Friday, December 31, 2010

Stop using plastic yogurt containers today

It is unbelievably easy to make your own yogurt. I made yogurt for the first time last week and now am wondering why I never tried before. There are directions all over the web. It is so easy:
  • Heat milk to 180-185 degrees (use a candy or meat thermometer).
  • Rinse a large glass jar (or a couple of jars) with boiling water.
  • Let milk cool to 110 degrees.
  • Stir in a couple of tablespoons of yogurt, pour into jar(s), and put on a lid.
  • Wrap the jar(s) with towels and place in unheated oven. (I actually turned on the oven to 200 degrees very briefly before putting the yogurt in.)
  • Let it sit for 7 hours (I actually started too late in the day, so I just let it sit until morning: 12 hours. If it went bad, you would quickly smell it.)
  • If it is thickened, then place it in the refrigerator.
We also use local milk, so it is tasty and has less of a carbon footprint. Very easy, and no more plastic containers.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recycle your dead or nearly dead computer (and peripherals)

Dell and Goodwill have partnered to create Reconnect, a residential computer recycling program. You can drop off any brand of used computer equipment in any condition at participating Goodwill donation centers. (From the Hill, the closest one is on South Dakota Ave, but there are many all over town.) From their list, they take: computers, monitors, printers, scanners (even with broken glass), hard drives (erase sensitive data), keyboards, mice, speakers, cords and cables, ink and toner cartridges, software (include license key), Xbox, Zune, and Webcams in any condition. It's free, and you'll get a receipt for tax purposes. Lifehacker has a great list of other groups that recycle old computer stuff. There is no good reason to throw computer stuff in landfills. Someone can use them right now!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Take Recycling to a New Stage (or two)

Every couple of weeks, I take the plastic bags from my Washington Post newspaper over to my neighbor's house. He uses them when he walks his dog. My other neighbor heard about this and connected with someone a block away, who also wanted plastic bags for dog walking. Another neighbor suggested that we also hang a plastic bag dispenser on one of our light poles, so that others could get free, reused bags. (There was one regularly used on 7th and A St SE for years, which many of us kept clean until it was removed when the pole was painted.). The Yahoo group DC-Dog also seems to share plastic bags.

How can we easily share things with others rather than throwing them away? A few weeks ago (see below in an earlier post), a potter on the Hill asked for boxes and bubble wrap to ship her fragile art pieces. I assume that she has received a big pile of these! Someone else on the Hill asked for pumpkins for her new compost pile. What other items could we share with others and keep out of landfills? One can use neighborhood listservs or websites to connect with others interested in your pile of rubber bands, can of crayons, or stack of moving boxes. The new Hill East is a very busy listserv, but DCist lists others all over town.

You can sell or give things away through Craigslist and Freecycle. It might be even easier to set up a freecycle system at work or in your apartment building. World Wildlife Fund in DC has its Junk Mail system, which is an internal listserv where people can post items they want to give away or acquire. Someone asked for old hairbrushes for her horses. Another person posted a new bottle of nail polish. Employees can opt-in or opt-out of the system. It is run by one employee and monitored by another. Once it is set up, it has a life of its own. World Wildlife Fund employees have also organized regular clothes swaps and book exchanges (just an open shelf; uninteresting books are quickly recycled leaving the interesting ones).

You can also ask a store to collect items that either you or the store would recycle. A wine store might collect and recycle wine corks; a hardware store might collect Brita water filters; a Radio Shack might collect batteries. This is how the DC Recycler started.

Or share your tools, appliances, bikes, and other items with your neighbors through NeighborGoods, ShareSomeSugar, or your own neighborhood database. Join the thousands in the Maker Movement ("On a basic level, the movement is about reusing and repairing objects, rather than discarding them to buy more. On a deeper level, it's also a philosophical idea about what ownership really is.") or open a Share Exchange and create new jobs. These days it's easy to take recycling to a new stage and think about how recycling can be a resource to create a new economy, a sustainable job-creating one, rather than bailing out the current waste-creating, non-job-making one.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Can you help the DC Recycler?

Schneider's on the Hill is all set to collect corks. They have a collection box and a recycling company to work with. They just need to find a spot in the store to place the box. In the meantime, I collect corks and take them over to Whole Foods by Metro (I don't have a car and actually don't shop at Whole Foods). It would be so great if Schneider's collected corks since I and many other Hillies are customers there! When you go to Schneider's next, can you say something like, "I hear that you'll be collecting corks for recycling soon. When will this be? Thank you for doing this!" This would really help the DC Recycler out a lot. Thank you!

P.S. Remember that plastic corks are not recyclable and not sustainable environmentally or socially (natural corks maintain a regional economy in the Mediterranean for something like 100,000 workers), so choose wine with natural corks (or twist tops but they aren't recyclable). World Wildlife Fund recommends natural corks. Save the cork forests! Save jobs!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How to get a second recycling bin

We often find that we have so much more recycling than garbage. I got a message about this very issue from Alex up in the Tenleytown area:

I'm new to DC.

Our recycling bin seems to always fill up way faster than our
trash bin. It's one of those mini-supercans, or whatever....
much smaller than the trash can.

How do I get a bigger recycling bin /can? Or at least can I
get two of the small ones? Do I have to pay extra?


The DC Office of Recycling sent me this very helpful response:

The District provides 32 gallon blue carts, and your acquaintance can order a 2nd one, per available stock.

Rest assured our agency appreciates our community's interest in larger recycling receptacles. Both cost and uniformity of service (many homes cannot accommodate larger bins) will be factors in any future changes to the system.

District Residents in city-serviced homes (3 units or less), receiving curbside or alley way collection, can call The Mayor's Citywide Call Center, dialing 311 or 737-4404 (if not phoning from a 202 exchange).

There is no fee to receive an extra recycling bin at this time.

You can find this information on the Department of Public Works website.

Over here on Capitol Hill, we don't have much space for a bigger or second bin, so it might be great someday to have two recycling pick-ups per week and only one trash pick-up. We can always hope, no? Thanks to the DC Office of Recycling for this helpful information!

