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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Green it up a bit

How did you enjoy your Earth Day? As the day comes to an end I am finally getting around to posting. I didn't really get the chance - or take the chance - to do anything in honor of Earth Day besides talk about. I think I've told you in the past that throwing away so many things causes a little guilt for me. There's the two to ten bottles of water I drink per day, the Styrofoam paper plates that I must use and the one million used jars, bottles, packages, etc., that all get thrown away on a regular basis.

So when it comes to things that I can reuse, re-purpose or recycle, I try to be sure to do my part. Old magazines and newspapers are first used for school project and then when the box gets too full the majority are put in the recycle bin that's a couple of blocks away from here. Most of the copy paper that is flat and only used on one side is put into a paper tray and reused to write notes, draw pictures or print on the reverse side. To extend the life of ink cartridges, I try to print in draft so as little ink is used as possible. If a Styrofoam plate can be wiped off or shaken off without cross contamination or down right disgust then I reuse that as well.

There are a few other things that I try to do on a regular basis, but I think you get the point. That's why when I get information about a company or individual that seemingly is being very wasteful I am extremely bothered by the lack of effort. And that's where I'm going with this.

A company, who shall remain nameless, implemented a program that required a lot of materials. At the end of that program much of the materials had gone unused. The section labeled discard, after clean up, was massive and I wasn't clear on what the plan was for the disposal. Someone said a company was coming to take the materials away, "I think they're going to recycle them," she said.

My hope is that more companies get in on the green bandwagon and do what they can to minimize the items they're contributing to the landfills. I recently read an article about a biodegradable ink pen and was surprised that the Sun Chips that I recently obtained (through a get one free coupon) were packaged in a recyclable bag. The details of the pen and the bag prove to be very interesting and something I think is a good and easy way to teach children on the subject.

The pen and bag wouldn't breakdown in a landfill, but are designed to be reintroduced into the Earth. They should be "planted" in soil where they can receive oxygen and water to assist in the degraded process. I saw pictures of it (and if I'm not too lazy when I'm finished typing this I'll find them for you) and it's quite cool to see. The products can be dug up periodically to see the degrading process. What if everything we threw away could be degraded that way and each individual was responsible for their own waste? Do you think our soils would be rich and the landfills reach a standstill in growth? Would it even make a difference in our environment and world?

I'm sure someone somewhere has done a study on it. For now, share with me what your favorite green activities are and enjoy the rest of your Earth Day! Oh, by the way, make everyday Earth Day, okay?
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