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[1THING] Blog: Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

[ Aluminum ]

By Tori Carle, Waste Reduction Supervisor, City of Greensboro

As a country, we landfill enough aluminum each year to build a fleet of aircrafts. Much of this waste comes in the form of cans and dish containers. Here in the Triad, most aluminum found in the kitchen is recyclable – including aluminum foil and pie pans.

But, like with many good things, there is a catch. In order to recycle aluminum foil properly, it needs to be relatively clean (a quick rinse should do the trick, no need to spend minutes scrubbing the foil spotless), and loosely balled together to at least the size of a softball. It is important to ball up the foil so that it will be separated properly. Flat foil will act like paper in the machinery and end up in the paper piles.

If your aluminum foil isn’t ripped, reuse it! If you’re going through the effort to clean your aluminum foil or dish containers spotless, there is no reason to recycle them after one use. If you’re having trouble getting your foil or dish containers clean enough for reuse in the sink, aluminum is dishwasher safe on the top rack!

In addition to looking for ways to recycle more, consider creating less waste in the first place. There are reusable options such as beeswax paper or even plastic/glass reusable containers that can be used over and over again to keep food fresh.



[ Nail Polish ]

By Tori Carle, Waste Reduction Supervisor, City of Greensboro

Have you ever wondered what to do with your old nail polish? I have been known to keep nail polish until it is all dried out or gummed up. When this happens, it shouldn’t just be tossed in the trash.

Nail polish often contains toxins that are harmful to the environment, so nail polish should not go into the landfill and should instead be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Center 2750 Patterson St. in Greensboro, Wed-Fri 10-6 and Sat 8-2.

You can also consider creative reuse options for your old nail polish! A quick google search will show you how to revitalize dried-out or gummed up nail polish and give you plenty of uses for it other than polishing your nails.

Or consider taking your old nail polish to Reconsidered Goods so that others in our community can use the paint, bottles, or both for creative purposes. www.reconsideredgoods.org

There is also a mail-in recycling program for nail polish through Chemwise (http://chemwise.org/services-nail-polish.html). Chemwise is also able to process the bottles and recycle the glass container, applicator brush, and the polish. It is not a cheap program, but if you gather enough nail polish between you and your neighbors it could be worth it!

There are many options to dispose of your old nail polish, so please, don’t send it to the landfill.




[ Which Cleaning Products Pollute Your Home the Most? ]

By Priceonomics Data Studio


When you use a household cleaning product, to what extent are you releasing pollutants into your home?

Many common cleaning products rely on petroleum-based manufacturing and release toxic compounds into your home. The EPA broadly classifies these chemicals as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which includes airborne emissions like formaldehyde and car exhaust, as well as consumable compounds like ethanol and acetic acid.

Even in small quantities, VOCs are dangerous to inhale. Over time, these chemicals can build up and cause headaches and nausea, as well as eye, nose, and throat irritation. Certain VOCs have been linked to the development of allergies and asthma, and even complicated medical manifestations like sick building syndrome.

We analyzed this data along with Priceonomics customer, Ode, a company that creates environmentally-conscious cleaning products. As part of their product development process, Ode tested the VOCs released by common brands of air fresheners, cleaning sprays, wipes and soaps.

According to this data, on average, air freshener sprays and cleaning wipes emit the most VOCs per use, while air freshener plug-ins and body wash release the fewest VOCs per use.

The product that expelled the most harmful compounds per use is Wet Ones wipes, followed by Mrs. Meyer’s air freshener spray. Over a year of use, Wet Ones would release the most VOCs into your home: nearly half a kilogram (464,000 milligrams). Emissions from air freshener plug-ins add up over time (with hourly puffs of scent) to up to 100,000 milligrams per year.

For this study, we focused on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a variety of chemicals emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. Volatile organic compounds are often used as ingredients in fuels, paints and varnishes, as well as thousands of cleaning, disinfecting and cosmetic products. Formaldehyde is one of the most common VOCs. You may know it as a common embalming chemical used to preserve dead bodies.

