Multifamily Recycling Resources

Day 256 – Recycling in a multifamily building is not always an easy task. More times than not there is confusion as to whose responsibility it is to implement a recycling program. Is it the building owner, the building manager, the building association (if one exists) or is it the individual tenant to find ways to recycle?

Thankfully, The Recycling Partnership has created customized collateral to help educate about what’s accepted in your community’s multifamily recycling program.

The Partnership’s Multifamily Recycling Guide and Community Toolkit features free customizable resources and templates for communities to use in their outreach to multifamily property owners, managers, and residents.

Sign up for free to access the customizable resources, which include:

  • Infocards
  • Postcard
  • Full-page flyer
  • Door hanger
  • Recycling container illustration set

The included messaging and resources have been tailored to residents and include information on how to use common area recycling locations, door-step collection and/or in-home recycling bin, if provided, according to various multifamily property recycling setups.

Click HERE to get started.

Tomorrow, lost golf balls finding a new home.

Upstream: Changing the Throw Away Culture

Day 255 – So what is Upstream? Good question.

“Upstream® was founded in 2003 as a public-interest, non-profit organization by a group of Zero Waste activists in the US and Canada. While working together in the 1990s, these leaders felt too many environmental groups were only focused on “downstream” or “end of pipe” solutions like recycling and composting. But they knew we can’t recycle or compost our way to a sustainable future. We have to work “upstream” to redesign the systems generating all the waste in the first place.” – Upstream

Upstream is working to create a world where you will find:

  1. Everyone dining out at restaurants is eating off real plates and cutlery, and drinking from real cups.
  2. To-go coffee is served in reusable cups loaned from a reuse service providing clean, sanitized cups to coffee shops.
  3. Restaurants, grocery stores and delis use services that provide them with clean, sanitized reusable to-go containers for prepared food, takeout and delivery.
  4. At the ballpark, everyone is drinking beer out of real cups. And touch-free soda fountains dispense drinks in reusable cups after you put in your credit card.
  5. You can order groceries, cleaning and personal care products delivered in reusable containers in a reusable box tote.
  6. Tens of thousands of people are employed throughout the area in delivery, pick-up, cleaning, stocking and logistics.
  7. Litter and solid waste costs are down and community pride is up.
  8. None of these innovations required you to bring your own anything. People got tired of single-use waste. And entrepreneurs said we can do it without single-use, and we can do it better.
  9. Community leaders and policymakers worked to create the conditions for this thriving reuse economy. Then the big companies saw this was the future, and everyone started doing it.

Upstream exists to push the idea of reuse. They offer resources for businesses and individuals to make the changes needed to move away from single-use.

Explore the Learning Hub created for activists, educators, policymakers, business leaders and changemakers – like you – to get the information you need to engage and support your community.

Join the movement today!

Tomorrow, multifamily recycling resources.

Recycling Car Seats

Day 254 – On average, one child will go through three car seats. That ends up being a lot of car seats that need disposal. Over 12 million car seats are disposed of each year in the U.S.

Earth911 has taken the mystery out of recycling your car seat.

Reasons why you would need to dispose of a car seat:

  • The car seat has been recalled for safety reasons.
  • Children have outgrown their car seats.
  • The car seat has expired.
  • The car seat has been in an accident.

If a car seat hasn’t been recalled, expired, or been in an accident and is still in good shape, donating it to someone who can use it is the best choice. The website safeconvertiblecarseats.com has a list of organizations in all 50 states that accept used, non-expired car seats for donation. The listed organizations include children’s hospitals, shelters for families in crisis, and agencies supporting foster families.

Some retailers will take your car seat and recycle it. Target held a two-week car seat recycling event in April 2021. Hopefully, they will continue the program in 2022.

One mail-in option is Clek’s car seat recycling program. They accept any brand of car seat for recycling for a fee. The fees range from roughly $35-50 per car seat. They do offer 10% off of a future purchase of their products. If you’re going to buy one of their car seats anyway, that discount can offset the recycling fee.

Another mail-in option, if you have a Century brand car seat, is TerraCycle’s Century Baby Gear Recycling Program. Although this program is free of charge, only Century brand car seats are eligible.

When your child outgrows their car seat, consider keeping it out of the landfill by looking into one of these many options.

Tomorrow, innovative solutions to plastic pollution.

Free Stuff at Your Local Household Hazardous Waste Facility

Day 253 – Most of us are familiar with what items our local household hazardous waste facility will accept. Everything from household chemicals, such as bleach, harsh cleaning materials and drain cleaners to motor oil, gasoline and auto fluids. Most facilities will also accept electronics like computers, televisions and printers.

For a complete list of acceptable items at Chicago’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility click HERE.

Chicago’s HHW facility is located at 1150 N. North Branch Street.

