ASU Community Partnerships Ongoing Environmental Organizing Programs
ASU Community Partnerships Twine Project
Adams State University’s Community Partnerships has teamed up with a variety of organizations, including Fort Collins Conservation District, Rezolana Institute, National Arts Strategies’ Creative Communities and Fibershed, to draw attention to the environmental impact of plastic baling twine. Plastic baling twine is a material used by agricultural entities to bind bales of hay and other crops together. Farmers and ranchers, by nature, are resourceful and repurpose the twine in many ways. The problem is much bigger than repurposing the twine can solve.
Photo by Mike Whiteley
With the help of Colorado State University’s Extension office, ASU Community Partnerships estimates that the San Luis Valley produces up to 39 million feet of this substance annually, or about 13 tons, of this polyethylene plastic twine. Much of this goes to our landfills, adding significant amounts of material that will virtually never biodegrade. Twine will also impact our local wildlife, who can easily get tangled up in this substance as the wind takes it all over the place. Perhaps worst of all, many of our farmers will simply burn their twine, which, as an oil based plastic, releases toxic vapors and carcinogens into our air and soil, impacting all of our health.
Our Creative Communities’ team is approaching this community challenge through a multi-faceted approach: 1) Raising awareness with up-cycle plastic twine exhibits 2) Entrepreneurial support for micro enterprises selling creations made from this material 3) Developing collection system, including twine drop-off sites, volunteer and work-study support and farmer outreach 4) Networking throughout the state of Colorado to combine efforts and resources 5) Researching the potential of hemp twine (biodegradable) as a baling material replacement
Left: Laura Tyler, Right: Mary Hoffman
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Left: Twine Stand, Center: Twine Tea Set, Right: Twine Hammock
Plastic baling twine is a substance that often goes ignored within our communities, but has a very significant impact on our environment. This twine, used by agricultural entities to bind bales of hay and other fibrous material, is notable for the sheer quantity of the substance present in any agricultural area. ASU Community Partnerships estimates that the San Luis Valley produces up to 39 million feet of this substance annually, or about 13 tons, of this polyethylene plastic twine. Much of this goes to our landfills, adding significant amounts of material that will virtually never biodegrade. Twine will also impact our local wildlife, who can easily get tangled up in this substance as the wind takes it all over the place. Perhaps worst of all, many of our farmers will simply burn their twine, which, as an oil based plastic, releases toxic vapors and carcinogens into our air and soil, impacting all of our healths.
ASU Community Partnerships is consistently working towards ways to enable everyone in the San Luis Valley to help tackle the issue of plastic baling twine. Towards that end, we maintain the Everything Twine program, aimed at recycling the twine into usable products. Both in-house and working with local entrepreneurs, we facilitate the process of weaving this plastic baling twine into items that see normal everyday use, from rugs, to purses, to dog leashes and collars, and beyond. We seek to create a market-based approach to the issue of plastic baling twine, finding new markets for these twine products in order to reduce their negative environmental impact and keep them from harming us all.
If you'd like to be a part of the Everything Twine program, please feel free to contact us. For more information about what other Colorado communities are doing with their twine, please see the Fort Collins Conservation District's page on their program.
Since no San Luis Valley recycling center recycles plastic caps, ASU Community Partnerships collaborates with Aveda Corporation, Alamosa Recycling Center and local k-12 school to recycle plastic caps for the San Luis Valley community. Aveda Corporation has one of the few national recycling programs for plastic caps. ASU Community Partnerships has raised Valley community awareness of the problem and organized community members and organizations around the problem. The drop off sites: ASU Community Partnerships (corner of Main & Edgemont Streets)
ASU Community Partnerships developed the “Plastic or Planet?” program to raise consumer’s awareness about plastic bag consumption. The program is based on getting people into the habit of using reusable bags. Staff members have developed a marketing plan that is designed to remind people to “recycle, re-use and re-purpose”. Community Partnerships involves ASU student athletes and student clubs in this program. City Market in Alamosa has agreed to sell our reusable—100% biodegradable, fair trade bags at their store and offer a rebate for promoting use of those bags back to Community Partnerships. The effort provides funds that will leverage additional funding for environmental projects.
ASU Community Partnerships is partnering with a variety of companies to recycle or reuse techno trash, including old cell phones, cartridges and laptops. Techno trash boxes are located at Community Partnerships (corner of Main & Edgemont Blvd.).
To follow are useful links for items to recycle:
Computers: Southern Colorado Recycling
1405 Quartz Road
Pueblo, CO 81008
Off of I-25 on Eden Exit (exit 104). Call for more specific directions and hours.
Small fees are charged for recycling services.
Students with previous college credits can contact Adams State to determine how these credits may apply to an associate degree through the ASU Evening/Weekend Associate Degree Program.
"It is really a win-win. The artists get time and support to focus, and the students get to see fresh faces and approaches.”
“Receiving this scholarship fills me with relief and gratitude,” Elorrieta said.