Post-Spring Cleaning Solutions

After deep cleaning and decluttering your home to welcome spring you may have some large items to get rid of. Residents have access to several options to properly dispose of old furniture, appliances, and chemicals.

After deep cleaning and decluttering your home to welcome spring you may have some large items to get rid of. Residents have access to several options to properly dispose of old furniture, appliances, and chemicals.

There’s nothing like a cool breeze on a bright sunny day to help get me in the mood for some spring cleaning and decluttering at home. After having the windows open all day, deep cleaning each room in the house, and identifying all those things my family really doesn’t need any more, comes the challenge of figuring out what to do with all that left-over stuff. Sure, some of it will be recycled and some will be thrown out with household garbage. But, what about those other things that don’t quite fit in the bin?

 

Furniture, appliances, and large toys are a few items that probably won’t fit in your kitchen trash can. If the items are in good condition you could consider selling them or donating them to a local charity. You may even be able to swap a particular piece of furniture with a friend looking to freshen up their space. Or, if you’re crafty and love do-it-yourself projects, you could paint or reupholster giving a particular item a new chance at being useful.

 

If your items are in bad shape and not worthy of being reused you’ll have to make the decision to properly dispose of them. Furniture, mattresses, and large toys that need to be thrown away but don’t fit in your trash bin are called bulky waste. Bulky waste can be properly disposed of by Whitfield County residents either through a service by Dalton Public Works, or the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority.

 

Residents of the City of Dalton who have garbage pickup thru the city’s public works department may qualify for pickup at the curb of rubbish and household debris. To find out if you qualify, and when the next pickup day is in your area, call public works at 706-278-7077. Visit the City of Dalton website, www.cityofdalton-ga.gov, go to Departments, and select Public Works to read the garbage policy.

 

Rubbish and household debris collection is available every two weeks. Keep items indoors until the day before the pickup day. City public works also picks up yard trimmings at the curb on a similar schedule. However, yard trimmings cannot be mixed with bulky items since they are picked up by different crews. Be sure to leave some space between each pile.

Whitfield County residents can drop off bulky waste at one of four Convenience Centers managed by the Solid Waste Authority. Visit www.DWSWA.org, and click on Convenience Centers to find the location nearest you. A bulky waste transportation fee of $5.00 per item is applied at three locations: Westside, M.L. King Blvd., and McGaughey Chapel Road. There are no fees for bulky waste taken directly to the Old Dixie Hwy. Landfill and Convenience Center.  

 

Appliances, and bulky items with scrap metal like basketball hoops, can be dropped off for recycling at the Convenience Centers mentioned above. There is no fee to drop off scrap metal. See the on-site attendant for help if you’re unsure where your big stuff should go. Receipts are also available if you pay a transportation fee. Don’t forget to properly secure your load as you travel to the centers. Secured and properly tied down loads will help keep our roads safe and clean.

 

If you’re spring cleaning included some home remodeling, like replacing doors and windows, you have home remodeling debris or construction waste on your hands which needs to be collected separately from bulky waste. Very small amounts of home remodeling debris, such as one window or door, can be dropped off at any convenience center as bulky waste. However, large quantities must be disposed of at the Old Dixie Hwy. location. There is a disposal fee of an average of two cents per pound. For more information call 706-277-3389.

 

Finally, after a spring cleaning frenzy in the garage you may find yourself with old paint, pesticides, or swimming pool chemicals. These items are considered household hazardous waste and should not be thrown away with regular household garbage. In Whitfield County, the best way to dispose of these items and others like them is during a monthly Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day hosted by the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. The next collection day is actually this Saturday, April 15.

 

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) can be dropped off at the Old Dixie Hwy. Convenience Center once a month, on the third Saturday of the month, by Whitfield County residents at no charge. There is a limit of 220 pounds of materials per visitor. Containers must be properly labeled, preferable with the original labels, and the contents must match the description on the label.

 

Examples of HHW you may have stored at home are:  used motor oil, antifreeze, vehicle batteries, latex paint, varnish, paint thinner, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, bleach, spot removers, ammonia, insecticide, and weed killer. If you have specific questions about the proper management of specific materials, or whether or not your item will be accepted please call 706-277-2545 Monday thru Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Easter Recycling Crafts for Kids

Celebrate Easter with a few eco-friendly crafts like bunny and egg stampers, and recycled paper basket filler.  

Celebrate Easter with a few eco-friendly crafts like bunny and egg stampers, and recycled paper basket filler.  

Are your kids off for spring break this week? It’s the perfect time to prepare for Easter! Say no to the plastic baskets with plastic artificial grass strips, and yes to some eco-friendly alternatives. Your family will enjoy making these crafts using products you may already have in your recycling bin, like newspaper and toilet paper roll tubes. All you need is a little time and a dash of creativity.

