It’s a mantra many of us learned as kids, the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And in Wyoming, is a top priority for many. We’re consistently named among the top five small city recyclers countywide by the Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District. In fact, last year, through a combination of residential and city efforts, recycled 40.22% of its waste. Since Hamilton County gives us a rebate for high levels of —that increase with the portion recycled—the City will receive a $27,289.71 reimbursement!

In recent years though, as Rumpke has had to place limits on what it can recycle due to shifts in global markets for recycled material, and even while residents mindfully worked to sort what they can, we’re beginning to plateau in our recycling levels. If we’re maxing out what we can recycle, it might be time to consider some other R’s: Reducing our overall waste and encouraging Reuse of items we no longer want.

Spring Clean-Up Day is our first big opportunity

’s annual Spring Clean-Up Day will take place this year on Saturday, April 13. It’s that Friday night into Saturday morning where residents all over Wyoming drag out their old lamps, couches, and what-nots for free unlimited pickup (with dump-truck pickup paid for by the city). Some neighborhoods do trash-picking scavenger hunts; some residents pick for treasure; many junk trucks circulate the city. Certainly, a lot of what goes out to the curb gets snapped up, but even with the pickers, in years past, Rumpke has had to haul away 75+ tons of trash just for Spring Clean-Up Day. Last year, we threw away 95.38 tons on this single day. Taken in the context of our annual solid waste haul to Rumpke landfill of 2791.5 tons, this was a sizable amount!

If you want to help reduce ’s Waste this Spring Clean-Up Day, and help your items get reused, it might be your day to shine. Instead of chucking your old furniture, clothes or anything else that might have a second life, consider calling for pickup from any of the following local nonprofits. For most, pickup is free.

You can give back to your neighbors, avoid having to lug the stuff to the curb, and help reduce our community’s waste stream!

Don’t forget the orange bags!

If you have old clothes no one else wants (that pile of ratty old socks in the corner, perhaps?)—remember that textile recycling can go out in orange bags on the same day as your regular trash pickup. If you need more bags, you can call 866-835-5069. Last year, recycled 5.21 tons of textiles that in previous years would have been dumped in the Rumpke landfill.

The R, Rot

Did you know that in Hamilton County, 31.7% of waste could have been composted? While many of us grew up hearing “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” a new R is sweeping waste reduction circles: Rot (compost).

A growing number of residents compost their organic waste at home, which not only helps reduce our overall waste, but also creates wonderful amendment for home gardens. If you missed April’s compost seminar, you can find others at Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste’s website.

A Waste Reduction Movement

The EPA estimates that on average each American generates 1.07 tons of trash per year. In 2018, generated 4669.62 tons of waste (including recycling). That means we produce approximately 0.55 tons of waste per resident. We’re below the national average, but with some careful shifts in habit, our community could truly become a model for waste reduction.

Set a goal for your household: how low can you go? And starting with this Spring Clean-Up Day, how can your family’s choices help reduce our overall waste for the year?