Recycling is Not Just for the Single-Family Dwellings

151155_3090Most cities now have made it possible for people living in multi-family communities to recycle and reduce waste. With mixed recycling collection for plastic, metal, and paper materials being available to multifamily communities.

What is considered a multi-family community?

  • Apartment Complexes
  • Retirement Living
  • RV Parks
  • Mobile Home Parks
  • Condominiums
  • Townhouses
  • Any property with a minimum of five housing units

Multi-Family Recycling Programs can help by providing free education and outreach resources to get your recycling program started.

On-site collection of glass and yard debris might be available in your area also. Ask your collection service provider about these additional service options.

For more information google Multifamily Community Recycle Programs along with the name of the county you live in. And you will find the information you  need to get your multifamily community on the recycling band wagon.

Don’t Forget! America Recycles Day – November 15

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Celebrating its 12th year, America Recycles Day (ARD) is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products.

Did you know?

  • Americans throw away enough office paper each year to build a 12 foot high wall of paper from NY to Seattle.
  • Making paper from recycled paper reduces contributions to air pollution by 95%.
  • Recycling a stack of newspapers just 3 ft high saves one tree.
  • Every 3 months, Americans landfill enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
  • The average person has the opportunity to recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime.
  • Recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for 3 hours.
  • U.S. recycled 3.3 billion pounds of post-consumer plastics in 2005, keeping it out of landfills.
  • The plastic recycling industry provides jobs for more than 52,000 American workers.
  • 5 PET (plastic soda) bottles yield enough fiber for one extra large T-shirt, one square foot of carpet, or enough fiber fill to fill one ski jacket.

The purpose of America Recycles Day is to continue to promote the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling and encourage more people to join the movement toward creating a better natural environment.

Click here to find out what America Recycles events are happening in your area.

You can also take the America Recycles pledge, just click here.

Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic

baffI was looking through some blogs today and found this site called French Picnic. Its a blog that likes to take the old and make it new or use what you have to make something new. I found this post – Use it up. Wear it out.

Have you noticed that we live in a throw-away society? What might have seemed terrific three months ago is suddenly outshadowed by the bigger, better, newer version of itself; the one we just can’t live without (or so they say). Is bigger and newer always better?

We say nay.

Our motto is: Use what you have.

Do you realize how many oldies-but-goodies you have hanging around right under your nose? Our goal is to show you how to re-craft your crap and make it fabulous.

Today’s suggested reading:

Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic.

Affluenza uses the whimsical metaphor of a disease to tackle a very serious subject: the damage done — to our health, our families, our communities, and our environment — by the obsessive quest for material gain that, since World War II, has been the principle of the American Dream. The authors show that problems like loneliness and rising debt, longer working hours and environmental pollution, family conflict and rampant commercialism are actually symptoms caused by a single “disease”: affluenza, the never-ending search for more.

If you are concerned about the environment than check your local library to see if they carry this book and give it a read, see what you think.

Recycle Your Used Cooking Oil

1211548_68090598Did you know you could recycle your used cooking oil? I was reading the newspaper and came across an ad from the Public Works Environmental Services about recycling your used cooking oil and was so excited. I always felt so guilty throwing the oil down the drain or in the garbage.

Here is what the ad says –

Recycle Curbside:

Place cooled, used vegetable cooking oil into same labeled container & cap originally purchased, or place into CLEAN see-thru plastic jug with tight fitting cap. 2-gallons per week maximum. Place in small recycle basket.

Now you will have to check with your local Recycling Center to find out if they are offering this. For help finding a Recycling Center near you try Earth911.com.

If your city is not participating in any kind of recycling of used cooking oil here are some other ways to recycle your used cooking oil.

  • Some towns only offer used oil recycling for businesses, but may be able to put you in touch with a local restaurant that can add your oil to theirs for recycling.
  • If you’re cooking meat, use the leftover grease to make suet-based bird food.
  • Mix small amounts of oil with paper or cardboard and add them to your compost bin.

