Susan Buckley, RN, Director, Public Health
Ira Singh, MPH, Deputy Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer

Division of Environmental Health


Date Released: 4/13/2006
Subject: Humboldt County Gives Waste Reduction Awards
Contact: Brian Cox, Director, Environmental Health Division
Phone: (707) 445-6215



Humboldt County's Fourteenth Annual Waste Awareness Week, April 17-23, is based on the theme You Can Prevent Waste Today.

This Wednesday, April 19th, the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Service – Environmental Health Division, the Humboldt Waste Management Authority and the City of Fortuna are recognizing the efforts of several inspiring individuals and businesses by presenting them with Waste Reduction Awards.

Local artist Gus Clark was chosen to make this year’s awards. Clark uses scrap wood he collects from construction yards and recycled paint collected at the transfer station or donated by friends. His paintings can be seen at the following locations during the spring and summer seasons: Gallery Dog, Garden Gate, Eureka Veteran’s Clinic, Plaza Design, and Ramone’s at Harrison. For more information on the awards or other artwork by Clark check out or call at 445-9492.

This year’s waste reduction awards will be presented at the Wharfinger Building on Wednesday, April 19. The awards ceremony will take place at approximately 7:00 p.m., following a reception and dinner in honor of the award-winning businesses, individuals, and organizations. This year’s award winners are listed below. We encourage you to contact them individually for more information about their award-winning waste reduction efforts. For more information about the awards presentation or other Waste Awareness Week events, please contact Louise Jeffrey, Waste Reduction Coordinator, at 268-2225.

List of Award Recipients
- Best individual waste reduction effort:
Duane Plant, Fortuna 725-9017

Several years ago, Duane Plant decided to take-on a new project that helped to conserve resource, reduce waste at local businesses, and assist jurisdictions with meeting their AB939 mandates, as well as raise funds for the Shiners Hospital for Children. He started by collecting bottles and cans from Caltrans, but word got out and soon he was also collecting from businesses in Eureka, Ferndale, and Fortuna. Some businesses did not even have a recycling program developed but with Duane’s help and large bins for recyclables, they soon did. Duane collects, sorts, and takes all the materials to the recycling center where he is given the California Redemption Value. Even with all of Duane’s hard work and the costs he incurs, 100-percent of this funding goes straight to the Shiner’s Hospital for Children’s transportation fund. This is a great example of how a bit of ingenuity and a lot of hard work can make a big difference in many people’s lives.

- Best business waste prevention effort:
The Snack Shack, Orick 488-5305

The Snack Shack in Orick is a small take-out eatery doing its best to lessen its impact on the earth. They compost all of their food waste and recycle all cans, bottles, and other by-products that are left. And unlike most restaurants, you will not find any Styrofoam at the Snack Shack. Jackie and her staff have quietly been reducing, reusing, and recycling for years. which makes them a great model for other restaurants.

- Best government waste prevention effort:
City of Fortuna’s Equipment & Fleet Maintenance Shop, Fortuna 725-1472

The City of Fortuna Maintenance Shop staff has been making a concerted effort to reduce waste for the past several years with amazing results. Not only do they arguably have the cleanest shop in Humboldt County but they have also implemented practices that prevent waste from the start and protect worker safety. Reducing the amount and type of chemicals stored and used onsite was one step to accomplishing this goal. Reuse is top of their list by utilizing reusable oil filters and hand-towels. They also purchase recycled products such as rerefined motor oil and refurbished parts whenever possible. The Shop Manager says it best: “spending money on unsustainable practices and products in not in the public’s best interest. This model should help guarantee the continued environmentally friendly practices for generations to come.”

- Best organization waste prevention effort:
Organic House Construction, McKinleyville 840-9568

Within their short two years in business, Organic House Construction & Consulting has already shown how a small construction company can exceed recycling goals and set an example for other contractors. ‘Waste Management & Recycling Plans’ are developed for every project to ensure as much waste is avoided as possible by following the three R’s, reduce first & foremost, reduce, and then recycle. This assists them in finding uses for any leftover resources such as concrete blocks, bricks, and fiber cement. Of course, after reducing and reusing everything possible, an onsite separation of recyclables is enforced via education to their staff as well as all subcontractors. Studies show that conventional new home construction generates approximately 3.5 pounds of waste per square foot. Last winter, Organic House Construction exceeded that by completing a 2,390 square-foot energy efficient home with so much reducing, reusing, and recycling that only 0.4 pounds of waste per square foot was generated. This even exceeds the State’s Green Building LEED certification program, which gives the highest possible points for reducing waste to 0.5 pounds per square foot. We should all be proud to have Organic House Construction & Consulting in our area to lead the industry towards reducing waste whenever possible.

