Recycling: How You Can Make An Impact Have you been bombarded with advertisements and news stories about the desperate shape our planet is in and thought to yourself, "I'm only one person, I can't even put a dent in what needs to be done to make things better?" With all of the media coverage on issues like, acid rain, loss of rain forests, endangered animals, the depleting ozone layer and even former Vice President Al Gore's pet project, global warming, it's an easy thing to feel over-whelmed and small on this great space. But the reality is this; if not you, then who? As an individual you can't control factories pouring toxins into water ways or prevent oil leaks that endanger some species, but you can make an impact, none the less. How? First, by not adding to the madness and wasteful ways others are handling items and materials that can be recycled and secondly, and maybe more importantly, you can make an impact by being a leader in the crusade to save the planet by doing the right things. It's a well-known fact that when we are parents we are the top role-models for our children and that they will imitate what they see us do. Even if you are not a parent, you can still lead the way for others by taking on the awesome responsibility of being the leader. Imagine the people you come in contact with in your neighborhood who see that you don't just talk about recycling but every week your trash collection is separated and ready for the recycle truck. What if the people you work with come to notice that instead of having your coffee every morning in a throw-away cup from the local coffee chain, you are drinking from a mug you brought from home that you rinse out and reuse? Can you just imagine the impact you would have for someone who is maybe not quite recycling like they should but decides that, after seeing that you take this responsibility seriously, decides to change the way they do things and follow suit? Most people don't recognize the impact they have everyday on people in their lives that they may or may not have a connection with. As a leader you "walk the talk" by abiding by the causes that mean the most to you and not just by saying the words. We are all aware of people around us and never know what we may do that will make a difference for another person. Don't misuse this opportunity to make an impact for recycling. When you recycle yourself, believe that there are people who are watching and making decisions everyday, by watching how you handle yourself. Big issues are often started with a few concerned, aware people, well before the word gets out to big corporations and law makers that there is a change that needs to be made. Make every step you take count for something. Do your part in the efforts to keep our planet healthy; reduce, reuse, recycle. Easy Ways to Recycle When you think of recycling do you sigh and think that you just don't have the time or energy to do it? Do you see visions of hundreds of thousands of empty plastic bottles in some far-away factory getting ready to be melted down? Do you think that recycling is something that has to be hard; otherwise if it's not hard, then it doesn't count? I'm embarrassed to say that at one time, these were the thoughts that ran through my head and they justified my reasons for not recycling. I'm here to tell you that I was mistaken; recycling isn't something difficult, or something you have to go out of your way to participate in and when it's easy, well, it's just easy; and it still counts toward recycling. Here are some of the easy ways I have found to recycle: I have a terrible habit of leaving lights on when I leave a room. I seem to be someone who, when doing any kind of work, whether it's writing or stripping wallpaper, I need a lot of light around to do it. The first two ways I found to conserve energy and count myself in as a "recycler" was to turn off lights as I left a room. Sounds easy, right? Well, that's because it is easy. The only thing I had to do was remind myself that I was no longer going to waste energy by leaving lights on in a room that no one was occupying. Mind you, I've had 43 years of doing things the way I'd been doing them and the change didn't happen overnight, but it did happen. There hasn't been a doorway I've walked through in the past 6 months or so that I haven't given a quick inventory before passing through the threshold and thinking, "Did I leave any lights on?" The great thing is, the times that I have left a light on, I'm given the final opportunity to stop and turn around and turn off the lights before leaving the room for good. Is this a difficult change? Like I said, it didn't happen as soon as I thought about my part in the effort to recycle, but it is something I have allowed myself to consider on a daily basis. The other way I have found to easily adhere to this recycling thing is that I changed my lightbulbs. Yup, that simple act of replacing a burned-out bulb with one of the new, energy saving kind has really been a big help. The newer bulbs use up to 75% less energy when lighting a room and they will last up to ten times longer, too. How can you beat that? And there wasn't any effort on my part; all I did was replace the bulb with the new and improved bulb and have made quite the impact on my electric bill. The good news is this; there are easy ways to stay on track with recycling, and you don't have to look very far to find them. Recycling: Are You Doing Everything You Can? It may come as a surprise to you, but there is a really good chance that the town or city you live in offer a service you may not have heard of; an energy audit. Cities and towns all over the country have started doing this, where an auditor comes to your home and goes through your living space and helps you to see where you could make changes that will not only help you conserve energy but will help you save money! What a bonus it is to save money by doing the right thing. There are so many changes you can make in your home to impact the way we recycle and in the end, will help you keep some of the money in your pocket. Having recycling bins set up so that you can properly sort the items that are recycled is a great first step. That activity alone can cut down greatly on the items that end up in the landfills rather than where they can be recycled. Keeping your televisions, DVDs, stereos and computers plugged in to a power strip or surge protector rather than directly into the wall and then turning off the power strip will cut back greatly on power "leaks" that can cost you money on your utility bill. Being aware to turn these items off, is the first step, and then having them plugged into the power strip will just further the action for saving money and energy. Don't leave a light on when you walk out of a room and no one else is in there. And have you changed your light bulbs from the traditional ones to the compact flourescent kind? Did you know that the newer lights use 75% less energy to run and they will out live a traditional light bulb by up to 10 years? Make the changes that need to be made in your home. Don't run the dishwasher or the washing machine unless they are full. It's a waste of energy and water to run a cycle through the dishwasher when it's only half full. Don't turn it on until you have a full load to wash and then just wash them all at once. Use microfiber cloths for cleaning all kinds of surfaces like furniture, counters and sinks. The bonus is that these items can be tossed into the washer and are perfectly able to be reused again and again. Think of the savings in paper towels alone! Talk about a win-win; if we use fewer paper towles, then that means fewer trees need to be cut to make them in the first place. How can we go wrong with thinking like that? Take shorter showers and see if you can pick up a shower head that is a water-conserving item, already in place, that will save you money and you'll never even notice the difference during your shower. There is so much you can do in the efforts to recycle, just be sure you're doing your part. Recycling: How To Prevent The Excess The idea of recycling is to reuse an item rather than toss it into the trash and have it end up filling space in a landfill, right? Here's a thought; why not have the waste in the first place? Are you with me? How can this be accomplished, you may be asking yourself, and that's good because I have a few ideas I'd like to share. Be aware of the items you purchase and how they are packaged. Some manufacturers use layers of wrapping that will just get tossed into the trash because there isn't another use for it. Try not to purchase such items. Do a little looking, a little digging, a little research and find items that have less packaging and stick to only buying them. I believe the manufacturers will get the hint when consumers start paying