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Community Ag Alliance: Answering questions about waste

If you go

What: October Talking Green — The Green House Gas Legacy of Food Production and Waste

Where: Steamboat Springs Art Depot

When: 5:30 p.m., Oct. 27

Who: Mark Easter, senior research associate, CSU Natural Resources Ecology Lab

Information: This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit yvsc.org

In the past week, several people have sent us an opinion piece from the New York Times by John Tierney.

If you go

What: October Talking Green — The Green House Gas Legacy of Food Production and Waste

Where: Steamboat Springs Art Depot



When: 5:30 p.m., Oct. 27

Who: Mark Easter, senior research associate, CSU Natural Resources Ecology Lab



Information: This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit yvsc.org

In the article, Tierney suggests recycling and composting are “costly and ineffectual,” and it would be better for both the economy and the environment to landfill our waste. Coincidentally, this article was published within weeks of the USDA and EPA announcing a national food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50-percent reduction by 2030.

So which is the right answer? Should we move toward a zero-waste community or should we send everything to the landfill? Do the economic and environmental benefits of reducing food waste, composting and recycling outweigh the transportation costs?

In 2014, the Steamboat Pilot brought up similar questions in its opinion piece “The True Cost of Recycling.” In that piece, the editorial board recommended that our community needed an outside expert to explain the real environmental costs of waste.

The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is responding to that request. For our October Talking Green event, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, we have asked Mark Easter, a senior research associate at the Colorado State University Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory, to answer these questions and educate our community.

Easter states, “There is a growing awareness that the sustainability of the U.S. food system is not just a function of what we eat, but how our foods are grown and equally important, how we dispose of the waste.” Easter will present some of the latest findings in an interactive, TED-Talk style, multimedia presentation.

The issue of waste reduction, recycling and composting is complicated, especially in rural Northwest Colorado. But looking at this issue as costly and ineffectual is a view we cannot afford over time.

It will take a creative and community-engaged approach to come up with solutions to address waste that are best for both our economy and the environment. The first step is education.

YVSC is pleased to welcome Easter to help us with this first step.

Sarah Jones is executive director of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.


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