Posted on July 14, 2016 by Christy - Environmental Tips
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.
Posted on July 11, 2016 by Christy - Environmental Tips
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 Evite.com. 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.
Posted on July 6, 2016 by Christy - Environmental Tips
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.
Posted on July 5, 2016 by Christy - Environmental Tips
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.
Posted on June 27, 2016 by Christy - Environmental Tips
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a problem. That includes anything you plug in or need batteries to operate, especially computers, TVs, cell phones, stereos, etc. That’s because they contain some form of harmful materials such as beryllium, cadmium, mercury and lead. These materials might be trace elements, but when added up in volume, the threat to the environment is significant.
Besides adding harmful elements to the environment, improper disposal of e-waste is a recycling opportunity lost. Almost all e-waste contains some form of recyclable material, including plastic, glass and metals. It is important that any e-waste processor is fully certified in safe destruction and follow certified documented procedures to safely dispose of electronic waste.
Ask questions before you recycle! Some unscrupulous recyclers ship e-waste overseas where it is disposed of improperly, posing a threat to the environment and its’ people. Please don’t leave your e-waste at curbside or place it in a dumpster either. In McHenry County there are several recycling locations, and keep in mind, any fees you pay are to off-set costs.
Posted on June 13, 2016 by Christy - Environmental Tips
Driving? Avoid peak travel times. Traveling on off-peak days can prevent you hitting congested highways and sitting in traffic.
Flying? Avoid layovers. Frequent takeoffs and landings use more fuel, and the pollution emitted on night flights has a more detrimental impact on the climate.
Pack light. Extra weight causes airplane and cars to lose efficiency and use more fuel to travel. Leave the kitchen sink at home.
Be an Ecotourist. Whether going far or near, add into your trip adventures that include learning about the intricacies of our natural world and/or advocacy to protect the environment and local communities. It will make you feel good, and you will be contributing instead of taking. Now that’s making a memorable trip.
Posted on June 6, 2016 by Christy - Environmental Tips
Did you know that nutrient pollution is a major threat to water quality? Excess nitrogen and phosphorus carried in runoff from farm fields, wastewater plants and urban areas can fuel algae blooms that decrease oxygen needed by aquatic plants and animals. In the Gulf of Mexico, nutrients washed down river have created a “dead zone” that stretches for thousands of square miles. At home, nutrient pollution can also lower property values, hinder recreation, and degrade drinking water quality.
What can you do? Understand the importance of funding studies such as The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, which guides state efforts to improve water quality at home and downstream by reducing nitrogen and phosphorus levels in our waterways. Be an educated consumer and/or farmer and learn about the problem. Pass along your knowledge, and support your local watershed group to influence policy to make your voice heard.
Posted on May 19, 2016 by Christy - Environmental Tips
When you use electricity in your home or business, do you know what fuel is used to produce that energy? That information might help give some understanding to why it’s important to our health to continue to conserve and move towards renewables. It can also help in your decisions as a consumer. The impact on our natural systems, whether positive or negative, is an important consideration in the production of power.
In Illinois 46% of electricity is generated by nuclear power, 44% is coming from coal and 2% from gas. The remaining 8% is from wind. As a consumer you create the demand for a product. Think about how efforts by lots of us to conserve 50% of the energy we use today could impact the demand for electricity. Think further about the damaging waste it produces. How about turning to wind and solar and away from carbon fuels and nuclear. It’s one step, one small decision at a time that changes the tide.
Posted on May 12, 2016 by Christy - Environmental Tips
One man’s weed is another man’s best friend. Instead of trying to rid our gardens and lawns of any stray stem or sprout of weeds, we might do well to live and let live. At least, that’s the case for a handful of weeds that boast a bevy of benefits, from attracting pollinators to repelling pests, and fertilizing soil.
Dandelions attract good bugs like honeybees and repel pests like army worms.
Clover has a special ability. Its leaves pull nitrogen from the air, fixing the nutrient in its roots and releasing it to fertilize the soil.
Wild violets may look dainty, but they’re actually little powerhouses that can withstand drought. and spread as ground covers in areas too shady for grass to thrive.
Ground ivy makes a great, low-maintenance ground cover. Its tiny flowers add a delightful touch to the yard, but the best part of this mighty weed is its ability to repel common garden pests.
And then there’s Purslane which breaks up hard soil and stabilizes soil moisture.
A change in thinking about weeds is a change in thinking about chemicals, a positive for the environment.
Posted on May 5, 2016 by Christy - Environmental Tips
Think about these planet-friendly ideas for Mother’s Day gifts that will please both your mom and Mother Earth.
One good idea is organic and/or fair trade chocolates and wines. Or maybe a year of locally raised fruits and veggies from you local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. Better yet, make your mom a member.
Then there’s always the gift of time. Skip the stuff and give your mom a break by volunteering to run errands, prepare a healthy dinner or tend the garden.
To compliment whatever gift you choose, make a card out of what you have on hand; old magazines, photos or calendars. Or you could go with a card made of plantable seed paper. Bury the card and when the paper biodegrades, the seeds grow into wildflowers.
Whatever your gift, remember to add your own spoken message that expresses how much your mom means to you. Happy Mother’s Day to all the special women who care for us and our world.