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Monday, July 5, 2010

Zero Waste Initiative

Zero Waste Initiative in Steamboat Springs Ski Resort Area

Steamboat Springs Ski Resort in Colorado is
#1 Resort for Environmental Responsibility 

This post is not about Becoming Raw but about Green Living.

We spent two wonderful weeks in the Steamboat Spring, CO recently and inevitably fell in love with it. There were many reasons for it – beautiful weather and fantastic living conditions at the Christy Club right at the foot of the Mt. Werner with great biking trails along the Yampa River. However, the main reason I was impressed by it was their Zero Waste Initiative in the Ski Resort area:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=123950830800

National Ski Areas Association awarded Steamboat Ski Resort as the best resort in Reduction and Recycling Program in North America. They’ve put a huge effort over the last year and reduced their land fill by 63%. They also reduced their recycling by 73%. They have moved from 374 garbage loads two years ago to 79 this year. They have been able to achieve it by creating a composting facility and switching to compostable items. This page caught my attention at the local coffee chop that won award for environmental responsibility. It has some items that I would never thought as compostables.

What is a compostable item? Here is a great definition from The Green Office: http://www.TheGreenOffice.com  Turns out it’s better then recyclable and even better the biodegradable!

COMPOSTABLE:
'Compostable' products are biodegradable, but with an added benefit: when they break down, they release valuable nutrients into the soil, aiding the growth of trees and plants. These products degrade within several months in an industrial composting facility and produce no toxic residues. Compostability is a desirable feature in traditionally-disposable products such as plates, bowls, cups and cutlery. These products are commonly made out of PLA (Polylactic acid), bagasse (sugarcane fiber) or vegetable starch. It is environmentally-preferable to use disposable products that are labeled 'compostable' rather than just 'biodegradable'.

Products that are labeled 'compostable' must enter an industrial composting facility in order for it to fully degrade into organic matter. If your city has a composting facility, place these products in your compost bins to be picked up. Compostable products will typically degrade in 30-120 days in an industrial composter, depending on the product size and material used. If your city doesn't provide industrial composting, you can dispose of compostable products in your backyard or home composter, but they will take longer to biodegrade. If you do not have access to a compost facility or a home composter, dispose of the compostables in the garbage. This option should be your last resort as waste does not easily biodegrade in landfills. Remember: do not put compostables into your recycling! They are not recyclable and will contaminate the recycling process. 

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