Topic: green tips

10 Ways to Go Green

The Hamilton County Waste Management department has been working hard to help increase environmental awareness around the area.  Earlier this year they shared 10 Ways to Go Green, which are very much worth re-sharing.

From the Hamilton County Interchange Newsletter:

Top 10 Ways for Your Business to Go Green
Michelle Balz, Program Specialist, Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District

So, your business has decided to reduce its environmental footprint and become a good corporate citizen by going green. Generously, upper management has given you free reign to implement environmental policies…but where do you begin? Here are 10 simple ideas that can increase worker productivity, improve your company’s public image, and save your company money.

1. Start Recycling

Today recycling is a no-brainer. More than 40% of what we throw into the landfill is paper, yet over a dozen local companies crave paper as feedstock for their operation. Not wasting this valuable resource can also reduce your waste bill since the cost to haul recycling is lower than trash. Add in the environmental benefits of reduced pollution and conserved energy and it is easy to understand why recycling is often one of the first environmental policies a company adopts. For help with recycling, call the Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District at (513) 946-7734 or visit www.hamiltoncountyrecycles.org.

Environmental Benefit- Recycling office paper reduces air pollution by 95% and saves 24 trees for every ton of office paper recycled (National Recycling Coalition).

2. Switch Your Bulbs

While the lighting technology choices are endless, CFL, LED, T8, T5… the solution is clear: switching to energy efficient lights saves energy and money. The bulbs may cost more upfront, but energy efficient lights last much longer than traditional bulbs and use significantly less energy to reduce costs in the long run. To help you decide which technology is right for you, visit www.energystar.gov.

Environmental Benefit- Replacing a single standard bulb with a CFL reduces energy use by 75% and prevents 450 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions over the life of the bulb (Energy Star).

3. Build Green

Whether you start with a vacant lot or renovate your current space, integrating green building ideas can decrease energy and water use and increase worker productivity with a healthier work environment. The idea is simple: use sustainable materials and design to create a space that works with the local environment instead of against it. For ideas on green building and how to earn LEED certification, visit the US Green Building Council at www.usgbc.org or call the local Cincinnati chapter at (513) 388-0020.

Environmental Benefit- Green buildings on average use 30% less energy than conventional buildings, saving $60,000 per year for every 100,000 ft2 space (US Green Building Council).

4. Convert Your Fleet

Increase fuel efficiency, decrease pollution, and receive federal tax credits, need I say more? Integrating hybrid vehicles or biodiesel not only builds a green fleet but it also makes the public aware of your green commitment. To compare the latest alternative fuels and vehicles visit www.CleanFuelsOhio.org.

Environmental Benefit- The production and use of biodiesel, compared to petroleum diesel, results in a 78.5% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions (National Biodiesel Board).

5. Implement Storm Water Management

Everything the rain washes off your buildings and parking lots ends up in a stream nearby, likely with unnatural speed that damages a stream ecosystem. You can take steps to minimize this effect by installing green roofs, buffer zones, rain gardens, and porous pavement. These practices allow rainwater to slowly release into local streams improving the health of the stream for local wildlife. For more information, visit
www.hamilton-co.org/stormwater.

Environmental Benefit- Porous pavement can reduce storm water runoff six times better than traditional pavement during peak rainfall (Environmental Protection Agency).

6. Encourage Employees to Save Fuel

If gas prices continue to climb, employees will welcome ideas to reduce fuel consumption. Offer incentives to employees who take the bus, ride a bike, carpool, or drive fuel efficient vehicles. Or if practical, allow your employees to work from home and eliminate the commute altogether. These actions will reduce your company’s carbon footprint and likely save employees money.

Environmental Benefit- Switching a 20-mile round trip commute to existing public transportation can reduce one person’s annual CO2 emissions by 4,800 lbs per year, equal to a 10% reduction in all greenhouse gases produced by a typical two-adult, two-car household (American Public Transportation Association).

7. Adopt an Environmental Purchasing Policy

Your company purchases many products- why not make those purchases greener? Adopting an environmentally preferable purchasing policy will give your employees the green light to seek out products ranging from post-consumer recycled content paper to non-toxic cleaning products. For sample policies and environmental purchasing tools visit www.epa.gov/epp/.

Environmental Benefit- Purchasing one ton (40 cases) of 30% post consumer copy paper saves the equivalent of: 7.2 trees, 2,100 gallons of water, 1,230 KW hours of electricity, and 18 pounds of air pollution (Conservatree).

8. Reduce and Reuse

Reduce waste in your office by discouraging employees to print unnecessarily (e.g., keep emails electronic) and encourage double-sided printing when possible. A simple change in margin size to 0.75 inches fits more text onto a page and reduces paper usage over time. Reuse in your office by providing a water cooler instead of water bottles and giving employees a reusable mug instead of disposable cups.

