Posts tagged ‘DEP’

Rolling in the Sunshine State

I occasionally get curious about fairly odd topics. This morning, I decided I needed to know how many vehicles I passed on the way to work. After half a mile and 178 vehicles, my curiosity shifted to tires. How many tires are rolling across Florida right now? What happens to all those gazillion tires when they go flat or bald?

trafficTurns out, DEP keeps track of that sort of thing. An estimated 15,250,000 automobile, light truck, and smaller tires plus 850,000 medium truck and larger tires were removed from vehicles in Florida in 2008, according to the “Waste Tires in Florida, State of the State” report.

Sixteen million tires take up a lot of landfill space. Stockpiling isn’t particularly helpful – retired tires, especially piles and piles of them, provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes that transmit nasty diseases such as West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis. We’ve learned that dumping them into the ocean as a pseudo reef is a bad idea. And we for sure don’t need that many tire swings. So what do we do with the tires? DEP keeps track of that, too.

• Waste-to-energy facilities used 54 percent of our old tires to enhance combustion temperature control and generate electricity.

• Nearly 600,000 tires were shredded and used instead of soil and aggregate in projects such as landfill drainage layers, methane gas collection systems and septic system drainage trenches.

• Crumb rubber made of tires from the Polk City Waste Tire Site was used to produce rubber modified asphalt (RMA) for paving the Withlacoochee and Van Fleet state trails in 1995, the first use of RMA for a trail in the U.S. (BTW, the Withlacoochee State Trail was recently designated a National Recreation Trail.)

• Recycled tires are used as fuel in cement kilns and pulp and paper factories.

• Tire shreds can be used to stabilize soil when constructing road embankments.

• Ground rubber is used in rubberized asphalt to pave playgrounds, running tracks and roads.

In small quantities, old tires can also be used as crash barriers around race tracks and boat bumpers at marinas. If you just need to dispose of a tire or two, check with a local tire center or contact your city or county waste management department.

pile of tiresIn any case, 18-wheeler or 4-wheeler size, tires are on our list of things to count. DEP’s Waste Tire Management Program addresses how waste tires should be moved, stored, processed, used or disposed. Staff assist in cleaning up illegal tire piles and work with potential buyers to develop markets for waste tires. In addition, DEP distributes grants to counties to help manage waste tires. In Florida, that’s the way we roll with tires.

Resources

2010 numbers provided by Daniel M. Kuncicky, Ph.D., Environmental Manager, Solid Waste Section, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Waste Tire Management Program
The waste tires report online
Withlacoochee State Trail
General James A. Van Fleet State Trail

August 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment

Book Your Summer

In conjunction with First Lady Ann Scott’s recent announcement of the Summer Literacy Adventure, the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are encouraging students to head outdoors with a book from DOE’s Just Read, Florida! 2011 Recommended Summer Reading List.

Reading, indoors or outdoors, no matter the season, engages the imagination of both children and adults. Reading is also a green activity.

Woman on couch readingOnce produced, a book requires no additional resources to enhance its function. Books require no batteries, no chords, no chargers, no accessories, no electricity. Books do not require upgrades. Though sequels are sometimes produced, the original functions just fine without it.

Books require little maintenance. No fuel, oil, or hoses to refill, change or inspect.

Books are durable and can last under a bed for months, on a bookcase for decades, even centuries, and be just as functional as the day they were printed.

Books are easily shared. Books can be passed around to a multitude of friends and family members and still be read by yet another generation. Reading aloud is another green option for sharing a book with others, and doesn’t require downloading an app.

Books are portable. They fit easily into a beach bag, carry-on luggage, backpacks and pockets.

Reading is powered by the human mind, and during the long days of summer, reading light is provided by sunshine. The grass doesn’t get much greener.

Find more easy actions to stay cool and stay green this summer.

June 17, 2011 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

National Marina Day

As fishermen and boaters, we understand the important role that marinas play in our lives.  Not only do they give us access to the state’s most valuable resource, they play an important role in our economy. The marine industries account for 200,000 jobs and an economic impact of more than $16 billion dollars a year.

In recognition of their importance, the Association of Marina Industries and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are celebrating Saturday, June 11 as National Marina Day.sail boat on calm water at sunset

Marinas across America are opening their doors to the public for one day to showcase their role as family friendly gateways to boating and fishing and to highlight the responsibilities they take on in protecting the environment. National Marina Day events in Florida:

  • Activities at Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor in St. Augustine include a blindfolded dingy race, pirate invasion and a homemade sailboat race. Events start around lunchtime on Saturday.
  • Fernandina Harbor Marina in Fernandina Beach will host an open house from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  Activities include a dockside boat show and their official designation ceremony for the Florida Clean Marina Program at 12 p.m.
  • Fishermen’s Village Yacht Basin in Punta Gorda, another Florida Clean Marina, is hosting 10 different boat clubs, offering free weekend dockage for the event and small boat sailing races.

