Posts filed under ‘Waukesha’
Waukesha County is back at it with the 2011 Reduce Your Waste Stream Challenge! In 2010, we were inspired by the enthusiasm and success of the 33 participating households, so we knew we wanted to make it bigger and better than ever.
This year, we’re going straight to the source and recruiting schools and organizations to take on the Challenge.
Check out this article about our latest Challenge with the STEM Academy in Waukesha:
Also, check out the revamped official website of the Reduce Your Waste Stream Challenge:
Hope you can join us for the Challenge soon!
On November 13th, Dan Vrakas, Waukesha County Executive, was on hand at the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) to award Mary Jo Baas the grand prize in the Reduce Your Waste Stream Team Challenge: a 46” LCD television donated by the Carton Council. The Baas family won the prize for reducing the amount of garbage they threw away by an astonishing 89.8 percent, more than 32 other households in the Challenge. The Brookfield family reduced their weekly trash from 20.8 pounds to 2.1 pounds. Coming in second place and receiving a laptop computer laptop was the Beyerlein household, compiling an impressive 87.5 percent reduction in their garbage. The Town of Waukesha family reduced their weekly trash from 16 pounds to 2 pounds.
Where did it all go? Much of it was removed from their garbage cans and either reused, thrown into the recycling bin or composted in their backyard. Some of it never made it into their house because participants learned to buy in bulk or recyclable packaging to significantly reduce packaging waste.
The recycling grand prize, a desktop computer, went to the Peggy Lippe household from Elm Grove for increasing recycling from 7 pounds to 86 pounds per week, an increase of over 1100 percent. Both the laptop and the desktop computers were donated by Materials Processing Corporation.
The fun, friendly waste-reduction competition was designed to increase awareness of recycling and waste reduction strategies available to all Waukesha County residents. In all, 33 families in six Waukesha County communities participated in the Challenge. The STEaM Team, made up of five families whose children attend the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Charter School in Waukesha, were awarded a Team Grand Prize for their cumulative 71 percent waste reduction. They reduced their weekly waste from 7.7 pounds per person to 2.2 pounds per person.
Mr. Vrakas was pleasantly surprised by the results of the Challenge. “The most interesting outcome of the Challenge might be the way families came together to work toward a common goal. This competition did more than simply reduce the amount of waste people threw away. It actually gave people a sense of accomplishment. It made a difference in their lives. These families are models for the rest of us.”
It also made a difference when considering the environmental impact. Preliminary competition data showed that each household reduced the amount of garbage it produced by an average of 12.6 pounds per week. The data also showed the amount of recyclable material increased by an average of 10 pounds per household per week. By extrapolating the data collected from the participating households, if just one quarter of the households in the 25 participating communities did as well as our Challenge participants, the county would divert more than 7,200 tons of garbage every year from landfills and increase recycling by 5,700 tons. From a financial standpoint, that represents an annual savings of over $288,000 in landfill disposal fees and $572,000 worth of additional recyclables..
“Even though this is a small sample size, this competition shows what can be done to reduce our waste stream in the county and the entire state,” said Karen Fiedler, Solid Waste Supervisor for Waukesha County. “Most of the families that participated thought they were already pretty good about recycling, yet they were able to increase recycling by an average of 67%. What that tells me is that those families that don’t do a lot of recycling could post even more impressive results by simply practicing the 3Rs- reduce, reuse, recycle. The Challenge results are very encouraging and speak well to what households can accomplish in the future with just a little effort.”
Sponsors for the Challenge are: the Carton Council, leading manufacturers of carton packaging; FCR Recycling; Materials Processing Corporation (MPC), recyclers of electronics; Marcus Theatres; Veolia Environmental Services-Hartland; and Johns Disposal. To read participant blog posts and see team reduction and recycling data, or to learn what you can do to reduce your waste stream, go to www.ReduceYourWasteStream.org.
34 households in 6 communities are taking on the Challenge of reducing their waste, while also looking to make sure they recycle everything they can.