Environmental Benefit- Save energy! You would have to use a foam cup 1,006 times to reduce the amount of energy equal to reusing a ceramic mug (Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment).

9. Make Energy Conservation an Office Habit

Want an option for going green that won’t cost you a dime? Encourage employees to conserve energy by turning off lights when they are not in use and shutting down computers before they go home. This small change in behavior can add up to a big conservation of energy. According to the US Department of Energy, to conserve the most energy turn off the monitor if you are not going to use your PC for more than 20 minutes and turn off both the CPU and the monitor if you’re not going to use your PC for more than 2 hours./

Environmental Benefit- Turning your computer off at night or on weekends can reduce energy use by two-thirds and save an average of $90 a year per computer (US Department of Energy).

10. Take the Go Green Challenge

By joining the Hamilton County Go Green Challenge, your business becomes part of a network of local companies implementing green practices. Go Green Challenge members also have access to experts in a variety of environmental fields and receive public recognition for their accomplishments. Visit www.hcdoes.org/gogreen.htm for more information.

And remember, the next Go Green Challenge event is Oct 7. Are you registered?

50 Ways to Help the Planet

Local company Wire & Twine (of the Cincinnati Transit for Optimists shirt fame) has another shirt available with a green twist.

The 50 Ways are explained here.  Read through this list for some ideas to adopt in your personal efforts to go green.

Need a holiday gift?  Pick one of these up online or at Park+Vine.

Video pod: festival green tips

For your viewing pleasure, check out the latest Live Green Cincinnati video pod.

There are a lot of ways to be green while out and about, all you need is a bit of forethought.

Check out our other Live Green Cincinnati video pods on You Tube.

Can I recycle an overflowing bin? What about contamination?

Now that you’ve been learning what all you can put in your recycling bin it makes us wonder what happens when bins start to overflow.

Question: What if my recycling doesn’t fit in my bin?  Even if I crunch and break down the materials, my recycle bin is overflowing!  What can I do?
Answer: You can contact Rumpke for an additional bin or user another plastic container.  Mark any additional plastic containers with signage indicating that it is recycling and Rumpke will collect it.

You may not always get things absolutely perfect.  But what happens if you make a mistake?

Question: What happens to my recycling if I put the wrong things in the bin like plastic bags and pizza boxes?
Answer: Rumpke’s team will remove items placed in your bin by mistake at the recycling center.  This is one of the initial steps of the sorting process.

Thanks to Amanda Pratt of Rumpke for the facts!

Can I recycle credit cards or a bag of paper shreds?

Live Green Cincinnati readers are bringing on the recycling queries.  The latest stumper is a great question.  When you stop taking bags at the check-out counter, how do you control your paper shreds for recycling?

Question: I no longer have paper grocery bags.  How can I store my loose paper recyclables and shreds so they don’t blow away or make a mess?
Answer:
You can use a plastic garbage bag, but please label it as “recyclable paper shreds inside”.  This will help the Rumpke team identify the contents as recycling and ensure the paper shreds are removed.

Question: Can I recycle plastic gift cards and credit cards?
Answer: No.

Thanks to Amanda Pratt of Rumpke for the facts!

Post-storm yardwaste options

In light of yesterday’s storm and the mess of tree and yard debris left behind, Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati would like to remind you about your options for dealing with yardwaste.

From the release:

County and City Offer Options For Yardwaste
In response to Sunday’s storm, many communities are offering special collection programs for yardwaste. To learn more about what your community is offering, please visit your community website or call the administrative offices.

The Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District (District) and the City of Cincinnati offer options for residents who have storm debris. Listed below are options to assist residents with yardwaste clean-up.

Hamilton County Yardwaste Program
Hamilton County residents can participate in the District’s FREE Yardwaste Recycling Drop-Off sites on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through November 30, 2008. This program does not accept yardwaste from landscapers or businesses.

The yardwaste sites are located at:

  • East*: Turpin Farm, 3295 Turpin Ln. (off Rt. 32) in Anderson Township
  • West: Kuliga Park, 6717 Bridgetown Rd. in Green Township
  • North**: Rumpke Sanitary Landfill, Struble Rd. and Colerain Ave. in Colerain Township

* The Turpin Farm location is also open during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
** The Rumpke Sanitary Landfill location will also be open Wednesday through Friday, September 17th through September 19th from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Follow signs to designated drop-off area.

The drop-off sites accept materials such as leaves, grass clippings, brush, garden waste, tree trunks, and prunings from trees or shrubs. For more information about the yardwaste recycling drop-off program, please call the District at (513) 946-7755 or visit www.hamiltoncountyrecycles.org.

