Local teens sway governor on recycling

June 15, 2011

For those of you who religiously recycle and prioritize a conscious use of the earth's resources, there is good news from the governor's office - brought about, in no small part, by two local teens' diligence.

On June 9, Ali Danko and Alix Melton, both 18 and both graduates of HRV on June 10, experienced a very direct effect of their efforts to promote recycling. They were special guests at the Capitol, invited to watch Gov. John Kitzhaber sign a bill updating and strengthening the Oregon bottle deposit system.

"By making more of these containers eligible for redemption, we're going to have a significant impact not just on our roadways and in our landfills but also increase our recycling rate," said Kitzhaber, just before signing the bill at the state capitol.

Working alongside other Leos Service Club volunteers over a two-and-a-half-year period, Melton, president of Hood River Leos, and Danko, Leos vice president, estimate that their student group sorted about 220,000 bottles and cans. In the process, they also collected close to $11,000 in redemption returns, which they in turn gave back to local charities.

"Because we had more hands-on experience," said Melton, "we saw the inefficiencies in the current system. We saw that the proposed bill would fix a lot of them." That is how she and Danko decided to testify before the House committee for energy, water and the environment during preliminary hearings on the proposed changes.

The newly revised bottle deposit system will now require virtually all glass, metal or plastic beverage container purchases to come with a deposit payment, effective before Jan. 1, 2018.

Up until now plastic water and soda containers and beer have required the deposit, but not specialty items such as sports drinks, ice tea and juices.

"A lot of people don't know that water bottles have a deposit even now," said Ali Danko, "and so I think this bill will make it easier since everything will be redeemable."

The new legislation will also raise the deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents if the statewide redemption rate drops below 80 percent for two consecutive years.

Another addition to Oregon's progressive legislation for recycling will now increase access to redemption sites for recyclers. There will be an expansion of a now experimental program of centralized redemption centers. These sites, once available statewide will replace local grocery stores redemption centers.

That information comes from Melton's direct experience with drivers who regularly showed up at the Leos collection site, offering to give away the cash from their bottles in exchange for convenience and a desire to help out local charities.

The Leos' Saturday recycling program began in Rosauers' parking lot with the Lions newspaper recycling trailer, which is now located across the street in the open lot.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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