Earth Day comes each April as a reminder to love our planet and take good care of her, but shouldn't everyday be Earth Day?  There is no occasion too small, or holiday too large to keep green!  The Department of Natural Resources Solid Waste Management Program has tips to keep your entire year environmentally friendly.

Aquariums

Fish lovers can be green too by using a few simple tips. While you are cleaning your aquarium, don’t flush away the water from your aquarium it because you can use that water to feed your garden and plants. Draining the aquarium means taking out fish waste and decayed food particles, but that water also contains helpful bacteria and all the trace nutrients plants need to survive including phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, iron, etc. This “fertilizer” water can do wonders for your plants.

Using fish byproducts is not a new idea. Native Americans were adding fish to soil when growing crops to increase yields and food production. Additionally, instead of flushing fish down the drain when they die, bury them in your garden soil for added fertilization.

Fish emulsion products are available at your local store but if you have an aquarium, it is the perfect local source. Plus, you’re not flushing the water down the drain anymore either.

Backyard Barbecues

The first thing a summer griller must decide is gas or charcoal?  Try to choose cleaner burning propane for gas grills. However, if charcoal is your preference look for lump brands.  Some lump brands are made from sustainable forest timber.  If the fire needs a little help getting started, use a chimney starter rather than lighter fluid to get it going. This cuts down on chemicals released into the air.

When it comes to choosing what to place on your grill, visit your local farmer’s markets for fresh produce.  By purchasing locally, energy is saved from not transporting the produce from great distances.  If possible, look for locally raised and processed meat to further reduce energy consumption. 

When setting the table, purchase reusable products such as flatware, silverware and cloth napkins.  For a unique look, use bandanas for napkins and old quilts for tablecloths.  If this isn’t possible, use paper plates and napkins with recycled content and plastic cups that are biodegradable and can be composted.  For the kid’s table, a Frisbee covered in wax paper makes a great plate, which can be turned over and used for fun after the meal is finished.  After dinner, try to compost as much of the food scraps as possible, and enjoy the outdoor weather, no air-conditioning required.

Camping

Summer time is known for warm weather, great food and family vacations.  Camping can be an environmentally friendly experience; however, so many times it’s the small details that are taken for granted.  If extra time and attention are given to a few details, you can benefit economically and the environment will not be affected as well. To make your next camping trip a truly “green” experience consider incorporating the following tips.

A camping trip generally starts with packing. Make a list of everything you anticipate needing for the trip and go shopping only once. It is more efficient and will save you fuel and money.  Look for a tent or sleeping bag made from recycled materials at your local camping supply store if you don’t already have one.  Bring reusable dishes that can be used for years, and a bucket with biodegradable soap to wash them in rather than purchasing paper or Styrofoam one-use plates and plastic utensils. Bring dish towels from home instead of paper towels. Bring storage containers for leftovers instead of plastic bags. Look for solar powered cook stoves and crank powered radios and flashlights.Use citronella candles instead of bug sprays that contain chemicals.  The candles are an excellent way to repel insects.

You may want to consider camping this summer in one of the most beautiful park systems in the country.  Missouri’s State Parks System provides a variety of locations and activities aimed at pleasing every family member. Remember to pick a location close to home to reduce gas consumption and save a little money. Enjoy nature by playing outside or taking a hike instead of using the RV’s generator to power a television or game systems. Stay in designated camping areas to avoid disturbing plant and wildlife if you are spending a night under the stars in a tent. Use energy efficient lighting sources such as LED lanterns and flashlights. Pick up all trash and recyclables, so you leave the campsite in the same condition it was in when you arrived. If the campsite does not have recycling bins, take those items back home and recycle them when you return.

One of the best parts of camping is the cooking.  Use the campsite grill, if available, instead of bringing a cook stove or propane grill. Use firewood that may be available for purchase at the campground store or charcoal with a chimney starter to avoid releasing chemicals into the air with lighter fluid. Research recipes online before you go camping to find recipes that can be made over a campfire. Purchase produce for your trip from the local farmers market.

Construction and Demolition Waste

As Missouri communities continue to grow, older buildings are being renovated or demolished.  Properly managing the waste during the demolition will prevent threats to human health and the environment.

The department regulates demolition and renovation projects for institutional, commercial, public and industrial structures.  The department also regulates residential structure projects such as apartment buildings with more than four units or two or more residential structures.  Single residential structures containing four units or less are exempted from the demolition notification and inspection requirements.

