With guidance from Sara Melnicoff, founder of Moab Solutions, and Abby Scott, program director of Canyonlands Community Recycling (CCR), Salazar has learned about the impacts of waste on the environment, as well as the Moab resources she can utilize to reduce her own environmental impact on the community.
Not only does Salazar now recycle everyday, she now rides her bike to work and brings reusable bags with her to the grocery store — even returning home once when she forgot them.
“This girl has been going above and beyond,” Melnicoff said last week, then offered a big smile.
Salazar said the Go Green Challenge has impacted her life in a positive way.
“It’s totally encouraged me to ride my bike, recycle, and bring my own bags — I’m going to stick with that forever,” she said.
For the final challenge day, Melnicoff, Scott and Salazar met at the local thrift store and nonprofit WabiSabi to talk about waste reduction.
WabiSabi Program Director Mandy Turner said the store not only helps the environment by repurposing materials, but also the community by providing low-cost goods and fundraising for other nonprofits in the community.
“Recycling and repurposing not only gets people the low-cost goods that they need in this resource-sparse town, but also creates jobs and creates money so we can support nonprofit organizations,” Turner said.
During a tour of the store Turner encouraged Salazar to check WabiSabi for items before buying new.
Turner said WabiSabi manages to find a new home for most of its used items and noted that between its two locations, WabiSabi only fills three Dumpsters with trash each week.
For things that Salazar cannot donate or repurpose, Scott said CCR hosts special electronic waste recycling drives twice a year and household hazardous waste drives once a year.
On May 9, CCR will have a special electronic waste and household hazardous waste drive to recycle items such as cell phones, microwaves and vacuum cleaners, and hazardous items like household cleaners, motor oil, batteries and aerosols.
Beyond recycling and shopping for repurposed goods, Melnicoff also suggested that Salazar stop certain types of waste where it starts, by removing her name from junk mail and phonebook lists.
Salazar was selected to participate in the challenge after Moab Solutions put out a call for applicants who currently did not recycle in their household. The goal, according to Melnicoff, was to help show the challenge participant that recycling and other sustainable habits can be easily practiced as part of a daily and weekly routine.
With the challenge completed, Melnicoff and Scott presented Salazar with a year of curbside recycling from Green Solutions, gift certificates to WabiSabi, Moonflower Community Co-op and EklectiCafe and $500 in cash.
Salazar said the Go Green Challenge was a “great experience,” and whe now wants to spread the word about her lifestyle changes to coworkers and neighbors.
For more information about local recycling and waste reduction, visit: moab-solutions.org and moabrecycles.org.