Update and Corrections on Recycling in DC

For reasons that are unclear to me, the DC Office of Recycling sent me on a tour of the PG County recycling center, rather than the facility that DC uses. So, now, I have to correct many of the statements I made several weeks ago. I am sorry about the confusion, but now we know the truth. Here's the low-down on recycling various items in DC:
  • Toilet paper rolls - yes
  • Ziploc(tm) bags and cellophane are NOT accepted at this time.
  • Aluminum pie trays, aluminum - yes, if clean.
  • Gift Boxes - assuming it's paperboard.
  • Tissue Paper - no, no paper towels, tissues, napkins, or gift wrap tissue.
  • Pizza boxes - no.
  • No service in our region processing commingled or single stream recyclables (bottles/cans/paper) currently takes expanded polystyrene (e.g. Styrofoam(r)) or clam shells, (e.g. transparent buffet/salad vessels and/or vacuum-molded, retail plastic display packaging) to my knowledge. Reusable food containers (e.g. Tupperware(r)) would be the ideal.
  • Garden Hoses - The DC Office of Recycling called to verify this, and two separate representative of Richie's Land Reclamation, LLP, claim they have no knowledge of any related policy. They suggest visiting reuse stores (ReStore, Loading Dock, Community Forklift).
  • Car Batteries - should go automobile parts retailers for credit.
  • Hazardous Waste - see the DPW website for restrictions (e.g. munitions go to Metro Police Dept.)
  • Needles - There is NO municipal collection.  Available options are either returning them via your own health-care provider, or encasing them in a well-sealed, well-labeled, rigid, plastic container before placing them with your solid waste.
  • In contrast to PG County, DC prefers residents to follow a "when it doubt, leave it out" policy.
Thanks to the DC Office of Recycling for this clarification!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bamboo Computer Mouse

About four months ago, the right button on my computer mouse stopped working. I had some idea that I wanted to buy a more environmentally friendly mouse, but I didn't know what that might mean. I wanted to get the cork mouse, since cork is a reusable and sustainable material and the cork mouse doesn't use any electricity or batteries! Yet, it seems unavailable to regular humans. So, I just got a bamboo mouse. Aside from its energy wasting blue light, the bamboo mouse is great, sturdy and smooth. They also sell bamboo keyboards. More products made from sustainable, environmentally friendly materials!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Recycle your bubble wrap, peanuts, foam, boxes!

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 14:52:11 +0000
Subject: [newhilleast] Get rid of your bubble wrap, peanuts and other unwanted packaging

I'm a local potter who needs bubble wrap and other packaging for safely shipping my fragile pieces. If you have bubble wrap, peanuts, foam and/or small to medium-sized (10" to 20")sturdy boxes and would like to see them reused, you can drop them off at 558 14th Street SE. I can be reached at 546-7990.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Recycle your Capitol Hill Pumpkins (and bales of hay)

From: "idfordani"
Date: November 12, 2010 5:43:01 PM EST
Subject: [freecycledc] WANTED: Pumpkins - carved or not (Capitol Hill or nearby)

Don't send your halloween pumpkins to the landfill! I will pick up your pumpkins and put them to good use. Carved pumpkins will be composted and uncarved pumpkins will be cooked and the unedible portions composted. I'm trying to repair a badly damaged garden and need lots of organic material. I will also take those decorative bales of hay or almost any other organic matter you plan to toss.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Celebrate GREEN Friday at Community Forklift

On Nov. 26th-28th, Community Forklift invites you to celebrate GREEN Friday instead of Black Friday. At the holidays, shouldn't you be celebrating peace, family, and friends, not wasting money on plastic junk from chain stores? Well, this year is your chance to break the Black Friday habit, and choose community instead of commercialism. At Green Friday, you don't have to spend much to have a great time!

* Enjoy cider and chances to win door prizes.

* Adults & children are invited to make their own holiday gifts, wrapping paper, and cards in Santa's Workshop (11am - 6pm, Fri, Sat, & Sun).

* The Face Paint Lady will be here! (12-3 Saturday, and 1-3 Sunday, $5/face).

* If you can't resist the urge to buy something, stop by on Friday. From 9-6 on Nov. 26, all orange-tag renovation materials and hardware will be 25% off. Also, all white-tag antiques and architectural items in the Salvage Arts department will be 10% off.

Community Forklift also recommends: 1) the Center for a New American Dream website, which has fantastic ideas for simplifying the holidays and 2) their Green Gift Extravaganza! From now through Dec. 24th at Community Forklift, find beautiful presents from crafters, artisans, and woodworkers. These gifts are made from reclaimed materials, are related to home improvement, or are made by local artists or Fair Trade co-ops.

Community Forklift is the DC area's largest thrift store for building materials. Everyone receives a tax deduction for donating renovation leftovers, building and landscaping materials, tools, hardware, and architectural salvage. Then, Community Forklift makes these items available to the public at very low cost - prices are up to 80% below the big box stores. Community Forklift aims to lift up local communities by creating green jobs, reducing waste and energy use, and making repairs more affordable for homeowners, low-income families, historic restoration folks, small businesses, and nonprofits. They are in Edmonston, MD, off of Bladensburg Road and right outside the Northeast DC line. For directions or more info, visit the Community Forklift website.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Join the Soda Club and Get Rid of Plastic Water Bottles

Join the Soda Club! Yes, you can make your own fizzy water at home and recycle the carbonators at Hill's Kitchen, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other stores. Just put in your zip code into their store locator. As is well known, bottled water is not safer than tap water, is a waste of money, and is bad for the environment. According to the US Recycling Institute, more than 80% of bottles in the US do not get recycled and end up in landfills. Also, millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions are produced in the process of replacing the billions of bottles and cans not recycled. Make certain to ask the store which carbonators they recycle since there are different sizes. Say goodbye to bottled water!

Update: I just check with Leah at Hill's Kitchen. She said, "Yes! We do the exchanges on both sizes of canisters. Best item of the year! I love the machines!" It's so easy to join the Soda Club!

Help Improve Airline Recycling

The great Green America (formerly known as Coop America) has asked everyone to talk with flight attendants on their flights to find out about each airline's recycling practices, and then tell Green America what they say via our short online survey. It is a really short survey, so it is really easy to do and will help them for their next report on airline recycling. Airlines have widely differing practices, and some flight attendants even take it upon themselves to recycle. So, help everyone figure out what the practices are and how the airlines might improve their recycling.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tube-Less Toilet Paper

Recycling Pal Jonathan told me that Scott toilet paper is now selling one version of their product without tubes, which means a potential end to the 17 billion toilet paper tubes produced annually in the USA (accounting for 160 million pounds of trash) and usually thrown away. While you can recycle these tubes, it's even better if they are never made. Jonathan writes, "I think this is great! I'm going to write a couple of different earth-friendly companies to request they do the same. pass it along!" Will do!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The DC Recycler and Recycling Pal Andrew visited the PG County recycling facility for a tour. The tour definitely exceeded all expectations. It was so interesting and so helpful for understanding the recycling process. We definitely recommend the tour.