Find more National Marina Day events in Florida.
Find Easy Actions boaters can take to protect our aquatic lifestyle.

June 10, 2011 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

Smart Water

reuse storage tank

Reuse storage tank (Photo by Shanin Speas-Frost)

Hot, cold, boiled, frozen or steamed, fresh water tops our must-have list.  On average, Floridians use 6.7 billion gallons of fresh water daily. Each day we also produce billions of gallons of wastewater (showers, laundry, dishwashing and such), which we could just as well use again, particularly since our state is drought prone.

Fortunately, Florida is one of the most water-efficient states in the nation, with more than 420 reuse systems. According to DEP’s Reuse Inventory, in 2010 reclaimed water was used to irrigate 281,781 residences, 525 golf courses, 877 parks and 324 schools. More than 10,000 acres of citrus crops (mostly in central and southwest Florida) are irrigated with reclaimed water.

 Reusing water helps ensure that our Florida faucets continue to flow with fresh, clean water used for drinking, cooking, showering and washing the dishes. Besides, irrigation with reclaimed water costs less than fresh tap water. Another plus – reclaiming water instead of disposing of it in waterways helps protect water quality in bays and rivers.  

Contact your utility company or water management district to find out if reclaimed water is available in your area. If reclaimed water is not available, contact your local elected officials, city planners or water management district to learn about plans for water reuse.

The more water we reuse, the more we’ll have on tap for quenching our thirst, icing tea, steaming veggies and boiling shrimp.

Learn more about water reuse in Florida.
Florida Water Reuse Week, May 15-21
DEP’s Reuse Inventory

May 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

Earth Day at the Capitol 2011

For the tenth year, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Environmental Education hosted Earth Day at the Capitol in Tallahassee. Area students who attended the event learned about our environment and some easy ways to protect it. At the Easy As One station, students learned how to pack a waste-free lunch and other easy actions kids can take to protect air and water quality, conserve water and reduce waste.

More than 200 students pledged to adopt one more habit to help protect the environment. Among the pledges: watch less TV; take shorter showers; tell parents about leaky faucets; plant a garden; plant a tree; pack a waste-free lunch; reuse or recycle plastic bags.

Learn more easy actions for kids that help protect the environment – on Earth Day and every day.

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April 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment

Tallahassee Community Invited to Go Green While Spending Green

Recent studies say the average shopper spends close to an hour and a half when they visit their local mall. While wandering the corridors on the weekend, they may try on a few clothes, wander through isles of books or grab a slice of pizza or cup of coffee at the food court. On March 12, shoppers in Tallahassee can add protecting the planet to their to-do list for their lazy Saturday.

For the second year, the Department of Environmental Protection’s Easy As One team will be on hand outside the Governor’s Square Mall to give shoppers three easy opportunities to do their part to protect the environment. First from 10 a.m. to noon, free paper shredding and recycling will be offered to help citizens properly dispose of documents they may want securely shredded and responsibly recycled. Second, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Easy As One team will collect working and nonworking cell phones and chargers for proper recycling, and third, partnering with A Bags Life campaign, they will be collecting all retail plastic bags for recycling.

Even shopaholics who venture outside to the Easy As One collection site can learn just how easy it is for each one of us to make sustainable choices. Those who participate in the cell phone and retail plastic bag recycling will receive a day pass to any Florida State Park or a reusable bag for those days not spent window shopping for new shoes.

March 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm Leave a comment

Get Ready for Tallahassee’s Super Clean Sweep – February 26

You have probably heard the saying, “Many hands make the load light.” When it comes to cleaning up local neighborhoods, it couldn’t be more appropriate. DEP’s Easy As One initiative is teaming up with Keep Tallahassee-Leon County Beautiful to support the 16th Annual Super-Clean Sweep event focused on cleaning up the Tallahassee community. Volunteers will do everything from planting trees, flowers and shrubs to painting over graffiti and, of course, picking up litter. DEP will be on hand at Tallahassee’s Lake Ella on February 26 from 7:30 – 11:00 a.m. to share information regarding the proper disposal of compact fluorescent light, (CFLs), prescription medications and batteries along with other sustainable habits, in an effort to encourage the continuation of good environmental deeds long after the event is over.

Citizens who stop by to drop off unwanted cell phones and retail plastic bags for recycling will receive a free state park day pass, good for a whole carload to any of Florida’s 160 award-winning state parks.

To lend a hand with Tallahassee’s Super Clean Sweep, visit www.ktlcb.com. For more information on DEP’s Easy As One initiative, go to www.dep.state.fl.us/easyasone.

February 23, 2011 at 10:26 am 1 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

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

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