Easy Ways to Be Green in 2016

Posted on January 4, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

Share resources, reduce consumption, and be a good steward of the earth by practicing healthy habits and being an example for others to follow, including the kids.

  • Choose three food items and commit to buying them organic.
  • Make a change to natural skin moisturizers like coconut oil.
  • Trade your bottled water habit for an at-home filtering pitcher.
  • Brew your own Fair Trade coffee and carry your own cup.
  • Remember your reusable bags.
  • Turn off the water when you shave and brush your teeth.
  • Cut back on paper towels and use cloth napkins instead of paper.
  • Become a weekend vegetarian or a Monday night vegetarian.
  • Commit to learning more about green power:  solar and wind.
  • And don’t forget the kids!  Donate or consign toys and clothing they’ve outgrown.

EDMC SUSPENDS JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2016 RECYCLING DRIVES

Posted on December 22, 2015 by - Community Events, In the News

Due to the unprecedented volume of electronics recently received at the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County’s (EDMC) monthly drives, it is necessary to suspend the January 2016 McHenry and February 2016 Woodstock recycling drives.

In the last two months of 2015 the amount of electronic waste received was triple the monthly average due to the size and quantity of televisions and monitors dropped-off. As a not-for-profit, volunteer organization EDMC cannot continue to sustain the cost and transport of recycling electronics in these quantities.

EDMC has provided additional recycling services to McHenry County communities for over 45 years. The organization has adapted to many changes to continue accomplishing its environmental goals. Because electronics recycling regulations are in flux and profits have been reduced, most recyclers have completely stopped taking televisions and many have simply shut their doors. The Defenders cannot handle this increased amount of e-waste recycling.

The Defenders are urging local governments to provide a solution to meet the needs of their citizens. EDMC hand-delivered proposals to 17 municipalities and 17 townships in McHenry County detailing how to establish an electronic recycling drop-off site. This would provide residents a convenient, local place to responsibly dispose of all electronics. Municipalities or townships have numerous options for setting up collections, with costs possibly as low as $1 per household per month. This needs your support!

Contact your local representative (village, city or township) and ask that person to support the proposal described above: Municipal representative‒ http://bit.ly/CityVillageContact or Township representative‒ http://bit.ly/TownshipContact

For electronic recycling, please visit the Green Guide at mchenry.edu/Recycling/greenguide.pdf

For TV or computer monitor recycling please contact Chicago Logistic Service (847) 429-1926

Earth Friendly Ways to Celebrate

Posted on December 21, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Give a gift to a local charity.  Find the organizations that work toward the goals, missions, and values your friends and family want to support, and make a donation in the gift recipient’s name.  Do this even for the kids to take the emphasis off consumption.

Skip paper and plastic products.  Bring out the family China, silverware, and cloth napkins–even for breakfast!

Take a Christmas Walk and Make it a Tradition.  Get outside to appreciate what nature has to offer.  Gaze at the clouds and the stars; notice the local flora and fauna, and hear the quiet sounds of nature.  Notice what makes a holiday different from our regular hustle and bustle days.

Give the Gift of Time.  Relax with friends and family, and be kind to yourself by spreading visits out.   Only memories last forever, so make good ones.  Peace everyone, and happy holidays.

Alternatives to Gift Wrapping

Posted on December 10, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Possibly half of the paper America consumes each year is used to wrap and decorate presents!  That makes the annual trash from gift wrap and shopping bags over 4 million tons.

Here’s how to lessen the impact:

  • Use environmentally friendly wrapping paper, paper from recycled content.
    Avoid buying glossy foil or metallic wrapping paper.  It’s difficult to recycle, and it has no value for use as mulch since it contains heavy metals.
  • Reuse gift wrap when possible. Opening large gift packages with care will help, and save those fancy ribbons and bows for re-use.
  • Make the gift wrap a part of your gift by using a scarf or towel to wrap the gift. Click here to learn Furoshiki – the Japanese art of wrapping and carrying things with a square of cloth.
  • Use leftover wallpaper, fabric scraps, old maps, sheet music or even the Sunday funnies with a festive bow – use raffia, twine or other natural materials instead of non-recyclable ribbon.
  • Gift bags with a little tissue paper can be used year after year and are a quick and easy way to wrap. Save boxes and ribbons to reuse.

If everyone wrapped just three gifts in reused paper or fabric gift bags, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks.

Check out our other holiday tips here.

Happy Holidays!

Office and Green Spot Holiday Hours

Posted on December 1, 2015 by - Community Events

The Defenders’ office will be closed December 24 through December 28, and December 30 through January 1st. Regular hours will begin on January 4th.

