(Published on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, for The Daily Citizen newspaper in Dalton, GA.)
Ever wonder what to do with something you’re about to throw away? Are you asking yourself if plastic is really finding it’s way to the ocean? Pondering the benefits of carpooling versus riding a bicycle to work? Want to live in a more mindful and eco-friendly way but don’t know where to start? Going green or living a green lifestyle that is environmentally friendly is a long-term commitment that can be overwhelming. Thankfully there’s help and inspiration just a click away. Stay motivated and learn something new by visiting these websites that can help you go green this summer.
1.) www.RecycleNation.com – With short articles that range from crafts to gardening, there is something for everyone. But what sets Recycle Nation apart is the recycle search that enables users to search thru the comprehensive database of recycling drop-off locations. To start a search click on a picture of the item you want to recycle or type in a more specific word then enter your zip code. A map on the same page will show the locations nearest you in a popup box with more details.
2.) www.Earth911.com – Very similar to Recycle Nation, Earth 911 also offers a recycling search service. Using quick search users can click on general categories, then subcategories to identify the specific items they want to recycle. Though Earth 911 also has articles about green living and environmental issues, the newest update of the site includes an online store with eco-friendly products. Products range from apparel to home and garden gear.
3.) www.LifeWithoutPlastic.com – Possibly the best and largest online store for eco-friendly products is Life Without Plastic. It’s a one-stop shop for safe, high quality, and ethically sourced alternatives to common plastic products. For example, as an alternative to plastic lunch containers and baggies, this site offers stainless steel bento boxes, along with reusable organic cotton sandwich bags.
4.) www.MyPlasticFreeLife.com – If you’re seeking to get plastic out of your life you’ll find some inspiration from My Plastic Free Life. Author Beth Terry gives an honest look at how she is kicking her plastic habit by offering reviews of products, realistic alternatives to help you replace plastics, and her successes and failures as she takes her family along for the journey.
5.) www.TrashBackwards.com - Trash Backwards is a collection of ideas to help us take a creative step backward with our trash by not throwing it away but instead making something useful out of it. For example, do a search for a laundry detergent jug and one of the uses will be transforming it into a watering can for the garden. Ideas are organized by material type and themes like art and craft, refashion, and holiday.
6.) www.TreeHugger.com – For more than ten years Tree Hugger has been a source for green news, solutions and product information. Almost daily articles inform and inspire users to live in an earth-friendly way. Recent articles include an interview with a family that is doing mobile living, low-tech ways to keep your home cool, and how to make vegan fudgesicles.
7.) www.Grist.org – Since 1999 Grist has been a source of intelligent, irreverent environmental news and commentary that covers climate, energy, food, green living, and even politics. Some recent articles include a review of the most bike-friendly cities, grocery stores selling ugly veggies to reduce food waste, and the first look at an electric scooter with swappable batteries.
8.) www.NationalGeographic.com – The environment section of National Geographic takes an in-depth look at broad environmental issues like animal conservation, energy, global warming, and oceans. Each article includes beautiful photographs, maps, and infographics. Recent stories include the crayfish harbor fungus that’s wiping out amphibians and the world’s largest marine reserve.
9.) www.DWSWA.org – I couldn’t leave off this list the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority’s website that contains local recycling and waste disposal information. Residents of Whitfield County can read about Convenience Centers, also known as transfer stations, where household garbage and recyclables can be dropped off. Directions, hours, and more are listed along with general information about the company. Teachers and local educators will benefit from the environmental education section that details program like target recycling at school.
10.) www.TerraCycle.com – While you can recycle many different products locally there are products that are left out. Since 2001 TerraCycle has been on a mission to eliminate waste by recycling some of the hardest to recycle products out there. Their mail-in collection programs offer an outlet for food pouches, snack bags, writing instruments, and even cigarette waste. A quick look at the brigades shows what products are collected and what they’re made into. For example, plastic pouches for granola cereal are turned into lunch sacks, duffle bags, or even watering cans.
Liz Swafford is the Recycling and Education Program Coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. Contact her at 706-278-5001, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.