Zero Waste Tip of the Month

Jul 25

July 2017: Zero Waste in the Backcountry

Posted on July 25, 2017 at 9:52 AM by Michlynn St. John

Jackson Hole 89.1 KHOL Community Radio logoListen to the interview.

It can be surprisingly hard to reduce waste in the backcountry. The outdoors are supposed to be simple, but even hard core zero wasters may find that they rely heavily on the amenities in their homes, like refrigerators and dishwashers, to minimize their discards. Here are a few tips and reminders to make it a little easier. Not surprisingly, even out in the wild, it's the 3 Rs - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - that serve as the best guideposts:
  • Pancake mix in a Heinz ketchup bottleReduce by borrowing gear from a friend, neighbor or fellow enthusiast instead of buying new.
  • Repair old gear rather than discarding. See the Teton County Reuse Resource Guide for local repair, reuse and donation resources.
  • Remember reusable picnic and camping supplies and maybe even a refillable propane container.
  • For fire starter, instead of burning newspaper, which has value as a recyclable, start your campfire with dryer lint and toilet paper rolls. These are low value materials that don't have a higher use.
  • When it comes to food, planning ahead, buying in bulk, and preparing as much as possible at home can cut down on the extra packaging (and extra cost) of last minute shopping. Make your own ideas: gorp, pancake batter, and even ice!
Extra Credit
  • Carry home any recyclables or compostables if the place you're visiting doesn't offer these services.
  • Use your outing as an opportunity to measure your waste-print. Packing-It-In and Packing-It-Out provides a great visual by which to measure your habits, cut down on waste where you can, and celebrate the things you are doing well. If you really get into it, scroll down to January 2017 and revisit the household waste audit activity.
When you get home, note that the Recycling Center accepts:
  • Bear spray - drop-off in the red container by the west entrance
  • Used batteries of all types - drop-off in the blue bins at the west entrance
  • 16-ounce propane canisters - drop-off in the metal cage located on your left as you turn into the Recycling Center driveway (next to the cardboard bins)
  • Smaller propane canisters for backcountry mini-stoves should be used completely and then recycled with tin cans
Jul 25

April 2017: Household Hazardous Waste - Make an Appointment Now!

Posted on July 25, 2017 at 9:36 AM by Michlynn St. John

Schedule an appointment online.Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Jul 25

March 2017: Spring into Reuse

Posted on July 25, 2017 at 9:31 AM by Michlynn St. John

Reuse is the 2nd of the 3 Rs. The R for when it's too late to reduce but maybe too early to recycle. It's the time for creativity and innovation. A time to rely on the resourcefulness within ourselves, our households and our community. By doing so, we have the opportunity to extend the life of a product in its original form, for as long as possible before expending the energy and resources to turn it into something else.

According to the organization We Hate To Waste, "Within products and packaging are embedded materials and energy that will go to waste if you dispose - even recycle or compost - prematurely. Don't get rid of something before its time is really up. Opt for repairing rather than replacing or get those creative juices flowing and find a new niche for an item." See some of their ideas for repair and repurpose projects.

Reuse Resource Guide Creation
Teton County possesses a wealth of reuse opportunities through businesses and organizations that offer resale, donation, repair and other services. In fact, Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling (ISWR) and several community partners are developing a Reuse Resource Guide for publication later this spring. If you are part of one of these businesses or organizations, please provide your contact information so that we can include you as a local reuse resource. Watch for an ad in the JH News and Guide mid-March with more information on how to participate.

In the meantime, before you toss an item into recycling or trash, consider ways in which it can be repaired, repurposed, resold, or otherwise reused - and tell us about it! Send an email. Need more inspiration? Try these: