It's Easy to Be Green
Start the year off with better recycling habits, read here for some great tips.
As the new year begins, it's a good time to start donating or recycling those un-needed things around our homes and perhaps thinking about how we can improve our household or business recycling efforts.
The Gwinnett County area is blessed when it comes to having an efficient organization like Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful. GCB was founded in the 1980s by a group of citizens, many of whom were members of the Lawrenceville Women's club, who were disturbed by the litter and garbage left on streets, roads and vacant lands.
According to Director Connie Wiggins, these citizens researched other communities and were led to Keep America Beautiful, a scientifically comprehensive program to change people's attitudes and behaviors around preserving the environment.
"They were able to garner the support from the business community, along with city and country elected officials," she said.
Now known as environmental innovators in the field of litter, graffiti prevention and recycling, whether for residential or businesses, GCB's website provides recycling locations and information for literally any kind of household items.
Getting our attention with some startling statistics, the site tells us:
- Recycling just one cardboard box saves 7,000 gallons of water and enough for 365 showers.
- Just one recycled aluminum can fuel a computer for 3 hours.
- Recycling one plastic bottle can power your TV for 1.5 hours.
- One glass bottle fuels a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours.
- The paper wasted yearly by businesses in America could build a 12 ft. high paper wall from LA to New York.
- There are 44 million newspapers discarded without recycling - in addition to two million plastic bottles hourly.
With these examples, it might inspire us to do more. Gwinnett is lucky in that it has an excellent pickup service for 40 different items, but there are more difficult items like batteries and light bulbs that require different efforts.
Many of us recycle our clothes at the Goodwill and Salvation Army, but sometimes we forget they will pick up unwanted furniture, computers and appliances. Trying to buy better quality computer electronic items helps. They might cost a bit more, but last significantly longer and diminishes the amount of cast-offs. A good idea when discarding old computers, printers and electronics is to advertise them on Craigslist. One man's discard is another's treasure and there's usually a good bit of life in our electronics when we upgrade.
Some innovative women, instead of donating their clothes to organizations have "Clothes Swaps." It's fun and generates laughter, camaraderie and often provides some of the women clothing they might not otherwise be able to afford.
When shopping, instead of falling into the plastic packaging trend, purchase fruits and vegetables locally as much as possible and avoid picking up packaged items unless they provide recyclable containers.
In the kitchen, avoid using your garbage disposal by composting. This might seem like a lot of trouble, but it doesn't have to be. Digging scraps in the soil with a scoop of garden lime quickly produces rich, black soil with abundant worms that can yield delicious homegrown vegetables.
In the bathroom, flush only when necessary and replace toilets with low-flush units. Make sure there are no leaks in any of your bathroom fixtures or other faucets. Whether you are shaving, brushing your teeth or doing dishes, do not allow the water to run when engaging in any washing or cleaning activity.
These are but a few suggestions but there are many more on the Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful site. If you want to make a more significant contribution, many people have organized schools, churches and other community organizations to get involved in recycling. It's a great way to educate both children and adults bringing everyone together with a closer sense of community.