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New Years Resolutions to Keep in 2017

Posted on January 2, 2017 by | Comments Off

2017Each year we all make a bunch of promises to ourselves at the turn of the new year. We promise to be healthier, start saving money, live life to the fullest and more. Unfortunately, reducing our collective environmental impact hasn’t yet made it to the top of the New Year’s resolutions list. But that’s OK. No, really, it’s fine. Most people don’t realize that going green is already a part of their goal for 2017…and that’s where we come in! Here are some of the most popular resolutions for the new year and a few tips on how green living can help you meet your goal.

A New Year Means a New (Greener) You

1. Lose Weight. Who hasn’t made this resolution? I’m pretty sure I make it every year! But losing weight and green living have a lot in common. For starters, if you’re ditching fast food and other convenience foods then you’re reducing the amount of waste you produce. In place of these wasteful (and unhealthy) convenience foods, you’ll likely be packing a lunch in reusable containers and cooking at home more often. You’ll also want to keep a refillable water bottle with you all the time to fill with tap water and keep your body hydrated. See, green living is so easy you didn’t even realize you were already doing it!

2. Get Organized. This is probably one resolution I should make, but let’s be honest, I’d never keep it! Being organized means getting rid of unnecessary clutter in your home. And that’s the perfect time to refresh your knowledge on what’s recyclable, what’s reusable and what’s plain old trash. Get out some boxes and label them: Keep, Donate, Recycle and Trash. Keep what you need, donate what can be reused, recycle everything your city/county will accept and make the landfill a last resort. And don’t underestimate the power of donation. Even items like old bedsheets/towels, worn out shoes and dinosaur electronics  have value to the charities that are able to reuse or resell them. For example, old towels and linens seem like trash but are actually an important part of caring for animals at local animal shelters.  

3. Spend Less, Save More. This one is easy. Green living  is all about saving money! Whether you are switching from bottled water to tap water, adjusting your thermostat up or down a couple degrees or starting a carpool, you’ll be saving money and reducing your environmental impact. Saving more is almost always the same as using less and that’s great for the environment as well as your wallet!

4. Learn Something New. Looking to add a new hobby to your life? Consider taking up composting, upcycling, refurbishment projects or gardening. You could even take on backyard chickens! Yes, there are plenty of other new skills to learn in 2017, but why not take on something that benefits you and your surrounding community?

5. Quit Smoking. Kicking the cigarette habit is a big deal and it’s not easy. In return for your hard work, you’ll receive multiple benefits. Non-smokers are healthier and have reduced risks for cancer and other health problems. Non-smokers are also known to litter less. Yep, that’s right. Most smokers are guilty of flicking cigarette butts out the car window, onto the sidewalk or wherever they find themselves without a proper ash receptacle. In fact, cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item in Virginia and across the world. Your community and your local waterways will thank you for not smoking!

We wish you much success as you tackle a new (greener) you in 2017. Happy New Year from all of us at askHRgreen.org!

Posted in: Going Green, Holidays

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Christmas Tree Recycling in Hampton Roads

Posted on December 9, 2016 by | Comments Off

Christmas-Tree-Disposal-Recycling-Drop-Off-SlideA naturally grown wreath or Christmas tree is the perfect backdrop for the holiday season. Sadly, your fresh pine decor doesn’t stay fresh forever. When the needles start browning and dropping,  give some thought into how you will get rid of your naturally-grown decor. There are many easy ways you can reuse your natural decorations. Your  pine decor can be used to “spruce” up your yard (pun intended) with borders and mulch, or become a piece of backyard habitat for wintering birds and cuddly critters. If you prefer an easy alternative, simply find out how and when your city or county will accept Christmas trees for collection. In most cases, naturally-grown Christmas trees and wreaths collected by your locality are mulched or composted to reduce landfill contributions. The mulch or compost material created from the trees is a low cost way for your city or county to maintain parks and shared green spaces right in your community. Some localities are even able to sell excess mulch or compost back to the public. Talk about buying local…your spring mulch could be made from your Christmas tree!

