Food Waste: What to Do? Composting Still the Best

Posted on September 2, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

The global-warming virtues of composting were confirmed by none other than InSinkErator. They commissioned a study of sewage-treatment and food-waste-disposal methods and found that while some super-efficient sewage treatment plants eliminate greenhouse gas emissions while producing surplus energy, few systems beat composting—even when factoring in the emissions from hauling away and processing curbside compost.

However, if you can’t compost (vegetable, fruit and plant based waste) use the in-sink disposal. The amount of water needed to deal with in-sink disposal is negligible and controllable in the big scheme of things. The worst method is tossing food waste in the garbage.   Landfilling (which includes hauling) releases almost twice as much global-warming gas as treating sewage and six times more than composting.  U.S. residents dump 34.6 million tons of food waste annually into landfills, which accounts for almost one-fifth of all U.S. methane emissions.

Water Deserves Respect

Posted on August 25, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Droughts aren’t usually supercharged disasters like the monster typhoon that just smashed the Philippines. And they don’t compare with Superstorm Sandy, which unstoppably flooded the East Coast last fall. Droughts are only noticeable in extreme cases such as in California. But think about it. Droughts don’t demolish buildings; they just cremate growing things.
Water is incredibly precious, and the Earth has only a fixed, limited amount of it. We can’t live without it. Literally.
Americans use about 100 gallons of fresh water per day at home. But millions of people in poorer countries survive on less than five gallons, and women in such places walk an average of 3.7 miles to fetch water. To put things in perspective, have that thought in your mind as the water flows from the spigot in your home.

“It’s Our River Day” celebration and clean-up

Posted on August 18, 2015 by - Community Events

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and The Village of Algonquin are sponsoring the 8th annual “It’s Our River Day” celebration and clean-up.  The event will be held on Saturday, September 19, 2015 from 1pm to 4pm at Cornish Park along the shoreline of the beautiful Fox River in historic downtown Algonquin. This is a local celebration of the statewide “It’s Our River Day,” now in its 11th year.

Local conservation groups will give brief presentations and participants will have the opportunity to meet representatives from different environmental, outdoor and governmental groups, as well as “green” businesses.  Adults and kids will enjoy learning about the environment by visiting booths with educational information, volunteer opportunities, kids activities, and more.

The Sierra Club will provide bags and gloves for the shoreline clean-up at the main location at Cornish Park. Everyone is welcome to lend a hand with the clean-up. The event is free and open to the public. Groups are welcome.

For more information contact the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County at 815-338-0393; Cynthia Kanner, event co-organizer, at 847-309-8582; or The Village of Algonquin at www.algonquin.org/eco .

Recycle – YES!

Posted on August 18, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Recycle – YES! But to make a bigger and healthier impact on our environment, reduce and reuse first which keeps more stuff out of the landfill and reduces waste disposal costs. The challenge then becomes to reduce recycling as much as possible.

When making a purchase, consider how much of the container and packaging could be eliminated by reuse, and resist goods that have lots of extraneous packaging. Use reusable shopping bags, aluminum refillable drinking containers and bring your own container for leftovers.   Say “no” to straws and Styrofoam and say “yes” to composting. Once produced, plastic and Syrofoam stay on the earth forever, so begin by being conscious of how much is used in the first place. Then, FINALLY, it’s time to recycle.

Switch Off for a Day

Posted on August 18, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

For one day or one afternoon or even one hour a week, don’t buy anything, don’t use any machines, don’t switch on anything electric, don’t cook, don’t answer your phone, and, in general, don’t use any resources. In other words, for this regular period, give yourself and the planet a break.

Every hour per week that you live no impact cuts your carbon emissions by 0.6 percent annually. Commit to four hours per week and that’s 2.4 percent.  Do it for a whole day each week to cut your impact by 14.4 percent a year.  See how it feels to switch “off” for a day, and you may just enjoy it, and at the same time, raise your awareness about the impact our actions have on our planet while making a positive contribution.

