GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – April 18-22 is Earth Week celebration. This annual event helps shed light on environmental issues and honor our planet. Recycling, composting and reducing food waste here in Mesa County are environmentally friendly alternatives to throwing food scraps and yard waste in the trash.
The City of Grand Junction does not offer compost pickup. But composting, whether you do it yourself at home or bring it to a facility, involves taking yard waste or food scraps and mixing it with other easy-to-find ingredients to create nutrient-rich soil.
“While the City of Grand Junction does not currently offer compost pickup, it is one of City Council’s strategic priorities and something we are considering in the future,” said Jerod Timothy, Director of Services. generals of the city of Grand Junction.
“I think composting is really important,” said Shay Starr, composting facility manager for Mesa County Organics. “Not only does this keep materials out of the landfill and extend the life of our landfill, but it’s just a big circle of life.”
Currently the facility only accepts yard waste. But they are looking into the possibility of accepting leftover food in the future. It’s free for the public to file. But there will be fees for commercial businesses from the beginning of May.
The facility is located at 3071 US Highway 50 in Grand Junction. They are open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. They accept leaves, grass clippings, waste fruit, stall bedding, manure, hay, pests if the twine has been removed and tree branches less than six feet in length or less. over 24 inches in diameter. Prohibited items include wood, pallets, plywood, burnt or charred wood, turf, salt cedar, tamarisk, roots with soil, rocks, root balls, any material over six feet in length or over 24 inches in diameter and painted, treated, stained or glued wood.
“Composting is a really easy thing that any homeowner can do,” said Bryan Reed, WCCC instructor in sustainable agriculture. “It doesn’t take up a lot of space, it recycles nutrients that come in the form of food or lawn clippings so we can make a wonderful soil amendment to help with gardening and growing more plants, and it’s a way to dispose of waste so that it doesn’t go to the landfill and fill it up.
WCCC composts food scraps and yard waste, but is not a public drop-off facility. However, they do offer courses on home composting.
To compost at home, mix one part green with two to three parts brown. Food scraps and grass clippings and manure or coffee grounds are among the green items. Dried leaves, straw, cardboard and sawdust fall under the brown.
As it decomposes moisture is needed by covering the bucket or pile with a damp towel, blanket or rug. And every three days it is recommended to mix the ingredients.
“As you add moisture and the bacteria start breaking it down, everything starts to turn brown and it gets smaller in size,” Reed said. “After about two to three months you can’t recognize the parent material anymore, it looks grainy.”
Reed went on to explain that it can take between three and six months to complete. He said looking at it and seeing its grainy texture and earthy smell means it’s done.
Reed explains that he adds all the different food scraps that come out of his kitchen. He keeps a small canister on his counter. He said all fruits and vegetables are accepted, even apple cores, orange and banana peels and potato skins.
“When I brush my dog, I’m putting in the dog’s hair,” Reed said. “Nail clippings, I take the container out of the vacuum cleaner because most of his dirt ended up in the house. You can make matchsticks, cotton swabs, cotton balls, anything organic in nature and from a natural source can be composted.
Reed explains that the process does not smell or attract flies if done correctly. If it gives off an odor or attracts bugs, that means too much green has been added and it needs more brown to even out.
Reed said even if you don’t have a yard or a lot of space, it can even be done in a bucket under a sink in an apartment. However, the smaller the amount, the longer it takes.
As for recycling, the City of Grand Junction offers a recycling collection for single family homes. But they don’t yet offer support for apartments or multi-family residences. There are drop off points in Grand Junction. Curbside Recycling Indefinitely is located at 333 West Ave. Unit G in Grand Junction. Hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The other location is at 3071 US Highway 50 in Grand Junction. They are open Wednesday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
However, it is important to recycle properly and not put contaminated items such as unwashed containers and plastic blisters. Every little gesture counts!
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