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Become MVP of the Planet

This Sunday, millions of football fans will crowd their living rooms to watch professional football’s championship game known simply as Super Bowl XLV. This year’s grudge match between the historic franchises of the Pittsburg Steelers and the Green Bay Packers will no doubt prove to be a good one.

While some fans will unapologetically wear giant foam wedges of cheddar on their heads in support of Green Bay, others will whirl around their iconic Terrible Towels in unity for their Pittsburg team. No matter where your allegiance lies, when it comes to getting ready for the Super Bowl, being a fan of Florida’s environment just makes sense.

Any great party will naturally start with an invitation, and this one is no different. However, the method of inviting fellow football fanatics is changing. Instead of using old school paper invitations that contribute to the waste stream, consider sending an electronic invitation. When searching for “electronic invitation” online, you will find pages of free sites that do everything from sending out the party info to making rosters of who has accepted your invite and what they are bringing (after all, you want to make sure everyone isn’t bringing bean dip). Electronic invitations are the way to go.

Second, a walk through the store isle will find package after package of party decorations themed for the big game, but is it really necessary to buy new decorations for a few hours of pigskin partying only to discard them in the trash on Sunday night? Hardly! Instead of buying decorations you would only use once, show off your favorite team jersey, shirts, hats, and any other sports memorabilia you may have around the house. It is so much cooler looking than flimsy paper table toppers, costs less, and is zero waste.

Even though a Florida team hasn’t been in a Super Bowl since the Buccaneers won back in Super Bowl XXXVII, we can offer up our appreciation for the sunshine state by choosing foods that are Fresh from Florida. Produce like carrots, celery, broccoli, strawberries, oranges, onions and tomatoes are likely to find a place on fruit and veggie trays throughout the country. By choosing local produce, you show allegiance to our hometown team of farmers and their sustainable efforts.

Once the dust has settled in Dallas, Texas and a new world champion is determined, the next big event starts…the cleanup. So how do you green your clean up?

  • Have designated bins for glass bottles or aluminum cans. This makes it easier for your guests to recycle and prevents any stray recyclables from finding their way in the trash.
  • If you used plastic utensils, you can hand wash them or even run them in your dishwasher. No need to throw them away. Save them for your next party.
  • If you ordered pizza like a lot of folks, recycle the pizza box. Just tear off the greasy part and recycle the rest.

With professional football’s championship game coming up soon, go ahead and make plans for the game of the year with the environment in mind. A few easy actions on your part will make you MVP of the planet without even wearing a helmet and cleats.

February 3, 2011 at 10:12 am Leave a comment

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the season to be eating, which means more time in the kitchen for cooks and chefs across America.  While you’re shopping for sweet potato pie ingredients, updating the green bean casserole, testing new cranberry sauce recipes or perfecting your turkey roasting skills, don’t forget how easy it is to protect the environment that provides all the ingredients for happy holidays.

Learn easy actions cooks and chefs can take to protect air and water quality, conserve water and reduce waste.

Easy Actions for Cooks and Chefs

November 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm Leave a comment

Conserving Energy Reduces Waste

Currently in the U.S., electricity demand continues to increase even as energy efficiency gains are made.  Since 1970, the use of coal to generate electricity in the U.S. has nearly tripled in response to growing electricity demand.  Almost half of the electricity is presently generated by coal-fueled electric power plants.  The more electricity consumed the more coal that is being used for energy production. Consider that the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that electricity demand will grow by 41% by 2030.  With the burning of coal to produce electricity, ash is produced.  In the process of converting coal into energy, the coal-fueled electric power industry generated approximately 72.4 million tons of coal fly ash (ash that rises to the chimney or stack), 18.4 million tons of bottom ash (ash that does not rise), and 2.0 million tons of boiler slag (molten ash) in 2008. Though some of the coal fly ash, bottom ash, and boiler slag can be used in cement, asphalt and construction projects, 70 – 80 percent of the ash ends up in a landfill.

