America recycles … and so do Idaho County residents

Brrr! With the arrival of wintry weather, fleece jackets and gloves are a popular apparel choice. Chances are that fleece coat is the product of recycled plastic bottles that are shredded and refined into cozy-warm, reasonably-priced clothing. Perhaps some of that re-purposed plastic began the journey in Idaho County — an elegant and practical end for a milk jug!

November is designated to promote “America Recycles” across the country. It is obvious that many Idaho County residents have easily and efficiently incorporated recycling into daily routines. Idaho County Recycling (ICR) has collected an average of 28.4 tons of recyclables each month (to-date) during 2014. After five years of a successful program, ICR’s grand total of diverted recyclables is 1,370 tons. (Visualize a herd of 300 elephants for a size comparison.)

So, why recycle?

—Massive amounts of space-hogging garbage has become a huge national headache with the associated problems of locating and purchasing suitable landfill sites, adhering to environmental requirements and funding the hauling and dumping expenses – a dilemma that could be easily and inexpensively reduced if all Americans would accept the responsibility (and personal satisfaction) of regular, local recycling.

—Recycling extends the “life” of our finite natural resources. Through vigorous recycling programs, the original products from trees, metal and oil are used over and over. Compared with the expense of “starting from scratch”, the cycle of re-purposing slashes the production costs by saving energy:

Aluminum – 95 percent

Steel Cans – 74 percent

Paper – 70 percent

Plastic Bottles – 88 percent

Approximately 10-15 percent of Idaho County residents are currently recycling. Doubling the number of patrons and amount of tonnage would lower garbage hauling and dumping costs with future benefits for the county, cities, recycling-based manufacturers and consumers. Besides individual recycling efforts, patrons are encouraged to support Idaho County Recycling by volunteering; steering committee members and site volunteers are always needed to keep the program fresh and viable.

With the support of many partnerships and volunteers, ICR has increased collection sites, tonnage and acceptable recyclables. With the approach of the Ho-Ho-Ho Season, strings of old holiday lights will be taken as part of the newer E-waste program – which includes a wide range of electronics, excluding computer monitors and alkaline batteries. Complete recycling guidelines are available at each ICR facility.

And back to that fleece jacket! Please remember that the four ICR sites (Cottonwood, Grangeville, Kooskia and Riggins) are staffed by cheerful, helpful, dedicated volunteers. If the winter-time snow, wind and/or temperature levels are severe enough to pose a risk for the workers, the facilities will not be open … and sometimes that may be a last-minute decision. Community contact numbers for recycling information and site conditions are:

Cottonwood — 962-7170 or 962-5513, Grangeville — 983-2843 or 983-2821, Kooskia — 926-4979 or 926-7231, Riggins — 628-4101. 

America recycles. Idaho County recycles. Join us!

Shelley Dumas, ICR Grangeville site manager, and Janie Fluharty, ICR coordinator.

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