NON-PROFIT HAPPENINGS - September
Recycling is Plain
and Simply the Right Thing To Do
easier to recycle in Moab than one might think, and almost
unconscionable, because of this ease, not to do so. That’s
the impression an hour with the very upbeat Sara Melnicoff
left me. An avid recycler from California who had all but
given up on the practice in Moab, only to find out I have
no good reason for doing so, I am reformed.
Canyonlands Recycling Center is open six days a week from
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Sunday.) Two employees run a clean
and welcoming operation with easy to access bins for newspaper,
colored paper, white paper, aluminum, tin, cardboard and every
color glass. Only one type of plastic is accepted, the #1
PETE, or soda plastics, which, ironically, is the lame excuse
I used for not recycling everything else. There’s no
place for plastic milk containers here.
hope to start accepting plastic milk containers in the near
future,” Sara explains.
The nature of the recycling
market, and a fact of life that hits Canyonlands recycling
especially hard, is the fluctuating market of recyclables.
Milk carton and thick plastics are subsidized in most communities
by the volume of the more profitable #1 plastics, aluminum,
and currently, cardboard. Sara estimates that less than 3
percent of this area’s waste stream is recycled, and
as those numbers rise, the Center’s ability to take
more items increases.
where you can recycle in
by the Grand County Clean Up Task Force
Used clothes, books, jewelry, sporting equipment,
hardware, housewares & furniture.
- Memory Lane
Thrift Store: See list above.
- Big O
tires and Chip’s Grand Tire:
- Lube-It Express:
- Radio Shack:
- City Market:
Paper and plastic bags.
Copy Center & Coldwell Banker:
Sanitation Transfer Station: All metals and
Sara’s main role as a board member of Canyonlands Recycling
is public education and outreach. She is passionate about
what she does and her passion is contagious. She points to
a row of good, sturdy, plastic barrels available at no cost
to area businesses willing to recycle. She picks up recyclable
material for five families every week at no cost. She coordinates
a number of programs and inspires countless more. Sara is
not one of the paid employees; she does this as a labor of
love to keep something going she sees as vital to the health
of the community and its residents.
“The person who got this started and keeps it going
is Penny Jones,” Sara notes. “She is the reason
we have recycling in Moab.”
Penny, who is still an active board member but prefers to
stay out of the media ring, performs all of the Center’s
administrative work, even though she holds down a very demanding
full time job. Sara said a hard working board of only four
members operates Canyonlands Recycling. She’d like to
invite others to participate.
Originally, Canyonlands Recycling was owned by Grand County.
Now the non-profit organization leases a building from the
county and receives $3,000 a year from the City of Moab to
help cover operational costs. The annual budget is approximately
$36,000 a year, and proceeds from recycling cover about 80
percent of the cost. The rest is made up through donations.
Moab residents help contribute to covering recycling costs
in a variety of ways. A donation box is located at the drop-off
center, percentages of purchases at Moonflower Market and
WabiSabi Thrift Store can be earmarked for the Recycling Center,
and City water customers can check a box on their utility
bill to contribute $3 a month to the center.
“Some businesses are already recycling,” Sara
notes, “and we’d like to get more doing it. Bob’s
Sanitation will provide a designated dumpster to businesses
for cardboard only, which makes it very convenient for those
businesses that unload lots of boxes every week.”
The same is true for trailer parks and apartment complexes.
Although perhaps not taken seriously, the Powerhouse Road
community has a very effective recycling drop off at the end
of the road that a volunteer trailers to the Center a couple
of times a month. Sara said she is willing to help others
create their own recycling mini centers at business parks
and housing complexes around town.
Sara also hopes Grand County Schools will get on the recycling
bandwagon this year, and she is actively enlisting the help
of parents to do so. Advocating for the Recycling Center is
another way the general public can help, but first Sara hopes
to get the word out that recycling in Moab is a pleasant experience.
Yet another venue for immense returns on glass and aluminum
in particular is the Moab tourist crowd, which would require
a certain amount of effort on the part of the community to
make it easier for visitors to keep it clean and separate
their recyclables from other garbage. Several people in the
community bring in large hauls, Sara said, after a holiday
weekend just by picking out a specific area to clean up. Sara
herself had a front yard full of separated garbage on an average
weekend; all of it collected from the streets and trails surrounding
one Moab neighborhood.
advocating for clean garbage may not sound like a lot of fun,
Sara, and other staff members at the Recycling Center, almost
glow with enthusiasm and positive energy. Sara hopes this
will become evident when Moonflower Market exhibits a show
titled “The Art of Recycling,” which will open
“It’s a ‘no waste’ art show,”
she says, “and it ought to be a lot of fun.”
Meanwhile, Canyonlands Recycling recently awarded the Grand
County Council for its partnership is helping the recycling
center get through some tough years of no air conditioning,
scarce equipment and a devastating fire. The center is in
good shape this year, in comparison, and is set to embark
on advances that will make recycling a friendly household
word and a growing way of life in Moab.
For more information on how to recycle in Moab, or how to
get involved as a volunteer, call 259-8640 or 259-4454. In
addition, the Grand County Clean Up Task Force has published
a list of places to recycle items not accepted at the Recycling
Center. For information call Mary Hofine at 259-1343.