But before you send off your Christmas tree or wreath, remember to remove all lights, tree stands and decorations including tinsel, ornaments and wires. Painted trees or those that are flocked (aka covered in fake snow) can’t be recycled either. Only the natural parts of your trees and wreaths can be accepted for mulching and composting.

And don’t forget! Christmas lights and most decorations do NOT belong in your curbside recycling container. Consider donating unwanted but working ornaments and decorations to a local school or secondhand store instead. For a complete list of materials you should be recycling at home this holiday season, you can review this handy holiday recycling guide.

So now that you know its time to make sure all of our holiday waste ends up in the proper place this year! Happy Holidays from askHRgreen.org!

As of this date, the following cities and counties have announced their natural Christmas tree recycling/pick-up schedules.

Chesapeake | Gloucester | Hampton | Isle of Wight | James City County | Newport NewsNorfolk | Poquoson | Portsmouth | Smithfield | Suffolk | Surry County | Virginia BeachWilliamsburg | York County

 

Chesapeake

When: Dec. 27–Jan. 13

Where: Trees will be picked up on the regular trash collection day. Trees placed at the curb between January 3 and 13 will be recycled.

What to know: Remove all ornaments, tinsel and the stand. Place it separately from bulk waste and regular trash so it can be easily collected. Please do not put in a bag or put netting around it.

 

Gloucester

When: Ongoing

Where: Residents may place Christmas trees in the brush container at any Gloucester County Convenience Center during regular hours. See the list below for locations. 

  • Middle Peninsula Landfill and Recycling Center – 3714 Waste Management Way (Entrance on Route 17). The Convenience Center at the Landfill operates on the same schedule as the other County Convenience Centers: Monday – Friday 8 AM to 7 PM and Saturday 7 AM to 7 PM.
  • Belroi – 5122 Hickory Ford Road
  • Dutton – 10430 Burke’s Pond Road
  • Court House – 6550 Beehive Drive
  • Hayes – 7599 Guinea Road

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Trees will be mulched along with other yard debris. Mulch is provided free of charge to county residents from the main landfill location. However, residents are strongly encouraged to call ahead to ensure mulch is available for pickup.   

 

Hampton

When: Ongoing

Where: Trees will be picked up at curbside on regular trash collection day. Residents can also bring naturally grown trees to be recycled at the Yard Waste Transfer Site, 100 N. Park Lane (off Big Bethel Road at entrance to Bethel Landfill) from 8 AM to 3 PM. Monday – Saturday (closed city holidays).

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Place natural trees separate from bulk waste and regular trash. Do not put in a bag or put netting around it. Artificial trees should not be placed with leaves, grass or tree branches. Trees will be mulched or composted at the VPPSA Composting Facility. Mulch and compost are available for purchase by the public at the composting facility.

 

Isle of Wight

When: Ongoing

Where: Natural Christmas trees can be recycled at any of Isle of Wight’s Refuse & Recycling Centers.

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Trees will be composted.

 

James City County

Information coming soon

 

Newport News

When: Ongoing

Where: Natural trees are recyclable as regular brush, and may be placed on the curb as brush collection.

What to know: Please remove the root ball and any non-natural decorations including tinsel and lights. Place tree in a brush pile separate from any bulk being set out. Christmas trees (live or artificial) may also be brought to the Recovery Operations Center located at 550 Atkinson Way. Trees will be composted or mulched.

 

Norfolk

When: Ongoing

Where: Natural trees are collected for composting on regular trash day as part of Norfolk’s yard waste collection service. In addition, residents can bring natural trees, holiday lights and artificial trees to the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center – 1176 Pineridge Road, Monday through Saturday, 10 AM – 2 PM. Artificial trees may also be scheduled for bulk waste collection by calling the Norfolk Cares IMPACT Center at (757) 664-6510, or by completing a request online at www.norfolk.gov/BulkWasteForm

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights.


