recycling

Inspiration

This blog does not get an unreal amount of traffic.

My page views are not off the charts.

And I am totally okay with that.

That’s because I love hearing from friends and family (and those on the internet) about what they have learned from my blog. It makes all of it worth it.

I have had friends in Washington reach out about recycling questions. I have had family friends in Maryland send me food waste articles. Followers now know what to do with their old running shoes, their old Apple products, and their old jeans.

 

I had a friend from DC message me the following:

“I love following your blog and seeing all that you do to help the environment. It really inspires me to do little things to do my part. I realized how awesome cloth napkins are for EVERYDAY!”

So much excitement about cloth napkins!

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Another friend has started composting, like real composting in her backyard. I am so proud!

Just being able to make one small difference is really what this blog adventure is all about.

So thank you.

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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.

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Paris, France had corner recycling centers

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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

 

 

A Reuse Reminder from My Running Shoes

My old running shoes recently were given a new life.

Since the old ones were out the door, I kinda needed to replace them in order to continue running.

I decided to go with the same type of shoe I have had for the last 3 pairs of running shoes, the Saucony Ride. Sticking with what works.

Anyway, when I opened the shoe box I found a great little surprise on the inside.

Saucony recycle box

How cute!?

Compostables, But No Composting at Work

The kitchen at my workplace is stocked with compostable plates and bowls.

Which is awesome.

But only if there is actually somewhere to compost them.

As you can probably already tell where this is going, there is nowhere to compost these items at work.

While I applaud facilities for going for what seems like the right choice, they need to take it a step further for it to achieve the desired result.

Our break room has 2 clearly labeled waste cans; one for recycling and one for waste. All they need is another for compost.

Since I do compost at home, I end up smuggling the occasional plate or napkin home in my lunch bag to add to my compost bucket. One less thing in a landfill, right?

 

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Banana peel and compostable plate ready to head home with me

 

The next step is to talk to Facilities about providing composting services. Someone has got to be the one to bring it up? Might as well be me.

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.

 

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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.

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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 Running Shoes

Does anyone else hoard their running shoes? I keep them around forever and use them as my already-gross-don’t-care-if-they-get-any-grosser shoes.

After writing in a previous post about what to do with materials that are no longer usable to someone else, I learned about Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program that turns your completely destroyed shoes into Nike Grind materials for floor surfaces and new products.

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Last week I popped over to our local Nike running store and dropped off one of my oldest pairs of running shoes. They have no cushion left and the heels are all torn up inside.  No one is going to want those, but Nike does, and they will give your Sole Mates a second life.

A Recycling Change Up

The other day, we found a weird site outside our building. K called me as he left for work to tell me to look outside. He told me there were 3 recycling carts on the sidewalk with our address on them.

It turned out not to be 3 recycling bins, instead, it was only one recycling bin, and 2 garbage cans that also happened to be blue. WHY DO THEY DO THAT?! Do they really need to make recycling anymore confusing??

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The cart on the left is the recycling cart. The contents of the other two will be headed to the landfill.

After that happened, our black City of Chicago garbage carts were left out on the sidewalk to be picked up and hauled away, and now our City blue cart is gone now too.

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Overall, I am pretty confused right now. Since our building has 4 units or less, we fall into the City recycling program. Why are we suddenly using a private service?

I am going to have to do a little digging because of course we were not informed of anything by our landlord. I will keep you posted!

Nerding Out Over Compost In Colorado

One of my very best friends currently resides in Denver, Colorado.  My other very best friend, Sam, and I had the chance to visit her over the weekend. We used all of our Southwest points to get us there for free!

 

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The view from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

 

We had the chance to do some early morning yoga at Red Rocks Amphitheater and the weather was gorgeous!

 

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It was a pretty big yoga class!

 

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It was nice chance compared to my usual yoga in a studio in the basement of my gym…

 

Besides being a mountain yogi, I was able to explore some of the waste differences between Denver and Chicago.

For instance, city recycling bins are purple! Here in Chicago, recycling bins can be a number of colors depending on who you get service through.

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In the city, Chicago’s carts are blue. Our building recently just switched to a private hauler (stay tuned for that post) and now both our garbage and recycling bins are blue. They are slightly different shades, but both blue nonetheless. How confusing is that?

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On Saturday, we went out to eat at Denver Central Market, which is basically a fancy food court. You could pick from a number of local items and could sit wherever you want at communal tables.

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They had amazing clearly labeled compost, recycling, and trash bins. Unfortunately, I ate everything on my plate (pizza), so there was nothing to dispose of!

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Not only can you compost at eateries, but Denver also has a city compost collection program. It is not free and is not available in all areas of the City, but I am still jealous that the city runs a program like this.

 

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Kitchen compost container

Residents who sign up for the program get a green cart that is picked up weekly.

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Other than me nerding out about Denver’s waste systems, we did do other things such as visit the Denver Botanic Garden and go to a Colorado Rockies game.

 

 

It is neat to experience other cities and how they handle waste issues. What city were you most surprised by in a visit?

Your Beyond Repair Clothing Does Not Have to Be Destined for a Landfill

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My cousin sent me this text message the other day.

It is a good question and while there are plenty of places in the Chicagoland area where you can bring your gently used clothing, there are not so many places to drop off clothing and textiles that are longer wearable or useful.

The U.S. EPA has found that 85% of all discarded textiles (that’s 12 million tons) are sent to landfills every single year.

USAgain

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USAgain has drop-off collection bins all around the city. They accept clothes, shoes and household textiles (like towels, bedding, tablecloths, etc) regardless of condition.

Usagain chicago locations


Chicago Textile Recycling

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Chicago Textile Recycling provides textile recycling outlets and fundraising opportunities for organizations, businesses, and municipalities. They collect used clothing, shoes, and household items for reuse and recycling, resulting in a diversion of over 2.5 million pounds of waste from area landfills annually.

Unfortunately, they don’t have as many drop-off options as USAgain does within Chicago and Cook County (as in they have zero). There is a drop-off box at their warehouse in Hillside just outside the city and about 20 locations within Lake County.


Patagonia Worn Wear

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Through the Patagonia Worn Wear Program, you can return Patagonia products that are well beyond repair to be recycled it into something new, or repurposed, by bringing it to a local store or mailing it in.

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The North Face Clothes the Loop

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The North Face Clothes the Loop allows you to bring in used apparel and footwear of any condition or brand and receive a $10 reward towards your next purchase of $100 or more. Items are repurposed for reuse to extend their life or recycled into raw materials for use in products like insulation, carpet padding, stuffing for toys, and fibers for new clothing.

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Other Options:

 

So now you know that your stained and ripped clothing can be used again!

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.

 

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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.