Going Green, June 2018 by: Chris Vail
The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest;
it is the one thing all of us share. Lady Bird Johnson
It seems that no matter what side of the political debate you are on these days the opposite side is not in line with your thinking at all. This past weekend we had friends visiting and of course the discussion turned political. Being on the different sides I expected a debate, a discussion, even an argument. But, surprise! We talked about the environment and there was no disagreement. Both of us believe it is our personal and societal responsibility to save the world.
Any business person understands the cost of running a business, a family or a community takes into consideration the cost of waste and its management. On June 1, 2018 Investor’s Business Daily wrote an article about the current state of recycling in the United States. His take on the current status of U.S. recycling is depressing and inaccurate. He states that the China effect (closing the ability to send unsorted waste as recycling and have it sorted in China) has created an inability to recycle and has forced states, cities and communities to send their recycling to the landfill. Some of that may be true, but the ultimate truth is that we cannot sustain the level of plastic in our waters, lakes and oceans. We cannot continue to use the planet as a garbage bag…
If you have been reading this column you know that China has told the U.S. we don’t want your garbage, we will take your clean recycling, though. What they have said is if you send us contaminated material we won’t take it! So stop sending garbage. Send sorted commodities. We do! Here in Ogallala our loads to the end recycler are not rejected, they are paid top dollar. Why??? Because we require “SOURCE SEPARATION” We sort it! We ask you to sort it and we make sure the bales we send out are 99.9% pure as it can be. This mentality is the way recycling will success in the future and will attain the goals of the present. As our plastic bales head to Rome, Georgia and our paper to Kansas we know that it will not be rejected because we have taken the effort to make it right in the first place.
One other area we all share in our environment is through the appearance of our community. For many years Keep Keith County Beautiful and a few of its board members travel around the county accessing the visible litter. We call it the annual Litter Index. We rate 13 areas across the county from 1 to 4… 1 is litter free to 4 which is highly littered. The overall county wide score was an improvement over last year with a combined total of 1.15. That means that we are almost perfect!!! Where do we need some work? In some places we can’t really control, we could improve: highway interchanges. We will work on it….
Our students and businesses in Keith County are engaged throughout the year in school and work place recycling. And, now we can announce that we will continue our efforts in the summer. In conjunction with PepsiCo Recycle Rally, our summer program, Kids Oasis, will be collecting recycling as a part of Pepsi’s new summer recycling initiative. We have been selected as one of the top 10 ideas in the country. Our containers located at the lake and the one at the substation North of Prairie View School, will have their contents weighed and counted to compete in a summer contest. So, please continue to bring your recycling to the school.
And, with our guests rolling into town to visit the lake, we have a strong message visible all- Leave Only Your FOOTPRINTS, Please…. This message is not only on the slab in Martin Bay, but at signage throughout the lake. We have recycling containers in place, with the first rounds of collection complete. (Located at: Lake Ogallala, Martin Bay, Arthur Bay, Sandy Beach, Lake McConaughy Visitor Center, and Van’s Lakeview). Remind your visitors that we recycle here and let them know that littering is a $500.00 first offense fine. All indications are that we will have another record year of visitors. More people equals more garbage, so we must engage the guest to leave only their FOOTPRINTS, Please, as we continue to reinforce our efforts to keep Keith County beautiful….