WRAP Report, March 2016

The Compost Is Coming!
by Joe Beer

For those of you who are excited about compost, and who wouldn’t be, there are about 150 cubic yards of compost just about ready for sale. Once the weather begins to act like spring, the compost will need to be screened and then it will, indeed, be ready to go. A small pickup load will cost about $10.00 and a large pick load about $20.00. Naturally the price includes the loading. The sale of the compost is more of a community service than a money maker; the center needs only to recoup its expenses. Once the recycling center has sorted out its costs, the final prices for the compost will be set. Given past history, the entire allotment of compost will be sold out before too long, so keep an ear to the compost.

Also coming soon will be a sign diagramming the proper traffic pattern for dropping off yellow bags and recycling materials. Occasionally, even in the midst of traffic, a customer will pull a U-turn from the compactor over to the recycling bays. A bit of a head scratcher there, but it happens. An equally troublesome maneuver involves backing up across traffic from the compactor to the bays. One accident ensued from such risky driving and there are always a number of close calls with arch looks. Good thing road-rage hasn’t made it to the Recycling Center, yet. The recycling folks will be asking us, if there is any traffic, to take a spin around the island rather than to fight across traffic to get from the compactor to the bays or vice versus. Thank you for helping with this.

The new face at the Center belongs to Wayne Croteau, a Walpole resident. Wayne, who was hired about two months ago, has been a volunteer in the past and is quickly on his way in getting up to recycling speed. Say hi to Wayne.

On a final note, don’t be shy, readers. Come on down to the Recycling Center. We like nothing more than welcoming new volunteers. Most volunteers work a two hour shift at the recycling bays, but there are other community service opportunities available. You can stop in at the Center to inquire; or give a call: 445-5197; or send an email: transfer@myfairpoint.net; or visit the web site to get the scoop: https://walpolerecycling.com.

 

WRAP Report, Feb 2016

W.R.A.P. Report by Carolyn Norback

While preparing my W.R.A.P. report for February, 2015, I was struck by the similarity of the weather conditions of 2014. A polar vortex x2 happened and is now on the verge of being the same for 2015. Now we are asking the question, why do we continue to live in New England? Here are a few reasons: 1) We don’t like to admit defeat, (we’re tough); 2) No need to hunt for conversation starters (everyone wants to talk about the weather); Provides the answer to “cold enough for you” and the excuse to repeat that old “saw, if you don’t like weather now, wait 5 minutes”. Not to beat a dead horse, yes it is very cold, but here at the recycle center we volunteers and staff are toasty warm. We owe all this delicious comfort to the wise stewardship of Paul Coburn and his staff by reusing oil brought to the center to keep heating expenses down to about $70.00/year.

So even though Jack Frost is out and about, I am still very enthusiastic about volunteering at the center. The 2 hours always fly by. Since I’m mostly there early Tuesday morning, sometimes we start slow, but then traffic builds up and we can hardly keep up with counting cars. Yes, every truck, van, car and suv is counted, so the select board knows how useful and busy the center is. With holiday parties and celebrations the center is up to the elbows with products to recycle. Many thanks and kudos to those separating refundables, makes sorting plastic, glass and aluminum containers go faster. FYI, if you’re not sure about where to look on the container to see if it refundable, the plastic and glass bottles (beer, wine, soda, water and sometimes juice) can be found somewhere near the label, sometimes on the side or bottom, and sometimes they may be hard to see. The aluminum cans are usually found on the top near the tab, and any volunteer and staff will be happy to point it out. If your loyal to a brand that is refundable and has VT stamped on it, makes it much easier for you also. Any can plastic or glass container is refundable as long as VT is stamped on it along with other states. Of course we have lots of volunteers who will take California refundables to California, not so much to Maine this time of year. Oh, yes the caps, please try to remember to remove them from the container and deposit them in your yellow Walpole trash bags. There is always room for more volunteers on the schedule. Sign up if you fancy a friendly, warm and welcoming environment in which to give back to the community.

WRAP Report by Joe Beer

Joe Beer sent along this WRAP report for Oct/Nov 2015

You might not see many kids out volunteering at the recycling center, but they are there, little
swarms of them. Every year a new cohort of Santa’s helpers, so to speak, sets about collecting and
sorting a sizable stream of recyclables that would otherwise be headed for landfills, with a stop at
your pocketbook along the way.

Santa’s invisible helpers are hiding out in the hallways of your local schools. They haven’t
always been there, but in 2010, with a little help from Mike Lewis of the school district and the staff at
the Walpole Recycling Center, the district begin a full-fledged recycling program in all four attendance
areas.

