Blue Lake Rancheria recycling program working to reduce waste
- While the population of the Blue Lake Rancheria may be small, the tribes recycling effort has proven to be big.
Since its inception in 1998, the tribe has watched its recycling program grow from serving five to 25 participants, as well as the Blue Lake Casino and tribal office a feat which allowed for more than 68 tons of materials to be recycled in 2006.
Statistics for 2007 are not yet available, but the tribe is expecting significant results.
For the dozens of patrons that stream through the Blue Lake Casino on a regular basis, between 600-800 pounds of glass alone is generated per week, said Paul Angell, tribal EPA programs assistant and tribal historic preservation officer.
Angell said the tribe was able to develop the program through one of its EPA grants, as it was something they saw a need for.
We wanted to get recycling going, he said.
Residents living within the Rancheria are usually automatically enrolled in the program, though some community residents adjacent to the Rancheria have requested that they be included in the program, said Communication Director Jana Ganion.
Primarily, one employee works to haul the recyclables to the McKinleyville transfer station.
The really great part about this whole project is it pays for itself, Angell said, due to the redemption value of materials.
Recyclables collected through the program include aluminum and metal cans, glass, plastics, paper, magazines, newspaper, chipboard and cardboard.
According to a Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe news release, the EPA cites recycling 68 tons of material as equivalent to:
Removing 45 cars from the road for one year
Planting and growing 6,238 tree seedlings for 10 years
Eliminating emissions from 25 households for one year
Saving 583 barrels of crude oil
Saving 28,610 gallons of gasoline
The tribes recycling program was also recognized with the EPAs Waste Wise Partner of the Year award in 1999 and 2000, and the Program Champion award in 2002.
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