‘Carbon Footprint’ workshop hopes to curb trash | ParkRecord.com

‘Carbon Footprint’ workshop hopes to curb trash

The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash per day. If that’s not bad enough, Park City averages 13 pounds per-day, per-resident — but that’s misleading. Much of what refuse trucks dump into landfills is from visitors to Park City. But blame can’t be leveled on the visitors, who often find they have few options but to toss trash AND recyclables into one trash bin provided them by hotels, rental facilities and businesses. But some locals have begun taking action before new ski hills arise from mounds of trash.

The Carbon Footprint workshop, the first in a series of energy saving think-tanks, will organize local businesses to find workable solutions to a growing waste problem. The free workshop is scheduled Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 3-5 p.m. at the Alf Engen Ski Museum at the Utah Olympic Park.

It will focus on saving money and reducing carbon dioxide emissions through establishing effective recycling programs.

Hotel managers, restaurant managers, condominium homeowner association managers, resort property managers and business owners involved in waste disposal decision- making for their respective businesses are encouraged to attend.

Lola Beatlebrox, the outreach director of Recycle Utah, hopes attendees will both be able to suggest recycling solutions for their respective industries and band together, saving money by creating more efficient routes for recyclers. "We’re going to shoulder the burden of our trash, . "We’re not going to turn tourists away."

Kevin Callahan, the public works director of Summit County, was the catalyst for the Carbon Footprint workshop, said Beatlebrox. He expressed growing concern about how quickly the landfills were nearing capacity, and much of the material being dumped is recyclable.

And that is when the Board of Realtors Environmental Issues Committee teamed with Recycle Utah, to find energy-saving solutions.

"People who visit Park City are surprised. They think we’re very environmentally oriented, but in fact, we’re falling way short," said Karin Tritt Ross, one of the directors on the Park City Board of Realtors and aTrustee on the board of Recycle Utah.

While Realtors may seem only distantly connected to recycling, Tritt Ross said, "We are the first line of defense of people moving into town." She believes the 1000 realtors certified in Park City can educate people moving into town, what recycling services are available, and those that are not available, hopefully moving them to take hold of the torch and run with it. "People move into this area because of the environment, because of the clean air," said Tritt Ross.

"I’ve never seen a group as focused and dedicated," Beatlebrox said of the Realtors. Realtors know everybody and everybody knows realtors. They are going to be reaching out to the home owners’ associations," she said.

What’s in it for businesses to go green? Beatlebrox said first, "I’ve been told the cost of trash collection will increase significantly in July, when refuse companies negotiate new contracts. Maybe triple. But recycling costs will not increase."

She said another major reason is that guests to the community are asking for recycling, and want to recycle on vacation, just as they would at home.

She related how her husband, who owns a local taxi company said one passenger whom he took to Salt Lake International Airport was carrying what turned out to be a plastic bag of recyclables a woman was planning to ship home to recycle. Recycling need not be that difficult. "This is a world-class resort, Beatlebrox said. "Our hotels want to do it."

The third reason that Beatlebrox detailed iswhat some may consider the most important reason: the concerns of global warming, and the devastating effects it could have on a snow-based economy such as Park City’s. Beatlebrox said that items made of recycled materials reduce energy by an average of 30 percent. And energy use is an offending producer of the greenhouse gasses, which are theorized to be leading to a warming of the planet.

"This is a hands-on, problem-solving meeting," said Beatlebrox. "This is our problem, and we’re going to solve it together."

Organizers of the workshop encourage attendees to begin saving money and reducing their "carbon footprint," by meeting at the Jess Reid Building parking lot (corner of Kearns and Route 224) at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 27, to carpool to the workshop. Organizers of the event said an optional tour of the Olympic Park is available from 5-6 p.m. There is no cost for either event.

To register for the workshop, or for more information, call Lola Beatlebrox at 649-9698, or e-mail lolabeatlebrox@yahoo.com

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