Thursday, March 8, 2012

Need a New Head?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 5:52 PM


Because, maybe, you lost yours when you stuck it in the sand? Or when it floated off in the clouds? Or, you know, when it disappeared after a long journey into some dark, murky place...

If only, if only, you or someone much like you -- an otherwise sweet and decent person -- had thought before throwing out perfectly good heads like those in the picture above -- pulled, we presume, from piles of Humboldtian waste last year by intrepid sleuths from the Cascadia Consulting Group, Inc.

The Humboldt Waste Management Authority hired Cascadia to characterize our garbage. They went through 290 samples of waste from Arcata, Blue Lake, Eureka, Ferndale, Rio Dell, Trinidad and unincorporated Humboldt County, hand-sorting through 202 samples of residential and commercial waste and visually describing 88 samples of construction and demolition debris.

The purpose? To see what good stuff we're still throwing out despite all of the efforts that have gone into getting folks to re-use and recycle. We've made some improvement in this realm -- the report does not include the great quantities of material we are recycling and re-using, says Juliette Bohn, the Authority's project manager in charge of this study. (She notes also that, incidentally, people have been throwing out less stuff since the economic downturn began around 2008. They're "keeping the ratty old couch" rather than chucking it for a new one.)

Nevertheless, Cascadia's research indicates there's room for much more effort by us lazyheads. You can read the report, posted this week, online at the Authority's website. Among the key findings:

In the overall waste stream Cascadia analyzed, it estimated that "... more than half of all waste (35,614 tons) disposed ... is recoverable either through recycling or composting."

About 21,084 tons of this is compostable or potentially compostable material, including food, compostable paper and leaves and grass. We also toss out a lot of recyclable paper, bottles and cans. But food is the biggie: We throw away an estimated 14,889 tons -- 4,340 tons is commercial, 6,438 tons residential and 4,111 tons in the self-haul sector.

All right, so maybe we don't know exactly where the discarded, loose heads fit into all of this. Surely someone can use one?



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Heidi Walters

Heidi Walters worked as a staff writer at the North Coast Journal from 2005 to 2015.

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