The San Francisco Saludable Recycling Collection Center is now open for business. And aside from providing a space for storing recyclable materials it is also our default office, classroom, and recreation center.
After working for a month and a half in an environment that seemed more like a traditional dump than the integrated waste management center we had imagined we finally were able to clean it up and get organized. The delay was caused by construction problems with the roof over the landfill, but once it was in place we moved all the accumulated refuse from more than a year of organized cleanups along with the first month’s collections of our formalized collection service. With the accumulated waste out of the way and the sale of 606 kilos (1,336 lbs) of recyclable materials we have been able to make much needed improvements.
The center now has a wood floor covering half of the 5m x 8m area, reusing wood from the previous “Casa de Basura”. This floor is where the recyclable materials are separated and weighed, and then stored in large industrial sacks. The dirt floor in the entrance provides us with room to bring the collection tricycle inside the center and also provides storage space for our wheelbarrow and all of our tools. Two tables built out of reused wood provide us with workspace and better organization. In January we will be building a can crusher in hopes that we may be able to receive a higher price when selling this material.
Now that the RCC is a relatively clean and safe environment it also provides us with refuge from the blazing hot midday sun, as well as giving us a space which doubles as a classroom for environmental education activities. The most recent being tree planting activities with children from the community.The RCC now has four maracuyá vines growing near the entrance and various fruit trees recently planted in the back garden.
In addition, we have completed the construction of a composting latrine that is located behind the RCC. Utilizing the double vault system, each deposit is covered with fresh, hardwood sawdust. Once the first chamber is full we will then cover the hole and begin using the second chamber. It is anticipated that the first chamber will have decomposed sufficiently to be used as a soil amendment for further reforestation efforts once the second chamber has been filled. However, if the material in the first chamber requires more time to fully decompose it will be moved and built into a separate compost pile to ensure adequate and sanitary processing before agricultural use.