 

• Easter Garden Party Hat: Use a couple of newspaper pages to make a floppy garden hat for your Easter egg hunt. You’ll need two to four full pages of the newspaper, scissors, masking tape, and paint to decorate. To get started, paint one side of two sheets of newspaper the color you would like your hat to be. Depending on the size hat you want to make, paint an additional set of pages.

 

After the paint dries stack the pages on top of each other, fold them in half from left to right. Then, fold in half again from the top to bottom. Starting at the bottom right cut a curved shape to the top left corner. It should look like a quarter of a circle. Unfold the pages to reveal the base for the hat.

 

Next, mold the hat onto the user by placing the sheets of newspaper with the paint facing up on the individual’s head then fold down the edges. Apply masking tape to the outside portion of the newspaper and wrap some tape around the crown of the head (not too tight!). You should have a hat top secured with tape, and a floppy brim. If you like, decorate the hat by adding paper flowers, bunny ears, and more.

 

• Easter Bunny and Egg Stamp: With just a few toilet paper or paper towel roll tubes you can make a stamp to aid children with their Easter themed art projects. You’ll need paperboard tubes, a hot glue gun or masking tape, scissors, and painting supplies. Optional is a bread knife to cut long paper tubes in half using a sawing motion which conserves the round shape of the tube.

 

To make an egg-shaped stamp, place a tube on the table standing up so that one of the openings is facing up. Gently crease one side of the paperboard tube vertically, so the opening at top looks like a tear drop instead of a circle. Smooth out the crease so that the point is more rounded and curved. The opening should now look like the outline of an egg with a wide bottom and narrow top.

 

To make a bunny, you’ll need three paperboard tubes of the same length. Lay a paperboard tube on the table long ways, and flatten the tube so you have a crease on the far left and far right. Do the same to a second tube, and leave the third one round. Stand the three tubes up vertically so that the opening is facing up. You should have one circle, which is the face of the bunny, and two eye shaped tubes, which are the ears. Attach the ears to the face using a hot glue gun or tape.

 

When the stampers are ready dip one end into some paint, then stamp the design on a blank sheet of paper. Since the egg and bunny are outlines, you can decorate the inside any way you like. Make fun, decorated eggs, and cute bunny faces using paint brushes or other art supplies like crayons. Instead of paint you can use the shapes as a template to make an outline with a pen or marker.

 

• Easter Basket Filler: Use scrap paper, newspaper, magazine pages, or telephone book pages to make filler for an Easter basket. Using a paper cutter or scissors cut long thin strips of paper about a quarter inch wide or less. Alternatively, cut strips in a long straight line using a craft knife, cutting matt, and ruler.

 

After the celebrations, you can recycle the paper by putting it inside a paperboard box so that the shreds don’t fly off and become litter. For large quantities place them in a clear plastic bag so that the recycling center sorting through the recycled paper knows the bag is full of paper shreds and not trash.

 

If you don’t have time to make something at home this year, consider purchasing environmentally friendly products. For example, instead of a plastic Easter basket (which is not recyclable in our community) purchase one that is made with burlap, bamboo, paper, or other natural material. And look for basket filler made from paper. These materials are biodegradable, and in the long run, healthier than plastic.

Tips for Decluttering Electronic Devices

Declutter your electronic devices by sorting them in piles to sell, donate, or recycle. 

Declutter your electronic devices by sorting them in piles to sell, donate, or recycle. 

Spring is here! Time for some annual spring cleaning and decluttering! While you may have already removed the cobwebs from the corners of the ceiling, changed the air filter for the air conditioner, and put winter jackets in storage, there’s an area that needs to get decluttered that perhaps you haven’t considered yet – electronic devices.

 

All of those used laptops, headphones, Bluetooth speakers, smart phones, tablets, and video game consoles that have been replaced by newer, shiner, top of the line gadgets are taking up valuable space in your home. It’s time to face the tangled mess of charging cables and electronic devices to find them all a new purpose by donating, selling, or recycling.

 

To get started, gather all of the used electronic devices you have hiding around the house then lay them out on a table or other flat surface. Also collect the variety of chargers, cables, and accessories that go with the devices. Take an honest look evaluating whether or not you’ve recently used each device, replaced it with something newer, or have any need for it today. If you haven’t used the device in over a year you probably won’t use it in the future anyway.

 

Next, it’s time to decide whether or not you should donate, sell, or recycle each device and accessories. There are lots of opportunities both in our community and online to give your used items a new life. And, not to mention, get them out of the junk drawer for good.