attention to the waste one product makes and opt for its competitor. A good way to utilize this kind of thinking is to buy in bulk. Buying in bulk cuts way down on the packaging and more often than not, it is a better buy just by the price. That's a win-win, in my book! If you have to buy something that has an excess of packaging, stretch your mind a little and figure out what you can use that excess for and then put it to good use. A great way to curb the surplus in a landfill is to reuse things and an easy one to do this with is the plastic bags you get to carry your groceries home in. Rather than getting the bags home, emptying the contents and putting them away and throw the used bag into the trash, think about the different things you can use that bag for; in my house all of our home-lunches are carried to and from school in reused plastic bags. We even reuse the bags over and again, until we know that nothing will stay bagged but will fall out. Just by reusing items like this will cut down greatly on the stuff that is filling up our precious space-craved landfills. At my grocery store the store has manufactured mesh bags with the company's logo on it and they sell them for less than a dollar. These are excellent for reuse because they last a lot longer than the plastic bags do and if you continue to bring these bags to the store rather than the plastic or even the paper bags that is a few more less that will ever leave the store. Recycling, at its best, is prevention of excess. Keeping that in mind and taking the steps to incorporate the changes into your life will further enhance the lack of waste and will make it much easier for landfills not to get so over-filled; because over-filled landfills are not a pretty sight and not what we want in our future or in the future of our children, down through the generations. Prevention of waste takes just a little forethought, and any of us are capable of that. Recycling: Visit A Landfill For 43 years I've been someone who never really finished the thought; when I throw something away it goes... I've given myself a great gift this year; call it a field trip, if you like, but I took myself to my town's landfill and had my eyes opened for the first time. Maybe the concept of someone reaching their 40s and still not being contientious of recycling is one that sounds far-fetched, well, it's the truth. I didn't grow up imagining the Earth covered in over-flowing landfills, piles and piles of garbage as high as the tallest building that was not my experience. But because the idea of leaving too much waste for the Earth to handle is a bitter reality today, I've begun to educate myself. I guess I've always thought of using credit cards as not being real money, that's the same way I viewed trash. I know I've read about landfills becoming, well, full and how that will cause a problem but until I took myself out to the site itself, I still had this childish idea that once I put something into the trash can, it just went -- away. Seeing, with my own eyes, the area designated for my community's left overs was like a big slap of reality. I was finally able to comprehend the thought; "if I'm not the only one throwing things away carelessly, and if others are doing it too, this space will not last too long." I was surprised at some of the items I saw at the town's landfill, too. There were pieces of furniture that, being someone creative, I could see would make nice trash-to-treasures pieces. Maybe these refurbished items could be the one piece that brought the feel of a room together, that completed what the room is to feel like and express. Instead, someone tossed them out and they were taking up (a whole lot) of space in a limited area and would cause stress, not happiness. I'm fortunate because my children, who are early teens, have been taught about the importance of recycling and the importance of what we need to do to keep the world from being buried in useless trash. They have been paying attention to the lessons that have come their way, where as, I had to see it for myself before I could be motivated to change the way I do things. The good news is, it only took one quick trip to the landfill, for me to come to my senses and make changes about the way I do things and about the way I think. If we are not thinking globally when it comes to waste, and what we're leaving behind, we're not being smart. Grab some kids, or some forty-somethings and take yourself on a field trip that may very well, do for you what it did for me; make the changes necessary for me to see what the reality of our situation is and change the way I do things. Buying Appliances With The Energy Star Rating We all have appliances that break down or stop working with any kind of effeciency and the question becomes, where do we turn from here? Well, I have some suggestions and these suggestions will keep in line with the idea of energy conservation and recycling. There are home products and products for the office that have been rated and earned the ENERGY STAR rating, which means that they are within the effeciency guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) as being cost effective and/or producing less waste. These agencies have deemed certain products as energy efficient and where ever you purchase appliances or heating and cooling systems, electronics and office equipment, by choosing a product that has the Energy Star mark, you are purchasing a product that is going to work with the efforts to recycle, reuse and reduce. Many newer homes start off with energy efficient appliances and systems that are a savings right from the start, but not every one is that lucky to have brand new equipment. It's always good to keep in mind that when you are replacing an item, the best bet is to get the updated version which will almost automatically fall into the ratings of Energy Star and you'll know that you will be doing your best in the effort to use less energy and produce less waste. All of the retailers from the largest appliance chains have products that are Energy Star approved. Whether you are shopping at Lowe's Home Improvements, Sears, Best Buy, Costco or the Home DePot, you will find a great selection of energy star rated options. Because of the need for more and more options that will back the recycling effort in the United States, using Energy Star approved appliances not only makes sense but will end up, in the long run, saving the consumer on monthly expenses. How can helping the environment and saving money be a bad thing? Please remember when you are making any home improvements or replacing any broken or out-dated appliances to only purchase those items that have the Energy Star rating and keep the process of recycling going. It's always better to keep up with something, like recycling, when you don't even know you're doing it! Energy Star products will keep you in that frame of mind. Also, if you are looking to upgrade your windows in your home there are Energy Star rated windows that, when installed properly, will be a great asset to your home in the struggle to control the high cost of heating. Look for double pane windows and be sure that all of the surrounding area of the window is not allowing the cold air in, because if it is, then you can bet the warm air is leaking out and there's, "No need to heat the whole neighborhood," as my father used to say, everytime one of my sisters or I would leave the back door opened, when we were growing up. Recycling: Even Bricks Can Be ReUsed! One of the most innovative ways of recycling materials that have probably been over-looked came in the form of a contractor re-using bricks from a brick wall that needed to be torn down during the construction of an addition to a home. The contractor learned his trade from one long time mason worker who believed that if you have brick as part of your building project, it could last forever. He believed that the only structures that were worth a plugged nickel contained the strong and classy component of brick; also adding that more brick is better. How could you go wrong following that kind of advice? In the Age of Recycling, as this time in our lives could be described, what would be the sense in sending perfectly good bricks off to a landfill? If we are going to be efficient at recycling, our best course of action is to prevent waste, right? Here are some ideas the contractor had when talking about recycling the brick wall, one brick at a time and his suggested materials. This project may not be one where any kind of further education degree required, but it is a laborous task and keep in mind the fate of your back from bending and picking up throughout this activity. The only materials needed are, a bucket with water, brick hammers and some muriatic acid for those really stubborn cement-clinging bricks. This project