Editor’s note: This is the last in a three-part series of stories on recycling issues in the Colorado River area. These stories explore options, recycling obstacles, and how each person’s role, no matter how large or small, can impact the future of this corner of the world.
BULLHEAD CITY — Many items people depend on and use every day cannot be recycled in the traditional sense of putting them in the appropriate bin at the end of the driveway.
Clothing, household items, furniture and other unwanted items can be donated or repurposed.
Tires and medical waste, though, can sit in landfills indefinitely because of the very materials they’re made of, or the purpose they served.
However, creativity knows no bounds when it comes to ideas on how to reuse or repurpose some of these items, big and small, giving them yet another chance to be of service in a totally different light.
Ever hear of an Earthship?
Architect Michael Reynolds came up with the clever idea of rammed-earth, self-sustaining homes centered around load-bearing walls constructed by pounding dirt into tires. Hundreds of tires.
These innovative passive solar-powered homes also use bottles as decorative accents and other recycled and upcycled materials throughout the structure. With one wall made up of nothing but windows, the home also becomes a greenhouse to grow food by recycling gray water to irrigate plants.
The homes are based around human needs — energy, garbage management, sewage treatment, shelter, clean water and food.
What started in New Mexico as an experiment and prototype has grown and evolved into entire Earthship communities and the movement has been spreading around the world now for several years.
What Reynolds has done for the affordable and sustainable housing market, local artist Cathy Farrell has accomplished on a smaller scale as a one-person army to cut down on medical waste, one painting at a time.
Who would ever think of taking single-use…