Here at the community recycling center we process tons of disposable plastic water bottles, and that’s great. It’s no surprise that single-use disposable water bottles constitute over half of the recycled #1 plastic collected in Teton County; bottled water is healthy and very much in vogue. The 3 million tourists (plus residents) that visit the Tetons every year can consume a lot of water. What’s not so great is that the recycling rate for these single use water bottles is estimated to be only around 20% – this means that TONS of these single use water bottles end up being hauled to the landfill, 100 miles away.
Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling processed approximately 24 tons of plastic water bottles last year, and we estimate that 96 tons were trucked to the landfill. These numbers indicate that here in Teton County over 10 million plastic water bottles are consumed each year – with only 2 million being captured for recycling.
We would love to help to reduce this waste stream, and that’s why we support The JH2O project - a project of the 2013/2014 Leadership Jackson Hole class. This program, offered by the University of Wyoming Extension is a series of sessions and workshops for emerging and established leaders who wish to increase their leadership skills, knowledge and participation in community issues. This 9 month class is offered every two years to members of the community. Each class is assigned the task of developing and completing a group project. These projects not only serve as a means to educate participants in how to successfully develop and complete a project within our community, but ultimately determining how the project can benefit the community in some way.
The mission of the JH2O Project is to reduce our community’s landfill impact and cultivate awareness of Jackson Hole’s sustainability goals. By providing convenient access to water bottle refilling stations throughout the Town of Jackson, the JH2O Project will directly reduce the footprint of Jackson Hole as well as impress upon locals and visitors that Jackson is a leader in sustainability. In partnership with Teton County & Jackson Parks and Recreation Department, the Town of Jackson, and Teton County as well as other local organizations, the JH2O Project brings water bottle filling stations to downtown Jackson at five highly visible and heavily trafficked locations.
In order to meet this goal, the group must successfully raise $15,000 to complete their fundraising requirements and match a pledge from the Town of Jackson. Leadership Jackson Hole would appreciate any support you can lend to this cause in the form of donations or by raising awareness for this project by connecting with their Facebook page and sharing this article and website with friends. With the additional community support we can help reduce our footprint, provide convenient water stations for locals and visitors and create awareness about sustainability.
And don’t forget that here in Teton County we enjoy some of the finest drinking water on the planet, sourced from the snowpack of the surrounding mountains – free right out of the tap.