Category Archives: Recycling

Litter, Litter on the Ground…

Litter, Litter on the Ground…how long ’til you are found?

Litter

Paul Lewis…litter louts

Post Halloween candy wrappers are scattered on the ground about this time of year.  On the walk to my daughter’s school, I frequently see plastic sandwich baggies or granola bar wrappers.  (Funny, because I thought we ended littering in the 1980’s).  I usually pick them up, but sometimes it becomes an overwhelming task because there seems to be no end to it.  I have taught my children that they should pick up litter and put it in its proper place (the recycle bin if it’s recyclable, the garbage if it’s not).  But, once I (or they) pick up the litter, it is our responsibility to take care of it.

What does litter have to do with sustainable living?

Well, beyond the pure aesthetics, it can contaminate soil and water.  Especially if it seeps into the water table as well as clog storm drains and cause flooding.

On land, litter can smother plants, start fires and harm or kill animals. It also attracts rats and harmful bacteria.  On roadways, it can cause automobile accidents and injuries.  Like when people throw cans (or their fast-food restaurant waste) out their car window.  When litter (such as plastic straws and six-pack rings) end up in the ocean, it is devastating to marine life. Cigarette butts are terribly toxic.

Clean up efforts cost millions of dollars – so taxpayers are ultimately affected by litter in one form or another.  In a landmark study by Keep America Beautiful found that 85% of littering is attributed to individuals.

For our own part, we can be responsible about our own waste.  And…as you are walking around  – whether it be a parking lot, sidewalk, beach or mountain trail – pick up litter you see and dispose of it properly.  We can carry around biodegradable bags in our pockets or purses or backpacks and collect items in them until we can get it to a proper receptacle.  We’ll feel better for having done something good and the world will be a more beautiful place.

For more information on this topic, see these links:

http://education.seattlepi.com/littering-affect-environment-6802.html

http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/behavior_change/case-study-how-we-changed-behavior-littering

Take Action!

Keep America Beautiful has heaps of research about littering, but also ways you can get involved:

https://www.kab.org/resources/end-littering

Cycle-Up Your CDs

CD Ornament

What to Do with Your Old CDs and DVDs

Most people these days use iTunes, Pandora, Spotify or the like to get their music.  But, what if you used to be a big CD collector?  Ever subscribe to that BMG Music Club?  If you’re like many people, most of your CDs are collecting dust somewhere in your home.  But, they don’t exactly bio-degrade, so what should you do?

Here is the SustainableThree.com guide to finding uses for your old CDs and DVDs:

1.  If they are playable, consider selling them and get paid! If you have the original case and insert, they are worth cash!  You can sell them at retailers like:

Stores like Twist and Shout will buy your CDs, DVDs and Games

Deluttr has a web site and an app. Using the app, you can scan the bar code on your CD case and easily enter your CDs into their system for payment.  You get about $0.40 per CD, but if you have a large enough quantity, you could get paid a decent amount for decluttering!

Game Stop will accept old video games

You could try to sell them on eBay or Craigslist or NextDoor and get ca$h.

2.  If your CDs or DVDs have passed their playing lifespan (too scratched or smudged to play), there are literally endless ways to re-use them:

  • Even if you don’t think you are crafty or creative, there are limitless creative possibilities on the web. Check out some of these links for ideas:

CD UpCycling

Google Images for CD Recycling

Pinterest for CD Recycling

Tumblr for CD Recycling

  • Personally, I use the CDs as labels for my crops in my garden. This has two benefits.  It creates an interesting way to label plants AND it scares birds away so you can enjoy more of your bounty!

Write the name of the plant you are growing with a permanent marker on the back side (the shiny one) of the CD

Attach the CD to a stick using a screw or glue or zip strip or twist tie.

Put the stick in the ground in the row where your plant is growing.

  • Places like R.A.F.T. (Resource Area for Teachers) will use your old CDs in craft projects for teachers, schools and participants in their programs. You can donate all sorts of items to them and even get a donation receipt.

3.  The last resort is recycling. Because CD plastic is a #7 type, it is not usually accepted in your local curbside recycling program.  Here are some other options:

Earth911.com has a recycling locator for all sorts of items as well as great advice on what to do with CDs (& their cases)

You can also try CD Recycling Center of America

Or try Recycle Now

Leave Your Leaves

Leaf Recycling Made Easy

Leaves are falling like crazy where we are right now.  It’s Autumn…when the trees have absorbed all the nutrients they need and take that inside to prepare for winter.  When the leaves’ job is finished, they naturally fall to the ground.

Don’t burn those leaves!  Burning leaves contributed to air pollution.  Instead, rake them up and put them in bags in your garage or the back of your yard or garden.  When you start your compost pile in the spring, you can use those leaves to get it started and continue to “feed” your compost throughout the winter and into next summer.

Fallen leaves carry 50-80% of the nutrients a tree extracts from the soil and air.  These nutrients include carbon, potassium and phosphorous.

Mulching your leaves and spreading them over your garden limits weed growth and adds organic matter and protects the soil.  It’s like a blanket for your garden to keep it warm through the winter!

Another option is to using city-wide leaf recycling or composting programs.

One example is Denver, CO’s Leaf Drop Program:

https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/trash-and-recycling/composting/seasonal-programs.html

Try this link as a launching point and keep those leaves out of the landfill:

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=where+to+recycle+leaves

Here is another read about leaf recycling:

4 water-related tips as you ‘fall back’ for winter

BONUS!

Don’t know what to do with your Halloween pumpkins?

You can cut them up and add them to your compost.

You can peel them, cut them up and freeze them for later. Or, roast them and puree them for soups or pies.