If you think you can't make a difference--Think again!

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Landfills on both solid ground and floating in our lakes and oceans could be diminished through recycling.  The list of things that are thrown away instead of reused and recycled is shocking.  I am ashamed to say I wasn't educate about the simple things I can do to stop adding to the landfills. One woman, LuAnn Foty, began recycling by teaching her children the importance of reusing old crayons by melting them down to create new ones.  Foty's idea blossomed into a company, Crazy Crayons, LLC with her main belief remaining, "If you teach the kids, they teach the parents."  Crazy Crayons has stopped over 80,000 pounds of crayons from entering landfills.  Reading information on this site moved me to send an e-mail to my elementary school asking them to join me in helping to improve the environment. 

Any tennis player knows how quickly the balls lose their bounce, making them virtually useless to an avid player.  I discovered that there is also a company dedicated to putting the bounce back in these balls, the company is so dedicated to the cause they send the donator of the old balls prepaid shipping labels--it costs people NOTHING to recycle something they would have just tossed aside.  The organization, reBounces, has recycled 1,897,808 balls in the last four years. This eliminates countless tons of garbage from landfills.  My summer gym credit was a tennis class, each student had to purchase nine tennis balls because they would lose their bounce so quickly.  This really makes me wonder how many tennis instructors are aware that this type of recycling effort is available to them. 

I found so many different ways we can all help reuse everyday items, I want to share one more.  Sneakers.  Remember a few months ago when a certain C.E.O stole every Penn Staters heart, if you forgot you can watch this again, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbkZFriUZLk - Well, I found something else we can start to love about Nike--the Reuse a Shoe movement. http://www.nikereuseashoe.com/ On this website I learned that you can take old shoes to almost ANY Nike store and have them recycled.  I am ashamed that I never knew how simple other people are making it to save the planet.  The website not only tells people how to recycle shoes, but gives a few other useful tips on how to make a difference.  

Landfills are a problem.  One we contribute to without giving it a second thought.  If you think what you do doesn't make a difference on the world, please, take a moment to read some stories of the inspiring people who decided that they CAN change something.  Take something away from their story and start making your own.

 

References:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow.cfm?id=earth-day-10-surprising-recyling-efforts

http://www.rebounces.com/ -

www.crazycrayons.com

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5 Comments

I am ashamed to say that I am extremely guilty of not recycling. I go through water bottles at a disgraceful rate and we don't own a recycling bin at home, so I don't even think about when I'm on campus and automatically just trash whatever I have in my hands as opposed to putting it in the appropriate recycling containers. It's something that I feel not only I, but everyone, needs to work on.
I find the new ways to recycle that you listen very interesting and fun. I never thought about melting down old crayons, and I have TONS of shoes that I never wear that could be recycled as opposed to thrown out. What a great ideas!
Your blog inspired me to further research fun and new ways to recycle old stuff. I stumbled upon a company called Remarkable. Remarkable is a product design company where UK waste is recycled and made new and cool products. In their Worcester-based factory, video cassettes become pencils and juice cartons become notepads. They have a very interesting and quite artsy approach to recycling. I suggest everyone check it out. You can view their products at http://www.remarkable-eco.co.uk/ and you can also find more information about what they do. I really feel that what they are doing is awesome. Making recycling fun is a great way to get more people involved.

Does anyone remember that Rocco's Modern Life episode from when we were kids? "R-E-C-Y-C-L-E RECYCLE!" That has always stuck with me-I guess Nickelodeon didn’t completely corrupt our minds.

I definitely agree with the need to reduce landfills by reusing the things we would otherwise throw away. I often look twice at things before I dispose of them just to make sure that there is not some other purpose I could use it for. Also, if something must be disposed of it is best to recycle when possible. Simply modifying small behaviors can have a big impact when you consider the amount of waste that is dumped into the earth. Whenever I see things like bicycles or other metal objects on the side of the road I am reminded that people pay money for scrap metal. If you had any type of metal to dispose of you could easily find a local scrap collector who would pick it up and take it to somewhere where it will ultimately be melted down and reused.

That sure is a good tip about taking old shoes to Nike stores: I was also unaware of that program. It’s kind of refreshing that a huge corporation such as Nike can create a positive social change, especially considering their record on sweatshop labor from years past. At the bike shop I work at in town, we send our old scrap to Resource Revival https://www.resourcerevival.com/ where it becomes keychains, purses and other items. Also, oddly enough we had a request to collect all our old inner tubes by a Taekwondo instructor, who has his pupils use them as elastic bands for resistance training. Whether it’s recycling our waste through http://www.centrecountyrecycles.com or just finding some other use for a disposable item, it is important to protect the environment from the expansion of landfills. By reducing our waste in this manner, we will have a means of keeping trash out of sensitive ecological areas such as were discussed by the authors we read this semester.