After establishing a baseline trash and recycling output in the first week, the households then entered the Reduction Phase of the competition, where they are looking at ways to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot!
This project has brought out the best in green behaviors for the over 125 participants. As of this publication, the households have already reduced their trash by 40% and increased their recycling by 24%, with two weeks to go!
WCR is running this project with the dual goal of community waste reduction and recycling education and gathering information on the easiest and most efficient ways households can reduce their waste.
The project will come to a conclusion the weekend before America Recycle’s Day, when the winning household and team will be determined and awarded at the WCR Semi-Annual Recycling Open House.
You can follow the action right now at the exclusive Challenge website: www.ReduceYourWasteStream.org
Earth Day may be over, but Waukesha County continues to provide environmental education programs all year long!
On May 8th, the Waukesha County Water Conservation Coalition is hosting it’s 1st Annual Water and Energy Efficiency Expo at the Waukesha County Exposition Center.
With exhibits, demos, stages and the kids zone, there is plenty of fun and education available for the whole family!
Radio Disney will even be hand doing their fun Backyard Show for kids of all ages!
At 10:00 am, keynote speaker Melinda Myers will be presenting on green gardening for Earth friendly techniques that are cost effective and time saving. She will also be available after speaking to meet and greet and sign copies of her book!
For more information, visit www.wisconsinwaterwise.org/
Hope to see you there!
Last week we had a great group of local teachers take a course through the Sally Ride Academy. It was called Resources In and Outside the Classroom: Differentiating instruction in the environmental education classroom. Long title, interesting topic. Needless to say, the week flew by. Here are a few of the highlights.
We introduced natural resources and the importance of covering this topic with students. If we don’t know where things are coming from and what ecosystems we are damaging by our use of items there is less motivation to reduce and reuse. Many adults don’t know that bauxite is the ore used to make aluminum and that it is devastating to the Brazilian and Jamaican rainforests. Also coltan, which mostly comes from the Congo, is endangering the mountain gorillas. If you don’t care about the gorillas, its also important to note that coltan is usually mined by hand by children under duress. One teacher said at the end of the day, “Before today I didn’t know where I could fit natural resources into my curriculum, now I don’t know where it wouldn’t fit!” For a look at global CO2 production, visit breathing earth, which also has a wonderful carbon footprint quiz.
Field trips to the Waukesha County Materials Recycling Facility and Retzer Nature Center. Once the importance of natural resources was covered, we looked at recycling as a way to save natural resources, energy, and money. Many of the teachers had never been to the MRF and it was an eye-opening trip! If you have a group in Waukesha County that would like to take a free tour of our facility, visit our website to learn more! Once we saw the impacts of recycling we talked about the amount of food and other biodegradable items that we waste. Natures way of recycling these items can be sped up through composting. After visiting the compost demonstration area at Retzer Nature Center everyone realized how easy it is to compost and several teachers are interested in starting their own bins either at home or at school.
Compost is so important because it is a great way to bolster the overall health of another huge natural resource: the soil. Everything that is alive on the planet depends on soil. We had a lot of fun activities to look at soil, including core samples and basic soil testing experiments. A wide variety of information on soils can be found at the NRCS website or on Waukesha County’s GIS mapping system. There are several hundred soils just in Waukesha County, each with their benefits and problems.
One of the biggest threats to good soil is erosion. We have a model that shows erosion as well as point and non-point source pollution that can be checked out for use by Waukesha County teachers once they have been trained on its use. This activity was a lot of fun and we also showed how compost is the up and coming way to slow erosion and water pollution. Erosion is bad not only because it quickly washes away good soil that took a very long time to form, but it also pollutes water ways. This transitioned us onto topics of water pollution and using a groundwater model.
Although it may seem like natural resources, compost, recycling, erosion, soil, and water have very little in common, they all link together to assist us in having a healthy environment. If you have any questions about presentations, participating in a future workshop, or any other questions related to educational resources for local teachers, please e-mail me!
