Posts Tagged recyclable

The Great American Cleanup – Get Involved

 It’s never too late to improve your community’s environment. Keep America Beautiful’s annual event, The Great American Cleanup takes place between March 1 and May 31 in communities all across the United States. This is the nation’s largest community improvement project.

Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful, Inc.’s mission is to “engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments.”  This is done through their various programs such as The Great American Cleanup.  Each year, people work together to beautify their neighborhoods: picking up litter in parks and roadways, cleaning up beaches and other waterways, planting trees and flowers to restore public spaces, painting over graffiti, repairing local homes and businesses, and holding recycling drives and workshops.  The concept is two-fold—educate and participate.

The Keep America Beautiful, KAB, website makes it easy to get involved in a program near you.  KAB provides the tools  to locate or start your own community based beautification project; from how develop partnerships and corporate sponsors to curriculum for teachers to utilize in their classrooms. You can also visit the history of KAB and witness the beginnings of the green mentality long before it was fashionable.  Oh yes, I vividly remember the first public service announcements; one in particular with the single tear running down the Native American’s weathered cheek.  The message was, and still is, clear: pollution is disgraceful and we need to work together to save our planet.

Remember, it’s never too late to volunteer your time and effort for The Great American Cleanup.

And visit Earth Promise to make your promises to help clean up America!

 

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Teach Your Children Well

“Mommy, you’re wasting water!” my 5 year old informed me last night.  I honestly was waiting for the water to warm up to wash my face, but since my husband and I have drilled the “no running water” rule in our house, our kids act like the “green” police.  She was right; so off went the water.

As the saying goes: kids learn by action, so be a good role model. It is second nature for our daughters not to let the water run while brushing their teeth; they automatically reuse the backsides of paper; they know to turn their lights and fans off when leaving their rooms and they instinctively recycle.  They were astonished that Mimi and Poppy didn’t begin recycling until just recently.  When asked why, my parents were too embarrassed to let their grandchildren know that it was an inconvenience.  Guilt from the grandchildren works miracles!

It’s never too late to teach children the importance of helping our environment.  There are a myriad of ideas to get from books and websites that can help educate you and your children.  Over the next couple of days I’ll offer some suggestions and resources.

 Promises you can make with your children to jumpstart your green family:

·         Be sure to make the outdoors part of your day.  Have some sort of garden that your children can take part in caring for. If you show enthusiasm and respect for nature, your child will want to do the same

·         Plant a butterfly garden.  This is a great opportunity to go to the library to check out various books about butterflies and learn how they play a critical role in our environment.

·         Recycle.  Have separate bins so that they can help sort.  When we get stumped on a particular item, like styrofoam, we visit, http://earth911.com/ . You can also make it a learning experience and ask your local recycling plant if you can visit.

·         If their school doesn’t already recycle, start small by having the students recycle in the classrooms.  Eventually it can move into the cafeteria.

·         Buy organic foods when possible and explain why.  Foods grown in accordance with the National Organic Standards Act are done so without toxic pesticides, fertilizers, synthetic hormones, sewage sludge, GMO’s or irradiation.  This is not only good for the environment, but for your body.

·         Turn it off or unplug anything that uses electricity: fans, lights, computers, chargers etc.  Have this become a daily ritual.

·         Close the doors.  Kids (and parents, too) are notorious for standing in front of the open refrigerator.   Know what you are getting so that the refrigerator door doesn’t stand ajar too long.  This is the same for the oven as well, as it will use less energy to do its job.

 

 

Be sure to visit Earth Promise’s blog tomorrow for resources to help your family.

 

 

 

 

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How To Make Your Oscar Party Green

Are you hosting an Oscar party this weekend?  Let’s talk about shopping and how the small changes you make can make a big impact.  Be a motivated green shopper with these easy tips:

·         Be sure to make a list.  This will reduce the number of times you will need to go to the store; less trips means less use of gas (assuming you need a car to shop!)