Each attendance area is some what different, but for the most part, 5th graders, except at the
high school of course, collect and sort the usuals of glass, paper and plastics. These are stored in
boxed trailers and are delivered to the Walpole Recycling Center on about a weekly basis. Of course,
this results in an additional savings for Walpole, as about 15 – 20 tons of recyclable materials are
added to Walpole’s annual output.

The recycling program produced an immediate savings for the school district of over $20,000 in
money it was spending to get rid of its trash. Nothing wrong with that. One of those win-win situations, though you could add on two more wins there: one for the environment which has 20 fewer tons of refuse to absorb and one for the young kids who learn something about preserving their planet.

There are a few offsetting costs to the program, but those are very minor. The district had to pay
for four boxed trailers, some recycling bins, and the time it takes for the weekly round up of the
trailers. In the main, the district now saves quite a bit of money every year by recycling so much of its
trash.

In the few short years since it began, the district recycling program has earned at least three
separate awards. Mike Lewis, Dori Ferreira in Alstead, and Sean Bordeur-Stevens in Charlestown
have all been recognized for their efforts by the NRRA, the principal recycling agency in the
northeast.

So, even though we can’t really see them, thank you to all the little helpers of the Fall Mountain
school district.

 

WRAP Report

Charles Blount sent along this WRAP report for September, 2015.

W.R.A.P.

Walpole Recycling Action Project

Summer (and school vacations) are coming to an end. So are many of the activities that demand our time all summer long. We’re home from the beach, and back from that trip out to Minnesota to see Grandma.

It’s that time of year when we slow down to think about what we would like to do next. What can we do that would provide the greatest value for our family, our friends, and our town. Some of us are already helping the Friends of the Walpole Library sort through hundreds (perhaps thousands) of books in preparation for the annual book sale now scheduled for late October.

Others are helping to teach our Walpole grade-schoolers how to play soccer. Not too many years ago a six-year-old in our family was running up and down the school field wearing a red Walpole shirt.

There are other activities here in our town that are in need of our help and support. One that immediately comes to mind, is the Walpole Re-Use Center, located out on Route 123 (Whitcomb Road) on the way to Drewsville, on the grounds of the Walpole Recycling Center. That operation, run exclusively by volunteers, provides an exchange for the things you no longer need but are in good condition and can readily be Re-Used. There are events in our lives, and in the lives of our neighbors here in Walpole, in which sudden needs arise. You, or a friend, falls and breaks a hip – now you have a sudden need for a walker. You don’t happen to have one to use for yourself or to lend to a friend. So, where do you go to find one? The Re-Use Center, of course. The cost to you? An affordable donation to the Food Shelf. So you get the walker you really need while some family here in our town gets food that they really need.

Another “event:” You are just setting up housekeeping in your new apartment here in Walpole. You have a few pots and pans, plates, cups and enough silverware to meet your daily needs. Then you get a message from your sister, advising that she will be coming to spend a week with you in beautiful Walpole during Leaf Peeping Season. (This is not so far-fetched as you might think!) And she’ll be bringing her husband and twin baby boys. Now, you need the equipment to bed down and feed this outfit, including your brother-in-law who is the size of a Patriots Middle Linebacker! What do you do? Smile – a trip to the Re-Use Center and you’ll be OK!

The Re-Use Center is a SERVICE provided to us for free by our town. It costs the taxpayers nothing since it is managed and manned exclusively by VOLUNTEERS – NOT TOWN EMPLOYEES. So, the Re-Use Center really needs your help and support – they need you to volunteer so they can keep their door open! Volunteering to help at the Re-Use Center provides our town with a service that is important, not only to those who break a hip or have an unexpected house-full, but to the very fabric of our town.

WRAP report for June

Joe Beer sent along this WRAP report (last month, sorry for tardiness!). Lots of pics of the garden on its webpage.

George’s Garden

As you round the corner heading out of the recycling center, there it is………George’s Garden. Instead of the burn pit, piles of brush, cement dividers, recycling containers, and boney gravel, there is the little corner of serene green overlooking Whitcomb’s Pond.

In spring of 2011, the Watkins family asked that donations be made to the Town of Walpole George Watkins Memorial Recycling Fund. Working together, Paul Colburn, head of the recycling department, Fritze Till and the rest of the WRAP Committee won approval from the Selectmen to build a garden dedicated in George Watkins’s memory.

Once the WRAP committee accepted the task of building the memorial garden, many hands and minds set to work. Fritze Till was the master gardener in charge of plant selection and garden design. Under her caring and wise direction, the garden now has a beautiful and varied selection of trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers. In combination, the flora now provide a season-long show of gorgeous flowers and foliages.