could really make an impact on the home renovations in keeping with the theme of recycling, if done properly. The wall needs to be taken down a brick at a time. The best way to do this and still keep the bricks in tact is to be patient and methodical. Tapping the bricks away from the mortar may sound easy but it is a sure test of patience when, in the back of your mind, you continue to think about how much more easy the task would be if you were using a large sledge hammer to do the job! Once you have the bricks removed from the wall, begin to remove the mortar from each individual brick by chipping at it with the tapered end of the hammer. There will be some instances where the mortar is not going to come off so easily and it is suggested that by placing the brick into a 5 gallon bucket of water, that should almost always make it easier for the mortar to come off the brick. In cases where the mortar is still clinging onto the brick after a few dips in the water, try soaking the bricks in a solution of water and muriatic acid. Please remember to pay close attention to the instructions when using muriatic acid and be sure to wear gloves and protective goggles. After the bricks have soaked in the acid and water mix, all mortar should come off by using a wire brush and cleaning them off. Reuse the bricks anyway you choose and walk away from the project knowing you've done your best to recycle! Ideas For Family Travel Traveling with the family can be a joyous experience and there is no reason to leave your recycling attitudes at home; you can do your part even when you're far from the comforts of home. When you're staying in a hotel or B&B, let the management of the hotel know that you will be reusing your towels and there is no need to have the bed linens changed daily. With a family, towels can get mixed up and there is an easy way to prevent that; from home, get a couple of safety pins and some beads. Put beads on the safety pins, one design for each family member and when you get to the hotel, simply pin each towel with a beaded safety pin to identify the different ones. Just reusing your towels for a few days will greatly impact the time and money that goes into running the laundry everyday. Be sure to turn off all lights when you are leaving the hotel room, and any TVs or radios that may be plugged in and running. It's easy to be distracted in a space that is not your home and it would be just as easy to forget the ways you conserve energy at home when you're not there. If you find you leave the room with a light on, leave yourself a note right by the door, reminding yourself to check the lights before you walk out the door. There are some hotels that even do this for you, where they have a magnet that they leave on the door, at eye level, reminding you if you've turned off the lights. Bring your own soap, shampoo and conditioner and leave the little bottles to be reused by guests who do not remember to bring their own. Soap travels really well in a plastic sandwich bag with a zip-lock and besides, wouldn't you want your own choice of soap smells? Along the same lines as remembering to turn out the lights, remember to turn down the heat/AC that will be running when you're not in the room. And a further way to keep the room temperatures comfortable is to remember to close the drapes when you're out of the room, most hotels have heavy drapes that will keep a cool room cool longer, if they're closed. Instead of leaving the light (and fan) on overnight, bring a little nightlight with you and you will save a lot by not running a rooms full light (and fan) on while you sleep. Have a permenant marker with you and assign one of the plastic cups to each person in your family when you arrive at the room. There is no reason to have dishwashing services when the plastic cups are sanitary and are perfectly capable of being reused. Avoid room service for the same reason, there is no need to have excess dishes to wash that would normally not be used. When you eat in the restaurant, they're already doing the dishes there. Remember that you can still have all the home values you practice at home when you're on the road with your family. Keep recycling! Hotels That Recycle Are you planning a trip? Whether it is a trip for business or pleasure; you have options and with just a little research you can find a hotel that is environmentally friendly! There are "Green" Hotels in which the hotel does all it can in order to recycle, reuse and reduce. Some of the ways hotels are becoming environmentally friendly are by letting guests know that they will only clean the room upon request; that cuts down on the amount of laundry that needs to be washed, electricity that needs to be used to vacuum and the man power itself, that it needs in order to accommodate for daily cleaning. Hotels can also request that you re-use your towels rather than having them laundered every day. There are programs in some hotels that have bins for recycling glass, plastic and aluminum set up for easy recycling by the guests as well as the employees. Just by making these bins available gives no excuse for why recycling can't be a success. Hotels that are on the "Green" list are in the forefront of ways to recycle and they are finding that more than 70% of their customers not only abide by their energy and cost saving measures, they have helped to develop them. Many hotels and motels have put suggestion cards in the rooms for their guests to fill out and have implimented some of the ideas that came right from their consumers. If a hotel is a popular spot for banquets and meetings, changes as simple as using pourers for sugar and pitchers for cream have been able to cut down on the waste of individually wrapped sweetners and individual cups of cream. There is also less left over to add to the unused, end-of-the-day waste. Some facilities have gone as far as to place notices on tables in meeting rooms and some restaurants to advise customers that water will be poured, upon request. There are some ways hotels are joining in the cause for an environmentally friendly product that most hotel guests will never see. There are water-saving devices that will save the water that is flushed by about 75%, never affecting the flush in any way, but making quite a difference with the utility costs. Devices such as the toilet tank fill diverter and tiny parts that fit into the head of a shower to cut down on the water useage will not be noticed by the guests but make a big impact on the environment. Hospitality venues that are using these kinds of measures to cut back on our waste and are environmentally contientious should be the places we choose to stay. If we, as concerned consumers, take a stand and only patronize hotels and motels and B&Bs that are taking the idea of recycling to heart and have made changes to help the Earth, the more hotels will realize that we know how to exercise our choice and will do so even when we are away from home. How To Travel And Still Recycle There are so many ways that we can choose to stay environmentally contientious when we travel that there really is no excuse for not doing it. Here are a few ideas for families that are traveling and still want to stay in their recycle-conscious state of mind. Before you even leave your home there are ways that you can help save energy and waste. Turn your thermostadts down on your home and your hot water heater. Some heaters have a "Vacation" setting right on them that can be used to set the temperature when no one will be around to need the heat. Just keep in mind the plants that are left behind and as long as they will not be killed off due to the temperature change, you're set. Be sure to turn off your outside water source, in the event that there is a pipe break while you're away, this will minimize the damage. When you return home, turn the water back on slowly, where you will be able to be aware of any issues or leaks that may have occurred. If you are going to be away from home for a few days, stop your newspaper delivery. That way the paper won't be left to end up in the trash receptical and waste your time when you return home, sorting through what is relavent mail and what is not. You may even want to check to see if your paper can be donated to a school or non-profit organization, where it will be used in your absence. If you or someone else in your home sleeps on a waterbed, turn the temperature down on that while you're away, you can go as low as a ten degree difference and it will impact your energy useage. If you have a refridgerator with the ability to make ice cubes, be sure to turn that part off by lifting the wire, and you can lessen the risk of flooding should it break while you're away. There are airlines that offer electronic ticketing and by using these services will cut back on the paper waste