Recreate Your Future
Photography: Craig Wolfrom
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Take a good look at the picture above. Chances are, your name is on something in that pile.
• One hundred million trees are ground up every year to produce the 4.5 million tons of junk mail that clutter our mailboxes.
• You’ll receive about 1-1_2 trees worth of junk mail this year.
• The average person spends eight months of his or her life opening junk mail.
People in Blaine County throw away more trash than average Americans–and the various city fathers here are trying to do something about it. Can you say “recycling?”
It’s certainly not a new concept–Hailey began its program five years ago. But Sun Valley took some flack recently for adopting a plan that rewards recyclers and costs non-recyclers more money.
When the city voted this year to change the terms of its contract with trash hauling company Clear Creek Disposal in favor of a system meant to encourage the increase of recycling, it raised a few hackles on residents.
The standard flat rate was replaced by payment options. The cost increased with the size of the trash container. The biggest cost was for the 95-gallon container at $38 a month. The smallest container, a 32-gallon cart, costs only $17.
But, every size option includes recycling at no charge. Logically, an average household can’t stuff all its trash into the 32-gallon unit without limiting the amount tossed out. One of the ways to throw less into the trash can is to remove materials that can be recycled.
Plainly, residents were being asked to recycle, or pay more for a garbage can. Instead of dumping everything into one can, residents have to take the time to separate and manage recyclables. Sun Valley makes available to residents six separate containers for various recyclables.
The city also made accommodations for the many people coming for only a few days at a time. There are complete disposal services at Sun Valley City Hall and the Elkhorn Fire Station. That means a homeowner or renter can recycle or ditch trash without waiting for the once-a-week curbside pickup.
Once a person gets into recycling, there is even more to consider, says Mike Goitiandia, owner of Clear Creek Disposal. “It’s more than what you pull out of your garbage,” he says, because reducing the amount of trash means buying more wisely at the grocery store.
He noted products with minimal packaging don’t add to household trash. Someone who carries and reuses a water bottle instead of buying and tossing drinking water bottles several times a day also reduces trash.
Goitiandia says that until this summer, Sun Valley charged $4.50 a month for recycling.
“They really have decided to jump onboard and take care of business and emphasize that recycling needs to happen,” says Goitiandia.
Craig Barry, executive director with the Environmental Resource Center in Ketchum and former National Recycling Coalition consultant, says studies show recycling increases 10 to 25 percent when cities use variable rates linked to the amount of trash produced.
“The more you throw away, the more you pay,” says Barry. “It’s a novel idea, it seems, when it comes to solid waste.” >>>