Poquoson

When: Dec. 25–Jan. 20

Where: Residents can drop off natural trees to be composted at the Municipal Pool Parking Lot (16 Municipal Drive, Poquoson)

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Trees will be mulched or composted at the VPPSA Composting Facility. Christmas trees and yard waste are accepted year-round at the VPPSA Compost Facility (located at 145 Goodwin Neck Road, York County), Monday – Saturday, 8 AM – 4 PM. Mulch and compost are available for purchase by the public at the composting facility.

 

Portsmouth

Information coming soon

 

Smithfield

When: Through Jan. 12

Where: Curbside

What to know: You must contact Kathy Bew-Jones at 365-4200 or kjones@smithfieldva.gov and provide your address if you have a Christmas tree to be picked up. Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel, garland and lights. Trees will be composted.

 

Suffolk

Information coming soon

Surry County

When: Jan. 1-Jan. 31

Where: Surry County Collection Centers (listed below)

  • Goodson Path Solid Waste Station – 409 Goodson Path, Dendron
  • Pineview Solid Waste Station – 101 Pineview Road, Waverly
  • Mantura Road Solid Waste Station – 60 Mantura Road, Surry

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Please ask attendants for assistance to ensure that your tree is placed in the designated container.

 

Virginia Beach

When: Normal trash collection day

Where: Curbside or the Virginia Beach Landfill and Resource Recovery Center at 1989 Jake Sears Road with proof of residency.

What to know: Christmas trees will be handled as normal yard debris and need to be free of any decorations or tinsel. All trees and yard debris will be mulched.

 

Williamsburg

When: Jan. 3 and Jan. 9

Where: Curbside

What to know: The City Crews will be collecting Christmas trees on Tuesday, January 3 and Monday, January 9. Trees must be placed at the curb before 7 AM and should be free of the stand, ornaments and lights. Please place separately from bulk waste and regular trash. Trees will be mulched.

 

York County

When: Jan. 2-Jan. 6

Where: Curbside – tree must be at curb by 7 AM on January 4 for collection that week

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel, lights and should be no bigger than six feet in length. For all York County residents, including non-subscribers, Christmas trees are accepted throughout January at the VPPSA Compost Facility (located at 145 Goodwin Neck Road, York County), Monday – Saturday, 8 AM – 4 PM. York County residents who subscribe to the trash program may bring yard waste to the VPPSA Compost Facility year-round.

Posted in: Holidays, Reduce reuse and recycle

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5 Ways to a Greener Holiday Season

Posted on November 30, 2016 by | Comments Off

christmas-734866_960_720For many Americans reducing, reusing, and recycling is as far from their thoughts as starting a holiday diet. With very little effort and a few tips you can trim down your holiday waste.

  1. Reusable Bags - Don’t have one of those fancy store bought totes? No worries! Grab any reusable bag, even that beach tote you retired for the winter. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. So as you can see, any bag is better than a plastic bag!
  2. Recycle While You Cook - Make food prep a snap by keeping a recycling bin nearby. Recycling while you cook is easier than you think. Tin and steel cans, clean aluminum foil and pie pans, glass bottles and jars, cardboard, clean mixed paper and in some cities you can now recycle cartons too. Not sure what is accepted? Check out your city’s waste management website.
  3. Dust Off the Fine China - Pull out grandma’s china and linens and treat your guest to a holiday meal that they will remember. Using what you have or even borrowing items eliminates disposable plates, drinkware, utensils, and napkins from going into the landfill.
  4. Grab a Growler - It’s no secret that Hampton Roads has amazing breweries as well as growler filling stations available. Opting for growlers over bottles and cans will aid you in your quest to be greener this holiday. Growlers reduce the need to buy cans and bottles and can be repurposed to hold other refreshments such as water and sweet tea.
  5. BYOC - Inviting guests? Have plans to be a guest? BYOC, otherwise known as “Bring Your Own Container”, to reduce your carbon footprint and be more eco-friendly by preventing the use of plastic storage containers, plastic wrap, and other single use plastics this holiday season.

