Tag Archives: Columbia

In Photos: Columbia’s Recycling Facility

Bales, bales and more bales! A large part of touring the facility involved marveling at and subsequently maneuvering through the bales.

At some point or another, most of us have heard at least something about Columbia’s landfill and recovery operations, where all of MU and Columbia’s waste and recycling is sent. Last week, I had the pleasure of touring the landfill via an Environmental Leadership Office-sponsored event, to finally see (and smell) what all the buzz was about. First though, some quick numbers about the facility, provided by a convenient fact sheet we received during the tour:

Fillin’ Up: Columbia’s Landfill

  • 107 acres of the site is used for landfill.
  • 720 total acres at the site.
  • 6 billion tons is the full capacity of the landfill
  • 50% of that 6 billion ton capacity is remaining.
  • 600-700 tons of waste is added to the landfill daily.

Makin’ that Green: Fiscal year 2012

  • $176,856 worth of the harvested methane from the site’s bioenergy plant has been paid to the Public Works Solid Waste Division by the Water & Light Department.
  • 10,347 tons of material has been recycled in Columbia’s material recovery facility.
  • 14,588 tons of compost have been processed at the sites compost facility.

(Somewhat) Dirty Jobs: Staffing

  • 7 full-time employees at the recovery facility.
  • 22 temporary employees at the recovery facility.
  • 14 full-time employees at the landfill.
  • temporary employees at the landfill.
  • 2 full-time employees at the compost facility.
  • 1 temporary employee at the compost facility

Now, on to the photos!

The most critical part of the recovery process is this big blue baler. The baler converts all of the recycled materials into easily manageable bales.
Fibers (cardboard, paper and magazines), piling up, soon to be baled.
Employees hard at work, sorting out the waste from recyclable material as it makes its way through the through the baler process.
Recyclable plastics waiting to be bailed.
Note: The facility does not recycle plastics 3-7 because there is not a strong enough market for them to be profitable.
Bales of recycled aluminum, soon be auctioned to the highest bidders (i.e. companies that will further process the aluminum for redistribution.
A close up look at an aluminum bale. Can you dig it?!
The landfill.
Note: This photo does not do any amount of justice in portraying its incredible vastness.
This is part of the main machine at the site’s bioenergy plant. It’s a remarkable (and remarkably noisy – earplugs were needed) facility that harvests methane and other sources of energy from the waste in the landfill.

Tour of Columbia for National Geographic GeoBee

Missouri’s 2012 National Geographic Bee champion, Jack Langen, gives a tour of his home town of Columbia for the NatGeo YouTube channel. Double-fisting Sparky’s ice cream? Walking on the MKT? The kid couldn’t be more spot on.

Jack will be competing against the other state champions in Washington, D.C., on May 22-24. The Bee finals hosted by Alex Trebek air Thursday, May 24 at 7:00 p.m. (Central Time) on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD.

Edible Columbia Tour on May 6

Fresh romaine lettuce. Photo by Kat Seal.

The Center for Sustainable Living will take a caravan tour of the urban gardens of Columbia to learn about edible landscapes, urban farming, herb gardening, rain gardens, raised beds and much more! The tour will run from 2 to 5 p.m. The final stop of the tour is Comedor Popular, the new eatery opened by Centro Latino, where we will feast on a local, organic, vegan meal.

Tickets are available at the Peace Nook, 804C E. Broadway. Price includes dinner after the tour.

  • $10-20 donation per ticket
  • $7.50 for students/low income
  • $5 for children 6-12 (kids under 6 are free!)

Advanced ticket required. Limited seating available!

Brought to you by Peaceworks Center for Sustainable Living with support from Centro Latino, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, Community Garden Coalition, Rubicon Farm, Saint Francis Catholic Worker Community and Terra Nova Community.  Please call 573-875-0539 for more info.

A Saturday at the Columbia Farmer’s Market

This past weekend was the second Saturday of the Columbia Farmer’s Market season.  Even though a lot of the time it was either raining or threatening to rain, there were still a lot of people who braved the elements to get their local produce.  Walking down the lane there was a large variety of produce for sale, but there were also other stands that sold items such as meat, fish, baked goods, plants and cupcakes.

This year the Columbia Farmer’s Market received a grant from the USDA, according to Columbia Transportation’s website, for a bus to run to transport people to and from the Columbia Farmer’s Market. If you visit Columbia Transportation’s website there is a map of the bus route and also the times that the bus runs.

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Going to the farmers market is a lot of fun. There is plentiful produce and other food items to be bought. You get to see people you know, or you can cultivate friendships with the stall owners. All in all, going to Columbia Farmer’s Market is a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Click below for some recipes for the different vegetables in the slideshow.

Radishes, beets, white turnips, leeks and green onions.

Local researcher works to improve turtle crossings

Thomas Brown on a Loggerhead turtle. From the State Library and Archives of Florida.

