How Can You Reduce Holiday Waste?

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Last year I did a series on reducing waste over the holidays. Read it here  Maybe just do one thing different this year.

Below is from the Minnesota Pollution Control:

Holiday waste

The presents have been opened and the festivities are over. What’s to be done with all the stuff and waste that’s left? Are there eco-friendly ways to keep it out of the trash?

A lot, and you bet!

The EPA reports that garbage increases 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, and it’s not hard to see why. Drive down any street or alley in late December or early January and you’re likely to see trash bins and bags overflowing with holiday waste. Some of these materials have potential value, which can be lost when they hit the waste stream.

Even if your holidays weren’t  the “greenest” on the block, there’s still time afterwards to engage the 5 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle, and Rethink.

https://www.pca.state.mn.us/ Living Green 365

Before you toss, ask yourself these questions:
•If broken, can it be fixed?

•Is it reusable or recyclable?
•Can it be upcycled into something of value?

Trash is a Terrible Thing To Waste

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The MPCA study says recycling pumps billions of dollars into the Minnesota economy. The 60,000 jobs and the new products created from recycling are worth billions to Minnesotans. Products created from recycled materials are the most exciting! When you purchase products from recycled materials, you are closing the recycling loop.

What happens when you close the recycling loop? The first arrow

recycle, manufacture, purchaserepresents the first step of recycling, Collection of materials for recycling. Arrow two represents the manufacture of new products from the recyclables.  Arrow three is the purchase of the products made from recycled items. This is “Closing the loop” or a circular economy.  A win- win!

Why do we recycle? It saves valuable resources, keeps material from the landfills, reduces polluted landfills and as this report (below) shows produces economic opportunity and jobs!

http://www.startribune.com/recycling-s-rise-creates-bigger-economic-effect-for-minnesota-state-pollution-agency-says/367302641/

The unfortunate thing is that so much still doesn’t get recycled.  So get serious and RECYCLE MORE!  Garbage is too valuable to waste!

https://health4earth.com/recycling-garbage-is-a-terrrible-thing-to-waste/

Purchasing recycled products saves raw materials and adds valuable jobs
Purchasing recycled products saves raw materials and creates valuable jobs

 

Air Pollution Is Everyone’s Problem!

11703236_908335322566446_6098173936904503204_oWe love our freedoms. We ride ATVs, run leaf blowers and lawn mowers, spray chemicals and have fires in our yards, totally unaware of how are actions could be affecting other people.  A new study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency(MPCA),  puts the responsiblity for air pollution on the general public.  Their study says air pollution in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis, St. Paul and suburbs 2.8 million) causes 2,000 deaths a year.

The Minnesota Pollution Control report gives specific ways to improve air quality:

  • Drive the most fuel-efficient vehicle you can afford.
  • Take public transportation, walk, or bike whenever possible.
  • Limit wood-burning activities like backyard bonfires.
  • Look for alternatives to fossil-fuel-burning small engines such as electric lawnmowers and weed trimmers rather than those that use gas.

 

Here is a link to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s recent report on air quality.
http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/about-mpca/mpca-news/featured-stories/life-and-breath.html

http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/about-mpca/mpca-news/featured-stories/life-and-breath.html   Bottom line – air pollution is everyone’s problem

And from the Startribune:  The small particle pollution created by small engines like lawn mowers and leaf blowers, diesel engines, industry and backyard fires causes 2,100 premature deaths each year, plus 291 hospitalizations for respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and 400 emergency room visits for asthma.  http://www.startribune.com/twin-cities-air-pollution-kills-2-000-a-year-new-state-analysis-shows/314623601/

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