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

Division of Environmental Health


Date Released: 4/20/2004
Subject: Waste Reduction Awards
Contact: Brian Cox, Director, Environmental Health Division
Phone: (707) 445-6215

Humboldt County's Twelfth Annual Waste Awareness Week, from April 19-25, is based on the theme Pollution is not the Solution – Reduce at the Start. It is the responsibility of everyone to preserve our precious earth by means of pollution prevention and natural resource conservation – through reducing, reusing, and recycling. Air and water are life’s most valuable resources and without them no living thing could survive. What most people do not realize is that by reducing, reusing and recycling, not only are they saving the raw material that make up plastic, paper, metal, and glass but also the energy and water used to make those products, as well as avoiding air pollution in the manufacturing process. Recycling one ton of newspaper saves 19 pine trees and recycled paper production reduces related air pollution by 95% and uses 30-55% less energy. By reducing waste from the start you can do your part to prevent pollution and conserve natural resources.

This Thursday, April 22 the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Service – Environmental Health Division is recognizing the efforts of several individuals and businesses for doing their part and serving as inspirational leaders in reducing waste by presenting Waste Reduction Awards in varying categories.

Local artist Kelly Giampaolo, who is also a Botany student at Humboldt State University, will be making this year’s awards. She has experimented with many different mediums for her artwork, but greatly enjoyed making jewelry out of vintage vinyl records. With this project she was able to combine her love of botany with her artistic skills creating sculptures of orchids from the old vinyl records that come in a variety of colors. For more information on Giampaolo’s artwork, please email her at

This year’s waste reduction awards will be presented at the Wharfinger Building on Thursday, April 22. 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:
Baby’s Best Diaper Service, McKinleyville - Liz McGannon 839-5340

Baby’s Best Diaper Service supplies cotton diapers to new parents on a weekly basis and has been operated by Liz McGannon for the past eight years. They provide curbside service to their 50-60 clients in the McKinleyville area. Each week, approximately 4100 diapers are processed, but as a result of key organizational practices, water and power needs to run this service are kept to a minimum. In fact, the water and electric bills are that of many family households. Planning out pickup routes for each week further reduces the energy usage by keeping gasoline consumption low. This is the only diaper service of its type in Humboldt County and accounts for over 200,000 disposable diapers being kept from going to the landfill each year! Disposable diapers can take over one hundred years to breakdown in the landfill, not to mention all the resources they take to produce from the start. McGannon is not only providing an excellent service to her customers but also assisting the Humboldt community far into the future.

- Best business waste prevention effort:
Leon’s Mufflers, Eureka - Dale Warmuth 444-9636

Leon’s Mufflers used the traditional business mindset when setting-up their waste reduction practices--wasted resources are wasted time and wasted money. The idea of “reduce, reuse, recycle” is taken so seriously that it is applied to every area of their business. Leon’s has made a concerted effort to reduce waste by ordering products with minimum packaging, donating pallets from freight orders to a local seafood wholesaler, reusing Styrofoam peanuts and shrink wrap in outgoing orders with extras being donated to local mailing companies. Any scrap tubing that is not reusable by Leon’s is donated to local welding schools. They recycle everything that cannot be reused such as iron from resurfaced brake drums and rotors; tin and steel from mufflers and pipes, cardboard, paper, bottles & cans, motor oil, oil filters, antifreeze and all types of batteries. Leon’s has even gone so far to design and build there own compost bin, which they use at their facility and have also provided to the Eureka High School. The net result of this mindset has reduced overall costs including disposal; only one household-sized refuse can is picked up twice per week with almost a thousand autos serviced per month! The key to Leon’s success is having a staff that cares. They care about their business and care about their impact on the environment. We in Humboldt County appreciate their effort and commitment.

- Best government agency waste reduction effort:
Eel River Conservation Camp, Redway - Lt. Mike Ringle 923-2755

The Eel River Conservation Camp developed the Recycling and Salvage Program (RASP) in July of 1997. An evaluation of the camp illustrated that four major areas of the Camp were responsible for waste generation; the kitchen, inmate-housing unit, Camp Administrative office, and the warehouse which includes the California Department of Forestry Automotive Shop. As a result, modifications of the waste collection program were implemented. An area in the main kitchen was set aside and developed as a centralized recycling sorting station. Waste containers were converted into receptacles to separate recyclables. The two inmates assigned to the camp waste collection positions were trained and received duty modification to include separating recyclable materials, such as bottles & cans and paper products. Kitchen food waste was composted for the camp garden, which is managed by another group of inmates.

