Sunday, November 30, 2014

Luxury And Sustainability Go Hand In Hand

 


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Schedule

Thanksgiving Schedule
 
The Tuscarora Landfill, the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station will be open today.  The Administrative offices will reopen Monday, December 1.

We hope you have a safe and happy Holiday Season.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Schedule

Thanksgiving Schedule
 

The Tuscarora Landfill, the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station will reopen today.  The Administrative offices will be closed today.

We hope you have a safe and happy Holiday Season.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Schedule

Thanksgiving Schedule
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

The Tuscarora Landfill, the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station will be closed Thanksgiving Day. The Administrative offices will be closed Thanksgiving Day and the 28th.

We hope you have a safe and happy Holiday Season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule

Thanksgiving Schedule
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

The Tuscarora Landfill, the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station will be closed Thanksgiving Day. The Administrative offices will be closed November 27and 28.

We hope you have a safe and happy Holiday Season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Composting with Worms



3rd graders learning all about worms and how they help compost!
       retweeted
       

Monday, November 24, 2014

In Garbage City, trash is a way of life

The Zabbaleen keep Cairo's garbage in check by recycling 80 percent of what they collect — an incredible feat by any standard. But not everyone is happy.                          


The Zabbaleen are Christians in a city of Muslims, which is where the relationship with other residents begins to fray. (Photo: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)
Not far outside the main area of Cairo, Egypt, is a city of trash.
 
And the citizens of Garbage City, as it's called, are surprisingly happy. Only one thing really seems to worry them: the thought that their livelihood dealing in Cairo’s trash will be taken away.
 
Different families in Garbage City focus on different sorts of trash. Some deal in metals, some in plastic bottles, some in paper — sorting each group into “sellable” and “unsellable.” Anything that can be reused or recycled is saved. Carts pulled by donkeys ply the streets, stacked sometimes 10 feet high with recyclables.
 
These expert dumpster-divers are known as Zabbaleen, that’s “garbage people” in Egyptian Arabic, and they recycle an amazing 80 percent of the waste they collect, compared with a mere 25 percent among garbage companies in Western cities.      
 
The Zabbaleen, who live mostly at the southern end of Manshiyat Naser ward, are consummate outsiders — and not just because they collect refuse for a living. They are Christians in a city of Muslims, and pig-farmers in a society that reviles swine.
 
But these outsiders do Cairo an enormous favor. For going on 80 years, they’ve collected, sorted and disposed of the solid waste of one of the world’s largest cities.
 
Children of the Zabbaleen in Cairo
For the Zabbaleen, garbage isn't just a lifestyle, it’s an identity. (Photo: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)
 
With a population of around 25 million, Cairo makes mountains and mountains of solid waste every day. And the city’s 80,000 Zabbaleen are thankful for every bit of it, as are the many thousands of pigs that live among them.
 
They use the pigs to get rid of rotting food, which the animals are happy to eat. Women sit in the midst of a trash heap picking through the junk, tossing them decayed bits of fruit or meat.
 
As you’d expect, it’s a life of appalling smells and sights, but the Zabbaleen don’t mind. In fact, as they’re proud to admit, trash isn’t just a lifestyle, it’s an identity.    
 
An identity, however, that’s in constant peril of being taken away. The people of Cairo, even the government of Egypt itself, all seem to want the Zabbaleen gone.
 
Back in 2009, when swine flu was running rampant in many places, the Egyptian government decided to do away with all Egypt’s pigs, even though there was no swine flu there at the time. Some 300,000 pigs were slaughtered.
 
The country’s pig farmers, largely Zabbaleen and almost entirely Christian, were up in arms. They saw the move as an existential threat. The World Health Organization said Egypt’s decision had no scientific basis, and the United Nations called it “a real mistake.”
 
Before long, the government admitted that the pig-slaughter wasn’t about staving off a swine-flu epidemic. It was the first move, they said, in a plan to “clean up” the Zabbaleen.
 
It wasn’t the first time Egypt’s government had tried this. A few years before, government officials decided to contract out Cairo’s waste disposal to local companies. But the companies were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of waste, while the Zabbaleen largely went on doing what they’ve always done. For their efforts, they got little thanks from Cairo’s residents, who otherwise would have ended up living in a city of trash.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

‘Eat Smart, Move More, Weight Less’

Extension agent: ‘Eat Smart, Move More, Weight Less’ for holidays

By Anna Goodwin McCarthy
Correspondent



As the holiday season approaches, Mary Morris is helping others to enjoy their favorite dishes while not adding on pounds.
Promoting a healthy diet and exercise, it is vital to “incorporate things you enjoy,” said Morris, area extension agent, family and consumer sciences for Chowan and Bertie Counties.
Morris is instructing a Holiday Cooking School in Chowan and Bertie beginning on Nov. 19. The classes will focus on a variety of topics including: cooking on a budget, healthy substitutions for traditional recipes and innovative time saving recipes.
Morris said it is important to manage portion control and use healthy substitutions while planning and consuming meals especially during the holiday season when many people often gain up to five pounds.
To curb added consumption of calories, Morris suggests eating your vegetables first before filling up on breads and stuffing.
“Eat sweets in moderation,” said Morris.
For the last five years Morris has also instructed the Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less program.
The program is offering a free Holiday Challenge which people may register for online at http://esmmweighless.com/sign/. Morris said people may also call her to sign up for the Holiday Challenge at 482-6585.
 
“The program’s motto is maintain, don’t gain,” said Morris. Morris said by registering for the Holiday Challenge, people will receive weekly newsletters and tips about healthy living during the holiday season.
 
The extension agent said the best aspect of her job is “working with people,” and helping them make changes in their lives to become healthier.
 
Morris lives with her husband and two children in Edenton. Morris said she likes to involve her children in the kitchen exposing them to healthy choices for preparing meals.
 
“I really enjoy being physically active,” said Morris who attends an adult dance class in Hertford.
Morris said when searching for exercise and sports activities it is helpful to reflect on what you found fun as a child and then find a similar outlet as an adult.
 
At home Morris enjoys experimenting with cooking and searching online sites like www.kraft.com for new recipes.
 
If you make healthy lifestyle changes in moderation and incorporate the things you enjoy “you will be successful,” said Morris.
 
For more information about the programs visit http://Chowan.ces.ncsu.edu.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Holiday Food Safety Tips


Some of us prepare for the holidays by making sure we have the perfect table setting, some start Christmas shopping, and some talk about the football game scheduled for the big day. But others of us look at the kitchen and have only one thought, “oh please don’t let my cooking kill the in-laws”! While sometimes in-laws can be irritating, you would never wish upon them the horrible fate of a holiday food borne illness.
Following a few easy steps and treating every bird as if it is contaminated you can protect you and your family.
The holiday season is often filled with guests, but some are unwanted — like the pathogens found on food that has been mishandled. First, there is Listeria which is like one of those unwanted party guess that will not leave and haunts in the leftovers in the refrigerator. It can usually be found in the cold foods served at buffets like deli meats and smoked salmon. Then there is Clostriduim Prefingens, it is most fond of meat, meat products and gravy. It tends to lurk in foods served in quantities that have been left out at room temperature. Staphylococcus Aureus gets into food and multiples rapidly at room temperature to produce a toxin that causes illness within 1-6 hours. It hangs out in foods that are made by hand and do not require additional cooking. Some other pathogens that have been linked to holiday meals are Salmonella and Camplobacter. Camplobacter  can be found in close to half of commercially available poultry, but will only make you sick if you mishandle the turkey. Mishandling food causes pathogens to grow to a toxic level which can then make you sick. Before you throw out the turkey and forgo the holiday tradition altogether, let me give you a few pointers on how to safely thaw, cook and store your bird.
First, when thawing a turkey make sure to follow the package recommendations. Many will direct you to thaw in the refrigerator for several days depending on the size. But this usually requires that you remember and plan to remove the turkey from the freezer several days ahead of time. It is likely you will find yourself in need of a quick thawing technique. However one of those techniques is not to leave it out on the counter at room temperature. If you leave the turkey at room temperature for more than two hours not only will you probably not have a fully thawed bird, but the surface of the bird could have been left in the “danger zone” (according to the USDA 40-140o F). At this temperature pathogens can grow to a level that is toxic, causing a food borne illness.
Instead, a quick way to thaw a turkey would be cold water thawing. Place the turkey in a leak proof plastic bag then submerge in cold water which should be changed every 30 minutes. You can calculate about 30 minutes for every pound. You can also try the microwave. There should be instructions on the package for this method.
Now that the bird has thawed you will want to handle it carefully. Every surface that comes in contact with the turkey could become contaminated with any pathogens on the bird. We call this cross-contamination. It is important to clean and sanitize utensils, work surfaces and hands that come in contact with the turkey. You will want to resist the urge to wash your bird!  Washing the turkey can also cause cross-contamination. In fact U.K. Food Standards found that bacteria already present on poultry can travel up to 3 feet from where the meat was washed. So forgo bathing the bird. It is also recommend not to stuff the turkey. If you like stuffing it can be made safest outside the turkey in a casserole dish. Not only is it safer, but you will not have to add extra time for thorough cooking which can cause the meat to be dry. When you think you have cooked your turkey the recommended amount of time, make sure to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165o F. Check the temperature in multiple places and make sure the thermometer does not touch the bone.
Now for the storage. First let’s remember that we should not leave food in the “danger zone” (40-140o F) for more than two hours. If it is left out it should be reheated to 165o F. The best way to store your leftover turkey in the refrigerator is to carve the whole turkey then place small portions in 1 quart resealable bags. For the quickest cooling it is best to place the bags directly on the shelf and not stacked on top of one another because that will allow heat to be trapped between the two bags. Your goal is to quickly cool the turkey.
Following these simple steps can fight off those unwanted holiday guest. And it means a safe and happy Thanksgiving for everyone, well, except maybe the turkey! Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Currituck County Center of NC Cooperative Extension extends to county residents the educational resources of NC State University and NC A&T State University.  Both universities commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability.  In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rock On

 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

All Natural Beauty

 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Paint the Town

 
 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NC State Recycles

1 hour ago
Students/staff on a tour of the Sonoco Recycling Center!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Teacher Workshop

Teacher Workshop


This workshop will take place at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher on Saturday, February 7, 2015 from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. A $25.00 fee is required which includes Aquarium admission, a Behind the Scenes Tour, and access to curriculum. Space will be limited to the first 25 registered participants.


Calendar

Click on the calendar below to see available programs and activities.



View Calendar


Special Activities

Sea Turtle Exploration

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher presents Sea Turtle Exploration: a curriculum to help educators engage students in the fundamentals of STEAM through ready-to-use, standards based lesson plans and sea turtles. Join us on Saturday, February 7 for a hands-on teacher workshop guiding you through our new curriculum and website.
 In addition to the curriculum, you will learn about additional resources such as weekly blog posts will be made during the school year. Topics will include: species profiles, aquarium staff spotlights, behind the scenes videos, new lesson plans and more. Even follow the growth of Aquarium hatchling sea turtles by visiting the blog each week!

Aligned with the new Common Core standards, your class will be able to “adopt” a turtle and learn about its care and growth. By adopting our sea turtle you will receive weekly updates with information including the turtle’s current weight and length. Each class will also receive a certificate of participation.
By the end of the workshop, you will be familiar with the website and curriculum and how to implement the lessons in your own classroom. The workshop will include a behind the scenes tour to meet one of our sea turtles. Please pack a waste-free lunch as there will not be food available on site.


This workshop takes place on Saturday, February 7, 2015 from 9 AM - 4 PM.

Please bring a waste free lunch.


The cost of this teacher workshop is $25. This fee includes Aquarium admission, a Behind the Scenes Tour, and access to curriculum.

For additional workshop information, call 910-458-8257 ext 234. For additional registration information, call 910-458-7468.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

N.C. Coastal Resources Commission Science Panel to meet Nov. 19 in Morehead City

 

RALEIGH – The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission’s Science Panel will meet Nov. 19 in Morehead City to continue work on an update of the panel’s 2010 sea-level rise study report, and to provide input on an Inlet Hazard Areas report that is due to the General Assembly next year.
The panel will meet from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Division of Coastal Management office, 400 Commerce Ave., Morehead City. The meeting is open to the public, and members of the public are welcome to speak during a comment period scheduled for 2:45 p.m.

The panel provides scientific advice to the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission. It was created by the CRC in 1997, and is composed of coastal engineers and geologists.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Happy America Recycles day!

Happy America Recycles day!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Owens Corning Sustainability


Thursday, November 13, 2014

12 ways to green-up your bathroom

12 ways to green-up your bathroom

Easy, everyday opportunities to live greener are hiding in the bathroom – in plain sight.
Content provided by SC Johnson
                           
Where are those easy, everyday opportunities to live greener hiding? In the bathroom. Best of all, they’re hiding in plain sight. See how many you can spot – and start including in your family’s routine.
Today’s simple acts inspire a lifetime of habits. Get more tips and ideas from SC Johnson’s Green Choices blog.
SC Johnson Smaller Footprint infographic

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bamboo Balance Bike

 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day Schedule

Thank you Veterans!

In observance of Veterans Day, our Administrative Offices will be closed today.  The landfill and transfer stations will operate on their regular schedule.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Habit of Recycling

By Wendy Gabriel

The U.S. only recycles one-third of its municipal solid waste. Should we look overseas for recycling inspiration?
Germany-gelber-sack-recycling.jpg
In Germany, 'gelber sacks,' or clear plastic bags used to collect recyclables, are a common sight.

Did you know that, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2010 the U.S. only recycled 34% of its municipal solid waste? We need to (and can do) better. Maybe we should take a page from some of the European countries that have been able to get their businesses and communities to buy into creating less waste and recycling more.

One of my sisters lived in Germany for a while, and one of her takeaways was being mindful of waste and being aware of what she could recycle. She developed great “reduce, reuse and recycle” habits because it was not an option there — it was a requirement. And, by the way, in 2010, Germans recycled 62% of all their municipal solid waste. According to Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, packaging waste alone achieved a total recovery rate of almost 85% percent across the country during that year.

Germany has built recycling up to the point of becoming habitual for generations, so by now it is second nature for people to not only recycle, but to also consider the packaging of each product before purchasing it.

A recent USA Today article details a new grocery store opening in Berlin. The store, Original Unverpackt (Original Unpackaged), is unique in that paper, plastic and polystyrene are strictly forbidden. From USA Today: “To buy shampoo, customers fill reusable bottles from giant vats that line the walls. Chewable white toothpaste pills are sold out of a large glass jar. Instead of grabbing a box of tissues, people pick from a woven basket filled with colorful handkerchiefs.

“Unlike most supermarkets where almost everything is prepackaged and ready to take off the shelf,” the article continues, “shoppers at Original Unverpackt bring their own tins, jars, Tupperware and cloth bags, dispensing what they want from the various containers and paying based on weight.”

It will be interesting to gauge the success of the store. Can you image the waste that could be prevented if these grocery stores where successful?

Germans are taking their responsibilities to the environment very seriously. Per the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the country had around 50,000 landfills in the 1970s, but now there are fewer than 200. This, I believe, is due to stricter regulations, communities’ increased involvement and, in turn, a reduced need for all that landfill space.

Germany is aiming to become a zero-waste country by 2020, thus eliminating the need for landfills all together. It is time for the U.S. to take a look around the world and see how we can do waste reduction and recycling better. We can do better, for ourselves and for the planet!
- See more at: http://1800recycling.com/2014/11/habit-recycling#sthash.6K2IaCHZ.dpuf

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Employees in state environmental agency receive national honors

Employees in state environmental agency receive national honors for customer service, innovation



RALEIGH – Staff in the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources recently earned national honors for two customer service initiatives, and in doing so, became only the second agency in the nation to earn this recognition twice in same year.
DENR’s Integrating Environmental Customer Service initiative and its Division of Air Quality Assistance Project on Facility Pollution Reduction were honored in September with State Program Innovation Awards given by the Environmental Council of the States, or ECOS.
“The fact that North Carolina took home two of these awards in one year just shows that the agency has a lot of good, innovative thinking,” said Lia Parisien, executive project manager for ECOS, the national nonprofit, nonpartisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders. “North Carolina is serving as a model that other states can emulate.”
Prior to DENR’s achievements this fall, the environmental agency for Washington D.C. was the only other organization to earn two State Program Innovation Awards in the same year, Parisien said.
ECOS solicited nominations for new, innovative programs or approaches from its 48 member states and territories. This year, ECOS received 17 nominations. ECOS recognized DENR’s two programs and staff who work in those programs for helping organizations in North Carolina reduce energy usage, cut pollution and save money. ECOS also honored programs in Hawaii, Tennessee and Oregon.
DENR Secretary John Skvarla launched the Integrating Environmental Customer Service initiative in 2013 as part of the new mission Skvarla instituted soon after he was named to lead the agency by Governor Pat McCrory. Skvarla said the agency needed to do a better job of integrating a comprehensive, non-regulatory assistance program for companies and individuals interested in sustainable practices. Relying upon the department’s available resources, the new secretary combined existing programs within a single customer service-oriented division, renamed the outreach division and added a work unit focused on energy efficiency in public buildings. The renamed Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service is a one-stop shop for businesses, industries, institutions and governmental agencies seeking help on permits, recycling, energy reduction and other areas to reduce impacts on the environment.
“We have put a premium on providing the best customer service possible in DENR at little or no cost to users,” Skvarla said. “We have combined the services of several programs so that there is an efficient single point of contact for customers. When our staff provides help in one program area, they are also equipped to handle issues in other program areas or find someone quickly to address other questions.”
The second recently honored initiative started in 2011 after the N.C. Division of Air Quality received an EPA grant for a multi-year project to help North Carolina facilities increase efficiency, save money and reduce air pollution. To meet its goals, the division partnered with N.C. State University’s Mechanical Engineering Department and Waste Reduction Partners, which consists of a group of retired engineers. During the collaborative effort, the three groups conducted 75 energy assessments of manufacturing facilities and provided the facilities with recommendations such as tuning up boilers, replacing motors or compressors, and switching fuel. Using these recommendations, the facilities were able to reduce their energy usage and cut down on air pollution. If the facilities followed the recommendations, they could have saved more than $6.3 million in annual costs, staff with the Division of Air Quality estimate.
“This unique collaboration created an effective program that identifies winning solutions for the environment and the economy,” said Sheila Holman, director of the N.C. Division of Air Quality. “The direct contact with facility personnel and the establishment of concrete goals for energy reduction have been effective tools for achieving voluntary reductions in air pollution.”
The Division of Air Quality also sponsored 10 workshops on how users of common industrial equipment can reduce energy use, operating costs and air emissions.
During a September awards presentation following the presentation of the ECOS awards, DENR honored the following staff members from the N.C. Division of Air Quality: Holman; Sushma Masemore, planning section chief; Paula Hemmer, an environmental engineer; Robin Barrows, supervisor for the Allied Programs Branch in the planning section; Adey Olatosi, an environmental engineer and Angela Terry, an office assistant.
Honored from the Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service were: Ted Bush, director; Scott Mouw, Community and Business Assistance Section chief; and Terry Albrecht, Waste Reduction Partners’ section chief.
 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Eco Friendly Products and the Trickle Down Effect

Eco Friendly Products and the Trickle Down Effect

It’s easy to sit back and think, “I’m just one person. How can my choices really affect the whole eco-system?”
Well, you are just one person, but you are one person that can make small changes. One simple choice you can make is to choose eco friendly products.
Cleaning Products
Many of the cleaning products you find at the grocery store are full of toxins that are harmful to both the earth and to people. Look for eco friendly cleaning products with natural, biodegradable ingredients – or clean with simple things you probably already have on hand like vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar makes a great all-purpose cleaner and baking soda is a great mild abrasive – and neither of them are harmful to the environment.
Personal Care Products
Choosing eco friendly, natural personal care products is also very important. On average, women in the US use 12 personal care products per day and men use six. If those ingredients aren’t non-toxic, that’s a lot of toxins being washed off into our water supply and ending up in the soil – and our food. Consult with the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep Database to learn more about safer personal care product choices.
Household Items
How many items do you use in your household on a daily basis that are disposable? Paper towels, plastic baggies, toilet paper, paper plates, plastic cups and more – it all ends up in the landfill. Our landfills are filling up fast, and disposable waste is much to blame. Try swapping one disposable items in your kitchen for eco friendly, reusable alternatives and be kinder to the Earth.
Toys
Most kids today have an abundance of toys, and the majority of them are made from plastic, which can contain harmful ingredients. Think about how many of your child’s toys end up in the trash, and how many of those toys were made from plastic. Now think about how long it takes plastic to biodegrade (estimates come in around 500 years). Consider choosing eco friendly toys made from natural materials like wood and fabric. Not only are these materials safer for the Earth, they’re safer for your child too.
There are many ways you can work to help protect our planet.  Choosing environmentally friendly products is one of the easiest and most immediate ways you can make a personal impact, allowing the planet to reap the positive trickle down effect of your decision.

Friday, November 7, 2014

All You Ever Wanted To Know About Recycling…And Then Some

 

 
OK – we admit it, we’re suckers for great content coupled with pretty pictures.  When the pictures actually teach too, well what’s not to like?  You don’t have to answer that question by the way.
In the smorgasbord that is the Internet, we’ve come across just this scenario via Fix.com. Recycle Me This – Be A Better Recycler, authored by Andrea Moore, covers all you ever wanted to know about recycling and then some.
Ever wonder which country recycles the best?  Almost sounds like an Olympic sport, doesn’t it?
recycle-me-this-01
Fix has come up with all kinds of other informative content and imagery such as;
  • The paper trail – what happens with your recycled paper?
  • Sorting plastics
  • Life cycle of cans and bottles
Ready to start recycling paper, plastic, aluminum and 100’s of other materials?  Time to visit the Earth911 recycling guide and recycling search.  Now, to the other pretty pictures…
recycle-me-this-02
recycle-me-this-03
recycle-me-this-04
A big thank you to the folks at Fix.com for letting us republish all the infographics for this post.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Artistic Storm Drains Help Raise Awareness

Around the Water Cooler: Artistic Storm Drains Help Raise Awareness


By Lahne Mattas-Curry
A cool thing has happened in Baltimore: storm drains around the city have been adopted and colored with beautiful art to remind us that healthy waterways depend on keeping trash and pollutants out of our storm drains. Stormwater picks up trash, chemicals, and other pollutants and carries them all untreated right into our waterways.
Even if you can’t see a river or lake, or the harbor from your street, what goes into that storm drain at the bottom of your street can directly affect the health of that waterbody downstream. Making that connection more obvious can be an important factor for raising awareness and helping community members take action.
Blue Water Baltimore, a non-profit focused on restoring the quality of Baltimore’s rivers, streams, and harbor “to foster a healthy environment, a strong economy and thriving communities,” has launched the second year of its Storm Drain Stencil Share Program to engage community members of all ages, artists, community leaders, and environmental stewards to bring awareness to ways we can keep our water clean.
Throughout Baltimore, you can find decorated storm drains dressed with important messages, like “Trash in the street pollutes what we eat” or “Drains are only for the rain.”
The fact is, we should all be conscious of what goes into our storm drains. We all live in and are responsible for the health of our watersheds. Regardless of whether you can see water from your house or not, what you put on your lawn, whether you scoop your dog’s poop, or even what household cleaners you use can all affect the health of our waterways.
What do you think about Baltimore’s efforts to make sure its waterways stay clean and that we can all enjoy great blue crabs while visiting the Inner Harbor? What education programs would you like to see in your community?
About the Author: Lahne Mattas-Curry loves clean water, healthy beaches and great seafood. A regular contributor to EPA’s It All Starts with Science blog, she helps communicate the great science in the Agency’s Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Program.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