Imagine you are small. The world is vast, full of dangers and obstacles, and you are driven by instinct. But your habitat is shrinking. Where once you could move freely, unfamiliar obstacles now hamper your travels, presenting new kinds of predators evolution hasn’t equipped you to deal with. Continue reading Local researcher works to improve turtle crossings

Spring abounds at Pinnacles Youth Park

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This past weekend I was lucky enough to visit Pinnacles Youth Park, located about 12 miles north of MU’s campus off U.S. 63, on two separate occasions.

As a recent immigrant from Texas, I’m enamored with the concept of spring. This season, and any other besides stifling summer, is a phenomenon that is largely absent from all parts of the Lone Star State, and something I’ve never encountered.

In Missouri, the trees bloom. The flowers shoot through the ground and blanket flowerbeds with vibrant blossoms seemingly overnight, enveloping the air with their fragrance. The sun peaks through the clouds in the morning and it rains in the afternoon, never reaching much higher than a mild 75 degrees.

In Texas, there are two colors and two temperatures throughout the year — green and warm if you’re lucky, and brown and boiling if you aren’t.

As someone who moved to the Midwest after the summer of one of the worst drought’s in Texas’ history, I can’t believe that flowers that are planted here in October can survive to bloom in March.

Pinnacles Youth Park only furthered my admiration for Mother Nature’s most recent debut.

Friday afternoon afforded me the opportunity to hike with friends up the trail and across the park’s various rock faces and cliffs. We spotted the first signs of budding trees rebounding from winter, and saw flowers blossoming on Dogwoods.

Saturday morning gave me the chance to see the sunrise from atop one of the peaks at Pinnacles— an opportunity not to be missed, and without a doubt one of the highlights of this Texan’s first spring here in Columbia.

Sneak Peak: Sustainability Week

It’s been one heck of a year. How is Sustain Mizzou celebrating?

In April, we’re dedicating an entire week to topics and issues surrounding sustainability on campus and in Columbia.

The themes are Waste, Energy, Transportation, Local Food + Local Business, and No Impact

Featured events include an E-Waste Drive, Transportation Fair + Bike Decorating, a benefit concert for the Local Food Drive, Carrot Mob, a keynote presentation on Food Security + Dumpster Diving by Rachel Vaughn, and an Environmental Resource Fair.

Check out our homemade calendar of events and keep a look out for more information!

True/False Film ‘Queen of Versailles’ Tells Tale of Consumption Queen

Jackie and her children, Orlando, Florida ©Lauren Greenfield 2011

The Queen of Versailles was one of the most talked about films at this year’s True/False Film Festival, here in Columbia, MO. The documentary film centers around the Siegel family who exemplifies how a rags to riches life can lead to insanely conspicuous over consumption. The film primarily follows time share resort mogul David Siegel’s third wife, 43-year-old-Jacqueline “Jackie” Siegel as she runs her family of 8 children and live in staff of 23 in the family’s 26,000 square foot home while their 90,000 square foot home is under construction. At the same time, 76-year-old-David struggles to save his company from the economic downturn.

At the start of the film it’s quite obvious that this is a documentary about an obscenely wealthy family building America’s largest home, but it quickly becomes a documentary about the effect the economic down turn had on people whose lives were completely centered around consumption. Even David Siegel’s business is centered around selling consumption to other people. Siegel owns Westgate Resorts, which he claims in the film is the largest time share resort company in the world with a whopping 20 resorts under it’s umbrella. It sells the time shares to people who Siegel admits can’t afford them and who are allowed to put as little as 10% down and take out a loan for the other 90% of the cost of a time share. This is led Westgate into trouble when the economy tanked, the ability to get loans disappeared, and the company still owed $240 million on their newly constructed resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Meanwhile we learn Jackie’s backstory; a woman with a lower middle class upbringing who worked her way through college to become an engineer at IBM before divorcing her abusive husband and entering into the modeling industry to become Miss Florida where she meets David Siegel, becoming his third wife. It quickly becomes clear not only that Jackie and David were building their 90,000 square foot because they could but that every aspect of Jackie’s life revolved around acquiring things just because she can.

At point in the film Jackie notes that growing up, she never thought she would ever have more than one child, but once she found out she could have a nanny, she didn’t see any reason to stop having children, leading to the 7 that she had with David. When she’s not toting her children around in her massive SUV, Jackie is driven about in limousines or her husband’s Rolls Royce, and makes frequent trips to McDonald’s and the hair and nail salon. There are also numerous shopping trips for everything from toys for her children (despite their home being filled with hundreds of toys that the children clearly don’t play with), pets (which the Siegels have dozens of), clothing, and antique and furniture items to fill the family homes with.

