terra, not terror

sharing ideas about a simpler way to live

Home Depot will recycle your CFLs June 26, 2008

Filed under: education, energy, local, recycle — terra @ 7:00 am

Home Depot announced that all of their stores will have a collection point for compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). This is great news for those of us who have made the switch to CFLs to cut down on our carbon output, and our electric bills!

CFLs contain a small bit of mercury, which poses a problem when the bulbs are improperly disposed of.

Home Depot will accept any maker’s bulbs, no matter where you bought them. There are plans in place for other recycling systems for CFLs, but this convenient option offers a consistent drop off point and removes the burden from the consumer to find another solution. (75% of the nation’s homes are within 10 miles of a Home Depot – yikes!)

So, take your used CFLs to Home Depot when they burn out (in about 7 years) so they can be recycled.

 

Aeros Recycle June 4, 2008

Filed under: energy, local, recycle — terra @ 7:00 am

The Akron Aeros are encouraging fans to recycle this season! You can recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles at the Canal Park Stadium, in partnership with Summit Akron Solid Waste Management Authority (SASWMA), the city of Akron and the Portage County Solid Waste Management District.

Many sports teams are taking the lead on reducing our impact on the planet. Stadiums across the country have added solar panels to provide power to themselves and the surrounding community.

Next time you’re at a game, check out what efforts have been taken to be environmentally responsible.

 

Recycle your Shoes May 13, 2008

Filed under: recycle, reuse, social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 am

I know Crocs aren’t the cutest things, but they are so comfortable.

When your crocs are worn out, you can recycle them through Soles United. Your Crocs will be melted down and made into new shoes which get sent to places around the world where people can’t afford shoes.

Nike also has a shoe recycling program called “Let Me Play: Reuse-A-Shoe.” Worn out shoes – any brand! – are processed and made into playing fields, courts, tracks, and playgrounds.

Since the birth of Reuse-A-Shoe, we’ve recycled more than 20 million pairs of athletic shoes and created more than 250 sport surfaces; giving thousands of young people access to new playgrounds and athletic facilities around the world.

 

Video Friday: Garbage Island April 25, 2008

Filed under: conserve, education, recycle, reduce, reuse, water — terra @ 7:00 am

This was done by VBS, which seems to be an online educational/entertainment “channel.” It’s like reality TV, but actual reality.

plastic movie

Does anyone else recognize that yellow spray paint cap?

 

UA Earth Day, pt. 3 April 23, 2008

Filed under: cars, education, energy, environment, local, recycle, solar, wind — terra @ 7:00 am

As I looked at my pictures, I realized I left some stuff out…

Congratulations to the Honors Complex for winning the aluminum can recycling contest. They were rewarded with a traveling trophy and an Earth flag. The three representatives took off to tour campus with their Earth Day pride!

Live Art

IMG_9617After DJ Zachariah, Rachel Roberts played acoustic guitar, while Ursula Rauh painted a picture along with the music. It was beautiful art by two wonderful artists, and certainly highlighted the solar stage for the afternoon.

The solar stage was powered by the sun! Dovetail Solar and Wind set up a solar trailer and propped up the panels to take full advantage of the sun’s plentiful energy. They also brought a wind turbine for display. Dovetail has several projects across Ohio. “Green” jobs are American jobs – you can’t outsource solar panel installation. This is yet another great reason for the U.S. to get moving towards renewable energy.

I rode a Segway!

The UA campus police ride Segways around campus. They’re quick, and run on electricity. The wildest part is that they read your mind! If you think “go forward,” it goes forward. If you think “stop,” it stops! A noted skeptic, I had to try it, and it was true! How does it do that? Well, when humans think “forward,” we lean a little bit forward. The Segway takes advantage of that natural occurrance and motors us forward. It seems more practical for campuses, airports, etc. Not so practical for the average consumer, in my opinion. It was really fascinating, but I can’t see myself ever owning one.

