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How Green Is My Valley

July 29, 2012

The first time I ever heard of Danville New Hampshire was in 1989 when a tire dump caught fire and would not stop burning.  A decade later, I was putting trash out to the street on the other side of town.  I got a recycle bin when I moved in and dutifully sorted my recyclables.  We recycled a cubic foot a week back in 1990 — which was better than most.

Things have changed a lot since then.  With the introduction of single stream and large, wheeled carts, Danville is recycling one third of its trash.  Cudos to the BoS and the community for a worthwhile collaboration.

BUT, recycle is the entry level of Green.  Reduce and Reuse are much better for the environment.  Danville has a foot in the Reuse door.  Three times a year, the town sponsors a ‘bulky pickup’ event.  Residents put stuff out to the curb for our waste management vendor to haul away.  This bulky pickup event, though, is really a week long event during which we pick through each others’ trash.  People put out their working but unwanted goods in the week preceeding the pickup and neighbors grab the best unwanted items.  My pool’s solar heater is perched on pressure treated wood recovered from my neighbor’s deck renovation and the pool’s deck used to be my house’s deck.

But we could do better.  Seabrook has a ‘store’ for working but unwanted items.  Maybe our vacant Fire Association Hall could be used to collect and distribute working but unwanted items?

Can Danville reduce creation of waste?  I’m not in favor of silly ideas like banning grocery bags (impact of manufacturing, washing, and disposing of reusable bags dwarfs the impact of using disposable shopping bags — which we all reuse and can be recycled), but there are areas where we can reduce waste.

A great first step is Catalog Choice.  Catalog choice is a free service that lets you opt out of junk mail.  This will reduce the mail that arrives in your box, reduce the mail in your recycle bin, reduce opportunities to have your identity stolen, and reduce the flow of mail through the USPS — which means less little trucks on the streets.  Once you sign up for an account, simply report some information off the junk mailings to be added to an opt out list for that particular vendor.

Thanks for reducing, reusing, and recycling.

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