metal

Getting Back on Track

We got back from our European jaunt on Saturday and I am still recovering from jetlag and getting back on track with work and life.

That means I have not had time to blog, so for now, I leave you with two pictures of recycling we encountered on our travels.

recycling in France

Paris, France had corner recycling centers

recycling in austria

Recycling in Austria at the train station has bins for metal, paper, plastic, and other waste.

If you are disappointed that all I am going to post of my trip are of recycling, do not fear. Keep scrolling!

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Paris, France

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Paris, France

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Paris, France

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Paris, France

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Paris, France

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Munich, Germany

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Munich, Germany

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Munich, Germany

 

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Hallstatt, Austria

 

 

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Beach Clean up with Zero Waste Chicago

Cool things are happening in Chicago, and the creation of Zero Waste Chicago is one of them.

They host monthly events and this month they asked me to lead a beach clean up since I am an Adopt-A-Beach Team Leader. (Check out my other clean up posts here, here, here, and here.)

We headed down to 31st Street Beach, a beach I have not been to or cleaned up before.

31st street beach

For a Tuesday night, it sure was hopping. Families were out barbequing and kids were splashing in the water, trying to squeeze the last few days of summer before back to school.

31st street beach2

A great crew of volunteers showed up and spread out all over the beach armed with bags and litter monitoring surveys.

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Overall, we collected 35.66 lbs of trash, recycling, and compost!

31st street beach4

Some highlights:

  • 609 cigarette butts
  • 221 food wrappers
  • 200 pieces of plastic
  • 135 metal bottle caps
  • 110 pieces of foam
  • 94 pieces of glass
  • 69 balloons
  • 56 pieces of paper
  • 54 plastic bags
  • 46 straws
  • 18 band-aids
  • 7 hair ties
  • 1 razor
  • 1 tampon
  • 1 condom

 

 

Best Buy: They Will Take Your Old Printer

I found a secret weapon for taking your unused, broken, and obsolete electronics off your hands and out of your closets.

 

close-up-of-a-huge-pile-of-com

Source: Greenpeace

 

Recycling electronics can be hard, I get it. Municipalities and local government usually hold electronic recycling or e-waste collection drives, but they are never convenient and always random.

They might take place once a season or once a month if you are lucky.

My parents have been hoarding old electronics for years and I had been holding on to them to recycle with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, but then the program was suspended and we weren’t sure what to do with them anymore.

Let me just hold on to the 6 different cords that came with my digital camera in 2006 just a little bit longer.

Another 4 months won’t hurt. Anything to make sure it does not end up in a landfill and that all hazardous materials are disposed of properly.

You know what is convenient? Getting rid of your old printer from college (that no longer prints) when you actually want to get rid of it.

And that is what you can do when you just take your electronics to Best Buy for recycling. They will take anything (almost), no matter where you bought it or how old it is.

best buy

You can even get discounts on new products for recycling your old products. I broke my broken Fitbit there when I purchased a new one.

Don’t worry about having to call your nearby Best Buy to see if they will take your e-junk. All U.S. stores offer the in-store programs, and they really want your stuff because…

Best Buy’s goal is to recycle 2 billion pounds of electronics by the end of 2020.

So far, Best Buy has collected and responsibly disposed of more than 1 billion pounds of electronics and appliances, making them the largest retail collection program in the U.S.

So go through your closet. Round up some of the stuff listed below and bring it to Best Buy to be taken care of properly.

  • rechargeable batteries
  • wires, cords, & cables
  • DVD players
  • headphones
  • remotes
  • VCRs
  • laptops
  • keyboards
  • web cams
  • tablets & e-readers
  • calculators
  • phone chargers
  • cell phones
  • shredders
  • vacuums
  • printer ink & toner
  • alarm clocks
  • CD players
  • iPods
  • speaker systems
  • curling irons
  • fans
  • hair dryers
  • hair straighteners
  • pedometers & heart monitors
  • video game consoles
  • binoculars
  • memory cards
  • digital cameras
  • camcorders
  • digital photo frames
  • GPS systems

Get going! You know you have at least 5 of these things lying around! 

Recycling My Obsolete iPod

Today marked the end of an era.

I tried very hard to prevent it from happening, but sometimes we must let go of electronics that are 10 years old and no longer work.

And by “let go,” I mean recycle.

My Apple iPod Classic was purchased circa 2007-2008 with the money from my first job in high school. Together, we listened to favorite songs on repeat, and passed countless hours in the car, walking to class, and eventually walking to work.

 

ipod

RIP iPod Classic 2007-2017

The battery started failing a few years ago, but since I no longer walk to work, it was not getting as much use anyway.

 

Eventually, it stopped holding a charge.

Then it would not turn on.

I brought it to the Apple Store a few months ago to see if there was anything they could do. Apparently, my iPod is so old that Apple classifies it as “obsolete.” There was not even an option on how to restore my decrepit device. After some messing around, the employee did get it miraculously to turn back on.

Unfortunately, it was a last ditch effort that only worked for a few days.

Months later, I finally got around to bringing my iPod back to the Apple Store to recycle it. It was a super easy process, where I just filled out a quick form, and I was on my way.

Speaking of recycling electronics, I also recently brought a broken Fitbit back to Best Buy, which was also easy peasy.

Now I want to know how and where do you recycle your old electronics?

More information on Apple’s Recycling Program.

More information on Best Buy’s Recycling Program.

 

Upcycle: Metal Cabinet

Last year, I acquired this metal work cabinet from a family friend who was cleaning out their warehouse. When I saw it, I knew it could be something awesome again, so I snatched it up. It has been sitting in my parent’s attic until I had a place of my own, and now I do!

caibinet1The First Step: Initial Clean Up

It was DIRTY! I hosed it down with water and mild soap to get off the rust, grime, glue, and who knows what else was on this thing. I had to use a knife blade to get off drips of wax and then had to work on something sticky after that. I even peeled off a “Government Issued” sticker.

Then came the surprise! My dad walked in and noticed that this cabinet also had a pull out tray that could be used as additional work space. He thus became obsessed with trying to get it out, but it was stuck due to a combination of felty stuff and black goo. cabinet3

The Second Step: Even More Cleaning

With the discovery of this new part of the cabinet that needed some extra attention, the cleaning stage got a bit more intense. This involved scraping, using a solvent, and lots of scrubbing to get off.

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Closer look at said surprise

Third Step: Rust Removal

Since I planned on spray painting, I used some steel wool to go over the rust spots. After they were smoothed, I used a rag to wipe off any access rust.

Fourth Step: Time to Paint!

When I get started on projects, I tend to want to get them done as soon as possible with disregard as to the actual best way to do it. To cut down on spray painting time, I picked a spray paint that had the primer included. I chose RUST-OLEUM Universal Hammered Paint & Primer In One in silver.

The hammered look helps cover the many imperfections that were on the cabinet.

I left plenty of time for the paint to dry before moving the cabinet so I could do the bottom. It was quite rusty under there too! After several days of the painting and drying cycle, it was finished!

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Side by side of the painting door on the left and the original on the right

Fifth Step: Re-Attach Hardware and Admire Your Work!

The handles were something I originally thought I was going to paint another color, but once I put them back on, I fell in love! They looked fantastic and I would not change them.

cabinet done

The Final Product!

All in all this project cost about $16 for two cans of spray paint. The most (wo)man hours went to cleaning and then painting did not take long at all.