Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Day Schedule

The Tuscarora Landfill,the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station will be closed New Year's Day. The Administrative offices will also be closed New Year's Day.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The 3 R's of the Environment - Part 3 - Recycle


Many of the things we use every day, like paper bags, soda cans, and milk cartons, are made out of materials that can be recycled. Recycled items are put through a process that makes it possible to create new products out of the materials from the old ones.

In addition to recycling the things you buy, you can help the environment by buying products that contain recycled materials. Many brands of paper towels, garbage bags, greeting cards, and toilet paper, to name a few examples, will tell you on their labels if they are made from recycled materials.

In some towns you can leave your recyclables in bins outside your home, and a truck will come and collect them regularly. Other towns have recycling centers where you can drop off the materials you've collected. Things like paper and plastic grocery bags, and plastic and aluminum cans and bottles can often be brought to the grocery store for recycling. Whatever your system is, it's important to remember to rinse out and sort your recyclables!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The 3 R's of the environment - Part 2 - Reuse

Instead of throwing things away, try to find ways to use them again! For example:

•Bring cloth sacks to the store with you instead of taking home new paper or plastic bags. You can use these sacks again and again. You'll be saving some trees!
•Plastic containers and reusable lunch bags are great ways to take your lunch to school without creating waste.
•Coffee cans, shoe boxes, margarine containers, and other types of containers people throw away can be used to store things or can become fun arts and crafts projects. Use your imagination!
•Don't throw out clothes, toys, furniture, and other things that you don't want anymore. Somebody else can probably use them. You can bring them to a center that collects donations, give them to friends, or even have a yard sale.
•Use all writing paper on both sides.
•Use paper grocery bags to make book covers rather than buying new ones.
•Use silverware and dishes instead of disposable plastic utensils and plates.
•Store food in reusable plastic containers.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The 3 R's of the Environment - Part 1 Reduce


Every year, Americans throw away 50 billion food and drink cans, 27 billion glass bottles and jars, and 65 million plastic and metal jar and can covers. More than 30% of our waste is packaging materials. Where does it all go? Some 85% of our garbage is sent to a dump, or landfill, where it can take from 100 to 400 years for things like cloth and aluminum to decompose. Glass has been found in perfect condition after 4,000 years in the earth!

We are quickly running out of space. It's time to learn the three R's of the environment: reduce, reuse, recycle. Then practice what you preach: don't buy things you don't need or items that come in wasteful packaging or that cannot be recycled. Reuse and recycle whatever you can.

Reducing the amount of waste you produce is the best way to help the environment. There are lots of ways to do this. For example:

•Buy products that don't have a lot of packaging. Some products are wrapped in many layers of plastic and paperboard even though they don't need to be. You can also look for things that are packed in materials that don't require a lot of energy or resources to produce. Some products will put that information right on their labels.
•Instead of buying something you're not going to use very often, see if you can borrow it from someone you know.
•Cars use up energy and cause pollution. Some ways to reduce the environmental damage caused by cars include carpooling with friends, walking, taking the bus, or riding your bike instead of driving.
•Start a compost bin. Some people set aside a place in their yard where they can dispose of certain food and plant materials. Over time, the materials will break down through a natural process called decomposition. The compost is good for the soil in your yard and means that less garbage will go to the landfill.
•You can reduce waste by using a computer! Many newspapers and magazines are online now. Instead of buying the paper versions, you can find them on the Internet. Also remember that you should print out only what you need. Everything you print that you don't really need is a waste of paper.
•Save energy by turning off lights that you are not using.
•Save water by turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth.
•Lots of families receive a large amount of advertisements and other junk mail that they do not want. You can stop the mailings and reduce waste by writing to the following address and requesting that they take your name off of their distribution list:Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

Friday, December 27, 2013

Retired Christmas Trees Assist Beach Erosion Efforts

Retired Christmas Trees Assist Beach Erosion Efforts

Retired Christmas Trees Assist Beach Erosion Efforts By Melissa Jones NCCOAST |

During the winter months, the Crystal Coast beach scene consists of a different type of crowd. Gone are the sunbathers who line the soft sand, and their replacement, Christmas trees. As part of an effort to fortify sand dunes, each year Fort Macon manages its “retired” Christmas tree program that can be comparative to fencing as a means to prevent erosion said Randy Newman, park superintendent.

Michele Walker, NC Division of Coastal Management, said, “Christmas trees can be used to help reestablish sand dunes in areas where the dunes have been disturbed by either human action or storms. Properly placed trees trap windblown sand, which begins the process of dune building. The reestablished dunes are a natural way to buffer coastal resources, property and infrastructure against the forces of erosion from hurricanes and other storms.”

Sand dunes not only contribute to the beautiful backdrop along Crystal Coast waters, but serve more imperative functions such as the prevention of shifting sands caused by frequent winds, waves and tides or foot traffic. Such shifts lead to erosion, losing sand, or accretion, gaining sand. The Christmas tree program aims to create an economical alternative to build dunes that will eventually help reduce wind speed and allow for the necessary sand accumulation to stabilize vegetation. According to the NC State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, as sand collects, plants adapt to the beach environment and emerge to provide a steady surface that promotes further dune formation. In the absence of firm vegetation, drifting sand creates “live” dunes that move back and forth with the wind.

The needles that blow from Christmas trees and land among the sand will help encourage beach vegetation growth, said Newman. Vegetation is critical for dune formation and without it, blowing sand will migrate inland. Stable dunes are necessary along the coast in order to act as flexible barriers to storm tides and waves and serve as sand reservoirs for beach nourishment.

Most dune plants can tolerate “normal” beach conditions, but they are unable to withstand heavy foot or vehicular traffic. According to NC State University professor, Stephen W. Broome, such trampling can lead to greater sand removal by wind. Banning vehicular traffic can reduce the need for sand control measures, however, Fort Macon believes that that public should have the opportunity to intimately interact with dunes.

“The park encourages the public to have an opportunity to walk on dunes. Children having such contact allow them to learn about the dunes in natural environments. Often, damage can stem from consistent pounding of dunes from beach foot traffic. The park is committed to continuing such accessibility by maintaining and repairing any damage to dunes. Christmas trees allow us to provide a cost effective way to create sand fences along areas where erosion has occurred. The ‘fence’ repairs dunes by trapping blown sand. Birds will lay seeds along the trees providing a natural opportunity to quickly reestablish vegetation,” said Newman.

Fort Macon makes every effort to ensure that the trees are properly lined and buried along damaged areas, however, some areas have experienced failed results with Christmas tree restoration efforts. According to the state of Delaware’s dune protection and improvement, government officials no longer promote the placement of Christmas trees and other vegetation on the beaches.

“Over the years we have learned that this practice does not help as well with established dunes as the use of native vegetation and sand fencing and it can smother existing beachgrass. We have also learned that dead trees and brush are fire hazards that can lead to the destruction of established dunes.” In order to prevent such issues, North Carolina recommends that residents take their trees to established recycle programs such as Fort Macon’s.

