40 Tons Isn’t THAT Much Trash for 1 Night…

January 3, 2009 at 10:38 am 3 comments

Maybe that Enchanted movie should have brought back the singing squirrels to help sweep up this mess!

Maybe that Enchanted movie should have brought back the singing squirrels to help sweep up this mess! Thanks to EarthFirst for the pic.

Except that at current landfill rates, that means just throwing the trash in the landfill cost $4000.  That does not count transporting it to the landfill.  Then the price rises to over $8000.  But who picks up the trash?  Volunteers?  This is probably the biggest cost…

With one of my New Years Resolutions being to reduce the amount of trash I make, it is lucky I ended up not going to Times Square for New Years Eve!  My resolution would have been over before the year had begun.  According to EarthFirst, 40 tons of trash were created by the one night event.  There was a lot of buzz about the ball that was dropped being ‘green’, but clearly there is a lot more to do for a green event.  Thinking about waste reduction not only would make the event cheaper (both because you would be buying less stuff and because you wouldn’t need to pay 163 workers over 8 hours to pick it all up)

By the city’s own admission, it makes way more (economic & environmental) sense for the city to recycle.  Since I wasn’t there I don’t know if there was any special recycling receptacles set up for the event, but every other time I have been to the square, it has been difficult for me to find receptacles.  Though less confetti was used this year, what about using confetti made from recycled paper and then composting it?  Then the compost could be used in city parks to save on pesticide use the following year.  (At least I think I have heard that NYC has a few parks, one quite centrally located…)

I totally get that Times Square is insane on New Years Eve.  But that is the exact reason it is important for the Times Square Alliance to focus on waste reduction, reusing, and recycling the materials they use at their annual celebration.  The 5 R’s allow every attendee at the event participate in sustainable behavior.  Waste reduction is not as much the ‘it’ thing compared to talking about LEDs, but it is getting at the same issue: saving natural resources and saving money.

For more information about thinking a little about waste reduction, reusing, and recycling at your next event, visit the EPA recognized plan by Be SMART (Save Money and Reduce Trash).  If your event is in Waukesha County, you may borrow free recycling containers by contacting our office via email (recycling@waukeshacounty.gov) or via phone at (262)896-8300.

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Entry filed under: Compost, Energy, Facts & Figures, Green Building, Holiday Waste, Little Action, Natural Resources, Recycling, Reduce & Reuse, Sustainability. Tags: , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Wendy  |  January 5, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    I love that there is a Recycle Raccoon looking out for Waukesha County in WI. How can I train local raccoons in my area? 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

  • 2. Nao  |  January 6, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Holy Molly is all I can say on this. I recently finished reading Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte, and I learned that Americans throw away additional 1 million tons of trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That’s sick, but on top it, all the confetti and New Year’s hats? Man, I feel like hitting these people over the head and telling them to wake up and smell the coffee.

  • 3. Recycle Raccoon  |  January 7, 2009 at 8:40 am

    I totally know what you mean! I’m glad you also had a chance to read Garbage Land. It is on my to-read list, but I have not quite gotten to it yet. For those unfamiliar with the book, a brief description can be found on Amazon.

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