I’ve been thinking about composting for months now, but there seemed to be too many obstacles in my path. One book suggested an outside compost heap, but I live in an apartment. Another book suggested a special rotating bin that can be placed outside on the deck, but the bin is expensive. Another book suggested vermicomposting (composting with worms) but the specially designed worm bin was too expensive. Finally, I have found a blog that describes composting — simply! I have a quiet shelf under my sink just waiting for this project. Check out this inspring blog here. It may have just the information you need to start composting!
Have you ever noticed how many more bags of trash leave your front door during the holidays? Start reducing the amount of trash you produce this Thanksgiving with small steps: trade cans of soda for large bottles, use real china and silver instead of disposables and pull out cloth napkins instead of paper (no, you don’t have to iron them). Instead of buying flowers for a centerpiece, scatter some leaves from the front yard down the center of the table and cut holes in the tops of apples for tealights. Easy!
I am terrible at math, but I love energy calculators! I plug in the numbers and they do all the hard work. When’s the last time you used a carbon footprint calculator? Try this one from the Environmental Protection Agency and see how your energy usage compares to the usage of other Americans. I like this calculator because in addition too seeing how you stack up against your neighbors, you learn about small changes you can make to shrink your footprint. In the next few posts we’ll talk more about water calculators, electricity calculators and nifty ways you can reduce your consumption.
Yesterday we talked about the four R’s, but there’s one more “R” that happens to be my favorite: Repurpose. For me, nothing is more rewarding than rescuing a scrap of something that others write off as trash. Repurposing is a chance to unleash your creativity and sense of fun.
For an imagination jump-start, check out sites like Pinterest or Confessions of a Curbshopaholic. Once you start repurposing, you’ll see furniture and other everyday objects not as what they are, but as what they could be.
The best part of repurposing is that it prevents perfectly useful items from entering the waste stream. What’s not to love about that?
We all know the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. What is the fourth R? Rebuy! Whether you’re in the market to remodel your home or just buy a roll of paper towels, consider seeking out items that are made with recycled content. Items made with recycled content save energy and conserve natural resources.
Today’s post comes from David, a staff member at the library. Here’s the story of how he turned green.
WOW! I am turning Green…..and I like it!
Just a year ago, I never took stock in the idea of “Going Green.” There was nothing in my lifestyle that prompted me to consider “Going Green.” To me the words green, sustainable, and even recycle meant nothing. I was comfortable throwing all my waste in a trash can. I told myself: “I don’t have a recycling bin, so I can’t recycle.” Sometimes I would use a recycling bin at a store I was at, with emphasis on sometimes. Now, the idea of “Going Green” is taking a strong hold of my conscience, and when I look around I think about how much waste can be recycled. When I am at a store I seek out a recycling bin. If the store doesn’t have any recycling bins I wonder: “Why doesn’t this store recycle?” I find myself grimacing when I toss something in a trash can which is a far cry from my mentality a year ago. For me “Going Green” was, is, and will continue to be a process. Like many things in life change starts with a simple step. Whenever, I take on something new I tell myself: “You always got to start somewhere.”
The next World Water Day is March 22, 2012. It sounds like it’s ages away, but we like to plan for things early around the library. So naturally, I’ve been thinking about my water usage. I used this water calculator from the USGS and was surprised that I use more than 350 gallons of water every week. A gallon of water weighs 8 pounds; if I had to carry every gallon from a well to my home, I know I would be more careful with the amount of water I use.
How much water do you use? What would it feel like to carry that water to your home every day? Could you implement some of these ideas to reduce your consumption and cut your water bill?
Look at the containers you use to collect trash and recyclables. Chances are, the trash can is larger than the recycling can. Switch them so that the smaller container is used to collect trash. You’ll think twice before you throw a large item in a small container.
Welcome to the library’s newest blog! We’ll be kicking off our new Go Green blog by publishing an entry every day for the first 30 days. Several contributors will be writing on the many ways to save energy, reduce waste, and have fun doing it. Our first offering is a map of Waukegan, but it’s not just any city map. This map will show you an array of locations in and around Waukegan where you can recycle items that are not normally picked up in your curbside recycling.
Please comment on each entry to let us know whether it was helpful, and if there’s a specific topic you’d like to learn more about. Together, the small changes we make can change the world.
Follow this link to see the Recycling Map of Waukegan. Happy recycling!