Ophir Composting Program Has Diverted Over 3,000 Pounds of Food and Waste From The Landfill

Telluride, CO (September 28, 2018) – After receiving a State of Colorado Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO) mini-grant on January 29, 2018, two Earth Cube composting units were ordered and delivered to Ophir, CO in early April. At the end of August, it was reported that over 3,000 pounds of food and waste were diverted from the landfill, and an additional 600 pounds was diverted in September.

“Ophir residents have really embraced composting!” says Heather Knox, Executive Director of EcoAction Partners who wrote and submitted the grant. “The RREO grant provided funding for the purchase of the two Earth Cubes, additional equipment such as a scale and a drill to mix the compost, and educational materials for residents. Each Earth Cube accepts up to 50 pounds of food waste per day,” says Knox.

Preliminary results are in and the 3,000 pounds of food and waste diverted from the landfill through August has offset approximately three metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e).

Jacey Depriest, a local Ophir resident who sits on the Ophir Self Reliance Committee, has been a key contributor, as well as other community members, to the ongoing education and upkeep of the Ophir composting program. After the success she has seen in such a short amount of time, she encourages satellite towns to explore this grant to bring composting to their communities.

“The Town of Ophir has put in a lot of effort to make our government carbon neutral. We wanted to find a way to become more sustainable to further reduce our carbon footprint as a community,” says Depriest. “With the composting program we have not only been able to significantly reduce Ophir’s overall landfill waste, but we will use the soil resulting from the compost to feed our community gardens. We are excited to see our post-consumer waste support the growth of healthy, organic food.”

The Ophir composting program has received a lot of interest from the local community; multiple tours have been given, and are available to those interested.

“The next RREO Grant cycle will open in October and will be due a month later; the exact dates will be announced. We encourage towns to apply to bring composting to their communities,” says Knox. “Composting food waste significantly decreases methane that is produced from food decomposing anaerobically in the landfill. This is beneficial, because methane is approximately 25 times more dangerous as a Greenhouse Gas than Carbon Dioxide.”

A special thanks to the Ophir Self Reliance Committee, and Jacey Depriest, who generously assisted in the design and creation of all educational materials; Ophir Mayor, Corinne Platt; Ophir Town Manager, Randy Barnes for managing the facility to make room for the units and assisting with the day-to-day operations; Tyler Schultz, owner of Arborist Services, for supplying the bulking agent (wood chips); Kris Holstrom for supplying buckets for the community, and to the many others who helped this project come to fruition.

For more information about the RREO Grant visit: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/recycling-grants. 

Mattress Disposal: Avoid the Landfill

The average mattress weighs almost 60 pounds and takes up 40 cubic feet of space. Yet nearly 8,000 mattresses are disposed of in American landfills every day. Growing environmental concerns have led many organizations and communities to come together to keep mattresses out of landfills. A three-pronged approach that includes recycling, donating, and repurposing gives consumers options and prevents mattresses from negatively impacting the environment.

What surprises most people is that mattresses are highly recyclable. They are made of materials that, once removed, can be used to make any number of items. The parts of the mattress that can be recycled include:

Steel: Innerspring mattresses can contain as much as 25 pounds of recyclable steel. Once removed, the steel can be sold to a recycling facility that will melt it down to make new products like roofing and construction materials.

Wood: A wood chipper makes recycling any wood from a mattress or box spring simple. When broken down, the wood can be used for ground cover or mulch. Some wood can be pulped to make paper.

Foam: There’s a big demand for the high-density foam found in many mattresses. Once removed and shredded, it can be used to make carpet padding, padding for car seats, and gym equipment.

Cloth and Fiber: Mattress covers are made from natural and synthetic fibers that can be cleaned, shredded, and used to make threads for new textiles or melted (in the case of synthetic fibers) to make shower curtains and similar items.

While recycling is the preferred way to dispose of a mattress, at this time, it can be difficult to find a facility or company that will do so. Telluride offers mattress recycling for a small $20 fee. For those further afield, check on websites like Earth911 to find the nearest mattress recycling facility.

Donating a mattress that’s still in good condition can help others and prevent unnecessary waste. A donated bed should be free from bugs, stains, and tears.

Well-known national charities like The Salvation ArmyHabitat for Humanity InternationalGoodwill, and Furniture Bank Association of America often take mattress donations. However, due to bug infestations in certain parts of the country, some locations may not accept mattress donations. A quick phone call before loading a mattress can save time and money.

For those who don’t live near a national charity, don’t forget to check local second-hand stores, homeless shelters, and women’s/family shelters that might accept donated mattresses.

Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity to keep a mattress out of the landfill. Mattress springs can often be used for creative art projects around the home such as a room divider that doubles as a photo display piece. The springs can be taken apart to make a base for a holiday wreath and other small decor projects.

Foam mattresses can also be used to make and fill bean bags, chair cushions, and pillows or stuffed animal filler. Mattress cover fabric is usually tough and durable enough to be used for rugs in less formal spaces around the house such as the garage, shed, or utility room.

When you are ready to purchase your next mattress, you can look for a more eco-friendly option. There are mattress covers made of organic materials. Plus, natural latex mattresses are made from a sustainable resource, the sap of the rubber tree. This material slowly biodegrades over time, so purchasing a latex mattress may be a way to avoid the landfill in the future.

For more information please contact:

Ellie Porter
Managing Editor | SleepHelp.org

More Benefits Added to Free Weatherization Program

The SMPA IQ Weatherization Program is an energy savings program for low to middle income homeowners or renters, with approval from their landlord. At no cost to participants, EcoAction Partners provides an energy assessment and free energy efficiency upgrades, which can include: LED light bulbs, air sealing, insulation, storm windows, new EnergyStar refrigerator, and now furnace or boiler repair/replacement.

After completing the IQ Weatherization Program, SMPA members are granted a subscription on SMPA’s newest 200-kilowatt Community Solar Array in Norwood. Subscriptions will allow access to a maximum of 2 kilowatts of generation per participant and will last five years after which participants may re-apply. This program will provide convenient access to solar power for income-qualified members, allowing them to save money by tapping into an abundant, local, renewable resource. Best of all, this opportunity is also offered at no cost to the member.
In order to be eligible for Black Hills Energy services, participants should apply through the SMPA IQ Program. The SMPA IQ program is sponsored by our local electric provider, San Miguel Power Association, in partnership with Energy Outreach Colorado and Black Hills Energy.

Learn More and Apply for SMPA IQ