Levels of VOCs have been found to be two to five times higher indoors (where these products are used and stored) than outdoors. Exposure to these chemicals can result in short- and long-term health effects, including eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, skin reactions, and even damage to the liver, kidneys or central nervous system.

The average indoor space has VOC levels at about 10 milligrams per cubic meter. For our calculations, we approximated an average room at 68 cubic meters (300 square feet with 8-foot ceilings), so a typical room has about 680 milligrams of VOCs in the air at any given time.

Air freshener sprays release the most VOCs by far, averaging nearly 700 milligrams per use (30 milliliters of spray). That means that a single use doubles the amount of VOCs in your living room. Cleaning wipes give off about 350 milligrams per use (4 wipes), followed by insect pesticide sprays and face cleaners. On average, body washes and plug-in air fresheners emit the fewest VOCs per use.




[ Going Green Heart Healthy ]

By Heather Rivera, Entercom Austin

The month of February celebrates the Heart, and reminds us to take care of our Hearts. In the United States, 1 in 4 deaths is caused by Heart Disease. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. Heart Disease can be prevented and managed when you make healthier choices.

Do a #1THING step further by Going Green Heart Healthy. You can do this with the foods you eat. Go for Organic options.  Exercise walking, running and other outdoor activities does the body and Mama Earth good.

Have you heard of the Jackfruit? A tropical fruit native to Asia that resembles pulled pork, and becoming one of the most popular meat alternatives for a healthier lifestyle. The Jackfruit is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, fat, proteins and more. It contains calories, but no cholesterol or saturated fats.

Here are 10 of the 25 Amazing Benefits of Jackfruit:

  1. Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease.Jackfruit has Vitamin B6 that makes it very heart-friendly
  2. Fights Wrinkles.Ground seeds that are dipped in milk and applied to wrinkles helps reduce the appearance.
  3. Promotes Hair Growth. Aids in healthy blood circulation, which helps with hair growth.
  4. Strengthens Immunity.A great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants, which can strengthen your immune system.
  5. Increases Protein Levels.The seeds are high in protein.
  6. Improves Digestion.A rich source of dietary fiber.
  7. Improves Eye Sight. Jackfruithas vital nutrients that help with eye health.
  8. Strengthens Bone Health. Jackfruitcontains calcium, which strengthens and promotes healthy bones.
  9. Reduces the Severity of Ulcers.Jackfruit has strong anti-ulcerative properties that can reduce ulcers and many other digestive system disorders.
  10. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels. Jackfruit has a rich amount of Manganese that helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body.

Find out all 25 Amazing Jackfruit Benefits and more!

Jackfruit is becoming 2018’s healthy meat alternative for many. Making Jackfruit Green Heart Healthy for you! Click here for Jackfruit Recipes!

Green Heart Health 2


[ Recycling Away from Home ]

By Tori Carle, Waste Reduction Supervisor, City of Greensboro


I often hear from residents that they recycle EVERYTHING they can. But here is a question for you… do you recycle even when it isn’t convenient?

Let’s have a moment of honesty: who has ever had a recyclable bottle or can that you put in the garbage? I know I have (forgive me… it was before I joined the light side). Lots of us don’t recycle 100% of the time when it’s inconvenient. You may think to yourself, I know I recycle all the time… but consider this:

What if you’re out and you only see a trash can around? How long are you willing to hold on to that bottle before you give up and just throw it in the garbage? Ever been to a sports event, concert, or park and not seen recycling containers? It can be really frustrating to feel like you only have the choice to throw something in the garbage, but you do have the choice to take that bottle with you to recycle later.

When I was on vacation last year, I got a drink in a plastic bottle while walking around a city. When I finished it, I was disheartened to see no recycling containers around. I carried that bottle with me for about 30 minutes looking for a recycling container. When I could not find one, I decided to put it in my bag because I knew the bed and breakfast we stayed at had recycling containers.

About a week later, when we got home and I was unpacking, I found that bottle in my luggage… and ended up recycling it at home. My husband and I had a BIG laugh over this.

