The challenge this year is to write about something related to climate change and to encourage people to consider what they can do to help.
Over the past few years Micheal and I have begun to take stronger consideration of the environment when it comes to our waste output, particularly as we have been renovating our home. We began recycling last year, mostly because there was a recycling center right down from our house.
We invested in these lovely recycling bins after inspiration from my friend Cassie which can be purchased at Amazon.com for the low price of 54.99 with free shipping.
We love these because they have lids and plenty of space. I encourage you to think about how you could start your own recycling plan. My thinking is start with what is easy and convenient for you. Yes it would be awesome if we could turn into zero-waste producing beings over night, but that is a big goal and I prefer to be realistic. If it just means saving just bottles and cans and taking them once every few weeks to recycle that is a good start.
Here are some resources for recycling in your area:
Shawnee County Recycling
Curbside Recycling in KCK
Curbside Recycling in KCMO
Curbside Recycling in Richmond and surrounding areas
There are also other ways to recycle or reuse materials in your life - I used to work under the "throw it out" mentality when I was no longer using something. When Micheal and I bought this house for both financial and environmental reasons we started changing our thinking - we have started asking "how can I used or save this" as opposed to throwing it out. It really hit me how much we waste things when Micheal and I went to the local refuse station to trash everything we couldn't find a way to reuse and the person across the way from us was throwing away a perfectly fine nursery glider and infant saucer to be crushed and sit in the dump for eternity. Why do we do this?? It takes effort to drive it all the way to the dump, would it take much more effort to drive it to Goodwill or give it away to a friend? List it on craigslist for free?
Here is a partial list of things Micheal and I have been able to reuse or have saved from the landfill during the past few months:
1. Leftover sheetrock from previous owner
2. Saved the 2x4s and wood from a wall we demolished and have used it in several projects
3. Some "oops" wood we were going to use for the front door, saved it and used it in several projects
4. Donated 1 refrigerator, 1 dishwasher, washer and dryer to Community Forklift
5. Gave away 1 refrigerator, a lot of coax cable, 2 satellite dishes, and 3 satellite receivers for free on craigslist
6. Picked up 4 pieces of furniture and approximately 600 bricks for free or nearly free on craigslist
7. Purchased a used sink, cork flooring, a sliding glass door, a used cabinet, some bathroom hardware, recycled tile and a used ladder from Community Forklift
8. Salvaged and refinished all of the trim from our master bedroom
Things we plan to do:
1. Repaint our cabinets
2. Refinish our hardwood floors
3. Sell or give away older light fixtures as we replace them
4. Micheal wants to start a worm composter
5. Bring more natural light in with windows (long term project)
How does this affect climate change you ask? Good question. It's all about air quality, material usage and greenhouse gasses. My layman's non-scientific explanation: as our landfills continue to grow and decompose they release methane gas into the air - which isn't good. :( Additionally trash must be transported to landfills by trucks that release harmful fumes into the air (that black cloud no one wants to breath) or trash is burned again releasing toxins into the air we breath - again, not good for the old lungs or the air quality which is linked to climate change. Trees and plants absorb these greenhouse gasses and by recycling things like paper we can slow the usage of these resources and let them do their job.
Is that the most riveting, scientifically backed argument I can make? Probably not, but it doesn't take much more than common sense to think about how these small steps can help make things better for us and our children. So next time, before you throw something in the trash can take that extra 15 seconds to think if it still has another use, if someone else might be able to use it, or if you can recycle it and keep it from cluttering up the earth.
There, if you've read all of this - then thanks! Go, be good, be happy and think about being green. :)