Compost is Awesome! But what is it? Compost is the perfect mix of carbon and nitrogen…it is as simple as mixing your food scraps with some leaves and letting Mother Nature take over to create a soil-like substrate. Amazingly enough, of the 167 MILLION TONS of trash that U.S. landfills and incinerators receive each year, 50% is compostable and 20-30% alone is food scraps.
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The greenest solution for your event or party is to use reusable plates, glasses, silverware, and bowls. But many people don’t happen to have a huge cache of dishes available and that is where Sustainable Crested Butte can help. We can help make your next event a waste free event by providing dishes for a small donation. We are even able to do the dishes for you thanks to dish-washing facilities generously donated by Crested Butte’s Personal Chefs. Learn more and check our schedule at http://sustainablecb.org/
This time of year, many of us travel before the busyness of summer arrives. On your travels you’ll notice signs in hotels asking guests to hang up their towels and put a card on their beds to leave the linens and skip washing towels and sheets every day, in a bid to save water and energy. But, does this make a difference? It turns out that it does! As reported in National Geographic and the Smithsonian Magazine, “the American Hotel and Lodging Association estimates that the request reduces the number of loads of laundry washed—as well as the related water, sewer, energy, and labor costs—by 17 percent. The association also notes that such programs increase the lifespan of towels and linens, thus reducing replacement costs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that hotels and other lodgings use about 15 percent of the total water taken up by commercial and institutional facilities in the United States, according to agency spokesperson Carissa Cyran. The commercial and institutional sector, in turn, is responsible for about 17 percent of the withdrawals from U.S. public water systems.” So do your part on vacation and “Be the Change”
Now that spring really has sprung in Gunnison County, this is a good time to check for drafts and leaks around doors and windows. You should also set aside some time to compare last year’s and this year’s electric bills to see if your electric bills and kilowatt hours have increased significantly. Keeping an eye on your usage will help you track down energy fluctuations from a variety of potential sources like leaky windows, new appliances, or insulation that needs to be replaced. According to the Gunnison County Electric Association’s website: “Commercial and residential buildings use nearly 40% of the total energy consumed in the US each year and produce more than 40% of the nation’s carbon pollution. You can learn how to reduce your energy consumption with an energy audit. For more information or to schedule an audit, call GCEA’s energy use specialist at 970-641-3520.” Sustainable Crested Butte encourages you to “Be the Change”
Before we all head out for spring break, we have to finish our taxes. Here is some good news to make that easier. In 2015 Congress extended the solar tax credit. The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems, and there is no cap on its value. For the tax years of 2016-2019, you’ll be able to deduct 30% of the cost, so if you did not install solar last year but are considering it this year, this gives you more incentive. For 2020 and 2021, the deduction goes down to 26% and 22%. Colorado is a leading state for solar power initiatives, financing and implementation. .In addition to the utility incentive programs offered in Colorado, the state offers property and sales tax exemptions (more information at http://www.seia.org/state-
Being green can sometimes save you a lot of money at tax time. Did you know Colorado has one of the best deductions in the nation for electric vehicles and plug in hybrid vehicles? Some Colorado car insurance agencies offer green driver discounts and you can even get an exemption to drive in a High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane with just one person. Check outhttp://www.dmv.org/co-
Bottled water is advertised as a product born of pristine mountain springs such as those that exist all around us and it is marketed to health conscious consumers. The truth is that the life cycle of plastic water bottles carries a considerable environmental footprint. The manufacture, packaging, and transportation of plastic bottles requires extensive energy and releases greenhouse gases, as does the collection, treatment and transportation of the water inside the bottles. Most plastic beverage bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is derived from petrochemical hydrocarbons. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, while PET is recyclable, about 70 percent or almost 2 million tons of single-use plastic water bottles in the United States are not recycled, and instead end up in landfills, lakes, streams, and the ocean (2012 numbers). Beyond the environmental impacts, the long-term health effects of waste plastic in the environment are not known.
Sustainable Crested Butte and the Crested Butte Community School’s National Honor Society invite you to attend a free showing of the film Tapped on Tuesday April 4th at 7:00 pm at the Crested Butte Center for the Arts at 606 6th Street. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Students and SCB members will be on hand to demonstrate ways to reduce our environmental footprint. Tapped is a short documentary (54 minutes) which describes the various impacts single use plastic bottles have on our health and the environment.
Packaging can be extremely helpful for a parent packing lunches but it can also be a waste of plastic. Be thoughtful when buying items and try to buy in bulk or with less packaging when you can. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generated 33 million tons of plastics in 2014, about 13 percent of the waste stream. Only 9.5 percent of plastics were recycled in 2013. Some types of plastics are recycled much more than others. Most community recycling programs accept some, but not all, types of plastics. In Gunnison at the recycling center at 911 South 10th Street you can leave #1 and #1 plastic only, but in Crested Butte and Mt Crested Butte plastic items labeled #1-7 may be recycled. Exceptions include plastic bags and Styrofoam and other items identified on the town’s recycling websites. When you purchase plastic items, look for those made from recycled plastic materials and use plastic sparingly.
As spring starts to creep into the valley, many of us begin our spring cleaning rituals. As you clean out your closets, look for clean reusable bags and put some into your car to take in with you when you shop. Sustainable Crested Butte is hoping to fill the “Bring One Take One” bag container in Clark’s Market in Crested Butte. We are accepting donations of clean cloth bags. When you shop in some stores look for our Boomerang Bags which are stylish and tough. If your reusable bags stay at home or in your car instead of going to the store, you are not alone. In the United States we use about 100 billion plastic bags per year. The average reusable bag has a lifespan equal to that of more than 700 plastic bags. Make a habit of always putting your bags back in the car after unloading your purchases, and keep your bags visible, so that they go in to the store with you. Sustainable Crested Butte encourages Gunnison county residents to “Be the Change”.
Looking for easy ways to help the environment and your pocketbook? Make sure your dishwasher and clothes washer are full when you use them and wash items on the coldest setting when possible. You can save water, electricity, time, your septic system, and money! Rainer Stamminger and his colleagues at the University of Bonn in Germany found that washing dishes by machine used only half the energy, one-sixth of the water, and less soap than washing by hand.