The coronavirus is weighing heavily on all of our minds as we roll into April. Fortunately, Teton Valley is responding proactively with most non-essential workers staying home, schools cancelled, Broulim’s and our smaller grocery outlets doing a tremendous job staying stocked and ensuring people’s health and safety.
We are fortunate that the hard-working folks at RAD Curbside and the Teton County Transfer Station are continuing to process recycling and solid waste, with a few minor changes.
– RAD Curbside asks that people take a bit of extra time to be sure not to put “contaminants” or dirty recycling into the recycling bins and to disinfect the handles so that recycling collectors who have to sort through and handle every item are not being unnecessarily exposed.
– Teton County Transfer Station is still accepting all “non-contaminated” (aka clean, rinsed recyclables – which we should all be striving to deliver anyway). They are encouraging folks to efficiently drop-off recycling and not linger. Staff cannot help with unloading at this time to encourage safe distancing. They also do not want to hand-pick out incorrect or dirty items, so please be diligent in your recycling. If possible, this is a great time to set up a recycling sorting system at home with cardboard boxes or some other sort of bin to keep items separated and allow you to quickly dump them in the correct recycling bins at the Transfer Station. Remember, the smaller bins – grayboard, magazines/catalogs, books, and plastic food containers are all trash, so please dispose of them in household trash to save yourself the effort of sorting something destined for the landfill – Note: You can bring magazines, catalogs, books, phone books, aluminum foil, plastic bags, and paper bags to Jackson for recycling. We like to keep a separate “JH Recycling” bin in our house for these items that Teton County Idaho currently can’t recycle.)
– Reusable grocery bags are no longer allowed in Broulim’s, but the smaller grocery stores (Barrels & Bins and Victor Valley Market) will allow you to bring your own bags if you bag groceries yourself. As reusable bags are a possible disease vector, get in the habit of washing your bags regularly. If you want to minimize plastic bags from Broulim’s, the best ideas we’ve heard are 1) Use a cardboard box for your groceries, 2) Wheel your naked groceries out in your cart after you pay and load your reusable bags in the parking lot, 3) Find creative reuses for your plastic bags, 4) Recycle your extra grocery bags either in Jackson or at Broulim’s entry.
– Take-out containers from restaurants are on the rise as people continue to support local restaurants. Plastic food containers can’t be recycled, bu they can be reused for many things like seed starter trays, kid’s crafts, or storing small items. Cardboard or paper to go containers can be torn into small pieces and added to your backyard compost as a carbon source.
– Food waste is on the rise due to market disruption, changes in buying habits, closure of restaurants and institutions that typically serve food. If you are sheltering at home, this is a great time to take stock of food you have and “eat down” your freezer and your pantry. It is also a great time to experiment with Meal Planning which has been shown to drastically reduce household food waste. Set up a “Eat This First” section in your fridge to finish food before it spoils and consider learning how to make more of your food from scratch or try some of these creative ideas for reducing food waste.
– Household Hazardous Waste – With many people buying lots of disinfecting chemicals and also cleaning out garages, sheds, and shops, many hazardous household chemicals like solvents, cleaning agents, and aerosols will need proper disposal. These cannot go in with your regular trash. Click here for a list of Household Hazardous Waste that must be disposed of at a specialized HHW facility. Our nearest one is in Jackson ISWR, but they will not be collecting in the month of April due to COVID-19. Teton County, Idaho is also hoping to sponsor a Household Hazardous Waste collection event this May, but this may also be delayed or canceled. Stay tuned for updates and for the time being, store all of your unwanted household chemicals in a safe place where children and pets can’t get into them. Clearly label the box so you are ready when the HHW facilities reopen for the summer.
We will all get through this together and hopefully it will make us stronger and more resilient, having had time to slow down and look at what is truly essential.
Thanks for continuing to take care of yourself, your family, our community, and our planet.