“Earth Overshoot Day” landed on August 13th in 2015 – “Global overshoot occurs when humanity’s annual demand for the goods and services that our land and seas can provide—fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, wood, cotton for clothing, and carbon dioxide absorption—exceeds what Earth’s ecosystems can renew in a year.”

Summer Garage Sale

Posted on July 16, 2015 by - Community Events

Summer Garage Sale

When: Thu, July 16 through Saturday, July 18, 9am – 4pm
Where: Algonquin Township Road District, 3702 U.S. Highway 14, Crystal Lake IL 60014 (map)
The garage sale will be held July 16-18, 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.
Reuse is better than recycle!

Paper or Plastic? Neither, BYOBag!

Posted on July 8, 2015 by - Environmental Tips

Start a habit you’ll be proud to flaunt: remember your own bags every time you go to the store. It’s one simple way to go green in your daily life. And when people see you’re making the right choice, they’re more likely to do it, too.

Some paper & plastic statistics

  • Each year the United States consumes 30 billion plastic and 10 billion paper grocery bags, requiring 14 million trees and 12 million barrels of oil.
  • The pulp and paper industry is the 2nd largest industrial user of energy in the U.S.
  • More than 46,000 pieces of plastic contaminate each square mile of our oceans.
  • Only 1% of plastic bags are recycled annually nationwide.

So the question is, paper or plastic? And the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County say the answer is neither. Instead – BYOB – bring your own bag.

County Fair – It’s a Fundraiser!

Posted on June 23, 2015 by - Community Events

Since 2007, EDMC has been working the admission gates for the McHenry County Fair. This is a lot of fun, and has turned into a very good fundraiser for our group. (And you get free admission to the fair on the day you work!)

Nancy will be making calls, but YOU can sign up now to get your favorite spot!

Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

1) Click this link to see our Sign-Up on VolunteerSpot: http://vols.pt/LiNkkT

2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.

3) Sign up! It’s Easy – you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on VolunteerSpot.

Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.

July Means Parades!

Posted on June 23, 2015 by - Community Events

JOIN THE FUN!!!!
Support what you believe in and come walk with the Environmental Defenders in a parade or two (or three) this summer. No experience required. All ages and persuasions, members and non-members are welcome. Help us promote our message of caring for the environment and our future while collecting empty recyclables from parade spectators. It is a total hoot and we need YOU to make a BIG impact!

Crystal Lake is Sunday, July 5th
McHenry is Sunday, July 19th
Algonquin is Saturday, July 25rd

Contact Sue Jensen through Defenders office or Facebook page ASAP!

Do something different this summer – You won’t regret it. (Recruit some family or friends to join us as well. It’s so much more fun with a buddy!)

What happens to all that Styrofoam?

Posted on June 23, 2015 by - Community Events

Members’ Field Trip!

Defenders’ members will have a unique opportunity to tour Chicago Logistic Service (CLS), a trucking business located in Elgin that also accepts clean, used Styrofoam for repurposing as part of their commitment to helping the environment.

CEO of CLS, Ken Santowski, who is also a board member of The Environmental Defenders, has been collecting Styrofoam from area towns, such as Algonquin and The Village of Lakewood, both of which have set up dedicated Styrofoam collection areas as part of their commitment to recycling and conservation, for several years. Ken also collects Styrofoam at The Defenders’ regular monthly recycling drives in Woodstock and McHenry. After the Styrofoam is collected it is processed through a densifier where it is broken down into small pellets, which are then sent to companies for upcycling into other products.

There are two tours scheduled to learn more about CLS, about Styrofoam and how it is transformed into other products, and to observe the densifier in action. We hope that one or both of these timeslots work for you. Please RSVP to The Defenders’ office two days in advance of each date (see below).

The two separate tours will take place:

Sunday, June 28th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

AND

Wednesday, July 1st from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Address: CLS, 501 Davis Road, Elgin

“We believe that recycling turns material that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. That is why we have become a full service Recycling Center; we donate over 1K in labor and trucking services monthly to recycling.” Ken Santowski