 

If you’re interested in donating contact a local thrift store or other charitable organization to get specifics on the types of devices they need. The Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center for example accepts donations of cellphones and smart phones to help support victims of domestic violence going thru a transitional period. You can call them at 706-278-6595 to let them know what you want to donate and make arrangements for pickup.

 

Electronic devices in good useable condition that are not extremely outdated can be sold at several locations. Wal-Mart for example has a kiosk for the ecoATM (www.ecoatm.com) which accepts smart phones, cellphones, tablets, and MP3 players. Based on the age and condition of the device you get cash back on the spot. They also have an accessory bin where you can leave behind the charger and headphones that came with the phone.

 

GameStop (www.gamestop.com) is well known for trading in video games, but they also accept video game systems, phones, tablets, and accessories. You can take your items to one of two retail locations in Dalton to get a price quote for your used stuff. You may get cash or trade credit so you can save on the gaming devices you really want.

 

Best Buy (www.bestbuy.com) has two locations in the Chattanooga area that offer a trade-in program as well. Eligible items include mobile phones, tables, video game software, and other hardware like laptops and smartwatches. Take your items to the store where they will evaluate the condition of the electronic device and accessories and give you a Best Buy gift card based on the value of the device.

 

You can drop off electronics for recycling year-round at the Old Dixie Hwy. Landfill and Convenience Center at the south end of Whitfield county. There is a drop-off box near the residential recycling area that is accessible during regular business hours of Monday thru Friday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Saturday 7:00 am to 3:00 pm.

 

Items accepted range from laptops to fax machines, rechargeable batteries, scanners, DVD players, ink cartridges and more. Please note that there is a $10.00 fee for CRT (cathode ray tube) television sets and computer monitors. All other devices can be dropped off at no charge. For directions, questions, or large loads call 706-278-5001.

 

Whether you’re selling, donating, or recycling your electronics take the time to remove personal information from the device – especially smart phones and computers. First backup and download photos, documents, and other information that you want to keep. Then, follow the directions from the manufacturer to sign out of all services, and reset the device to the factory settings, or erase the device.

 

After sorting thru and decluttering your electronic devices you may be inspired to take it a step further and declutter your screen. If you have a smart phone for example, remove the apps that you no longer use. You may have a newer app that does double duty, or have several that you downloaded and tried once only to find that it didn’t do quite what you needed. Changing the wallpaper or screen background to one that has a single color or simple pattern can also help the device look decluttered and ready for Spring. 

Are You a Water Waster?

March 22 is the annual UN World Water Day. The focus for 2017 is wastewater reduction and reuse. 

March 22 is the annual UN World Water Day. The focus for 2017 is wastewater reduction and reuse. 

Running the dishwasher only when you have a full load is one way to conserve water during World Water Day and every day.  

Running the dishwasher only when you have a full load is one way to conserve water during World Water Day and every day.  

Thanks to our modern-day sanitation and wastewater treatment systems we are able to enjoy clean fresh water from the tap in the comfort of our own home. But, if you brushed your teeth, flushed the toilet, showered, prepared food, or washed clothes today you also created wastewater. This water is treated at a wastewater treatment facility so it returns to the environment and our homes in a safe usable form. Recycling water in this way helps keep us healthy, and keeps our city moving.

 

Today is World Water Day, an initiative from the United Nations (UN) to bring attention to issues related to freshwater. This year’s theme is the proper collection and treatment of wastewater that will allow for safe reuse. According to a WHO/UNICEF 2014 study, “1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year.”

 

While we may experience the benefits of proper wastewater treatment, many countries around the world are falling behind on their treatment capacity. At a global scale, it’s estimated that 80 percent of wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. And, there are more than 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, causing them to spends hours traveling and waiting at distant water sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.

 

Viewing wastewater as a resource can help improve water quality and accessibility around the world by eliminating a source of pollution. For example, individuals could reuse greywater in the garden, and industrial and agriculture sites can treat and recycle wastewater to run cooling systems or for irrigation. The official event website, worldwaterday.org states, “Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.”

 

To help celebrate World Water Day today Pope Francis will be giving a special address regarding the world’s value and understanding of our most precious resource – water. After the address 400 thought leaders, policy makers, and others will convene at conference called WATERSHED to discuss water values, especially for at-risk populations. According to the event website, worldwatervalues.org, “1.6 billion people currently live in countries and regions with absolute water scarcity. That number is expected to rise to 2.8 billion people by 2025.”

 

Educators can bring water lessons to the classroom with the award-winning curriculum Project WET: Water Education For Teachers available at projectwet.org. In honor of World Water Day Project WET is releasing 11 new lesson plans for children ages 3 to 6 in a guide called, “Getting Little Feet Wet”. The guide is available as a digital download and a printed book. For a limited time, the PDF version of the story book “Water for You and Me!” is available for free with each purchase.

