GV cares about
We're doing our part to care for our Earth.
Our community proudly recycles and composts!
A Bold Idea
If I asked you to estimate how many pounds of trash you throw away in a week, what would you guess? The yearly average of trash per person is 1500 pounds! Yet, almost nothing we throw away is "trash". Your trash bag is most likely just recycables + food waste. Rather than burn or bury these materials at landfills or incinerators, we believe diverting them to recovery facilities is better!
We are so very proud to be the *very first* apartment community to offer Recycling Bins. Literally tons of material from Golden Valley is diverted to recycling facilities! Just think of all the milk cartons, egg containers, cereal boxes, aluminum foil, plastic bags, soda and alcohol bottles, boxes and packaging - it's all recyclable! It creates jobs, saves the environment, and is as easy as tossing these items in the Blue Bins!
In August 2015, we became the first apartment community in Kern County to offer compost bins on-site. We don't do the composting here, we just collect all of our food waste and leftovers in the Green Bins. All of this material becomes compost and fertilizer, instead of rotting in a landfill and creating methane, a greenhouse gas.
In light of the historic drought in California, we've reduced our landscape water consumption by about 20%, and w're aiming for more cuts as we install more drought-resistant plants. We're keeping enough water to maintain our beautiful trees, and we'll replace dying plants with hearty bushes that aren't as demanding.
Our office is ultra-efficient as well, saving both you and us valuable time. Our application, forms, rent payments, and work orders are all online. You may easily do everything from your computer or smartphone. We print as little as possible, opting for e-signatures and emails for 95% of our work. Every step makes a difference!
Energy Efficiency & More
In June 2015, we replaced all exterior light fixtures with LED units, cutting our lighting carbon footprint by 90%. We're also in the process of replacing all interior bulbs with LED units, cutting your energy bill as well. Our tankless water heaters provide incredibly efficient heating. When we replace carpeting and flooring, all of the old materials are recycled. And, we service our HVAC units twice each year to ensure efficiency.
We're aiming to replace almost all regular "trash" bins with either Blue Recycling or Green Composting Bins by Spring 2016. Because we believe you'll agree, most of the things we throw away are Recycling or Compost materials anyway! We'll have E-Waste Bins (batteries, electronics) coming soon. We believe Sustainability is as easy as providing the right bins for our Residents - we make it easy for you to be a part of the solution!
Do you see your trash bag in that mess?
It's time to take a few seconds to separate our trash into recycling and compost. Your conscious decisions will save the planet, the only one we have.
What's the problem? We all throw away our trash, what's wrong with that?
Not long ago, just a few decades back, cities across the United States didn't have a formal trash collection program. There were no trash trucks, no scheduled weekly pickups, not even trash bins or dumpsters. What did people do? They simply dropped trash out the window. It would pile up everyday, higher and higher. Street workers would push it into big piles so people could walk around. Just about anywhere, you would smell trash. Pigs would roam the streets eating through the garbage, which helped a bit, but as you can imagine it wasn't a fast solution. At one point, piggeries were started - farms where people would dump trash, the pigs would eat it, and then pork products would be made and sold. And we started dumping trash into the ocean, hoping it would just go away.
But that's the thing about trash. If you try to ignore it, if you dump it over there or throw it in the ocean, it doesn't just "go away". This is because trash doesn't biodegrade. Food waste and other organic material does biodegrade over time, turning back into things Nature can use to make something else.
But plastic, aluminum, glass, furniture, mattresses, tires, used motor oil - all that stuff we throw away at some point, it can take hundreds if not thousands of years for it truly disappear.
Glass takes 1 Million Years to decompose.
Plastic takes 500-1000 Years, maybe more.
Take styrofoam for example, it's so great at keeping stuff safe during shipping, but do you know how long it takes to decompose? The best guess scientists have is 500 years! Does it really make sense for millions of people across the world to use styrofoam cups or packaging everyday, when each piece will take 500 or more years to decompose? Of course not. Our behavior has to change.
How about a beer or wine bottle? If we throw it in a landfill, or out in Nature somewhere, scientists estimate it will take 1 Million years to decompose! It is hard to imagine where humanity will even be in a million years, but our glass bottles from yesterday will still be around!
Ok one more, how about a plastic bag, or a plastic milk jug, or any plastic for that matter? How long will it take to decompose? Answer (or our best guess so far): At least 500 years, and some scientists say 1000 years or more. That plastic bag you put your groceries in? Or that plastic cup for parties? 500-1000 years from now, it is likely it will still be around. How awful.
If we recycle this stuff, and compost our food waste, 90% or more of our typical household "trash" won't be trash at all!