All construction and demolition waste must be properly disposed of at a permitted transfer station or landfill regardless of whether it was generated from a regulated project or a non-regulated single residential structure.  Before a regulated renovation or demolition project begins, the business or entity requesting the work should make the waste disposal a part of the contract.  This will deflect liability if the waste is not properly managed and should be considered by the contractors during the bid process.

Demolition or renovation operations can create several different kinds of waste including clean fill, recovered materials, regulated wastes, hazardous waste and asbestos containing materials.  For more information on these wastes and its proper uses or disposal, call the department at 1-800-361-4827 or (573) 751-5401 or visit Construction and Demolition Waste.

Fall Holidays

Fall is a wonderful time to visit the local farmers’ market for pumpkins, squash, apples and other seasonal favorites. Locally grown produce is usually grown within a 100 mile radius, and purchasing locally saves valuable energy as well as helping the local economy. While some pumpkins can be used for pies, other pumpkins, gourds and melons may be cut up and composted once the season is over.  Fall is the perfect time to start your own compost pile at home.  Yard trimmings, vegetative food waste including fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, and coffee grounds and filters can all be placed in a compost bin.

For Halloween or fall celebrations, instead of purchasing a new costume, second hand clothing or thrift shops provide a wide array of costume choices with just a little bit of imagination.  If there is not a local thrift store, consider homemade costumes or renting a costume.  While trick-or-treating, take a reusable bucket or bag instead of a disposable bag for candy.  Also, if the weather is pleasant, stick close to the neighborhood and walk from house to house instead of driving. Finally, in place of sending paper greeting cards or invitations, consider emailing friends and family, or giving them a phone call.

Consider purchasing reusable tableware and use it throughout the year instead of disposable plates and utensils. While shopping for food and goodies, remember to bring reusable shopping bags.  If you have a large gathering, plan ahead and provide bags or bins for your guests’ recyclable items and take them to the community recycling center.  Again, appropriate food scraps may be composted after the meal.

Make an effort to celebrate the holidays close to home. However, if traveling is necessary for the holidays, make sure vehicles have the correct tire pressure for optimal gas mileage and carpool whenever possible. If the weather is nice, turn down the thermostat a little and go outside and play a game to keep warm.

Gardening

Tires were banned from Missouri landfills in 1990, and every year millions of tires find reuse in playground materials (crumb rubber and whole tire scrap) and are burned as tire derived fuel in coal power plants and cement kilns. However, there are still thousands of tires that end up in illegal dumps - these dumps provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other vermin, and are difficult to extinguish if ignited. One creative use for old tires is as planters in your garden. After very carefully cutting off one side wall on a large tire, gardeners can place the tire in their garden and fill it with soil, manure or compost. The tires retain a bit more heat to aid in growing, and when used as a raised bed they warm faster. Raised gardens can increase spring soil temperatures by 8 to 13° F over nearby soil temperatures at ground level. The black, heat-absorbing tires compound the warming effect.

If space is at a premium, use plastic bottles or other plastic items to start a garden. Buckets, soda bottles and plastic containers make excellent potting sources for small plants. As long as the containers have proper drainage and adequate amounts of sunlight and water, they make wonderful substitutes for a larger garden. Use your imagination for alternatives to the standard flower pots - old dresser drawers or wooden boxes, metal buckets and washtubs and hollowed out gourds all make unique planters, and are a great way to reuse and recycle items that might otherwise be discarded. Cut into short pieces, metal and vinyl mini-blinds make great plant markers, and clean nylon hose are useful for tying plants to trellises or fences. To protect small plants from a late frost, cut the bottom off a milk jug and use the top to cover them.

Create a showcase for your plants by using a roller skate as a base for the plant container, or planting summer grasses in an old boot or galoshes. An old child’s wagon or wheelbarrow makes a great mobile plant container, and a vintage bird cage can be planted and hung from a front porch for a wonderful old-fashioned look.

Green Meetings

What makes a meeting Green?

  • Incorporating environmental considerations throughout the planning and implementation process to minimize the negative impact on the environment.
  • Useful tool - EPA's Solid Waste Management Hierarchy - start with source reduction and reuse as the most preferred management tool, then follow through with recycling and composting.  Least preferred would be incineration with or without energy recovery.

Cost

The idea that green meetings are more expensive is a myth.  In fact, green meetings are a good way to save money.  Eventually green meetings will no longer be an option.  As corporations feel pressure to be as environmentally friendly and as fiscally responsible as possible, green meetings will become a requirement.

