SustainAbility: Responding to e-mails



The 19th Annual Grand Valley Garden Tour is today and Sunday. Sponsored by Western Colorado Botanical Gardens and Colorado State University Tri River Area Master Gardeners, this self-guided tour features five spectacular private gardens, CSU Tri River Area demonstration gardens and the Botanical Gardens. Tickets are $10 and available at the CSU Extension Office or the gift shop at the Botanical Gardens. Hours for the tour are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. For additional information go to or or call 245-9030 or 244-1836.

I have received a great deal of e-mail lately and wanted to share some with all of you.

First off, I need to correct a mistake I made concerning Williams Rig No. 280. Williams community affair representative Susan Alvillar wrote:

“I am very impressed in what you took in with the rapid fire way the tours usually work. And, you are right — it was very fair. The one piece that wasn’t quite on the mark — the wells 280 is drilling will be finished in about 120 days — they will operate for 30-plus years — after they are no longer productive, we will cement them in. Thanks for coming up to see us — best wishes.”

Reader Del Smith has 40 years of experience in the oil and gas industry and also caught that error. He then explained a step in the drilling process I left out of the column:

When production casing is run, the casing string is cemented in place. This has to be done to isolate the different zones prior to perforating and fracking. If the cementing is not done, when the frac is attempted, there would be communications behind the casing creating a bit of a mess.

I also received several questions concerning the recycling of plastics. Tom Arthur wrote, “Thanks for reporting the good news that WM is taking plastics 1 through 8. Will the city shops recycle center also take them now? If so will I have to separate the 1’s & 2’s from the others?”

The short answer is no, the city is not taking plastic Nos. 3-7 at this time. I spoke with Cyndi Albers from GJ-CRI, the company that runs the city recycling program, and she said they are looking for markets for the additional types of plastic and hope to start accepting them by the end of the year.

Reader Judith Hopper was concerned about where the plastic is being sent for recycling. She wrote:

“We too were pleased to see WM doing Nos. 3-7 to recycle. However, when I mentioned it at the PBS Independent Lens movie last Wednesday in Fruita, Penny Mitchell of PBS and Cullen Purser (a sponsor) said they would be concerned that these things are being shipped overseas for recycling. That is a big health issue as there are no safeguards for those people. One of the movies this winter in Independent Lens was on this very thing. Is there a way to check this out? We recycle, have thermal and photovoltaics solar, heat with solar and wood, garden, can, etc. It seems to be such a ‘new’ thing to so many people.”

A call to Waste Management revealed very little since I must have forgotten I was dealing with corporate America. Tiffiany Moehring explained in an e-mail:

“In regard to shipment of commodities, it is important to note that we ship to where there are end-use demands, thus markets shift based on both national and global demands. To whom/where we ship our commodities is considered proprietary. With this said, recyclers can confidently recycle with WM because we are an ethical recycler; and ensure that the recycling commodities (plastics or otherwise) that we collect will become recycled products. In fact, for three years in a row, WM has been named by Ethisphere Institute as one of the world’s most ethical companies.”

That sounds reassuring, but Ethisphere Institute has no connection with the sustainability and environmental communities and, at first glance, appears to be a rubber stamp for big corporations. If you are concerned about where your plastics are sent for recycling, you’ll have to make your own decision.


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