Clean up for fall and do a good thing for the environment by bringing your pots to Boerner Botanical Gardens for recycling.
When: September 24-26, 2009; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Place: SE corner of Boerner Botanical Gardens parking lot,
9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners, WI 53130
Any color and size of pots with recycling number (the number in a triangle on the bottom of the pot) #2, #5 and #6 pots, polystyrene cell packs and trays, hanging baskets, plastic landscape edging, greenhouse poly film, irrigation drip tape, and plastic fertilizer and mulch bags (empty, of course). These plastics will be ground, pelletized and used by U.S. manufacturers to create plastic lumber.
What do I do now?
• Knock out all dirt and debris before bringing plastics to Boerner.
• Remove metal hangers, staples and other foreign objects. (Paper & plastic labels are ok.)
• Sort and stack by pot size and recycling number.
• Separate pots with no recycling number and sort by size.
What do I need to do at Boerner?
Please remove your plastics from your vehicle, sort and stack them in the appropriate areas.
What is the cost?
Recycling is free for homeowners, although donations to cover costs are welcome.
For businesses, the cost is $30 for one truckload (any size truck); $60 for unlimited loads. This charge helps us defray costs for shipping and materials. For businesses and municipalities who bring pots sorted by recycling number, stacked 8 feet high on pallets and shrink wrapped, the fees will be waived.
What if this post doesn’t answer all of my questions?
For more information contact Shirley Dommer Walczak, Gardens Director, 414-525-5603 or Patti Peltier, UW-Extension Horticulture Center at Boerner Botanical Gardens, 414-525-5638.
Volunteers are needed and appreciated! Please help.
- There are currently 70 operating, licensed landfills in WI, which is down from 1,158 in 1980. These landfills took in 10.8 million tons of solid waste. 1/5 of all waste landfilled in 2007 was from other states. Trash is down 3.2% in 2007 from 2006. 2008 numbers were not in this part of the report.
- Over 11,000 Wisconsin businesses, schools, and government institutions create hazardous waste each year.
- 1,061 different recycling programs in the state (a.k.a. Responsible Units)
- 411,047 tons of paper and containers were recycled by residential recycling programs in 2007. When businesses are included, this number rises to over 1 million tons of recyclables. This is the equivalent of taking 657,480 cars off the road for the year.
- It was a big year for construction & demolition waste. UW-Whitewater while demolishing old buildings and constructing a new business building recycled over 14,000 tons of materials. The demolition recycling rate was at 98%! Also, the Marquette Interchange project reused fly ash and some other industrial waste material to reduce costs and the environmental impact of road construction projects. There is also a growing mechanism to support asphalt shingle recycling.
Closer to Home
- Waukesha County processed 22,662 tons of residential recyclables. That saved enough energy to power 2,281 homes for 2008.
- Recycling earns your municipality money! In 2008, recycling dividends totaled $879,246.
- Over 2,000 people visited the Materials Recycling Facility. Schedule your tour today by calling 262.896.8300 if you are a community group, school group, or scout troop in Waukesha County.
- If you can’t make it to our facility, let us come to you! In 2008 our staff completed 63 presentations.
- Collected a total of 200,270 pounds of hazardous waste, a 1% increase compared to last year.
What is on our agenda for this year?
- We would love to inform your organization about recycling, green gardening practices with less pesticide use, green cleaning presentations, composting, and more.
- We are planning several Boy Scout Merit Badge Workshops.
- We will have a new traveling trunk to supplement the LEAF curriculum. If you are a teacher, visit our teacher page at www.waukeshacounty.gov/EnvironmentalEd to stay up to date with all of our new curriculum assistance and to download lessons that are already currently available.
- And tons more! Make sure to stay tuned!
Someone or something took my recycling bin. Seriously. This was not cool. However, because I happen to have a stack at the office, I grabbed a bin and went happily on my way. If you do not have a readily accessible stack of blue bins for residential recycling in your office, you can get a bin at the following locations (assuming you are a resident in the County’s recycling program)…
- Your village, town, or city hall.
