JANUARY 16, 2014 BY 

If you haven’t been following along in the YVSC Live Simply Challenge, read all about it here.
This post provided by YVSC’s Zero Waste Program Coordinator Carol Wilson

Many of you know who I am and refer to me as the “trash lady”… the peppy little blonde lady who is way too excited about waste diversion. If you visit the Zero Waste Stations at the Farmers Markets and the Free Concerts, you’ve learned with us how to divert resources, but let me challenge you to move that concept indoors and into our homes.

One inspired family is doing just that in California; the Johnsons are a family of four who have transformed their lives by “going zero.” Here is the link to see the article and connect to Bea Johnson’s blog: http://www.sunset.com/home/natural-home/zero-waste-home-0111-00418000069984/

We as a community definitely have the recycling thing down, yet we seem to forget that reduce and reuse come before recycle. Lets add to the 3 R’s and make it the 5 R’s – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot.

By refusing the things we don’t need we are keeping our over-consumption in check and eliminating the need to figure out what to do with it after we realize it no longer serves a purpose or is taking up space.

In reducing, we are finding alternatives for the plastics and other materials in our lives: cloth mesh bags for produce, reusable shopping bags, purchasing in bulk and using our own containers when/where permitted.

If you find yourself with materials that can be reused, (and perhaps cannot be recycled), wash and reuse them until they are no longer usable. In a previous blog post Andy mentioned that soft plastics are recycled at Safeway, City Market or Wal-Mart. For more on soft plastic recycling, go to http://www.hilexpoly.com/going-green/bag-2-bag.  Let your imagination guide you in what to do with items to reuse before simply tossing them into the trash. If you aren’t feeling particularly creative or inspired do a Google search for ideas, the internet has a wealth of this information!

Over the last 30 years, we have mastered recycling (mostly), but for those who still have questions about local recycling solutions, please see our recycling guide at https://yvsc.org/programs/yvr/recycling-guidelines/.

And the final R is rot, which refers to composting. At home composting possibilities vary from vermiculture to the residential composting program offered by Twin Enviro within the city limits of Steamboat. Given the climate we live in and the likelihood of bears the best option for some would be the residential composting program. It is easy to enroll, its cost effective, it cuts your household waste in half, and by removing organic waste from the trash, it removes the odors entirely.  For me, this program cut down our household waste by almost half.

Some of these changes may seem easier said than done but it really just takes us accepting the challenge and committing to making the necessary changes for a better future.

You can do it!

Oh and a little side note, be sure to visit the Zero Waste Station at the Farmers Market this spring for the launching of the new image of the “trash lady!”