The last three years of this program have been spectacular! In 2003 the Eel River Conservation Camp was diverting over 70% of their waste from the landfill. Car batteries, motor oil, metals, plastic, paper products, grease, clothing and wood are all recycled at the facility. The Eel River Conservation Camp has a goal of 100% diversion as technology improves and additional recycling and reuse opportunities are available. The Eel River Conservation Camp’s devotion is one to admire and can serve as a model for other government agencies throughout the United States.

- Best other organization waste reduction effort:
Arcata Library Bike Project, Arcata - Bill Burton 822-3759

For the past seven years, the Arcata Library Bike Project has put old bicycles back into use and recycled unusable parts. Residents can donate bicycles that are not being used or that otherwise would be headed to the landfill and volunteers with the Arcata Library Bike Project restore the bikes to be lent out to the community. The program works much like checking out a library book and allows anybody who desires to use biking as his or her means of transportation. In the past two years the Arcata Library Bike Project has processed 1100 bikes which is equivalent to 18 tons of metal, plastic, and rubber that are now not headed to the landfill. In addition to the direct diversion through this program, they also provide workshops attended by hundreds of people each month, classes on repair, hosting Bicycle Polo, an after school kids bike day, and building kinetic sculpture materials. Clearly their devotion to biking assists the community in a much larger way. Thanks to all the volunteers who make the Arcata Library Bike Project happen!

-Best Closing the Loop effort:
Owsley’s Recycled Paints, Eureka - Lonny Owsley 476-8504

Owsley’s Recycled Paints has been in operation for almost two years with an increasing amount of success. Owsley’s accepts old latex paint and processes it into high quality paint for both exterior and interior uses. In California alone, over 8 million pounds of latex paint were collected at household hazardous waste events in 2000. Thirteen tons of latex paint were collected in this County in one year alone. The average household stockpiles 1 to 3 gallons of waste paint per year, according to several studies. In California, unless latex paint is reused or recycled, it is considered a hazardous waste and must be disposed of in a Class I hazardous waste landfill. The California Integrated Waste Management Board believes that “Landfilling is an unnecessary expense because leftover paint, in most cases, is still a usable product. Purchasing recycled paint creates a market demand that helps build a convenient collection infrastructure.” The State has gone so far as to enact the Public Contract Code section 12170 requiring all State agencies to purchase recycled paint containing at least 50% post-consumer paint. Owsley’s goes a step further to the point where his paint is 100% post-consumer while still maintaining a very high quality.

Luckily Owsley’s Recycled Paints is a local business doing everything it can to reuse latex paint and keep it out of the hazardous waste landfill. Their paints come in a variety of wonderful colors such as Blue Dove, Frosty Forest, Humboldt Bay Green, Old Town Brown, Poppy Nectar, Sea Moss, Yellow Sunshine, and, of course, the more tradition whites both in flat and semi-gloss. The paints are offered by the quart, gallon or five-gallon buckets and are sold at a lower cost than most other paints you will find. Owsley’s Recycled Paints is closing the loop on latex paint as well as keeping it within our County and conducting themselves as a zero-waste business. Clearly Humboldt County is very fortunate to have a local business so devoted to the community and our future.

- Most effective waste prevention program:
Pacific Builders, Arcata - Marianne Bithell 822-7720

Pacific Builders, who have been servicing Humboldt County since 1979, initiated a new environmental policy to address the issues of recycling and reusing construction material in their operations and procedures for construction projects in April of 2003. Their primary goal was to divert construction waste materials generated on job sites and convert then into materials that can be reused at the same site. In addition to writing an environmental policy, they began using a tracking system for materials at each project, via a program called WasteSpec. This gave Pacific Builders waste management plans, demolition material lists and specifications that they were able to incorporate into their various projects. Through education of all staff they were able to redirect the following materials for reuse: concrete, asphalt, drywall, wood scrap, and fiber-cement. In addition, leftover metal stud material and cardboard from project sites were recycled. Pacific Builders is continually looking for new ways to reduce waste. Within the first year of this program, they diverted a total of 46.5 tons of material from disposal and saved approximately $12,876.25 through these efforts.