North Carolina’s coastline has received much engineering, scientific and political attention during the past 30 years according to a study conducted by the US Geological Woods Hole Science Center. Main efforts are to protect the area and the significant tourism to its parks and beaches. The area also contains a number of coastal communities and supports the local fishing industry, all of which are impacted by coastal change. Such projects provide a strong science foundation for management of the NC coastal zone.

Erosion is one of the most important issues concerning beach preservation efforts. Other issues under constant study include:

• Coastal and estuarine shoreline erosion (controls on erosion rates, sediment transport, response of beaches and wetlands to sea level rise)

• Sand resources (location, quality, and quantity of offshore, estuarine, or onshore sand)

• Storm impacts (barrier island/inlet migration, estuarine water movement, relative stability of barrier island segments)

• Sea level change (history and potential impacts)

• Water resources (surface and groundwater)

• Habitat (ability to sustain uses, trends, identify threats)

Fort Macon accepts bare residential trees that are free from all decorations including tree stands and tinsel. There will be signs at Fort Macon directing traffic to drop-off stations at the bathhouse parking lot. If interested in volunteering to assist with fence efforts along damaged dunes, contact the park at 252-726-3775

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Schedules

The Tuscarora Landfill,the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station will be closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The Administrative offices will be closed December 24, 25 and January 1

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holiday Schedules

The Tuscarora Landfill,the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station will be closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The Administrative offices will be closed December 24, 25 and January 1

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays everyone from the Coastal Environmental Partnership

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Schedules

The Tuscarora Landfill,the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station will be closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The Administrative offices will be closed December 24, 25 and January 1

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wrap Holiday Gifts in Upcycled Potato Chip Bags

Wrap Holiday Gifts in Upcycled Potato Chip Bags

Quick Bit from Mary Mazzoni Every once in a while, we stumble upon a reuse idea that is so sensationally simple, we can’t believe we didn’t think of it first. This ingenious gift wrapping solution from blogger Jen Kluftinger is one of those projects.

Can you guess what her shiny gift is wrapped in? None other than a humble potato chip bag.

“I found some great metallic silver wrapping paper at the craft store, but it was so overpriced I just couldn’t justify buying it,” the creative crafter wrote on her blog, Drawings Under the Table. “So, I decided to try this instead.”

Once washed well with dish soap, this common kitchen item is transformed into stunning metallic wrapping paper that’s perfect for the holidays.

To cut back on waste even further, grab a few friends and join Terracycle’s Snack Bag Brigade to easily recycle the leftovers.

For step-by-step instructions on how to turn household waste into holiday cheer, head to Drawings Under the Table.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

First Day Hikes to be offered

First Day Hikes to be offered at every North Carolina state park Jan. 1

RALEIGH – A North Carolina tradition continues on New Year’s Day with opportunities to exercise and reconnect with nature on First Day Hikes at every state park and recreation area, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

In the past two years, hikers in North Carolina have joined rangers and volunteers to walk more than 6,000 miles on state park trails Jan. 1. There will be more than 40 scheduled hikes ranging from short “leg-stretchers” to four-mile treks, many of them offering interpretive programs along the way. All state park facilities will remain open on the holiday.

“As the holiday season draws to a close, First Day Hikes are an excellent way to relax, lose the stress and connect with the outdoors and the rich natural resources that distinguish North Carolina,” said Brad Ives, assistant secretary for Natural Resources at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “We want to remind everyone that the state parks are a year-round resource for exercise, education and enjoyment for more than 14 million visitors.”

This year’s event will be the first of many First Day Hikes at the new Carvers Creek State Park, which opened in September in Cumberland County. Lake James State Park will hold a hike along new sections of its Paddy’s Creek Trail, and families can enjoy self-guided hikes on the new Holly Discovery Trail, which has won a national award for environmental education. A walk alongside the ocean at Hammocks Beach State Park has always been a popular favorite, and at Weymouth Woods Historic Nature Preserve, hikers will visit the world’s oldest known longleaf pine. Also, the Eno River Association will offer long and short hikes as part of a decades-old tradition at Eno River State Park.

Details about all First Day Hikes in North Carolina can be found under “Education” at www.ncparks.gov.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Who invented the idea of organic farming and organic food?

ByJohn Platt

For more and more people today, shopping for food involves a stop at the farmers market or the organic produce section of the local grocery store. As a result, sales of organic food rose a healthy 10.2 percent in 2012 and captured 4.3 percent of total food sales, according to the Organic Trade Association. Organic food sales generated a healthy $29 billion last year. That's not bad for an industry that is fairly new: the USDA didn't approve national standards for organic food until 2002.

So where did this engine of healthy food and economic growth come from? Although many people think the idea for organic farming harkens back to a simpler time before industrial agriculture, the truth is that we owe many of the ideas about organics to a few people in the 20th century.

The most notable of these is Walter Ernest Christopher James, better known by his title, Lord Northbourne, who first used the term "organic farming" in his 1940 book "Look to the Land," which is still in print more than seven decades later. Lord Northbourne's book posits that "the very large increase in the use of [artificial chemicals] which has taken place during this century has coincided with an almost equally rapid fall in real fertility." He predicted that "the results of attempting to substitute chemical farming for organic farming will very probably prove farm more deleterious than has yet become clear" and called for a return to a system of looking at the land as a living organism.

Lord Northbourne was not alone. The same year that he published "Look to the Land," British botanist Sir Albert Howard published his classic book, "An Agricultural Testament." Based on his decades of work documenting traditional farmers in India, the book tackles nature-driven principles such as soil fertility and composting instead of the chemical methods that were becoming standard at the time. He called this the Indore method, "the manufacture of humus from vegetable and animal wastes" to improve soil fertility. Inspired by traditional European and Asian farming models, humus farming used a combination of composting, crop rotation, and soil additions — such as manure, lime and other natural rocks — to manage the pH of soil.

Howard's book would become the more influential of the two 1940 volumes. Based on his work, Lady Eve Balfour conducted the first scientific study to compare the efficacy of organic vs. chemical farming. Her results were published in yet another influential book, "The Living Soil," which was published in 1943. Three years later she would start the Soil Association, probably the first group to advocate for organic farming.

The concepts of organic farming grew for the next few decades but got their next big push in 1962 when Rachel Carson published her groundbreaking book, "Silent Spring," which famously documented the effects of the pesticide DDT on the natural environment. Embraced by the growing environmental and counter-culture movements, Carson's book became a call to action to support organic foods and to avoid synthetic chemicals.

Unfortunately, the earliest proponents of the "back to the land" movement of that time forgot or ignored the lessons of Howard, Balfour and Northbourne. According to "A Brief History and Philosophy of Organic Agriculture" by George Keupper (pdf), "many novices failed to understand that growing quality food without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers would not work very well without the regenerative practices of the traditional organic method." This resulted in what was called "organic by neglect" and produced some pretty unpalatable produce.

