Posts tagged ‘recycle’
It’s the time of year when you squeeze in last-minute holiday shopping after a long day at work, when you wrap gifts up secretly so your children won’t peek, or when you frantically clean your home for family and guests.
It’s the time of year when hustle and bustle is expected, so we’ve compiled great simple tips to keep in mind for a green-and-clean holiday.
1. Use green cleaners. When preparing for holiday guests, trade in harsh household cleaners for cleaners that are safer for human (and pet) health and the environment. Find green cleaning tips.
2. Choose reusable shopping bags. Only 12 percent of plastic bags and 37 percent of paper bags are reused or recycled. Read DEP’s Retail Bags Report to learn more about how disposable bags impact the environment.
3. Share leftovers with guests or compost food waste. Send guests home with reusable containers of leftover feast or create compost instead of letting kitchen scraps and food go to the landfill. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers helpful tips for composting organic waste.
4. Wrap it green. Wrap gifts in paper made with recycled content or reuse wrapping paper. Or get creative with newspapers, old maps, magazines. Scarves, holiday linens or bandanas are excellent alternatives to paper wrapping. Reusable holiday bags are also a greener option than one-time-use paper. Try giving gifts that don’t require much packaging, such as concert tickets or gift certificates or gift cards.
5. Choose green lodging. If traveling or hosting out-of-town guests for the holidays, consider using a Florida Green Lodging designated property. Green Lodging facilities adopt cost-saving green practices to conserve energy, reduce water consumption, protect air quality and reduce waste.
6. Buy rechargeable batteries. About 40 percent of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Buy rechargeable batteries to accompany your electronic gifts, and consider giving a battery charger as well. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away, and can save money in the long run. Learn more about rechargeable batteries on EPA’s website.
7. Visit a state park. Entertain guests in one of Florida’s state parks. Many state parks host holiday events with lights, decorations and activities. Open 365 days a year, Florida’s state parks span more than 700,000 acres and 100 miles of sandy white beach, offering a glimpse into natural Florida. You can follow state parks on Twitter @FLStateParks.
8. Avoid idling in holiday traffic – Dial 511. Crawling traffic can contribute eight times as much air pollution as traffic moving at regular highway speeds. Call the Florida Department of Transportation’s 511 traffic information hotline or check the 511 website to learn about traffic, road closures and construction to avoid idling and reduce air pollution when holiday traveling.
9. Create your own decorations. Create holiday decorations such as ornaments with old greeting cards or cookie dough, garlands made from strung popcorn or cranberries, and potpourri made from spices such as cinnamon and cloves. Paint terracotta pots with holiday theme. Plant rosemary or other savory herbs in the holiday pots to serve as decoration and a tasty addition to the spice rack.
10. Consider the tree. Real or artificial, your Christmas tree impacts the environment. Read “Buying Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees” on the Earth911 blog.
from the EPA…
This fall, colleges across the country will compete to see which schools can reduce, reuse and recycle the most waste as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 2011 Game Day Challenge. Registration for the competition is now open, and champions will be crowned this December.
Any college or university in the United States with a football team can compete. The challenge is for schools to design a waste reduction plan for one 2011 regular season home football game and measure the results. Schools can collect common materials for recycling including paper, beverage containers, cardboard, and food to be donated and composted. The amount of waste generated and recycled will determine which school is the greenest on the gridiron.
Schools can win in several categories:
• Least amount of waste generated per attendee
• Greatest greenhouse gas reductions from diverting waste
• Highest recycling rate
• Highest organics reduction rate (i.e., food donation and composting)
• Highest combined recycling and composting rate.
The competition is sponsored by EPA’s WasteWise program, a voluntary program through which organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste and select industrial wastes, benefiting their bottom line and the environment. Reducing waste generated at collegiate sporting events can save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, more than 75 participating schools kept 500,000 pounds of waste out of landfills, which prevented nearly 940 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 180 cars.
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.
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.
Hundreds of years hence, archaeologists will be digging through our middens to find clues about our culture.
Checking out our trashed magazines, they’ll conclude that ours was a culture obsessed with eating and losing weight (eight of the top ten best selling magazines in the US include recipes, dieting tips, or both). Judging by paper wrappings and bags in the landfill, they’ll assume that fast food restaurants were a primary food source that provided an excellent diet full of nutrients and anti-oxidants since images on our magazine covers indicate robust health.
In addition to paper, archaeologists will find food scraps, medications, French Roast coffee grounds, bottles and cans. They’ll find plastic. They’ll wonder why we harvested pet by-product and preserved it for all eternity in a plastic bag.
Excavators will uncover baubles and trinkets, chicken bones and shards of clutter that we bought and then discarded with the change in the fashion season.
Future archaeologists will find metals such as aluminum and steel, and wonder why we buried it again after having gone through all the trouble and cost of mining it in the first place. “What were they thinking?” they’ll ask and feature 20th-Century-born humans on their equivalent of History’s Mysteries.
This shopping season, I intend to reduce the clues I leave in our landfills. I won’t buy clutter or items that go directly into the trash can. Garbage can liners have been crossed off my shopping list. Since I haven’t figured out what to do with chicken bones (can’t compost them, can’t feed them to the dog) I won’t buy chicken bones either. I should probably cross spinach off the list as well, since it only detours to the crisper (where it goes quietly brown) on its way to the trash can. My new year’s resolution: make a list and check it twice before I add an item to my shopping cart.
- Check your buying habits. Pass up the Buy One, Get One sales if you don’t need two. Or, Buy One, Give One to someone else who needs a 100-count bottle of aspirin.
- Check the clutter factor of items before you buy them. Will the item end up in the garage or back of a closet before Spring Cleaning time comes ‘round? Resist the urge to buy another holiday coffee mug set, even if it is marked down 75 percent.
- Check the expiration date. Don’t buy anything you can’t use before it expires.
- Check the label. When practical, buy products made with recycled content. Some companies make common kitchen items such as cutting boards and cooking utensils with bamboo (a renewable resource) or recycled plastic.
- Check the packaging. If a favorite two-ounce jar of hide-the-wrinkles eye cream comes with two pounds of packaging, check to see if the packaging is recyclable.
- Check the pantry and refrigerator before you grocery shop. Maybe you already have cream of mushroom soup that you impulsively added to your cart at the last Buy One, Get One sale back in September.
- Check the Web. Find out where to recycle almost anything (old appliances I’m replacing with energy-efficient models, tech toys I’m upgrading, those skinny jeans I’ll never wiggle into again, that stationary bike that hasn’t moved in two years, holiday coffee mug sets) at Earth 911.
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.
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.
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 discussion. 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.
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 annually. 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.
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.
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.