Shred Event, E-Recycling, Composting and More

This year, to celebrate Earth Day, Sustainable Woodstock is offering local residents and small businesses an alternative to throwing items into the landfill. At our event on Saturday, April 23 we will have a shred truck and electronics recycling. We will also be collecting products that have adverse environmental impacts if discarded improperly. Our composting display will help you understand how to reduce your household food waste as well.

As stewards of the environment, we are responsible for preserving and protecting our resources for ourselves and for future generations. Some of the major benefits of recycling are:

  • Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
     
  • Conserving natural resources
     
  • Saving energy by reusing materials that have already been processed
     
  • Preventing pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
     
  • Reducing greenhouse gases
     

Sustainable Woodstock’s e-recycling event in 2013 collected over two tons of waste.

Sustainable Woodstock’s e-recycling event in 2013 collected over two tons of waste.

Solid waste consists of everyday items we use and then throw away. According to a 2013 EPA report, Americans generated about 254 million tons of solid waste of which 34.3 percent was recycled and composted (over 87 million tons). This prevented the release of approximately 186 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere—equivalent to taking over 39 million cars off the road for a year. On average, Americans recycled and composted 1.51 pounds out of our individual waste generation rate of 4.40 pounds per person per day. We still have a long way to go to be waste neutral.

Recycling paper is an easy way to start. It obviously decreases the total amount of virgin timber that must be harvested to produce paper, but, in addition to landfill space saved, each case of recycled paper saves approximately 1 tree, 20 gallons of oil, 350 gallons of water, and 200 kwh of energy. Also eliminated are 3 pounds of air-polluting emissions.

Electronic waste, or “e-waste,” includes outdated, broken or discarded computers, monitors, televisions, printers, scanners, and other electrical devices. If these discarded devices end up in landfills or are incinerated, they can cause major environmental problems as many of the materials found in electronic devices are extremely hazardous including lead, mercury, and cadmium. When in a landfill, these chemicals can leach into the soil during a rainfall or are released into the atmosphere if burned.

Each year, the United States alone produces up to 50 million tons of e-waste. Of this, only 20-25% is recycled safely and responsibly. The other 75% ends up in landfills. Fortunately, in Vermont our electronic waste law bans the disposal of certain electronic devices and provides for free and convenient collection of e-waste. Sustainable Woodstock has applied for a special one-day permit from the State of Vermont and contracted with Good Point Recycling to collect these materials.

Each year billions of pounds of food are needlessly thrown away, ending up in landfills. In fact, more than one third of all food produced around the world for human consumption is wasted every year. One way to reduce this waste is by composting and turning your spoils into soil through composting.

We can also reduce waste through source reduction which makes changes in the design, manufacture or use of products to reduce their amount or toxicity before they become waste. Source reduction also includes the reuse of products or materials. Sustainable materials management (SMM) is the use and reuse of materials in productive and sustainable ways across their entire life cycle. SMM practices conserve resources, reduce wastes, slow climate change and minimize the environmental impacts of the materials we use.

While recycling helps our environment, the largest reductions in your personal carbon footprint can be achieved through the reduction of the total amount of materials consumed, rather than attempting to recycle them afterwards.

Thanks to Union Arena, Change the World Kids and Woodstock Home and Hardware for their assistance with this program.

Earth Day Recycling: Saturday, April 23 from 10:00am – 1:00pm at Union Arena at Woodstock Union High School. The event is free, but donations will be accepted. For a complete list of items we are collecting go to sustainablewoodstock.org or more information contact sally@sustainablewoodstock.org or 457-2911.

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