The Siegel’s are not bad people, though. Far from it, their 8th child is actually Jackie’s niece who they adopted when her parents could no longer provide her with a stable home. David is also quite proud of his charitable endeavors, the number of friends and family who he helps, and the number of jobs his company provides to people. David, and one of his sons who helps run part of Westgate even say that they are selling people vacations that make the people happier.

Unfortunately for the Siegels it all falls apart when the economy takes a dive. The family takes out a mortgage on the 90,000 square foot home (they had initially been paying cash for the project) before putting it on the market for $100 million, then lays off 19 of the 23 people working in their smaller home, not to mention the 7,000 people laid off from Wesgate. From there we see the home life of the family quickly unravel.

Some of the children’s pets die of neglect, the house is a mess, and Jackie jokes that the children may now have to attend college in case David doesn’t have money for them (David later makes the comment that they may not be able to afford college as he hadn’t set aside any money for them). We also see a deeper side to David as he becomes visibly frustrated with the excess that Jackie and the children take for granted. It becomes clear even to the children that David views Jackie as a “trophy wife” and doesn’t respect her as an equal partner in their marriage. When director Lauren Greenfield asks David if he get’s strength from his marriage he says he doesn’t and that being married to Jackie is like having another child.

In the end, Westgate sells a controlling interest in it’s Las Vegas resort and the company, as well as the Siegel family is saved, so to speak. David expresses remorse admitting that he was greedy and that he would have had 15 resorts instead of 20 if he could do it all over again.

Overall, Greenfield’s documentary is a new kind of reality TV show. It’s not one in which the viewer observes superficial “real house wives” in constant alcohol induced cat fights, but one where the viewer gets a hard look at an actual family with actual self-inflicted problems that they must deal with. No one could quite place their finger on why, but many of the people I spoke with after seeing the film noted, not only that they felt sympathy for the Siegels, but that they even identified with them on some level, that’s something you would never hear regarding reality television. The film’s merit comes from it’s compelling insight into the fragility of the American family unit, the effects of an ailing economy on the wealthy, and the markedly visible representation of the problems over consumption can cause in general. The real question the film raises, in my opinion, is how sustainable is the lifestyle that more than embraces a consumption based economy?

Environmental events happening soon in Columbia

April will be the busy month for sustainability on campus (look for upcoming Sustainability Week posts soon!) but have no fear!  Between now and Spring Break, Columbia, Mo., has a wealth of environmental events.  Find one that fits and give a new group a chance this spring!

MU CAMPUS MASTER PLAN FORUM, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14: MU has committed to sustainable guidelines for managing the environmental impacts of its activities, operations and services. MU is one of the most forward-thinking institutions for energy efficiency and building-space efficiency, and is working to further its positive impact in both directions. The university has chosen a strategy of renovating and re-purposing existing campus buildings because it makes sense both fiscally and environmentally.

Join the conversation about the 2012 MU Campus Master Plan and Climate Action Plan at the Open Forum. Find out more about Mizzou’s Master Plan or download the publication!

FOOD SENSE SYMPOSIUM, MARCH 16-18: Can sensible eating be reconciled with the sensory gratification of taste? And where does our sense of a normal or a healthy diet come from? The eigth annual Life Sciences & Society Symposium symposium will investigate how our taste for food is shaped by biological triggers, cultural norms, economic activity, and social surroundings.

The keynote speech will be gven by Brian Wansink, best-selling author of Mindless Eating and Marketing Nutrition. Other speakers include Shirly Corriher (Good Eats Mad Scientist from the Food Network), Leigh Lockhart (Owner of Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe and Juice Bar) and William Ian Miller (Author of award-winning The Anatomy of Disgust).

“DEEP GREEN” & “EVERYTHING’S COOL,” WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21:  Missourians for Safe Energy joins our friends in CCCC in screening these two excellent films at the Boone Gov’t Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. From Mid-Missouri Peaceworks

“KILOWATT OURS” TUESDAY, MARCH 27:  The public is invited to view a free Award-Winning Documentary “Kilowatt Ours: A Plan For Re-Energizing America” and to hear Tom O’Connor PE H2O’C Engineering, Owner: “How I Cut My Electric Bill 80%”.  Tuesday, March 27, 7:00 p.m. Refreshments 6:30 p.m. Columbia Public Library Friends Room.  Sponsors: League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County, Osage Group of the Sierra Club & Columbia Climate Change Coalition.  Earth Hour information at: www.ColumbiaClimateChangeCoalition.org

other events to add to your calendar:

EARTH DAY, SUNDAY, APRIL 22:  The Columbia Area Earth Day Festival will be held on Sunday, April 22, with a rain date of April 29. Details TBA. Booth registration going on now at the Peace Nook. For details on this, please see http://columbiaearthday.org/booths

EDIBLE COLUMBIA TOUR, SUNDAY, MAY 6: Peaceworks’ Center for Sustainable Living will be holding a tour of gardens, farms and other relevant local food venues from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on this date. Details TBA.