The MGM Grand in Las Vegas donates the food waste from all their restaurants and banquet facilities to a local hog farm, saving disposal costs for the MGM Grand and feed costs for the hog farmer. Caterers can save 50 to 62 percent by buying condiments in bulk, and can pass that savings along to the venue and in turn you as the customer. By adopting just one environmentally responsible practice meeting managers can reduce consumption of the earth’s resources & their organization’s expenses.

Creating a green meeting

  • Provide recycling bins in public areas and private rooms.
  • Use cloth napkins and tablecloths.
  • Use glass or ceramic coffee mugs instead of styrofoam or paper.
  • Use water coolers instead of bottled water.  According to the Earth Policy Institute,
    1.5 million barrels of oil are used yearly just in the production of plastic water bottles.
  • Donate extra food and refreshments to local shelters or food banks. (Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act)
  • Serve locally grown or organic food if possible. (Locally grown is usually within 100 mile radius.)
  • Use online invitations or registration.
  • Use mailing labels with water based adhesives.
  • Collect and reuse plastic nametag holders.
  • Use reusable or recyclable signage.
  • Use at least 30 percent post-consumer recycled content paper (EPA standards).
  • Use self-mailers for meeting materials.
  • Look for vegetable oil-based ink.
  • Place exhibitor information on CD or online to cut down on handouts.
  • Use a linen reuse program.

Transportation

  • Minimize travel requirements.  A shorter distance equals less environmental impact.
  • Encourage the use of public transportation when possible, and provide incentives to guests in the form of free passes for buses, light rail, etc.
  • Schedule activities within walking distance of each other.
  • Look for fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly transportation if providing vehicles to attendees.

Consuming Resources and Carbon Footprints

  • Meetings leave heavy footprints.  Resources used at a meeting can include:
    • Energy - natural gas, electricity or oil.
    • Transportation - air, train, bus or car.
    • Food - farms, dairies, cattle operations, poultry production houses, fisheries.
    • The local community - employment, financial, retail.
    • Accommodations - hotels/motels, soft goods markets, housekeeping.
    • A typical five day conference with 2,500 attendees uses 62,500 plates, 87,500 napkins, 75,000 cups/glasses and 90,000 cans and bottles.
  • What is a carbon footprint?
    • A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of GHG produced, measured in units of CO2.  CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere during basic daily living including driving your car, doing laundry, running your AC, etc.
  • What is a carbon offset?
    • A tool we can use in response to our carbon footprint by mitigating our carbon emissions (or footprint) through the development of alternative projects.  Examples of carbon offsets are clean energy development projects like wind, solar or geothermal, or reforestation as in planting trees.

Leftover Latex Paint

Each year, an average of two gallons of paint is sold for each person in the United States and more than 60 million gallons of paint are left over each year. Before you buy that extra gallon, consider if you really need it or if a quart would suffice. 

Whether you are painting a room or cleaning out the garage, these tips for left over latex paint may come in handy.

  • Donate excess paint to schools, churches, theater groups, shelters or your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore or Salvation Army Thrift Store. Habitat for Humanity will only take gallons of paint that are almost full. The Salvation Army only accepts cans of paint that have not been opened.
  • If latex paint has completely dried, it can be safely thrown into the regular trash.
  • If the paint is still liquid or semi-liquid, either add cat litter to the latex paint in the can or put cat litter in a tub or box and then pour the paint onto the cat litter. Allow it to air dry until solid. Do not put liquid paint into the trash where it could leak.
  • If you’ve poured the paint out of the can, you can recycle the empty paint can.
  • Oil based paints and stains need to be disposed of as a hazardous waste.
  • Never pour any type of paint into drains, sewers or waterways. A small amount of paint can contaminate thousands of gallons of water.

Remember while you may have a local Household Hazardous Waste Collection event available to you, if we reduce the amount of waste materials by only buying what we need, we’re conserving resources and saving energy.

Please help us protect our natural resources by reducing the amount of waste paint disposed of in Missouri.

St. Patrick's Day

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day, which is traditionally the “greenest” day of the year. Missourians planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a party can leave a green stamp on their event by purchasing reusable decorations, rather than ones that are designed to be thrown away at the end of the day. If planning a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage and a steaming bowl of potatoes, be sure to compost the leftover cabbage and potato peels and purchase locally grown and packaged beef when possible. 

For a truly green St. Patrick’s Day gift, give friends and family a potted shamrock. They make a wonderful indoor houseplant and are believed to bring good luck.  For more information about composting and recycling visit the Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle page.