Their waste prevention practices do not stop there, but are also implemented in the office. Pacific Builders has used technology to its fullest to reduce paper use by faxing and emailing at all times. All office pack, cardboard, magazines, newspaper, glass, plastic and ink cartridges are collected and recycled. Any one-sided paper that cannot be used within the office is taken home or donated to a local daycare center for children’s drawings. When buying new electronic equipment, waste prevention is on the top of the list of needs, thus the new copier was selected for making double-sided copies and acting as a fax machine. Old electronics are either donated to local nonprofits or kept for use at temporary job sites. Pacific Builders’ original goal was to divert one hundred tons of material from their job sites from April 2003 to April 2004. As of December, they had already reach 80.3 tons, and by February had exceeded their goal! Of course, this program would not be as successful without the effort taken to educate every member of the staff as well as others: clients, subcontractors, and the public. Pacific builders is not slowing down now that they have accomplished their goal – they are raising the bar and working towards more waste prevention wherever possible. It is the commitment of the entire team that has made this program such a great success and we are fortunate to have Pacific Builders in our community.

- Most effective recycling project:
CalTrans Adopt-A-Highway Project Recycle - Nita Brake-Mills 441-5761

The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) Adopt-A-Highway Program provides an opportunity for community organizations to help keep the roadsides in California’s state highway system litter free. Although recycling was always encouraged by CalTrans, there were certain barriers that deterred separation of recyclables to take place when collecting litter. Figures showed that 5% of all trash collected along roadsides was recyclable. “Project Recycle” hoped to see this 5% not enter our landfills and actually get recycled. The foundation of Project Recycle is an over-the-shoulder, 100% recycled plastic collection bag which permits Adopt-A-Highway participants to collect recyclable containers while keeping both hands free to work (one for the orange collection bag and the other for the litter picker). 80% of the volunteer Adopt-A-Highway groups agreed to use the bags per CalTrans’ request. Each group was given the choice to either collect the CRV (California Redemption Value) on recyclable materials themselves or allow the Shriners Club to collect the recyclables left by volunteers and redeem them for their transportation fund. In the first year, CalTrans reported that a total of 1.38 tons of beverage containers were recycled as a result of Project Recycle. In addition, the use of a recyclable collection bag has assisted the Adopt-A-Highway Program in meeting the Department’s goals of diverting trash at a rate of 50% by 2004 and by educating the volunteers on the importance of recycling. What a difference this will make for Adopt-A-High Programs throughout the State!

- Most effective recycling effort:
Kernen Construction, Blue Lake - Bruce McIntosh 826-8686

Kernen Construction is a family-run business in Blue Lake doing all it can to recycle. Kernen crushes and processes waste concrete, asphalt, bricks, glass, porcelain, and more into recycled aggregate base for use in construction. This product is accepted by Federal, State and local government agencies as a substitute for aggregate base made with virgin aggregates. They allow contractors and the public to dispose of their waste concrete and asphalt at no charge, unless there are special handling requirements. Several times each year, Kernen fires up their recycle crusher to process this material into aggregate base which is then sold to the public. The enormous crusher machine includes a large electro magnet, which removes reinforcing steel that is then sent to a steel recycler. This side-business has resulted in the reuse of 55,000 tons of concrete and asphalt and the recycling of 400 tons of steel in 2003 alone. Without Kernen Construction, this material would have otherwise been sent to a landfill and natural resources would have been extracted to make aggregate base from virgin materials. They are certainly the largest recycler by weight in the County. Kernen is assisting Humboldt in ways that will be seen for centuries and we are fortunate to have such a proactive recycling business in our neighborhood.

- Most effective use of recycled and reused materials in manufacturing:
Footprint Recycling, Arcata - Andrew Cooper 826-2606

Footprint Recycling is the only locally owned and operated Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) collection agency and manufacturer of methyl ester (a.k.a. Biodiesel) in Humboldt County. Footprint Recycling services over sixty restaurants collecting over 30,000 gallons of WVO which otherwise leaves the County to be processed elsewhere. Retaining this commodity within Humboldt County, Footprint is able to reduce the community’s shared expense of shipping WVO out of the area, and since Footprint Recycling is local, they are able to charge a lower rate than any current competitor and thus pass these savings onto the restaurateurs and customers. Their operation produces this waste material into two ecologically oriented products: a supplement to petroleum-based fuel, methyl ester, and glycerin soap. Footprint Recycling helps close the loop on the County’s WVO disposal by transesterifying it into methyl ester, and providing it to diesel engine operators where it is recognized by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to significantly reduce six of the seven criteria pollutants affecting our air quality. Biodiesel is also recognized as non-toxic, biodegradable, safer in handling and storage than petroleum diesel, 100% compatible with all diesel engines, providing increased lubricity (longer engine life), and can be “splash” blended with petroleum diesel. Their WVO-based methyl ester is the first and most effective step in making the transition from a non-renewable fuel supply to a more sustainable energy market.

