It’s that time of year when new toys move in and old toys move out. Ensure that the old toys get a second life by reusing and recycling them instead of throwing them away.
Donating old toys is the easiest option. As long as toys are clean and in good working condition, you can donate them to thrift stores and local charities. Most large thrift stores offer pick up services. You can also drop your toys off at the nearest donation box (only toys that will easily fit in the box’s door).
Do you know how much of your weekly household waste could be diverted from the landfill? The Glad Products Company recently took a closer look at eight diverse U.S. families as part of a public service campaign on household waste awareness, and the visual is rather eye-opening.
In a photographic study titled “Waste in Focus,” photojournalist Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio interviewed each of the families and sorted one week’s worth of household trash and recycling. The photos feature each family surrounded by items destined for the landfill or the recycling or compost bin.
The families, each with four members, live in Atlanta, New York City, Phoenix and San Francisco and are of different backgrounds and ethnicities. While this was not an exercise to compare the families to one another, there are a few interesting takeaways from the project:
The average amount of waste generated was 36.3 pounds for the week. Of that, 55 percent was destined for the landfill and 45 percent was a combination of recyclables and compostables.
The New York City families generated less waste; averaging 25 pounds for the week.
The San Francisco families averaged a 91 percent recycling rate. This is not surprising since San Francisco residents are required to separate their food waste for compost pickup rather than put it into trash destined for landfill.
Find out more about the project, view the photos and read each family’s story by visiting WasteinFocus. The site, in partnership with Keep America Beautiful, also includes a quiz and tips that can help you and your family reduce waste at home.
Are you a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to auto maintenance? If so, you probably have a couple of tires or containers of used motor oil sitting around your garage that you’d like to see go. Or, perhaps you have an entire old car you want to get rid of. Luckily there are plenty of automotive recycling options in our region.
Batteries, Tires, Motor Oil and Filters
Most full-service automotive centers will recycle used motor oil and automotive batteries for free, and tires for a small fee. Auto parts stores and quick lube places generally accept used motor oil and batteries as well. Some locations even recycle oil filters. Always call first to check that items are accepted.
Old vehicles that are beyond repair are ideal for salvaging. Many automotive salvage yards, used auto parts dealers and even some scrap metal dealers will take that old car off your hands. Generally they will pay a modest amount for your vehicle and provide free pick up.
There are many organizations that accept vehicles for donation. Generally they’ll take your car (running or not), provide free pickup, help with the title and paperwork, and help you get the highest possible tax deduction. Contact your favorite charity to see if it has a vehicle donation program.
The MARC Solid Waste Management District administers an annual grant program that awards funds to local communities and organizations for waste reduction and recycling-related projects. From time to time, we publish updates about recent grant recipients.
Most of us will likely have a few mattresses throughout our lifetimes. What did you do with your last mattress after you bought a new one? Instead of throwing out an old mattress, you can do something good for kids in the Kansas City region and for the environment.
If your old mattress is still in reasonable shape, with no noticeable stains or structural problems, you can donate it to Sleepyhead Beds. Sleepyhead Beds is a local organization that takes gently used, unwanted mattresses and sanitizes and sterilizes them for redistribution to children in need. The organization also accepts donations of clean, gently used sheets, comforters and pillow cases.
In 2013, Sleepyhead Beds received a grant from the MARC Solid Waste Management District to purchase a truck and hire a driver to expand its program for collecting and redistributing beds and bedding. This helped Sleepyhead Beds redistribute more than 1,600 mattresses and 1,200 pounds of bedding. If you lined up those mattresses end to end, they would stretch over two miles!
Reusing mattresses also saves a lot of time and energy since recycling them can be very difficult. Plus, any mattress that ends up in a landfill takes up a lot of space. If the 1,600 mattresses redistributed by Sleepyhead Beds were all twin-sized they would take up 27,000 cubic feet, or enough space to cover a basketball court eight times. (That would make it much easier to dunk!)
To learn more or to arrange a donation, visit Sleepyhead Bed’s website.
But between thinking about all those calories and the sheer quantity of food, most of us don’t consider how much of it gets wasted. In fact, the average American wastes between 209 and 253 pounds of food every year, with a fair amount of that waste occurring around the holidays. Here are some ways to reduce waste that will help you, your guests and the environment.
Precycle. “Precycling” is when you avoid purchasing unnecessary items that will eventually have to be recycled or thrown away. For holiday meals, try to purchase products with less packaging, use durable dishware and cook only for the number of people who will eat at your gathering.
Prepare healthy portions. Love Food Hate Waste’s online portion planner will tell you how much food to purchase based on the type of food you want to serve and the number of people who will eat it.
Make a list and stick with it. A list will ensure you don’t forget anything and keep you from buying and spending too much.
Let guests serve themselves. When guests serve themselves they can choose the items they actually want to eat.
Use smaller plates. Smaller plates help fend off the dreaded “my-eyes-are-bigger-than-my-stomach” syndrome.
Ask guests to bring reusable containers. This way you won’t have to eat all those leftovers yourself and your guests will have something to eat the next day. Plus you’ll reuse others’ containers instead of buying new ones.