·         Buy organic and/or local

·         To bring a cloth or canvas bag to the store. I always have a bunch in various sizes in my car and even carry a funky compact reisenthel bag in my purse.  This way, if I do forget to bring a bag, I’ll always have an extra. (If you are one who often forgets to bring your bags, many stores have “remember your bags!”stickers you can place on the inside of your car window.)

·         To decline the offer of a bag from a store if I am buying a small number of items.

·         To request paper bags at checkout instead of plastic if I do not have canvas bags with me.

·         Buy in bulk whether it’s dish detergent or food.  There is less packaging and many times, it is less expensive.

·         Use your everyday dishes and cloth napkins. Try not to use paper products.  If the thought overwhelms you, be sure, then, to purchase eco-friendly ones made from recycled products.

·         Print out Oscar voting ballots using the unused side of paper.

These effortless changes can greenify your Oscar party. 

If you haven’t already, join Earth Promise to make, and keep track of your personal promises

 

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Reusable Coffee/Tea Mugs

Many of us have these personal sippers perched in the back of our cabinets.  We don’t always make the time to brew our own coffee or seep our own tea at home, which, of course, would be a great financial savior in today’s economic crisis.  Try to have a spare travel mug in your car (or bag if you are a city dweller).   So when you make that coffee shop pit stop, you can use your own mug and save the environment, too.  You’d be surprised how many coffee shops are willing to fill your travel mug; some may even give you a discount for being so eco-savvy!

Yes, your Earth Promise to always tote an extra travel mug will make a difference.  Imagine the impact it would make on the amount of trees destroyed to make these paper coffee cups. (I haven’t even touched on the amount of energy used to produce the plastic lids on these piping hot portable drinks!)

Become an Earth Promise member for an easy way to make, track and keep your promises about actions that will benefit the environment.

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The Christmas Tree Dilemma

 Which is the better option?  Artificial or traditional fresh cut Christmas trees? 

What should you do with a tree after the season?

It truly depends on how your thought process works—the artificial tree can last many years and is recyclable; however, they are produced from petroleum based plastics, and some may even contain lead.  Not the most eco-conscious choice for some.  A traditional pine scent in your home may be what you look forward to every year.  But then, are you feeling guilty about tossing the tree out on your curb at the end of the season?  Is this destructive and wasteful in your mind? This year, then, look into recycling your tree into mulch.  This is great for flowerbeds and gardens.  If that’s too much work for you or you personally don’t need the mulch, contact your local recycling center to see if they have a seasonal Christmas tree recycling program. They may be able to use the trees for mulch at parks. If you happen to live near Hartwell Lake  in Georgia, you can drop off your unadorned Christmas tree so that “the recycled trees will be used as fish attractors in Hartwell Lake. The trees will be tied in bundles, weighted with concrete anchors, and submerged in various locations marked with fish attractor buoys. Small trees and brush provide cover for fish, particularly as nursery areas for juvenile fish. In addition, they provide habitat for aquatic insects—essential food during the early stages of most fish species.” For more information, contact the Hartwell Lake Operations Manager’s Office at   888-893-0678, ext. 335.

If you do opt for the real tree, before purchasing, make sure it is organic—you don’t want harmful chemicals in your home and then, in turn releasing toxins into your community.  On the Beyond Pesticides website, they provide great resources that will help you locate a pesticide-free Christmas tree:

The holiday tree planting program going on in San Fransisco should be the model for all cities.  An environmental group has paired with the city government to sell potted trees in several (non-pine) varieties at Christmas for $90. Once the holiday is over, the trees will be picked up and planted along city streets. You can check out how it works at sfenvironment.org.

If you are reading all these fantastic ideas and wished this information was published earlier, don’t worry:  this can be your Earth Promise for next holiday season.

Check out Earth Promise for more ideas revolving around the holidays as well as the rest of the year.

 

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