Kourtney started us out with an explanation of all the different items that could be recycled. Some interesting things we learned:

1) You can recycle toilet paper rolls, (cellophane) plastic wrap, ziplock bags, foil, aluminum pie trays, gift boxes, tissue paper, etc.

2) You can remove the labels from tin cans and recycle them. Otherwise, the labels are burned.

3) Plastic lids are not generally recyclable, so try to find other kinds of lids, such as metal lids or aluminum foil.

4) Avoid clam shell plastic and styrofoam. Neither can be recycled. Try to find some alternative. At a salad bar, a plate would be better than using those covered containers.

5) If you have doubts about whether an item can be recycled, feel free to recycle it anyway. However, garden hoses should be recycled through Richie's Land Reclamation. Car batteries, needles, and other hazardous waste should go to hazardous waste recycling.

Mike then showed us the recycling machines. The process starts when the recycling trucks dump recycling in a big pile on the "tip floor," which is a covered building open to recycling trucks. A loader picks up the recycling and puts it in a metal box that leads to the conveyor belt that goes inside the center. 50-60 trucks drop off recycling at the center each day. They process 35 tons of recycling per hour; 500-600 tons per day. Interestingly, August and September bring the most recycling.

Now, the sorting process begins. About 95% of the sorting is done by machines. Some of the 55 center employees do sorting at the various conveyor belts during two work shifts. The employees immediately pull large items and plastic bags off the belts to keep them out of the gears and put them in recycling bins. The machines have a series of screens that allow certain items to float up over them (like cardboard or paper) and heavier items (like cans) to drop below. Cardboard wet from the rain can't make it through this process, so it has to be set aside to try and put through again. If your cardboard gets wet, let it dry and then recycle it. At each stage, there are 1-3 employees pulling various items off the belts, such as plastic bags or items that missed the screen. They even use optical scanners to identify plastic bottles and blow bursts of air at them to send them into the correct screen.

The sorted items are then put into balers that create bales of each sorted item: cardboard, paper, aluminum, steel, tin, glass, plastic containers, and plastic film (plastic bags). These items are delivered to the company, which has bought the materials to produce something new. In the end, about 6-7% is waste that can't be recycled. Much less than I had expected.

We learned that the PG County area used to have 75 landfills, but now has 31. They can't build new landfills, so they need to recycle. Also, the PG Country recycling center is business that seeks to make money and seeks to recycle everything it can. It's money for the taxpayers, resources for businesses, and one way to keep trash out of the environment. A great deal for everyone.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Compost at Common Good City Farm

Common Good City Farm is an urban farm right in the center of DC (on V St. between 2nd and 4th St, NW). Of the many things they do, they collect food scraps for composting. The farm is getting ready to close for the year, but they will still collect food scraps once a week. If you’re interested, please register for food-scrap drop-off on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-7:30 by emailing Registration is important so they know to expect you in the cold!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What the DC Recycler learned from the Recycling Depot Tour

The tour of the PG County recycling depot was fascinating. Really! We got to see all the stages of the recycling process. Here are some of the most surprising aspects:

1) You don't have to clean items before recycling them. Yes, the recycling depot has huge machines, which can deal with clean or unclean items. The only reason to clean items is if you feel that the food might attract pests around your recycling bin. Also, cleaning your items helps reduce pests and smells at the recycling depot too, but still the recycling depot does not need the items cleaned beforehand.

2) The recycling depot is a business; they want to recycle and make money. The depot makes money through recycling and thus tries to recycle everything it receives.

3) Please do not recycle garden hoses. They wrap around the machines and cause damage. Garden hoses should be recycled through Richie's Land Reclamation. Also, while we were there, a worker pulled out a car battery from the recycling. Car batteries can't be recycled through regular curb-side recycling, but they can be recycled through DC hazardous waste recycling.

4) Please bag your bags. Plastic bags of all sorts (grocery bags, candy bags, cellophane, etc.) are recyclable, but they have to be pulled off the conveyor belts right at the beginning. Otherwise, they will wrap around the machinery and cause mayhem. So, put all your bags into another bag. Alternatively, you can recycle your bags through the grocery stores. However, aside from bagging your bags, please don't bag your recycling. Of course, the best thing is to avoid plastic bags altogether.

I'll write more about the tour soon.

Leaf Recycling: Rake or Use Paper Bags (not Plastic Bags)

The DC Department of Public Works is ready to deploy 200 employees Monday, November 8, 2010 to start collecting leaves. Leaf collection season runs through January 15, 2011, and every neighborhood in the District will have its leaves collected. For two and a half months, DPW crews work six days a week, including Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day, across the District.

Just rake your leaves into the tree box outside your place the weekend before your street's collection. To find out when your leaves will be collected, see the leaf collection schedule. If you want to bag your leaves with paper bags like those from Home Depot, DC will recycle them and use them for compost. DC strongly discourages the use of plastic bags. Plastic bags will damage the equipment.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Have any questions for the recycling officials?

I'll be talking with the DC recycling depot on Thursday. Do you have questions about recycling that you haven't had answered? Let me know!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The DC Recycler soon to visit DC's Recycling Depot!

Yes, on Nov. 4th, the DC Recycler will visit DC's recycling depot. I'll try to get some more detailed answers about recycling. Let me know if you have any recycling questions that you would like answered.

Monday, October 25, 2010

When does DC collect and compost leaves?

*Correction*: If you do bag your leaves, please use paper bags. The leaves will still be composted. Plastic bags damage their equipment.

The DC government has set up their leaf collection schedule. For SE Capitol Hill, for example, leaves will be collected starting November 22nd. For NE Capitol Hill, leaves will be collecting starting November 8th. All you do is rake your leaves into the treebox near your place the Sunday before the first pick up. You can also bag your leaves and put them in the treebox or next to your trash; HOWEVER, the DC government website says that bagged leaves will be disposed in the trash. Therefore, I suggest that you just rake your leaves into the treebox, so that they can be composted. Alternatively, you could bag the leaves and then the Sunday before you could put unbag them, placing them in your treebox. It's great to keep leaves out of the landfills and to make them into useful compost.

