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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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