Despite this setback, organic produce continued to make progress. The first regional organic standards were developed in the 1970s and 1980s, although each had its own guidelines that provided little consistency for customers. The Alar scare of the 1980s finally led to the first national organics law — the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 — which in turn, eventually, led to the national standards that were finally published in 2002.

It took a long time, but organic foods and farming are now here to stay, and they have been standardized in a way that protects both food and consumers. For that, we can thank Lord Northbourne, Sir Albert Howard, Lady Eve Balfour and those who followed in their important and world-changing footsteps.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Recyclable Toys a Hit This Holiday Season

By Sophia Bennett Made from 100% post-consumer recycled fiber, Play from Scratch's line of toys makes eco-friendly play a reality.

A toy made from recycled materials that is recyclable at the end of its life — now there’s a gift that would make anyone feel like a superhero. This winning combination is what consumers get with toys and games from Play from Scratch, a St. Paul, MN, company.

“When we started the company we didn’t want to put a lot of plastic out into the world,” says Play from Scratch founder and CEO Jeff Freeland Nelson. “We set a really high environmental standard for ourselves, and so far we’re doing really well.”

Play from Scratch’s primary goal is to encourage creative play among kids. They started by selling cardboard boxes and tubes that children could use to put together forts, rocket ships and plenty of other things.

It seems simple, but Nelson says it can be challenging to find the right box and the right tube.

“These are designed for creative play,” he explains. “They’re perforated, so kids don’t need scissors or saws to cut holes. You don’t need tape to hold them together.” Kits come with a deck of cards that suggests what kids might make, but there are no instructions on how to do it.

Nelson says the goal is to make kids the inventors. A box of boxes or a tube of tubes retails for $19.99. The company also has a giant box that sells from $24.99, and an “everything” box that sells for $59.99.

The company released two new products just in time for the holidays. YOXO (pronounced “yock-so”) kits contain a series of Y-, X- and O-shaped pieces made from heavy-duty cardboard that attach to each other and common household items like paper towel tubes and cereal boxes. The pieces can be used to build robots, cars or anything else a young engineer might dream up. Kits come in two different sizes, with prices ranging from $12.99 to $19.99.

The YOXObot is made from 100% recycled fiber and is totally recyclable.

Play from Scratch also has a downloadable game called Instant Superhero. Players are dealt cards that describe different superheroes on a mission. As kids play each card, they roll die that gives them an action, such as drawing the hero’s costume or singing the person’s song. All the pieces are printed on a home computer (including the dice, which can be quickly assembled with tape), so they’re easy to recycle once they’ve worn out. The cost of the download is $1.99.

The cardboard in all the company’s products is made with 70% post-consumer waste. Any paper comes from certified sustainable sources. Soy-based paints mean the toys are easily recyclable. The only thing that cannot be tossed in the recycling bin is the decorative tape that comes with each kit.

Nelson says the majority of his materials are made within 30 miles of the Play from Scratch warehouse. However, 100% of their products are made in the U.S.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

L.L. Bean Wildcat Boot: Stay Warm with Recycled Primaloft

The lightweight and resilient boot keeps you warm through the winter with recycled Primaloft insulation.

As the cold weather clamors through, consumers are once again shopping for all the best winter gear to get through the chilly season. But, before your next purchase, you may want to consider if your desired item is made of recycled materials. Catering to shoppers that are looking for sustainable quality, L.L. Bean introduces the Women’s Wildcat Boots ($129).

This lace-up multicolor boot is just as comfortable as wearing your favorite pair of sneakers. Now completely redesigned, the Wildcat Boot comes in two color options: black-carbon and vapor gray-deep periwinkle. It is not only warm and waterproof, but also built with a dual-density shell that makes it lighter and less bulky than other competition on the market.

Best of all, its reflective trim is now lined with high-performance 400-gram recycled Primaloft polyester insulation for added warmth. Developed by the U.S. Military for use as clothing and sleepwear, Primaloft is a down-like insulation that mimics that lightweight compressibility and warmth but continues to insulate even when wet. Because much of the fibers are water repellant, Primaloft retains ability to keep you warm, even when the outside moisture has soaked through.

In addition, Primaloft is highly compressible and easy to stuff. Its resilient fibers are quick to regain their loft to provide insulation. This allows great movement and perfect for extendable wear. Finally, Primaloft is so soft, making this boot an excellent choice for active outwear.

L.L. Bean boasts that these boots are made from hypoallergenic material and are very easy to maintain. You can throw them in your washer on a gentle cycle to ensure they last and last.

L.L. Bean is one of the few that offers a pair of boots like these on the market. For a reasonable price, consumers can stop dreaming and purchase a sustainable and resilient boot to challenge the winter weather head on.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Toysmith 4M Recycled Paper Beads Green Creativity Kit

The perfect gift for the future crafty greenie is here, encouraging kids to mix recycling and creativity.

If you are looking for a great gift that will get that special child in your life thinking about recycling, I have the perfect solution: The Toysmith 4M Recycled Paper Beads Green Creativity Kit. My oldest daughter got this kit for Christmas last year and she still loves to use it to create paper beads. Best of all, it is easy enough to use that my 6-year-old can enjoy it, too.

The kit comes with a bead-winding tool that lets you create beautiful, one-of-a-kind paper beads by cutting strips of paper and twisting them into beads. Your child can go through the recycling bin and find colorful magazine pages, Sunday comics and wrapping paper scraps and turn them into colorful paper beads.

The bead-winding tool can attach to a drink bottle — another item you can grab from your recycling bin — so you will have a place to store your beads until you have made enough to create that bracelet, anklet, necklace, keychain or whatever you can imagine.

The Toysmith 4M Recycled Paper Beads Green Creativity Kit includes the paper bead-winding tool, patterned paper strips, elastic string, glue, plastic with foam end and detailed instructions with craft ideas.

The Creativity Kit is priced around $10 and can be found at many retail locations, including Creative Kidstuff. You can also find it online at shop.toysmith.com/p/recycled-paper-beads.

Monday, December 16, 2013

North Carolina's ozone levels lowest on record

North Carolina's ozone levels lowest on record in 2013

RALEIGH – North Carolina had its lowest ozone levels on record in 2013 since air monitoring began in the early 1970s, due lower air emissions and favorable weather conditions.

Ozone levels statewide exceeded the federal standard on only one day in 2013, well below the previous record low of six days in 2009 and the average of 22 days during the previous five years. The declining ozone levels went hand-in-hand with lower emissions from the state’s power plants, the largest industrial source of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are the primary contributor to ozone pollution in North Carolina.