Our Recycling Pal Cathy's Report on Recycling by Mail

Hey folks,

I spent a great couple of hours at the DC GreenFest today. For the record, I'm still mad at Ralph Nader, so I did not stop by to say hi. Now that I got that off my chest, one of the great things I learned is that of all things, the US Postal Service is going green! They are currently piloting a program that allows you to send old cell phones, PDAs, Smartphones, MP3s, digital cameras, and ink jet cartridges off to a techno trash center in MI for free. While it's always better to reuse these items, sometimes you can't. There are special plastic pouches that the post office is using to mail these items...and there is no postage necessary. The pouches are currently available at some 11,000 POs nationwide...and they hope to have them in all soon. At the destination, these items are sorted then disposed of properly (buried, I believe) here in the US (vs being shipped off to some developing country).

They have a whole "green" portion of their website now. They're also offering "cradle to cradle certified" packaging. Yours truly will be contacting my forest folk to see how that compares to FSC and will report back. Sadly, they did not have any real tips on reducing junk mail or those annoying flyers that come with no address in our mail every week. You can go to Catalog Choice and sign up to receive only those catalogs you really want to get.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Where can I recycle mattresses, basic housewares, etc.?

A Wider Circle provides basic need items to families transitioning out of shelters or simply living without life’s necessities. They furnish the homes of more than 1,000 children and adults every single month, all free of charge. They also go into low-income schools and shelters to lead educational workshops on topics ranging from healthy self-esteem and stress management to resume writing and financial planning.

The following items are on their wish list. The wish list also lists further items and items that they don't need.
*Beds (mattresses without rips or stains, box springs, frames)
*Cribs, changing tables, strollers, high chairs, and other baby items
*Kitchen tables and sets of chairs
*Sofas and living room chairs (in very good conditions without rips or stains)
*End tables, coffee tables, and lamps (with shades)
*TVs (with remote if available)
*Kitchen items (sets of dishes, silverware, pots & pans, toasters, microwaves)
*Fans/AC units (clean and in good working order)
*Sheets and towels
*Healthy non-perishable food & new personal care and cleaning supplies
*Grocery gift cards

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Message from our Recycling Pal Cathy

Hey Folks,

I'm going solar. Between DC and Fed rebates, I should make up the cost of the system in the first year. AND, the installation company gets all the permits I need (even for the Historic District); agrees to remove and reinstall my panels should I need to redo my roof in the next 10 years...and will even move my panels to a new home in the District should I move to a qualifying home in the next 10 years. I never thought I'd be my own power company! There's a solar fair on the Hill on Saturday. Should be interesting. Pass the info along...and hope to see y'all there!


Thanks, Cathy, for your message! For more info on solar panels in DC, see the Capitol Hill Energy Coop.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to recycle old technologies?

We can always recycle old technologies through the weekly DC E-Cycling Drop-Off. However, it is even better to pass those items off to someone who might still want them. My neighbor Daphne is getting rid of her slide projector and wrote me:

"I have been finding people who want slide sleeves. One great source is coin collectors for they use slide sleeves for their coins. I have given a bunch of mine to a retirement community's coin club for their members."

This innovative thinking is great. If the technology is still usable, you can sell it or give it away on Ebay, Craigslist, Freecycle, or one of the more specialized tech recyclers like Gazelle or BuyMyTronics. Reuse or recycle: it's all good.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Capitol Hill Solar Hour Tour on Oct. 16th

Capitol Hill Solar & Sustainable Home Fair & Tour (aka The Capitol Hill Solar House Tour) is on Saturday, October 16th. Talk to Hill residents who went solar and tour solar and sustainable homes. Also learn about wind power, geothermal, organic cleaning, weatherization, green roofs, rain gardens; see electric scooter and car. More than 30 vendors on hand to explain the ins and outs of solar panels and discuss green products. Fair--10:00am to 2:00pm at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol Street, NE, Washington; Tour--Noon to 4:00pm. Tour map and guide are $5 per family. Advanced purchase available through web or at Frager’s Hardware (1101 Pennsylvania Ave SE), Hill’s Kitchen (713 D St SE), Riverby Books (417 E Capitol St SE), or Coldwell-Banker (605 Penn Ave SE). Guides will also be available at Eastern Market October 9-10.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Green Festival is coming to DC!

The Green Festival was great last year and promises to be great this year. I learned so much last year. This year it will take place on Oct. 23-24 at the Convention Center.

"Enjoy more than 125 renowned authors, leaders and educators; great how-to workshops; cutting-edge films; fun activities for kids; organic beer and wine; delicious vegetarian cuisine and diverse live music. Shop in our unique marketplace of more than 350 eco-friendly businesses—everything from all-natural body care products and organic cotton clothing to Fair Trade gifts and beautiful kitchen tiles made from renewable resources. See the most recent developments in renewable energy and green technology; sample Fair Trade chocolate and coffee (yes, they really do taste better); and learn how to invest in your community, green your home and avoid products made in sweatshops."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stop Using Coffee Filters

We just bought this great Frieling French press coffee maker so that we didn't have to buy (and throw away) any more filters and because it is 100% plastic-free. It is made completely of stainless steel. So, it won't break like a glass French press might. As an added bonus, the coffee tastes much better, as compared to our regular coffee maker. I highly recommend it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Letter from our Recycling Pal Cathy

Dear DC Recycler,

I'm writing to sing the praises of my latest recycling find in the DC area, Community Forklift. I'm expanding my house that was built in 1883, and I wanted to find flooring and doors that matched the originals. Community Forklift was my answer. I was able to find both red oak and pine flooring that had been removed from another house. They also have a large selection of doors (interior and exterior), sinks, cabinets, tiles, light fixtures, etc, etc. They also have partial slabs of marble, slate and quartz. Community Forklift has successfully completed Co-op America's screening process for socially and environmentally responsible green businesses?. They are now listed in the National Green Pages directory!

Community Forklift doesn't only deal with vintage items. AND, they are a project of Sustainable Community Initiatives (SCI), a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation so you can also donate your surplus goods (and money!) to them and receive a tax deduction for your donation.

Community Forklift offers three types of materials:

Surplus materials are new, sometimes still in the original packaging. Homeowners, contractors, or manufacturers donate them due to changes in project plans, excess materials, ordering mistakes, minor flaws, or discontinued brands.

