Novel Recycling Program at the Gardiner Library
By Nicole Lane
From Issue 52: Winter 2022
Every environmentally responsible person likes to recycle every possible item they can to support the environment. Unfortunately, the options for recycling are severely limited, and many items wind up in the trash because there is no option to recycle them, i.e., toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrushes, toothbrush outer packaging, floss containers, razors, rigid plastic packaging, flexible plastic bag packaging, and more. In 2022, the Gardiner Library has begun the pivotal work of obtaining its Sustainable Library Initiative Certification (SLI), an award-winning project to create leadership and provide tools to mobilize libraries to think and act sustainably, while also working on a final draft of a new long-range Plan of Service. As we move forward through the SLI certification process, we will complete benchmarks and take actions that are unique to the specific needs of our library and community. One of these benchmarks will be to increase the ability of Gardiner residents to be environmental stewards in our community. Therefore, the library is currently working towards providing a location to recycle items not currently accepted at the Gardiner Transfer Station or through an at-home garbage pickup service.
To begin meeting this goal, the library is working collaboratively with a group of libraries in the Ramapo Catskill Library System and is now accepting the following items: all brands of used or empty toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrushes, toothbrush outer packaging, floss containers, all brands of blades and razors, rigid plastic packaging, and flexible plastic bag packaging and all brands of beauty product and skincare packaging, such as pump caps, hair spray triggers, lipstick cases, eyeliner pencils, and mascara tubes. All items collected will be recycled into new products through a program from TerraCycle, an innovative recycling company that has become a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle materials. Although this program ends around Earth Day (April 22, 2022), the library is also exploring additional ways to permanently offer a space for recycling hard-to-recycle items. These items include eyeglass recycling, cellphone and battery recycling, pen/marker recycling, providing bags for proper disposal of medicines, and, if possible, continuing to be part of a TerraCycle Program.
The library also seeks to be a center for sustainability education for people of all ages where all can explore their current efforts at sustainable living and plan for future efforts while envisioning how their efforts will positively impact their community and the planet. Consequently, in July 2022, and in collaboration with the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency, we are organizing programming and displays to honor “Plastics Free July”. In addition, as part of the summer reading theme “Oceans of Possibilities”, we plan to highlight ways to become more aware of the plastics in our lives and how we can minimize our usage of them.
We sincerely invite all to participate and join with us in our efforts, including the SLI certification process and/or the development of our long-range plan. With the cooperation of the public, the Gardiner Library can help build a more sustainable future for us all, as well as deepen the library’s ability to thrive for years to come. For more info, please visit www.gardinerlibrary.org.