4th Annual Green Sprouts Organic Baby & Family Fest

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Coming up on September 26th is the 4th Annual Green Sprouts Organic Baby & Family Fest.

Green Sprouts Festival is a fun, festive and educational one-day event for the whole family that celebrates and promotes the nurturing of life through nature. From pregnancy to childhood, parents can learn about and explore eco-friendly, community-involved, natural, and healthy options to raising their families.

Place: Peninsula Park, Portland Oregon

Admission: $3.00 suggested donation that will benefit Sustainable Oregon Schools Initiative.

Getting There:

  • Train – The TriMet Light Rail system has a stop just a few blocks from Peninsula Park.
  • Bus – TriMet bus lines #4 and #44 will take you within a short walk to Peninsula Park.
  • Bicycle – There are many designated bike routes that will take you right to Peninsula Park. Consult the City of Portland bike map (PDF) to find the best route.
  • Car – Peninsula Park is easily accessable from I-5. Just take exit 304 at N. Rosa Parks Way (formerly N. Portland Blvd) and head east 3 blocks.

Whats great about this event is that they are striving to make it a zero waste event.

Receptacles will be available for recycling common objects such as aluminum, plastic bottles, glass, and paper. Composting receptacles will also be available for food items. A diaper changing area will be available on-site for your convenience.

Recycling at Your Place of Work

191271_3865Setting up a recycling station in your office can be easier than it seems. I often look at what I am throwing away and see that a lot of it could be recycled. I have even taken items home to be recycled but this isn’t always convenient. So after doing a little research here is what I found:

First determine what materials you actual have need to recycle. Start with recycling the largest volume of waste materials being thrown away. In most offices that would be cardboard and paper.

Second decide what containers you want to use for recycling. Finding something that fits the needs of your recycling materials is not always easy. For recyclable papers, use a moving box or make your own Paper-Recycling Tote. Using trash bins to collect cans and bottles is a good start. Make sure and designate what the bin/container is for with a sign so as not to cause confusion.

Deciding where to place the bins/containers can be difficult due to the size they may need to be. Your best bet is to, wherever there is a garbage bin, place a recycling container next to it.

For more help on recycling at work check out these sites: Recycle at your Desk and How, Recycling at Work, or How to Encourage Recycling at Work.

San Francisco on Composting

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While visiting San Francisco I found that it was much cleaner than I had originally thought. It had been almost 14 years since the last time I visited but the city on this visit overwhelmed me with its beauty.

72% – The amount of waste San Francisco doesn’t put in a landfill.

From the Earth911.com – Cities of Change

There is always environmental news about the city of San Francisco, and it is well deserved. Not only has the city pledged to be zero waste by 2020, but San Francisco also boasts the highest recycling rate in the nation – a whopping 72 percent.

This is partly due to San Francisco’s stringent recycling and composting law. The new law will make recycling and composting mandatory. If recyclable or compostable items are found in the garbage bins, the resident will be warned on the first offense. Repeat offenders will be issued fines of $100 for small businesses and single-family homes and up to $1,000 for large businesses and multi-unit buildings.

“Clearly, mandatory recycling measures pay off,” says San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “If we’re going to reach a recycling rate of 75 percent in 2010 and zero waste in 2020, we need to make sure that residents and businesses are taking full advantage of our composting and recycling programs.”

But recycling initiatives are just part of San Francisco’s environmental efforts. The city has also made laws to further clean energy and reduce its carbon footprint. These initiatives include:

  • Clean Technology
  • Biodiesel Access Task Force
  • Resource Efficient Building Task Force
  • Urban Environmental Accords
  • Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force

Be Green and Swap

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Swaps have become very popular these days. And not only are they only swapping clothing these days, they are even swapping seeds, childrens toys/books, baby gear and all sorts of items, you just have to be on the look-out for swaps in your area.