generated by the airline, on a daily basis. There are even some airlines that charge a fee if you have lost a paper ticket, so rid yourself of any of those problems by opting for the paper-less airline ticket options. If you are heading out of town, before you leave, go around the house and unplug the items that you would normally leave plugged in, like the TV, the computer, cable converter boxes, appliances, VCRs, stereos, etc. If these items are left plugged in to the outlets they can still draw or "leak" energy, even up to 40 watts per hour, even if they have been turned off. I think this is one of the most important messages to get across before you leave for a vacation; even if your electronics are turned off, they can still cost you money if they remain plugged in. Do yourself a big favor and always be sure to check these items before walking out the door to your vacation. Recycling Items Like Computers & TVs With the way technology is out-doing themselves year after year with newer, better, bigger and improved products for computer users, you can just imagine the amount of waste that is generated when consumers upgrade along with the process. One household may have one or two computers to upgrade on a yearly basis but if you add to that computers and monitors from even a small business, the numbers add up very quickly. What is the problem with throwing computers, their monitors, TVs and the like away with the rest of our trash? The main concern is that with CRTs and TVs they each contain approximately four pounds of lead per unit. Lead cannot be biologically broken down and if it were placed in a landfill there is the possibility of the landfill becoming contaminated with the toxins from lead. Lead poisoning has been associated with several health problems in children, including, learning disabilities and behavior issues and in some extreme cases, where high doses of the lead has been found, there have been reports of seizures, coma and even death. There is always the risk of lead toxins seeping into a water source if left in a landfill and any results of lead poisoning are made even more tragic because they are so easily preventable. In addition to the lead in some household items like computer screens and TVs, the plastic parts of these items sometimes contain a component that is called, brominated flame-retardant that helps the item to be resistant to flames in case of a fire. Unfortunately, while the exact results of exposure to this additive are undocumented there is sure to be some kind of negative result that it's just better to steer clear of. In an effort to keep these potentially hazardous materials out of landfills there are many other options for ridding your home of older, outdated technology. The first option should be to check with your community to see if there is a program set up to receive older CRTs and TVs for recycling. For instance, in Massachusetts, where I live, many cities and towns were given grant money for the specific purpose of setting up such a program. If your town does not have such a program the next place to look would be at a local TV repair shop or even an electronics retailer because they may be able to reuse what you want to throw out. Some areas even have electronic recycling companies that will come to your residence or business and pick up such items and from there they are responsible for the recycling of the items. Even if a piece of electronic equipment can no longer be used for refurbishing an older model they can always be dissected and the individual components can be sold for their scrap value. No matter what the item is that you want to recycle, there is a way to do it, all you need to do is make a phone call or two and you will have done your part to follow the recycling laws. Keeping The Environment Safe From Harmful Chemicals Think about recycling and maybe the first thing to pop into your head isn't damage that's done to the earth when we use products with harmful chemicals, but that's part of the cycle, too. As well as reducing waste, recycling products and reusing what can be reused, protecting the earth from harm is all a part of the same cause. It's not something we set out to do, at the beginning of the day; the thought isn't, "Hmmm, how can I hurt the Earth today?" It probably sounds something much more like, "Gee, I need to clean today, let me reach under the cubboard and see what I have," not realizing that whatever is done with the products I use to clean, once I've cleaned, can be harmful to not only the earth itself, but any living things that may come in contact with the wash off. We live in a sterilized world, where the idea of a clean home, clean work place and clean where ever we take our children is the first order of business. But we need to stop and think about what harm we may be doing in our quest for the cleanest living area. Is it worth a colony of ants to clean your kitchen floor with a harmful chemical, and that when you dump out the bucket that contains those chemicals, onto the ant hill, you risk wiping out the entire population? Maybe you don't like ants, and that wasn't the best example, but you know what I mean. We have a responsibility to the other creatures that share this Earth with us to not purposely do it, and them, harm. We need to be mindful of what our actions are producing and how our actions affect all other living things. There are so many options for safe-cleaning on the market today that you don't really have to look much further than your local grocery shelf. Pay attention to the words that describe the items you are buying. Do they contain the words, toxic, poisonous, or dangerous? If they do, then keep reading the next product's ingredients, there is a better choice out there. Many chemicals are unable to breakdown after they have been used and may make their ways into the streams and have a disasterous affect on any forms of life that inhabit the stream. It will only take a little effort on the part of consumers to prevent something like this from happening, but we must start somewhere. We need to be careful with the chemicals we have easy access to and become more responsible for what happens as the result of our choices. It really isn't all that hard to make an informed choice and help the Earth; we certainly don't want to hurt it but being irresponsible with basic cleaning products can do just that; we can end up causing great harm to the planet on which we live. Remember, it doesn't take much more than a little awareness to be an advocate for the health of the place we call home. Be Smart. Shop Smart. Clean Smart. Recycling and Today's Teens Recycling has been around longer than any of today's young teens have been alive and maybe that's why recycling has never been a question for them as to whether or not they should recycle but has always been more of a "How else can we help when recycling," kind of thought process. My own generation, having grown up in the 70's has a different mind-set. In fact, I have to remind myself the reasons we recycle, when to recycle and how to keep my family and household up-to-date and aware of the reasons to recycle. This new, younger generation, is an impressive one, to me. They seem to be aware of humanity on a global level. Lessons they've been taught in school on a consistent basis have always had a common theme; take care of the Earth or we may lose it. They are keenly aware of how wasteful prior generations have been and seem to be of one mind when it comes to solving those problems. When we recycle we are taking a step away from ourselves and begin to think about the Earth as a whole. It has become obvious to us that by recycling our waste we are going to be leaving less waste for future generations to have to deal with and we are taking an active step in keeping the planet 'around' for a longer period of time. Today's teens have inspired me by their dedication to helping others who have less than they do and how wasting any commodity or resource we may have, the idea of wasting it is simply not an option. They are forever coming up with new ways to reduce production of an item or they are constantly thinking up ways in which the item can be reused; they do this without needing to "think" about it, it's the only way of life they've known. There is an organization that has taken something many of us take for granted and figured out a way to pass on to those who are unable -- to feel a little normal. Locks of Love takes hair donated by people and has that hair made into wigs for people who have had their hair fall out due to chemotherapy treatments or as the result of another disease or condition. How brilliant to think of those of us who grow our hair without thought or effort, to be able to have the privellige of helping another! It's beautiful to me, how this new generation is