Trash Mash by the Numbers

Trash Mash by the Numbers

The Genesee Foundation’s Trash Mash event has become much more than just cleaning the junk out of the garage.  Our neighborhood has made great gains in minimizing environmental impact by recycling tons of material at every recent event.

Our neighborhood recycled the following at this year’s event on June 3:

1.)    7,000 pounds of sensitive documents were shredded and recycled.

·         Archived information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2016 website states that recycling 2,000 pounds of paper saves enough energy to power the average American home for six months, saves 7,000 gallons of water, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by one metric ton of carbon equivalent (MTCE).

2.)    1,940 pounds of mixed recyclables (from bottles and cans collected by volunteers during the event’s roadside cleanup, to the empty cardboard boxes from the document shredding event, and even hail-damaged rigid plastic deck furniture).

·         According to the National Recycling Coalition, recycling is an important economic engine and job creator, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country and generating $11.2 billion in tax revenues for the federal, state, and local governments. Every 10,000 metric tons of recyclables generates 37 jobs, which equates to $1.1 million in wages and $330,000 in tax revenues. (Brent Hildebrand, Alpine Waste’s VP of Operations who manages the recycling facility that collects and processes Genesee’s mixed recyclables picked up at curbside every other week, is on the NRC’s Board of Directors.)

3.)    3,800 pounds of scrap metal: old grills, metal patio furniture, steel pipes and fencing, etc. 

·         The American Iron and Steel Institute reports that for every 2,000 pounds of steel that are recycled, 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved.

4.)    More than 3,000 pounds of electronic waste plus 205 pounds of old batteries.

·         Batteries of all types—alkaline, nickel-cadmium, lithium-ion (even an old car battery) were processed and recycled by Battery Giant, a Denver specialty battery store owned by Genesee resident Jim Treitman.  Various battery components—from a variety of metals to plastic and acid—were captured for reuse.

·         Our neighborhood’s electronic waste was processed by SustainAbility, an Arvada-based organization that employs more than 100 people with various types of disabilities; SustainAbility has been transparent about how our e-waste is processed and where the different commodities go.  The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries reports that one metric ton of electronic scrap from personal computers contains more gold that that recovered from 17 tons of gold ore.

Please consider volunteering next year with other neighbors to help keep the event organized and running smoothly.

-Phil Churilla philchurilla@gmail.com