Salvaged materials have been used, and still have useful life left in them. Most of their salvaged items come from remodeling projects. Many also come from Deconstruction Services, a company that takes buildings apart carefully rather than bulldozing them. Deconstruction is a growing industry that creates jobs and conserves natural resources, and it can cost the same or less than traditional demolition. Their inventory changes every day, but they usually have cabinets, radiators, lumber, trim, flooring, plumbing fixtures, paint, glass, doors, windows, lighting, appliances, HVAC, landscaping materials, and more!

New Green Materials are environmentally friendly items. They also carry Nature Neutral products, including recycled cotton insulation, low VOC and low odor paints and sealants, and sustainably harvested lumber. They contain significantly fewer toxins and cause less pollution, so they better for your health and our world.

While I love Community Forklift, you need to know what you want. They don't have the staff to help you plan your project or even really help you figure out how much of an item you may need. Still, it's a great concept and a business worth supporting in the DC area.

Best to you!
Your recycling pal, Cathy

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The DC Recycler has returned

Yes, the DC Recycler was away revising her book (on neoliberalism, economics, and socialism). The book went to the press on Monday. So, now the DC Recycler can return to the world of recycling. On Tuesday, she picked up Brita water filters at Hill's Kitchen and corks at Hayden's Liquor. Remember, it's best not to buy wine with plastic corks. Choose wines that use natural cork or twist tops. Natural corks are supporting an entire sustainable industry in the Mediterranean.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Recycle your old appliances on 7/24

Pepco is hosting its first-ever D.C. “Appliance Swap” on July 24 at the Home Depot on Rhode Island Ave. Customers can bring in old, inefficient appliances that Pepco will safely recycle or dispose of at no cost to the customer. Pepco will also be handing out applications for and information about available rebates on the purchase of certain ENERGY STAR ® qualified appliances.

During the event, Pepco will announce the winners of its $5,000 D.C. Appliance Rebates Sweepstakes. Each winner will receive a $1,000 Home Depot ® gift card towards the purchase of new, more efficient appliances.

For a limited time, Pepco customers in the District can receive rebates:
· $50 rebates for ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerators,
· $25 rebates for ENERGY STAR® qualified room air conditioners, and
· $20 rebates for electric water heaters w/energy factor of 0.93 or greater.
Customers also can also take advantage of instant discounts on high-efficiency compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Customers can save $1.50 on single bulbs and $3 on multipacks when shopping at participating retail locations throughout the District.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Recycle Used Medical Equipment

Your ReSource is a not for profit that collects used home medical equipment from individuals who no longer need it, refurbishes the equipment and makes it available to people who need it at low cost or no cost. Last year they re-directed over 25 tons of used medical equipment from the landfill to people who need.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Save a tree, buy cork!

After several days seeing cork trees and cork products around Lisbon, the DC Recycler has become a convert to cork. Cork today can replace leather, plastic, and wood. Portuguese companies, like Pelcor and Artelusa , use cork to make umbrellas, backpacks, fashionable bags, wallets, hats, belts, notebook covers, and so on. Cork can also be used for insulation, and it repels water, sound, and heat/cold. It can be recycled and helps to save jobs and the environment in Portugal and elsewhere. 100,000 jobs in the Mediterranean rely on cork production. Buy wines with natural cork stoppers (no more plastic corks!) and recycle the cork. Save a tree and jobs, buy cork!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DC Recycler Foreign Correspondent to visit Cork Forest

Yes, the DC Recycler is taking the show on the road, to a cork forest outside Lisbon, Portugal. The DC Recycler will be reporting LIVE from the Alentejo region, which has, as I have been told, the largest cork forests in the world.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Where can I recycle my mixed casette tapes?

Flying Squirrel Pizza in Seattle is striving to to have the biggest collection of custom made mix tapes on their walls. Totally awesome!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Anthropologists Talk about Recycling of Textiles

Yes, it is true. There is an entire conference on Recycling Textile Technologies at UCL. It's part of a pretty interesting looking research program called The Waste of the World.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Common Good City Farm is collecting kitchen scraps for compost

By popular demand, Common Good City Farm, on V Street NW between 2nd and 4th Streets NW, has started its "Common Good Compost Program." The Compost Program allows you to drop off your organic kitchen scraps (no meat or dairy) at Common Good City Farm during Farm Hours. If you want to bring your scraps, there are a few pieces of protocol that need to be followed closely. Whether or not you take part in the compost program, visit the farm. It's a great place!

Let your favorite wine/liquor store know about ReCork

Yesterday, I wrote an email to my favorite wine store, Schneider's here on Capitol Hill, to ask them whether they were considering collecting wine corks for recycling. They said that they hadn't heard about the cork recycling programs and they were going to look into it. Talk with your favorite wine/liquor store about cork recycling. There are great programs. Here's my letter to give you some ideas.

I regularly benefit from your great store. I was wondering whether Schneider's was thinking about collecting corks for recycling. Cork and Fork (with a new NW location) collects corks for recycling:

Whole Foods does too. These stores generally work through ReCork:

ReCork and other organizations are turning cork into shoes, floor tiles, etc. Also, by having people recycle natural cork, they will likely buy wines with natural cork and help support the sustainable cork business in the Mediterranean (supporting 100,000 jobs).

World Wildlife Fund is encouraging us to do this:

It seems relatively easy to be a collection partner with ReCork:

I just wanted to let you know about this, but you probably already know all about it. Thanks for considering it!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Recycle your Brita water filters at Whole Foods

Whole Foods stores across the region are recycling Brita water filters and other #5 plastics through the Preserve Gimme 5 program. You can also mail your plastics to Preserve Gimme 5. These plastics are turned into toothbrushes, razors, tongue cleaners, park benches, decks, etc.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The easiest and most effective environmental action: Sign up for wind power

Yes, the easiest and most effective thing you can do TODAY for the planet is sign up for 100% wind power through your electric company. When you do this, they have to buy wind power, which means that they don't have as much money to buy coal plants. It's really easy. For those in DC, MD, and VA:

1) Go to this form.

2) Fill out the form (with your electric account number on hand).

Totally easy! More info can be found at Clean Currents. Also wind energy rates are LOWER than Pepco and BGE Maryland Residential Rates. I looked at the actual Pepco rate schedules, which are rather confusing, but wind is 10.8 cents/kwh, while the standard rate is definitely above 10 cents/kwh (unclear by how much). In any case, the environmental benefits are huge, so switch now.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Amazing Recycling Factoid

Did you know that recycling one ton of paper saves 3700 pounds of lumber and 24,000 gallons of water? Please recycle.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

NW Cork Recycling Drop-Off Location!

