On behalf of Teton Valley Community Recycling, we are grateful for the support through the EPA and Friends of the Teton River who provided the Teton County, Idaho community with an incredible educational service and a foundational start to long term safe guards against household hazardous waste contamination in local ground water and water ways.
In June, TVCR offered a five day hazardous household waste certification course for Teton County Solid Waste personnel. All six employees took the course including the Solid Waste Manager and Transfer Station Foreman.
TVCR hired David Lore with Advanced Environmental Engineering (AE2). Lore is 35 year industry educator in the Rocky Mountain West. TVCR also had two individuals sign up for the course from Jefferson County and Valley County. Lore taught the HHW course specific to landfill/waste site management. Everyone who took the course received their HHW Certifications /CEUs.
This was an important class to hold for solid waste employees who work on the front lines of waste management. By educating employees on how to correctly identify and handle household hazardous waste, they in turn, pass this information on to the public while directly protecting ground water contamination and county liability. This ultimately works to serve our entire population in Teton Valley of about 10,000 residents — more when you consider our tourist and visitor populations.
Some reactions from those who took the course include:
“I’m so glad that this course was offered,” said Teton County Transfer Station employee Ron Anderson during the class. “Some of this stuff I was letting through to the landfill. This [course] was really beneficial.”
“I just wanted to thank you for inviting me to attend the training. I feel it was well worth my time and I gained a lot of knowledge,” said Brandy Ward, Manage for Circular Butte Landfill, Jefferson County, Idaho.
“I wanted to thank you for your contribution. I think this training is a great idea and will pay dividends for years to come. Thanks coordinating the training. Your help is very appreciated,” said Darryl Johnson, Teton County, Idaho Public Works Director.
“I wanted to thank you and Teton Valley Community Recycling for all the work put into making the Household Hazardous Waste training possible. This training is crucial in protecting solid waste personnel, the public and the environment. The staff gained crucial knowledge in the daily hazards that are present onsite and this will ensure that they are confident in safely handling materials as well as help in educating the public. This was something that I had been trying to do for some time now and you and TVCR made it happen.
“I am not only grateful for the funding provided; Jeannette everyone loved the meals you provided throughout the training. Thank you so much for taking the time to run around and getting all of this done.
“Also the volunteering and help onsite was phenomenal. Tuesday is one of the busiest days for the solid waste department and it was comforting to know that there was someone onsite that could assist with the public.
“Thank you for making this possible and making what I consider to be the best training that I have attended,” said Saul Varela, Supervisor, Teton County Solid Waste & Recycling.
Offering this kind of certification in a rural Idaho gives access to information that is often beyond the scope of small government budgets. HHW courses are often offered in urban areas that require more expense, time and travel to access.
The project required the staff time of Teton Valley Community Recycling, and time spent with the Solid Waste Manger for scheduling and detailed planning. TVCR volunteers worked that week to support the class by running breakfast and lunches and working shifts at the Transfer Station to make sure there was no break in community service at the Transfer Station. Teton County, Idaho supported the project by paying for food and drink. TVCR paid for staffing hours, and the Teton County Fire District offered the classroom space and computer support for the course as a courtesy.
Additionally, TVCR was able to produce a variety of educational handouts. We designed and printed 1,000 HHW informational tri-folds and 200 HHW stickers. The informational handouts provide specifics on what is an HHW product, offers alternatives and directs the community on how to properly dispose of the HHW material in this region.
To date, TVCR has publicly displayed the tri-folds, made the information available on our web site, to our 700 email subscriber list and plans to pass the stickers out to at the Transfer Station along with the tri-folds. Find the tri-fold information HERE!
In a rural community, attitudes surrounding waste diversion and proper disposal of HHW materials run the gamut of personally held opinions. In this rural community whose county only recently required its waste hauler to provide a curbside recycling option, there are many who still feel that recycling is a waste of time and energy, that pouring HHW materials into fields and streams is still OK, and out-of-sight, out-of-mind rules many households when it comes to waste.
With the support of current Teton County Commissioners and the overall success of the HHW certification course, TVCR feels that we can successfully shift gears and lobby local government agencies to fund a collection event next May, 2018. This grant was an important first step in establishing a fundamental understanding of properly disposing of HHW material while encouraging more environmentally safe alternatives.