Small changes in daily routines, such as turning off lights, unplugging appliances not in use, washing clothes in cold water, and maintaining moderate household temperatures reduces the amount of coal needed to produce electricity. So while you’re conserving energy, you’re also reducing waste!

Michell Mason Smith
Engineering Specialist III
Solid Waste Section
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

October 27, 2010 at 9:42 am Leave a comment

This Fall, the leaves are not the only things changing

We are normally accustomed to autumn bringing about cooler temperatures, football games and, although muted by our temperate climate, leaves adjusting their colors. It also appears that fall may be adding other traditional earmarks of the season – “Green” events. The next few months find the Easy As One calendar full of nearly three-dozen environmentally focused events located from the panhandle all the way down to the Florida Keys. Workshops, recycling days, and festivals all dot the calendar with opportunities to become actively involved in learning more about our environment and how important each one of us are to its sustainability. These events also bring about the opportunity for us to possibly change our attitudes and habits – making us even more aware of our impact on the planet. So take a few minutes and see if you can include one or more of these events in your fall schedule. You may be surprised to see how easy change can be.

October 12, 2010 at 8:54 am Leave a comment

An Ounce of Prevention

You have to wonder what Benjamin Franklin was thinking when he decided, “Hey, I think I’ll go fly a kite during a storm.” Still, Franklin contributed much to our culture and our knowledge base. Benjamin Franklin’s observation, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is the underlying principle behind Pollution Prevention.

In addition to being a common sense solution to protecting our health, the principal extends to protecting our environment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines Pollution Prevention (P2) as reducing or eliminating waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques, and re-using materials rather than putting them into the waste stream.

Manufacturers and businesses can prevent pollution on a large scale, but humans outnumber factories and our collective individual actions have a huge impact on the quality of the air we breathe and the quality of the water we use to brew our morning caffeine.

While modifying production processes may be mostly in the realm of manufacturers, we can find ways to modify production processes in our ordinary actions. Conserve energy by chopping veggies by hand for homemade soups and salsa instead of using the food processor. Produce and distribute reports electronically to conserve paper that would have likely ended up in a landfill. What other components of P2 can you incorporate into your daily routine?

Can you use less toxic substances? That’s easy. Use a microfiber cloth to clean instead of harsh chemicals.

Can you conserve water? That’s easy, too. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Install a low-flow faucet at the kitchen sink.

Can you conserve energy? Easy as well. Turn off lights and unplug electronics you’re not using. Buy energy-efficient appliances.

Can you re-use materials? Also easy.  Local retailers provide recycling bins for plastic bags. Many cities now provide curbside recycling for paper, glass, metal, and some types of plastic bottles. If you can’t re-use an item, maybe someone else can. Goodwill and local charities can help redistribute household items and clothes that you no longer need. Libraries can put your books into circulation. Many cell phones and electronics can be refurbished and used again.

Eliminating or reducing pollution at its source is a common sense approach to environmental protection and pollution prevention. Something to consider for P2 Week and beyond: For both pollution and prevention, we humans are the source.

Learn more about:

Pollution Prevention

P2 Week Events in Florida

Easy As One

A Bag’s Life

September 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm 1 comment

Stop and Think – Pollution Prevention Week 2010

September 20-26 is National Pollution Prevention Week. Have you ever stopped to think what you can do to prevent pollution? Do you even know what pollution prevention is…I didn’t until I started working at DEP, and sometimes I’m still not sure I always know what it is!

The official definition goes something like this – Pollution prevention is a proactive approach that eliminates or reduces pollution at its source – through water conservation, energy efficiency, minimizing the usage of raw materials and green cleaning. Stopping pollution prior to its creation is the most environmentally sound method of protecting health and natural resources.

It may sound a little overwhelming and in most cases people associate pollution prevention with big industrial plants changing their process to reduce pollution. But it can be simple. Preventing pollution is as easy as bringing your reusable bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic bags, using green cleaners or packing a waste-free lunch.