always thinking about how they can help others. There are two teens that I know of who took this idea of growing their hair in order to donate it, and dedicated this past summer to doing just that; and the week before school opened in September, sat together and had their hair cuts. What is remarkable about these two teens is that only one is a girl, the other, a young man knew there was a need for other boys his age to have wigs made for them and took on the challenge valiantly. Boys don't have to have their hair quite as long in order to donate it, but it does have to be grown-out. My awe at teens like these two from town, who at such a volatile age, where self-image is so very fragile, would step out of their comfort zones of following the crowd, in order to do grow their hair long enough for it to be recycled and reused by others, is overwhelming. By stepping out of those comfort zones they leave themselves in a vulnerable situation, where they can become the targets for some of the ridicule that goes on in Middle school; and yet they still do it. Maybe they are less likely to go against the idea of recycling because of the timing of their birthdates; it's just refreshing to know that the idea of recycling is strong in this up coming generation and if we continue to foster that innate responsibility in them, we may just keep this planet around a little longer.
Recycling To Keep Our Planet Healthy We've all heard the warnings; acid rain, global warming, landfills without any room, and on and on. We don't recycle because it's the "in" thing to do; we recycle because we don't have any other options if we plan to leave the planet for generations to come. When you think of recycling you should really think about the whole idea; reduce, reuse and recycle. Think about it; if you don't need it, don't get it. If you have to get it, get something that can be used again and if you get something that needs to be recycled by the professionals, put it in the recycle bin. These are easy concepts and yet there are still people out there who ignore the signs. The signs aren't just the ones that bare the recycle logo, but the signs that the oceans are warming and the snow caps that were visible a few years ago are barely an outline as far up as you can see. If you've seen the Al Gore movie, An Inconvenient Truth, you'll know that those of us a few miles inland from the coast will be looking at water front property one day, without having to move. We've been careless up to this point with the way we've treated the Earth and it's time to change; not just the way we do things but the way we think. The days of brushing your teeth with the water running the whole time are over and if we want to stay with this forward motion, we can't go back. We can't go back to the days when we believed we had all the room in the world for our trashed "stuff." We're getting full and we have to learn how to make less, use things more or find a way to reuse them again. If you're traveling, use airlines that work with paperless ticketing (if you have to fly that is) and be sure to scope out hotels that are inline with the recycling idea. Bring your own soaps and shampoos; leave the little bottles provided by the hotel for people who forget to bring their own. Reuse your towels more than once and don't have the linens changed daily, let it go a day or two. Before you leave for a trip remember to turn down your thermostadt and/or adjust the AC. Unplug your electronics from the wall to stop possible leaking wattage while it's turned off. Utilize some of the power strips for pulling items in and turn off the whole strip when you're leaving the house. Use linen napkins that can be washed and reused instead of paper products, check your cleaning supplies for any that have the words dangerous, poisonous or hazardous and stop using them right now! The damage they are causing to the earth whether it's through direct contact or drainage from a landfill, these chemicals are not healthy and have no business in our soil and our drinking water. Be mindful of what you do, pay attention to the items you buy and always check yourself to see if you really need it or if it comes in a package with less waste. We can all do our part and we will make a huge difference. Recycling: Putting An End To Junk Mail In an average week how much junk mail comes to your home? For the average American family, with two adults and two children, they could probably weigh their junk mail at the end of any given week to equal the weight of a small animal. An average American home can get items from; clearing houses, credit card offers, insurance offers, lottery winnings, mortgage advertisements and promises of lowering monthly mortgage bill, college flyers from schools all over the United States, entries into contests that had never been entered in the first place, solicitations from charities and the ever present retail catalogs! Along with the simple fact that all of these items are unnecessary and annoying, the amount of waste they create is drowning the average American family in misused, unread paper. How can this issue be dealt with and the waste be reduced, or never pro-duced, for Americans all over the country? The answer to that question is, yes, there is something we can do to stop the madness of junk mail that litters our mail delivery every single day! There is a group that has done all of the work for us, and they have all of the information needed to put an end to the junk mail that we are assaulted with in just a few easy steps and with the patience of a few weeks. First you order the Junk Mail Reduction Kit for $15.00. Once you have purchased your kit, you simply sign on to the website and have the kit activated by clicking on the apropriate link. It is as simple as entering your name and address and the names of any other people living at your house, even variations of a name that appears on junk mail can be added. The next step is to register your name and the names of the others at your address with the Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service, which will remove the names from hundreds of mailing lists. This service is a one time fee of $1.00 per name and along with monthly monitoring to ensure your name remains off of unsolicited mailing lists. The option of having mail addressed to "resident," "occupant," or even "neighbor," can be done, too. Because the fact that conventional or "snail" mail isn't instantaneous, it will take a few weeks for things to get rolling but in a few short weeks you will receive customized pre-printed postcards to sign, stamp and mail in and your name will be removed from as many lists that have your name in their data base. Eventually all of the companies that have your name will be notified and the endless barrage of junk mail will cease. If a piece of junk mail finds its way into your mailbox, simply sign in to your online account and have your name removed as quickly as possible. Just imagine the impact of one house on one street in one town will make and why shouldn't it be YOUR house? Recycling: How To Start And Maintain A Compost Pile In today's world, where the idea of recycling is not an option, but a necessity, having your own compost pile is a great activity and resources in keeping with the mandatory recycle laws. The bonuses of composting heavily outweigh any negative connotations compost piles have had to defend themselves against; mainly, the smell. Because food waste, when compiled properly and maintained can create rich soil that can be reused on lawns and gardens, it seems the thought of not having one is the poorer choice. We have to eat and there is inevitably an excess and waste, that it seems like a no-brainer to put our scraps and law clippings to good use. To begin your project you will need a compost bin. Compost bins can be built or purchased. Before putting out any money for this project, check with your town hall to see if they sponsor a program that will provide residents with the bins. If your town doesn't provide bins specifically for composting, you should check with local hardware or home improvement stores. These bins can also be found online or via gardening center websites or catalogs. If none of these options pan out, a compost bin can be built with just a few materials and tools. All that is needed to build your own compost bin would be; some wood, concrete blocks, pallets, wire and maybe even a garbage can with holes poked in the bottom. The only thing to keep in mind when constructing a compost bin is to remember to incorporate a way for excess moisture to escape and a great way to do that is to be sure there are holes at the bottom of the bin but that they are not so big that little critters can climb into the bin and wreak havoc! It's best to keep the drainage holes no more than half an inch in