Orange Bag Resource Guide

If you live in Boise, Eagle, Garden City, Meridian or Star you are probably familiar with the Hefty® EnergyBag® program. This is a program for recycling certain plastics that have been previously trashed and sent to the landfill. Started in 2018 in reaction to China’s decision to no longer take recycled plastic materials, it has given southwestern Idahoans a way to save many hard-to-recycle plastics from being put directly in the trash and taken to the landfill.

The rules for what goes in the orange bag and what goes in the blue recycle bin are specific, but maybe not so easy to remember. For many of us who enthusiastically embraced the program, we have developed our own methods of sorting materials and identifying what goes where. And we probably haven’t closely checked to see if what we think goes into the orange bag really does. For others of us, trying to remember the finer points of the categories is too much to fit into a busy schedule and so maybe we fill an orange bag and maybe we don’t.

Help is here!

The Boise City website has 2 separate guides available from their Curb It recycling page. Scroll down to find 2 separate guides, one for those of us who want to participate but don’t really have the time to research every item (Home Reference Guide), and one for those of us who want to maximize their contributions and ensure that they put them in the proper receptacle (Detailed Plastics Guide).

Boise’s main “Curb It” page has detailed descriptions of many items and where they go: orange bag, blue bin, compost, or trash. (Boise City program personnel encourage us: “When in doubt, throw it out.”)

For information on where to recycle items not collected curbside, go to the Curb It Collection Sites page. And a final reminder that instead of recycling, the best thing we can do is to reduce our use of plastics in the first place. The Reduce and Reuse page has a list of specific suggestions you can use. (And reuse!)

Resources for a Whole Food Plant-based Lifestyle

From Paula and John Warren, and their “Where’s the Beef” presentations for Earth Month 2021: Useful Resources for a Whole Food, Plant-based Lifestyle

And check out our fun Meatless Monday cooking show episodes!

Regenerative Agriculture

The 85-minute documentary “Kiss the Ground” focuses on the connections between land use, soil degradation, and the climate crisis. The film is currently streaming on Netflix and a DVD will soon be available to check out from the BUUF library. The film shows how soil health is tied to the overall health of our planet, and how innovative practices such as regenerative agriculture can help renew ecosystems. Applied at a global scale, these practices will combat climate change. There is hope.

“Kiss the Ground” suggests that the quality of our food is dependent on the quality of our soil. If we take care of what is “right under our feet,” plants will sequester carbon. Regenerative agriculture is a way to use the planet’s own natural systems to rebalance our climate while supporting farmers and ranchers. The core ideas include:

  • Responsible management of land through reduced tilling, limits on nitrogen fertilizers, use of cover crops, and prioritization of animal and plant diversity.
  • Promotion of soil health to protect farms against extreme weather and create higher annual crop yields for farmers.
  • Support for agricultural carbon sequestration to reduce emissions and make farming carbon neutral.

You can watch the “Kiss the Ground” world premiere panel discussion and our BUUF post-viewing conversation during Earth Month 2021 on YouTube.

Climate Change Basics

Learn the basics, from Project Drawdown, in a series of six short videos.
Unit 1: Setting the Stage 13 min (Good introductory video)
Unit 2: Stopping Climate Change
Unit 3: Reducing Sources
Unit 4: Supporting Sinks and Improving Society
Unit 5: Putting It All Together
Unit 6: Making It Happen

Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops

In this series of five short films, narrated by Richard Gere, learn why natural warming loops have scientists alarmed—and why we have less time than we think.

Refrigerator, A/C Disposal

Here is local information for proper disposal of refrigerators and air conditioners using the EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) protocols. If you buy a new device and the seller is taking the old one, make sure they use RAD protocols for disposal.

Two options for disposal:

  1. Dispose on your own at the Ada County landfill (minimum charge to come through scales is $15)
  2. Pick up by your disposal service (contact them in advance)
    Republic – Boise – Free – 208 345-1266
    Republic – Ada Co. – $55.87 ($23 if dropped at one of their transfer stations)
    Hardin – $30 – 208 642-2629

The landfill routes to certified technicans. Republic and Hardin transport to Pacific Recycling. In both cases, what happens next:

  • Determine refrigerant type
  • Record unit’s serial number
  • Evacuate from each unit into type-specific vacuum units
  • When cylinders are full, shipped to a vetted, certified company specializing in refrigerant recycling
  • After refrigerant removed, remaining scrap metal is recycled at separate company
  • Recycling facility determines if the refrigerant can be reused. Unusable refrigerants are destroyed at a specialized plasma plant, using an argon plasma arc (>10,000°C), with refrigerant fed in at a controlled rate. That breaks it down to component atoms (H, C, F, Cl)

Submitted by Scott Smith, January 21, 2021