Here is the Volunteer Schedule for November. It has been posted to the website here.
Joe Beer sent along this WRAP Report:
Know Your Vitals!
There are some things a person needs to know. For example, Americans generate 4.38 lbs of trash per person, per day! Of which they recycle or compost 1.51 lbs. That’s a lot of trash. But, big question: where does the missing 2.87 lbs per person per day go? Think yellow bags, then landfills.
California has done it again. The state just banned the use of plastic bags, the first such move in America, though not a novelty in other parts of the world. Why would Californians do a thing like that? A plastic bag has an average life usage of about 20 minutes, store-to-home. The average length of time it takes for a plastic bag to breakdown is about 1000 years.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “The US goes through about 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually” which amounts to “an estimated 12 million barrels of oil”. That’s a lot bags and a lot of oil. Maybe re-usable shopping bags are good idea.
And how is the recycling effort going here in hometown Walpole? This year is shaping up to be a very average year in both expenses and income. Total expenses to run the Walpole Recycling Center for the year are about $320,000 (labor, equipment, facilities, processing recyclables, get rid of the yellow bags, etc….). But, because we recycle, the town “earns” about $180,000 per year in recycled materials. So about 2/3 of our trash expenses are recovered by minimizing our use of those yellow trash bags.
This spring the Recycling Center will once again be selling screened compost, of which they expect to have about 120 cubic yards. The cost will be about $10 for a small pick-up load and about $20 for a large pick-up load. The Center does donate free compost to schools and community gardens.
As a last note, Tom Fitzgerald has just retired from the Recycle Center this October. Tom, the main man on the baler as well as on many other miscellaneous tasks, has been with the Recycle Center since 2007. From all of us Walpolians, a collective: “Thank you, Tom, for all your years of service; and we wish you the best as you enter a new phase in your life.”
It’s time to finish out-placing your previously loved items or discovering new treasures among the previously loved items others have dropped off at the Reuse Center. The Center closes at the end of October!
Carolyn Norback sent along October’s WRAP report:
My last volunteer stint at the recycling center, I again found myself deep in the sorting of plastic!!!! One would think it should be an easy shift, sorting plastic, especially since most bottles or containers are relatively clean and easy to toss. Look for #1 or #2, each to it’s own box. Easy peasy, right! After two hours of sorting you kind of think, should I be going faster? How come it takes so long to sort? As soon as a load comes in, it should be gone quickly. Well here’s the answer. The center realizes a fairly lucrative amount of money from returnable plastic bottles, cans and glass bottles. Handling each can and bottle to determine the returnable from the rest is time consuming and labor intensive. More experienced volunteers are much faster at sorting and I expect to become more proficient as I gain more experience.
And then a very nice recycler handed me a bag and said, “these are all returnable”. Wow, a real eye opener. I talked to Paul Coburn about maybe designating a box just for returnable items, plastic, glass or aluminum. Well Paul thought it would be more confusing to add three more boxes for people to sort into. Then I thought back to conversations I’ve had with different people who do recycle and wish they had more time to volunteer at the center, especially since I’m so enthusiastic about volunteering myself. Then I talked again to Paul and said since I’m reporting on this months WRAP, we could use this forum to enlist volunteers in another way, asking recyclers to put their returnable items in a separate bag. I don’t think to would take much more time, since you’re recycling anyway, and it would certainly free up volunteer time to do more at the center. It could be a win-win situation, good for the center and good for people who want to volunteer but are time strapped.
If you do have time and would like to volunteer, glass crushing is a really cool thing to do. Battery packing can be exciting, they haven’t yet let me at the cardboard, but I’m looking forward to that. The best part of being a Recycle Center Volunteer, is working with Paul, Paul, Greg and the other volunteers. And if you get picked as volunteer of the month, you get a free lunch. What could be better?
This in from Charles Blount:
One of the really wonderful things about living in Walpole is the willingness of the people to share their resources, time and talent for the benefit of their neighbors and their town. Actually, the same could likely be said about many of the small towns in New Hampshire and Vermont.
Consider for example, the Bandstand on the Town Green; a gift to the town in memory of Judy Bailey. Consider the beautiful new ball fields up on the North Meadow and the Veterans Memorial on the Green. These are among the THOUSANDS of gifts our town has received over the years. Consider the refurbishment of the flagpole and its huge golden eagle up on top (gifts of time and talent); these too are gifts to the town, for all of us to enjoy.
Consider those who serve on the School Board, the Planning Board, the Library Committee and the Recreation Committee (among others). These people also give a gift to our town – a gift of their time and talent. They don’t undertake these assignments in order to get rich, or to get even so much as a penny. Their gift of time and talent benefits all the people in our town, but most especially, our youngsters. Hundreds of volunteer hours go into the coaching of our Walpole girls and boys basketball teams, soccer, baseball and swimming teams. All these gifts make Walpole a wonderful place in which to live for all of us, for our children and, in due course, their children.
Volunteers are absolutely necessary for many of the functions and services available here in Walpole. We have a recycling program here that permits a family to dispose of their household trash at a cost of about $100 per year. Were they to opt for curbside pickup by a commercial firm it would likely set them back about $600 or $700 per year. Thanks to the Walpole Recycling program, this saving is available to ALL the families in our town. So how can Walpole afford to provide a service that would otherwise cost us at least six times as much? There are two factors: (1) Recycling, and (2) Volunteers.