By networking throughout the North Coast, Footprint Recycling was able to find recycled equipment for it’s reprocessing of WVO. From used diesel fuel tanks off tractor-trailer rigs and decommissioned fuel storage tanks to scrap metal to salvaged cabinets, Footprint Recycling has built itself around the concept of applying reusable materials to appropriate technologies. It is clear, that reuse and recycling is in the blood of the three appropriate technology enthusiasts that have made Footprint Recycling such as success!

- Most effective construction & demolition diversion program:
Grindables Recycling, McKinleyville - John Sleuter 839-4740

Since 2002, John Sleuter has been doing all he can to reduce the amount of construction & demolition (c & d) waste going to the landfills from Humboldt County projects. Originally Sleuter would grind varying types of construction debris (wood, drywall, siding and asphalt shingles) on construction and demolition job sites. Because many projects do not have much room as it is, they requested that Sleuter have his own site that they could bring the materials to. Thus, Grindables Recycling now has two services; onsite grinding of construction & demolition debris at the project, which is then reused on site or hauled off depending on their needs, or contractors can bring their C&D materials to Sleuter at his site in Arcata. The wood waste is used for mulch, composting and erosion control. Ground up drywall is used for compost additives and soil amendments. They also supply local farms and composting operations with gypsum for their compost. Grindables Recycling is State approved and permitted as a small volume C&D recycling facility and the only one on the North Coast! In 2003, Grindables Recycling diverted 132.29 tons of construction and demolition waste from being landfilled. Clearly they are accomplishing what they have stated in their motto; “We are working together to bring dumping to a grinding halt!”

- Most effective school waste reduction program:
Jeff Self from Washington School, Eureka - 441-2547

Jeff Self is a science teacher and also leads the recycling education team at Washington School in Eureka. The recycling education team consists of all classes from kindergarten through 3rd grade, four groups in the 4th and 5th grades and fifteen volunteer parents. The team’s goal is to raise waste and recycling awareness throughout the school community through three programs; Milk Carton Awareness, Home Recycling, and Monthly Recycling Day. Self has come up with creative ways to effect change in the attitudes relating to waste reduction. His Milk Carton Awareness program was not only educational and fun for the students, but was a way to give the students a voice in what takes place at their school. Thirteen hundred milk cartons given out at the school cafeteria were collected each week by the recycling education team and used to make a “milk carton sculpture”. The sculpture was presented to the school board in hopes that the Board would adopt a “pour your own milk” policy to help reduce waste. The sculpture was such a strong message and labor of love for the students that it is now a permanent fixture on campus and is continually being added to. Through the Home Recycling Program, students are sent home with educational materials regarding the “reduce, reuse, recycling” hierarchy. A recent poll of Washington School families showed that two out of three of the families currently have a recycling system in place. This figure is double that of the families polled in 2002-2003. Each month, Washington School has a community-recycling day. The City Garbage Company of Eureka donates a recycling tote, which they pickup and transport to the recycling center. Students bring recyclables (paper, magazines, plastic, aluminum, tin, cardboard, newspaper, and glass) from home, classroom, cafeterias, and other areas and separate them into the different containers. In 2003, 1,283 pounds of recyclables were processed at the Eureka Community Recycling Center from Washington School. Money generated through the recycling effort goes directly to the recycling club. Clearly Jeff Self has been a tireless component of the recycling endeavor at Washington School. He donates many out of class-time hours and is the creative force behind these children. Judging from the number of families that are now practicing recyclers, he has touched the school community as a whole in a very positive way and is making a difference to the entire Humboldt community.

- Most effective public education program:
Arcata Community Recycling Center Education Program - Hillary Leland & Amanda Newill 822-4542

Since its inception over two years ago, the Arcata Community Recycling Center (ACRC) Education Program was primarily focused on classroom education, although it soon became obvious that the need for recycling education extended far beyond the classroom. Managed and developed by Hillary Leland, Education Program Coordinator, and Amanda Newill, Education Assistant, their attention was refocused on three key areas: school programs, public relations, and general community outreach and collaboration. School education includes classroom visits, school wide assemblies and special events. Early in 2003 the ACRC Education Program unveiled its new school program, Students Talk About Recycling (STAR). STAR offers nine lessons for grades K-5 focusing on natural resources, solid waste and the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle). The Program’s most recent confirmation of the program’s success became clear when Sunset Elementary School booked 38 classroom visits! The public relations portion of this program involves regular press releases for special events, recycling advertisements, and community-wide educational publications. The outreach portion is the most expansive, including annual public events attendance, on-site information and education, Arcata and Eureka Community Recycling Center tours, waste reduction consultation, and special events coordination. Last year alone, the Education Program reached almost 3,500 people through school visits, assemblies, tours, and public events. Their goal is to become the most comprehensive source of recycling education in Humboldt County and no doubt these two brilliant women have achieved that through their very successful Education Program.