Heads Up! Cork & Fork stores in MD, VA, and DC (DC address: 1522 14th street NW) are now cork recycling drop-off centers, working in collaboration with ReCork America. It seems that the DC store will open on May 8th. Of course, Whole Foods is also collecting corks. Start collecting natural corks and bring them in! Natural cork is being turned into shoes, floor and wall tile, etc. Be part of the cork recycling movement!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Has recycling gone too far? No

Today's Examiner has an article that argues that recycling has gone too far and that counties are wasting money on recycling. The article has rather strange views on the goals of recycling. To the author of the article, it seems that people recycle because it makes them feel good, because they want to hit certain recycling targets (like recycling 50% of waste), and because it is politically unpopular to build new landfills. Aside from recycling aluminum and white office paper, it seems that there is no environmental or economical reason to recycle.

This article is so old fashioned and contradicts other ideals of the right-wing, such as its support of the market. It is rather strange that The Examiner would make such an argument against recycling, since recycling is a huge, expanding business. There is a market for these items. Why is there a market? Because recycling provides raw materials for production at a good price. The article makes it seem as if the items were being taken to a recycling center and then stored there in pretty green boxes, when, in fact, the items are sold often on the global market. The real question to ask is whether there is an adequate market for certain recycled items. Many businesses have created new products that use recycled materials because these materials are cheaper than buying new and because many consumers are looking for such items, such as partially or completely recycled printer paper. Municipal and country governments across the country are helping to create these new markets. Thus, new markets for recycled materials are being created all the time. In addition, many communities do not have enough space for new landfills. Maybe they are densely populated? Maybe they would rather have parks or new houses? Would hauling garbage to far-away landfills be better than recycling? Maybe they have been forced to expand recycling because they do not see any other solution?

The right wing is ideologically "pro-business," but does not seem to have much contact with real businesses and their new trends. Stuck in old ways of thinking...

Happy Earth Day!!

From Writer's Almanac (accompanying a great, surreal poem about the telephone):

Today is Earth Day. And it's also the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day — held on this day in 1970 and widely considered to the birth of the modern environmental movement.

Earth Day's founder was a senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson. His goal was to force environmental issues onto the national agenda. Before 1970, stories about the environment were almost never reported. One Earth Day organizer said that back then, "Environment was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news."

In 1969, an oil pipe ruptured just off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, causing 200,000 gallons of crude oil to burst forth and then slowly leak out and spread over an 800-square-mile slick. It took 11 days to plug the hole. The oil poisoned seals and dolphins, whose corpses washed up onto California beaches, and it killed thousands of seabirds as well. Senator Nelson visited the site of the enormous ecological disaster and was outraged that nobody in Washington seemed to be concerned about the great devastation to the natural environment. And then he realized that many people simply didn't really know.

So he proposed a national "teach-in," an event to take place on universities campuses around the nation, one that would educate the public, raise awareness on environmental issues, and make politicians pay attention to these things, so that they would make laws to protect the environment in order to, as he said, "stem the tide of environmental disaster."

He saw how successful the anti-war protestors were at getting media coverage — and therefore, making politicians take notice — and he decided to base his campaign for environmental awareness on their model. He also hoped to infuse the same student anti-war energy into the environmental cause. He proposed setting aside one day a year as a national day of observance about environmental problems. The New York Times picked up the story in late September 1969, a great boon to the grassroots organizers of the campaign, who had no Internet to spread the word.

At first, Senator Nelson called it National Environment Teach-In Day, but his friend, a New York advertising executive suggested "Earth Day," especially catchy since it rhymes with "birthday," and that's what the press began to call it. Historian Adam Rome has called Earth Day the "most famous unknown event in modern American history."

About 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. They gathered at assemblies in high school gyms, at university plazas, in suburban city parks. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Gaylord Nelson had graduated from law school, people met up at 4:45 a.m. for an "Earth Service," where, according to one report, they "greeted the sunrise with a Sanskrit invocation and read together from Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Thoreau, and the Bible." Girl Scouts distributed pamphlets that Wisconsin grad students had written, which gave household tips for helping to preserve the environment. Tens of thousands met up in Philadelphia's Fairmont Park — and stayed there for days — and 100,000 streamed into Fifth Avenue in New York City. People celebrated spring weather and gave impassioned political speeches about environmental issues.

Though unstructured and somewhat incohesive, Earth Day was hugely successful. Environmental issues found a prominent place on the political agenda. Earth Day in April 1970 helped lead to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency by the end of that year (the EPA was created December 2, 1970), as well as to the passage of legislation like the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What is the most recycled product in the US??

According to Scientific America (via Treehugger): "It's not aluminum cans--only half are recycled. Or even office paper, at more than 70 percent. It's the lead acid batteries from your car. More than 99 percent of such batteries wind up recycled, keeping toxic lead out of landfills and waterways." More than 99%! Metals are reclaimed from the batteries. However, do we understand where this recycling is done and under what conditions?

Wow! Earth Day Photo

Wow! In honor of Earth Day on Thursday, the International League of Conservation Photographers has chosen the top 40 nature photos.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Whole Foods is E-Cycling on 4/17

All the Whole Foods stores in the DC/VA/MD are collecting electronics for recycling on Saturday. The first region-wide Whole Foods Market E-Cycling event in January was able to collect and divert over 169,000 lbs of e-waste from landfills for recycling. This time, the retailer is working to continue this mission and raise awareness that some of the most precious resources on our planet are 100% recyclable and reclaimable. So, bring your electronics (and your natural wine corks) to any Whole Foods on 4/17!

List of acceptable items include:
· Desktop computers, keyboards and mice
· Laptop computers
· Mainframe computer systems
· Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) and monitors
· Modems and telephone boards
· Hard drives, floppy drives and CD ROMs
· Phones, fax machines and telecommunications hardware
· Printers
· Computer boards, CPUs and memory chips, circuit boards
· Connecting wires and cables
**Note: TVs and batteries are not accepted
**Any hard drives in computers will be removed, scrubbed, and destroyed by Esquire Environmental after collection.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

DC Whole Foods is recycling cork, compost, etc.

