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Public Green Blog

Eliminate/Reduce Paper Waste this Holiday Week

Do you still have gifts to wrap before the holidays?

Before buying anymore gift wrap, consider some alternatives that are more environmentally friendly:
*Giving clothes or blankets as a gift? Consider also using these items to wrap gifts for the same person.
*Reuse paperbags to wrap gifts. You can even make the brown paper more festive by drawing on it.
*Place gifts in a reuseable shopping bag, so the bag becomes part of the gift.
*Reuse comics as wrapping or newspaper to protect breakable items.
*Sew your own gift bags using left over fabric scraps and let the receiver keep the bag as part of their gift.
*Use reuseable gift bags and encourage your giftees to reuse the bag as well.
*Use clean recycled aluminium foil to wrap gifts.
*Wrap gifts in old road maps.
*Ask friends and family members to try not to tear the wrapping paper so that it can be reused next year.
*Have large cans to recycle? Clean and dry them thoroughly, place gifts inside and cover with shredded paper, fabric or yarn scraps.
*Save the cards you receive and reuse them by cutting them apart and using the picture as a gift tag.

Want to do away with wrapping completely? Inform your friends and family that you will not be wrapping gifts in an effort to reduce your footprint. Use the money you save to upgrade their gift or donate the money to your choice of charity. Or purchase your gift online and have it sent directly to the recipient’s home.

http://earth911.com/tips/green-wrapping/
http://life.gaiam.com/article/top-10-green-gift-wrap-ideas

By julie collins on December 20, 2012 Categories: Consumer Choices, Holidays, Recycling

Holiday Light Recycling

The Solid Waste Agency of North Cook County (SWANCC) and its member communities are offering h0liday string lighting recycling in numerous locations throughout the area. Mount Prospect Public Works is currently accepting lights M-F, 7:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. through February 28, 2013. For more info and a list of addtional locations: Holiday Light Recycling.

By julie collins on November 27, 2012 Categories: Community, Holidays, Recycling

Different Shades of “Green” Turkey

Organic turkeys are fed with grains grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers (yum!).

Vegetarian-fed turkeys are fed strictly vegetarian diet. These birds cannot go outside on pasture since foraging for “bugs” is not considered a vegetarian diet.

Cage-free turkeys are not confined to cages, but do not necessarily have ready access to outside

“Free range” turkeys are not confined to cages, and have access to the outside, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they take advantage of this “free”-dom–turkeys can “free-range” on sand, dirt or even concrete.

Pastured turkeys are housed and/or ranged on pasture, with grass, legumes and insects comprising a significant portion of their diet. As such, they may or may not be “organic.”

Day range pastured turkeys are free to range outside in large rotating fenced pasture during the day, and are housed inside a permanent or semi-permanent coop at night, with an open floor (no cages). Local Harvest has a database of farms with these (and more) various turkey options.

By julie collins on November 16, 2012 Categories: Consumer Choices, Holidays

Do-It-Yourself Energy Audit

Now that the weather is starting to change, it’s the perfect time to do your own energy audit and get your home ready for winter.  As much as one-third of the energy you use to heat your home may be slipping through windows, doors, electrical outlets, and other cracks.  Check out one of the Minitemp Noncontact Thermometers that use infrared technology to measure the surface temperature in areas of your home.  Just “point and shoot” at the exterior of your home and you can literally see where the heat is leaking out of your home! The Minitemp Noncontact Thermometers are kept at the Reference Desk and can be checked out for one week.

By mreynolds on October 24, 2012 Categories: Energy, Home Improvement, Weatherization

Last Call for Electronic Recycling in Mount Prospect

You know you’ve been meaning to do it but time is running out. The Village of Mount Prospect provides a weekly drop-off location for electronics recycling at the Public Works facility every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to Noon. However, the program ends on Wednesday, October 31 so now’s the time! Gather up those old computers, monitors, TV sets, printers, and video game components that are just gathering dust in the basement or garage and get them over to the Public Works facility (1700 W. Central Rd.). Items not accepted include cameras, microwaves, shredders, household appliances, power tools or air conditioners. For a complete list (and for alternate locations after Oct. 31) visit the SWANCC Electronics Recycling page.

By mreynolds on October 22, 2012 Categories: Recycling

SWANCC’s Trashy Fashion Show

The Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) will hold it’s sixth Trashy Fashion Show on Thursday, November 15 at 7:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Chicago North Shore (5300 W. Touhy Avenue in Skokie). Over 30 designers created a movie themed outfit from items destined for the trash or recycling bin. Reservations are not needed for this event. Doors are scheduled to open at 6:30 p.m. For more information about the show call 847-724-9205 or email info@swancc.org.

