10 Easy, Green New Year’s Resolutions!

By: Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow

It’s a new year! As everyone is setting their goals for 2018, here are a few easy and green New Year’s resolutions that can help you make an impact on the environment!

 

 

 

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Stop Plastic Pollution at the Source. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Plastic PollutionBy Willow Cohn, Outreach and Education EcoFellow

We use plastics in virtually every shape and form in our daily lives. It carries our drinks, holds our shampoos, and keeps our veggies fresh. According to the to the UN Environment Programme, humans are consuming resources and producing waste at a greater scale than ever before, and per capita consumption levels are projected to increase with continued development. Data indicates that during the 20th century, global material resource use rose at about twice the rate of population. Plastic is everywhere! We love it because it is waterproof, relatively cheap, durable, and versatile. Plastic makes our lives incredibly convenient, disposable, and easy, but most people rarely think about the effects it has on the environment. Unlike other materials, it never really goes away. Plastic does break down, but in a landfill it takes up to 400 hundreds years; worse, it doesn’t ever become other materials, it just breaks into microscopic pieces of plastic that are still non-biodegradable. From there, plastic fragments most often find their way into the oceans. But it’s not just the end of a plastic’s life cycle we need to worry about. When plastic is produced, it’s made from toxic materials such as benzene and vinyl hydrochloride. These chemicals are known to cause cancer, and the manufacturing byproducts contaminate our air and soil.

So what can you do?

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CET Takes a Tour of the SMRF

By Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow

Recently, some of the EcoFellows and CET staff took a tour of the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility (SMRF). We got to see the inside of the facility, where the materials are dropped off, where they’re sorted and the belts that the materials travel on. Afterwards, we were shown the gigantic bales of recyclable materials and were invited to have a discussion about the different challenges of recycling and how important outreach and education is. Find out what we learned below!

About 70 cities and towns bring their recycling materials to the SMRF and there are multiple ways that towns recycle. The two most common ways to recycle are through single-stream recycling and dual-stream recycling. Single stream refers to recycling materials (such as paper and plastic) are mixed together; dual stream recycling involves separating materials into paper products and other containers (such as plastic, metal and glass, etc). The most common method is dual stream, and the SMRF only processes dual stream.

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Celebrate America Recycles Day with CET

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing and High Performance Building EcoFellowAmerica Recycles DayToday is America Recycles Day! According to the EPA the United States recycles at a rate of around 34.3%, and with your help we can raise that even more! Recycling and composting are growing industries accounting for 757,000 jobs and $36.6 billion in wages, as well as an additional $6.7 billion in tax revenue. That is roughly 1.57 jobs for every 1,000 tons of material recycled! By increasing the amount we recycle we can conserve natural resources, while strengthening our economy!

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Top 14 Ways to Reuse your Paper and Plastic Bags

By: Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow

Massachusetts has often been at the forefront in sustainable development and environmentally progressive policies. As of September 2017, 55 Massachusetts cities and towns, representing 19% of the state’s population, have passed a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. Plastic bags can take hundreds of years to decompose and since recycling plastic bags is a costly process,
less than 5% of plastic grocery bags in the U.S. end up being recycled. Since Northampton passed a plastic bag ban, your options are to bring your own reusable grocery bags or be provided with paper bags at the counter. Learn how you can reuse your old plastic bags and paper bags in creative ways that keep them out of the landfill!

 

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