Posts tagged ‘DEP’

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

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

DEP displays Easy Actions at Jacksonville’s Green Expo

Nearly 4,000 people  attended Jacksonville’s Green Expo that took place May 15-16, 2010 at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. More than 100 businesses as well as health and wellness exhibitors showcased their wares and services.  Products displayed included  health care and personal care products made with natural ingredients, organic food and other resources. A number of workshops taught attendees about green products and how to make greener choices.

Sheena Chin, Sustainable Initiatives Coordinator from DEPs Northeast District, participated in Jacksonville’s green expo and demonstrated a home-made cleaning product that contains non-toxic chemicals. She also handed out microfiber cloths which are better to use than paper towels because they are reusable and do not require the addition of toxic solvents. She also shared homemade green cleaning recipes and informed her audience on proper disposal of household hazardous waste.

Overall, the expo was successful in informing the community about the advantages of going green and demonstrating that everybody can be green.  Remember, it is as Easy As One to make Florida a greener place.

June 3, 2010 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

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