Monday, April 30, 2012

Recycling at the Autism Awareness Festival

Recycle Brevard was invited by Space Coast Early Intervention Center to participate in the Autism Awareness Festival this year and do a demonstration on recycling.

Set up started at 9am. We had informational material for the table, a craft (weaving plastic bottles,) and a game (bottle-cap tossing) for the kids to have fun while learning about reusing and recycling. It was very windy and our poster board (made out of a cardboard box) was hard to stand on the table.



The festival was from 10am to 2pm and a lot of families passed by. Cyclists also came by after cycling in the Cycle Jam cycling event that was also held at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT.) Both events were to benefit SCEIC.

At the table we collected a lot of recyclables, mainly cans and bottles. That was another opportunity to educate residents since some tried to place plastic cups, paper cups, straws, and napkins in the bin. Another chance to go over what can be recycled in Brevard County.

We were also making pinch bowls out of plastic bottles and ribbons. That was a good activity for the children to work on their fine motor skills. Student volunteers helped with that (and also with holding the poster boards on the table...) One boy did the craft and then placed it in the recycle bin -- that's right; that is where plastic bottles should go! But I rescued that one out of the bin.

A parent volunteer came to help and she took the bottle-cap-tossing game to the grassy area next to the bounce house and crafts tent. All children got stickers for trying and they celebrated the caps they tossed into the half-bottles affixed to the board.  A simple game that made a lot of them smile.

At 11am was the demonstration. A few kids gathered around to listen to a story (Why should I recycle? by Jen Green) and help separating the garbage into recyclables and trash. It was the first time we did an activity like that, but I am sure it will not be the last.

Towards the end of the day Easter Seals Florida, Debbie Danner, approached me with the idea of having a presentation at their facility to bring information and activities to the adults who utilize their vocational services in Palm Bay. Let's see how things develop and maybe we can create a program for them.

For many reasons, it was a very good day and the rain came down just at the right time: right after the event was over and most tables were put away. We do not get that lucky every day!

Recycle Brevard!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Celebrating Earth Day



Nothing you do is too small. Every year since 1970, April 22 is Earth Day. A day to reflect, rethink, re-evaluate actions, and redirect efforts to a better way of doing things in general, taking into account the impact our actions will have on the environment and, ultimately, our own lives. Realize that no action is too small...

Make this day a day to start changing habits, adding positive changes to your routines. Participate in a local event, plant a tree, go on a bike ride, pick up trash you find on the beach, volunteer with Keep Brevard Beautiful, go for a picnic, take a reusable bag to the supermarket, get children involved, visit a park with your family, do a green project at home, recycle more, reuse even more! All of it counts, whatever you are willing to do makes a difference. And today is a good day to start.

Happy Earth Day!

Recycle Brevard!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

From Rejects to Art Supply

Judith Mayer, a fellow member of Keep Brevard Beautiful Central Chapter, one day called me to share that she had found a company in Cocoa that was willing to donate its production scraps and rejects as long as the material was picked up at their facility. The company is Elastec/American Marine and the material is styrofoam (different shapes and kinds) and rope, in other words, non-recyclable materials.


I contacted Viera High School Art teacher Susan West and Manatee Elementary Art teacher Ashley Heribacka. They both showed interest in receiving the material to use in their classes.

Last Thursday, April 12th, I followed Judith to Elastec and picked up fours big bags of styrofoam and two piles of rope that filled up my car. Two bags of foam got delivered to Manatee on Friday and the rest will be going to Viera High this week.

I sent an email to Brevard's Reuse Center (Reusable Resources Adventure Center - RRAC) to see if they would be interested in collecting the scraps/rejects too. There is so much of the rejects that we could avoid adding to our landfills and so many other teachers that could benefit from using them in their classes that would be a shame if they do not get re-purposed through a channel like RRAC.

It will not be the end of styrofoam in our landfills, but it is a step forward for our local community: we avoid more scraps/rejects being sent out to the landfill, and help public schools get free material for their classes.

Recycle Brevard!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Recycling in Brazil: A Tourist Perspective

I just came back from a trip to Brazil and, without any research or looking into it, my impression as a visitor is that there is a lot to be done there in regards to recycling.

I visited a few cities in the state of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.


In Rio, small towns and the capital city alike, there were practically no indication that they recycle at all or that the local residents and government are making an effort for that to happen. There were no visible recycle bins on the streets, no sign at restaurants, no messages being conveyed on TV or street signs or billboards. There was basically nothing.

The only thing I saw, but am not sure how well it is used, was a specific bin to throw away coconuts -- a very popular fruit for its delicious water and found when walking around the lagoon and the beaches.

I was really surprised that there is no more being done. Rio de Janeiro is the capital all tourists want to visit, the one deeply connected with nature and natural resources. It is amazing how little it seems it is being done there.


Next, I went to Sao Paulo. At least there I could feel and see an effort being made toward recycling. I saw a few places with recycle bins on the streets, the hotel had recycle bins in the kitchen and used recycled paper in the toiletries available for guests, and plastic bags were banned from supermarkets just last Wednesday, April 4 (I saw on the local news).

This is a huge step forward. I just have an issue with charging for the biodegradable bags. Those bags should be the ones offered to consumers to begin with, and since supermarkets will save tons by not providing regular plastic bags and will be selling reusable bags, they should simply replace plastic bags with biodegradable bags and offer them at no cost to their customers. But, still, replacing the bags is a step forward and maybe charging for the bags will push more customers to bring their own reusable ones, and that is also positive.

So, when comparing the two states looking at them through a tourist's eye, Sao Paulo seems to be way ahead of Rio from a recycling perspective. I hope that that is just the beginning of a new trend and Rio will try to catch up with that soon. Good reasons exist and if being the right thing to do for all is not enough of a reason, maybe the survival of the natural beauty Rio is famous for could be.

Recycle Brevard!