No to Driving, Yes to Biking and Walking

You may not be able to reduce global warming, end pollution and save endangered species single-handed, but by choosing to live an earth-friendly lifestyle you can do a lot every day to help achieve those goals.

The single most import thing you can do to for the environment is to leave your car at home.  Every time you do you reduce air pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve your health and save money.  Walk or ride a bicycle for short trips, or take public transportation for longer ones. Research has shown that people who use public transportation are healthier than those who do not, and families that use public transportation can save enough money annually to cover their food costs for the year.

When you do drive, take the few minutes needed to make sure your engine is well maintained and your tires properly inflated.  Every little bit helps.

What’s up with Styrofoam?!?!

For the time being, we will no longer be accepting Styrofoam at our drives or other pick-up locations throughout the county. Currently, there is no market for it. The company we were taking it to will not take it, so we are stuck with all that we have collected recently! Yikes!

We will continue to look for alternative recycling options, but for now, we must say no.

Meanwhile, we have bags of packing peanuts for sale at the office. $4 – $7 depending on the size of the bag.

BYOB Month in Our County

It’s official.  August is  BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag – month in our county.  Join in, and start bringing your own bags whenever you shop anywhere;  the grocery store, pharmacy, for clothing, hardware, whatever, and get into the habit of carrying reusable shopping bags, both big and small. 

Challenge yourself to reduce the use of plastic bags by declining them when shopping, and then watch them disappear in your home. 

This is the time to start, as McHenry County has declared August BYOB Month in partnership with the Environmental Defenders to raise awareness and educate the public about the benefits of shopping with reusable bags.  Maybe this month will be the time you will make a lifelong change.  Think how many bags you will keep out of the waste stream if you start today at one store.  Do I see a trend coming?


Recycling as a Second Thought

Yes, you read that correctly.  But think about it, it makes sense to reduce waste in the first place so there is not a need for recycling.  So the critical first step of waste prevention is to promote a greater awareness of the importance of the “Reduce” part of the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mantra. 

Begin by simplifying your life.  Only keep belongings that you use/enjoy on a regular basis. 

Reduce your purchases. Think before you buy any product.   Do you really need it? How did the production of this product impact the environment and what further impacts will there be with the disposal of the product (and associated packaging materials)?  

For one day, afternoon or hour a week, don’t buy anything, don’t use machines, don’t switch on anything electric, don’t cook, don’t answer your phone and, in general, don’t use any resources. 

Wherever possible, replace disposable products with reusable ones (i.e., razor, food storage, batteries, ink cartridges (buy refill ink), coffee filters, furnace or air conditioner filters, etc.)  

Buy used products whenever possible and consider donating good usable items that you find unnecessary. 

And finally refuse single use products like straws, shopping bags, beverage cups, take out containers. 

Create earth-healthy habits and share your practices with others to offer encouragement.  And then in the end, if you must, please recycle.  

Plan Children’s Parties With an Eco Spin

In can be done!

Here are some good ideas:

First, send eco-friendly invitations.  Make your own out of what you have in your home, or send something original by email or use  If you must use paper, buy ones made from recycled paper.

In your invitation, challenge your guests to get creative by not buying gift wrap, but reusing something instead.

Instead of presents, ask each person to bring a donation for a local charity such as a pet shelter or food pantry.  Some pantries even take toys for those that can’t afford gifts.

Theme the party around saving an animal or raising money for a cause near to your heart.  Instead of receiving gifts for yourself, ask for gifts to help those in need.

Take time to celebrate a good deed with friends, and your real birthday present will turn out to be good-will and a feeling of contributing to your community and/or the world.

Summer Garage Sale

Donations for our annual Summer garage sale can be dropped off Sunday, July 10 through Wednesday, July 13, (Sunday 2pm – 5pm, Mon-Wed 10 am until 3 pm.) The sale is located at the Algonquin Township Road District complex, 3702 U.S. Highway 14, between Crystal Lake & Cary (next to the Hollows), drive back to the big beige garage on the right.
What type of things are we looking for? Antiques and collectibles, household items, books, tools, dishes, pots and pans, dressers and tables, etc. Just about anything that can be re-sold, with a few exceptions – small appliances & electronics must be in working order, we cannot take clothes, upholstered furniture, televisions, computers, or large appliances. Not sure if we can take it? Call the office and ask, or email us.
The garage sale will be held July 14-16, 9am-4pm. The sale is located at the Algonquin Township Road District complex, 3702 U.S. Highway 14, between Crystal Lake & Cary (next to the Hollows), drive back to the big beige garage on the right!
We always have a great assortment, including housewares, small appliances, dish sets, glassware, books, DVDs and CDs, furniture, tools, bicycles, toys, electronics, etc.

Red, White, Blue and Green!

First, ditch the disposable party ware.  But if you must, use things that can be washed and reused.  Clean them up and reuse those plates, cups and tableware at the next gathering. 

Next, reuse those decorations.  Take the time to store and save them, or donate them, which helps to save a bit of unneeded trash. 

And finally, use large water containers with reusable cups and buy beverages in glass or aluminum, which are made of natural materials and can be recycled or will biodegrade.  Believe it or not, your plastics are not getting recycled even if you put them in a recycling container, and they are definitely not being reused. 

The best idea, get outside, for nature’s sake!  These are simple ideas, easy commitments, and habits worthy to help our good ole’ USA and beyond.  Happy Independence Day from the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County.