By: Chris Vail
It was a little over a month ago I sat in a beautiful conference room at the Lied Conference Center in Nebraska City for the annual Keep Nebraska Beautiful state conference, listening to motivation on litter reduction and recycling. Keep Keith County Beautiful is very fortunate we are able to attend these events to collaborate with our peers, see the good work being done across the state and learn what is the focus of our organization going into the next year. Depending upon the priorities of the State of Nebraska, and Keep Nebraska Beautiful, we adapt our programs and educational material.
Moving into 2019 our focus will continue to be to educate our community, businesses and schools to the economic benefits of litter reduction and recycling, however, we will be embarking on an even bigger challenge. The challenge is one we have been talking about for years, one we know is our answer to the waste we create and one that can assist in reducing the high cost of waste management.
Here are the new buzz words: ‘Zero Waste through Source Reduction.’ KKCB will work to educate you about food waste throughout the upcoming months and we will start with… did you know that almost 40% of food in the U.S. never gets eaten? This wasted food consumes water and energy and costs over 200 billion dollars? In the production of food that is wasted we have wasted water and energy, unnecessary chemicals, handling, transportation and human capital. Our target audience for this education is mothers and millennials. Over the course of the next couple of months we will be sharing tips to reverse the food waste trend by inspiring behavior change through actions and behaviors.
This month let’s talk about shopping wisely. It all begins at the store. How many times do you go into the store with the intention of buying just a few things and getting out? Then you get to the checkout and the cashier says, “Did you find everything?” “Oh, yes.” I say, “And, much more!” Why do you think we buy more than we need? Impulse purchasing, loss leader items, sales, and just going in hungry can be some of the issue, but, really it about planning your food purchases. Plan because there is a shelf life, plan because it prevents that ‘what’s for dinner’ discussion. And, planning can save time and money. We do not perceive there is a food waste problem at the consumer level. Here’s a good one: “The average family of four spends over $1,500.00 a year on food they don’t eat” –https:/savethefood.com. Check out this site and see if there is something you can do in your own home.
I do want to send a message out to the community the Pepsico Recycle Rally had begun! This year it is bigger and better than ever. Information was sent home to the students about the program and how we can work to win the $50K grand prize…. We have two Facebook pages that we continuously update, Keep Keith County Beautiful Green Team and our regular KKCB page. On our Green team page every Wednesday, weather permitting, we will photographer our student, staff, and teacher recyclers. Through the Pepsico Recycle Rally we are receive award points and with these points we are able redeem the points for gift cards. At random, we will select a different student and teacher each week as the winner. Please continue to participate in our community’s success. This isn’t just a school program, this is a community and regional effort. And, as of today, we are able to report we stand in 5th place nationally. It seems that is a good place for us! The leading team already has over 2 million, so, I don’t think we will take 1st, but we can try!!!
You asked for it, we got it! On September 22, 2018 KKCB held the Too Toxic to Trash Tour. For a solid four hours we had a line of cars from all over the region bringing us over 20,000 lbs. of electronic waste and 7500 lbs. of household hazardous waste. Thank you for participating and making our programs so successful.
Finally, I would like to announce that our community continues to garner recognition for the good work we do. During the most recent Keep Nebraska Beautiful conference KKCB’s submission for Business/ Industry sustainability was for Nebraska Game and Parks and the efforts of our leaders to embrace the sustainability mentality and win First Place in the State! Thanks Colby, Tyler and Grant! You or your group can Adopt-a-Beach year round. Contact Game and Parks at 308-284-8800 to see how the cleaning you already do can keep the lake clean year round! And remember our future relies upon keeping our land, earth and Keith County beautiful!