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Posts Tagged ‘recycle’

drink colorful color tube

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My teenage daughter lectures me from time to time about overusing plastics, especially those that can’t be recycled. We’ve bought reusable straws to use at home, and I get dirty looks if I take a straw at a restaurant. I’ve been wondering why using a plastic straw would be detrimental to my health and well-being. Turns out there is a dimension of wellness called Environmental Wellness. We may not think much about Environmental Wellness as part of an overall wellness plan that might include eating more fruits and vegetables, but our environment and how we feel about it can have a huge impact on the way we feel overall.

Environmental well-being includes trying to live in balance with the nature by understanding the impact of your interaction with nature and your personal environment, and taking action to protect the world around you. Protecting yourself from environmental hazards and minimizing the negative impact of your behavior on the environment are also central elements.

According to University California- Riverside leading a lifestyle that is respectful to our environment and minimizes any harm done to it is a critical part of environmental wellness. Environmental wellness involves a number of different aspects of personal and societal responsibilities, but generally relates to being aware of earths natural resources (soil, water, clean air) and their limits, understanding how daily habits impact natural resources, and being accountable by taking actions to minimize our impact on natural resources. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I recycle?
  • If I see something damaging to the environment, do I take the steps to fix the problem?
  • Do I volunteer time to worthy causes to protect soil, water, air, or wildlife?
  • Do I take time to appreciate my environment (go hiking, fishing, meditate, swim in stream or lake)?

If you answered “No” to any of the questions, it may indicate an area where you need to improve the state of your environmental wellness.

Recycling– Recycling saves energy and natural resources. For example, recycling one ton of office paper can save the energy equivalent of consuming 322 gallons of gasoline! Some cities offer recycling programs that pick up your recycled products at your curb. In other communities, you may have to collect your recycles and drive them to a designated recycle bin. The EPA offers some good information about what can and can’t be recycled, and recycling centers are all different in terms of what they can and can’t accept. In general, glass, cardboard, paper, food and beverage cans, jugs, plastic bottles, food boxes can be recycled. Other items such as Styrofoam, and soiled products can’t. Follow the rules, otherwise recycling centers have to spend time, energy and resources to filter out products that can’t be recycled.

Hazardous materials and situations– Some materials such as oil, paint, cleaners chemicals, and other products can pollute soil and water. Oil from one oil change for example can pollute thousands of gallons of water. Many commercial garages will accept used oil, and other businesses might accept paint and other materials.

Volunteering- Consider volunteering at a national, state or local park. Maintaining trails, planting trees, cleaning up streams and rivers are all volunteer activities that might contribute to your environmental wellness. The AARP offers some ideas on volunteering to help the environment.

Appreciate the environment– Appreciating the environment and natural resources will help motivate you and your family to change habits. Set a goal to get outside and appreciate the soil, air and water. Hike, fish, hunt, camp, swim, garden and even meditate outdoors!

Getting back to straws- although straws are only a fraction of plastics waste, they have become a poster child for single use plastics that wind up consumed by wildlife and found on beaches. In fact each human on the planet consumes around 88 pounds of plastic a year! Cutting back on straws can be a gateway to making many other changes in your life to improve your environmental wellness!!

Sources:

University of California Riverside. Environmental Wellness at https://wellness.ucr.edu/environmental_wellness.html

Environmental Protection Agency. Recycling 101 at https://www.epa.gov/recycle/frequent-questions-recycling

American Association of Retired Persons. 5 ways you can help the environment. https://www.aarp.org/giving-back/info-09-2012/fun-ways-to-help-environment.html

Author: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Associate Professor, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

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I couldn’t help but think watching the usual black Friday riots on TV- what all of our consumerism is doing to our environment, and the quality of life of future generations. What resources are we extracting from the earth so that we can satisfy our children with shiny new toys that lose their luster in a couple of days and wind up in basement? Fortunately, our consumer behaviors can become much more intentional and less wasteful. It is an opportunity to live more “sustainably.”

The concept of sustainable living was introduced to me at a workshop I attended at a national urban Extension conference by colleagues from the other OSU (Oregon State University). I went into the workshop thinking that I was going to be lectured by tree-hugging west coast academics about how damaging my Midwestern lifestyle and values were to the environment. I left the workshop feeling like I had more direction and purpose in life than ever before.

According to Oregon State University, Sustainable Living is defined as “living a life that is deeply satisfying, fulfilling, and appealing – and at the same time, environmentally responsible.” It is NOT living in the woods, eating only berries, guilt driven, not buying anything again, nor gloom and doom. It is deeply personal, intentional, practical, and puts our individual actions in a global context.

Extension offers a free on-line sustainability class at: http://www.extension.org/pages/62201/living-sustainably:-its-your-choice#.Uqdp2vRDspg. The class offers research-based suggestions on how you and your family can live more sustainably (recycling, starting a garden, eating local and organic, etc.). Following the instructions, you will need to create a password and username.

Sustainable living is more than just being aware of our own actions. It is ultimately about rethinking our consumer behaviors so that we can be happier and healthier. When consumerism runs amok we think that we need more stuff to be happy, so we have to work longer hours. As a result, we have less time to do things we really value and end up with junk that only clutters up our lives. During the workshop that I attended, we had to think about what we would save from our living room if our homes were on fire. Such activities really get you to think what is important in life.

Writer: Daniel Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition and Wellness at OSU Extension
Editor: Lisa Barlage, OSU Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences

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organized closet

Organized Closet

Spring time is here and many of us think about spring cleaning.  Now is a good time to sort, throw out, recycle or give away items that you don’t want or need anymore.

Overwhelmed at the thought of tackling this task?   If so, start small, gain momentum and keep moving forward.

An easy place to start is your closet.  I always want to switch from fall/winter clothes to my spring/summer wardrobe.  Look over your winter clothes and ask yourself these questions.  If you can’t decide, give it away– someone can use it.

  • Do I love it?
  • Am I keeping it because I got it on sale?
  • Is the color right/wrong for me?
  • How do I feel when I wear this item?
  • Do I think/hope I’ll lose weight so I can wear it?

Ask a friend or family member to give you an honest opinion about your clothes.  If you don’t feel good wearing it, remove this clutter from your life.  Your closet will have more room and it will be easier to locate and organize your clothes.

Another tip:  if you buy a new blouse, top, jacket- great!  Just remember to pick one or two items out of your closet that look tired or worn out & move them out.  Recycle, sell or give them away.  You’ll feel good about it and your closet will be less crowded.

Paper, paper, paper – what do I do with all of the paper?

Organized Files
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Use File folders to Organize Papers

Sort, file, and recycle.  If you have a stack of recipes, look through them, decide if you must keep them and organize them in a notebook, file folder or recipe book.

Give magazines to a local shelter or recycle them.  If you want to keep an article, cut it out, file it & recycle the magazine.

File your receipts in an accordian file by store, utilities or company name.  When  you get a receipt, file it or throw it out.  Don’t let stacks pile up on your desk.

Sort your mail daily.  Put your bills in one location- perhaps a pretty file folder.  Recycle the junk mail being careful to shred or remove your name and address.  If you receive catalogs that you no longer have an interest in, give the company a call and request that they stop sending the paper catalogs.  This will reduce your clutter and help the environment.

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