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The Reno-Sparks Recycling Project as operated by Save Mart Supermarkets and Whole Foods Market returned another very successful year in 2009, thanks primarily to the increased participation of you, Burning Man veterans and virgins alike. Although the numbers of recyclables collected are roughly similar in comparison to 2008 -- given that the population of Black Rock City was down 12-13% (due to difficult economic times), it would appear that recycling participation as a percentage of the Black Rock City population actually increased by about 12-13% over 2008. More of us are recycling! Whether due to more people knowing about the project, or more people taking advantage of this free and convenient service, the bottom line is that recycling in support of the event and beyond is up and running strong, rather than simply off into the landfills.

Due to differing commitments (contractual or otherwise) of the two store-chains with recyclables vendors, many of the recyclables traveled on to different local and out-of-state vendors. Most of the recyclables (glass, most plastics, and metals) that Whole Foods Market collected went to Waste Management, while cardboard remained in-house with its regular recycling. All the metals collected by Save Mart went to Schnitzer Steel, plastics to Earth First Recycling, glass to Waste Management, and cardboard and plastic bags remained in-house with Save Mart's regular recycling. All bicycles collected by both chains went to the Kiwanis Bike Project in Reno, household batteries to Whole Foods and then on to Ecycle Environmental in California, plastic bags to Save Mart, and all garbage to Waste Management. All food and water deposited by participants were donated to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

Due to these different commitments with vendors, proceeds from each chain's recycling operations came from different sources and amounted to different totals. Save Mart raised $190 from the return on the metals it collected - metals in the region are the only recyclable that currently in the region has a realizable profit, while metals prices have been at historic lows throughout 2009 due to the recession. Whole Foods Market was unable to cash in on any of its recyclables, due to its year-round recycling contract with Waste Management; however, Whole Foods chose to donate the proceeds raised in the garbage disposal services it provided to participants, which amounted to over $600. Both Whole Foods and Save Mart have chosen to match the proceeds raised -- Save Mart will donate $380, and Whole Foods will donate $1000.

In total, $1380 will be donated to Black Rock Solar for the second phase of its solar installation project at the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Medical Clinic in Nixon, due to be completed by early 2010.

On behalf of Save Mart Supermarket, Whole Foods Market, The Burning Man Project, Kiwanis Bike Project, Earth First Recycling, Schnitzer Steel, Ecycle Environmental, Waste Management, the City of Reno, Food Bank of Northern Nevada, and Black Rock Solar, thank you very much for your participation and care!

If you have any feedback, please email it to renorecycling.

Below are the totals in recyclables. Also provided in parentheses for comparison are some of the totals collected by Save Mart in 2008. Unless otherwise noted, the unit of measurement is a 4' x 4' x 3' bin:

Save Mart:

Plastics -- 144 bins (183)
Aluminum -- 15 (9)
Other Metals -- 8 (7)
Glass -- 19 (34)
Cardboard -- 64 (34)
Bicycles -- 122 (61)

Food -- 3 Barrels

Water -- 1074 gallons

Whole Foods:

Plastics -- 32 bins
Aluminum & Other Metals -- 6
Glass -- 3
Bicycles -- 40
Batteries -- 40+ lbs
Compost -- 150+ lbs

Food -- 1 barrel

Water -- 250+ gallons


Plastics -- 176 bins
Aluminum & Other Metals -- 29
Glass -- 22
Cardboard -- 63+
Bicycles -- 162
Batteries -- 80+ lbs
Compost -- 150+ lbs

Food -- 4 barrels

Water -- 1324+ gallonsEnd of page

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