With a little pre-planning and consideration for doing the right thing you can make small changes that produce big results.

Guest blog contributed by Kristi Rines, Recycling Coordinator for the City of Virginia Beach.

Posted in: Beautification, Going Green, Holidays, Household tips, Reduce reuse and recycle

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Gifts That Keep On Giving

Posted on November 17, 2016 by | Comments Off

Green Holiday WrappingAs hard as it is to believe, Thanksgiving is just one week away and that means we have a month to go until the “gift-givingist” time of the year. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to get the right presents for all those special people in your life. There’s also still time for you to put a plan together for how you can give responsibly this year.

Show someone you care by purchasing memberships or event tickets to give someone an experience instead of something that may just end up sitting on a shelf or in a closet. If you are shopping for someone who has it all or just really doesn’t need anything, consider making a donation to a charitable organization in their name. Shop small and local with businesses and artisans/entrepreneurs to support our local economy with your holiday spending instead of sending your hard-earned money elsewhere. Seek out companies with Fair Trade CertifiedTM products to let your loved one know that their gift is helping to ensure healthy, safe working conditions and improving communities the world over. And finally, think about supporting companies that give back, like Toms or Warby Parker, by donating products to someone in need for every product they sell. 

Get creative and show someone you care in a special way this holiday season. There are plenty of ways to give a gift that gives back in some way, shape or form. Happy shopping and happy holidays from the askHRgreen.org team! 

Posted in: Going Green, Holidays

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Trash or Treat?

Posted on October 28, 2016 by | Comments Off

halloween-candy-1014629_960_720Every year we have a big Halloween party at our house. We really get into the spirit covering our home in spooky decorations right down to the animated creatures. We have carloads of trick-or-treaters come by the house and enjoy taking our own daughter door-to-door to collect tasty treats. Halloween is such a simple, yet magical holiday.

But the day after Halloween is when things really get scary…

When I wake up on November 1st I feel like I’ve been transported to the Twilight Zone! I look out my window to find candy wrappers littering the sidewalks and streets of my normally tidy neighborhood. It’s a hard truth to admit, but admit it we must: 

Our kids are litter bugs.

Yep, I said it. Those darling pumpkins, spooky monsters and sweet storybook characters are responsible for this post-Halloween litter fest. I totally understand the need to power up with a miniature Snickers bar so that you can make it down just one more street. Who doesn’t sample their treasures before they get home? But what’s not cool is letting that little candy wrapper flutter out of your hands and onto the ground. Sure it’s dark and crowded, no one will ever know it was you. And it’s just a tiny thing, surely it won’t matter, right? Wrong! Come morning, the neighborhoods everywhere will be trashy and that’s not a good look, Hampton Roads!

So before your little tykes head out for a night of screeching scares and tasty treats, please have “the talk” with them. Let them know that a candy wrapper does not magically disappear when dropped on the ground. In fact, it could take up to FIVE YEARS for a plastic-coated paper wrapper to decompose. Littered candy wrappers will be washed into a storm drain and out into our local waterways. The fish, crabs and wildlife really don’t appreciate our misplaced trash.

Here are a few tips for a litter-free Halloween:

  • Consider wrapper-free treats. Gone are the days when you could hand out homemade goodies, but you’d be surprised how excited kids can be over non-candy treats like bracelets, stickers or vampire fangs.
  • Give a helpful reminder. Help your child and his crew make the right choice by reminding them that trash on the ground means trash in our waterways for up to 5 years.
  • Give some specific directions. Tell your child to put candy wrappers in his pocket, back into the candy bucket or in a neighborhood trash can.
  • Hold a post-Halloween cleanup. Make another trip around the neighborhood with your little ones when dawn breaks to collect littered candy wrappers. Make a game out of it and see who can find the most! 

A very Happy (but not trashy) Halloween to you all!

Posted in: Beautification, Don't litter!, Holidays, Household tips

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