I am not saying that you have to be as crazy as me… but I wanted to drive home the point that you should be recycling away from home, just as much as you recycle at home. Ever been to a sports event, concert, or park and not seen recycling containers? It can be really frustrating to feel like you only have the choice to throw something in the garbage, but you do have the option to take that bottle with you to recycle later.

Do you know how many bottles are recycled in NC each year? 80%? 50%? No… it’s only 30%. That means that 70% of the bottle waste we generate is being buried in landfills. Recycling is a choice you make. Sometimes it’s not always the easiest choice, but when you choose to recycle, you are helping create American jobs. How?

When you recycle a plastic bottle, it can become a new plastic item like a bottle, container, or toy, but in Greensboro, it can also become something unexpected… yarn.

Anyone wearing polyester? Or ever heard of polyester? Well, it’s made from oil based products. The company Unifi is headquartered here in Greensboro, and has processing facilities in Reidsville and Yadkinville that transform plastic bottles into polyester yarn. The cool thing about this is that it’s chemically identical to polyester sourced from oil, but created from recycled materials.

The uncool thing is that the Reidsville plant that processes the bottles has to source recycled bottles from all over the US, as well as Canada and Mexico. In fact, all of the bottles collected from NC would only run the facility for one day out of the entire year. The plant literally is buying Mexico’s waste, because some are too lazy to recycle.

Because I have been too lazy to recycle.

Let’s change that. Can you join me in one additional New Year’s Resolution? Recycle all your plastic bottles this year. Simple enough, right? Maybe take it one step further and try to make sure your entire family recycles all of their plastic bottles, even if there are no recycling containers around when you are away from home.

For more information and videos about plastic bottle recycling, visit www.yourbottlemeansjobs.org



[ Say No To Paper To-Go Cups! ]

By Heather Rivera


Did you know that Paper To-Go Cups are not easy or cheap to recycle, so many times they aren’t. The majority of these cups end up in landfills! The US alone tosses over 60 BILLION disposable cups each year! It’s a HUGE PROBLEM FOR MAMA EARTH!

You can do a really easy #1THING by saying ‘YES TO A REUSABLE CUP!’ I’ve been areusable cup girlie for a few years when I get my coffee and other drinks. A bonus is several coffee places give a reusable cup discount, which seems small, but each visit adds up. You could Save on Green, and keep things more Green for Mama Earth! Each day you go ‘Disposable Cup Free’, you are helping the environment in which we all live in.

Click here  to see why we must say ‘NO TO PAPER TO-GO-CUPS!’


[ Green Your Tea During National Hot Tea Month ]

January is National Hot Tea Month.  To celebrate, here are a few tips to green your brew from the Sierra Club:

Buy loose-leaf tea: Opt for loose leaf tea over disposable tea bags, which use carbon-intensive packaging materials. Many tea bags also contain polypropylene mesh, which can take several years to degrade. Additionally, bagged tea is often machine processed, producing a larger carbon footprint than loose leaf tea, which tends to be hand-picked. If you do purchase tea bags, make sure they’re biodegradable and unbleached. Avoid bags with staples, strings, or tags.

Minimize your water footprint: Only pour enough water to fill your cup to avoid wasting energy boiling what you won’t drink anyway. If it’s safe, use local tap water to brew your tea.

Cold-brew your iced tea:  It not only tastes sweeter and smoother than traditional hot-brewed iced tea, but it spares the energy needed to boil your water, relying mainly on an already-running appliance—your refrigerator.

To cold-brew your own iced tea, add about 1.5 times the amount of tea you’d normally use to a pitcher. Pour in cold water, add a lid, and let sit in the fridge for about 4-10 hours. White teas, green teas, and flat oolongs need less time to sit, while rolled oolongs require more time. Herbal infusions and black teas usually need to sit the full ten hours. Strain and enjoy.