By mreynolds on Categories: Community, Recycling

Fun Fall Activities

Fall has arrived and it is time to think about some eco-friendly decorating ideas.
Check out marthastewart.com for some fun and very doable things you can try and still be kind to the environment.  Here are just a couple of Martha’s ideas:
+Take a look at this gourd garland  Try hanging it from a fence outdoors or  from a mantle. 
+Fill a planter with gourds, squash, corn, or pumpkins, use your imagination! 
+Free pumpkin carving templates, take a look and you will make you’re your friends and family “green” with envy at your pumpkin art!  

After you have taken the seeds out of your pumpkins, don’t throw them away!  Once you read about the health benefits of eating pumpkin seeds,  you will want to eat them for breakfast lunch, lunch and dinner! Pumpkin seeds have attributed to helping the health of the prostrate, bones, and even lowering cholesterol.  

To help make those healthy pumpkin seeds even more appetizing, check out these links from the Food Network.  They have some wonderful recipe ideas to prepare those seeds in new and different ways:
+Try these Caramelized Pumpkin Seeds from Sandra Lee.
+Or a Spicy Pumpkin Seeds recipe from Bobby Flay.
+Maybe some Pumpkin Seed Salsa from Emeril Lagasse?

Here’s a few ideas from PBS KIDS for young fans of “Arthur”:
+Try sending some Halloween e-cards  to cut down on paper waste.
+And, if the fall weather proves to be a bit too chilly try taking the Go Green Challenge with Arthur and his friends.

By julie collins on October 18, 2012 Categories: Holidays, Home Decorating

E-Cycle at Friendship Park Conservatory

On Friday,  November 2 and Saturday November 3, Friendship Park Conservatory (395 Algonquin Road, Des Plaines) will be hosting an electronic recycling event from 9a.m. to noon both days. Cell phones, digital cameras, fax machines, tv’s, video game units etc. will be accepted at no charge. For a complete list of acceptable items, please visit the Mount Prospect Park District website. For more info call 847-298-3500.

By julie collins on October 15, 2012 Categories: Electronics, Recycling

Proper Smoke Detector and Fire Extinguisher Disposal

Smoke detectors at the end of their lifespan, which is about eight to 10 years according to Earth911, cannot be recycled; many of them are ionization smoke detectors, which have small amounts of radioactive material, Americium 241. The Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) states on its Smoke Detectors page that “all smoke detectors contain the mail-back address to send used units with radioactive chips,” but now recommends that residents dispose of smoke detectors in their regular trash.

A list of manufacturers that may accept old and used smoke detectors for disposal can be found here: Smoke Detector Disposal Info. However, according to SWANCC, the manufacturers that they contacted simply throw them away and advise residents to just throw them away themselves. Since the amount of radioactive material in ionization smoke detectors is so limited, the EPA does not require special disposal methods for them.

While both Earth 911’s No Smoking and disposal tips page mention Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection events as acceptable options for smoke detector disposal, both SWANCC and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency state that smoke detectors will not be accepted at such events.

Fire extinguishers also are ineligible for disposal at HHW events, but there are numerous disposal, recycling, and reuse options available to residents. SWANCC states on its Fire Extinguishers page that “[t]hey cannot be discarded curbside,” but they can be recharged, recycled at various locations, possibly through the fire-extinguisher manufacturers and local fire departments, and even in regular residential recycling as long as all contents are discharged and the head is removed—the steel body can then be recycled. However, the Mt. Prospect Fire Department does not recharge, recycle, or otherwise dispose of fire extinguishers and refers people to SWANCC for more information.

By julie collins on October 12, 2012 Categories: Household Products

Arsenic in Rice

Results from recent studies measuring the level of arsenic in rice have  been reported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Consumer Reports. Fairly high amounts were discovered: Consumer Reports declared the results “worrisome” and has recommended that consumer’s limit the amount of rice they eat. The FDA has not made any similiar recommendations, but they are continuing the study to get a larger sample size. Concerned consumers may wish to limit the amount of rice they eat as well as take measures to eliminate some of the arsenic in the cooking process. Two easy methods for reducing arsenic levels are rinsing the rice several times before cooking and cooking the rice in several cups of water and draining off the excess when the rice is finished cooking.

For more info:
Rice Arsenic Cooking Tips-Chicago Tribune
Arsenic in Rice-FDA
Arsenic in Your Food: Consumer Reports

By julie collins on October 3, 2012 Categories: Consumer Choices