This article was originally posted in the Teton Valley News on August 8, 2013. It is reposted with permission.
Recycling is relatively new to the residents of Teton Valley, and participation in the program often requires a change in habits. Long-time residents who have lived here since before recycling was available are learning how to recycle for the first time, while newcomers who moved here from bigger communities often have to learn how to sort their recyclables differently. Home composting is gaining popularity, but also requires learning a new skill. Disposal of trash, recycling, and composting all require extra forethought in neighborhoods near bear habitat.
Retirees Don and Ann Durtschi adapted their recycling routine when they moved permanently to Teton Valley from Ogden, Utah several years ago. Containers they bought at ACE Hardware simplified the separation of recyclables, and transfer station employees helped when they had questions. The duo discovered that by flattening cans with a sledgehammer, they could go for about three months between each trip to the Recycling Center.
Other residents opt for curbside pickup through RAD Recyclers, where they receive clear information about how and what to recycle, and gentle reminders when they forget. Some residents have found such a reduction in waste generation when they start recycling that they have reduced their trash pickup service to every other week. Anyone interested in learning more about recycling options in Teton Valley should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Composting can be intimidating, even for avid recyclers. I composted for years through community composting programs. I dropped off my food waste, and program staff maintained the facility. When I became a homeowner, I wanted to compost but worried that it would be difficult. What if it smelled bad and my neighbors complained? Where would I put it? Would I have to mix it daily? To learn the answers to these questions, I attended the free composting workshop that Teton Valley Community Recycling hosted last summer.
Veteran gardener Judy Allen covered everything I needed to know to start to compost, including different kinds of bins and where to location them, which materials to add and which to avoid, optimal moisture levels, which weed seeds will survive, and whether it is safe to compost waste with pesticide residue. I have been thrilled with the results. My compost has never produced an odor; rather, it has eliminated odors from both my kitchen bin and the larger garbage bin in my storage shed. Reduced trash runs to the transfer station have saved me time and money, while time spent maintaining my compost pile has been minimal. Of course, the real prize is having rich, fertile compost to add to my garden.