A recent report by the N.C. Division of Air Quality, or DAQ, shows that the state’s coal-fired power plants have cut their NOx emissions by more than 80 percent since the General Assembly enacted the Clean Smokestacks Act in 2002. NOx emissions totaled 41,641 tons statewide in 2012, well below the cap of 60,000 tons/year set by the act and the baseline emissions of 245,000 tons in 1998.

“Power plants have not just met the requirements of the Clean Smokestacks Act, but have reduced their emissions more than required,” said Sheila Holman, director of the N.C. Division of Air Quality. “These emissions cuts, coupled with reductions from other industries and motor vehicles, have undoubtedly contributed to the improvements in ozone levels.”

Ozone is not emitted directly by sources but forms in the air when nitrogen oxides (NOx) react with hydrocarbons on hot, sunny days with little wind. Thus, the weather also contributed to low ozone levels in 2013 because the summer was cooler and wetter than usual.

NOx is considered the primary man-made contributor to ozone formation because trees and other vegetation emit most of the hydrocarbons in our air. The primary sources of NOx are power plants, industry and motor vehicles, and those emissions have been declining during the past decade.

The Clean Smokestacks Act required Duke Energy Carolinas and Progress Energy Carolinas (now both owned by Duke Energy, Inc.) to reduce ozone- and particle-forming emissions from coal-fired power plants by about three-fourths compared to 1998 levels. Utilities have achieved those reductions by installing scrubbers and other pollution controls at their largest facilities, closing some plants and converting others from coal to natural gas.

Stricter federal requirements for industrial facilities as well as motor vehicles also have contributed to the emissions reductions.More information on air quality issues can be found on DAQ’s website, www.ncair.org.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grqants

N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund provides grants to 14 local governments

RALEIGH –State officials today announced the award of $4.4 million in grants from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to 14 local governments for parks and recreation projects.

The matching grants, awarded by the Parks and Recreation Authority, will help fund land acquisition, development and renovation of public park and recreation areas. The authority considered 73 grant applications requesting more than $20 million. A maximum of $500,000 can be awarded to a single project.

“The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund has reached into hundreds of local communities offering new opportunities for recreation and fitness,” said Lewis Ledford, director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. “These opportunities for new parks, trails greenways and recreation facilities go hand in hand with North Carolina’s commitment to conservation, sound environmental stewardship and economic opportunity.”

The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund is administered through the state Division of Parks and Recreation and was established in 1994 by the North Carolina General Assembly. The revenue is distributed to three programs: 65 percent to the state parks system for repairs, capital improvements and land acquisition; 30 percent for matching grants to local parks and recreation programs for development and land acquisition; and 5 percent to the coastal beach access program.

Since 1995, the Parks and Recreation Authority has received 1,425 grant applications with requests totaling about $307 million. The board has awarded 768 grants for $173 million.

The local governments receiving grants in the most recent cycle are: Belmont, which received $450,000 for Belmont River Park; Brevard, which received $223,500 for Rosenwald Community Park; Cofield, which received $221,996 for Cofield Community Building; Duck, which received $137,500 for Soundside Boardwalk; Granite Falls, which received $136,250 for the Granite Falls Recreation Center Renovation; Henderson County, which received $500,000 for the Henderson County Athletics and Activity Center; Knightdale, which received $400,000 for the Knightdale Station Park; Lansing, which received $500,000 for the Lansing Town Park Expansion; Macon County, which received $500,000 for the Parker Meadows Recreational Park; Mars Hill, which received $22,500 for the Mars Hill Recreation Park Pool Renovation; Morrisville, which received $399,777 for the RTP Park Development; Person County, which received $353,000 for the Recreation and Senior Center – the Life Center; Spencer, which received $202,362 for the Spencer Woods Fred Stanback Preserve and Educational Forest Development; and Topsail Beach, which received $439,910 for the Topsail Beach Town Center Park.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Greeting cards from recycled materials

Operated by Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, Paperworks Studio is a unique social enterprise that employs individuals with disabilities and disadvantages to create beautiful greeting cards from recycled materials.

Made from unconventional items like blue jeans, wool sweaters,
linens and coffee grounds, the Paperworks Studio collection includes wedding and party invitations, as well as cards for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and — of course — the holiday season.

The company currently employs more than 30 talented artists from the Traverse City, Mich., area — who make and decorate the cards by hand.

For these artists, a job at Paperworks is more than just a paycheck. It also provides purpose, empowerment and vital skills that break down barriers to employment, says Brian Lewis, director of sales and business development for Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan.

“While they’re working here, it prepares them,” Lewis tells Earth911. “They learn life and work skills that earn them more independence in their lives and even further job opportunities.”

Paperworks Studio’s social enterprise model offers a welcoming work environment, along with skills and training that foster independence and build self-esteem. Each artist has his or her own role in the card-making process, ranging from drawing to making paper.

“It is impossible not to fall in love with them,” Lewis says of the artists. “Despite the fact that you might think that you’re going to give them something and help them, they always give more back to the people who work with them.”

“There’s nothing else like Paperworks Studio in the country,” he continues. “It truly is unique.”

Friday, December 13, 2013

Green Gifts

Made from 100% post-consumer recycled fiber, Play from Scratch's line of toys makes eco-friendly play a reality. http://bit.ly/IOjqmF

Thursday, December 12, 2013

More Trash

Did you know? Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday season than any other time of year. This extra garbage amounts to 25 million tons of trash. http://ow.ly/ruw6R

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fashionable Winter Hats Made from Recycled Materials

Fashionable Winter Hats Made from Recycled Materials

By Kara DiCamillo

Stay warm all winter long with these comfy recycled hats made from discarded materials.

More companies these days are going to great lengths to ensure that they are leaving a smaller footprint on the earth. In particular, we have seen the fashion industry come a long way over the past 10 years. While there are still plenty of companies out there that could be taking more sustainable action, we are thrilled to highlight brands that are making great strides to reduce their waste output and landfill dependence.

American Apparel’s unisex snow cap
From the slopes to a holiday dinner party, below are five stylish hats made from recycled materials that are guaranteed to keep you warm through your travels this winter.