Fritze’s many helpers included numerous recycling volunteers, friends and garden lovers. The center boulder was donated and delivered by Cold River Materials. Workers from the Recycling Department delivered, moved and removed goodly amounts of mulch, compost and not-so-good topsoil.

Should you be of a mind to sit down for a bit to enjoy the lush scenery or the water fowl on the cool waters of the pond, there are three benches built by Bob Grenier. George Watkins and his wife, both of whom were devoted to gardening, would be more than quietly pleased to rest for a moment in this tranquil nook, nestled in the far corner of the Recycling Center.

The Recycling Center itself was set into motion in January of 1988, when George Watkins, William Beer and Roger Weil began the planning process for the Walpole Recycling Action Program, otherwise known as WRAP. In the early days, volunteers worked four hour shifts in the freezing cold and boiling heat. Equipment consisted of a glass crusher, a plastic granulator, a used railroad boxcar and a donated mobile trailer for the Re-Use It Center. The original budget to get things rolling was $11,000, approved at Town Meeting.

George stayed with the Recycling Center from 1988 to 2011, serving as its chairman that entire time. In 2010, George was honored with the Volunteer Recycler of the Year Award by the NRRA, The Northeast Regional Resource Association.

In fact, Walpole’s recycling program has earned a number of awards. In 1999, Walpole was awarded the Best Municipal Recycling Program from the NRRA. In 2012, the Town of Walpole won the award for Greatest Number of Programs Used Through the NRRA for a town with a a population of 1,000 – 5,000. This year the Town of Walpole again won the Award for the Greatest Number of Programs Used Through the NRRA. Also this year, Paul Colburn won the Environmental Stewardship Award from New Hampshire the Beautiful. Congratulations and thank you to George, Paul, Fritze and all the other volunteers who have made both the Walpole Recycling Program and the Recycling Center into model, award winning items.

 

Joe Beer

WRAP Report

This just in from Charles Blount…

W.R.A.P.
Walpole Recycling Action Project

It’s been a long, cold winter.  All the wood for the wood stove has long since been burned up and it’s cold in here as I write this.  It’s even colder outside, and there’s a stiff, biting wind that just cuts right through you.
Mom and Dad Robin arrived a few days ago.  I have been feeling very sad for them; they’ll starve, since all the earthworms must still be frozen stiff like little pencils!   Well, Spring MUST be on the way now.  Mama Robin, just outside my window, pecked diligently at the ground and came up with an earthworm; not a big one mind you, but enough for her to live on for a while.  What a winter this has been!
As good stewards of our planet, we surely aren’t interested in spoiling it with trash.  We make a serious effort to REDUCE our trash by being very careful about what we buy and how it is packaged.  We also REUSE items that others might throw away, and we RECYCLE (repurpose) items where possible (that empty aluminum soda can might end up as part of the wing of that jet you fly on your next trip to Miami).
The REDUCE part of the equation is the responsibility of each one of us, individually.  Our town can’t  help us there; WE have to do it!
Our town CAN help us with the REUSE part of the equation.  The Walpole REUSE Center is up and running again as of last week.  As we come into the Recycle Center out on Drewsville Road, the first thing we see is the big, blue trailer to the right of the main building.  Really, – a Big Blue Trailer?  Yep; that’s the home of the Walpole REUSE Center.  That big blue trailer is unheated, so it has to shut down every winter.  TRIVIA: What is the biggest thing that we REUSE again and again?  The Walpole REUSE Center’s Big Blue Trailer, of course!
OK, so how can we use the REUSE Center?  Well, for example, there, in the garage is Robbie’s bicycle. He rode that thing everywhere back before his family moved to Walpole. Now, living at the top of a long, steep hill, it just isn’t used anymore. Besides, Robbie is now a sophomore at college in Pennsylvania and gets around in a used VW. His dad is too out of shape to make it up that big hill, and mom won’t ride it – after all, it’s a boy’s bike and I hear that no self-respecting girl would ride a boy’s bike – you know how girls are!
Anyway, Roger will be starting the 4th grade this fall; he doesn’t have a bike – yet.  Mom sees just what he needs at the REUSE Center and, after making a small donation to the local Food Shelf, heads home with a bike that will last Roger until HE goes off to college.
The object of this whole REUSE process is to prevent that bike from becoming a part of the solid waste stream that spoils our beautiful state, and our planet.  Please go to Walpolerecycling.com/reuse-center/ to see a list of what is available there.  And, the next time you are out at the RECYCLING Center, stop by the REUSE Trailer to see, first hand, what is there – you’ll be amazed!  Speak with the good people there, the volunteers who man the center, to see how you might join them as a volunteer – just two hours per month.  This can be your way to “Pay It Ahead” to the town that does so much for us all.
Now, a quick note on the RECYCLE part of the REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE equation.  The recent reduction in oil (and gasoline) prices has been just great for our family budget.  But that same reduction has caused dislocations in the raw materials world.  Plastic, like that used for water bottles, is called “PETE” and has a resin code of “1” (that’s what the “1” in the triangle tells you).  At the most basic level, PETE is made from oil along with some other chemicals.  That’s why the plastics world is in competition with the heating oil and gasoline world – same basic resource.
When oil prices were high (the past few years) plastic companies bought their PETE from recyclers like us (and thousands of other towns around the US – and Europe, too).  The recycled PETE was cleaned, shredded, chemically melted down, some more chemicals were added, and then it was recast into bottles.  There you have it; the life-cycle of PETE.
But, when the price of oil drops (as it has recently), the plastic companies can make their PETE directly from oil at near, or even less cost than they could make it by processing recycled PETE.  If the plastic companies don’t pay us for our recyclable PETE we are faced with either storing it somewhere, or paying to have it dumped in a landfill.  Once in a landfill, it will be there forever – plastics do not biodegrade!
Given the current raw materials market, plastic companies can afford to be really picky about the quality (purity) of our recycled PETE.  In order to avoid having our recycled PETE end up in a landfill, we have to be just as “picky” as the plastic companies about the purity of what we take in.
At least for the time being, we just can no longer take in those “clam-shell” containers, or PETE items that are not in a “bottle” format (where the top (opening) is smaller in diameter than the base).  And we cannot take in PETE items that we cannot see through.  (They don’t have to be “clear or colorless,” but we have to be able to see through them.)
Uncomfortable as these changes are for you (and for us) they will keep the “purity” of our PETE recyclables at a level where we should be able to continue to sell our recycled PETE to the plastic companies.
Now, one final reminder: the REUSE Center is in need of volunteers; please stop in to see all the good things they have in the Big Blue Trailer, and learn what it means to be a volunteer there.  Pay It Ahead.

