Posts tagged ‘environment’

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

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

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

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

The Wrong Stuff (to throw away)

According to George Carlin, a house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. The thing about stuff is that we don’t realize how much of it we accumulate. Or how much of it we throw away.

stack of paper

Paper
Paper, for example. Most Americans are awash in paperwork, and will find paper in every room in the house, in every office, in every garage, in every retail store and salon and even at sporting events. About the only place you can’t find paper is in the ladies room at gas stations along evacuation routes during an active hurricane season.

How much paper do we use? Several sources claim that Americans use 85 million tons of paper a year—that’s about 680 pounds generated by each person every year.

Why recycle paper? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recycling paper causes 35 percent less water pollution and 74 percent less air pollution than making paper from scratch. So recycling your paper protects air and water quality and reduces waste.

Plastic Bags
For such a handy little invention, the retail plastic bag has recently become a topic of much debate, the bag’s litter potential one of the main points of plastic bagdiscussion. Take a city of 200,000 for example. If each resident brought home four plastic bags a week for 52 weeks, each person will have brought home 208 bags in a year. Collectively, city residents will have brought home 41.1 million bags. And that’s assuming that each resident brought home only four bags a week, including holidays and back-to-school shopping.

Most folks have their favorite re-use, like the practical trash can liner or pet by-product handler, but the unused bags provide tons of raw material that can be recycled to make new plastic containers, decking and more plastic bags. Many local retailers now recycle your bags so that they don’t go to waste.

Cell Phones
Fire may have taken us out of the dark ages, but cell phones make sure we’re enlightened 24/7. A few years ago, cell phones were good for making and receiving calls. Now, we can talk, text, email, shop and find the closest sushi bar. On average, cell phones are replaced about every 18 months. A two-year-old phone is yesterday’s technology. Americans retire nearly 130 million cell phones stack of cell phonesannually. At last count, only about 10 percent of cell phones were recycled, but recent polls indicate that the number is increasing.

In addition to take-back programs at wireless provider and retail locations, many agencies and organizations collect cell phones for a 911 Cell Phone Bank where data is cleared, phones are refurbished and sent to law enforcement agencies and victim assistance programs where they are distributed to those who may need emergency communication—victims of stalking, domestic violence, elder abuse or neglect.

Phones that can’t be refurbished can be recycled. The EPA calculates that recycling a million cell phones would yield 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver and 35,274 pounds of copper. Mining for gold, silver and copper in cell phones protects air and water quality. Donating a cell phone to a 911 cell phone bank could save a life.

The next time you consider tossing some of your stuff, remember that much of that stuff is still usable. Less trash means more stash for the future.

September 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

Purple Reigns in Water Conservation Potential

Florida is a state flanked by a gulf and an ocean, dotted with hundreds of lakes and springs and crossed by thousands of miles of rivers and streams, and sprinkled with lots of puddles during the rainy season. Water is everywhere. Still, we are unsure how much water we have to drink or how long our supply will last. A waste not, want not approach helps conserve our water sources.

One easy way to keep our water stocked is to reclaim it. Water that we usually waste—domestic wastewater—can be filtered, disinfected and used again.

Some places in Florida have been using reclaimed water for years and the purple pipe–in the United States, reclaimed water is distributed in purple pipes—has distributed many a gallon to Florida landscapes and lawns.

The St. Petersburg Master Urban Reuse System set a “waste not, want not” example with one of the first large urban reuse systems. St. Pete has had numerous visitors from other countries, including most recently South Korea, looking for similar water management solutions. The St. Pete system, in operation since 1977, supplies highly treated reclaimed water for irrigation to more than 10,200 residential lawns, 64 schools, 101 parks, and six golf courses.

Disney sets another example of the “waste not, want not” philosophy. Reedy Creek Improvement District provides the Walt Disney World Resort Complex with reclaimed water which is used to irrigate four golf courses, landscaped areas at eight hotels, highway medians, an athletic complex and a water park. Reclaimed water is also used to irrigate a 110-acre tree farm which produces horticultural materials used throughout the complex. Disney also puts reclaimed water to work as cooling tower make-up water, for washing vehicles, cleaning streets and sidewalks in the Disney parks.

Purple fire hydrants provide access to reclaimed water for fire suppression and protection. Reclaimed water can also be used to recharge groundwater. In 2008, Florida used 667 million gallons per day of reclaimed water, saving more than 125 billion gallons of drinkable water while adding more than 79 billion gallons back to available water supplies.

Though Florida leads the nation in water reuse, the potential for reclaiming water goes untapped in many areas. To find out if reclaimed water is available in your neighborhood, look for purple pipes or purple fire hydrants. Contact your local wastewater management or reuse utility company. Contact information can usually be found on your utility bill. If reclaimed water is available, follow the guidelines provided by your local reuse utility.

If reclaimed water is not available in your neighborhood, contact your local elected officials, city planners, or water management district to learn about plans for water reuse.

Learn more about water reuse.
Learn more ways to conserve water in your yard.