-Unsung Heroes of the Waste Reduction World:
Eel River Disposal & Recycling, Fortuna - Harry Hardin 725-5156

Eel River Disposal and Recycling has been in operation for over 17 years. The relentless and ongoing effort by all 46 members of management and staff to divert materials from the waste stream is admirable. Most garbage collection companies have come to the field of recycling because their jurisdictions asked or required waste reduction activities. Eel River Disposal is at heart a waste diverter. In addition to the long list of materials that are accepted at Eel River Disposal, a new sort line has been installed for separating mixed recyclables. They also are dedicated to pulling recyclables, whether it is cardboard, wood, steel or other materials, off the tipping floor for recycling. Eel River Disposal entered the automobile recycling business at a time when others were backing away from it, and provided a very necessary alternative in Humboldt County for processing abandoned vehicles. Their commitment to recycling of all types of materials is a great asset to this community.

-Unsung Heroes of the Waste Reduction World:
McLaughlin & Sons, Orleans - Clifford McLaughlin (530) 627-3437

McLaughlin & Sons is an automobile repair shop in Orleans that has worked hard to be the best they can be in regards to reducing their impact on the earth and helping their community do the same. Mr. Clifford McLaughlin, owner of the shop, recycles all types of plastic, glass, aluminum, and cardboard generated by his business. He also purchases oil in 55-gallon drums in order to reduce packaging. Many shops may stop there, but McLaughlin’s commitment to his community takes him above and beyond the call of duty. He has assisted with the yearly Karuk Tribe Car Crushing event and has volunteered his place of business for the Great Battery Roundup, Pollution Prevention Week activities as well as weekly recycling collection by the Karuk Tribe Mobil Recycling Program. In addition, he also posts environmental information so the local community can follow his example. Humboldt County, and certainly the inland community, is fortunate to have such an inspiring individual in their area.

-Most effective Collaboration Effort in waste diversion:
America Hydroponics Michael Christian 822-5777
J&T Molded Plastics John Schwarz 923-2800
Arcata Community Recycling Center Marc Loughmiller 822-4542
North Coast Recycling Market Development Zone Maureen Hart 268-8680

Over the last five years, the North Coast Recycling Market Development Zone (NCRMDZ) searched for ways to use recycled plastic in Humboldt County. Finally, a project using plastic in a manufacturing process surfaced. J&T Molded Plastic Enterprises in Redway, who has two plastic injection machines, expressed an interest in using recycled plastic. First there was a substitution of recycled plastic in the architectural tube cap ends that they were already manufacturing. Then a new product, the Perfect Pot (a 2.5-gallon square planter pot made with 25% recycled plastic), was designed and manufactured. Distribution of products outside of Humboldt County but made with Humboldt generated recycled plastic was a challenge. After discussions and design meetings between American Hydroponics and J&T, the next product made was Orchid/net pots made with 25% recycled plastic. This replaced a product that American Hydroponics shipped-in from another country. An order from American Hydroponics was received, a redesign making it better was approved, the mold completed, and production started using more of recycled HDPE (#2) plastic from Humboldt County residents. These molds were funded through a collaboration of Humboldt Waste Management Authority/North Coast Recycling Market Development Zone (NCRMDZ), J&T Molded Plastic Enterprises, the Arcata Community Recycling Center, and American Hydroponics in Arcata. Now there are two sizes of the orchid/net pot being manufactured by J&T and distributed by American Hydroponics. The approach to assisting in the development of recycled plastic products by creatively financing the majority of the first and second product molds resulted in a further development of recycled products and a successful next step of the collaboration. It accomplished what the NCRMDZ wanted to see happen: broke through the barrier to using recycled plastics, replaced an imported product, substituted recycled plastic for one that was already being manufactured here, and made new products from recycled plastic, all of them value-added, and manufactured right here in Humboldt County. This was clearly a very successful collaboration that could not have taken place without each organization’s involvement.


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