WRAP Report for February, 2015

Carolyn Norback sent along this WRAP report for February, 2015.

While preparing my W.R.A.P. report for February, 2015, I was struck by the similarity of the weather conditions of 2014. A polar vortex x2 happened and is now on the verge of being the same for 2015. Now we are asking the question, why do we continue to live in New England? Here are a few reasons: 1) We don’t like to admit defeat, (we’re tough); 2) No need to hunt for conversation starters (everyone wants to talk about the weather); Provides the answer to “cold enough for you” and the excuse to repeat that old “saw, if you don’t like weather now, wait 5 minutes”. Not to beat a dead horse, yes it is very cold, but here at the recycle center we volunteers and staff are toasty warm. We owe all this delicious comfort to the wise stewardship of Paul Coburn and his staff by reusing oil brought to the center to keep heating expenses down to about $70.00/year.

So even though Jack Frost is out and about, I am still very enthusiastic about volunteering at the center. The 2 hours always fly by. Since I’m mostly there early Tuesday morning, sometimes we start slow, but then traffic builds up and we can hardly keep up with counting cars. Yes, every truck, van, car and suv is counted, so the select board knows how useful and busy the center is. With holiday parties and celebrations the center is up to the elbows with products to recycle. Many thanks and kudos to those separating refundables, makes sorting plastic, glass and aluminum containers go faster. FYI, if you’re not sure about where to look on the container to see if it refundable, the plastic and glass bottles (beer, wine, soda, water and sometimes juice) can be found somewhere near the label, sometimes on the side or bottom, and sometimes they may be hard to see. The aluminum cans are usually found on the top near the tab, and any volunteer and staff will be happy to point it out. If your loyal to a brand that is refundable and has VT stamped on it, makes it much easier for you also. Any can plastic or glass container is refundable as long as VT is stamped on it along with other states. Of course we have lots of volunteers who will take California refundables to California, not so much to Maine this time of year. Oh, yes the caps, please try to remember to remove them from the container and deposit them in your yellow Walpole trash bags. There is always room for more volunteers on the schedule. Sign up if you fancy a friendly, warm and welcoming environment in which to give back to the community.

Wrap Report

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

Wrap Report for October, 2014

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?

 

Carolyn Norback

WRAP Report for September 2014

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!