Make recycling a New Year’s resolution
January 3, 2007
With the New Year comes a time of reflection.
Many people make commitments and promises of change with hopes of not abandoning their goals by February.
With only three days into 2007, it’s not too late to make a New Year’s Resolution. If recycling hasn’t been considered, this may be the right moment to start cleaning up Park City’s environment.
According to Lola Beatlebrox, outreach director for Recycle Utah, a common slogan is being heard across the country. It involves what she terms the four R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Re-think.
"Recycle Utah has the rethink spin," Beatlebrox said. "It’s behavior change changing habits and that’s what we all have to do for the New Year and the new millennium."
Behavior change is what she stresses for anyone who wants to start recycling. As with any resolution, creating a positive habit will help a resolution become a permanent fixture in that person’s life.
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"It’s a mindset," Beatlebrox said. "I came home and my kids put water bottles and plastic in the trash. It’s like quitting smoking, people are addicted."
Because of the addiction to throwing items in the trash, Recycle Utah is committed to repeating its message as much as possible.
"People don’t change until you are blue in the face," Beatlebrox said.
Recycling saves more than just excess junk stored at the dump. There are a myriad of environmental consequences of not recycling.
"What we are doing today has an impact on our tomorrow, not our kids’ tomorrow, our tomorrow," Beatlebrox said.
Recycling conserves natural resources such as oil, trees, metal ores and minerals, she said. The main point Beatlebrox emphasizes is recycling’s result on global warming.
Park City Councilman Joe Kernan has studied this topic in detail. In an article he wrote for Recycle Utah he said, "Conserving resources reduces negative environmental impacts such as land scaring and industrial blight from chemical processing, manufacturing and resource extraction (forests, oil wells and mines).
"It also reduces greenhouse gases that result in global warming and snow loss in ski towns like Park City," Kernan said.
Environmental benefits also include saving energy and reducing dangerous air and water pollutants.
"Saving energy is an important environmental benefit of recycling," Kernan said. "Using energy usually requires fossil-fuel consumption and involves air-and-water pollutant emissions.
In essence, Kernan wrote that recycling reduces the amount of pollution entering the air and water because less fossil fuel is used and because recycling keeps materials out of landfills, where contaminants seep into groundwater systems.
"Recycling also keeps materials out of incinerators, which can pollute the air and create ash residue," Kernan said.
"It’s not just about where we put the trash, but, what it takes to make all those products. It’s an incredible cause and effect," Beatlebrox said.
With the world’s population growing faster each year, the time for recycling is now.
"100 years ago when Park City was just a little mining town," Beatlebrox said, "the world population was 1 billion. Today it is 6.5 billion. That’s why we have to reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink."
To start recycling however, some may only need some direction on where to begin.
First, "you have to make a financial commitment," Beatlebrox said. Recyclers often have to purchase some kind of bin and haul the items to a recycle center or pay someone to pick it up.
In some neighborhoods, the county provides bins and curbside pickup. Beatlebrox said Summit County voted to increase the curbside pickup by 10 percent. However, there are many homes that don’t have the programs, such as condos and apartments. Those people should contact their county commissioners or homeowner’s association for access to similar programs, Beatlebrox said.
"There’s a political component and a personal responsibility component. People have to let county commissioners know they want to recycle and they need more bins," Beatlebrox said.
Businesses also need to make a commitment to recycle. Sometimes, Beatlebrox said, it is more difficult for them to start.
"A lot of offices need to make a resolution. They have to be committed to pay for it," she said.
Businesses can have a large impact on the environment if they recycle.
"Twenty-seven different types of air and water pollutants are reduced when companies recycle instead of using virgin resources in manufacturing and disposing of the waste products," Kernan said.
Almost anything can be recycled now. Recycle Utah accepts glass, aluminum, paper, newspaper, plastic, cardboard, moving boxes, Styrofoam, metal, batteries, CDs and DVDs, mercury containing items. Computer and other e-waste are accepted year-round.
However, that doesn’t mean people can just throw all that stuff into a bin and drop it off at a center.
"People have to understand how recycling works," Beatlebrox said.
Everything needs to be separated and put with similar items "like laundry" Beatlebrox said.
Although it may take a few extra minutes to separate the materials, the few minutes each individual takes helps the environment.
"People think ‘my little bit won’t matter,’" Beatlebrox said. "Yeah, you and Joe’s and Mary’s down the street."
Beatlebrox is proud of many Park City residents. On Dec. 21, Recycle Utah began recycling Styrofoam. In one week, its bin was full and it had to construct more large Gaylord bags to accommodate the demand, which filled up 20 yards.
"It’s fabulous," Beatlebrox said, "when you consider this would have all gone in the landfill.
Although Beatlebrox says Park City is responding well to recycling, there is still a long way to go for Summit County residents. The analysis by the Summit County Department of Public Works showed that residents and businesses generate approximately 97,500 tons of solid waste per year. That’s about 13 pounds per person per day. The national average is 4.5 pounds per person per day.
If Summit County doesn’t change its ways, Beatlebrox fears the worst.
"I don’t think there will be enough golf courses and water around," she said. "There are things we can do, recycling is one of those."
Recyle Utah is located at 1951 Woodbine Way. For more information or questions on recycling call 649-9698.
About 4,400 homes are part of a pilot program established by the Summit County Commissioners to offer curbside recycling pickup to residents. Property taxes fund bins and weekly pickup. Look for your neighborhood on the following lists and call the hauler responsible for pickup in your area. If your neighborhood is not on the pilot curbside pickup program, and you wish to pay for recycling pickup, call Good Earth Recycling, 655-0272, Curbit Recycling, 901-2568 ot Allied Waste at 615-8311.
The hauler for the following neighborhoods is Allied Waste, 615-3970. Allied Waste does not accept glass. Bring glass to Recycle Utah.
Black Hawk Station
Mountain Ranch Estates
Old Ranch Road
The hauler for the following is County Curbside, 640-1271