Bikes

UA is trying to become a more bike-friendly campus. Students can look forward to more bike racks, and a bikers map of campus. The city of Akron is helping by also installing bike racks. It’s a hilly campus, but bikes are a great way to get around. There is a serious parking problem on campus that would be helped if students who live a mile or two away would ride a bike instead of driving to campus and parking in a parking garage for the week.

Funding

This year’s Earth Day event was funded by Environmental Akron, a student club, and through the sale of salvaged metals. As the university is expanding and building, some buildings are being torn down. Fortunately, the Director of Materials Handling had the foresight to go into the buildings and salvage as many usable materials as he could. He and his team salvaged a lot of metal and other usable goods such as office furniture and equipment. The salvaged metal brought in enough money to pay for Earth Day, with much to spare. Good job Mike!

Ok, that’s all. Looking forward to next year…

 

UA Earth Day Wrap Up, pt. 2 April 22, 2008

Filed under: cars, education, energy, environment, local, recycle, reduce, social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 am

Keynote Speaker and “The Digital Dump”

I would love to highlight all the participants. One in particular was the keynote speaker. Dag Adamson came to Akron from Colorado, where he is the president of Lifespan Recycling. Lifespan Recycling handles technology recycling. Most products we buy come with planned obsolescence. Computer companies don’t build computers that will last 10 years, because they’d only get your money every 10 years. That’s not very profitable for them. So, they design computers that will be obsolete within 3-4 years. You can’t just buy a piece to upgrade it – you have to buy a whole new computer. They also don’t provide a way to safely dispose of computers. What has happened is that some people or organizations like the IRS and many universities send their computers to be “recycled.” What they don’t know is that the computers are sent to Africa. A majority of these computers don’t work, and many times, the data has not been erased! Your personal data could be on a computer in Africa.

So, Africa is left to dispose of our computers. Do they have some advanced technological processing center? No, they dump them in a field and when the pile gets too big, they set it on fire. The burning plastic runoff enters local streams and pollutes everything for years to come. It’s sinful! Africans deserve working computers. Computer companies should provide a way to safely dispose of computers. If you missed Dag’s speech, please check the UA Earth Day web page in the next few weeks. We plan to have a podcast of his speech.

If you haven’t seen it, you must see The Digital Dump. Here is a preview. The entire film (22 minutes) is available from The Basel Action Network, an organization dedicated to eliminating toxic trade.

Others

All of the participants were noteworthy. Students saw that there are other options besides the conventional way of doing things. This was Akron’s 2nd Earth Day, and I must say, the alternative energy and other educational booths were really eye-opening. Next year’s event will only be bigger and better!

Part 3 tomorrow…

 

UA Earth Day Wrap Up April 21, 2008

The University of Akron’s Earth Day “Do it now for the enviROOment” was last Wednesday. It was really a fantastic event, and generated a lot of student interest by showing practical renewable energy solutions. There was a wind turbine, 4 cars, a VegiTerranean food demo, bicycles, the Akron Metro RTA, a rain barrel, and so much more. The outside stage was powered by solar panels – Renewable energy in action!

Cars

IMG_9561It was so great to see the students checking out the electric cars. The Myers Motors NmG was featured, along with the Zenn electric car, and a self-converted Honda DelSol. Dr. Ross brought his biodiesel VW Beetle. It’s simply a diesel beetle which he runs on used vegetable oil from VegiTerranean.

I love the NmG from Myers Motors. It’s a one-person car, which is so practical. We all drive 5 person cars, but we only have 1 person in it for a majority of the time. Why not drive a 1 person car? And then have another car for family trips. Technology usually innovates to match our lifestyles, but continuing to make 5 person (or more) cars is one area where innovation has fallen away. It would make sense for each family to have a 1 person car, and a family car. Myers is currently working on new battery technology to make it run longer. They would also like to make a 2 person car.