diameter. Placement of the bin should be somewhere shady, where it can drain properly and where it will be fairly easy to access without being too close to become a "smelly" problem inside your home (or the home of your neighbor)! The first level of compost should allow for air passages as well as drainage. A layer of smooth rock placed loosely on the bottom of the bin will work to do the trick. When you start to add to your compost you should think in layers; start with the bottom layer of coarse materials to further enable the air and drainage passage, and then layer between "brown" waste and "green" waste. "Brown" waste may consist of, autumn leaves, wood chips, saw dust, pine needles, paper towels, newspaper and coffee filters and "green" waste consists of, food wastes, fruits and vegetables, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds, grass clippings and weeds. Another tip is to add a layer of soil on top of each layer of waste because that will help speed up the process. One last maintainance tip is to always fluff your layers as you go by using a hoe or a compost turning tool. You'll also want to be sure to "toss" the entire pile once in the spring and again in the fall, wehre you turn the entire pile upside down with the bottom ending up on the top of the pile. Enjoy your compost pile and know that with every item added it is one less item for the waste that will be left for future generations to contend with. Recycling Our Closets How many times have you torn through your closet and come up empty, even though you may have thrumbed through 45 outfits? The basic idea in recycling is to reuse, right? So, why do we insist on keeping perfectly good outfits, hanging on a hanger in our closets, when maybe they would be worn by someone else? This basic, simple idea is one we should keep in mind when we find ourselves frustrated without "a thing to wear!" I've done it. I've had times where I can't add another article of clothing to my bulging closet, full of items I don't wear, and then I do it...I go buy more. There is nothing in that process that looks anything like the model of recycling; reduce, reuse and recycle. One of the best ideas I've come across in learning all I can about recycling is the idea that when it comes to our attention that we are in possession of items we are no longer putting to use, pass them on. I love the idea of knowing that someone who maybe couldn't afford it is wearing something of mine that no longer fits me. The other part of that positive thought is that the particular article is no longer taking up space and collecting dust in my closet! We need to be mindful of what items are hanging in our closets that could be possibly worn by someone else. Isn't the base idea of recycling to reduce the excess? If I'm buying new clothes and just hanging on to the old ones, I'm not doing my part at all. I'm allowing for waste to accumulate right under my nose! But if I am mindful of what I own, I can keep the clutter in my closet down to a minimum by paying attention to items that no longer see daylight with me. I'm not a woman who is sentimental about things, even clothing that has meaning and I seem to be okay passing on to others what once meant something to me, but could now mean something to them. Why have items that we no longer have any use for taking up precious space in our lives? Doesn't it feel better when you can go into your closet and move hangers around and not have a twinge of guilt that you no longer fit into certain items? It took me a while, but that was one of the best things I ever did for myself; cleaning out my closet. I didn't do it just once, either. I am aware of the new items I buy and I don't allow the closet to over flow with things I'm not longer having a use for; I pass them on and that feels really good. Do yourself a favor, go through your closet, find what you're no longer wearing and pass it on to someone who can once again, breathe life into it. It may not seem like a big deal but, guaranteed, someone out there, maybe a little less fortunate, will be grateful. Recycling On Loon Mountain In New Hampshire Loon Mountain is located in New Hampshire, right in the middle of the state and as a part of the White Mountains. If you know anything about New Hampshire, you'll know that some of the country's best winter sports take place in the White Mountains. When you think of skiing; recycling probably isn't your first visual, but Loon Mountain is looking to change that perception. Loon Mountain has started a new way of doing things in regards to recycling and energy conservation that should not go unnoticed and will hopefully pave the way for other resorts, all over the world, to follow. When you think of New Hampshire, the White Mountains, or even the northeastern area of the United States and you picture the area during the winter time, you probably have visions of yummy hot cocoa with tiny marshmellows, hats, mittens and scarves covering as much of a person from Old Mr. Frost, a roaring fire and a foot and a half of snow. Most of that image is accurate, except, unfortunately, for the snow part. For more than a decade or so the northeast region has not been able to enjoy Mother Nature's usual assault of blizzard upon blizzard, resulting in a sno-globe fantasy of winter sports. While there is still an occassional blizzard, and a lot of the White Mountain Resorts are blessed with a foot or so of base snow, it just isn't like the winters of our grandparent's generation. What used to fall from the sky without hesitation or exception, for the most part, today, must be manufactured. While most resorts have to run their snow-making machines there have been advances made in their production to further help with recycling in mind and using energy saving principles. Loon turned to a new idea in snow-making guns where the gun generates its own compressed air, thereby saving on the energy used to have a compressed air hose as a separate unit. At one place they have combined one "disconnect" between two of their popular slopes; Little Sister Trail and Loon Mountain Park and will be able to service both trails with the same snow-making apparatus. Other efforts toward recycling include changing their light bulbs over to compact fluorescent alternatives, which are said to use 75% less energy and last ten times longer than the average light bulb. Bathrooms now have motion sensors for the lights and fans, so energy is not being used when no one is in the room. New windows and doors have been put in to replace older models that allowed for heat to leak out and the cold northeastern wind to come in. Let's take the lead that resorts in New Hampshire have provided and make the changes necessary in our own homes this winter, in the name of recycling and energy-saving efforts. By following the lead set by resorts like the ones on Loon Mountain, you can bet that more resorts will fall in behind, and utilize all of the resources they have in the effort to recycle. What If You could Be Paid To Recycle? The idea of getting paid to recycle may sound far fetched and you may think the story will end with, "...and they lived happily ever after." But that is not the case with a company from Pennsylvania who has come up with the genius idea about how to encourage people to recycle. The company is called RecycleBank and it's a Philadelphia-based private company that has a very high tech idea about how to interest more people in the thought of recycling. It may sound like a science fiction movie, but the idea is to issue wheeled totes to people that have a computer chip implanted in it that would keep information about the people who own the tote. In addition to the name, address and phone number information there would also be included a bank account number, linked to RecycleBank that would tally the amount of recyclable-waste that is turned in to a collection truck that would be equipped with a special computer and barcode system. It will work along the same lines as the self-serve lane at the grocery store and other retail stores. Once the data of the weight of the recycled material is entered an amount of RecycleBank-Dollars would be deposited into the RecycleBank account. Residents would then have access to those recycle-dollars to be used at participating retailers. Some of the companies already working with RecycleBank include Target, Starbucks and Whole Foods Market and their hopes are to have as many local businesses included as well. Some may find it to be a rewarding experience in being able to donate their RecycleBank Dollars to a local environmental group or organization, rather than spend the money themselves. What a great idea and a great way for people to be given an opportunity to help an organization whose sole purpose it is to keep our planet alive and well? What a beautiful way for