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Gather that foam packaging for recycling event.

Byline: RECYCLING By Pete Chism For The Register-Guard

Now that the holidays are over, we are off with a new set of resolutions that will determine the naughty and the nice.

Believe it or not, when Santa realized that Americans consume 25 percent of the world's resources, he stopped by the landfill to examine the situation.

Santa came to town with his bag of goodies, and left wondering what we can do to help.

As a bright light glowed overhead, he pondered the life of the materials we use.

Suddenly, a Lane County employee working at the landfill tapped him on the shoulder with these suggestions for reducing waste after the holidays:

Block foam: Otherwise known as Styrofoam, block foam is a bulky item that has little use after the package has arrived.

Block foam is difficult, expensive and inefficient to recycle, because the one company in Oregon that recycles it is in Portland, and shipping block foam to Portland is similar to shipping air - there's not a whole lot of substance.

Although the markets for block foam are erratic, here are the three options we have today for it: 1) avoid it; 2) ship it back to the manufacturer; or 3) save it and drop it off at the one-day collection event at the Glenwood Refuse and Recycling Station from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 15.

Despite the difficulties of finding a company that will recycle block foam and then shipping it to them, one Master Recycler, Zachary Zakon, has found a way to make it happen over the years.

This dedicated recycler has received awards from the Association of Oregon Recyclers as well as the Lane County Board of Commissioners for his outstanding achievements in waste reduction and recycling.

All of his efforts in the community deserve a standing ovation. Zachary, this special collection event is dedicated to you.

Christmas trees and wreaths: Compost your Christmas trees and wreaths at a local nonprofit organization collection site. Just look for them on your way to work or school so you can drop off your tree and a small donation.

Some participating organizations include the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Lions Club, the 20/30 Club, various high school sports teams, drama clubs and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The nonprofit agencies usually collect trees up to three weeks after Christmas.

Reuse: What else can we do to help reduce our waste? Try to reuse as many holiday goodies as possible. You can even try to make new and exciting Christmas decorations out of old ones; just keep your scissors and glue handy. You also can help keep useful items out of the landfill by donating your old clothes, stereos or even canned food to a local charity or secondhand store.

We here at Lane County Recycling hope you had a happy holiday. Stay on Santa's nice list by reducing, reusing and recycling in 2005.

Save that block foam, and we'll see you on Jan. 15 in Glenwood from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the block foam recycling event dedicated to Zachary Zakon.

This column is provided by Lane County Recycling. Pete Chism is a waste reduction specialist with Lane County Waste Management.
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Jan 2, 2005
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