This article was originally published in the Teton Valley News on April 2, 2015. It is republished with permission.
The days are getting longer, the sun is getting brighter, and the snow in my lawn has melted—all of which point to the arrival of spring in the Tetons! The spring season is a time for renewal and growth, and it’s no wonder that Earth Day is also honored this time of year (Wednesday, April 22nd).The arrival of spring inspires me and my family to dust off the cobwebs, simplify and organize our piles of stuff, spend more time appreciating our surroundings and playing outside, and think about how we can collectively reduce, reuse, or recycle.
Have you ever wondered why we celebrate
Practicing the 3 R’s (reducing, reusing, and recycling) are ways to help honor the environment and make every day an earth day. While recycling may be viewed as a relatively recent activity spurred by the environmental movement, recycling and reusing products are not new concepts. Before the industrial age and the mass production of industrial goods, almost everyone recycled and repurposed products in one way or another. During times of economic depression, common households depended on recycling and using less to save money and survive. Teton Valley farmers and others who live off the land also regularly recycle and reuse, since buying new equipment and supplies are not only expensive, but often impractical and difficult due to the remoteness of our rural community. During the economic booms of the postwar eras, conservation and recycling became less appealing in our society as the mass production of goods made it easier to buy new and inexpensive products. After the emergence of the modern day environmental movement of the 60’s and 70’s and the first Earth Day, recycling, as well as reducing and reusing once again regained popularity and became main stream in America. With the advent and expansion of recycling facilities and technology, recycling today is more practical and easier to practice, and arguably more important, even in remote, rural communities like Teton Valley.
While there are numerous environmental benefits to recycling such as reducing air and water pollution, litter, landfill waste, and conserving natural resources and energy; recycling, reducing and reusing your waste also have significant economic benefits. Recycling helps support our county government and businesses that sort, haul, and broker recovered materials; saves taxpayer money by reducing the amount of garbage shipped to landfills; generates revenue through the sale of commodity recycled products; and provides secure jobs for those involved in the waste management industry.
This spring, and in honor of Earth Day, I encourage you, your friends and family, schools, and businesses to rethink ways that you can reduce, reuse, and recycle your trash and goods that are no longer used. To find out about the items that can be recycled in Teton Valley, please visit Teton Valley Community Recycling’s website at www.tetonrecycling.org and the Teton County Solid Waste and Recycling webpage found at www.tetoncountyidaho.gov. Thanks, and have a happy Earth Day!
Jen Werlin is the Executive Director of Teton Valley Community Recycling. For more information about waste reduction, reuse, and recycling, and/or to become involved with our community-wide efforts to reduce litter and landfill waste, please visit tetonrecycling.org.