The judicious use and re-use of materials, in both business and household environments, is a challenge. Responsible habits are difficult to create and to maintain. The Blue Lake Rancheria has accepted these challenges and for many years has devoted key personnel, funding and considerable resources to developing leading-edge waste and recycling programs.
The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe has designed and implemented a community-wide recycling program. The Tribe has set ambitious recycling and reuse goals for its Tribal Members, reservation lands and dwellings, its 44,000 square foot Blue Lake Casino and Tribal Government Offices.
Internal systems have been upgraded to facilitate less reliance on paper. And over 400 Tribal employees, administrators and Members have been educated in best practices for waste handling, disposal, recycling and re-use.
The Tribe’s community recycling program serves all residents on the Rancheria and other Tribal lands. Since inception in 1999, the program has grown to where it is generating enough recyclables to largely pay for itself. The amount of recyclables collected, and the number of people participating in the program, have improved every year.
The Blue Lake Casino and the Tribe’s Government Offices are always seeking new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle materials in their projects and operations. Elsewhere on its reservation lands, the Tribe has had enormous success developing habitual reuse programs, hazardous waste education and proper disposal, general clean-up and large item recycling.
Program managers provide a comprehensive report to the U.S. EPA every year on recycling volume. These reports are public information, and their content helps others improve recycling and operational efficiencies.
Because of its attention to solid waste recycling, the Tribe has received numerous awards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Waste Wise Partner of the Year” in 1999, 2000 and “Program Champion” in 2002.
The future goals of the Tribe’s recycling efforts include further refinements of existing programs, implementing new processes to increase the types of items recycled as well as quantity, and supporting those initiatives with the most advanced technology and processes.