some of us to be able to make our contribution to the environment times two? First by recycling and then again by being able to donate the RecycleBank Dollars we tally up. When you think of it, the opportunitites are nearly endless for single homes to be able to contribute to the positive changes of our environment and if that is the case, imagine the impact a small business could have? How many thousands of dollars and trees could be saved by the implementation of a program like RecycleBank? For me, this idea is a much better one than the other option proposed by some companies of "Pay-As-You-Throw" (PAYT) which operates in the opposite direction where you would pay for what you throw away. I guess the ideas are similar but I sure like the idea of being credited for my good deeds rather than being punished for what I throw away. How many cities and towns could gain not just monetary benefits from a program set-up like RecycleBank but the benefits of turning us all into recycle-oriented consumers and residents? Outdoor Play Time & Recycling Without a doubt the best play time is spent outside in the fresh air and in an effort to remain responsible to the environment there are a few things to keep in mind when out and about. The best place to play is somewhere that you don't need to fly to, take a train to, or drive to. Yeah, your own backyard is a good place but not everyone is fortunate enough to live near a national park. There are bike paths to find and trails to hike that can be found all over the place, and can be new journeys of adventure with very little effort. Check with your town or city hall, they may have little treasures all over your community that you go past everyday and are not aware that there is a walking path tucked in somewhere because you don't take the time to walk in and explore. Always remember when you are enjoying yourself outdoors that the other people around are trying to enjoy themselves too, so do everything possible to remember to leave the beautiful spaces as beautiful as they were when you arrived. Today, with trash cans everywhere you look, there is no excuse for leaving trash behind and that means cigarette butts, too. Take a few minutes before leaving the area you have been enjoying and be sure that all of your trash goes with you, so it won't become a burden for the next person to deal with. Spending a day in a park or at a beach will greatly outweigh the alternative to watching TV and running electronics in your home, depriving yourself the added benefit of fresh air and exercise. Walking the beach will never affect your electric bill and picking up after yourself will only encourage the next person to do the same. The power to make choices about what to do with our leisure time is great and being able to choose an activity that will not impact your financial responsibilities is a wonderful freedom. If a mode of transportation is needed to arrive at the spot you're headed to, try to use the least pollutant-adding means possible. Riding a bike is better than driving a car, so depending on the distance that is needed to travel, make the best choices that will not add to the pollutants our air is facing. If it is a possibility, use mass transportation to get to where you need to go. A bus or a train is always better than driving, but if you have to drive, be sure to pack as many people into one vehicle as is possible. You may need to drive, but driving one car is a whole lot better than driving four of them. Making choices to help our great outdoors is not difficult, but there is some thought involved and don't we owe it to the planet to take the time necessary to make the choices that will benefit it, in the long run? Recycling And Kids' Toys One of the biggest mistakes parents make, especially in the time when their family is young, is to over spend and buy more toys than children can possibly play with before just feeling overwhelmed. When children are in a play room, overflowing with toys, they often will retreat, feeling there are too many to choose from, and will not play with any of them. It is important to purchase toys that will last for a long time, too. Fewer well made toys will be a much greater gift than more toys that are made without lasting quality. Children, who are already feeling that they don't have any control over their environment, will just become more frustrated when a toy breaks in their hands because it is poorly made. Always keep in mind the age and physical development of the child when buying a toy. There is nothing worse than a child picking up a toy that is out of their age-range and they end up breaking it because they're not developed enough to regulate their hand strength. Children are not capable of making the right choices for their own age group, so it is up to the adults to do that for them. When buying gifts and toys for holidays and celebrations, remember to take a deep breath and know that what you end up buying will be played with, probably in a rough manner, , so you'll want it to last. What's the sense in spending money on something that is made so poorly it falls apart after the first time out of the box? (I guess you could always revert back to the box-idea and give them that to play with!) But the toys that last are usually the ones that are made from good, solid materials; like wood. Wood is such a great material to make things from and as long as it's FSC-certified, you won't have to worry about harmful toxins coming off when the child is teething and the bonus is that it could last for several generations (reinforcing that reuse idea, all the more). You may even be able to get some of the original money set out for the product by selling it on Craigslist or eBay. If you're thinking of selling it at a yard sale, just know that you won't come close to getting the "value" of it because the yard-sale-mentality is to get what you can for as little as possible, but you still can get something monetary back if you do this. Find toys that will last for a long time and can either be passed down through the generations or re-sold for a little pocket money. Keep in mind that when it comes to children and toys, more is not better and making informed purchases based on the child and the quality of how the toys are made, are in the hands of adults. Most toys and games come with an age range printed on the packaging and it is important to not buy gifts that a child will not be capable of playing with for a few years. How Recycling Bags Helps The Environment You may not be aware, but in the United States, we are using bags all of the time! There are the bags we get at the grocery store, the ones we pack lunches in, the ones other retail items come in and everything that is packaged by the manufacturer. Inevitibly we could all end up, literally, buried under the pile of bags that we collect in a life time. And what a waste that would be! The good news is that most of those bags come from recycled products and with any luck, in the recycle process, will return to the start and be recycled into bags that we will use again and again. But what should the average American consumer do when those bags start to pile up? It doesn't take long for the pile to start to form, maybe two or three big trips to the grocery store, and you could end up with 15 or more bags per visit. What are some of the ways we can keep the build up of plastic bags to a minimum? It there are cats in your house those left over bags from the grocery store come in handy when cleaning out the litter box. Just having the bags around when you have to touch something you really don't want to. By having the bags, in hand, the actual touching of the item is no longer an issue and it will help with germs being passed from cat litter box to human, which can cause all kinds of illnesses. People can reuse the bags as lunch bags, rather than the old way of using a new "brown bag" for lunch carrying purposes. It may not seem like a great effort but each and every effort, no matter how little, is having an impact. Another way to cut down on the recycling in the area of shopping is to have a designated bag that can be used over and over again for the groceries. Totally eliminating the need for the plastic bag is a huge step toward progress when it comes to recycling. There are companies that sell bags for this purpose and some of them are made from organic materials and even have sayings on them like, "Nothing on me is plastic," and my personal favorite, "I'm not an old bag!" I love the companies that make bags like these because they can do it with flair. Some of the recycled bags come in a rainbow of neon colors that are, to say the least, eye catching, as well as reusable! Canvas totes can be thrown into a washing machine and will serve for many, many trips to pick up bread and milk. The bottom line is