- Recycling drop-off locations
- Retzer Nature Center
- Special Event Distributions
- Residents of specific communities can also, with proof of residency, receive a blue bin at their city’s recycling drop off location. These include residents of Big Bend (village), Brookfield (City), New Berlin (City), Pewaukee (City), and Waukesha (Town).
All county residents of participating communities may get a blue bin from the following locations. All county residents of participating communities can also drop off bottles, cans, and recyclable paper at these locations. Proof of residency is required.
Delafield (City) Recycling Drop Off
111 Main St.
Monday – Friday; 7 AM – 3:30 PM
Hartland (Village) Department of Public Works
701 Progress Drive
Friday 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Additional Hours April – Nov include 2nd & 4th Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM
Pewaukee (Village) Garage
Building #2, 552 Hickory St.
April through Oct Only – Wednesday 4 PM – 7 PM & Saturday 9 AM – 3 PM
Waukesha (City) Recycling Drop Off
900 Sentry Drive
Saturdays 8 AM – 4 PM
Additional hours April – Nov include Wednesdays 11 AM – 7 PM
S14 W28167 Madison St.
Daily, 8 AM to 4:30 PM
Visit Waukesha County’s website for an up-to-date listing of all upcoming special events where you can get a blue bin. Better yet, are you having a special event, school event, or other community get together where people could get blue bins? If so, let us know and we can get you bins to distribute! E-mail us for more details.
Let’s talk some trash. The average Wisconsinitte creates over 4 1/2 lbs. of trash a day. This is what we put into landfills, and does not include all that we recycle. Despite the fact that we put so much stuff into landfills, most people know very little about them. So here we go: a little bit of info about landfills.
Where is the dump?
Nowhere. There are no dumps in Waukesha County, only landfills. This may seem like picky syntax, but there used to be dumps and now there are not so depending what you are getting rid of, you may have to go to a different location. Do you have something to trash? The first step is to make sure you can throw it in a landfill. According to Wisconsin state law the following items are banned from landfills.
- Lead acid batteries
- Major appliances
- Used motor oil
- Yard waste (Scroll down to ‘Item Questions’)
- Newspapers, magazines, courrugated cardboard, office paper and other recyclable paper
- Glass, aluminum, steel, tin, and plastic (#1 & #2) bottles and cans
Other items can be recycled, such as electronics and textiles. Some harmful substances like paint, chemicals, medical wastes, and antifreeze can also be disposed of in a more proper way than tossing it into a landfill.
If landfilling is the only option, check with your municipality to inquire about how much trash you can put out for curbside collection. Each municipality contracts (or allows their residents to contract) for trash service individually. They may or may not have included bulky items in their contract. If the municipality did not contract for large or bulky item trash pick-up, there may be a drop off site your community pays for, or you may have to call your hauler and arrange for a special pick up.
If you need to take your items to the landfill, there are 2 in Waukesha County. These are privately owned enterprises and you should contact the landfills for information about their fee schedule. Muskego (Emerald Park Landfill) — W124 S10629 S 124th St. — (414)529-1360. They are open Fridays & Saturdays. The other option is in Menomonee Falls (Orchard Ridge Landfill) — W124 N9355 Boundary Rd. –(262)253-8620. They are open Monday through Saturday.
They are going to charge me to throw it away?
Yes. Wisconsin has some of the cheapest disposal rates, but there is a cost to toss. Your contracted collection through your municipality is paid for by your community, some part of which you may see broken out on your tax bill. On average, it costs $35 a ton to throw something away in Wisconsin. This does not account for collection costs.
Isn’t a landfill just a hole in the ground?
This Saturday (February 28, 2009) I have very exciting plans. I am going to be at the Pettit National Ice Center in West Allis for an event ‘Skate with the Mascots’. I will be there from 1 PM to 4 PM, and you should be there too! Visit the Pettis’s website to learn more.