If you prefer to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at one of the many parades or events held throughout Missouri, consider walking or bicycling if it’s close, taking a bus or picking up friends along the way to carpool.  Carpooling and using mass transit are great ways to go green by reducing energy use and saving green in your wallet.

Tailgating

Fans are encouraged to think green before the game starts.  When shopping for the pre-game, look to the local farmer's market for fresh made buns or bread and produce for grilling.  Shopping locally ensures the items didn't travel across the country to your plate, using up valuable energy in transport.  Purchase condiments in bulk rather than single serving sizes to reduce waste.

Carpooling to the game is a great way to cut down on gas usage and spend time with friends and family.  If fans live close to the stadium, tailgate in the yard and walk to the game.  To avoid using up the car battery for warming up in the cold weather or listening to the radio, dress appropriately for the season and look into solar or crank powered radios that do not require electricity.

Once at the stadium, the grilling usually begins.  Grilling in a parking lot doesn't have to be different from grilling in the backyard.  As with a regular grill, propane is the cleanest burning option. However, if charcoal is preferred, try to use a chimney starter rather than lighter fluid to reduce chemicals released into the air.  For the more extreme "green griller," solar powered grills are gaining popularity and will amplify the sun's rays just enough to grill those brats and dogs.  They take a little longer to heat up but leave almost no environmental impact except the smell of sizzling barbecue.

Be sure to look for reusable plates, cups and silverware for the party.  Durable plastic lasts a long time, and dishes from a second hand store are usually inexpensive in case a plate breaks in the fan frenzy.  If reusable dishes aren't an option, opt for products made of recycled materials or that can be composted post-game.  Once the game has started, look for recycling bins around the stadium to recycle your plastic, bottles and cans.  If no bins are provided, call up the stadium and ask they be provided in the future.  Provide a bag or box to tailgaters near your vehicle to recycle whatever items are accepted in that community.

Used Oil

It is estimated that do-it-yourselfers improperly dispose of 200 million gallons of used oil each year. Used oil from just one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water.

If you change your own oil, these tips may come in handy. Recycling used motor oil is easy:

  • Use drip pans to catch any fluids.
  • Do not dump or spill oil on the ground.
  • Put the used oil in a clean plastic container with a tight lid.
  • Do not mix the oil with anything else.
  • Do not pour oil down storm drains or place in the trash.
  • Take the used oil to a service station or an oil collection center for recycling.
  • Some big-box, auto-part and tractor supply stores will collect used oil from do-it-yourselfers.

If all the oil from the do-it-yourselfers were recycled, that would be enough oil for more than 50 million cars a year.

Remember while you may have a local Household Hazardous Waste Collection event available to you, if we reduce the amount of waste materials by only buying what we need or finding a way to recycle them, we’re conserving resources and saving energy.

Used Tires

Every year millions of tires find reuse in playground materials and are burned as fuel yet every year there are still thousands of tires that end up in illegal dumps. Scrap tires are a breeding ground for mosquitoes, snakes, rats and other vermin.

If you change your own tires, these tips may come in handy.

Leave used tires with the dealer when buying replacement tires. Dealers are required to accept them on a one-to-one basis for a small fee.
Tires may be hauled to a tire processor, scrap tire site or tire hauler. Tires can only be taken to a landfill if they are cut, chipped or shredded. Rather than dumping or placing in a landfill, tires can be recycled.

There are places to legally take scrap tires in Missouri. They usually charge a fee per tire and can accept whole tires. Visit Scrap Tires and Illegal Dumping or check the Scrap Tires Hauler List for a list of processors.

Remember while you may have a local Scrap Tire Collection event available to you, if we reduce the amount of waste materials by only buying what we need or finding a way to recycle them, we’re conserving resources and saving energy.

Each year, one scrap tire per person is generated in Missouri or approximately 6 million tires. More than 16 million tires have been cleaned up in Missouri since the department began the scrap tire cleanup program.  Please help us protect our natural resources by recycling tires in Missouri.

Valentine's Day

The most traditional gift on Valentine's Day is a bouquet of flowers.  After these flowers dry up, they are usually thrown away and end up in a landfill.  A compost bin provides a better location for the flowers to keep them out of the trash.  If you are looking for a different gift idea, call a local florist and ask if they have organic flowers or fresh flowers, trees or shrubs that can be replanted in the spring.