During business hours, an attendant is outside, ready to help unload your vehicle and accept your materials.  Materials should not be left outside the facility unattended.  Therefore, please do not drop off any items outside of scheduled business hours:

Tuesdays 7 am – 12 pm

Thursdays 2 pm – 7 pm

The first Saturday of every month 8 am – 3 pm

Something you might not know is that there are free items at your local HHW facility. At Chicago’s HHW there are useable paints, stains and other cleaners available for free at the facility’s material exchange room. Please ask a staff person to enter the exchange room, which is open during regular hours of operation. Chicagoans are welcome to take materials without dropping off any of their own.  

So, the next time your in need of these items consider dropping by your local HHW and check out what they may have to offer for free.

Tomorrow, recycling car seats.

Medical Supplies: Donation Options

Day 252 – It’s not hard to acquire medical supplies that you end up only using for a short time. You are then faced with either storing them away, throwing them out or finding someone else that may be able to use it. Today’s post gives you a few suggestions on donating your surplus medical supplies.

MedShare

MedShare’s recovery efforts save millions of pounds of surplus medical supplies and equipment from landfills and incinerators that, for various regulatory reasons, hospitals and medical companies must discard. They accept donations of unused, unexpired medical surplus supplies and used biomedical equipment through our hospital recovery program and corporate product donations. To see the complete list of accepted items, click HERE.

MedWish

MedWish International is a not-for-profit organization that saves lives and the environment by repurposing discarded medical supplies and equipment to provide humanitarian aid to people in need. To see list of accepted items, click HERE.

Alliance for Smiles

All over the world children born with cleft lip and palate anomalies suffer physically and emotionally. They may become malnourished and are prone to ear infections and hearing loss. Often times, they experience upper-respiratory problems or speech and dental difficulties; many need multiple operations and long-term treatment.   Alliance for Smiles offers these children and families hope for a bright future. To see the complete list of accepted items, click HERE.

American Medical Resource Foundation

The American Medical Resources Foundation’s mission is to improve health care around the world by donating medical equipment and supplies to hospitals that serve the poor in underdeveloped and developing countries of the world. Click HERE for more information on what items are accepted.

Project C.U.R.E

Project C.U.R.E. is the world’s largest distributor of donated medical equipment and supplies to resource-limited communities across the globe, touching the lives of patients, families, and children in more than 135 countries. For more information on donating supplies, click HERE.

Before tossing your unwanted medical supplies, find out if someone else can use it.

Tomorrow, free stuff at HHW.

There is Trash Everywhere! Even at 29,031 feet

Day 251 – It’s a sad reality, but people continue to throw garbage to the ground and waste out car windows and into our waterways. I don’t think anyone can walk anywhere without finding trash where it doesn’t belong. Even atop Mt. Everest, there is trash.

On average, 800 people attempt to climb Mount Everest every year. With each of those climbers comes a great deal of gear and in turn a lot of waste. Over time it all piles up and this majestic mountain turns it into one large trash can.

Nepalese climbers removed 2.2 tons of garbage from Mount Everest when tourists were away due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cleaning expedition was lead by activist and mountaineer Dawa Steven Sherpa and took 47 days to complete. The climbers braved harsh conditions and managed to clean the eight highest mountains in Nepal.

So, the next time you find trash where it doesn’t belong, think about those Nepalese climbers and what they endured to help clean the planet. It will probably make that effort of bending over to pick up that trash and place it in the nearest garbage can, not feel like a huge inconvenience.

Tomorrow, donating medical supplies.

Drones and Their Impact on Wildlife

Day 250 – I received a drone as a gift last Christmas. I have not spent much time using it. Actually, I have not spent any time. The few times it has been in the air, I have not been the one piloting the drone. I guess I’m afraid I’m going to break it. I’m also very aware of how annoying they can be. So, there’s that. I’m sure I will end up loving the little flying machine. However, making sure to use it responsibility will be my number one priority.

When I came across an article about a drone scaring birds aways from the their nesting area, it gave me yet another reason to be a responsible drone user. In a Washington Post article from June 7th, a story was shared about 1,500 to 2,000 eggs being abandoned by a flock of elegant terns. A drone crashed in the nesting area located on the nesting island at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Southern California. The crash scared away the birds, who most likely mistook it for a predator. The terns never returned, leaving the eggs unviable.

This scenario is repeated countless times around the country and the world. People flying drones where drones should not be flown. One really needs to think about the potential harm a drone could cause before deciding where to fly it.

“These open spaces are a place for wildlife to rest, to breed, to forage and it’s a place where they should feel safe to raise their young and if they truly can’t do that we’re not fulfilling our mission. We need to protect these places.” – Melissa Loebl, an environmental scientist who manages the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Tomorrow, removing trash from Mt. Everest.

