Chamisa Elementary School And Cortex & Co. Salon Win 2018 Business Recycler Of The Year Awards

The Business Recycler of the Year award is sponsored by the Los Alamos County Environmental Services Division and the Los Alamos County Environmental Sustainability Board.
The Business Recycler of the Year Award is a great avenue to promote recycling in the community and get more businesses participating in the recycle program. To become eligible, a business is nominated by a member of the community for contributing to recycling and waste reduction. The nominees are required to submit a brief overview about how their business recycled and reduced waste. This information is posted to an online voting system and the voting process is open to the general public.
Seven nominations were received for the sixth annual Business Recycler of the Year Award.
There were two categories this year, Educational Institutes and Business/Non-Profit. The nominees for Educational Institutes were: Chamisa Elementary School, Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC), and UNM-LA. Business/Non-profit nominees were: Cortex & Co. Salon, Boomerang Consignment & Retail, Los Alamos Lock and Key and Rick’s Fickzit. The winners of the 2018 Los Alamos County Recycler of the Year are Chamisa Elementary School for Education Cortex & Co. for Business.
Chamisa Elementary School – Educational Institute Recycler of the Year Winner
Chamisa Elementary School is making a big effort to educate young children about the importance of green efforts. They believe that real environmental changes start with retraining children.
This year Chamisa uses reusable lunch trays and metal sporks. Chartwells, the hot lunch provider takes them to the middle school and washes them daily. Students and teachers reuse scrap paper and there is recycling bins in every classroom, in the front office and in the cafeteria.
In addition to recycling bins, Chamisa has color-cycle bins for used markers located around the building. Students in K-12 schools across the continental United States and parts of Canada can collect and repurpose used Crayola markers.
Students are in charge of taking the curb-side recycling bins to the road on Thursday afternoons and bringing them back in on Fridays. This way the children are responsible for making sure that the things in the recycling bin actually make it out of the school and to the proper place for recycling.
Chamisa’s Green Team, with support from Los Alamos County and a NMED RAID Grant, created an educational video that airs at the Reel Deal Movie Theater, and will for a full year.
The video is also on YouTube. It is helping to educate Los Alamos residents as well as people world-wide, about reducing the amount of waste created when packing a lunch. They also have Zero Waste lunch weeks at Chamisa. Children earn prizes that support Zero Waste lunches (prizes provided by Los Alamos County), when they show the Green Team their Zero Waste lunch. This also helps educate the parents who pack the lunches.
Chamisa also has a school garden in which the children are also beginning to learn about producing their own organic food. The students grow the tomatoes in the greenhouse from seeds and create a little pop-up business to sell the plants in order to raise money for the gardening program.
Cortex & Co. Salon – Business Recycler of the Year Winner
Cortex & Co. was opened July 2016. Through their recent Green Circle Salon certification, they are taking steps to reduce our waste and to tum some of the most common salon garbage scraps into oil booms, recycled materials, dog beds and even steam power. They collect scraps of hair from every haircut, as well as have bins for foils from highlights and hair color that would typically go down the drain and into our water supply. When these bins are full, they package them tightly in individual bags and into a large box that is shipped off to the Green Circle headquarters where the organization processes all of the scraps shipped to them and returns them to a beneficial product. Hair clippings become oil booms that absorb oil or other environmental toxins, serve as filler for shelter pet beds, or as part of a concrete mixture that reduces crumbling, and a recyclable, and are used as a strengthening compound in certain plastics.
As for the left over hair color, they begin the process of placing the mixture into a centrifuge that separates the water from the coloring chemicals so that the water can be safely put back in the ground. Aluminum from highlighting foils is also rendered reusable by melting it down, which causes the chemicals on it to rise to the surface as ash. Wax strips and other disposable items from waxing is converted to steam to help power Green Circle’s factory.
Cortex & Co. offers client’s reusable K cups, reusable straws, and a soda stream to negate having a lot of aluminum waste. They have utilized reclaimed wood to build custom furniture. You will find local art that was framed using old pallets as well as our front desk, base boards, and the carts we use to hold all of our tools. They use and eco-friendly product line called Kevin Murphy. All Kevin Murphy hair products are sulphate free, paraben free and cruelty free. When searching the world for our ingredients, Kevin Murphy looked for companies that use micro cultivation, organic growing practices, or ecologically sound wild harvesting techniques to ensure the Kevin Murphy range is of the very highest natural quality. They also use water efficient hair wash shower head. Cortex and Co Salon is estimated to be 98% waste free.
Environmental Services and the Environmental Sustainability Board would like to thank all nominees and the community for your support and commitment to recycling. For more information regarding what to recycle, please visit
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