For a creative gift, consider tickets to a movie, concert or sporting event.  It will provide an opportunity to spend more time with your loved ones and creates less trash.  Look for gifts made from recycled materials such as fleece jackets and scarves made from water and soda bottles and kitchen tools and house décor made from recycled plastic and glass.  Also consider gift certificates to a spa or a favorite store.  When taking a trip to the mall or your favorite shopping store, take some friends and carpool and bring your own shopping bags.

For a homemade gift, make dinner at home and eat by candlelight.  Not only is it romantic, but it can save a little electricity with the lights turned off.  If considering a favorite restaurant instead, walk if it's a short distance away or take mass transit.  For friends and family, bake cookies or make homemade candy and package them in a decorated reusable or recycled container.  And when giving greeting cards, purchase those that have high recycled paper content or that can be easily recycled.  If the gift giver is feeling very creative, there are plenty of great projects for reuse of kids Valentine's cards either on the internet. 

Weddings

Many brides-to-be dream of a white wedding. The Department of Natural Resources is encouraging couples planning weddings to consider making their big day a more eco-friendly green event and save some green. The average cost of traditional weddings is $20,000 and they can generate a lot of waste through the process.  Green weddings can provide couples a cost savings and can be just as beautiful and creative as traditional white weddings.

Wedding planning usually begins with a search for just-the-right rings.  Consider looking at antique and flea markets or in the family jewelry box for heirloom engagement and wedding rings.  These can usually be reset or redesigned at a local jeweler to become an original for the wearer.  It’s also a bit of history resting on the fingers of the new couple. For brides and grooms the next logical step is selecting wedding attire.  For men in the wedding party, a tuxedo or suit rental is a practical solution or perhaps they may purchase a nice suit they can wear again after the wedding. Brides and their attendants usually purchase their gowns to keep.  Brides can check in their mother’s closet and see if her wedding gown is suitable.  Seamstresses can work wonders to make dresses more modern while still retaining the fabric of the original dress.  If mom’s dress simply will not do, consider vintage or second hand stores or donate your new dress to charity after the big day.  Consider letting the bridal attendants choose a dress they will likely wear again so it doesn’t waste space in a closet, or a landfill.  

When choosing invitations and thank you cards, look for printers that use recycled content paper and soy based inks.  Couples may also want to consider sending e-vites.  They can be the most eco-friendly invitation and can be created by the do-it-yourselfer.  Couples can also encourage their guests to carpool to the special day, saving fuel, money and it helps reduce air pollution.  Next on the list are the flowers and decorations.  Brides may want to consider arrangements that include locally grown flowers or plants that are in season to minimize the energy used to ship flowers across the country.  Any flowers or floral arrangements not usable after the event can be composted. If brides have a green thumb, try growing flowers or centerpieces that can be replanted after the party and might be a bit more cost effective.  Brides may also want to consider pairing up with another couple and reuse wedding decorations or even silk flowers for the big day.  When looking at locations, think local.  A trip to an island might sound like fun, but taking a wedding party and family members to exotic locations will consume a lot of energy and dollars.  Missouri offers many beautiful indoor and outdoor locations for weddings, including state parks and historic sites. At the reception, arrange for reusable plates and utensils and cloth napkins and tablecloths if they fall within your budget. Have your caterer look for locally grown produce and meats, and if there is a large amount of food or cake leftover after the wedding, donate it to a local food bank and put scraps in a compost pile.  Remember to ask the venue or caterer to put out some bins for recycling bottles and cans, or whatever materials are accepted in your area.

Weddings can generate all sorts of well-intentioned but unwanted gifts, wrapping paper and tissue. Consider setting up a green wedding gift registry; which is a wish list of earth friendly products the couple would like. If couples are providing wedding favors to their guests, consider making those earth-friendly too.  It could be a carbon offset to go towards their travel, a donation on the guest's behalf, a tree planted in their name or a gift basket of green products.  Guests attending the big day may also want to consider reducing the amount of waste wrapped up around the gifts. Put gifts in decorative tins or boxes instead of throwaway wrapping materials or reuse decorative gift bags to reduce waste. Adopting even one of these tips for your big day can make its impact on the environment much smaller.

Winter Holidays

In the holiday excitement over family, friends, gifts, food and travel, it is easy to forget about the waste produced this time of year.  On average, Americans produce 1 million extra tons of waste per week between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Careful planning before and after the holidays can reduce the amount of related waste that ends up in the state's landfills, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Buy gifts and products made of recycled materials.

Buy rechargeable batteries to go with new electronic toys. Information on recycling of rechargeable batteries is available on www.rbrc.org. Collection sites for used batteries are often available at Wal-Mart, Radio Shack, Target, Sears, Black and Decker, Best Buy, Circuit City and Home Depot.  To save gasoline, call before you make the trip.