City of Cincinnati Yardwaste Program
The City of Cincinnati will accept all types of yardwaste, including grass clippings, leaves, branches and brush. City crews and contractors are out addressing downed trees and limbs in the following order:

  1. Major routes and thoroughfares
  2. Streets with only one access point
  3. Blocked driveways
  4. Houses

Residents are encouraged to follow the general guidelines for yardwaste collection, but some flexibility of these rules will be permitted during this time. The City will relax its procedures and pick up any tree limbs or branches brought to the curb.

  • The City cannot go onto private property to get tree limbs and branches.
  • The City will send crews as soon as possible; this may differ from your regular trash collection day.
  • Leaves, small brush and sticks should be put either in a biodegradable brown paper yard waste bags, or in trash cans clearly marked “YARD WASTE”.
  • Yardwaste in plastic bags cannot be collected.

The City can only address trees and limbs where Duke Energy has been able to clear downed lines.

If you need to report trees and limbs in the public streets and curbs, please the City of Cincinnati’s Customer Service Hotline at 591-6000 for more information.

If you live outside of the City of Cincinnati, please call Hamilton County’s Yardwaste Hotline at 946-7755.

Can I recycle photos, frozen food boxes, or OJ cartons?

Paper is paper, except when it comes to sorting your recycling.  Choose what you put in your bin carefully based on these tips.

Question: Can I recycle old photos?
Answer:No, photo paper is not recyclable.

Question: Can cereal boxes and frozen food boxes be recycled?
Answer: Yes!  They are considered paperboard.

Question: Can I recycle paperboard containers like OJ cartons or Pringles cans which appear to be lines with something shiny and silver?
Answer: No.  These items contain a wax-like coating that makes them non recyclable.

Thanks to Amanda Pratt of Rumpke for the facts!

Can I recycle aluminum foil or paper cups?

Ever wonder if that Aluminum foil or paper cup could go in the recycling bin?  Check out the latest responses.

Question: Can I recycle a paper drinking glass that has only been filled with water?
Answer: No. Currently paper cups, plates, and napkins are not recyclable because of food and liquid contaminates.

Question: Can recycle aluminum foil if it’s been rinsed off well?
Answer: No. Aluminum foil cannot be recycled.

Thanks to Amanda Pratt of Rumpke for the facts!

Park it and ride into downtown for the Riverfest fireworks

If you’ve ever driven downtown for the baddest fireworks display around, you know that traffic and parking for Riverfest are enough trouble to almost make you want to stay home.

Everyone knows that it’s not the same if you’re not there in person.  This year, let Metro and TANK do the driving for you.

Metro’s Riverfest Express runs on Sunday August 31st for only $3 one-way, or $5 for a round-trip ticket. Compare that to $10 and $20 parking near the river and you can justify taking the whole family on the bus or riding solo and being able to afford a t-shirt and funnel cake. Check out the Metro Riverfest site for the details on where and when to catch the Express.

Looking for a seat on the Kentucky side of the river this year? Ride the TANK’s special Riverfest Park and Ride service. Be shuttled from NKU, Turfway, or Buttermilk to Newport or Covington. Check out the TANK Riverfest Park and Ride details to find out when and where to pick up the bus.

Can’t make up your mind about which side of the river to watch the show from? Ride the TANK Southbank Shuttle between Covington, Newport, and Downtown Cincinnati for $1.25 per trip.

Can I recycle sticky notes, paper towels, or wrapping paper?

There is a lot of paper in our lives; way beyond office paper, junk mail, and magazines.  Here are a few more answers to help you get the right mixed paper into your recycling bin.

Question: Can sticky papers like post-it notes be recycled?
Answer: Yes

Question: Can restroom and kitchen paper towels that have been used to dry hands and counters be recycled?
Answer: No. There is bio residue and grease (similar to the case with pizza boxes) left behind that contaminates the paper so it cannot be recycled.

Question: Can I recycle shiny papers like receipts, movie tickets, and coupons?
Answer: Yes! These are all considered mixed paper and are indeed recyclable.  Even if you choose to shred your receipts, you can recycle the paper shreds.

Question: Can I recycle paperback books?
Answer: No.  Rumpke cannot accept these, but you can donate them to the public library or take them to a Half Price Books store for resale.

Question: Can wrapping paper be recycled if you get all the tape off?
Answer: Rumpke’s manufacturers will only allow a very small percentage of wrapping paper in a bale, and if there is too much it will not be accepted. At this time, Rumpke advises against adding wrapping paper to your recycling. However, back in the day, my grandma collected wrapping paper at holidays, trimmed the edges, ironed it on the lowest possible heat, and reused it. I hear it also makes great book covers for text books.

Thanks to Amanda Pratt of Rumpke for the facts!