Zero Waste

Wood County officials are setting an example for other local governments and private citizens with the Zero Waste Challenge project at three county offices. The effort to reuse or recycle everything that would normally have been sent to a landfill is an important one, and employees are to be commended for taking on the project.

Recycling centers and composters will allow plastics, paper, glass and cans to avoid the trash heap, while food waste, coffee grounds and other break-room organics can be turned into material for gardens. There is even a plan for materials such as Styrofoam. Employees will collect it and donate it to area businesses that do a lot of shipping, and can reuse the packaging.

Parts of the project are already open for public use, such as the recycling containers that include bins for batteries and old ink cartridges, in the vestibule of the Black Courthouse Annex and Fort Boreman public meeting room.

This project is “green” in more ways than one, as Wood County Solid Waste Authority Director John Reed said, “If we can go to zero waste we would eliminate our trash bill altogether for the county government buildings.” That is a savings of a little more than $4,000 a year, at current rates.

Getting to zero waste is not easy. It takes changes in attitudes and routines, as well as some effort to collect the recyclables and keep composters running. But Wood County employees are doing it. They are making a difference for both the environment and the county’s bottom line. The plan is to expand the project, once efforts are established and successful at the initial three locations.

Other governments and residents who are able should look to the work being done in Wood County as a model for reducing their own footprints.