Recycling means accepting newspapers, plastic, cans, cardboard and the like and SELLING it to firms that melt it down, shred it up, etc., making it into a resource resell-able as a raw material to businesses and industries. (Where do you suppose the Keene Sentinel gets the paper on which it prints the newspaper? And where do you think the plastic for those milk bottles on the grocer’s shelf comes from?)
Volunteers means that we (the town) could not afford to run a recycling center in which all of the work was done by paid employees. At that sort of labor cost it wouldn’t make any sense to operate a recycle center and we’d ALL have to pay that $600 – $700 per year!
All this really only addresses the cost and convenience issues but, for many of us, there is a larger issue: the environment and our planet. Every milk jug recycled is one milk jug that does NOT end up in a land fill where is does not (CANNOT) decompose.
In my view, we all have a responsibility to give back to our town; a responsibility – a DUTY. For those who can, there are projects that need to be funded (that lets ME out!). For those who can, there are refurbishment projects (like that big beautiful eagle on top of our flagpole) that require special talents (that lets ME out!) But for “regular” people like me, there are opportunities to volunteer at the Walpole Recycling Center (that I CAN do, and DO – two hours each month).
Just call Paul Colburn at 445-5197 and speak with him or one of his people – OR, JUST ASK ONE OF YOUR NEIGHBORS WHO ALREADY VOLUNTEERS at the Recycle Center. It’s your DUTY – OUR DUTY to give back to the town we love so much!
The volunteer schedule for July, 2014 has been posted to the website. Can you help fill in the blanks? There are THREE slots open this Thursday, for example. Click here to take a peek.
Charles Blount sends this along:
At the top of the recycling news this time is the Grand Re-Opening of Walpole’s Re-Use Center. The Re-Use Center is that blue trailer on the right as you come into the Recycling Center. It has to be shut down each winter since it is unheated – but now, The Grand Re-opening! We all know about the Recycling Center but, you ask, why do we need a Re-Use Center too?
There are things around home that you no longer use. You hate to take that sort of thing to be just “disposed of,” after all, some of the things that you no longer use are quite valuable. What about Anna’s cuddly doll; it’s perfectly good still but Anna left for college two years ago. Same thing for Christopher’s little red wagon; he’s driving a Chevrolet now and besides, at 250 lbs, he won’t fit in the wagon any more! What about pots and pans, dishes, serving trays, good books and DVDs? If Dad brought a fancy new mixer home for you, what would you do with the one you’ve been using for years? You can’t really use these things any more, but perhaps someone else in our town really COULD use them.
Consider a young family that was burned out of their home this past week. They have a sudden, urgent need for a cuddly doll, a little red wagon, and a set of dishes. What happens when your kid breaks a leg; you have a sudden need for a set of crutches. Now, I don’t know how much a set of crutches costs, but when Paul gave me a tour of the Re-Use Center last week, there, in the back room, were several sets of crutches.
So, if you need these crutches what do they cost you? What about Anna’s cuddly doll, or Chris’s little red wagon? For some, less expensive items like these, the only cost to you is a reasonable donation to the local Food Shelf – in an amount that you can afford and that you are comfortable with. For more expensive stuff, like Chris’s stereo set he couldn’t take to college, or grandma’s old jewelry, it is sort of like a tag sale. The cost to you for these more expensive items, while still really small, helps to fund our local Food Shelf. With the number of our neighbors unemployed or employed only part time, the Food Shelf needs all the help we can give it. House fires, divorces, sudden unemployment, unexpected relocation and all sorts of other family events (including broken legs) come up, resulting in a need for cuddly dolls, red wagons, a set of dishes or crutches. The Re-Use Center is there for you – take advantage of it! Take a look through it to see what is there for you. You see, this is what your Re-Use Center is for; meanwhile, it helps US to support our Food Shelf, something we really need just now.
So, what do we citizens (taxpayers) have to do to have our Re-Use Center? We have to volunteer; not all of us of course, but enough to man the Re-Use Center every Thursday and Saturday from 8 AM to 4 PM. The same thing goes for the Recycle Center, too (but it’s open three days: Tues, Thurs and Sat). We had two more volunteers start at the Recycle Center last month but we surely could use another three or four. And of course, now with the Re-Use Center Re-Opening, they will be needing some more volunteers as well. It’s just two hours per month; yes, per MONTH (not per week, or per day!). We who volunteer are “Paying it Ahead” for our home town, and we would like to have you join us; help enable us to make our Recycle Center and Re-Use Center serve all who live in our town.
Here’s an ITEM for you: A Thank You to all who brought their used motor oil in to the Recycle Center this past winter. Your Recycle Center did not have to spend a single DIME to heat the center – used motor oil did it ALL. One Tuesday morning in January it was 9 degrees BELOW zero outside; it was just fine inside the center. I know; it was my volunteer day. Paul sends a Big Thank You. We volunteers send a Big Thank you, too!
The volunteer schedule for April, 2014 has been posted to the website. Can you help fill in the blanks? Click here to take a peek.