Be Green in 2013: Recycling Odd Things

More Plastic Recycling!
If you use plastic bags (grocery, food-storage, newspaper bags, etc.) Your local grocery store probably accepts them for recycling. Jewel & Dominick’s (or other Safeway stores) are two locally that I know accept these. The Whole Foods in Orland Park also does. So does Target, Wal-Mart & JC Penny at Ford City Mall!! Just to double check, for store drop-off locations near you, see this site Earth911 directory.

  • At the very least, most stores collect plastic carry out bags (the kind you receive if you forgot your cloth bags). The bin is often located at the entrance or sometimes at the checkout area
  • Most stores collect a wider variety of “plastic film” or “plastic bags and wraps”—like Jewel, Dominick’s, Wal-Mart, Target & Whole Foods—you can recycle any of the following: plastic carryout bags; dry cleaning bags; newspaper bags; bread bags; cereal box liners (plastic bags inside the cardboard box); produce bags; sealable food storage bags (like Zip-loc); wraps from paper products, (diapers, napkins, paper towels, bathroom tissue, and baby wipes); & case wrap from bulk snacks & beverages.
  • Most of these different plastics outlined in bullet 2 are labeled with a #2 or #4 near or inside the recycling symbol on the bag.
  • Make sure plastic bags and wraps are clean and dry (you want them that way for storing at home before bringing them to the store, anyway). No food residue, paint, adhesive or stickers.

Eyeglass Recycling!
Do you have old eyeglasses lying around? Not sure what to do with them? The Lions Club collects used glasses (in one piece or broken) and redistributes them to people in need.

Imagine if you could help a child read. An adult succeed in his job. A senior maintain her independence. And provide a community with more opportunities to grow and thrive. Donate glasses and change someone’s life with the Lions Club.

Visit this site, type in your city (Orland Park has at least 5 sites!) and locate a Lions Club and an eyeglass collection center.

You can also package your old eyeglasses and mail them to one of two locations:

  • Your nearest Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center
  • Lions Clubs International Headquarters
    Attention: Receiving Department
    300 W. 22nd Street
    Oak Brook, IL 60523, USA

And, don’t forget- the Moraine Valley Center for Sustainability is still collecting Frito-Lay Chip Bags, Expo Markers & PaperMate Pens for recycling.

Office L-242 or email sustainability@morainevalley.edu for more information

Local Food…What will it take?

Check out this 5 minute video about making local food in the Chicagoland region a reality for all. There is a potential for not only increased health benefits for individuals, but also a healthier community that includes economic development (jobs).

“Extreme” Is the New Normal

Heat, Flood or Icy Cold, Extreme Weather Rages Worldwide: The growing incidence and intensity of extreme weather events is a sign that climate change is not just about rising temperatures.

This article highlights 2013 weather anomolies only 10 days (at the time of post) into the New Year; it is really quite alarming. Read the full post here.

“China is enduring its coldest winter in nearly 30 years. Brazil is in the grip of a dreadful heat spell. Eastern Russia is so freezing — minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and counting — that the traffic lights recently stopped working in the city of Yakutsk.”

Extreme is the new normal.

“Each year we have extreme weather, but it’s unusual to have so many extreme events around the world at once,” said Omar Baddour, chief of the data management applications division at the World Meteorological Association, in Geneva. “…— it’s already a big year in terms of extreme weather calamity.”

Read the full post here.

A New Record 55.3, Warmest Year Ever

NOAA announced that 2012 was the warmest year on record (see NCDC Announces Warmest Year on Record for Contiguous U.S.). Chicagoland has had a strange winter, and we also had a long drought over the summer, but it is difficult to recognize if we are just having a localized, abnormal year, or if out local weather is connected to larger trends. The NOAA report may suggest that our local weather is impacted by larger trends. Interestingly enough, Fox News has questioned the NOAA report and has given climate skeptics a platform (see Fox News Questions Whether Government Faked Hottest Year On Record Quotes “Skeptic” Blogger Sugges). It is interesting to watch how ideology colors this debate.

More Americans believe & fear Climate Change

The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication & George Mason Univeristy Center for Climate Change Communication released a new report indicating more Americans are beginning to accept climate change as fact, as well as are becoming more fearful of its implications.

Acccording to the new report, Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in September 2012, Americans are more concerned than before about global warming. More and more, they see global warming as threatening to themselves, their families, communities, and believe it is already affecting people in the US and other countries. In fact, their concern is at its highest since November of 2008, with 58 percent of Americans now describing themselves as somewhat or very worried. 76% now say they trust climate scientists as a source of climate change information and 60% also trust the informaiton from TV weather reporters. The report also shows, 54% of Americans agree human activity is a principal cause of global warming, up 8% since March 2012, and, Americans more so recognize there is no longer a debate amongst the scientific community about the reality of climate change.

I for one feel this is promising news…Now to motivate these newly enlightened folks to action! What can you do? Start by learning more for yourself. Check out the EPA’s site on Midwest Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation for a good overview.

Read the full Yale/GMU report here or come find it in the Center for Sustainability (L242)

Leiserowitz, A., Maibach, E., Roser-Renouf, C., Feinberg, G., & Howe, P. (2012) Climate change in the American mind: Americans’ global warming beliefs and attitudes in September, 2012. Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. http://environment.yale.edu/climate/files/Climate-Beliefs-September-2012.pdf

Is Lake Michigan Disappearing?

This story was on Chicago Public Radio this morning. It is a story that should concern all of us. High temps, low rainfalls, low snowfalls, evaporation due to lack of ice, are all taking their toll on the Great Lakes. This is something worth sharing. 

What happens if the water in Lake Michigan keeps disappearing?
Great Lake humbled by record low water levels. Without a turnaround, shipping, fishing, and whole towns are at risk.
By: Lewis Wallace (January 7, 2013)