Unisex snow cap from American Apparel
American Apparel has partnered with numerous textile-recycling companies to turn excess cotton fibers and clippings into high-quality, cotton-blend yarn. In fact, American Apparel’s Los Angeles factory recycles 100,000 pounds of fabric every week, which made the company nearly landfill-free as of 2012. The unisex snow cap is made from a 100% recycled cotton-acrylic blend. ($23)

Fleece beanie hat from The Mouse Works

The Mouse Works’ fleece beanie
Handmade in the mountains of Virginia, all of the hats made from The Mouse Works are designed from factory castoffs. Additionally, all of the scraps that owner Ryan Williamson produces are then recycled into hat parts, patchwork clothing, tassels or pillow stuffing. He has never thrown any scraps away. The beanie hat has a double-layer polar fleece ear band and comes in a variety of colors. ($18)

Nancy Sacova, co-founder of Nancy’s Gone Green, an eco-friendly boutique located near Boston, designs the Re:awakened collection. The Re:awakened line celebrates Nancy’s delight in all things whimsical and pretty, taking recycled materials and transforming them into fresh, feminine looks. Not only do we love that the striped recycled cashmere hat is incredibly comfy, but we also love that the cashmere has been upcycled from sweaters and then washed to become even softer. ($24.99)

Billboard beanie from Burton

Burton’s billboard beanie
As a snowboarding company, Burton takes climate change seriously. The company has even invited its customers to hold it accountable for its sustainable measures and asks that we continue to challenge it to be better. The Billboard beanie is perfect to wear under your helmet to keep you toasty. It comes in a variety of color combinations and is made from 100% recycled-bottle polyester. ($20)

Patagonia’s shelled hat
Shelled hat by Patagonia
As a leader in the industry, Patagonia is always pushing the envelope as far as using recycled materials in its products. The shelled hat is no different. Designed for kids, it’s wind and water resistant so they can stay outside longer and play in the snow. Made from 100% recycled polyester, the shell is even ripstop fabric, ensuring they keep snuggly warm.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Greening the Game at Georgia Tech

Rebound and Recycle: Greening the Game at Georgia Tech
By Si Robins

Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion is fitted with recycling bins throughout the arena so Yellow Jackets fans can make good eco-choices.

Though the structure at 965 Fowler Street NW on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus in Atlanta has been standing since 1956, it has only been known as the Hank McCamish Pavilion since last year. After undergoing a $45-million renovation, the 8,600-seat Alexander Memorial Coliseum, as it had been known for 56 years prior, was rededicated and reopened with a brand new sheen.

Recycling bins are located throughout Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion. Photo courtesy of Georgia Tech Athletic Association.
Today, McCamish Pavilion seamlessly mixes historic with high-tech, and at a school with “Tech” in its name, you can be that’s of importance. The arena is home to the men’s and women’s Yellow Jackets basketball teams.

The men’s side has a long history of sending its best to the pro ranks, including Stephon Marbury, Dennis Scott, Jarrett Jack, Mark Price and John Salley, among many others. Now, the Yellow Jackets are attempting to lead the way in their pursuit of diverting waste from Georgia’s landfills.

Chris Rettkowski, Facility Manager for the Georgia Tech Athletic Association, oversees the recycling operations at McCamish Pavilion and other athletic facilities across the 400-acre campus that is home to nearly 15,000 undergrads.

“We have recycling bins throughout the arena located next to the trash containers,” Rettkowski explains. “We take the recyclables from the arena to our on-campus recycling station via our custodial crew.”

Offering Yellow Jackets fans an easy, convenient choice to recycle when at McCamish Pavilion shows that Georgia Tech is taking the proper steps to filter and divert waste.

“The recycling bins [throughout McCamish Pavilion] are clearly labeled,” Rettkowski says, “with the end goal of our patrons making wise decisions to recycle items that can be recycled versus throwing them away.”

Monday, December 9, 2013

The North Face’s Denali Recycled Hoodie: Green, Comfy, Durable

The North Face’s Denali Recycled Hoodie: Green, Comfy, Durable
By Wendy Gabriel

With the bulk of its body made from recycled materials, the Denali Hoodie is both green and practical.

If you are an avid outdoors enthusiast, then you are probably already a devotee of The North Face. The California-based company not only makes great products that are stylish and perform at a high level, but also cares about how it uses the resources necessary to make its products.

The North Face’s commitment to protecting the planet is what really sets it apart. The company has a philosophy it calls the “virtuous cycle” that joins the passion for the outdoors with environmental responsibility.

It is a simple concept based on the idea that “if you get people outdoors, they will love that experience. The more they come back, the more they will grow to care about conservation and protecting the environment.”

This philosophy extends to the fabrics sourced for many pieces North Face apparel. A beautiful example is the Women’s Denali Hoodie ($199). This stunning jacket is made with 56% to 84% recycled content (pre- and/or post-consumer sources), so the material in this product helps divert waste from landfills and saves valuable resources.

The North Face’s Denali Hoodie in Spicy Orange (left) and Graphite Grey
Details on the Denali hoodie

A favorite fleece among outdoor enthusiasts, this hoodie is made from durable, soft, recycled Polartec 300 series fleece on the body, with abrasion-resistant panels at the shoulders, torso, elbows and hood for added durability at these high-stress areas. The hoodie comes in eight different color combinations and is a great layering piece for below-zero winter weather or a perfect jacket by itself for spring or fall.

More features of the Denali hoodie
•Standard fit with sizes ranging from XS to XXL
•Zip-in compatible with other North Face jackets to make it a perfect layering piece
•Fleece-lined hood for extra cozy warmth
•Front hood adjustment to keep the wind out
•Abrasion-reinforced shoulders and elbows
•Napoleon chest pocket for your cell phone or lip balm
•Two hand pockets
•Elastic-bound cuffs
•Hem cinch cord

Sunday, December 8, 2013

How to Recycle Ink Cartridges

How to Recycle Ink Cartridges
By Chantal McCulligh

Recycling ink cartridges saves consumers money while conserving raw materials and lessening energy output.

Although a “paperless” approach has been integrated into the daily lives of consumers and businesses, there is still widespread use of printers, fax machines and, ultimately, ink cartridges.

Despite our best efforts, this has allowed landfills to continue to fill with ink cartridges that could have otherwise been recycled. It is estimated that approximately 11 cartridges are thrown out every second, which leads to hundreds of millions of disposed ink cartridges annually. This is certainly a statistic that needs to decline, as we continue to waste our resources instead of reusing them through proven recycling processes. Unfortunately, it is too easy to let this concept slip the mind and toss these items into a trash bin.

Recyclable components of ink cartridges
Since ink cartridges can be recycled up to six times while producing the same quality and output as brand new ones, they are often refurbished, refilled and resold to consumers. Purchasing recycled ink cartridges not only saves consumers money, but also conserves raw materials and drastically lessens energy output. In fact, it takes approximately 80% less energy to recycle ink cartridges into new ones than it does to create them from scratch.

Recycling ink cartridges is about much more than dropping them off at a recycling facility. It is also about reusing their recycled versions, which we’ll discuss below.

The benefits of recycling ink cartridges
As mentioned above, there are a variety of environmental and personal benefits that come from opting to recycle used ink cartridges. In addition to reducing waste, conserving raw materials, using less energy and saving money for consumers, recycling these items also reduces air and water pollution.

The benefits do not end there, though. Ink cartridge recycling so also reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change, and most importantly, it helps to provide a sustainable environment for future generations. Ink cartridges that are not recycled sit in landfills for hundreds or even thousands of years since plastic decomposes at an extremely slow rate. Although you may not live to see the damage that these items will certainly cause, the generations after you will. Making a change now will ensure a healthier future.