Look how easy recycling and composting can be!
Cities across the United States and the world are thinking hard about a simple question - why oh why are we spending so much taxpayer money on landfills, when we could save money and the environment by simply recycling and composting? Check out this short and fun video on how the City of Calgary has transformed it's trash problem!
How much trash do you produce each year? Answer: 1500 pounds or more! Where does it go? Can't we recycle it?
My Alma Mater produced a short and incredibly informative video on what happens to our trash, and some of the recovery efforts being made to divert recyclables from landfills. We can easily forget about how easy it is toss something in the garbage - but then what? What happens after that? You'll see it here!
The Majestic Plastic Bag
If you have 4 minutes for a hilarious mockumentary (a mocking documentary), check out the journey of our humble plastic bags. Please pick up a reusable bag at your favorite grocery store, and just say "no thanks" to any plastic bag no matter where you go. Even if you use the plastic bag for your trash, they still end up in our oceans and landfills. It is truly sad, and we must change our habits for the better. Our future and our children's future depends on it.
Plastic Island The Size of Texas, Floating in the Pacific
Vice News produced a 3-part video on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - a Texas-sized area of floating plastic and debris. We can argue day and night about why this shouldn't exist, but trash is something we all produce, and once we throw it away we lose control over where it goes.
So What Do I Need To Do?
Simple! Keep one bag for all of your recycling, and one for your food waste.
Right now, most of us just push our leftovers AND our packaging into one big trash bag. If you separate it, we can do amazing things together - like eliminating 90% of our landfill material!
Keep one handy bucket (you can get a free bucket in our office, one per apartment) and throw all your food waste in it. Any leftovers, stale food, any food - throw it all in the bucket, and dump the bucket in the Green Compost Bins around the community. No plastic bags please!
Put all of your plastic, glass, aluminum, paper, and cardboard into the Blue Recycling Bins around the community.
How about baby diapers, dog waste, and cat litter? You can put all of that into the Grey Trash Bins.
And furniture, mattresses, tires, motor oil - that stuff and more isn't allowed to be dumped on the property. It is against the City's Solid Waste Code. You'll have to take it to the dump or a collection facility.
What's the plan?
Golden Valley is going to Zero Waste, and all of us will be part of the solution. All that means is taking a moment to keep your trash separate. That's it. That's all we need our residents to do. It's easy to be green!
We've received excellent feedback, and we appreciate all of your support and desire to help! You are truly fantastic residents! You make it easy for us to work hard on your behalf, because your recognize we truly care about our community, our residents, and our impact on the environment. Some residents have brought up interesting questions, and we've answered a few of them below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I worry about this, doesn't the city or government deal with it?
The answer elected leaders have had to trash for centuries - from ancient Greece to yesterday - is to bury it in landfills or burn it for energy. Burying trash in landfills sounds easy, but consider the scale of these landfills - they are mountains, hundreds of feet tall and many football fields wide. And they can only take in so much; at some point, they close, and a new one opens. A landfill is not a solution - it is the product of people ignoring creative solutions. It is the laziest thing we can do - dig a hole, and forget about it. What about burning, doesn't it power homes? Sure it does, but so does natural gas, solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, and other clean energy. Why would you burn a plastic bottle, or burn a glass bottle, or burn newspapers - wouldn't it make sense to turn them into new products? We think it would, and cities around the world are making recycling and composting a priority. Landfills account for about 30% of greenhouse gas emissions!
Will you do the composting on-site? I've heard it's really smelly!
No, we are simply collecting the compost material (food waste, like leftovers and stale food) in the Green Bins, and these bins will get picked 2-3 times each week and hauled off to the municipal composting facility. The Green Bins won't smell any more than a regular trash bin, but all of that material will become fertilizer, instead of becoming a landfill! Now that was easy, wasn't it!
Do I need to keep separate bags? I don't have space for that.
Recycling goes in one bin, compost material goes in another bin. That one big bag of trash you have now will become two bags - one huge bag or two smaller bags, either way they should take up a similar area of space. The adjustment you make is your goodness, it is your contribution to getting rid of landfills. We genuinely thank you in advance!
Can I use a plastic bag for my Compost (food waste)?
No, compost bins can *only* accept food, or compostable paper. You can't put plastic bags in the Green Compost Bins, but you can use a compost bin for your kithen. It's just a small bin that you can use for your food waste, and simply dump straight into the community's Green Compost Bins, no bags needed!
Or if you want, you can use compost bags, which cost a few pennies more than regular plastic trash bags. You can find them in stores, or here at Amazon.com.