Taken your natural wine corks to the P Street Whole Foods (to the Wine Section), where they are recycling them through Cork ReHarvest. They also collect #5 plastics (Brita water filters, yogurt type containers), compost, and gently used clothing. Whole Foods sends the #5 plastics to Preserve, which uses them to make recycled household products including toothbrushes, razors, tableware, and kitchen products.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mysterious bag of corks

A mysterious Mexican woven bag full of corks arrived on our front porch yesterday. Thanks to the mysterious collector!

Earth Day is coming soon! (4/22)

Everyone is welcome to these free events around the Hill and DC:

*Global Days of Service, 4/17-4/18
*Library of Congress, "Green Office" Earth Day celebration, 4/21 @ 1:30-4pm. Learn about new ways to green your office.
*Change the Climate Rally, the Mall, 4/25
*Anacostia River Clean-up, 4/25
*EPA video contest, make your own video and send it to EPA
*Billion Acts of Green website, register your Act of Green, anytime

I just added my own act of green -- I will blog about recycling -- to the Billion Acts of Green website. I am about #5,062,762!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Making money from cardboard

Did you know that George Mason University Recycling and Waste Management recycled 325,120 lbs. of cardboard in 2009, which generated $3,307.91 of revenue?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

How can I tell which wines have natural cork?

My colleague asked me that question. While we happen to know a DC artist who wants plastic corks, plastic corks generally can't be recycled. It seems that one could recycle plastic corks in the regular recycling, but DC government does not list plastic corks as recyclable. Natural corks can be REUSED (even better!) and help to support the cork industry in the Mediterranean. I realized while sorting the natural and plastic corks that I could actually make a list of wines that usually have plastic corks and thus could be avoided. Here are wines that have plastic corks (and a photo of some of picturesque corks collected by Hayden's on the Hill):

Bella Sera
Ecco Domani
Eden Valley
Fat Bastard
Georges Duboeuf
Turning Leaf
Trinity Oaks

On the other hand, there are lots and lots of other wines that have natural corks. According to Green Yes, E&J Gallo, which having previously used almost no natural cork, now seal tens of millions of bottles with them. Some 370,000 acres of new forest has been planted over the last 20 years. So, consumers can help expand the sustainable natural cork economy, reuse corks, and decrease plastics that end up in the landfill. If you like a wine on the list, ask the winery to change to screwcaps or natural cork. Maybe they will change their ways. E&J Gallo did!

Post bags III (and corks)

Every time I walk past the bag bin at 7th and A St SE (see photo below), I see new bags in and old bags gone, so people are really using the bags. Try it out. Put a few of your Post bags and see what happens. My neighbor Dan just asked me for more Post bags, so you might ask a neighbor whether they want your bags.

On the cork front, I just got a huge bag of corks from Hayden's. Keep bringing your corks (natural and plastic) to Hayden's because the DC artist and the Missouri cork tile company need them. Also, if you can, try to use natural corks because World Wildlife Fund is asking us to support the natural cork industry in the Mediterranean -- it's good for workers, their economy, and the cork trees (see discussion in previous post). Power to the natural corks and the Mediterranean workers!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Post bags II (and the Scoop)

There is a bin for collecting used bags, including Post bags, at 7th and A St SE! Some people might think about putting up similar bins in the parks where dogs go. I think that bags shouldn't be put in other bags, but rather should be put in the bin individually. In any case, I'm giving my bags to my neighbor Dan. Other neighbors said that they would gladly take the bags too. Ask around and see if someone wants your bags.

One cold night, I went around to the various parks and found that kind souls provided new bags for dog owners.
What about creating a bin for used Post and other small bags? Of course, there is always another alternative, reported by Mr. Green: "If you are connected to a municipal sewage treatment plant, an alternative to sending dung to the dump is to buy a pooper scooper (or fashion your own by cutting out the bottom and part of the sides of a plastic jug to make it into a scooper). Scoop up the dog excrement, take it home, and flush it down the toilet." Well, that's all I'm going to say about bags and dogs! For now, maybe just more bins for used Post and other small bags?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Did you receive an Examiner newspaper on Sunday?

The Hill was strewn with hundreds (thousands?) of Examiner newspapers in plastic bags on Sunday. They do this at least once per year. This is not only an eyesore, but also an environmental waste and a security issue: want to know who isn't home? see who still has an Examiner outside their door. Is it legal for the Examiner to do this mass delivery? If they had to mail the newspaper, then they would at least have to consider the cost of delivery involved. The taxpayers have to think about the costs of disposal involved. Please feel free to email our council member Tommy Wells ( and let him know your opinion about this. While we're at it, what about the load of garbage (ads) that is delivered each week through my mail slot and goes right into the recycling bin. While I know that ads are funding the USPS, these ads are a sign of complete disregard for the environment and the taxpayer. These ads are the spam of the old mail system. Email spam can be blocked from my inbox. What can we do to stop old school spam?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Buying used is green

According to the NYT, eBay has started promoting the green benefits of buying used. Ebay calculated that purchasing a used leather handbag, for example, saves energy equivalent to a flight from London to Paris. Whatever you think about these calculations, it is true that reusing keeps items out of landfills and saves on production energy and costs. The Post yesterday reported on Anne Arundel County business owner Chris Chapman, who makes a pretty penny selling used ski equipment -- skis, boots, bindings, socks and other stuff -- mostly on eBay, but also through and his own website. How many of us need new skis, bikes, tennis rackets, etc., when used items would be just as good? Our neighbor Cathy recently picked up a used ipod and cross-country skis, which she used during the snowpocalyse. Some places to start: eBay, Craigslist, and Freecycle. Of course, some items are even better used, like this bike or this El Camino...
Thanks to Andrew for his reusing input.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Recycle old thermostats

Well, I haven't had many thermostats in my time, but now one can easily recycle thermostats at Frager's and other locations around DC. There is a big push to keep mercury out of the environment, which has led to the creation of collection points around the country organized by the Thermostat Recycling Corporation. Check the TRC or Earth911 websites for locations. Thanks to Cathy on her recycling reconnaissance.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Post Subscribers: Reuse your bags

After years of getting the Post and recycling the daily plastic bags, I finally realized that I could "donate" these bags to my neighbors with dogs. Some dog owners prefer to use biodegradable bags, but they might not realize that these biodegradable bags don't actually degrade in landfills and require specific kinds of composting, so it is no worse to reuse plastic bags. The bag tax has decreased the number of plastic bags that dog owners could reuse. In spite of these trends, Post subscribers (and their plastic bags) are plentiful on Capitol Hill! Some alternatives are:

