Dump history not wasted on Lopez

Submitted by Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District

Self-reliance is a part of the Lopez ethic. It is precisely Lopez’s DIY work ethic that formed our current, community-run dump. This work ethic is predicated upon the need for community inclusion and participation.

In 2012, when the Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District was being formed into its current incarnation, a group of hardworking board members did what it took to learn how to run the drop box facility. They listened to Lopezians who wanted to continue to recycle and to keep the Take It or Leave It as a free service for both giving and receiving donated goods. The model they established was built on Lopezians showing up for other Lopezians by volunteering to assist in keeping these operations running.

In the last seven years, LSWDD has worked with hundreds of service-oriented folks from the community. Lopez is very lucky to have such an involved volunteer force – many of the most talented and dedicated volunteers are in their 70s and 80s!

But this year LSWDD has seen a sea change in the volunteer pool — many in the community are moving off island to be closer to family or are no longer able to volunteer for other reasons. As Nikyta Palmisani says, “Lopez, we need you.”

Last week, board member Larry Bailey remarked how Lopez’s little dump operation grasped the scale of the global plastics economy well before it ever hit mainstream media. Every day the dump works across the community to increase opportunities for Lopezians to use less and do more with what’s already in use. Volunteering at the dump is more than an act of service; it is a consistent way to improve the nature of recycling and reuse by applying innovative solutions!

Volunteers move 24,000 pounds of donations each month into reuse and recycle streams from Take It or Leave It alone. That’s 100 pounds per full-time resident, per month!! This is an unprecedented amount of diversion, and allows Lopezians to have access to 24,000 pounds of goods in the form of free reuse! This is exclusively due to volunteers providing the high-quality service Lopezians have come to enjoy. The Dump encourages Lopezians to be part of the solution to reducing waste and creating local opportunities while having a great time in the community.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer, email Palmisani at npalmisani@lopezsolidwaste.org. Thank you from the whole community!