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

Division of Environmental Health


Date Released: 4/7/2004
Subject: Waste Awareness Week Events
Contact: Brian Cox
Phone: 707-445-6215

Waste Awareness Week Events

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Recycling and waste reduction are forms of prevention that will help protect our environment. Consider this: each Californian, on average, generates eight pounds of waste every day. According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, Californians are responsible for 44 million tons of garbage annually. Nationwide, the total is 200 million tons, more than a quarter of which is packaging, the No. 1 waste in America. Recycling has helped stem the flow of garbage into increasingly expensive landfills, but it is only a part of the solution.

“Source reduction”, the elimination of waste before it is generated is a much more effective method of prevention. Waste prevention is the design, manufacture, purchase or use of materials to reduce the amount, or toxicity, of trash generated. If waste is not created, then there is no cost to store, collect or haul it to a landfill.

Waste prevention offers many other benefits as well, including preservation of precious natural resources by encouraging more efficient use of raw material. It reduces pollution associated with extraction of raw materials, manufacturing excess products, and waste disposal. Waste prevention not only reduces the amount of materials needing to be recycled, it also saves money by reducing costs associated with municipal composting, landfilling or combustion in power plants or incinerators. Consumers can help reduce waste and save money by buying only what is needed, in bulk, and skipping the packaging!

April 19 through the 25, 2004 is Humboldt County’s 12th Annual Waste Awareness Week. This special week is based on the theme ‘Pollution is Not the Solution – Reduce at the Start’. The Great Battery Roundup will take place throughout this week with over a dozen collection locations for free recycling of your expired automotive, marine and motorcycle batteries. Clean Your Files Day sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors takes place April 22, as well as the Waste Reduction Awards Ceremony honoring local individuals, organizations, and businesses for their waste reduction efforts, and the Sustainable Living Arts & Music Festival will take place at HSU on April 24. Captain Charles Moore will give two special presentations on plastics in the ocean, first in Fortuna at 6:00pm on April 29 and at 2:00pm at HSU in Arcata on April 30. Captain Moore is world renowned for his research, which found six times more plastic fragments by weight in the central Pacific than the associated zooplankton. Of course, don’t miss the 5th Annual Rerefined Oil Change Day on May 1 and the 4th Annual Compost Festival on May 2. Whether you can make it to one of these exciting events or not, remember Pollution is Not the Solution – Reduce at the Start! Preventing waste means we have to make simple lifestyle changes such as purchasing more durable products and rejecting items with individually wrapped or single-serving containers and repairing and reusing items we might have once thrown away. If you have any other great ideas on how to reduce from the start or would like additional information regarding any of the events taking place during Waste Awareness Week, call Humboldt County’s Waste Reduction Hotline at (707) 268-2225 or check out


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