'Do our part': Sustainable Westport event shows small steps people can take to help the environment

WESTPORT — Many area residents demonstrated Saturday morning that they weren’t about to lie down when it comes to recycling.

Sustainable Westport organized the town’s first-ever free mattress recycling event at Earthplace, along with providing free compost for pickup and a reminder to get involved with composting at home via its Zero Food Waste Challenge.

“The state of Connecticut offers free mattress recycling,” said local activist Pippa Bell Ader, adding not everyone knows how to take advantage of that.

“Because of space constraints at our transfer station we can’t have permanent space there,” she said, but thanks to the Bridgeport nonprofit Park City Green, as well as the regional Mattress Recycling Council, a truck was provided to take away unwanted mattresses.

“It’s better than just throwing it out at the transfer station and having it burned,” said Pete McElroy, of Westport.

He was one of several dozen people who drove their mattresses to Earthplace in the back of their car or truck, or tied atop their roof, to have it hauled away for recycling.

“There’s too much waste in the world,” said Sofia Dumery, of Westport, who likewise dropped off an old mattress. “We’ve all got to do our part and I’ve been wanting to get rid of this for a while.”

Those who couldn’t make the event are invited to contact Park City Green directly.

“They can actually go to Park City Green and just drop them off,” Ader said. “Just call in advance.”

Along with dropping off mattresses at Earthplace, people were also invited to take from 10 cubic yards of prime compost.

“This is from the company that Westport has a contract with,” explained Kathie Moskovitz, a retired Westport science teacher and environmental activist, lauding the value of the soil nutrient.

“Anyone who’s a gardener knows you have to pay for good compost,” she said, with the town’s composting program making it easier to get results. “This is urban-style composting.”

Volunteer Luisa Francoeur, of Westport, spoke of the value of keeping food waste from just being incinerated with other garbage.

“When food goes into the garbage and then it goes to be burned, there’s a lot of water and it takes a lot of energy to burn,” she said. “This takes all of that bad stuff out of the energy stream … and it’s easy.”

Some of the volunteers said the event showed ways people could help protect the environment.

“I feel like we all give up too easily on taking care of the environment,” said Julie Macdonald, of Westport, another volunteer. “I’m trying to walk the talk better and I feel like this is a small step.”

For more information visit www.SustainableWestport.org.