Repurpose tea leaves: Most of us know to reuse tea leaves or tea bags for our next cup of tea, but their use extends beyond the kitchen. The high nitrogen content in tea leaves makes them the perfect plant food, which does double duty by helping repel insects and other pests. When transferring a plant to a pot, line the bottom of the pot with used tea bags before adding soil. The tea bags will help retain water and release nutrients into the potting medium.

Dried tea leaves also make fantastic deodorizers. Toss some in the litter box or dog house to remove pet odors. For all-over freshness, sprinkle and gently crush some dried leaves over your carpet. Wait about 10 minutes, then vacuum.

Choose eco-friendly labels:  As you would with coffee, buy brands labeled “USDA organic” and “Fair Trade Certified.” To earn the USDA’s organic seal, farmers must not have used synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers for at least three years. Meanwhile, although fair trade certification primarily ensures that farmers are paid a just price for their crop, it also has environmental side effects. In return for providing good working conditions and fair wages, producers get paid more for their tea. As a result, famers need less land to support themselves and their families, leaving more land available for natural habitat.


[ Year End Review ]

By Tori Carle, Waste Reduction Supervisor, City of Greensboro


  1. Christmas Trees–
    1. Artificial trees cannot be recycled. Consider donating gently used decorations, bows, bags, etc, to Reconsidered Goods, the Creative Reuse Center of the Triad. reconsideredgoods.org
    2. Live trees can be placed on the curb on your collection day before 7am to be composted with your other yard waste. If you have a large tree, please cut into segments smaller than 5 feet long to ensure collection.
  2. Gift Wrap and Tissue Paper–these items are not recyclable and should be placed in your garbage can. Be sure to save them to use again next year if they’re in good condition!
  3. Have lots of extra cardboard? We have 20 free recycling drop off locations! Break them down before placing them in at-home or drop off recycling containers–this saves a ton of space. Find drop off locations here: http://www.greensboro-nc.gov/index.aspx?page=481
  4. Have excess garbage? Please do not put garbage in our drop off recycling dumpsters. This has become a major issue over the last few months. If you have extra garbage, please take it to the Transfer Station. For operating hours and location, please visit http://www.greensboro-nc.gov/index.aspx?page=563



[ Green up your gift giving ]

By Tori Carle, Waste Reduction Supervisor, City of Greensboro

With just 2 1/2 weeks until presents under your tree are opened, or less than a week until Hanukkah’s 8 nights of gift giving begins, you may be wondering what you will do with all the leftover gift wrap. Here are some of the frequent questions we get asked about holiday recycling:

  1. Decorations, gift wrap, bags, tissue paper, bows, and ribbons cannot be recycled. Instead, they should go into your trash can. Why?

-Gift wrap can sometimes contain layers of plastic, foil, or other items that contaminate paper recycling processes, so please do not recycle them.

-Bows and ribbons can become tanglers! Be extra careful not to recycle them.

-Tissue paper fibers are too low quality to be made into new things.

  1. If you have gently used decorations, bows, bags, etc., that you no longer want, consider donating them to Reconsidered Goods, the Creative Reuse Center of the Triad, for an end of year tax write-off! More info: reconsideredgoods.org
  2. Have lots of extra cardboard? We have 20 free recycling drop off locations! Break them down before placing them in at-home or drop off recycling containers–it can save a ton of space. Find drop off locations here: http://www.greensboro-nc.gov/index.aspx?page=481

You can also try these options for creative reuse:

-Save what you can to reuse next year.

-Give gifts in reusable bags. It’s the gift that everyone’s happy to receive because they can use them over and over again!

-Wrap your gifts in recyclable paper. This year, I chose to use old, outdated maps and tiny reusable cloth stockings for smaller items. See the attached pictures for how I made them festive. You can often find large quantities of paper like this at Reconsidered Goods. (2805 Patterson St. Tues-Sat, 10-5, Sun 12-5)

Happy Gift-Giving!


[ Eco-friendly alternatives for everyday products ]

Looking for eco-friendly alternatives for everyday items we use. Letsgogreen.com is a great site to look for eco-friendly alternatives for lots of things we use.