-Best Extended Producer Responsibility effort:
Exide Battery Company 888-394-3326

We often talk about the need for manufacturers to take responsibility for recycling the products that they produce. We dream of a world in which companies would take back the old used products, and even take responsibility for the transport of those products back to a processing plant. Even better, they would come here to our community and pick up the old products. Imagine a world in which a company would do that without having to be forced to do it by State laws. We are fortunate to have Exide, a paragon of producer responsibility, right here in Humboldt County. Exide Battery Company has been practicing producer responsibility for so many years that we are not even sure when they started. It is a product that contains lead and acid and if not properly handled could be hazardous. Exide collects the batteries, processes them, and send them to Kansas where almost 100-percent of the spent battery is recycled into a new battery. We are all fortunate that Exide takes responsibility for proper handling and recycling of not just their brand, but all automotive batteries. Thank you, Exide, for being such a great example of producer responsibility!

- Most effective waste prevention program:
A to Z Eye Care, Arcata 822-7641

A to Z Eye Care has developed and implemented a revolutionary filing system that is the first in the north coast – its paperless! Rather than continually struggling with growing files, which can lead to misfiling, they created a system where all documents are either scanned in and saved electronically or entered directly into a special electronic system designed especially for the optometry field. Universal forms that every client must fill-out have been laminated so that they can be scanned when completed and wiped clean for the next client. This was a big step to take, but it has made a huge impact for A to Z Eye Care clients, staff and the environment as a whole.

- Most effective recycling program:
John's Used Cars & Wreckers, Eureka 443-7065

John’s Used Cars & Wreckers is a business that’s driven to recycle. In 1981, John’s Used Cars starting accepting junk cars for recycling. Reusable parts are sold to customers while the remainder of the car is recycled after all fluids and other hazardous materials are safely removed. In 2005, John’s Used Cars & Wreckers processed: 3,122 vehicles, 7,971,820 pounds (3,985.91 tons) of scrap car bodies, 7,545 gallons of waste oil, 2,595 gallons of waste antifreeze, 1,711 batteries, 2,400 oil filters, 9,300 tires, 11 pounds of mercury switches, and 11,307 gallons of gasoline! In some cases junk cars are illegally dumped roadside, but with a great, convenient business like John’s it really reduces this countywide problem. Many thanks to John’s Used Cars & Wreckers for taking recycling to the next level!

- Most effective reuse program:
HSU: ROSE (Reusable Office Supply Exchange) Program, Arcata 826-4162

In 1996, Humboldt State University’s Campus Recycling Program realized that there were a lot of office supplies going to waste as one department was throwing items away and another department was ordering new items. Recognizing that this waste of resources was entirely preventable, the students conceived the idea of the ROSE (Reusable Office Supply Exchange) program. ROSE coordinates the retrieval, storage, and distribution of reusable office equipment and supplies. The ROSE inventory ranges from desktop organizers to staplers, pens, pencils, ink cartridges, envelopes, file folders, and much more. The “store” is open to all students, staff, faculty, and local community members Monday through Friday. In the fall semester of 2005, ROSE redistributed an estimated $7,362 worth of school and office supplies! That is over 1600 items that did not go to the landfill! Part of the success of this growing program is the ROSE Director’s initiative in advertising and educating the public on this great service. Ultimately, the program helps to conserve natural resources that are used to make the supplies by reducing the demand for new resources. This is a great example for other organizations to follow to help reduce waste and costs.

