Spruced up bin draws attention to recycling
The three “R’s” have brought a sense of new enthusiasm to a growing college community in northern Utah. In the fall of 1995, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” was the message a group of Utah State University (USU) students sent out to the public.
It all started with Nate Smith’s desire to do something about all the cardboard that was being thrown away at his work place.
Smith, a student at the Logan-based college, also needed to develop a project for one of his classes at USU. With the help of Roger Sunada, Logan’s Director of Environmental Health, and other community members, a plan to paint a large roll-off bin emerged.
Mayor Darla Olsen gave the go-ahead, and Smith, with the help of friends, gave the plain, earth-toned recycling bin a facelift.
The recycling bin is now a mural that welcomes customers at a local shopping center. The students painted a beautiful Cache Valley lake where huge, colorful rainbow trout swim. On one end of the bin, the earth floats in the middle of the metal canvas, and on the other end, a tree is painted.
On the face of the bin, the words “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” encourage the public to recycle, reminding everyone that being actively involved in environmental issues is as easy as visiting the shopping center.
Prior to the facelift, the shopping center had six front-load bins placed in the parking lot for newspaper and cardboard collection. These were replaced by the newly painted roll-off, and the artistic touch has advertised recycling in a new, positive way.
The new roll-off holds 30 cubic yards of recyclables, according to Elmer Kingsford, Logan’s Environmental Health Supervisor. The bin is emptied once a week of an average of 11,000 pounds of newspaper.
This represents a 4,000-pounds-per-week increase in the newspaper flow. In the same area, a bin for corrugated cardboard is emptied on a weekly basis. It averages approximately 18,000 pounds per week.
Recycling in Cache County began in 1990, and each year more and more people are consciously making an effort to recycle at the more than 50 front-load containers scattered throughout the county. Full containers are taken to Valley Metals or Mountain Fibers where the materials are sold to remanufacturing facilities or used for insulation.
The materials currently bring about $45 per ton.This money is turned back into recycling efforts by extending service areas for drop-off sites and buying more containers to help meet the expanding needs of businesses and population growth,” Kingsford says.
In 1993, a national survey showed that 38 percent of all waste was paper and cardboard.
“Cache County falls within 3 percent of the national survey,” Kingsford says. “Paper and cardboard have been targeted because of volume and because these materials are simple to pull from the waste stream since people generally separate paper anyway.”
Other recycling projects are also in place. Besides sites for corrugated cardboard and newspaper, there are drop-off sites for aluminum, copper and brass, carpet pad, waste tires, used oil, ferrous metals and yard trimmings.
Sunada has isolated an area for yard trimmings and pallets at Logan’s landfill. A tub grinder is used to convert them into wood chips and compost for bedding and landscape uses. The amount of yard trimmings collected has risen from approximately 320 tons in 1990 to more than 6,800 tons in 1995.
The county also holds a Household Hazardous Waste Day twice a year to allow the public to get rid of hazardous materials at no cost.
Items are taken to a designated site where materials are collected, separated, packaged and sent to hazardous waste facilities. Some materials are reused, some are burned for fuel, and others are remanufactured.
The message “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” extends beyond paper and cardboard, but it is a good place to start. The artistic bins have served as a great advertising tool, and recycling is on the rise in Cache County.