One man’s trash is another’s recyclable items |

One man’s trash is another’s recyclable items

Amanda Hammon

Recycling more would help extend the life of the Carson City landfill.

To try to encourage people to recycle, the Carson City Environmental Health Department is educating city school children with a program called “Trash Talk.”

The program has been in dozens of third- and fourth-grade classrooms in the last three years, teaching youngsters about the importance of recycling.

“Children are the best audience to try to change the way society works,” Deputy Health Director Ken Arnold said. “They’re at an age where they learn a lot, but they’re not set in their ways. They’re impressionable and they carry the message home.”

Trash Talk comes to schoolchildren in the form of a recycling-themed newspaper with local recycling news on the front and back, and general recycling news in the middle.

“We know it works,” Environmental Control Officer Deborah Wiggins said. “We have parents that tell us their kids want them to recycle. We let the kids educate.”

Children learn things like how plastic bottles can become a sweater, for instance, and they take tours of the Carson City landfill.

But the chance to “reach a taller audience” will expand the health department’s recycling awareness programs this year.

The health department recently received a $27,000 grant to promote recycling and waste reduction public awareness from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection.

The money will continue to fund “Trash Talk,” but part of it will be used in an adult education, one-year trial publication called “One Man’s Trash.”

The only other city in the West that distributes “One Man’s Trash” is Seattle.

The publication will be distributed quarterly with the Capital City Focus. The first edition will appear in April as a prelude to Earth Day, which is April 22, and will contain local news on Earth Day, spring cleanup and Carson Pride Week.

The newspaper will also include interesting tidbits such as the fact that office workers in America throw away enough paper to fill 22 Empire State buildings each year .

“This will give us a chance to reach a little taller audience,” Arnold said. “A lot of people are doing a really good job. We have good (recycling) participation in Carson City but we could always do better.”

In 1998, Carson City residents recycled 78,421 tons of garbage. That equaled 16 percent of everything that was thrown into the landfill. The state average is 12 percent of waste, but Carson is facing the end of the life of its landfill.

Studies were completed last year that show the Carson City Landfill has a life span of at least 18 years. An engineering company is studying how to best utilize those years and find a new manager for the landfill at the same time.

By next July, there will be an increase in cost to use the landfill. The city-imposed charge is needed to help fund landfill closing costs.

There may also be another rate increase when the city finds a new manager for the landfill. Arnold said the health department is thinking of giving a lower-rate incentive to those who sort their trash for recycling.

Recyclable materials include papers, metals, plastics, glass, organic materials such as yard debris and wood and other wastes such as tires, used batteries, oil and paint. Almost all can be recycled at the Carson City Landfill.

Call the health department at 887-2190 for information.

For recycling information, call the Nevada Recycling Hotline at 1-800-597-5868.