollution on Thursday during the ninth annual Water Festival. More than 40 professionals from around the state will deliver interactive presentations to students at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

The culminating event for Sustainability Week will take place Monday, April 27. The ARUP Donate for Life Bloodmobile will be parked at the Recycle Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for anyone who would like to donate blood. "We believe this is the most important natural resource of all," says Riepen. "There is desperate need for blood, and only we can give it." To make an appointment, call the center at 649-9698.