Posts tagged ‘recycle’

Our Online and Electronic Footprint- Part Two


Keeping Electronics Out of Landfills

In our modern society, we are surrounded by technology. When things break, our first thought is to throw them out. However, all of these electronics fill up our landfills and can be harmful to both humans and the environment through run-off. According to the StEP (Solving the E-waste Problem) Initiative, 48.9 million tons of gadgets and electronics were thrown out worldwide in 2012. Most of these electronics could have been repurposed or harvested for parts, which reduces our resource consumption and keeps electronics out of landfills. Many electronics stores are now offering recycling programs where you can bring in your old TV’s, computers, and other electronics for repurposing. Some places even offer store rewards for bringing in materials, such as gift cards or discounts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a great list of places that accept mobile devices, TV’s, and computers.

Other stores and organizations will accept unwanted parts such as ink cartridges, digital cameras, and MP3 players. Headphones can often be hard to find places to recycle them, but ThinkSound provides discounts on new purchases for every pair of headphones turned in. Office Max also offers rewards for turning in old ink cartridges. A quick search on the internet for the item you are looking to recycle will bring up plenty of options other than simply throwing it away. E-cycling Central also has a great list of companies and organizations by state that recycle a variety of electronic devices and materials.

Before You Buy That New Smartphone…
We are always being bombarded with the latest version or new model of cell phone and many times millions of people are running to their phone carrier to get what ever that might be. But what happens to all of those “outdated” models? Instead of throwing your phone in the trash, consider donating it to a charity that will repurpose them for those in need. There are many local and national organizations that will take donations, such as Cell Phones For Soldiers. This non-profit takes old cell phones, refurbishes them, and sends them to troops overseas so they can call home. Other organizations include National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Hyla. Some of these organizations will even buy your old phone from you.

Many wireless providers also have trade-in plans where you can turn in your old phone and receive a discount or money towards your new phone. This includes AT&T, Verizon, U.S. Cellular, and other major providers. Check your provider’s website or ask an employee what your options are before you buy something new.

Reducing our electronic and online footprint is easier than you think. By reducing the amount of time you spend online and recycling any old, unwanted, and broken technology, you can lower your carbon footprint, be more engaged in your life, and even help those in need. While we can’t solve climate change in one day, every little actions makes a big impact. So unplug those devices, turn in those old electronics, and help make a difference!

image credit: www.torontosun.com

October 9, 2014 at 8:56 am Leave a comment

Do-It-Myself Projects

Speaking of love, ever since I discovered Re-Nest I have been obsessed with it. It’s a wonderful blog that offers fun, creative How-To’s and tips on how to live a chic, eco-friendly lifestyle (and do really fun projects). I hereby declare 2010 to be the year I try to make new things, fix items in my apartment when they are broken, and (*eek*) maybe even try a new recipe (cooking is not exactly my cup o’ tea).  Here are things I plan on doing thus far; I think you would have fun doing them, too:

  • Let’s make vases and cute containers out of glass bottles and tin cans. This Re-Nest article explains how easy it is to transform recyclables into art (and potentially gifts!). This would be very fun to do with children (as long as the paint is kid-friendly).
  • What do you get when you mix water, a picture frame, and an old blender? Handmade paper, of course! I have always wanted to do this; even though my current kitchen is about the size of Harry Potter’s under-the-stairs closet,  I think this is still possible.
  • I may have to have my adept cooking friends help me with this one: pickling. This article gives detailed instructions on how to pickle anything you want. Bring on the cucumbers!
  • Maybe it’s partially because I don’t want to drag my garbage all the way down 5 floors to the dumpster and consequently freeze, but I would genuinely like to live a more packaging-free life. We all already have glass and plastic sandwich and lunch containers, but if you need some more ideas, check out this Re-Nest article (see? I’m obsessed).

If you don’t have the time, desire, or ability to do these sorts of things, no need to fear! Here are some great Madison-area shops that offer recycled goods:

  • Re-Thread has just come to Madison offering handmade clothing out of pre-owned (and cleaned) clothes. They also have a buy-trade-sell system, so check it out on their website.
  • Featured on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Eco-Friendly Flooring is a Madison, WI supplier and installation contractor of eco-friendly flooring products. I will be a renter for some time into the future, but I can’t wait to use this service for my home someday!
  • Last but definitely not least, is Anthology, a locally-owned boutique that offers locally-made art and products to make beautiful creations. I am proud to say I bought a handmade ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ coaster there before its popularity resurfaced. 🙂

Go forth people and have fun in your kitchens with your kids and friends. Feel free to send us your ideas; we love hearing them!

