Mom Goes Green “takes on” City Hall!

So… my day started with retrieving my local newspaper from my driveway.  While my first thought was “…I wonder what’s new in the news”, my second thought was “… will have to recycle this paper when I’m done!” (Obvious, right?)

Well, sadly, I was greeted with the following (bad!) news:  “Recycled pick-up could end” (ummm… what???)

Seems our city is considering eliminating curbside recycling service to ease a strained budget.  Oh, not on MY watch, my friends.

Next came contact with a member of City Council (who is also a friend and whole-heartedly agrees with ME… and graciously provided me with the email address of the mayor, all city council members and our Law Director).

Here is the email that was sent one hour later:

“I am contacting you regarding today’s Dec. 1 Sun Post article entitled: “Recycled pick-up could end” – Seven Hills

I am urging you NOT to discontinue recycling in the City of Seven Hills. I believe it is our social and environmental responsibility to see that the citizens of our community have the opportunity to recycle at curbside.  Each week, as I drive through the city, it is obvious that our community has embraced this responsibility, as I see blue recycling cans at the end of nearly every driveway on collection days.

Discontinuing recycling would be a step toward rolling back the progress of Seven Hills and, sending recyclables into our trash system and tossing them into landfills, is truly irresponsible.  While I personally would have the physical ability to collect my recyclables and deliver them to a recycling center, many citizens (especially seniors) would not have this option or ability.  ALL citizens of Seven Hills have embraced this program and I URGE you to explore other cost-saving measures in our city… DO NOT eliminate a service that is part of our civic duty or create a situation that contributes to environmental harm and irresponsibility.

Here are some things to think about … is this what we want to contribute to in our city?

  1. PLASTIC– it can take 20 years for a plastic bag to biodegrade and 250 years for a plastic container.  Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour(!) but if every household recycled just one of every 10 plastic bottles, it would keep 200 million pounds of plastic out of landfills each year.
  2. PAPER – it accounts for nearly HALF of what is sent to landfills and approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.  Plus, recycling one ton of paper would save enough energy to power an average American home for five months.
  3. ALUMINUM – an aluminum can is recycled and back on a store shelf in approximately 60 days, and just one recycled aluminum can save enough energy to run a computer for 3 hours.  Last year cans that were NOT recycled and went to landfills were valued at $600 million!
  4. GLASS – a bottle in a landfill would take more than 4000 years to decompose, but glass never “wears out” and can be recycled forever. The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can power a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) for 20 hours.

Again, I URGE you, do not allow the elimination of curbside recycling in the city of Seven Hills.  Recycling is not just a service; it is a social responsibility.”

So, take this as a story of encouragement.  I have no idea how this will “go down” but remember “silence is compliance”… you have a voice and “no ear is out of reach”.

Some things are definitely worth fighting for… and you’d better believe, I have just begun to fight!

Consider the packaging… not just the contents!

produce bagsWhen we make food choices for our families, we often put most of our effort into what we’re buying but, there is another part of the equation.

How is your purchase packaged? I get really annoyed when I see lovely organic eggs placed in a polystyrene container.  Nope, that’s not green at all because, while it can be upcycled, it certainly can’t be recycled.

Take a closer look:

  • Glass – it’s a dream container. Not only can it be recycled but it can be safely reused.
  • Aluminum cans – yes, it’s recyclable but many also worry about leaching into the contents.glss jar
  • Paper packaging – it often gets contaminated from food residue or has a wax coating, making it unrecyclable.
  • Plastic – some of it is recyclable, but it’s also made from fossil fuels.  And, would you believe, only about 4% of plastics ever get recycled! (Plus, many also worry about plastics leaching toxins into the food.)
  • Cardboard or paperboard – definitely “Recycling 101”… make sure it reaches your recycling can.
  • Polystyrene (often called Styrofoam) – covered in my “egg” comment… avoid it!

The moral of the story is to consider the packaging of what you purchase right along WITH your purchase.  You CAN bring your own containers for bulk foods, the meat and deli counter, produce… and you’ll earn a green star for being “as green as you can be!”

Trash or (art class) treasure?

number 5 yogurt 2I’m a recycling maniac. I really do recycle just about anything I can justify going into the recycling can… mostly because I know the list of common recyclables AND because I can’t stand NOT recycling. (Small paper tag on a new article of clothing?… oh yea.  Even something THAT small!)

Sometimes, however, there are items that just don’t fit the guidelines: plastic containers that your community won’t accept, polystyrene trays and egg cartons that can’t be recycled, kids cups from restaurants or just that miscellaneous something-or-other that is destine for the trash.

Have you ever considered your children’s school or a local art group? I have, and I donate all of this unwanted “trash” to my kids’ art class.  They accept it with open arms and put these supplies to good use.egg fm crtn

Drop the teacher a note or call the school to see if they are interested.  You might be shocked with how excited they’ll be to take your “garbage” off your hands.

One family’s trash can be an art class treasure!

Simple choice: disposable or reusable?

solo br cupsOkay my friends… it’s as simple as this.  We had a choice.

Many people were going to visit our house.  The keg was calling out for a party.  Do you buy disposable cups or reusables? Quick! Make your choice.

It sounds crazy, I know, but I found myself facing this ridiculous question.  What… do… you … do?

I went to the dollar store. I bought cups. I bought reusable cups. I walked away from the disposables… and guess what?  We were just fine.  Everyone followed the rules.  They used the cups. They deposited them back into the kitchen.  They found their way into a (full) dishwasher. They were washed. They were stored for the next gathering. We threw NOTHING away. We won’t need to spend more money next time either. The next time, “we already have cups”.

Success. Yes. No trash. That’s all you need to do.  Wise choices, my friends.  Wise choices.

‘Tis the season to remember your reusables!

no plastic bagsAs I’ve spent the last week doing some major shopping for the holidays, I’ve armed myself with my own reusable bags at every stop and in every store.

But one thing has certainly gotten my attention… where are all of my “reusable bag comrades”?!?! I’m shocked that I sometimes look around and can’t find a single other soul toting their totes, yet I DO see a sea of plastic! It’s so disheartening. It’s no wonder statistics place the worldwide usage of plastic bags somewhere around one TRILLION annually!

Please, please… if you haven’t already done it, make a small investment in reusable bags and make them a part of every shopping trip you make, no matter how big or small.  I could go on and on about the disastrous effects of plastic bags, including the heartbreak of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but I think we all “know”… they’re simply bad news. And once you have them, REMEMBER THEM! That is the other half of the equation.  Buying them is not enough. They need to be USED! Come’on… you can do it!

Plastic bags are a serious topic, but sometimes serious topics also deserve a little levity too… are YOU stuck in a “Plastic State of Mind”???

It’s time to change the habit! Ban single-use bags made of plastic!