Contact: Lane County Waste Reduction Specialist Sarah Grimm, 541-682-4339
The Lane County Board of Commissioners will recognize this year’s best trash bustin’ efforts as National America Recycles Day (November 15) draws near. Winners will be acknowledged by the Board at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 9 in Harris Hall, 125 E. Eighth Ave., Eugene.
Lane County’s Resource Recovery Advisory Committee has selected nine individuals, organizations and businesses for recognition in the various categories of the Lane County Trashbuster Award program. Trashbuster Awards are given to those efforts that reduce waste of resources and demonstrate how this contributes greatly to the health of our community and economy.
“Reduce, reuse, and recycle is not just a phrase for school kids,” said Sarah Grimm, Waste Reduction specialist for Lane County. “Often overlooked because it is so obvious, it is a powerful and potent strategy for business and community efforts to maximize efficiency and maintain competitiveness and energize the future.”
This year’s most unique Trashbuster winner, 6-year-old Courtney Tiernan demonstrates an important lesson for all of us; anyone and everyone can make a difference.
Individual Trashbuster Winner is Courtney Tiernan age 6, inspired all 500 of her classmates to collect more than 10,000 Capris Sun Juice pouches in one school year. With the help of her mother, Courtney presented the idea to the school PTA and administration. Given a “go” she set up collection containers and when full, she and her parents packaged and shipped them to TerreCycle, a company that pays $.02 cents each for them. Terracycle manufactures fashionable back packs, pencil pouches, tote bags and more from various specific items that otherwise would be trash. Through her inspired recycling efforts Courtney has been able to not only donate more than $200 to the school’s PTA budget, but also model and inspire in others the wisdom that one person can make a big difference in the world around them.
Private Business Trashbuster winner is Long Tom Custom Saw Mill. They provide an innovative waste reducing feature along with their construction and tree removal services. Their mobile re-milling service can convert old unwanted trees, timbers and lumber into bright new product for construction use on site. This efficient service can eliminate time-consuming transportation of materials, and is an excellent model of local economic development that makes it easier for builders and the community to reduce, reuse and reclaim the beauty and utility of this most valuable local resource.
Product Manufacturer Trashbuster winner is LunchSense lunch boxes. As a mother of school-age children Nancy Owen Meyers was frustrated with the wastefulness of common school lunch fixings. She soon developed an attractive, washable lunchbox system that serves the specific needs of mothers and school children. The insulated box unfolds to be a placemat and is machine washable (really!). The food storage containers are safe, durable and reusable and the ice pack keeps food at safe temperatures until lunchtime. With the LunchSense system, families save hundreds of dollars a year avoiding wasteful single serve packaging. Nancy’s company, Good Sense Design LLC, offers LunchSense boxes sized for adult lunches too. Available in local stores, on-line and marketed worldwide, the LunchSense family of products serves an important community need to make reduce and reuse easy and automatic in our busy lives.
Construction Project Trashbuster winner is the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene.
The Unitarian Universalist congregation mapped out a way to maximize reuse and recycling in the renovation of the old Scottish Rite Temple into the new UU church. Their efforts show that an eighty percent recovery is possible and very good for the community. Congregation volunteers pulled a whopping 250 pounds of nails from lumber so that it could be reused in the facility reconstruction, for a garden shed and for worm bins at several school gardens. Truckloads of fir paneling, fire suppression piping, and more than 40 doors, were cleaned and prepped for use in the new facility. Several thousand acoustic tiles found new homes – some will be used in construction of a local theatre, some were ground up to sweeten agriculture soils, and some will be turned back into new drywall. Another local community theatre received stage equipment and fixtures that were carefully removed with reuse in mind. All electrical wiring was stripped and whatever wasn’t used to create delightful craft projects was sold for scrap – as was approximately 10 tons of ducting and other metals. Even the bricks, gravel and concrete rubble were repurposed into the community.
Nonprofit Trashbuster winner is Mount Pisgah Arboretum. The two well-loved and well attended annual events on Mt. Pisgah – the Spring Wild Flower festival and the fall Mushroom Festival – have seen a nearly zero-waste trash transition. Event trash that used to total 6 cubic yards is now down to less than one. This was accomplished by implementing a compostable or durable priority for all foodservice ware or other items distributed to guests. Vendors who are not interested in participating are not invited back. Plans are in the works to apply this same zero waste priority to their beautiful wedding and event center Pavilion.
Government Agency Trashbuster winner is City of Eugene Public Works. City of Eugene’s Zero Waste Technical team zeroed-in on the 2011 Public Works Day event with a focus on sustainability. This annual event draws approximately 2,000 local school children and adults to the Public Works yard on Roosevelt Boulevard. Michelle Miranda, ZeroWaste Technical Team member, worked early on with the planning committee to educate and facilitate waste free lunch habits for the school children in attendance and use durable dishware to serve the 300 volunteers refreshments and lunch. Food scraps were collected for animal feed, food soiled paper composted, and at the end of the day, less than 1 pound of landfill garbage was generated from the refreshment and lunch area.
School Trashbuster winner is Madison Middle School. With help from parent and community volunteers, the school’s Family Fun Night – attended by 450 kids and adults – was also transformed into a zero waste education event. Signs throughout the event encouraged people to participate in the zero waste effort by composting and recycling. Master Recyclers were on hand to congratulate those who sorted correctly and educate those who didn’t. Food planning eliminated need of packaging or plates, and left only compostable cups and napkins to send for composting. The results of these efforts were an impressive less than one trashcan generated from the event.
Food Service Trashbuster winner is Market of Choice – Woodfield Station. The Willamette Street Market of Choice has achieved extraordinary reduce, reuse, recycle results despite the challenges faced by large retail food service providers. Eighty percent of the waste generated by the store is reused, recycled and composted. Giving appropriate attention to the highest and best use, Market of Choice participates in Food for Lane County’s food rescue program. Other non-usable food and veggie trimmings are either donated to Master Composter activities at the Grass Roots Garden or sent separately to a commercial compost facility to make rich soil blends. All employees participate in recycling glass, paper and several plastics using color coded waste bins. Two instrumental employees, John Tasker and Caith Wiles, maintain everybody’s energy and involvement with an eco-blog and ongoing improvement projects throughout the store.
Event Trashbuster Award winner is Emerald City Roller Girls. This nonprofit sport and entertainment organization models a strong ethic of community involvement, personal empowerment and eco-smarts. Sustainability Coordinator for the league educates several thousand guests and viewers at each of six annual events about the values and priority of zero waste through messages and announcements during the bouts. Most all of the food service ware is composted (they are still working with the soda distributor to acquire a compostable cup for sodas) and local master recyclers volunteer to help recycle the rest. Currently about 80 percent of event discards are recycled or composted. All paper used for posters and handbills is made with post consumer recycled content and paperless web technologies are employed to facilitate zero waste in planning and preparing for the fun.
Public Information Officer
Lane County Government
125 E. Eighth Ave.
Eugene, Oregon 97401