Conservation Corner - Advisory Panel Report

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Promoting Energy Awareness, Conservation and Sustainability

By The Staff


I am writing this column to let everyone in Cedar Key know the success of the various efforts that have made up our energy conservation initiative so far.

First off, though, I need to correct some misinformation. Somewhere along the way, the measurements “tons” and “1,000 pounds” got confused. The accurate statement is that Cedar Key produces about 250,000 pounds of waste per month. Yard waste makes up from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of that monthly total. It totally floors me that this little city produces A QUARTER OF A MILLION POUNDS of trash! But it is only trash if it has to go to the landfill. Every part of that “trash” that we recycle becomes a resource.

I went back to the Levy County Recycling Center last week to better understand that part of the process. What I learned was that we are doing a good job, but there are some things we can do to improve. For one, some of the things that wound up in our trailers were not recyclable and therefore were rejected. Remember Styrofoam, plastic motor oil containers, bread wrappers, shrink-wrap, plastic grocery bags and other soft plastic along those lines cannot be recycled. Also, the director of the Recycling Center, Mr. Benny, would be grateful if we could remove caps from all containers and rinse food containers before putting them into our recycling trailer.

Cedar Key’s volunteers have been busy initiating a variety of new programs.

• Neighborhood Network volunteers contacted over 400 households on Cedar Key, giving out information packets about recycling, evacuation re-entry programs, the Vial for Life program, energy conservation, etc.

• You may have noticed the new recycling bins throughout town. Volunteers built the bins, made the signs and installed them next to the trash containers. The bins seem to be working well.

• All hotel, motel, cottage, and condo rental owners/managers have been contacted and given refrigerator magnets for their rental units, to help inform visitors about our recycling program and where to take their recyclables.

• All of Cedar Key’s restaurants and bars have been contacted about the recycling initiative and have been offered help to implement their own recycling program for their businesses. Several businesses have already started to recycle – like the Island Hotel, The Market, Ann’s Other Place, Kona Joe’s, and the Island Room. Cheers to y’all! Several more businesses are about to start to recycle.

• Landscaping of the Cedar Key Recycling Center has begun. We plan to have another landscaping party on Tuesday morning, May 12 (9 a.m.). If you have plants you would like to donate, or if you would like to come pitch in, all are welcome.

A big CONGRATULATIONS to manager Janet Blackwell for getting Seahorse Landing the very first “Green Lodging” certification in Cedar Key! The Florida State Green Lodging Program is a free certification opportunity provided by the Florida State Department of Environmental Protection – and it’s a great marketing tool for Cedar Key’s tourist industry.

The Energy Advisory Panel, in conjunction with the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce led by Paul Rimavicus, has arranged an educational workshop on the Florida Green Lodging Program, to be held Thursday afternoon, May 7, at 3 p.m., upstairs at the Library. The speaker will be Sheena Chin from the Florida D.E.P. We encourage all hotel, motel, condo, and cottage owners and managers to attend. The Green Lodging Program could provide you a great business opportunity.

Will Brown would probably appreciate some fellow volunteers to work with him on his recycling efforts assisting our businesses. If you would like to participate in a hands-on way, give Will Brown a call (543-6455). Will makes his rounds on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings. It takes an hour or two, generally depending on the day of the week. Good exercise - plus it gives you a feeling that in some small way you are part of the solution.

Now, here is the really good news. Before we started on this project, Cedar Key averaged about 11,846 pounds of recyclable material every month. For the month of April, we recycled 16,360 pounds. That’s great! And the number of pounds recycled will continue to grow as we fully implement these various programs.

By the way, we learned from the Neighborhood Network volunteers’ survey that over 75 percent of Cedar Key households are now recycling.

Thanks to all for participating.

- Tom Deverin, Energy Advisory Panel