Beacon's Womer passionate about reducing waste

The Poughkeepsie Journal - Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Author:

Sarah Bradshaw

Date:

Oct 20, 2011

Start Page:

B.6

Section:

BUSINESS

Text Word Count:

535

Document Text

BEACON -- Sarah Womer has a mind full of garbage.

As the founder of Zero to Go, Womer's passion is devoted to reducing harmful waste in Dutchess County. The 28-year-old is leading a campaign to rid the community's restaurants of Styrofoam coffee cups. And she organizes electronic recycling days in Beacon, with her next event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at City Hall. "I think about the chemicals in foam and toxic materials in electronics, so the less of this stuff that gets burned, the better for us, for our children, and for my sister who is 13," she said. At her last recycling day in July, about 300 vehicles came to City Hall to drop off more than 20,000 pounds of broken computers, printers, VCRs, stereo equipment and the like. Advanced Recovery Inc. sponsored the July event. Saturday's sponsor is We Recycle of Westchester County. There is no cost to participate in the recyling day. "People are definitely using electronics and have piles of this stuff, so the more places they have to responsibly recycle, the better it is for everyone," Womer said.

Her work has earned her a reputation within her community.

Beacon Beahive, a collaborative office space, awarded Womer a free membership and described her in its newsletter as someone who "will have some positive impact on the world" adding that she's "smart, passionate, a true collaborator, and trying to impact our community in a real way." Womer, a Hyde Park native who lives in Beacon, graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego with a literature degree. During her college summer break in 2003 and after college in 2005, she volunteered with AmeriCorps in Colorado, building and maintaining hiking trails. "It was grueling work and the most beautiful office," she said.

After AmeriCorps, she worked at the former Tallix Art Foundry in Beacon, where she would take reusable Styrofoam from Hudson Valley Materials Exchange and deliver it to artists for sculptures. "I was hooked," she said. "It made me happy and excited that you could reuse things." She started to volunteer for the materials exchange and was a member of its board. After the foundry, she went to work for outdoor leadership nonprofit Outward Bound in Garrison. In July 2010, she quit her alumni-relations manager job there to concentrate on her Zero to Go recycling awareness project. "She has a never-quit attitude," said Justin Riccobono, 36, of Beacon, a volunteer member of Zero to Go. "She's a likable person and she gets things done. That's why I like working with her and I've recruited her to other boards in the city. She can rally some troops to get some movement." Clareann Grimaldi of Beacon felt inspired to help Womer with her recycling days. "She is just a dynamo. I've worked in nonprofits and social policy and I want to be on the ground level with people who get things done," said Grimaldi, a consultant of nonprofit social policy research. "I believe in her."

IF YOU GO

What: Beacon Electronics Recycling Day

When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday

Where: City Hall-police station parking lot, Beacon

Restrictions: Air conditioners, refrigerators and smoke detectors

Cost: Free

Information: Email Info@zerotogo.org.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

Abstract (Document Summary)

At her last recycling day in July, about 300 vehicles came to City Hall to drop off more than 20,000 pounds of broken computers, printers, VCRs, stereo equipment and the like. Beacon Beahive, a collaborative office space, awarded Womer a free membership and described her in its newsletter as someone who "will have some positive impact on the world" adding that she's "smart, passionate, a true collaborator, and trying to impact our community in a real way."

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.