Why should you swap? Swapping not only helps clear the unwanted clutter in your closets while saving a pretty penny but it also saves these items from being tossed into the landfills and helps stop textile waste, which in turn causes pollution. Some contend that household waste makes up 4.5% of residential waste, or 8.75 billion pounds per year.

But not only is it good for the environment but its also a fun way to get new items. Hosting your own swap or going to an organized swap are both great ways to meet new people or enjoy a night with friends.

It is no surprise that Portland, the greenest city in the states, has people of all ages and backgrounds throughout all parts of the city embracing goods exchanges(swaps) as a regular social practice. Here are two Portland area swaps:

  • Sunnyside Swap Shop Co-op – The Swap Shop provides an inviting place for children to play in the Sunnyside neighborhood, a year-round place for member families to exchange useful goods (clothing, toys, books, art supplies, baby equipment, etc.) and a place for parents to network with and support each other.
  • PDX Swap – A group of women folks (it’s not just women anymore!) in the Portland Metro area who get together on a regular basis for a clothing swap! As far as we know, PDXSwap is the only regular, local clothing swap in the Portland Metro area!

For swapping help check out these sites –

How to Green Your Memorial Day

754989_73943834Memorial day weekend is known for barbecues, picnics and all things outdoors. Sitting at my desk I have watched 100 or more RVs and trailers go rolling by. Memorial day marks the beginning of the warm weather. Essentially its the first time of the year for most to take their campers, trailers, and tents out.

But all this traveling, camping, rving can really be hard on the environment.No matter what you do this weekend, try to implement some of these tips to make your carbon footprint a little lighter.

Barbecue

  • Mow the lawn with a push mower.
  • Purchase an electric grill powered by wind energy or a solar powered grill.
  • Use natural cleaning products to clean up your lounge chairs and table.
  • Use lump charcoal made from natural and sustainable wood and try to avoid using lighter fluid.

Picnic

  • Use biodegradable utensils, bowls and cups.
  • Have a recycling bin handy, next to the trash.
  • Use cloth napkins.
  • Use organic bug spray and repellent to keep those pesky mosquitoes at bay.

RV and Trailer

  • Add solar panels to your RV. This can help save on shore and/or generator power usage.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with LED lighting, even the running and parking lights.
  • Use paper plates instead of plastic, reducing landfill decomposition time. Picking up some plates from the goodwill and keeping them in your RV/Trailor is the best sustainable option.
  • Use GEO method for controlling odor in your holding tanks rather than holding tank chemicals.

Camping

  • Recycle what ever items you bring in with you.
  • When shopping for your trip, think ahead about what you will have to throw away. Think of ways to reduce your waste while camping.
  • Be conscious of nearby water sources. Make sure and keep your waste out of the water, use the bathroom when possible.
  • Stay on the designated trails. Traveling off the path leads to soil erosion.

Refrigerator Recycling Programs

127628_9999Have you ever thought about what happens to your fridge when you buy a new one and the moving men take the old one away? I can’t say that I have ever thought about it really. But a refrigerator is a large mass of steel. They say that an average refrigerator aged 10 years or older contains about 123 pounds of steel and recycling this steel helps to save energy and other valuable natural resources. Knowing all of that makes me want to make sure refrigerators get recycled properly, getting the most out of something that is no longer of use as it is.

How to Recycle your Fridge or Find a Recycling Program:

1. Check with your local utility – Local utilities support refrigerator recycling programs. To view recycling programs by state click here.

2. Recycle your old fridge when you buy a new one – Many appliance retailers will pick up and recycle your old fridge when you purchase a new one from them.

3. Talk to your local scrap metal recycler – There are many of scrap metal recyclers that can recycle your old fridge, just make sure they are going to properly recycle your fridge. To view the Steel Recycling Institutes recycler locator click here.

4. Heavy-Trash Pick-up – Some towns may offer heavy trash pick-up programs for appliances.