Wishing you the best,

Melissa

February 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm Leave a comment

Environmental Health Report Card gives mixed grades

This university town is probably full of “A” students. But we’ve learned that we still have a ways to go to get a better GPA on our environmental health in Dane County.

Every two years the Madison and Dane County Environmental Health Report Card is issued, telling us where we’ve improved and where we have regressed in terms of our air and water quality, recycling, alternative energy, and vehicle travel.

The bad news first: water quality and water conservation have both declined. That means more phosphorus in our lovely lakes and more beach closures, and lower groundwater levels. FYI: Groundwater provides 70% of Wisconsin residents with water.

The bad news second: And, while there was a small increase in recycled material, there was also an increase in the amount of waste produced and sent to the landfill.

The great news: Don’t despair! There is a LOT we can do to make this better.

The also great news: EnAct offers loads of tips that people can use to reduce their water use and their waste production. Our “EnAct: Steps to Greener Living” book offers chapters on saving water and wasting less that you can download here to take action in your own home. Or start an EnAct team with your neighbors or friends and talk about why this stuff matters right here in our backyard!

Want to do something right now? Here are a few ideas:

Water

  • Only run full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher, and use them in off-peak times (middle of the day or after 7 p.m.)
  • Don’t flush medicines or over-the-counter drugs down your drain OR throw them in your garbage. Check with your doctor’s office or pharmacy about medical waste drop-off days.
  • Try using non-toxic alternatives to household chemical cleaners. Commit to trying one new natural product this month. And a second one next month. And so on…
  • Install a faucet aerator in your kitchen; they cost about $1 and can save 3 gallons of water per day per faucet.
  • Keep your leaves out of the gutters and out of the lakes. Use them as mulch on your flowerbeds.

Waste

  • If you are not curbside recycling everything you can, start now! Here’s a list of what is recyclable in Madison.
  • Remove your name from junkmail lists at DirectMail.com
  • Donate or sell items rather than throwing them away. Try Goodwill, St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Stores, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, or Freecycle.
  • Buy at least one post-consumer recycled-content product that you use on a regular basis, like office paper, or that’s a one-time purchase, like fleece clothing made from recycled soda bottles and other plastics.
  • Buy and manage the food in your house to reduce spoilage and waste and to save money. Try not to buy more food than you are certain you family can eat before it goes bad.
  • Try composting. It’s a lot easier than it sounds.
  • When eating out, bring a reusable container for your leftovers rather. Trust me, no one minds if you do this (even my husband realized it was silly to be embarrassed when I whip my trusty Tupperware out of my purse)!

So we got a few Bs and Cs. That’s okay. We can still make the next report card something we’d be proud to show to our grandchildren.

Be green. Have fun.

Maria

December 1, 2009 at 10:08 am 1 comment

Bags, bags, everywhere!

It is now illegal to dispose of clean, usable plastic bags in Madison. Time to break out the reusable bags!

Did you know that it is now illegal to throw away usable plastic bags in Madison? The City Council put this into effect on Sept. 1st, 2009. There will soon be recycling stations throughout Madison where citizens can dispose of their plastic bags. Here is a news article with more information.

If you’re like me, you get annoyed when you see a plastic grocery bag stuck in the branches of a tree, and when your house is overflowing with plastic paraphernalia. One way to save money and to reduce the consumption of plastic and your carbon footprint is to use reusable bags when shopping.  Many stores offer a 5-15 cent reduction per bag, and these savings are by no means insignificant. They can be found in many different sizes, styles, colors, and materials. Reusable Bags has good-quality, affordable reusable bags for men, women, and children. What I especially found practical were LunchSkins reusable sandwich and food bags.

It takes up to 1000 years for plastic bags to biodegrade in our landfills, so every reusable bag used helps, especially since 88.5 billion plastic bags were consumed in the U.S. last year (EPA).

Shop with a good conscience and have fun!
Melissa

October 20, 2009 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment

Going Green for the Back-to-School Season

Many people are making efforts to green-up their lifestyle, and the back-to-school season provides many opportunities to do so.

Hello everyone! My name is Melissa, and I’m an intern for EnAct Wisconsin. As a student at UW-Madison studying conservation biology and environmental studies, this blog is right up my alley! I will be sharing useful tips and ideas for how you can make little and big changes in your life to help the environment (and save money at the same time).

By reusing old pencils and pens, purchasing recycled paper (and then recycling it), using a reusable lunch box and containers, or taking the bus to school, parents and students can both save money and help the environment (an important thing for every family, since the average student in the U.S. produces 240 pounds of waste per year!). This Planet Green article provides many more useful tips for going green while going back to school.

Have a fun, green school year!
Melissa

September 8, 2009 at 6:29 am Leave a comment


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