Ruth Stimson        
Solid Waste Disposal, #2        
prior/next sign prior/next sign prior/next sign

Saving Our Earth, Part 2

picture Ruth, at left, recycling telephone books
Ruth developed a scorecard to help towns rate the effectiveness of their waste disposal. It was part of the information on waste management that Ruth provided to homemaker and other women's groups, students, ecology-minded organizations and professional associations.

"A point system, based on US Public Health Standards, focused the public's attention on their local site: its access road, the presence or lack of a supervisor, transportation methods for refuse, compacting methods, and covering the refuse with dirt daily.

"Prohibition of scavenging aroused much discussion as well as the need for a fence, gate, fire protection and an outdoor shelter for employees. Disposition of trees, large appliances, and septic tank effluents were scored along with insect and rodent control. The results indicated the average site was a DUMP: a location where refuse was left uncovered for more than a week. Such a dump is unacceptable by public health standards."

Ruth's reach extended far and wide. She taught many classes on waste handling. She conducted an ecology symposium at Pease Air Force Base, and the Air Force flew personnel in from other air bases to take part.

She encouraged people to consider waste disposal alternatives: Sanitary landfill with daily compacting and earth cover; incineration costs with various types of burners; composting, and shredding vegetative matter, and sorting in one's home and recycling reusable materials.

Ruth mobilized local citizens, public officials and the New England Telephone Co. to collect out-of-date telephone books, which resulted in the recycling of some 18,000.

In a 1973 article the Manchester Union Leader reported, "Recycling of paper and composting have increased, and collection centers for glass, paper and steel containers are now being set up in the county."

Ruth was "thrilled" when she received a note from Elizabeth Keenan, one of her Girl Scout examiners and a member of the Girl Scout Council, about Ruth's advocacy for recycling. "Just cannot tell you how proud I am of you!" wrote Elizabeth. "In Girl Scouting I knew you had an interesting future in store..."