I’ve never seen the Zenn electric car before. North Central Zenn brought their electric car. It was awesome! At $17,000, it’s the same price is a regular new car. The one displayed had a cloth roll-top. It seats 2 (very practical), and is designed for city driving. (The Zenn is pictured)

IMG_9619I loved the biodiesel VW Beetle. By using vegetable oil, he can operate his car cost-free. He simply separates particles from the oil and pours the pure oil into his car. Diesel engines were meant to run on vegetable oil, so this solution is so efficient. It’s a pure reuse. Instead of using ethanol, which comes from harvested plants, biodiesel reuses oil that normally would have to be processed.

Part 2 tomorrow…

 

Guest Post: Environmentally Friendly Skies April 10, 2008

Filed under: local, recycle — terra @ 7:00 am

Thanks to my husband for writing today’s post. I like to see the environmentally responsible activities in each city I travel to, so I asked him to make some observations while he visited Austin, TX.

While attending a conference in Austin, I was employed by my wife via cellphone. She asked me to uncover any “green” activity in environmentally friendly Austin.

solarDuring my short stay, I found myself preoccupied, unable to investigate much of anything. I knew my mission, but I was always a bit overwhelmed by the conference agenda, being pulled here and there, through talks and discussions. My wife’s request tapped me on the shoulder during the short breaks, and when the moments for “green” investigation presented itself, it seemed as though I was never in the right place. My only real find was on a drive down the interstate when we quickly passed a field of solar panels.

In the end, however, the destination to Austin didn’t provide the most interesting find. Rather, the Continental flight to Austin did. Now, I know there’s all this bashing of airlines and the canceling of flights ‘n all, but Continental really was the bright “green” find I was trying to locate. When the flight attendant shuffled her way down the miniature isle to bag all the trash, she made sure to place our plastic trays in a separate hand to ensure their recycled future. She even insisted that a colleague of mine hang on to the empty can of soda until the she could make her way back through with the recycling bag specifically for cans.

Wow. Impressive. Plastic and aluminum recycling. And so adamant about it. Such commitment definitely made a lasting impression on me. Sorry Austin, Continental wins this round.

 

USPS offers Free Recycling through the mail March 20, 2008

Filed under: local, recycle, reduce, reuse — terra @ 7:00 am

The USPS is offering free shipping of small electronics. Consumers can pick up a mailing envelope at one of 1,500 post offices and mail their electronics to Clover Technologies Group, who is paying for the postage, and who will recycle or refurbish the electronics into reusable materials. The stuff that can’t be refurbished will be broken down so that as many parts as possible can be reused.

Clover Technologies Group has a “zero waste to landfill” policy: it does everything it can to avoid contributing any materials to the nation’s landfills.

Clover Technologies Group won the bid for this recycling program, based on it’s commitment to the environment.

The Post Office is environmentally responsible, and their actions have “generated more than $7.5 million in savings through recycling and waste prevention programs.”

The Postal Service recycles 1 million tons of paper, plastic and other materials annually.

USPS is the only shipping or mailing company in the nation to receive Cradle to CradleSM Certification from MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry) for human and environmental health. More than half a billion packages and envelopes provided by the Postal Service annually are nearly 100 percent recyclable and are produced with the least harmful materials. Based on the recycled content of these envelopes and packages, more than 15,000 metric tons of carbon equivalent emissions (climate change gases) now are prevented annually.

So, when your cell phone breaks or your PDA quits, head to the post office to send it back to be reused. It’s free for you, and saves a lot of waste!

 

ReCELLcle Phones January 10, 2008

Filed under: recycle — terra @ 7:00 am

(My husband did me a huge favor and wrote this post.)

It’s estimated that there an astronomical 500 million unused cell phones stranded throughout the United States. I feel somewhat sorry for these many cell phones, especially the ones that find themselves toxically dissolving in landfills, where they emit harmful lead into the atmosphere and ground.

So, what to do? Simple. Really simple. RECYCLE your cell phones.

Sites such as Recellular provide a clear selection of options regarding cell phone recycling. Cell phones can be used to raise money for schools or charities. Donating your cell phone is quite simple and FREE! Recellular will ship you the necessary box and will pay for postage. All you have to do is find a way to the Post Office.