1) Post subscribers can give your bags regularly to a neighbor with a dog.
2) Post subscribers can drop off your bags at a dog park with a bag holder. In general, make certain the bags are clean and don't have any holes.
3) Dog owners can ask their Post-subscribing neighbors for their plastic bags.
4) Dog owners can install bag holders for Post bags at their local dog parks.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Recycling Bin and Garbage Can go Head-to-Head

I'll bet many of you are finding that your recycling bin fills up much faster than your garbage can. Well, I'll probably get called out for my recycling and garbage choices, but here is a photo of tonight's recycling and garbage. The garbage can only goes out once per week. Remember back in the day when the garbage cans in DC were larger than the recycling bins? Maybe DC will keep going and start having twice-per-week recycling and once-per-week garbage collection?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Best Rechargeable Batteries

Really, rechargeable batteries have improved, retain their charge much longer, and, according to Tree Hugger, are much less damaging than disposable batteries to the environment over the entire life of the battery. They are also a good price. It is essential that one gets the right batteries (most recommended: hybrid Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) cells) and a good charger.

According to Metaefficient, here are the best rechargeable batteries:
1) Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries by Sanyo
2) Hybrio Rechargeable Batteries by Uniross

Here are the best chargers:
1) LaCrosse Technology BC-900 Alpha Battery Charger
2) Ansmann Deluxe “Energy 8″ Charger
3) Maha PowerEx “Ultimate Professional” Charger

Remember that rechargeable batteries must be recycled, rather than dumped. Luckily, DC has many options for this: Radio Shack at Eastern Market and other locations found at Call2Recycle.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to deal with E-Waste

I think we have to get beyond the handwringing about e-recycling (but it all goes to Africa, but it is never recycled, but but but) and think about concrete steps to improve the situation. The Guardian is reporting on a new UN report stating that the amount of electronic waste being created around the world may increase by as much as 500% within 10 years as consumer demand for products outpaces recycling capabilities. This increased e-waste poses a serious threat to health and the environment.

How to deal with this?
1) Urge local governments and consumers to recycle old electronics, rather than dump them. It's best to have these electronics reused in some way, such as through Gazelle, BuyMyTronics, Apple, or Dell. The DC government also collects e-cycling every Saturday.
2) Support local informal recycling, where valuable materials are scavenged for resale and reuse. Use our very own FreeCycle.
3) Make producers take back their electronics for recycling. The European Union is doing this through its WEEE Directive.
4) Make producers responsible for dealing with environmental damage caused by production, which would motivate them to redesign the production of computers. Most of the environmental damage is done in the very production of computers.
5) Create recycling facilities, including in developing countries. Computer Aid and Digital Links deal with end-of-life computer recycling in Africa.
6) Enforce anti-dumping laws.
7) Any other ideas?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Airline and Airport Recycling

As many of you probably already saw in the Post, Green America came out with a report on the sorry state of recycling in the airline industry. Out of all the airlines, Delta and Virgin America earned the highest rating in the group, a B-, while United and US Air failed. No airline recycles all of the major recyclables: aluminum cans, glass, plastic, paper. The basic take away message is that 1) we should pressure the airlines to recycle and 2) in the meantime, if the flight attendant says they don't recycle, take your items for recycling off the plane and recycle them in the airport or at home.

Part of the problem is that most airports don't have recycling facilities. Earlier, I reported that in the DC area, the far-and-away leader in recycling is BWI Airport. BWI recycling went from less than 5% of waste in 2004 to 28% in 2006, which is extraordinary since only one or two US airports have over 25% and the percentage of total waste that is recycled in the United States is 32.5%. The BWI recycling program saves approximately $15,000 per year. Local recycling rules should apply to airports and airlines, which would legally force them to recycle.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Update on Hill Battery Recycling

I dropped by the Radio Shack at Eastern Market Metro to pick up used batteries they are collecting for us. They gave me a huge bag of batteries, which I delivered to our battery recycler and neighbor Cathy. It was so great to get this huge bag! Keep dropping off your batteries at Radio Shack, Brita water filters at Hill's Kitchen, and wine corks at Hayden's. See the addresses of these locations in the General DC Recycling Info column over to the right.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Compost Kitchen Scraps

One way to keep a huge amount of material from landfills is to compost. DC Urban Gardeners has a great website about composting: Composting 101 for DC Residents. However, many in urban areas may not have the space to compost. Common Good City Farm on 3rd and V Streets NW will be collecting kitchen scraps and other compostable materials after February when they reopen the farm. Common Good City Farm is an amazing place. Since January 2007, they have provided over 400 bags of fresh produce to low-income DC families, taught over 600 DC residents in workshops, engaged over 500 DC school children, and hosted over 1000 volunteers. I'll bet that some DC residents compost, even though they don't have enough space to use their compost. Is there some place where people could donate their compost? To the DC city government? To local neighborhood associations?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Recycling an Ipod

Since we could no longer return this broken Ipod, we decided to recycle it (and its many cables). I first went to Gazelle to recycle it for cash, but I waited too long and now the Ipod isn't worth anything! But Gazelle and BuyMyTronics will reuse (and pay you money for) cell phones, laptops, desktops, LCD monitors, mp3 players, GPS, movies, gaming consoles, camcorders, calculators, and so on. After Gazelle rejected me, I went to Apple, which very helpfully emailed me a postage-paid mailing label (see photo), so I just place my envelope in the nearest USPS mailbox or USPS Post Office, or leave it for my daily mail pickup. So easy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Battery, Cork, Brita Water Filter Recycling on the Hill

On my recycling travels around the Hill, I stopped by Hill's Kitchen to collect a couple of Brita water filters. Leah at Hill's Kitchen says that people are now hearing about the filter recycling there, which is great. Then I saw the manager of Radio Shack, and he said that he had batteries to collect. Finally, Hayden's Liquor gave me a HUGE bag of corks. So, keep dropping off things to recycle!

Buy Recycled Envelopes

The Stuart-Hobson Middle School on the Hill makes envelopes around of old wall calendars (Recyclelopes), which they sell for $5 per set at Riverby Books (419 East Capitol St SE). 100% of the funds goes to support the school. I'm going to have to go and take a look at these recyclelopes to actually report on them!