The Green Spot Bookstore will be closed on Thursday, December 24th and Friday, December 25th for the Christmas holiday. The store will be open on Saturday December 26th.

The Green Spot will be closed on Thursday, December 31st for New Year’s Eve and Friday, January 1st for New Year’s Day holiday. The store will be open on Saturday January 2nd.

Enjoy your Holidays!

Green Computing

Posted on December 1, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

In terms of computing, modern life requires enormous amounts of energy.  The only way to be absolutely green is to never use a computer, but that is not a possibility in today’s world.  However, we can still be more sensitive to the environment as we use our devices, and it is not about doing less.  It is about the responsible use of resources.

Here are three ways to put that idea into action:

  • Stop yielding to marketing hype and buying more computer than you need.
  • Screens and monitors use a lot of energy.  Reduce the brightness to the lowest level you can comfortably read.
  • Before recycling, try keeping your computer in service.  Sell or give it away to someone who will treasure it. That is the greenest option most of the time.

Being green is about being environmentally aware and responsible.  Get on board computer geeks, and happy computing
Read more at http://livinggreenmag.com/2014/10/13/green-business/three-steps-greener-computing/#v1YWvpli01XbYEq6.99

To Burn or Not to Burn

Posted on November 19, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

You may relate the smell of burning leaves to the changing seasons, but the reality is that burning leaves introduces a lot of pollutants into the air that can be toxic and irritating to respiratory passages.  And because leaves are usually moist, they burn poorly and emit even higher levels of dangerous hydrocarbons.   For these reasons, many neighborhoods do not allow burning leaves or have specific guidelines.  (Check the county or your local township for specifics.)

A better option is to shred or mulch leaves with a lawn mower and leave them to fertilize the lawn. Fall is the best time to fertilize because ants and earthworms help incorporate the leaves into the soil.  That decaying matter feeds the beneficial microorganisms that keep soil healthy. Collect some of the mulched leaves in the mower bag and use them as mulch around the garden and landscape to suppress weeds, conserve moisture and maintain soil temperature.  Even better is to gather them with a rake and compost.

Just sayin’.

Volunteers needed – Winter Book Sale

Posted on November 18, 2015 by - Member Events

We will be setting up our winter book sale in the hallway outside the office in Woodstock from Monday, November 23 through Wednesday, November 25. Please email or call the office to let us know when you can help!

The sale starts on Black Friday – November 27 from 11am until 7pm (the lighting of the Woodstock Square is that same evening, as well as our Volunteer Appreciation & Members’ Open House from 5pm-7pm.)

Sale continues November 30 through December 12 during regular store or office hours.

Book sale

Autumn Leaves Are a Free Gift

Posted on November 16, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

If you can, try not to have them end up in trash bags or burn piles. Instead use them to help your garden grow. Composting is a great and easy way to use fallen leaves as organic fertilizer to create soil rich with minerals. So, where to start? You need to have nitrogenous ingredients like grass clippings as well as materials high in carbon, like your dry leaves.

Shredded leaves break down faster, so simply run over them with your lawn mower. Then throw all your leaves into your compost pile with grass clippings and mix well. Continue to mix, and cover the pile with a tarp through winter to seal the heat in and keep moisture out. Come spring it will be a dark brown color, and the original ingredients unrecognizable. At that point, you can dig that finished earthy smelling compost into your soil to help your garden grow. Thank you beautiful leaves.

Even easier – after shredding them with your lawnmower, spread them on your garden beds. Instant mulch, and they will compost themselves.

Need to burn or have your leaves collected? Contact your local township office or the county for all the dos and don’ts.

Volunteer Appreciation & Members’ Open House

Posted on November 11, 2015 by - Member Events

Friday, November 27th, 5:30-7pm

The Defenders will once again welcome members for hot drinks and treats during the Woodstock “Lighting of the Square” event. This is always a great family activity, with Woodstock Square stores open and the magic of the holiday season alive with all the trees and buildings aglow. (Santa is sure to make an appearance as well.)

 

All members are invited to stop in at The Defenders’ office between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and warm up as they wait for the lights to go on. The Green Spot store will be open from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for early holiday shopping and gift ideas. Come in and browse!

 

This year we are once again including a special Volunteer Appreciation event during the open house. All those members who have volunteered during the year (bookstore, tabling events, office help, recycling, clean-up events, book or garage sale, County Fair table or ticket booth) are especially encouraged to stop in and collect a gift bag prepared as a thank you for all your service.

 

Beautiful holiday lights, visiting with Defenders’ friends, and drinks & treats await, so mark your calendars now for a festive evening.