County realizes a 7.4 percent increase in waste diversion for FY2015/16
This week, Teton County officials reported a 7.4 percent overall increase in waste diverted out of the county waste stream. This puts us at an overall rate of 33.17 percent, up from 25 percent and closer to the national average of 35 percent — a benchmark this community has committed to reach by 2020.
These new diversion numbers come on the cusp of Teton County’s inaugural year of requiring curbside recycling pick up from any waste hauler who has earned the county contract, a directive as outlined through the county’s adoption of the Waste Diversion Plan in 2014 (think of this plan as the “comp plan” for all things solid waste).
Navigating the landscape of all things reduce, reuse and recycle can feel complex and outside the scope of our day to day. But your commitment, vision, and effort is bearing fruit. TVCR, along with the Teton County Solid Waste Department and the county waste hauler, continue to realize the potential for cost effective savings and revenue each time we divert from the waste stream.
In the fiscal year 2015/2016 —of the nearly 10,000 tons of materials received at the Transfer Station, 3,153 tons were diverted — this includes recycled materials, construction and demolition waste and compostable materials (including your Christmas Tree!). That’s 7.4 percent of the overall waste that was either recycled, stocked piled, and reused. That’s a cost savings to Teton County residents of $164,707 and added revenues of almost $70,000 from products sold by Teton County including cardboard, metal, plastics and aluminum.
In Teton County, $76 for every ton of waste we haul from the Transfer Station, not including transportation or labor. That’s about $1,800 for each truck load. That’s money better spent on schools, libraries, and public programing.
Teton Valley Community Recycling acknowledges that it takes a village to divert this kind of volume. With Teton County Solid Waste as the ‘boots on the ground’ at the Transfer Station; Teton Valley Community Recycling working with the county on policies and procedures as well as educating Teton Valley friends and neighbors about the benefits of reducing, reusing, and recycling; and with R.A.D. Curbside working as Teton County’s waste hauler, they are the ‘boots in the truck’ who manage curbside service in Teton Valley.
With the three legs of waste diversion working on the public’s behalf — Teton County Solid Waste, Teton Valley Community Recycling and the county waste hauler — we can realize a larger goal of seeing 50 percent of the waste stream diverted by 2030.
And remember, the less waste you create, the less you pay. Anyone interested in decreasing waste disposal costs can follow these simple steps.
- Recycle. Cardboard, paper, metal cans, glass, scrap metal, plastic bottles, and electronic waste make up an estimated 50 percent of the waste stream. Recycling is the easiest and fastest way to reduce your waste disposal costs.
- Compost. Food scraps, yard waste, and other organic material tend to be the heaviest items in household trash, comprising about 22 percent of the waste stream. Furthermore, composting removes smelly items from your trash, enabling you to store it for longer between trips to the transfer station.
- Divert. Many of the items in our waste stream don’t have to go to a landfill, including wood waste, wire, gypsum board, inert fill, brush, and manure. All sorted waste is free for up to 350 pounds and costs $15 a ton thereafter.
- Pre-cycle. A small shift in shopping habits can reduce a lot of waste. Buy loose vegetables rather than pre-packaged ones in bulky plastic tubs, buy in bulk, and look for items that come in recyclable containers.
- Swap. TVCR makes it easy to turn your trash into someone else’s treasure. Join the Teton Valley Swap Site through Facebook.
Following these steps can eliminate 70 percent or more of your waste, REDUCING your costs even as solid waste fees increase. To learn more about ways to reduce waste, visit TVCR’s website at www.tetonrecycling.org, or email email@example.com to schedule a free consultation for your household or business.
Jeannette Boner is the executive director for Teton Valley Community Recycling.