This article will appear in the Teton Valley News on March 31, 2016. It is republished with permission.
As executive director of Teton Valley Community Recycling (TVCR), over the past year and half, I have had a wonderful time helping TVCR fulfill our mission to develop ethical waste reduction solutions that are financially and environmentally sound for our community. 2015 was a big year for waste and recycling in our community, from fixing the landfill cap, development and adoption of a county waste hauler contract, to fee reductions and changes in waste disposal at the transfer station. Last year, TVCR began implementing recommendations outlined in our waste diversion plan, Waste to Resources: Waste Diversion Alternatives for Teton County, Idaho. The board and I are excited that recycling awareness and participation is growing rapidly in our community and that some of our recommendations are already being implemented!
As a small nonprofit, we have accomplished a lot due to hard work and wide community support! TVCR published and began distributing new recycling guide brochures, built an informational kiosk at the transfer station recycling center, and had local youth finish painting the transfer station recycling bins. We also taught recycling lessons to all 2nd and 3rd graders in our public elementary schools, as well as other grade levels at Teton Valley private schools. We hosted two public composting workshops for home and worm composting, helped implement recycling and litter clean-up at the Tin Cup community celebration, and held a successful Halloween themed Trash Bash trashion show and upcycling sale. I have truly enjoyed getting to know TVCR’s partners and supporters and look forward to being involved with the advancement of our organization and recycling efforts as we move forward.
With that being said, it is with both sorrow and excitement that I am announcing my resignation as TVCR’s Executive Director. At the end of April, I will begin a full-time position as a University of Idaho Cooperative Extension Educator working to develop a Community Food System Program for Teton County. TVCR has fantastic board members, volunteers, and members. Over the winter, we have welcomed additional board members who are smart and deeply dedicated towards waste reduction, reuse, and recycling in our community. While I wholeheartedly believe in the mission of TVCR and will miss my work as its executive director, I feel confident that TVCR will flourish with our revitalized board leadership and a new director (a job description is available here). I will continue to volunteer and support TVCR, and look forward to partnering with TVCR in my extension work to develop more sustainable and community-based solutions to food waste and disposal in Teton Valley.
Many thanks to TVCR’s board, volunteers, and members for their hard work and fervent support of our mission and vision of a healthy community that reduces, reuses, recycles, and rethinks its way towards zero waste. Teton County’s Solid Waste and Recycling Supervisor, Saul Varela and his team are also doing a tremendous job growing our county waste diversion and recycling operations, and I’m grateful for their collaboration. Last, thank you for this rewarding opportunity to serve as TVCR’s executive director. You all inspire me to continue to think of creative waste reduction solutions and advocate for a healthy and clean Teton Valley community!
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. A job description and application directions to become TVCR’s new executive director are also on our website at https://tetonrecycling.org/employment/ (the application deadline is Monday, April 18th at 5pm).