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Coalition wants Loomis to go 'green' to save some green

Volunteer task force wants residents to downsize their trash cans, recycle
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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Recycle more and save some cash. That’s a message a local coalition wants to get out to Loomis households served by Recology, the Auburn Placer disposal company. The Town of Loomis and Recology are promoting a super-recycler program. Residents who use a 90-gallon trash toter are urged to downsize to a 32-gallon trash can. They can accomplish that by separating their trash, putting cardboard, newspaper and glass and plastic into blue recycling bags, and by making use of a green-waste toter for grass and yard trimmings. Less trash sent to the landfill is good for the environment and for the pocket book. The quarterly charge for a 90-gallon waste toter is $72.09, while a 32-gallon trash can is only $37.08 for the same period. Circle Drive resident Jack Gibson, 77, said he plans to sign up for the lower charge, as soon as he purchases a 32-gallon trash can with wheels. He and his wife, Donna, don’t generate more than 2 or 3 bags of kitchen waste a week, even though they have the larger trash toter, he said. “I’ve always recycled anyhow,” Gibson said. “I always separate my newspapers and take plastic and aluminum cans to recycle behind Relay’s in town.” Gibson also has a 90-gallon green waste toter, which he puts out for free pickup occasionally. But as soon as the weather turns and he needs to mow his large front and back yards, he’ll be filling it up weekly. The effort to get people to waste less and recycle more was just one of the recommendations made in 2010 by the Green Ribbon Task Force, appointed by Loomis councilman Gary Liss, who served as mayor last year. The 10 recommendations were adopted by the Loomis Town Council last November. “The basic idea was to build on Loomis’ environmental reputation, to attract more businesses to Loomis, and to help our residents and businesses be more efficient in use of energy, water and other resources,” he said. “The task force was asked to identify opportunities for the residents and businesses to save money and get the benefit of new green jobs and green economy,” Liss said. Quincy McCourt, of Loomis, served on the task force. With a background in building as a certified green builder, he said he likes to help residents and businesses find ways to save money and the environment. “I really believe in communities working together to spread the good energy,” McCourt said, citing the teamwork between the Town of Loomis and Recology. However, McCourt said, his household doesn’t use the trash pickup service. “We only purchase items that can be composted and recycled. All of our food scraps are churned in with the soil for garden compost,” he said. On the energy side, the task force also recommended promoting existing services such as free audits, available for free from Pacific Gas & Electric to non-residential customers, which includes schools, businesses and government offices. “The first step for proving energy use and save money is auditing what you do right now,” Liss said. “For residents, they can use the new smart meters to figure out what’s happening at their homes.” The task force also looked at the town’s water use. “The biggest town use of water is at Sunrise Park, $18,000 a year. We had volunteers do a water audit and we found … we could save money and be more efficient in the watering that was going on at Sunrise,” Liss said. Another of the recommendations was that the town should partner with Placer Sustain and local experts to host forums on new state sustainability laws, such as the Cal-green building code that took effect in January, and how to comply with them. Placer Sustain, with Liss as chairman, was set up last year as an effort to network people throughout Placer County who are interested in sustainability initiatives. Sustainable Loomis, a local citizens group, has been instituted as a project of Placer Sustain to continue work on these issues. “It will make sure these recommendations are implemented as the council adopted and to respond to new opportunities as they come along to help our residents and businesses in the town be more sustainable,” Liss said.