Information provided by
Shanin Speas Frost
Water Reuse/Wastewater Wetlands Coordinator
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

August 31, 2010 at 9:34 am Leave a comment

Take it Easy on the Water

Can it get any hotter? Yes. It can. Fortunately, Florida residents and visitors can stay cool, stay green and take it easy this summer in one of Florida’s many cool locations.

The Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are favorite Take it Easy choices on hot summer days. Florida’s one million registered boats provide one million opportunities for boaters to protect water quality and the quality of our aquatic lifestyle, both at the dock and on the water. Bring trash and recyclables back to the dock for proper disposal. Choose designated Clean Marinas, Boatyards and Retailers for boating needs to support more than 250 businesses statewide that implement practices that help keep our waterways clean and healthy. When planning your cruises, don’t forget to locate pumpout facilities along your route.

For those who prefer motorless transportation to cool clean fun, a multitude of paddling trails—including the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail and the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail—provide excellent “Take it Easy” venues.  No matter where your outing takes you, bring trash and recyclables back to shore for proper disposal.  Whether you prefer saltwater or fresh water adventures, paddle on. Canoes and kayaks are powered by human energy, a renewable resource.

 Check tomorrow’s blog for more ways to stay cool, stay green and take it easy.

 Learn more about the “Take it Easy” Twitter contest. View details here.

 

July 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Easy As One Collection at Jacksonville’s Riverside Arts Market

Clean out your file cabinets and desk drawers, round up those old cell phones and stray chargers, clear those plastic bags out from under your counter. Then bring it all to DEP’s Easy As One Collection at Jacksonville’s Riverside Arts Market on Saturday, June 26, from 10 am until 4 pm.Woman recycles cell phones at collection event.

Bring plastic bags to recycle, paper to shred and recycle, and used cell phones (working and non-working) along with stray chargers to donate to Hubbard House. Participants who bring in 15 or more bags for recycling will receive a reusable shopping bag. Those who bring a cell phone or paper for recycling will receive a day pass to a Florida State Park. While supplies last.

Easy As One Collection
Date: Saturday, June 26
Time: 10 am – 4 pm
Location: Riverside Arts Market, Jacksonville, Riverside Avenue

Check out the flyer.

Also at the Riverside Arts Market: local art, entertainment, music, fresh produce, food venders.

June 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm 1 comment

Life on the Water…Make it Last, Keep it Clean!

Family outings on beamy pontoon boats … friends returning from fishing trips, their relationships richer for the experience…sailors catching the afternoon sea breeze… kayakers skimming across a lake at sunset… a shrimper heading out at dawn … images that remind us how Florida’s greatest natural resource — its water — affects the quality of our lives. Regardless of why we’re out there, for recreation or to make a living, we share responsibility for preserving the boating life we love by keeping our wateCoast with boat and swimmerrways and shorelines vibrant, clean and healthy.

Simple practices, applied consistently, and a little planning are cornerstones of responsible boating. Preventing fuel leaks when we fill up, cleaning with elbow grease and water instead of harmful chemicals, keeping our boats in top running shape are all relatively easy ways we can help protect water quality. Planning for the types of trips we will be taking before we leave the dock, also goes a long way toward preventing pollution – manufactured and manmade. How many people will be aboard? Is it a day trip or overnight cruise? Usually day trips do not generate much waste. Overnight trips virtually guarantee it. So we need to be prepared to stow our trash and to make sure our heads and holding tanks are in good working order. We need to know where our pumpout facilities are located and use them. And, we need to chart our courses carefully in advance to keep from damaging sensitive sea floor habitats or injuring marine life.

Choosing Florida’s designated Clean Marinas, Boatyards and Retailers for our boating needs moves us beyond individual action to supporting more than 250 businesses statewide that implement Best Management Practices to keep our waterways clean and healthy. These facilities and their trained staff are our partners—our trusted crew, ready with guidance and education on everything from boating regulations and environmentally safe products and services to the best ways to clean and cook our prize catch.

On Saturday, June 12, National Marina Day, we have an opportunity to join marinas around the country that are opening their doors to their communities. This year, ten marinas across the country will offer everyone who is interested a chance to participate in boating and fishing activities, hands-on workshops and seminars, boat test drives, boat races, and more. Support Boat.Fish.Live. At National Marina Day. It’s a perfect time to introduce a newcomer to clean boating. It’s something every boater and every marina can do right now to help keep our waterways clean for everyone to enjoy. Boaters can do their part. Marinas can do theirs to ‘Make it last, keep it clean!’

June 9, 2010 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

Older Posts Newer Posts


EAO Collection Events

2012 EAO Collection Events:

No Easy As One Collection Events scheduled at this time

Visit Events Page for more information on events throughout Florida.

Learn More

Twitter

It's easy to make changes that protect the environment, make the first step and follow our blog!

Join 25 other followers

Comment Policy

We appreciate and value your comments. All comments will be reviewed before posting. Please read the full comment policy before posting.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers