Category Archives: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle Tips

Plastic Cap Recycling

Plastic caps made from plastic #1 to #7 (on water bottles, juice jugs, milk gallons, jars, etc.) are recyclable in Monroe County since June 1st, 2011.

  • If your waste hauler is supporting  the Monroe County Recycling Center (MCRC) “Blue Box” recycling program, keep the caps on the bottles or jars and put them in your recycling box.  It is important for the caps to remain on the bottles and jars so that they don’t get jammed into the recycling equipment.
  • For other waste haulers, drop your containers and their attached caps at the EcoPark located south of the airport.

Recycling vs. Zero-Waste… What’s the difference?

Most people who try to be conscientious of the environment and limited resources know that they should recycle. However, we know that simply recycling is not enough. In some cases, when people recycle, they have a false sense of “doing the right thing” for the environment and manufacturers of disposable items have been given a way to market overconsumption without the “bad for the environment” guilt.

Should you stop recycling? Absolutely NOT! Can you make smarter choices about what you buy, how you buy and when you buy it? Absolutely!

This guide describes zero-waste and provides ways for you to move toward reducing the waste you produce.

Continue reading Recycling vs. Zero-Waste… What’s the difference?

All Energy-Saving Lightbulbs are Not Equal: Check your Lumens and Watts!

Imagine if you went to the grocery store and asked for a ‘dozen’ eggs and you were given 11. A little further down the aisle you reached for a ‘dozen’ dinner rolls and you came away with 13. Don’t forget the ‘dozen’ rolls of toilet paper you bought; it has a full 10 rolls in it.  It turns out that the use of the word ‘dozen’ doesn’t mean the same from one object to another–it means “sort of 12”.

This example is exactly what we have been doing with lightbulbs for decades. The standard “60-Watt” light bulb isn’t the same as the next ‘standard’ 60-Watt light bulb. This hasn’t meant too much to the average person except when we’ve noticed that the new bulb “doesn’t seem as bright” as the 3 year old bulb that’s right next to it. That’s because the new bulb isn’t providing the same amount of lumens, but it is still using 60 Watts of electricity.  It’s because the amount of light, or lumens, they give off has nothing to do with the amount of electricity, or watts, they use. In general, the average “60 Watt” light bulb should provide roughly 800-810 lumens.  However the number of lumens listed on light bulb packages range from 620 to 825 lumens.

Now,  jump forward to 2015 where everyone is encouraged to switch to CFL’s or LED’s to reduce their energy usage.  Many light bulb packages say “equivalent to 60-Watt bulb”. That’s great, but which “60-Watt” bulb are they referring to–the one providing a dim 620 lumens, or the one providing a bright 825 lumens?

Be sure to check out the side of the box… and let the lumens light your way.

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Refillable Milk Containers

Did you know that plastic can only be recycled once? #1 and #2 can be recycled, but they become #3 through #7 after that, and can only be made into things like plastic logs, benches, and highway cones. Or worse, they are sent to China to be used as boiler fuel, releasing toxins into the air as they are burned.

So, rather than buy plastic disposable milk containers, I actually found a place to buy refillable glass milk bottles. For a 50cent deposit, you can buy Byrne Dairy Milk (bottled in Syracuse) in refillable glass containers at the Abundance Co-op on Marshall Street (off Monroe by Strong Museum). When you are done, you can return the bottle to the co-op, and retrieve the deposit.

In case it’s more convenient for you, the Pittsford Dairy also has milk that can be purchased in refillable glass bottles. The deposit is $1.00/bottle and the milk is excellent!