Recycling/Solid Waste Management Report Vermont 1991 by Redmoonsong

Recycling -- the buzzword of the 90's. All over the country, cities and towns are instituting recycling systems. The Rainbow Family has been setting up recycling stations for many years and, thanks to Swammi Mommi & friends, much good info has been generated.

However, we have not always been able to recycle as much as we wanted. State laws vary greatly in these areas. This year, we had a great opportunity to put our practice where our mouth is. Vermont is perfect, with its stringent environmental laws, bottle deposits, and locally available recycling stations, for us to really jump on the bandwagon. And we did -- kinda. We recycled approximately 3 tons of glass 2 tons of cans 1/4 ton of plastic and lots of leftover useful items (including hundreds of 5 gal plastic buckets, 3 bath tubs, 2 sinks, a solar cooler, 1 high chair, 3 van/bus seats, etc.) to local folks. We land-filled 10 tons of non-recyclable trash (including 3/4 ton of wet clothing). Our total cost for recycling and land-fill was $1611.64 in Magic Hat monies and over 3000 hours by numerous volunteers over the 28 day cleanup period. We discouraged folks from taking out individual bags this year because:

  1. We wanted to get some kinda idea of the amount of stuff we're generating so we can make changes, and
  2. We wanted to make sure that trash was not just dumped in the local towns' containers.
The group of committed recyclers came up with a list of ways to improve our recycling efforts next year.

  1. Each kitchen needs a "Rainbow Recycler" -- a person committed to preparing cans, bottles, and plastics to conform to local recycling specification ON A DAILY BASIS. One hour daily maintenance means that cans, bottles, etc. get rinsed with the dish/rinse gray water before they get all hard & scudsy! (We had 6 people in 2 bathtubs, working 8-10 hrs/day for 3 weeks after the Gathering washing cans and bottles cuz they could not be recycled if they were dirty -- whew!) Krishna kitchen sent their cans spotlessly prepped. Thanx
  2. More recycling stations with more volunteers. We need to encourage folks to do more recycling during the Gathering. Most individual campsites don't have enuff trash for separate bags, so they put it all in one bag and just dump that bag when the leave. We had to sort every bag that got left at the center -- an enormous task (we land-filled over 2000 bags alone). Ideally, folks would bring down their bags and personally sort them into appropriate spaces at the recycling center. Many folks did. The recycling crew and Earth appreciate your efforts.
  3. Another reprocessing center, hip, covered, ongoing, in a swinging spot to attract more folks, and get them working during the Gathering. Recycling and cleaning up after ourselves must be recognized as what it is -- nothing short of maturing ourselves -- becoming our own "mother." This lesson is one of the main ones in Life. For those of us committed to "walking lightly" and "healing the Earth," recycling and source reduction are part of our daily practice. The Gathering is not separate from the rest of our lives.
  4. More participation by everyone all the time. Cleaning up is all ways holy (wholly) work so it's important that opportunities are available for all. Dig in! Build up your good Karma! (You never know when you'll need it fast!)
  5. We land-filled 3/4/ of a ton of clothes & shoes, that could have been used had a group of folks chosen to take care of them. It would be great to have a sheltered, focalized space for "free" stuff. Could that happen next Gathering? These are just some major categories of improvement which we came up with. If anyone else has ideas or wants to participate in group focalizing for recycling/waste management for next year, please write: Redmoonsong Or be on site as early as possible.

Additional Info Gas for trucks .................. $363.36
Landfill costs................... $931.03
Mechanical costs ................ $167.25
Labor (outside) ................. $150.00