Recognizing P2 Week is an opportunity for us (government) to join with you (schools, businesses and citizens) to provide education and outreach to help make sense of what pollution prevention is.

During this week events are being held throughout the state to inform people of the easy ways to help prevent pollution with just one action. Check out the list below.

POLLUTION PREVENTION WEEK EVENTS

EAO Regional Collection Event

Saturday, September 18

8:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.

Amway Arena

600 W Amelia St

Orlando, Florida

Items to be Collected: Paper, Cell Phones, Electronics, Plastic Bags

DEP Northeast Office Collection Event

Monday, September 20

12:00p.m.-2:00p.m.

DEP Northeast District Office

7825 Baymeadows Way, Suite B200

Jacksonville, Florida

Items to be Collected: Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

Clean Marina and Clean Boatyard Workshop

Tuesday, September 21

9:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.

Cooperative Extension Office

12520 Ulmerton Road

Largo, FL

Junior Museum of Bay County Safety Day

Saturday, September 25

10:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.

Junior Museum of Bay County

308 Airport Road

Panama City, FL 32405

Items to be Collected: Cell Phones

International Coastal Cleanup Collection Event

Saturday, September 25

7:00a.m. – 9:00a.m.

Life Guard Station

Beach Boulevard Walk Over

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Items to be Collected: Cell Phones, Plastic Bags

NATIONAL DRUG TAKE BACK EVENTS STATEWIDE

Saturday, September 25

10:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.

Walgreens

4497 Mobile Highway

Pensacola, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

CVS

2090 S Highway 29

Cantonment, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

Walgreens

10503 San Jose Boulevard

Jacksonville, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

Walgreens

1705 US 1

Vero Beach, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

The Shops at Wiregrass

28211 Paseo Drive

Wesley Chapel, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

10:00a.m. – 1:00p.m.

Edison State College Student Life Lobby

8099 College Parkway

Fort Myers, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Lantana Police Department

500 Greynolds Circle

Lantana, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags

September 17, 2010 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Easy As One Collection Event in Orlando – Sept 18

In recognition of Pollution Prevention Week, DEP’s Easy As One campaign along with E-PASS and several community partners, is sponsoring a shredding and electronics recycling event Saturday, September 18th from 8 am to 12 pm. It will be at the Amway Arena (West Livingston Street, Orlando, FL 32801), in the parking lot area in front of the Amway Arena near the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre.

This is a free event, open to everyone. Residents can bring their documents and watch as they are shredded. In an effort to reduce wait times, please limit your shredding to less than 10 boxes.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection staff will be on hand to discuss easy ways to prevent pollution and will collect retail plastic bags to recycle and used cell phones (working and non-working) along with stray chargers to donate to a local charity.

Participants who bring in 20 or more retail plastic bags for recycling will receive a reusable shopping bag. Those who bring a cell phone or paper for shredding will receive a day pass to a Florida State Park by visiting the Easy As One booth, while supplies last.

In addition, participants can bring working and non-working electronics (excluding TVs) for recycling. See below for accepted items. DEP, E-PASS and the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority are not responsible for any items dropped off during this event.

The following electronics will be accepted, working or not working: desktop, tower, laptop computers; CRT, LCD, plasma monitors/displays; printers/plotters; fax machines; telephone systems, switches; PDAs, radios; stereos; VHS/DVDs; video games; projectors, cameras; any kind of storage media. At this time, we CANNOT accept TVs.

For computers and other items like cell phones and PDAs, a private company will process the item for data destruction (three pass electronic erasure and Department of Defense level sanitization of hard drives.) All identifying marks, stickers and labels are removed. If media cannot be securely destroyed electronically, physical destruction is carried out at their facility.

For more information, please call 407-690-5000.

September 13, 2010 at 9:49 am 1 comment

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