The ink cartridge recycling process
After ink cartridges have been collected for recycling, the disassembly begins, which starts with an inspection. Smaller cartridges are sent through a device to ensure that the product is, indeed, an ink cartridge. This technology works similarly to the machines that you see on produce lines and in other production factories.

Once confirmed to be ink cartridges, they are gathered together, boxed and sent down the line. Laser technology scans the cartridges to determine their model number, which allows the cartridges to be thoroughly sorted into bins of similar models. Any remaining ink is drained and the gold and palladium contained within are separated and melted down at a downstream facility. Dismemberment of the ink cartridges also happens to remove any pieces that must also be separated into other piles, such as the foam that covers the ink holes or metal pieces.

The next process tackles 40% of the ink cartridge. The plastic is shredded down and processed into resin and then mixed with similar plastics based on resin code, but not before being thoroughly washed.

Tests are then conducted to ensure that the resin strength has not been jeopardized, and each individual cartridge is rebuilt, topped with toner and finally further tested to gauge product quality. Inspection is a vital part of the ink cartridge recycling process, as it ensures that all components are working to their fullest potential. If any component is questionable, it is removed and put into material recovery piles and replacement components are integrated into the new ink cartridge.

To finish the process, the cartridges are labeled and sealed in new packages and resold. Those ink cartridges that cannot be recycled are sent to be recycled into other items.

Reusing ink cartridges
Beyond the environmental and economic benefits of recycled ink cartridges, the quality of the ink and the printing job is the exact same as a brand new ink cartridge. Now, if only we had the capabilities and motivation to thoroughly make our personal and work lives completely paperless.

Until then, opting to recycle ink cartridges instead of throwing them out in the trash will help the environment. It takes only a couple minutes to do. Many retailers offer drop-off boxes for your empty cartridges and others allow you to mail them in.

Learning how to recycle ink cartridges is as simple as actually doing it. It does not have to be a messy or tedious task. It will, however, be one that will considerably reduce your carbon footprint.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

AmeriCorps program aims to improve environmental outreach in N.C.'s underserved areas

RALEIGH – Members of the federal AmeriCorps program started service this week with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to improve the state agency’s environmental education efforts in North Carolina’s underserved areas.

The 20 Mountains to the Sea AmeriCorps Program members will serve as interpreters at state parks, tour guides at the state aquariums and other functions aimed at increasing environmental literacy and natural resource stewardship in rural and underserved communities.

“Educating people about the importance of the environment is a crucial part of our mission to improve customer service in DENR,” said N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Secretary John Skvarla, who spoke with the new AmeriCorps members during an orientation the department held this week. “This program enables us to put service members in areas where environmental programming would not otherwise exist. Increasing environmental literacy helps ensure we all have clean air, water and land for future generations.”

The Mountains to the Sea AmeriCorps Program will be administered by the department’s Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs. The Mountains to the Sea AmeriCorps Program includes 20 service members and a program director, Abby Van de Bogert. The AmeriCorps program in DENR will be paid for using a $256,956 federal grant and $180,498 from the state agency. AmeriCorps is a domestic version of the Peace Corps. More than 5,000 people have served in North Carolina with AmeriCorps.

The new service members were trained by department staff during a three-day orientation this week at Haw River State Park in Browns Summit. Service members will work for about a year carrying out the following duties:

· Three members will lead tours, provide interpretive programs and presentations at the state’s coastal aquariums in Pine Knoll Shores, Fort Fisher and Roanoke Island.

· Six members will provide interpretative programs, tours and educational presentations for visitors at six state parks, including New River State Park in Laurel Springs, Haw River State Park in Browns Summit, Eno River State Park in Durham, Carvers Creek State Park in Spring Lake, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park in Seven Springs and Falls Lake State Recreation Area in Raleigh.

· Four members will host hands-on science lessons at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.

· Two members will conduct research, create educational materials and use social media to communicate about the programs in the divisions of Air Quality and Water Resources. They will be based in Raleigh.

· One member will develop and conduct public outreach programs on estuaries and coastal ecology for the state Division of Coastal Management in Wilmington and another member will provide programs on coastal habitats for the Division of Marine Fisheries in Morehead City.

· One member will expand recycling materials and public outreach campaigns for the Office of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service.

· Two members will lead field trips, workshops and outreach events on important natural areas and resources for the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program and the Office of Land and Water Stewardship.


Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs - Phone: 919-707-8626 -- 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1601

Jamie Kritzer, Public Information Officer, 919-707-8602, Jamie.Kritzer@ncdenr.gov

Pat McCrory, Governor -- John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary

An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer

Friday, December 6, 2013

N.C. Coastal Resources Commission will meet Dec. 11-12 in Atlantic Beach

N.C. Coastal Resources Commission will meet Dec. 11-12 in Atlantic Beach

RALEIGH – The public is invited to Atlantic Beach for next week’s meeting of the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission, which will be used to discuss future priorities for the commission, a study on creating a new Area of Environmental Concern for lands adjacent to the mouth of the Cape Fear River, and other coastal development issues.

The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission, or CRC, will meet Dec. 11-12 at the Hilton Double Tree in Atlantic Beach. The meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 11 and 9 a.m. Dec. 12. The following are some of the items on the CRC’s agenda:

· Commissioner Orientation– N.C. Division of Coastal Management staff will present information on division programs, including the regulatory, permitting, compliance and enforcement, and land use planning programs. The commission will also hear presentations on rule development and variance procedures.

· CRC Planning –The commission will review and adopt changes to CRC internal operating procedures, and discuss future priorities for the commission.

· Cape Fear River AEC Study– N.C. Division of Coastal Management staff will present a draft report of the feasibility of creating a new Area of Environmental Concern for lands adjacent to the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The commission classifies areas as Areas of Environmental Concern to protect them from uncontrolled development, which may cause irreversible damage to property, public health or the environment.

· Variances –The CRC will hear two requests for variances from its rules.

· CRC Rule Development– Staff with the N.C. Division of Coastal Management staff will present fiscal analyses of proposed rule amendments regarding 15A NCAC 7H.1300, which simplifies the permitting process for non-commercial boat ramps and associated access docks along estuarine and public trust shorelines; 15A NCAC 7H.1200, which modifies the general permit for piers and docking facilities; and 15A NCAC 7H.0213, which modifies the CRC’s sediment criteria rules for beach nourishment projects. Division staff will also present public comments received regarding 15A NCAC 7H.0304, which proposes to remove the Inlet Hazard Area designation from Mad Inlet and remove the temporary Unvegetated Beach designation from the area in the vicinity of Hatteras Village.

· Land Use Planning– The CRC will consider certification of two land use plan amendments for the towns of Swansboro and Nags Head, and will hear three land use plan status reports.

· Public Input and Comment –Members of the public may comment on CRC issues at 10:45 a.m. Dec. 12.

A full meeting agenda is posted on the N.C. Division of Coastal Management’s website at www.nccoastalmanagement.net.