Wow, I try to reuse, or even recycle things as often as I can but sometime time just gets in the way of that. If I'm rushing to a class and I'm at Otto's or McKinnons, I wont stop to separate my trash or throw the tomato that I take off of my wrap into the compost bin. When the recyclable bucket in my apartment gets too full and and my roommates don't feel like taking it down to the recycling station in my apartment complex, we toss it in with the regular trash. I'm not really proud of it, but I never thinks about it as being a 'bad' thing if I'm saving time.

When I do reuse, it's not in the ways that you mentioned. I try to be creative; if I have a cardboard shoe box that has a nice print on it, I'll cut it up and use the pieces as bookmarks for class. Old jars are always reused in my house. Even old candle jars; if you cut up the wax and put the jar in the freezer the wax comes right out and the the jars can be filled with anything.

I have heard about melting crayons, but I didn't know that there was a company that was dedicated to it, I'll have to let my old schools know about that. If I have an old tennis ball, something than my mom has always done is using them inn the dryer when washing pillows or blankets. In the future, I'm going to try to recycle any old shoes I have.

Composting is also another thing that people don't think to do. Biodegradable waste is a great way to give back to the earth, especially if you have a gardener in the family. I'm definitely going to be an advocate for some of these re-useful methods at home this summer!

There have been many strives in the past few years to eliminate the senseless idea of disposing garbage and junk into landfills. I too have been ignorant of the many things that can be submitted to multiple companies to be reused. Growing landfills are a serious problem that must be recognized as soon as possible before it is too late. Each year the typical American family throws out 2,460 pounds of paper, 540 pounds of metals, 480 pounds of glass and 480 pounds of food scraps. Much of this can be avoided through the proper use of recycling. The best way to counteract the incorrect disposal of garbage is the proper awareness of recycling nationwide. The younger we teach and congratulate our youths with the proper disposal and reusage of material the easier it will be for Americans to diminish the issue of growing landfills.
For example, old rubber can be recycled rather than carelessly thrown away. There are multiple uses for rubber including cutting it down into a soft mulch-like material that can be placed instead of mulch in playgrounds as a softer material.
I have found a very interesting website that gives information about Pennsylvania’s waste management. It goes on to give tips to counteract the idea of just throwing things away. My favorite piece of advice that it states is the reuse of motor oil:
“Pennsylvania produces about 35 million gallons of used lubricating oil every year. People who change their own motor oil produce 11 million gallons of used lubricating oil each year. If this oil is dumped into sewers, soil or streams, it can pollute the water that we drink. Fortunately, used motor oil can be recycled into heating fuel, industrial lubricants and even new motor oil. Your role is simple: store the oil in a sturdy container and take it to an auto repair shop that accepts used oil. To find the shop closest to you, check the list of used oil recyclers in your county or call the Pennsylvania Recycling Hotline 1­800­346­4242 or check Earth911.org”
For other items that can be easily recycled check out:
http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/airwaste/wm/recycle/recywrks/recywrks2.htm


While reading through the comments, I couldn’t help but think that pollution can essentially come from anything. When left unwatched and unregulated, something we thought to be harmless, is left to fester and morph into another problem sucking the life out of the environment. However, I'm learning from all of your posts that essentially everything can be recycled. I have to admit that before coming to college, the idea of recycling was not something stressed by my school, my community or my family. Had I lived somewhere like Japan,

(click link below)
http://www.all-recycling-facts.com/recycling-pictures.html

I would have been exposed to an entirely different view of recycling, one where the thought of saving and properly disposing everything is second nature rather than second thought. Now I do not want to discredit the efforts being made in America,

( also click link below)
http://www.unitedstatesrecycling.com

as many people are taking it upon themselves to initiate the recycling movements throughout the United States. The link above leads to the website of the Unites States Recycling Inc., which is a privately owned company that teams up with contractors across the workforce to properly discard and reuse the products commonly used in construction. This is just one example of how people can use the knowledge and expertise they have to implement more environmentally safe practices. Apart from the funding and research the United States government invests towards renewable gas, energy, and other limited resources, these programs often exclude the public from participating in them. Moreover, many people (myself included) are uneducated about the goals or progress of these programs. There is also a negative connotation surrounding the costs associated with recycling, as Dr. Gaba of Oregon State University, suggests that companies are often put in the spotlight as being resistant to recycling and tend to avoid investing in eco-friendly policies. However, he also indicates that this is usually not the case but that the liability costs associated with recycling are often overlooked: "Under-capitalized, marginal recycling companies might not be influenced by the potential for financial liability that they cannot satisfy." Therefore, I additionally stress the importance of government and their role in making environmentally safe practices accessible and open to the public. This blog alone is filled with simple ways that people can be more conscious and improve the environment, so I can only imagine what will happen when our efforts become organized and spread across the country.

Works Cited:

Gaba, Jeffery. 2008. “Rethinking Recycling.” HeinOnline Library: Law Journal Library. Envtl. L. 02 May 2012. Web. http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/envlnw38&collection=journals&page=1053.

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