Purchase gifts with minimal packaging so there is less to throw away.

 

Give environmentally friendly gifts to friends and family. For example, cloth napkins and tablecloths, cloth shopping bags, gift certificates, lamps designed for compact fluorescent bulbs, lunch boxes, recycling bins or personalized stationary made from recycled paper.

Reuse glass jars by creating homemade snow globes or filling them with cookie and cake mixes.  Instructions are available on the Internet.

Reuse holiday wrapping from last year or color in the comics in your newspaper for wrapping gifts. Put gifts in decorative tins or boxes instead of throwaway wrapping materials. Use and reuse decorative gift bags.

Use your imagination in trimming the tree or yard for the holidays. Recondition that string of lights. String popcorn around your tree and then place it in your yard afterward for the birds to munch on. Create paper snowflakes with paper you would normally have thrown away.  Crafts with cardboard, Popsicle sticks, old calendar photos and old holiday cards make fun activities for kids and adults alike. 

Recycle your Christmas tree.  The most popular method is chipping the trees to be used for mulch, but it can also be turned into a fish or wildlife habitat. To compensate for the harvest of your Christmas tree, arrange to plant a new tree next spring. Artificial trees are another way to decorate and will last for several years.

If you or your families receive new electronics including computers, printers, TVs, hand-held devices and cell phones and are not sure what to do with the old one, you may be able to recycle it.  For a list of electronics recyclers registered with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, visit the e-cycle Missouri website at www.e-cyclemo.org or call 800-361-4827.

Workouts

Missouri has many parks and trails that offer options for taking a jog or ride to burn a few calories and get some fresh air.  More than 50 Missouri State Parks offer walking or hiking trails, and 21 offer some type of biking path including the Katy Trail.  Check with your community for walking and biking trails that are well lit after dark.  Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and take all safety precautions.

If it’s just too cold to exercise outside, create your own home gym.  Swap workout DVDs with friends, or borrow them from the library to get a workout in your living room. This saves the plastic waste in buying new videos, and can keep your routine from getting boring.  If you want to purchase home gym equipment, look for used treadmills and other cardio equipment, or look for energy efficient models, or those that don’t use any electricity.

Whether you are at home or at the gym, try to purchase a reusable water bottle instead of plastic water bottles that end up in landfills.  Several companies make hard plastic water bottles from recycled plastic, or aluminum varieties come in several colors that last for a long time.  Workout gear can be recycled by some companies and made into new clothing.  Try to buy sweats made of natural fibers that are easier to recycle, or find clothing and fleece made from recycled plastic.

You can’t get anywhere without the shoes on your feet, so look for a good quality, well fitting pair of athletic shoes.  When they are worn out, consider recycling your athletic shoes through the Nike Grind project, which accepts athletic shoes from any company, and grind them into rubber chips.  This rubber, much like shredded tires, can then be used in tracks, playgrounds and tennis courts.

Back to School Shopping – Going Green

Back to school shopping is very exciting, but before heading out to the stores there are a few things to consider. 

  • Take inventory of all your remaining school supplies from last year and cross what you still have off of your shopping list. 
  • Remember to choose environmentally friendly school supplies, such as recycled paper and pencils, soy crayons, BPA free water bottles and reusable lunch packs.
  • Look for natural fibers or recycled material in the clothes you buy. Recycled and environmentally friendly products are at the top of fashion and are easy to find.
  • Choose items with little or no packaging. Items that are overly packaged create unnecessary waste that ends up in landfills. 

 

Back to School – Recycling

Is the sight of fellow students throwing away perfectly good recyclables making you cringe? 

Cure the cringe by starting a recycling program at school, or if your school already has recycling, encourage and educate classmates about the importance of recycling.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • In the Class Room. 
    • Students should always recycle old worksheets. If you have a recycle receptacle in your class room, it’s easy, just use it.  If not, ask for one to be provided. 
    • Notebooks are often thrown away because the first couple of pages are already used for a different project.  Simply tear out and recycle the old pages and reuse the rest of the notebook.
  • Outside of Class.
    • Get a team together to help the school recycle.
    • Post signs in hallways about how and what to recycle.
  • In the Cafeteria.
    • If your school recycles, be sure to look for the recycle symbol on food packaging and put those packages into recycling containers.
    • If your school does not have recycling containers, ask your school staff about getting them.

Just remember, we impact our environment by the choices we make every day.