Environmental update: Helpful hints for Earth Day

By From page A4 | April 13, 2014

Earth Day is April 22. What are your plans to help the Earth?

How about reducing the amount of waste you generate? CalRecycle estimates that in 2012, Davis residents threw away 2.7 pounds of trash each day. That’s not bad compared to a 2012 statewide average of 4.3 pounds, but that’s still a lot of trash going to the landfill. Here are a few simple ways to boost recycling and waste reduction at home or work:

* Recycle all your junk mail. Instead of tossing those unwanted catalogues, credit card offers and advertisements in the trash, toss them in a recycling bin!
* Recycle smart and safely. Before placing credit card offers or other potentially sensitive materials in your recycling cart, be sure to tear or shred them first. Shredded paper is recyclable, but it should be placed in a paper bag first to keep it from blowing away when your recycling cart is emptied.
* Recycle your organics. Collect food scraps, paper napkins and paper towels for composting. Composting these items is much easier than you think — especially if you use a homemade food digester or try in-ground composting.

You can learn all about this at our free composting class at 6 p.m. Monday, April 14, at the Veterans’ Memorial Center Club Room, 203 E 14th St. See DavisRecycling.org for details.
* Be plastic-savvy. Most plastics are recyclable in Davis. Any hard plastic item that retains its shape can be recycled — whether or not it has a recycling number on it. This includes bottle caps, pens, CD cases, toys, preformed plastic packaging, tooth brushes, buckets and more. Which plastics can’t be put in your recycle bin? Styrofoam, film plastic, plastic bags and foam plastics.
* Recycle your film plastic. Clean, dry plastic bags and plastic film can be recycled at the grocery store. By state law, many large grocery and convenience stores are required to take back their own plastic shopping bags for recycling, but most stores will take back any plastic film — sandwich bags, bread bags, produce bags, newspaper bags … even the plastic wrap from a pack of toilet paper — any kind of clean, dry film plastic.
* Recycle your cardboard. Cardboard takes up a lot of space and it’s heavy. Fortunately, it’s also easy to recycle. Don’t try to cram it into your recycling cart — just flatten and stack it on the ground next to the cart and DWR will pick it up for free.
* Remember to bring your own bag when you shop. Starting July 1, the city’s carry-out bag ordinance goes into effect, banning single-use plastic bags from all retail stores and take-out food restaurants in Davis. Stores and restaurants will be required to charge a minimum of 10 cents for paper and reusable carryout bags. Get in the habit and grab it (your reusable bag).

Be the first to find out what’s going on in the local recycling scene. Like us at Facebook.com/DavisRecycling.org or follow us at Twitter.com/DavisRecycling.

— Jennifer Gilbert is the city of Davis’ conservation coordinator; reach her at [email protected]

Jennifer Gilbert

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