A friend of mine was walking across what shall remain an unnamed expanse of space in Boulder the other day, when he overheard two individuals in a state of bewilderment.
“What’s ‘landfill’ mean?” person #1 asked person #2 as they walked past a set of three labeled disposal containers. She was holding something she needed to throw away.
“I don’t know,” person #2 replied. “Just throw it in recycling.”
Did you just gasp as loudly as I did?
Let’s start here, with a definition of landfill. According to dictionary.com, a landfill is a “low area of land that is built up from deposits of solid refuse in layers covered by soil.” According to me, Courtney Holden, a landfill is a stinky expanse of garbage that goes on and on and on.
And it’s important that we all know the difference because throwing garbage into the recycling bin can actually do a lot of damage. Don’t believe me? Take a tour through the Boulder County Recycling Center (don’t worry, you don’t have to leave your chair) by checking out this video: Single Stream Recycling at the Boulder County Material Recovery Facility (MRF).
Great idea (and they were the hosts of the most recent Green Drinks). Eric Jackson fired up Boulder Community Computers, a nonprofit that aims to get working computers into the hands of people who need them — and to help people earn said computers. From the Camera: Read more
Need more stuff to look forward to this summer? How about an annual bike, beer and recycling party? The Colorado stops on the 2010 Tour de Fat are mighty far away (Sept. 4 in Fort Collins, Sept. 11 in Denver), but that doesn’t mean you can’t start brainstorming your wacky outfit for it — or start building your crazy bike, if that’s more your speed. Read more
The University of Colorado is making changes to its recycling program that will make participation twice as easy. (Actually, 2.5 times as easy, if you’re a math person.)
Now, recycling locations around CU still have five bins — which to a lot of us Boulderites seems, well, pretty old school. (Read more about they city’s single-stream recycling on BigGreenBoulder.) The plan, according to an article in the Daily Camera, is to implement “dual-stream” recycling, which would cut the number of bins to two: one for paper and one for pretty much everything else.
We just posted about canned beer, so this is fun:
… author Lloyd Alter takes a wrong step when he writes:
“Nobody a mile north or south of the American border touches the stuff in cans, it just doesn’t taste as good.”
This is wrong. Cans now hold some of the best beers in the world, or at least some of my favorites. And unlike 75 years ago, beer cans today are made with a water-based internal coating that keeps the aluminum from ever touching liquid, so if your beer tastes like tin foil, it’s probably just a crappy beer.
Damn skippy! Tasty canned beer, we salute you!
Treehugger’s point, though, is totally valid: we’re just not very good at using refillable containers here.
About 50 percent of Boulder’s waste is being diverted from landfills, and instead, it’s getting recycled and composted.
Beginning last January, Boulder made curbside composting and single-stream recycling — where you can mix cans, bottles and paper together — available to everyone in the city.
From January to August this year — the period of time for the city’s study — Boulder residents composted 1,987 tons of yard waste and table scraps, while recycling 4,997 tons of paper, plastic and glass.
Combined, the efforts represent about half of the 14,000-or-so tons of material disposed of by residents during those eight months.
Kara Mertz, Boulder’s local environmental action manager, said it’s a huge achievement for a city that seeks to become “zero-waste.”
“We’re halfway there,” she said of the residential efforts.
Giant mounds of glass bottles are building up at Western landfills, where cities and counties are stockpiling them until they can find someone willing to recycle them.
Even though glass should be the ideal recyclable — you can melt it down and reuse it an infinite number of times without affecting the quality of the glass — the market for used bottles is tough, in part because the raw material needed to make new glass, sand, is dirt cheap.
CHEYENNE, Wyo, — After working out at a gym, Amy Mahaffy dropped off a half-dozen glass jars in a city recycling container before heading home.The containers however won’t end up being recycled any time soon. Their destination: A mound of glass at the city landfill, an ever-growing monument to the difficulty many communities across the country face in finding a market for a commodity that’s too cheap for its own good.
”We are stockpiling it in a desperate search for a market,” landfill foreman Monty Landers said.
Cheyenne hasn’t recycled the glass it collects — 9 tons a week — for years. Instead, the city has been putting it in the landfill, using it to surround the concrete-walled wells that pump toxic fluids out of the dump.
The same is happening with glass bottles at sites in New Mexico, Oregon and Idaho. Read the full story by the Associated Press, or keep reading to learn more about the challenges of selling Boulder County’s recycling. Read more