The Coastal Resources Commission establishes policies for the N.C. Coastal Management Program and adopts rules and policies regarding dredging as well as coastal development within areas of environmental concern. The commission also certifies local land-use plans.


Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs - Phone: 919-707-8626 -- 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1601

Jamie Kritzer, Public Information Officer, 919-707-8602, Jamie.Kritzer@ncdenr.gov

Pat McCrory, Governor -- John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary

An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Buffalo Exchange Thinks Outside the Bag for Sustainability

Buffalo Exchange Thinks Outside the Bag for Sustainability

From the time that Kerstin and Spencer Block opened the first Buffalo Exchange store in 1974, the company has been dedicated to sustainability. Providing hip and fun stores for customers to buy, sell and trade new and recycled clothing and accessories, the company has grown to include 46 stores and three franchises in 17 states.

The store’s sustainability efforts go well beyond giving clothes a second life through reuse and recycling. Among the many initiatives the store has implemented over the years is the innovative Tokens for Bags program, which has raised nearly $525,000 since 1994. The money raised has gone to local nonprofit organizations and also has kept some 10.4 million bags out of the landfill.

Long before the “bring your own bag” concept became cool and commonplace, Buffalo Exchange identified this as an area where they could reinforce the “reduce, reuse and recycle” mind-set. When shoppers decline a bag, they’re given a 5-cent token instead. That token can then be placed into a box representing a charity — there are three boxes/charities to choose from at each location.

Given the more than half a million dollars raised by this campaign alone, it has shown its merit. And now, other stores are borrowing from Buffalo Exchange and creating similar campaigns. At Whole Foods Market, many of the stores offer customers a wooden token for every reusable bag that customers bring in and use for carting home their groceries. Each bag they bring in represents 5 cents, and shoppers can choose which selected charity they’d like to give their donation to. A similar program exists at Wild Oats Market, a member-owned cooperative

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Landfill Tour

Thank you Cindy Seymour for bringing your class from Craven Community College here to the Tuscarora Landfill for a tour.

If your organizition would like to visit us for a tour, please call me, Bobbi Waters, at 252-633-1564 or e-mail me at bobbi@crswma.com

Have a great day.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Prescribed burn planned at Carvers Creek State Park

Prescribed burn planned at Carvers Creek State Park

RALEIGH – The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation plans to conduct a significant prescribed burn at Carvers Creek State Park in Cumberland County before Feb. 28.

According to Park Superintendent Jane Conolly, the specific date of the burn will depend on local weather conditions.

The state parks system will work in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the N.C. Forest Service for the prescribed burn on 600 acres in the park’s Sandhills Section off McCloskey Road north of Fayetteville. This area of the state park is not open to the public. Natural resource managers will be using a contracted helicopter to direct burn operations and observe its progress.

Prescribed burns are used as a resource management tool in many locations by the state parks system. Some plant communities and animal species rely on periodic fire for their existence. The prescribed burns also reduce the amount of potential wildfire fuel and help protect a park’s resources and neighboring landowners if lightning, arson or carelessness sparks a wildfire.

In order to minimize smoke and assure the fire is controlled, the low-intensity, prescribed burn will only be carried out under the strictly defined weather conditions of a fire management plan. On the selected day, the burn will begin in the late morning and will likely end by mid-afternoon

Monday, December 2, 2013

Public hearing Dec. 3 on draft permit for proposed Maysville landfill

RALEIGH – State officials with the Division of Waste Management will host a public hearing in Maysville Dec. 3 on the draft permit to construct the proposed Maysville Construction and Demolition Debris Landfill.

The public hearing starts at 6 p.m. at the Maysville Elementary School Gymnasium, 814 6th Street, Maysville. Oral or written statements and data concerning the proposed C&D landfill permit may be submitted at the hearing. Persons wishing to speak may register at the hearing.

Interested parties may submit written statements and data concerning the proposed permit at the meeting or may submit them by mail until 5 p.m. Dec. 31 to: Geof Little, Division of Waste Management, Solid Waste Section, 1646 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1646. Written comments may also be sent by email to geof.little@ncdenr.gov.

Green Recycling Solutions, LLC, has complied with the N. C. Solid Waste Management Rules required for the application of a permit to construct for a new construction and demolition landfill facility on N.C. Highway 17 near White Oak River Road in Maysville. Maysville is in Jones County.

As proposed, the landfill facility would have an operational life of about 30 years, segmented into six phases that would provide approximately five years of service each. At complete build-out, the facility would cover a total area of approximately 16 acres with a total disposal capacity of approximately 602,102 cubic yards.

The waste materials permitted for disposal at the proposed C&D Landfill include land clearing and inert debris and construction and demolition debris resulting solely from construction, remodeling, repair or the demolition of pavement, buildings or other structures. Hazardous wastes or other banned wastes such as municipal or industrial solid wastes, liquid waste, medical waste, radioactive waste, PCB wastes, yard trash, white goods, septage, sludge, and special wastes as defined in state law are not approved for disposal.

Prior to disposal, waste materials would be segregated for recovery at a treatment and processing facility located on the property that was previously permitted for construction in February 2013.

The proposed landfill would accept construction and demolition waste from Jones, Craven, Carteret, Onslow, Duplin and Lenoir counties.

All data submitted by the applicant is available as part of the administrative record and may be reviewed from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Weekdays. Make an appointment to review the files at the Division of Waste Management, 217 West Jones St., Raleigh. The administrative record, including the application, fact sheet, and draft permit may be viewed online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wm/sw.Select “Documents (Tracker)” in left column, enter “Maysville C&D” into the search box and click the “Go” button.


Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs - Phone: 919-707-8626 -- 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1601

Jamie Kritzer, Public Information Officer, 919-707-8602, Jamie.Kritzer@ncdenr.gov

Pat McCrory, Governor -- John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary

An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer

Rake the Leaves..or not

Rake the Leaves? Some Towns Say Mow Them


DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. — They have been burned, blown into piles, raked into bags and generally scorned by homeowners everywhere. Fall leaves — so pretty on the trees, such a nuisance when they hit the ground — have long been a thing to be discarded. But now some suburban towns are asking residents to do something radical: Leave the leaves alone.
In the past few years, lawn signs have sprouted in this Hudson River village and across Westchester County, proclaiming the benefits of mulching the leaves in place, rather than raking them up and taking them away. The technique involves mowing the leaves with special mulching blades, which shred them into tiny bits. That allows them to quickly decompose and naturally feed lawns and shrubs.
Officials are encouraging the practice for its cost savings: Westchester spends $3.5 million a year on private contractors who haul away leaves in tractor-trailers and bring them to commercial composting sites in places like Orange County, N.Y., and Connecticut. At the same time, environmental groups and horticulturalists are praising the practice’s sustainability, devising slogans like “Leave Leaves Alone” and “Love ’Em and Leave ’Em.”
Karen Engelmann, a novelist in Dobbs Ferry, used to rake up the leaves on her half-acre property, which is laced with old oak trees. She once had 120 bags of leaves lined up at her curb to be taken away by the village. “I wondered, ‘Where do these go?’ ” she recalled. “I thought it was odd that there wasn’t an alternative, that there wasn’t someone saying you might want to think about how the planet functions.”
It turned out that her landscaper, Tim Downey, had started experimenting with the new technique. On an unseasonably warm afternoon last week, he navigated his mulching mower over a thick pile of leaves, producing a fine layer of confetti. Mr. Downey said the mulched leaves improve the soil’s water retention and provide critical nutrients, reducing the need for fertilizer in the spring.
“It’s utterly insane to be driving tractor-trailers 90 miles away,” said Mr. Downey, owner of Aesthetic Landscape Care in Hastings-on-Hudson. “My feeling is that if I’m taking away your leaves, I’m stealing from your property.”
Indeed, commercial firms use fall leaves as a raw material to produce mulch and compost for sale to nurseries. But towns and counties pay to get rid of them. In Westchester, for instance, the county pays a private hauler about $40 for every ton of leaves that it takes away. Municipalities that provide leaf pickup service pay the county $15 a ton. So some county residents ultimately foot the bill through both municipal and county taxes.
County officials say mulching leaves in place not only improves soil quality, but also has other environmental and safety benefits for communities. Piles of leaves left at the curb can clog storm drains; the nitrogen and phosphorous leaching from decomposing leaves heaped by the street can also more easily enter the drains and harm local rivers. Additionally, leaf piles constrict already narrow streets and can conceal children.
Westchester County appears to be in the vanguard on leaf mulching, but there are nascent steps in New Jersey and Connecticut to reduce leaf collections. For the first time this fall, the city of Englewood, N.J., which estimates that between overtime, equipment maintenance and fees, it spends $200,000 a year on leaf removal, is pushing the idea in emails and a newsletter. “Leaves clog storm drains, they’re slippery and they can catch on fire when cars park on top of them,” said Kevin Lake, a member of the city’s Environmental Commission.
Public service announcements and mulching workshops in Westchester have nudged homeowners to buy mulching attachments for their mowers and impelled landscapers to offer the service. But it is not always an easy sell.
For those who do it themselves, the mulching attachments can be cumbersome. And then there is the aesthetic factor. “People want everything removed from their lawn, and landscapers just want to keep their customers happy,” said Marianne Petronella, director of resource management for Westchester County’s Environmental Facilities Department. “I know some residents would never do mulching in place. They want to keep up with the Joneses.”
Stephen J. Edwards, the director of public works in Westport, Conn., agreed. “Unfortunately, people are just very conscious of the appearance of the lawn, and they want to see it spotless all the time,” he said, adding that the town spent $85,000 to take residents’ leaves away. Still, he said, Westport encourages leaf composting, especially for some of the one- to two-acre properties in the northern part of town. “Residents can blow the leaves into big piles and Mother Nature does the work,” he said.
Two years ago, Ms. Petronella enlisted a landscaper who mulches leaves and tried it on her own property in Scarsdale, which she described as a “postage stamp.” There was leafy residue for a few days after the mowers came through, but it quickly disappeared. “My land is just as attractive as any of my neighbors’ and I didn’t turn on my sprinklers once the past two summers, not once,” Ms. Petronella said.
The holdouts are not convinced. In Hastings-on-Hudson, Chloe Sikirica, a 50-year-old artist, was blowing leaves off her yard. With twin boys, she worries about the leaf confetti. “If you shred them and leave them, then the kids will track the mulch into the house,” she said.
Her one nod to sustainable yard care: leaving leaves around her trees and hedges to provide a natural mulch.
In northern Westchester, Fiona Mitchell of Bedford is a mulching convert. A member of the board of her local library, Ms. Mitchell got the idea a few years ago when the library was facing budget cuts. “I said, ‘Hang on, we’re spending all this money on leaves,’ ” she remembered.
Bedford estimates that 10 workers and 10 vehicles are needed over six weeks to pick up leaf bags and suck up piles of leaves from curbs; unlike other towns, it composts them on site, so it does not pay for hauling.
Now Ms. Mitchell does her own leaves, switching the blades on her mower come fall. She said the leaves provide so much benefit to her soil that this fall she “borrowed” some from her neighbor to mulch. And she has become something of a proselytizer for the practice among her neighbors and those in other towns.
“I’m afraid I’m becoming a bit of a mulching police,” she said. “My friends call out, ‘I’m mulching, I’m mulching,’ when I walk by their houses.”

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Increase in private sector's recycling jobs

State study shows increase in private sector's recycling jobs and businesses

RALEIGH – Recycling jobs in North Carolina’s private sector have increased by nearly 12 percent since 2010 as recycling businesses in the Tar Heel State continue to grow and thrive, according to a study released today by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“Recycling is an important initiative to support manufacturers and reduce our long-term dependence on landfills,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “The continued, strong growth of recycling as an economic sector validates its value to our environment and its importance to our economy as a generator of jobs.”

The research, conducted by DENR’s Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service, is the latest in a series of studies spanning nearly two decades demonstrating the ongoing contribution of recycling to the state’s economic growth. Results published in 1994, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2010 and this year show increases in recycling employment in North Carolina over time.

The study’s major findings include:

There are more than 17,000 directprivate sectorrecycling-related jobs in North Carolina.
Private sector recycling jobs have increased by 11.95 percent since 2010.
The total estimated annual payroll for North Carolina recycling businesses is $442 million.
Forty-five percent of recycling businesses surveyed anticipate creating more jobs during the next two years.
Eighty-one recycling businesses reported spending $79.6 million in equipment, facilities and land investments from 2011-13.
Fifty-one percent of recycling businesses surveyed plan on investing $47.3 million in equipment, facilities or land in the next two years.
Twenty-eight percent of businesses surveyed report manufacturing a product using a combined 2,264,565 tons of recycled materials.
Recycling businesses target a wide variety of recyclables for collection, processing or use in manufacturing. No single commodity dominates the state’s recycling economy.
“This study shows that North Carolina’s recycling businesses are thriving, creating jobs, and investing for the long-term,” said John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “By participating in recycling at home, at work, and on-the-go, North Carolinians help us grow the economy while protecting the state’s environment.”

North Carolina-based recycling businesses listed in the state’s online Recycling Markets Directory received an email invitation to participate in the 2013 Recycling Business employment study update. Additional recycling employment data from the N.C. Employment Security Commission was included in the study for recycling-related businesses not listed in the Recycling Markets Directory.

A copy of the study can be found online at http://bit.ly/1fYqHMD. To see which businesses are in the state’s Recycling Markets Directory, go to the following link on DENR’s website, http://www.p2pays.org/dmrm/start.aspx.


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