becoming aware of what we use and how such items can be reused. No matter where you shop or what purchases you make, if, at the end of the day you're surrounded by plastic bags, there's always a way to get more use out of them. Arts and Crafts And Recycling There are so many ways to integrate recycling with arts and crafts and still have hours of entertainment and maybe make a few holiday gifts. One of my favorite crafts is to decopauge. The materials needed to do this are simply old magazines, a pair of scissors, some white glue and something to decorate. I've seen people use this art medium on every kind of article from wooden boxes up to queen bed head boards. Once you have the item (or items) you want to decorate you can put them aside and start flipping through the magazines for pictures and words that jump up at you or help convey something you want to say. The great thing about this craft is that there is no "wrong" way to do it. Some people will use an entire advertisement including the background in the ad and others may cut out the person or object from the background. The idea is to have a piece of a page to be layered upon the object to be decorated. After you have enough pictures and words cut out you can start to decorate your object. The ideas and creativity, from this point on, are endless! Use all cut outs of flowers and birds to decorate your project, cut out every picture of a dog and see how many you can find and use all of them to decorate your recycled project! Arrange your clippings onto the surface of whatever it is you're going to reuse or decorate and put a layer of glue over the entire project. Using white glue or Mod Podge will give you a clear coating over your art and when that layer is dry, coat it again, and so on. The coatings of glue will protect your artwork and if you use a gloss-finish, it will have a nice shine to it, too. I started making "Blessings Boxes" for the Christmas gifts I would give to my children's teachers. I would reuse an old shoe box, and cover the entire outside of it with cut out pictures from magazines. The main objective was to cover up the shoe brand on the outside of the box with the pictures and words. The idea behind the "Blessings Boxes" was that throughout the year, when there was a blessing in their life, maybe a ticket stub to a baseball game or a movie shared with a friend, birthday cards, get well cards, etc. they were to place these blessings into the box. The best part is that, during that year, when they had a day where they would feel blue or needed a smile, they knew they could always open their "Blessings Box" to be reminded of the beautiful things that have happened in their life. These gifts were the talk of the elementary school the first year I made them and I will say that at the very beginning of every year after, my children's teachers would let me know how beautiful they thought my creations were and (wink, wink) they wouldn't mind getting one for themselves! The best part is that I never spent extra money making one of those gifts! It was a success all due to being recycled materials. Recycling At An Annual Festival For the past 25 years the city of Frederick, Maryland, has hosted a street festival in the fall. This event draws 75,000 people who flock the streets to hear live music, enjoy children's activities and purchase items made by local artisans. The event is lacking in only one area: the area of recycling. For all of its years in existence the festival has never had the means to take on the task of recycling its cans, bottles and paper. Last year a senior at the local high school decided it was time for a change and she and her friends organized a booth and volunteered to go around the festival collecting glass, plastic and aluminum waste off to be recycled. Can you imagine that? High school students, volunteering to spend precious weekend time, collecting trash without personal motivation or gain, I was impressed when I heard that. How many people do you know that would put themselves out like that? I don't know too many adults, let alone any teenagers who would take that challenge on. This year, their 25th anniversary year, things will be a little different, due in part to the efforts of last year's senior and her group of friends and volunteers. This year the Coca-Cola Company, who has a bottling location on North Market Street, nearby the festival site, will donate 20 recycle bins to be set up throughout the festival area. Plastic and glass items to be recycled will be taken to the county's recycling location and the aluminum collected will be resold for a small fund-raising profit. What was really impressive about this story was the self-less-ness in which these students acted. They didn't do this because it would win them an award or a grant or money in some other form; they did this because it was the right thing to do. How many counties, cities and towns could be forever changed if the same example were set for them? This story is one of those great examples of what kind of change one person can make. It should be a testament to us all that if we just put the effort out there, step out of our comfort zones, and did something we know is right, the great changes that can be made are infinite. In just this example, you have to figure the impact the recycling will have if even just a few of the participants take a moment to notice the recycle bins and instead of carelessly tossing their waste to where it will not be separated and recycled, they did the right thing and put their waste in the designated bins. Any efforts to change have to start somewhere and it is commendable that after 25 years, it was a teen who took on the challenge to start the change at this event. One extra gratitude extended to this amazing student is that this year she has designed a logo that will be throughout the event that will symbolize the idea that the residents of Frederick, Maryland Recycle; she calls it, "Frederecycle." Recycling: A Look At New York City New York City, in just its five boroughs, has a population of over 8 million and in an area smaller than most states; you can just imagine how much waste is created on a daily basis. Recycling in New York City is mandatory and has been since July 1989. Before that date, starting in 1986, recycling was voluntary and as it began to catch on, recycling-educating materials from pamphlets, decals to TV and newspaper advertisements flooded the area up until 1997, when all five boroughs and all 59 districts were recycling all of the same materials. By this time an impact was being made in recycling waste right up until the events of September 11th, 2001. After the 9/11 tragedy forced budget cuts were implemented for the Department of Sanitation. It's hard to believe that a city as populated as New York City has always been, that it took until 1881 before the first sanitation collection agency was formed. The agency was formed in an effort to clean up the city's littered streets and to stop the general population from disposing of their waste directly into the Atlantic Ocean. In 1881, the Department of Street Cleaning was formed and the New York City Police Department was no longer responsible for the waste problems. It is basically the same department today with the exception of a 1933 name change into the Department of Sanitation. Prior to the formation of the Department of Sanitation, more than three quarters of all waste from the city of New York was simply dumped into the ocean. Just a decade later, in 1895, the very first recycling plan was implemented by Commissioner George Waring in which his plan separated household waste into three categories; there was food waste, rubbish and ash. The only category of the three that could not be re-used was ash, and it and whatever materials came from the rubbish category that could not be re-used were put into landfills. Food waste, which went through a process of being steamed, they found, could be turned into fertilizer and grease materials that were used to produce soap. The category of rubbish was collected and re-used however possible and only as a last resort, ended up in the landfills. New York City had filled to capacity six landfills and needed to keep them closed from 1965 to 1991, which left open only one active landfill; Fresh Kills in Staten Island, which remained the only trash-accepting landfill until it closed for good in 2001. Other than the temporary end of recycling due to World War I in 1918, New York City has kept a steady flow of recycling going for more than a hundred years and at one time ran twenty two incinerators and eighty nine landfills. Recycling continues today in New York City as a mandatory action for all residents, schools, institutions, agencies and all commercial businesses.
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