1-800-Tracey is here: Recycle! | TheUnion.com
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1-800-Tracey is here: Recycle!

John HartTracey Harper, recycling coordinator for Nevada County, examines Buckeye Diggins off Red Dog Road east of Nevada City Thursday afternoon.
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Some of Tracey Harper’s friends in state government used to call her “1-800-Tracey.”

That’s because one call to Harper was all it took to make things happen.

“I like to get stuff done,” she said.



That can-do attitude should serve Harper – a former employee of the California Integrated Waste Management Board – well in her new job as Nevada County recycling coordinator.

She has to help the county figure out how to increase its recycling rate to meet state mandates. All counties had until 2000 to cut by half the amount of waste sent to landfills or face fines of up to $10,000 a day under a 1990 state law.




Nevada County is on of a list of counties that didn’t meet that goal by the deadline. The county’s recycling rate is about 43 percent.

But Harper’s confident we can boost it. “Can we do it? Yeah,” she said.

For one thing, county officials think that 43 percent figure is low, since it’s based on 1989 statistics the county thinks are faulty. The county is trying to get state officials to recalculate the recycling rate based on 2000 figures.

Harper also has a number of ideas to boost the county’s recycling rate.

She recently helped get the ball rolling on the concept of making compost out of yard waste dropped off at the McCourtney Road Transfer Station. Treated sewage sludge from county-run wastewater plants might get added to the compost mix.

The county then wouldn’t have to send that stuff to the landfill; it possibly could be applied to improving soil at old hydraulic gold-mining sites.

Teaching people how to do vermicomposting, or make compost with worms, is another new county program Harper is working on.

As an on-site demonstration, cafeteria waste from the Nevada County Rood Administrative Center will be vermicomposted. The cafeteria also will ditch its Styrofoam cups in favor of compostable paper. Ditto for plastic, disposable utensils that may be replaced with compostable knives and forks made of cornstarch.

Harper, a Sacramento native who attended the University of California at Davis, lives near Rood Administrative Center with her husband, John Nuffer. The couple have a 2-year-old son, Johnathan, as well as Nuffer’s two children, Russell, 18, and Rebecca, 13.

Each week, The Union profiles one of your friends or neighbors. It might be the supermarket checker, the beer truck driver, or the fellow down the street with the green thumb. If you have ideas on someone you would like to read about, just give the newsroom a call at 273-9561.


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