Friday, February 27, 2009

ERC: Recycling efforts are on the rise

County residents recycled 2,453 tons of material in 2008

Express Staff Writer

The amount of glass, plastic and other recyclable materials being recycled by area residents is on the rise, according to a report from the Southern Idaho Solid Waste District. According to the Environmental Resource Center, Blaine County residents are boosting the amount of material heading to the county’s recycling center at Ohio Gulch. Photo by David N. Seelig

Wood River Valley residents are recycling more than they used to.

A recent report from the Southern Idaho Solid Waste District indicates that more than 2,453 tons of recycled materials passed through the Blaine County Resource Recovery Center at Ohio Gulch in fiscal year 2008. According to the Ketchum-based Environmental Resource Center, that's 384 tons more than in fiscal 2006, a 19 percent increase.

In 2007, the center was closed for more than seven months for an extensive $1.5 million renovation that enlarged the main facility. The work made the facility safer and more convenient for both workers and the public, according to a news release from the ERC.

The renovation efforts included the purchase of a new baler that increased processing efficiency for materials passing through the center. The center collects and processes cardboard, newsprint, aluminum and tin cans, glass, mixed paper, magazines, plastic bottles, computers and other materials.

The more than 115 tons of mixed paper that passed through the center in 2008 was sold to commodity buyers specializing in recycled materials. According to the ERC, the sale of these commodities brings revenue back to the center, which helps offset the cost of operations, saves landfill space and reduces the county's overall carbon footprint.

Blaine County owns both the resource recovery center and the associated waste transfer site at Ohio Gulch. The site is managed by the Southern Idaho Solid Waste District. The partnership also includes the ERC, which provides educational outreach and information to the public.

The partnership was formalized as "Blaine County Recycles!" in 2008.

For more information about what and where to recycle in Blaine County, contact the ERC at 726-4333 or go to the organization's Web site at

Jason Kauffman:

Girl Scouts aim to reduce plastic bag use

Working with the Environmental Resource Center and the Wood River Community YMCA, the Wood River Girl Scout troop 214 has developed a plan to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags. The Girl Scouts will host an "I'm not plastic, I'm Fantastic Fashion Show and Tea" event this weekend. The show, which is open to the public, will be held from 4-6 p.m., Sunday, March 1, at the YMCA in Ketchum.

The event will launch the troop's Bag It project, aimed at reducing the use of plastic shopping bags in the Wood River Valley. "Pay as you can" donations are welcome and will help offset the cost of purchasing reusable shopping bags, an ERC news release states. The fashion show also kicks off a competition between 26 mountain resort towns to reduce the use of plastic bags.

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