 

Individuals can participate in today’s event with a new social media element called #MyWaterStory. Share your personal story about the role that water plays in your daily life by tagging a post with #MyWaterStory on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. As an example, you can share how much water you use in a day, a photo of your favorite body of water, write about a memorable moment with water, or post a video of an older family member recalling how water access has changed during their lifetime.

 

At home, practice ways to waste less water and avoid being a water waster. For example, collect cold water from the shower in a bucket while you wait for the water to warm up. Use the water in your garden or watering house plants. Don’t pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, a good scrape should be enough.

 

Compost food waste instead of feeding it down the garbage disposal which requires a lot of water to run. When disposing of grease or oil do not pour it down the drain. Doing so may lead to blockages and restrict the flow of wastewater through a home’s plumbing. Instead pour cooking grease into a heat safe container like a steel can, then dispose of it once solidified.

 

Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save up to eight gallons of water per day. Fixing leaking sinks and running toilets also helps reduce waste. A running toilet for example, may waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. Small changes like these inside the home, and better wastewater treatment facilities, all contribute to less water waste and improved water quality for everyone.

60 Minutes for The Earth

Turn the lights off for 60 minutes on March 25 at 8:30 pm to show your solidarity with a more sustainable future during the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour. 

Turn the lights off for 60 minutes on March 25 at 8:30 pm to show your solidarity with a more sustainable future during the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour. 

The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) invites you to turn the lights off for 60 minutes on Saturday, March 25 at 8:30 pm local time and join millions of people around the world to make a statement in support of the Earth during a very special 10th anniversary celebration of Earth Hour. Participants can take the pledge to participate at www.EarthHour.org, join the event on Facebook @earthhour, and follow on social media with hashtag #ChangeClimateChange.

 

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2007 to put climate change in the spotlight. Since then it has grown from a single-city event to one that is celebrated in more than 170 countries each year. Celebrations range from individuals turning their lights and electronic devices off at home to large concerts by moonlight. Though the focus was initially climate change, renewable energy, clean water, and other environmental issues have also been highlighted based on each community’s needs making each event unique.

 

“We started Earth Hour in 2007 to show leaders that climate change was an issue people cared about. For that symbolic moment to turn into the global movement it is today, is really humbling and speaks volumes about the powerful role of people in issues that affect their lives,” said Siddarth Das, Executive Director, Earth Hour Global. Over the past ten years, WWF and Earth Hour teams worldwide have brought thousands of individuals together to help fund and support on-the-ground environmental and social initiatives that serve to advance their goal for a sustainable, climate-friendly future.

 

In 2017, they’ll be using the movement to shine a light on the climate issue most relevant in their country or region. For example, in Brazil, people will be invited to join forces to protect one of the country’s many biodiversity hotspots from climate change while citizens in South Africa will raise their voice for renewable energy and in China, WWF is working with businesses to encourage a shift toward sustainable lifestyles.

 

A more recent, and increasingly popular, feature of the global one hour event is called Donate Your Feed. Participants can now share their commitment to the planet by donating five Facebook posts on their timeline to Earth Hour by registering at www.earthhour.org/climateaction. The posts will begin two to three days before the actual event to help increase participation in this grass roots movement.

 

“Every flick of a switch or click on Facebook timelines is a reminder that people see themselves as an integral part of climate action and it is this kind of collective determination we need to tackle the most pressing environmental challenge our planet has ever faced.” added Das.

 

Besides turning off the lights at home, and turning off electronic devices like television sets and computers when not in use, individuals can take other action steps to help create a more sustainable future by conserving energy. Running the dishwasher or washing machine only when there is a full load for example conservers energy and water usage. While buying energy efficient appliances and lightbulbs conserve energy in the long term.

 

Other actions may include using reusable water bottles or tumblers instead of plastic water bottles that may or may not get recycled at the end of the day. Using reusable shopping bags instead of disposable plastic bags, or even collecting plastic shopping bags and dropping them off at a retail store for recycling, can help prevent waste. Buying only the amount of food you actually need can also help reduce food waste at the end of the day. Reducing waste helps conserve natural resources.

 

Participants may choose to make a statement with their pocketbooks purchasing products with minimal packaging, locally grown, or with ingredients that are natural, organic, or non-toxic. You may also choose to carpool, take a bicycle, or walk instead of using a vehicle to conserve fuel and reduce air pollution. Or adopt the use of digital documentation to use less paper in the office. These and many other action steps will help lead us on the way to make a change for the better.