There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:
Last week we challenged ourselves to take a look at those hard-to-recycle items ... the things which most curbside recycling companies won't take. We talked about CFLs and batteries ... how to make recycling successful ... and how to avoid it by creatively reusing. I am most impressed with how we, as a green community, have evolved. We no longer view this activity as a mainstay of an Eco-friendly life. Rather, we now see it as a last resort ... something to do when we can't avoid it and when all other options are exhausted.
The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Let's see what they had to say this week:
Jacqueline has taught us a lot about green living in other countries. In Bottles and Light Bulbs and Batteries, Oh My! she shares how difficult it is to recycle in Doha. So does she just toss recyclables into the trash bin? Nope ... not our Jacqueline! She takes it to another country.
Argentum Vulgaris wrote an interesting POST about recycling and trash pickup in Brazil. Thanks, in part, to his influence one establishment has made some changes. How great is that!! AV touches lightly on the fact that some recycling does take place in his city ... but you might be surprised by how it happens and by whom. Be sure to read the comments of his article where he talks a bit more about the subject.
Brenna is lucky to have excellent curbside recycling service but there are items which aren't accepted. She collects them in boxes and then takes them to centers where they will be accepted. She also makes sure that her family knows what can and cannot be recycled.
Katie and her family are heavy recyclers but she admits that there are some items which aren't accepted. Just curious, Katie ... which items can't be recycled and what do you do with them?
Michelle says that recycling not only minimizes the amount of trash in her house but she also makes a bit of money from it. Yay!
What is recycling like in the country? Alicia shares this "Since we live in the country we have to take all of our garbage to the dump. We are blessed that they recycle. They have an area for cardboard, one for plastic and an area for metal as well as batteries. I keep it all sorted so it is easy to dispose of when we go. We have a compost pile for our veggie and fruit peels and we don't buy any processed food so we don't have a whole lot of garbage each week. The biggest thing we recycle are the metal drums that our oils come in. We are really happy that they have an area that we can recycle them."
Mrs. Green offers us her top two tips for recycling success. One deals with size ... the other with cash. Curious? Read all about it HERE.
Did you know that countries like China buy American waste? Would you wipe your baby's bottom with a dollar bill? Andrea takes on these subjects and offers 15 excellent "RRR" tips in this ARTICLE.
In How to recycle those recyclables and non-recyclables Kelly offers us a wealth of information ... things like what can and can't be recycled, how to creatively reuse things like plastic milk jugs and even a terrific list of items which can and cannot be composted.
What do you do with old, worn out tennis shoes? We're not talking about the ones that can be donated ... we're talking about the ones which aren't useable. Do you toss them? Not our Kris ... she recycles them. Oh you know you want to read about this ... and you can do so by clicking HERE.
What are the consequences of tossing a CFL in the trash bin? If a CFL breaks before it is recycled, what should you do to prevent mercury poisoning? In the UK, where can one recycle them? You'll find the answers to these questions from our friends at ValueLED in Mad as a hatter? You’d have to be not to recycle CFLs.
EcoGrrl reminds us of an important fact. In her words "The biggest adjustment will always be to cease use of products that are non-recyclable, but it pushes me to be better -:) no more boxed cereal (bulk is better n cheaper), mass reduction in frozen foods (on rare occasion i get organic veggie patties- then realize my homemade is wayyy better). Less meat-period (meat paper is trash). Earth911.com everyone -in lots of ideas. Recycle Less!" By the way, when you visit EcoGrrl's site, check out the tab entitled 'eco-geek'. It lists all the actions which she has taken to live a greener life. It is SO IMPRESSIVE!! If each of us could do just a few of things that she has accomplished ... wow ... this world would definitely be a better place!
In How To Recycle Everything Kristina covers it all ... seriously. For example ... did you know that cosmetic containers, wine corks, pizza boxes and even electronics can be recycled? What about motor oil, telephones and those obnoxious packing "peanuts"? Kristina not only tells us what can be recycled but offers locations as well. I'm bookmarking her post for future reference! Thanks, Kristina!!
Nicole doesn't have curbside recycling in her area. She shared a great tip about batteries. "One way I'm trying to reduce the amount of batteries my family throws away is by switching to rechargeable batteries. The initial investment pays itself off quickly at my house."
In a post entitled Mellow yello/ save the world: Cherry Picker Ann posts our CTWW banner and talks about being politically correct.
The Shiloh Painting Daily picked up a tweet about our challenge. That edition also includes interesting pieces about whether or not there is a "ruling class", tonic herbs, and how coffee may cure depression.
Our twitter friends had some ideas to share with us:
-council just improved kerbside recycling to include batteries, all plastics & textiles. New food waste bins due soon
-Reuse old jars for bulk grains, flours, and spices. Wine bottles make pretty vases.
-To recycle items such as old rechargeable batteries, cfl bulbs... we support stores that offer a recycling program for these items
-We try to keep plastics to min, due to no recycling prog for them. They can often be used at after school centers, animal shelters.
-We reuse egg cartons by returning them to Ron's sister for a refill. She has fresh, organic eggs.
-Dallas is nuts. Gr8 idea #CTWW RT @WhiteCityPrjct I use my old egg cartons to store my Christmas balls. Dallas thinks I'm nuts :)
-For my #CTWW, I do find some items difficult to recycle (deck stain/paint) but our town has a website that IS helpful.
The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:
My Final Thoughts: Recycling has always been a big part of living an Eco-friendly life. And while it certainly works towards keeping items out of a landfill, it isn't perfect. In many cases, materials are downcycled rather than recycled meaning that, as in the case with plastic, the material becomes something else instead of a "remake" of the original item (plastic milk containers are not recycled into more milk containers). That means that we still use virgin materials to make more of the original item. In other cases, recycling is expensive. In a world that focuses more on the bottom dollar than on the environment, this often means that recyclable materials sit, waiting for the process to become profitable. So does that mean we shouldn't recycle? Not at all! We can improve the process by considering how to reduce our overall usage of stuff, reusing whenever possible, educating ourselves on what is and isn't recyclable, purchasing products made with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled materials, and then refusing to buy items which cannot be recycled.
Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.
Today we are starting DAILY CHALLENGES as part of the Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast. The same rules apply ... if you write a post about it, we'll be promoting it. And ... I'll be doing a modified recap each week. Let's begin ...
Calculate your carbon footprint today at climatecare.org, carbonfund.org or www.nativeenergy.com and find out what you can do to minimize it, including purchasing carbon offsets.
Until tomorrow ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!