Don’t forget about recycling over the holidays

Obviously recycling has been heavy on my mind since learning of my city’s proposal to eliminate our curbside recycling service as a cost-cutting measure. (Yes, my blood is still boiling!)

This is just a reminder about one simple fact:  the average household output of trash actually increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  There are a lot of opportunities to misstep this time of year…

Make sure to make wise choices as you go about preparing for the holidays:

  1. Think about the gifts you’re purchasing and what will happen to all of the packaging.  Some things can actually be UN-packaged so YOU can do the recycling of boxes and materials.
  2. Reuse all of the wrapping materials you already have before you buy something new… take inventory! We often already have plenty if we made smart choices last year!
  3. Even when you purchase food for all of your holiday events, think about how they’re packaged. Choose recyclable materials and, well… recycle them!
  4. When you mail a gift, newspaper is a great cushioning material over bubble wrap and packing peanuts. Hopefully your recipient will toss the newspaper in the recycling bin after the box is opened.

Truly, this list could go on and on but, if you’re “here”, I think you already “know”… just don’t forget!  Try to make “your 25%” a whole lot less. 

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!

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!

“Reusable” isn’t JUST for shopping bags anymore…

innob 2My kids are in the midst of their Spring Break and every “break” requires some PLENTY OF fun too, my friends.  We’re off to a little spring vacation and plan to drive just a few hours away and spend a couple days visiting the Columbus Zoo and COSI science center.

While packing for my kids means clothes, socks, undies, shoes, jammies, toiletries, stuffed “buddies”, favorite pillows (yes, that whole huge list) it also means thinking ahead to snack and beverage time.  These “bring alongs” also need some foresight if we don’t want to create a bunch of trash along the way too!

For us… single serving? Never! I have a bunch of reusable containers and water bottles that will accompany us every step of the way.  They’ll be filled, washed and refilled every single day. We won’t need to overspend or throw away a thing. (See that red Sigg over there?  Yep, that’s mine!) sigg bottles

Maybe this seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve had another mom notice our snacks and drinks on an excursion and proclaim “What a good idea! Why didn’t I think of that!” (while she simultaneously doles out a fortune for her kids snack time and then throws away the trash).

Make it a habit for every time you’re away from home. And it’s not just for when you plan a trip or special outing either… even school lunches need the same close attention to reduce our waste.  Over the course of the school year, just one child can produce 67 pounds of trash from lunches alone!

innob 1And don’t forget about baby either. (I no longer have one of “those”, but) I just also discovered Innobaby.  They have a great line of on-the-go storage containers, and all are made from the highest quality food grade materials, are BPA-free, and contain no phthalates, PVC or latex… a perfect, and safe, choice.

Every time you’re away from home, think ahead to the needs of the whole family. Fill your drink bottles, pack-up your reusable containers with snacks and munchies and, by using your reusables, you’ll be waste-free and guilt-free too.

The glass IS half full… but broken, it’s trash!

glass halfThe other day a friend of mine mentioned that she recently had a horrible bout with “fumble fingers”… while emptying her dishwasher, she managed to wipe-out four glasses from her countertop.

Knowing that I am Mom Goes Green, she commented:  “Well, at least I put them in the recycling can!”

Oh, beloved friend, I appreciate the gesture, but wrong! (… and I mean that with lotsa green love!)

In actuality, drinking glasses CANNOT be recycled.  The content is a bit different than glass jars, bottles, and containers. These glasses are, unfortunately, trash.

The same goes for windows, mirrors and glass cookware.  While other glass can be recycled indefinitely, these cannot.  Adding them in with your recycling risks ruining an entire batch of recycled glass and you certainly want to consider the danger created when your recyclables are being sorted… glass shards everywhere don’t make for a great work environment at your recycling facility and they can seriously damage equipment.glass brkn

Years ago I managed to completely destroy a door on the front of our entertainment center.  It shattered to small bits and I actually used the pieces to fill the bottom of some clear vases for floral arrangements. (See, some creative license to upcycle still exists!)

So, while I agree with the idea that we should go through life with a “glass half full” mentality, if fumble fingers strikes you too, don’t risk it.  Thank the glass for its service, but you’ll need to put it in the trash.