- Most effective use of recycled materials:
Humboldt State University, Arcata 826-3311

In 2005, President Richmond of Humboldt State University (HSU) issued an executive memorandum directing all campus departments to use 100 percent post-consumer recycled content paper exclusively for normal, general use printing and copying purposes. It reduces the need for environmentally damaging practices associated with the use of low or no-post-consumer content papers. Likewise, it reduces the greenhouse gas emissions and pollution created in the manufacturing of these papers. A further goal of the policy is to create the demand for recycled-content fiber necessary to support recycling collection programs such as Humboldt State’s. In California, HSU is the only known college or university to have taken this step, which shows the feasibility of similar purchasing practices at other CSU campuses and public agencies. This policy has already resulted in significant environmental benefits. By converting existing paper purchasing entirely to 100-percent post-consumer content, HSU will annually conserve or reduce: 1,205 trees, 348,775 gallons of water, 204,280 kilowatt hours of electricity (enough to power 23 average homes for a year), 2,990 pounds of air pollution, and 104,485 pounds of greenhouse gases. Their policy, which was included in the HSU Strategic Plan, states that: "We believe individuals must be environmentally, economically and socially responsible in their quest for viable and sustainable communities" is one to be admired and copied by all agencies throughout the County.

- Most effective school recycling project:
Dow’s Prairie Telephone Book Recycling Challenge, McKinleyville 839-1558

In 2005, Dow’s Prairie Elementary School again participated in the SBC Phonebook Recycling Challenge, which brought students, teachers, parents, and community members to work together for a common goal. Dow’s Prairie School did an outstanding job during this two-week collection event, rounding up a total of 4,851 phonebooks from the community. In this heated recycling competition, the class from each grade level (kindergarten through 5th grade) that collected the most phonebooks won a “waste-free” pizza party. The 2005 Phonebook Challenge in all of Humboldt County yielded 7,292 phonebooks, weighing 5.5 tons, with more than half coming from Dow’s Prairie School. These books weighed in at 3.6 tons! This is 3.6 tons of recyclable paper that would have most likely ended up in the landfill! Another positive result, be it more qualitative, is the lesson in teamwork that this challenge provided for the students of Dow’s Prairie. Nearly all students contributed to this event by recycling a phonebook. In fact, on average each student collected 11 phonebooks. What a great model for schools throughout the State to follow!

- Most effective public outreach program:
Arcata Community Recycling Center Education Program, Arcata 822-4321

The Arcata Community Recycling Center (ACRC) Education Program has been evolving over the years to its current status as the most proactive and effective public outreach program in the County. Not only does ACRC Education Program staff, Allison and Jennifer, go into classrooms throughout the County to spread the recycling word, but they have also developed other educational tools heard and read by all. Recently they have been working with Dave Silverbrand on the ‘Project Green’ series, which includes a series of TV commercials about various recycling topics. In addition, these two wonderful women who live and breathe recycling developed the 20-page waste reduction and recycling guide found in Humboldt County’s SBC telephone book, which has reached every individual in the County.

-Most effective collaboration effort in waste diversion:
City Garbage Company & North Coast Surgery Center, Eureka 442-5711 & 442-3882

Last year a waste audit performed at North Coast Surgery Center found that a large amount of plastic was being thrown away, so much that they had a 10 yard garbage bin picked up once per week. When contacted about this, City Garbage stepped-up to the challenge and provided an extra bin for plastics at no extra cost, which they hauled to the Eureka Community Recycling Center for recycling. This collaborative pilot project between NC Surgery Center and City Garbage Company produced some amazing results. City Garbage is still hauling the mixed plastics for recycling and the garbage, but instead of a 10-yard bin it is now a 5-yard bin. Also, North Coast Surgery is paying half of what it used to since they are recycling more. Because of motivated and resourceful staff at North Coast Surgery and City Garbage Company, all of this plastic material is now headed for a new life instead of sitting in a landfill for hundreds of years.

-Unsung hero of the waste reduction world:
Ted & Pam Halstead, Eureka 442-2543

Have you ever seen piles of illegally dumped garbage and recyclables in your neighborhood and wondered what to do about it? Well, Pam and Ted Halstead did more then wonder – they acted by cleaning up recurring illegally dumped areas in Arcata, Eureka, and Fortuna. In two years of cleaning up these areas, the Halsteads had redeemed 4,221 pounds of recyclables in addition to properly disposing of countless tires, TVs and computers, appliances and other garbage all at their own cost. Not only did they clean up these sites, but they also put signage in place to hopefully reduce the amount of materials being illegally dumped. This has fortunately had a positive effect on these areas, which are now more likely to be clean. This is a great example of community-members taking the lead and through much vigilance making a huge difference. We all owe the Halsteads a great big thank you for making our community a nicer place!

Honorable Mention: La Bella Vita of Rio Dell, 764-2010, for their great waste reduction practices


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