29 ways to repurpose your old yoga mat

29 ways to repurpose your old yoga mat

From the garden to your feet, cast-off mats can still be useful in a variety of places.
Don't toss those old mats. Give them a new home in your garden or on your kitchen shelves. (Photo: operator1975/Shutterstock)
It's hard to imagine a yoga studio without colorful yoga mats lined up on the floor. But the helpful, sticky pads have only been around since the '60s.
 
London-born yoga teacher Angela Farmer suffered from a rare disorder that didn’t let her hands and feet sweat. As a teenager, she was practicing with the famous yogi B.K.S. Iyengar on a wood floor in winter and it was so dry she kept slipping. He wouldn’t let her use anything under her to stop her sliding or put water on her hands to help her stick to the floor. Later, while practicing in Germany, she cut out a piece of carpet cushion and the yoga mat was born.
 
There’s always been backlash against the yoga mat, but it's a challenge to practice without one. Being without a mat makes you work in a more concise way, and a less showboaty way, because you have to use your own body to support the base of the pose instead of the stickiness of the mat.
 
So if you decide to quit using your mat, what do you do with all the mats you’ve acquired through the years?  Or maybe your mat is just plain worn out. It doesn’t seem right to just throw it away. How can you repurpose your yoga mat? Here are a few ideas.
  1. Cut them into bright stair treads for the way down to the basement or up to the kids’ rooms.
  2. Use them in the garden to block weeds as you cultivate and reclaim new beds.
  3. Form and Fauna makes shoes out of used yoga mats and Sanuk makes sandals.
  4. Cut them into squares and keep them on hand to open tough jars.
  5. Use them under furniture to keep it from scratching the floor or sliding around.
  6. Use them as drawer liners.
  7. Use one as a doorstop.
  8. Line kitchen shelves.
  9. Or line the shelves in your workshop.
  10. Cut off a corner, clean it well (you can put it in the dishwasher) and roll it up to use as a stopper for a wine bottle.
  11. Put a cut piece under the dog bowl.
  12. Use them under paper as puppy pads when training your new puppy.
  13. Line the bottom of your trash can.
  14. Put them under throw rugs or carpet runners so they don’t slip.
  15. Cut out a foot bed and use it as an insole liner of your shoes for extra cushioning.
  16. Put a piece under your drain tray.
  17. Use to stop the drain in the bathtub or sink.
  18. Cut out a large square to put on top of the fridge so that you can use that space for storage and then whisk it off for easy cleaning of hard-to-reach dust bunnies.
  19. Put them under planters to absorb overflow water.
  20. Line your bookshelves to keep the books from sliding off a half-filled row.
  21. Put the whole mat down in the bathtub to keep you from slipping in the shower.
  22. Use in your potting shed for easy cleanup and to keep potting soil from going to waste: Just scoop up the whole mat and dump the spilled soil back in the bag.
  23. Use as a crop cover on frost warning nights.
  24. Use as a portable baby-changing table.
  25. Cut them into floor mats for the car.
  26. Have an art day with the kids and cut the edges into fun patterns for placemats. They also make colorful pads for underneath art projects, and they clean up quick with a wet sponge.
  27. Use as a ground cloth for camping — under your tent or under your sleeping bag
  28. Use as a picnic blanket at outdoor yoga festivals.
  29. Use as an impromptu umbrella in a rainstorm. (I’ll admit it: I’ve done this!)
However you choose to practice, whether on the mat or off, choose to do something practical with your old mat. Keep them out of the landfill, and keep them sparking yoga conversations in the strangest of places.

Home Electronics Disposal

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