Sustainability Expo

Day 249 – A sustainability expo is coming to Morton Grove.

So, what’s a sustainability expo?

It is a gathering of like minded people, trying to conserve and protect the planet.

Go Green Illinois wants you to know:

Join the Morton Grove Environment and Natural Resources Commission at the Morton Grove Sustainability Expo. This free event is family friendly, all are welcome, and encouraged to attend.

Over 30+ vendors and exhibitors. Come learn about solar options in IL, sign up for a free energy audit, pick up a sapling to plant, design an eco-focus button, pick up some native plants, eco-friendly tools, or learn about composting, recycling, green lawn care and more!

Stop by the Go Green Morton Grove table for some free native plant seeds and enjoy a fun activity to show how your efforts to go green help us all combat climate change.

Don’t miss the electric car show!

Event will be inside and outdoors at the Morton Grove Civic Center: 6140 Dempster Street in Morton Grove. 

One can only hope that there is a sustainability expo coming to your neighborhood in the near future.

Tomorrow, drones and their impact on wildlife.

Green Circle Salons: Creating Beauty, Not Waste

Day 248Green Circle Salons is a Certified B Corporation and they offer to help salons go green.

They provide services that will help salons do the following:

  1. Recycle and repurpose up to 95% of your salon’s beauty waste including hair clippings, used foils, color tubes, excess hair color and more.
  2. 84% of salon guests care about a salon’s environmental impact. Grow your business while being an industry leader and making a difference.
  3. Get help setting up a simple revenue-building program that supports environmental sustainability as well as financial sustainability.
  4. Use additional revenue to invest in environmentally friendly technologies, which conserves energy, reduces waste, and saves you more money.

You may not think about the waste produced by hair salons, but it is substantial.

  1. 63,000 pounds of hair gets thrown away every day.
  2. Over 42,000 pounds of excess hair color, lightener and toner is thrown away every day. When rinsed down the drain, it can find its way back into our drinking water and soil.
  3. Over 110,000 pounds of used metal, including hair foils, is thrown away every day in salons in North America.
  4. Single use items – like nail files, waxing strips and cotton swabs – make up a large portion of beauty waste that ends up in our landfills.
  5. More than half the waste thrown away in salons is paper and plastic. If not properly recycled, these items clutter our landfills.

Since 2009, Green Circle Salons have been able to keep close to 8 million pounds of beauty waste from entering the landfill.

To find a salon that is putting the environment first, click HERE.

Tomorrow, a sustainability expo coming your way.

Help Save Wildlife

Day 247 – An endangered species is an animal or plant threatened with extinction. A few of the factors that may endanger a species includes overhunting or overharvesting, habitat loss, pollution and human-wildlife conflict. There are over 500 species of wildlife that are currently endangered.

Here are 10 things you can do today to help protect and preserve wildlife (shared by endangered.org)

  1. Create a backyard wildlife habitat. Put bird feeders and other wildlife attractants, such as bird houses and baths.
  2. Establish a pollinator garden with native vegetation in your yard. Native plants provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Attracting native insects like bees and butterflies can help pollinate your plants. Avoid planting invasive species. Non-native plants can overtake and destroy native species on which animals depend.
  3. Minimize use of herbicides and pesticides. Herbicides and pesticides are hazardous pollutants that can affect wildlife at many levels. Reduce use of fertilizer. Excess fertilizer will likely wash into streams and rivers and may lead to amphibian deformities and deaths.
  4. Reduce your use of water in your home and garden so that animals that live in or near water can have a better chance of survival. Don’t dump paint, oil or antifreeze or other chemicals, which pollute the water and can harm people and wildlife. Keep litter and pet waste out of the street drain, which often washes into rivers, lakes or the ocean.
  5. Place decals on windows to deter bird collisions. Millions of birds die every year because of collisions with windows. You can help reduce the number of collisions simply by placing decals on the windows in your home and office.
  6. Slow down when driving. Many animals live in developed areas and this means they must navigate a landscape full of human hazards. So when you’re out and about, slow down and keep an eye out for animals. Don’t litter because trash can attract wildlife to the roadside.
  7. Recycle and buy sustainable products. Buy recycled paper and sustainable products like Forest Stewardship Council wood products and shade-grown coffee to save rainforests.
  8. Don’t litter/otherwise destroy sensitive habitats, which may be home to native/visiting species that are endangered or threatened.
  9. Never purchase products made from endangered species like ivory, coral and tortoise shell. Buy exotic plants and animals only from reputable stores. 
  10. Learn about endangered species in your area. Teach your friends and family about the wonderful wildlife, birds, fish and plants that live near you. The first step to protecting endangered species is learning about how interesting and important they are.

On this National Wildlife Day take some time to appreciate and care for the amazing wildlife that surrounds us everyday.