Salazar made it into the second week of the Go Green Challenge, a program sponsored by Sara Melnicoff of Moab Solutions and Abby Scott of Canyonlands Community Recycling (CCR), during which Salazar will learn how to incorporate sustainable practices into her daily routine.
If she successfully implements changes suggested by Melnicoff and Scott she will be awarded a free year of curbside recycling from Green Solutions, as well as $500 in cash. She will also receive gift certificates from Moonflower Community Cooperative, WabiSabi and EklectiCafe.
In the first week, Salazar learned how to sort her household recycling and fight the urge to throw everything in the trash.
She said implementing a small change — moving her recycling bin to an area where her trashcan had once been — made the first week of the Go Green Challenge easy.
“It wasn’t difficult,” Salazar said. “The first day was a little weird but I’m so glad that I put my trash on the other side of the kitchen.”
She held up her household bin of recyclables. “Look how big it is,” she said of the amount of recycling she collected after only one week.
Sorting her cardboard, aluminum, tin cans, plastics, newspaper, office paper, glass and mixed paper into the Recycle Centers’ large bins, Salazar saw first hand the large amount of recycling collected at 1000 Sand Flats Road.
Melnicoff explained that things like paperboard, magazines, books, paper towel rolls and egg cartons can also be accepted at the center.
She also stressed that it is important to correctly sort recyclables at the center because the employees often have to spend extra time re-sorting items that aren’t in the correct bin.
To make things flow more smoothly, the center has small trashcans to collect bottle caps that cannot be recycled, as well as a handy magnet that attracts tin to help sorters differentiate between tin and aluminum.
Melnicoff and Salazar also toured the grounds, remarking on the large piles of baled recyclables.
“They have categories like newspaper, aluminum, number two plastic,” Melnicoff explained. “And when they have enough, they bale it up and wait for it to get shipped out.”
In 2014, the Recycle Center shipped almost 1.3 million pounds of recyclable materials to market for sale.
The recycled materials then make their way into other products — the aluminum goes to processing centers to be recycled into new cans, the office paper becomes tissue paper or paper towels, and the glass is at times crushed and used locally as landfill cover, saving the Grand County Solid Waste Special Service District the cost of cover soil.
After visiting the Recycle Center, Melnicoff showed Salazar bulk items at the Moonflower Community Cooperative, explaining that buying bulk items like beans, spices, shampoo and soap can help reduce container waste.
She also encouraged Salazar to use reusable grocery bags to reduce plastic bag consumption.
Next week, Salazar will learn how to reduce electronic waste and household hazardous waste.
For more information about the Go Green Challenge or to learn about greener living in Moab, visit: www.moab-solutions.org and www.moabrecycles.org.