Saturday, July 30, 2011

Putting "Reuse" into Practice

The past weeks have been incredibly busy. Between coming back from our long trip and getting regular life back on track again, I am organizing a recycling project with a local shop and our local High School, and putting together an event for America Recycles Day that happens on November 15th and is sponsored by Keep America Beautiful.

Both the project and the event that I am working on are based on the "reuse" concept because "once is not enough." The project is to reuse colorful spoons from our local Redberry's in 3D art work created by Viera High School Art students. The spoons currently go straight into the trash can. The goal of the project is not only to give a longer and better life to those beautiful spoons keeping them out of our landfills, but also to bring information on the 3Rs and on the importance of recycling to as many people as possible in our community. Make Art, Not Trash! Planning is on-going, but we should start collecting the spoons right after school is back.

The event is shaping up nicely too. My neighbor and friend, Nicki, is helping me with the details. We will be having a Toy Swap/Drop Off in our neighborhood. Again, the idea is to bring information to the community and get another use out of gently used toys. Erin LeClair from the Brevard County Recycling Program will be there; Joan Needelman from 4 The Kids of Brevard will be there to take home dropped off toys; the Brevard's Green Team, Keep Brevard Beautiful, and the Rotaract Club/Green Team from Brevard Community College may participate too. There is still a lot to be done, but I am getting some enthusiastic response, which is really motivating.

Amidst all this I have not finalized my post on my impressions and experiences about recycling in Paris. That will be next! In the meantime, I am working on the project and event, trying to put into practice the idea that "once is not enough" in the community, but there are many other creative ways to do that. What is yours?

Recycle Brevard!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Once is not Enough

A song from Elmo's Love the Earth program I watched with my daughter the other day goes like this: "Once is not enough. Once is not enough. Once is not enough to use most stuff!" And Elmo is right!

The episode covers simple steps that anyone can take to help the Earth to be a better and healthier place for all to live. "While looking for a bird at Bear National Park, Elmo and his friends have fun discovering things in nature! They also learn that there are some simple things they can do to keep nature beautiful and clean: putting trash where it belongs, recycling, reusing things, and saving water and power." You can see and read more about the episode at http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Love_the_Earth!  It is an entertaining way for children to be introduced to those basic concepts.

As the program shows, recycling is one of the things we can do and it is important, but the other two Rs -- reduce and reuse -- should come first. When we reduce the amount of trash we produce, we do not send as much trash to landfills. When we reuse, we do not throw things away so soon and may find different ways to use the same things over and over. When we keep an item for longer, we also reduce the amount of trash that is generated and will need to be handled somehow.

As EPA states at http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/rrr/reduce.htm, the "most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. By reducing and reusing, consumers and industry can save natural resources and reduce waste management costs. Unfortunately, the amount of waste generated in the United States has been increasing. Between 1960 and 2009 the amount of waste each person creates increased from 2.7 to 4.3 pounds per day. This results in about 243 million tons of waste generated in the US in 2009.

Waste prevention, or 'source reduction,' is the strategy behind reducing and reusing waste. By designing, manufacturing, purchasing, or using materials in ways that reduce the amount or the toxicity of trash created, less waste is generated and fewer natural resources are used. [Reusing] is often part of the waste prevention strategy, stopping waste at the source due to preventing or delaying a material’s entry in the waste collection and disposal system."

So, reduce and reuse because we do love our Earth and once is not enough!

Recycle Brevard!