NPR most recently aired a story explaining the dangers of cell phone waste and the ease in which to recycle the phones. As stated in the story, the pieces that make up a cell phone are 100% recyclable—the screens, key pads and internal organs. What an efficient product – completely recyclable after use! The EPA has launched a campaign to make consumers more aware of this opportunity.

 

Recycline – Kitchen and Toothbrush Products December 12, 2007

Filed under: recycle — terra @ 7:00 am

starRecycline was created to effectively recycle plastic products into reusable goods that are recyclable themselves. You can buy a Preserve toothbrush, use it, and return it to Recycline to be recycled again. They began with toothbrushes, and have expanded into kitchenware. The prices are the same you would find for other products, but the high-quality and ability to recycle provides an added benefit to the consumer and the planet. All Recycline products are made in the USA.

You can find Recycline/Preserve products at Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Trader Joe’s, and online.

 

Rubber Sidewalks August 22, 2007

Filed under: alternative, local, recycle, reduce, reuse — terra @ 2:53 pm

rubberwalkAmerican company Rubbersidewalks has created a (I think) brilliant product. They recycle car tires and make rubber sidewalks out of them. Why? The rubber sidewalks allow tree roots to breath and get water, so they don’t pop up through the sidewalk and cause all sorts of damage and unsightliness. Saving trees and city sidewalks… what could be better? They save money and keep tires out of landfills too!

Other benefits:

The reversible pavers don’t expand in hot weather, and they absorb and retain less heat than concrete. The system has been freeze-thaw tested according to ASTM C1026 with good performance characteristics exhibited, and is also ADA compliant for pedestrian and wheeled traffic. While the pavers aren’t considered porous themselves, the system provides immediate drainage at the module seams.

Washington, D.C. tested it last year and found that, although it costs more initially, the rubber sidewalks will save money, trees, and resident complaints, and it won’t have to be replaced for about 14 years – 3 times as long as concrete. Part of the high cost is due to the fact that the company is located in California, so shipping is a big factor. They are hoping to open a New York location to spread the goodness.

Excellent innovation!

cool off: Drink cool liquids and eat cool meals during the upcoming hot & humid weather.

 

Burning River Fest – Best Festival Ever August 16, 2007

Filed under: education, food, local, recycle, reduce, reuse, social consciousness — terra @ 12:31 am

IMG_8118We went to the Burning River Festival on Saturday and it was the best festival ever. It was on Whiskey Island in Cleveland and the weather was perfect! There were vendors from Whole Foods, Great Lakes kegs of course, Green Energy Ohio, the Cleveland Co-op, Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, The New Agrarian Center, and so many others. Everyone was fantastic and the food was great. I missed the Great Lakes ice cream, but was treated to chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert!

We learned about composting, the Ohio Solar Tour coming up October, fair trade, Reduce – Reuse – Recycle, etc. More on all of those topics soon!

There was a lot of awareness-building, educating people about reducing their footprint on the planet. The whole festival was well organized with something for everyone and the atmosphere was so positive. We bought an upside down tomato plant. They grow well because no ground-based bugs eat them. I’ll keep you posted.

IMG_8129

IMG_8126IMG_8123

 

Making the most of a garbage strike August 7, 2007

Filed under: recycle, reduce, reuse — terra @ 1:29 pm

A garbage strike in Vancouver, Canada, has had some interesting results. Workers have been on strike for a week, and instead of complaining, residents are recycling more and many have started composting. While the city works on ending the strike, it is also encouraging people to recycle to reduce the amount of trash they accumulate.

Here are some of the things the city has suggested, but I think we could all try some of these to reduce our impact:

an environmentalist’s dream: separating wet garbage, crushing cans, adding grass clippings to the compost, letting grass grow longer (and setting your mower to mulch instead of throwing grass away), and put fruit and vegetable waste in the compost.

Will these waste-reducing residents hamper the striker’s leverage? Possibly. If people use less, reduce their garbage, and learn to recycle and compost, the garbage collectors may not be as critical as they thought. The garbage strike won’t be fun long-term, but it may get people to think about their consumption, and where it all goes.