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Posts tagged ‘Earth week’

Recycling: This Earth Day, Let’s Get Back to Basics

It’s #EarthWeek in Salt Lake City! We’re excited to bring you a range of content to inspire action on behalf of our planet. As part of that, we were excited to contribute a blog post to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality about recycling. There have been some changes in the industry in the last year and it all reminds us to “get back to basics: reduce, reuse, and recycle right.” Read on!

Contamination Plastic Bags

Plastic bag “contamination” at a local recycling facility. Help us reduce, reuse, and recycle right!

by Sophia Nicholas, SLCgreen Communications Manager

Recycling is one of the most common sense practices to conserve resources and care for the Earth.

So this Earth Day—let’s get back to basics and take a deep dive on what’s going on with recycling these days and what you as an environmentally-conscious person should do to “recycle right.”

Did you know that most of the items you put in the recycling bin get sent to Asia to be processed into new material? Those water bottles get turned into fleece, cardboard into paper bags, and milk jugs into . . . new milk jugs.

A large majority of this material is processed in China.  Or, I should say, was.

You may have heard that China is no longer accepting the world’s waste as of January 2018. They were previously processing roughly half of the world’s plastic, metal, and paper recyclables. Their ban is part of an effort to clean up their environment and not become the home of “foreign garbage.” We applaud China’s strengthening of their environmental laws, policies, and procedures.

However, in the short term, the Chinese ban is causing recycling vendors and processors worldwide to search for new markets for some of the material China no longer wants. This includes lower-quality plastics and paper. China also doesn’t want “contamination”—which refers to non-recyclable items being mixed up with recyclable items, as well as dirty and unwashed recyclables.

READ MORE ON THE DEQ BLOG

Earth Week Day 6: Calculate Your Water Footprint & Reduce It

Water_footprint

GRACE Communications Water Footprint Calculator

While 70% of the earth is covered by water, ultimately about only 1% of that water is available for consumptive purposes such as irrigation, drinking, and bathing to supply a growing population of 7 billion people.

Utah is the second driest state in the nation. We use a lot of water for irrigation – both for commercial farms and for watering our landscapes at home. For the average family, two-thirds or 67% of our total home water use is used outdoors – mostly to irrigate lawns and landscape. Accordingly, finding smarter ways to use and conserve water outside is one of the most effective ways to conserve precious water resources and save money on our monthly water bills.

Follow these steps to reduce your outdoor water use. Read more

Earth Week Day 5: Common Recycling Mistakes

Are you making these recycling mistakes-

It’s Earth Week!

Each day this week SLCgreen will post different tips and activities to challenge you to reduce your impact on the Earth.

To build off our waste theme, today we are looking at some common recycling mistakes.

Below is a list of common recycling errors and how to fix them.

Read more

Earth Week Day 4: What To Do With Your Plastic Bags

Each day this week SLCgreen will post different tips and activities to challenge you to reduce your impact on the Earth.

Today we’re focusing on one of the most commonly asked questions: What to do with plastic bags?

Did you know that you shouldn’t bag your recyclables?

In fact, you should avoid putting plastic bags and garbage bags in your residential recycling bin entirely.

Plastic bags hinder the recycling process by:

  • Not allowing the haulers to see if other non-recyclable materials are in the blue recycling bin.
  • Contaminating otherwise good recycling materials.
  • Wrapping around the equipment at the sorting facility. Plastic bags can damage machines and cause shutdowns, wasting time and dollars.

Watch this video by DNA Info Chicago to see how plastic bags can interrupt recycling machines on a daily basis:

So what should you do? Read more

Earth Week Day 3: Grow Your Own Food

It’s Earth Week!

Each day this week SLCgreen will post different tips and activities to challenge you to reduce your impact on the Earth.

Today, we are challenging you to grow your own food– whether that’s a pot of basil or something more ambitious.

April is the perfect time to think about planting seeds or starts and increasing your consumption of local food. Local food decreases the carbon emissions associated with food production and transport; preserves open space; supports local economies and wildlife; and so much more.

So what are you waiting for?

In the video above, Bryant Terry explains the benefits of farming in dense urban areas.

Growing food at home can be simple with the right tools – even in Utah. The first step toward growing your own food is assessing your resources. Do you have a yard space? Do you have sufficient sunlight or shade to fulfill plant needs? Do you have easy access to water on your property?

Answering these questions can help you decide if gardening onsite is best, or if you should look at other options in your area. Read more

Earth Week Day 2: Calculate Your Carbon Footprint & Reduce It

Carbon Footprint

It’s Earth Week! Each day this week SLCgreen will post different tips and activities to challenge you to reduce your impact on the Earth. Today, we are challenging you to calculate and reduce your climate footprint!

Calculate & Reduce

The EPA calculator estimates your footprint in three areas: home energy, transportation, and waste. Everyone’s carbon footprint is different depending on their location, habits, and personal choices. https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/

Maybe you are very efficient with the energy usage in your home, but live far away from work so have to drive more. The calculator will give you a snapshot of your footprint and the “best bang for your buck” in how to reduce it.

Read more

Earth Day, Every Day!

Earth-Day-Banner

Here are some #EarthDayEveryDay tips for Earth week!

Monday– Meatless Mondays!

Tuesday– Transportation Tuesdays

Wednesday– Wildlife Wednesdays

Thursday– Green Thumb Thursdays

  • Tend to your garden today. Or start a garden! Spring is the perfect time to plant in Salt Lake City!
  • Need gardening space? Consider community gardening! 

Friday– Idle Free Fridays

Saturday– Crafty Saturday- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

  • Go to a yard sale, host a clothing swap, find a new use for something you were going to throw away, buy a used item instead of a new item!
  • Crafty Saturday upcycle ideas! 

Sunday– Solar SUNdays

  • Try to abstain from using one thing that depends on fossil fuels today (like your car or heater)!
  • Learn something new about solar power today:

“Obama touts solar initiative” 

“The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined.” 

Vancouver commits to 100% renewable energy use! 

On the cost of renewable energy. 

Happy Earth Day from SLCgreen!  #EarthDayEveryDay