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Composting: My Dirty Little Secret

Posted on October 15, 2014 by | Comments Off

Testing soil is easyWant to know a dirty little secret? I love composting more than I love gardening.

Sounds crazy, right? Let me explain…

1. Composting is Effortless
Gardens are work. There are weeds to be removed, mulch to be put down, and veggies to harvest. Composting is simple. Organic material goes in, you turn it over every once in a while, and out comes nutrient-rich dirt.  

2. Composting is Forgiving
Composting allows for laziness. If I neglect my garden for a week, weeds take over and plants die.  If I miss a week of adding food scraps, landscape clippings or organic waste to my compost bin, no big deal!

3. Composting makes Friends out of Enemies
When it comes to bugs in my garden – I want them out! They eat vegetation! They burrow in my veggies! They destroy my plants! In my compost bin, they go from being enemies to friends. Those same bugs are what make the magic happen! They help aerate my bin and break down compost into beautiful soil.

Are you ready to fall in love with composting? The Virginia Cooperative Extension has a great composting guide to help you get started. Go ahead, try it! Who knows, you might just find you love composting more than gardening, too!

This blog post was submitted by Erica Roberts, Media & Communications Coordinator with Virginia Beach Public Utilities.

Posted in: Gardening, Going Green, Lawn and landscape, Outdoor tips

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America Recycles Day Events in Hampton Roads

Posted on October 13, 2014 by | Comments Off

ARD_IR_Logo_GreenandBlack_Nov.-15askHRgreen.org and cities across Hampton Roads will celebrate America Recycles Day in November with a variety of outreach and recycling collection events. America Recycles Day happens each year on November 15th and is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. It’s our hope that celebrating recycling and all the wonderful things it does for our region will inspire residents to recycle more, trash less all year long.

For more details about the America Recycles Day celebration nearest you, select a city/county from the list below.

Chesapeake

Who: Open to the public
What:
askHRgreen.org Electronics Recycling, Document Shredding & Clothing/Household Item Donation
Where: Greenbrier Mall – in the overflow parking lot between Dillard’s and JCPenney
Date: November 15, 2014
Time: 9am-noon
What to bring: Electronics (no TVs, please), documents for shredding, clothing, kitchenware, and household items – for complete details view the event flyer

Hampton

Who: Residency restrictions apply
What:
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: Hampton Public Works Operations Complex
Date: November 15, 2014
Time: 8am-noon
What to bring:
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste – view complete event information at VPPSA online

Isle of Wight

Who: Isle of Wight residents only
What:
Isle of Wight Recycling Day
Where: Multiple locations
Date: November 15, 2014
Time: 7am-7pm
What to bring:
electronics, plastic bags, yard waste and more – for complete details view the event flyer

James City County

Who: Open to the public
What:
Litter Enforcement & Recycling Expo
Where: Legacy Hall, New Town
Date: November 7, 2014
Time: noon-7pm
For complete details view the event flyer

Newport News

Who: Newport News residents only
What:
Newport News Residential Recycling Program
Where:  Newport News Resource Recovery Operations Center
Date: Fridays & Saturdays (excluding city observed holidays)
Time: 8am-4pm
What to bring:
electronics, household hazardous waste and yard waste - for complete details view the program website

Norfolk

Who: Some residency restrictions apply
What:
Recycle Norfolk Day
Where:
Norfolk Waste Management Facility
Date:
November 15, 2014
Time:
10am-2pm
What to bring:
electronics, documents for shredding, clothing, kitchenware, household items, plastic bags and more - for complete details view the event flyer

Portsmouth

Who: Open to the public
What:
Portsmouth Recycles Day
Where: Monumental United Methodist Church
Date: November 15, 2014
Time: 9am-noon
What to bring:
electronics (no TVs, please), documents for shredding, clothing, kitchenware, household items, and household hazardous waste – for complete details view the event flyer

Virginia Beach

Who: Open to the public
What:
America Recycle Day Celebration
Where: Tidewater Community College – Joint Use Library
Date: November 13
Time: 11am-2pm
For complete details view the event flyer

Who: Virginia Beach residents only
What:
Virginia Beach Residential Recycling Program
Where: Virginia Beach Landfill and Resource Recovery Center
Date: Tuesday through Saturday (excluding city observed holidays)
Time: 7am-4:30pm
What to bring:
electronics, metals, household hazardous waste, small household items, clothing/shoes, oyster/clam shells and more – for complete details visit www.vbgov.com/landfill

Yorktown

Who: Open to the public
What:
askHRgreen.org Electronics Recycling & Document Shredding
Where: York County Sports Complex
Date: November 15, 2014
Time: 10am-2pm
What to bring:
electronics (no TVs, please) and documents for shredding – for complete details view the event flyer

Posted in: Community events, Reduce reuse and recycle

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New Bill Works to Promote Use of Recycled Materials

Posted on October 8, 2014 by | Comments Off

shutterstock_70004710_WEBA bill recently introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives aims to increase the national recycling rate by requiring manufacturers to use more recycled materials in their products.

Mike Honda, representing California’s 17th District in Silicon Valley, introduced the Land Based Marine Debris Reduction Act of 2014.  It would give the EPA the authority “to require the manufacturer of the product or packaging to use recovered materials of that or another category in the product or packaging.”  If enacted, these new regulations would go toward achieving a 50 percent national recycling rate by 2020 and a 65 percent recycling rate by 2030 and lead to reductions in landfilling and littering.

Rep. Honda said “Making people aware of the problem is the first step.  The second is letting people know they can be part of the solution.  By encouraging industry to use more recycled materials, we safeguard the sustainable use of our precious natural resources.”

Chaz Miller, the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the National Waste & Recycling Association indicated that this was the first municipal solid waste (MSW) recycling bill to be introduced on the Hill in 20 years.  He said, “It’s a statement from Congress to get the U.S. EPA to focus on MSW.”

Robin Wiener, President of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), said “ISRI commends Congressman Honda for his efforts to keep recyclable materials, including product packaging, out of solid waste landfills and waterways.”  “Directing these materials to recycling facilities where they can be recycled into secondary raw materials used to make new products is good for the environment and creates jobs.”

The bill, not likely to be taken up until next year, has been referred to the Committee on Energy & Commerce and will likely head to the E&C subcommittee on the Environment and Energy led by Illinois Republican John Shimkus. We’ll keep our eye on this bill and keep you updated with the latest developments.

Posted in: Reduce reuse and recycle

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Don’t Miss the Ultimate Family Event this Weekend!

Posted on October 6, 2014 by | Comments Off

Goodwill Fall FestivalaskHRgreen.org is excited to be a part of the inaugural Peninsula Fall Festival (aka the Ultimate Family Event) sponsored by Goodwill and SKY-TV 4! Goodwill and other secondhand retailers do a LOT to help support the 3Rs in Hampton Roads. They help us reduce waste by making it easy and convenient to donate unwanted items instead of tossing them into the trash. They also help people reuse by selling used items to people in the market for all types of clothing, home goods, sports equipment, and electronics. I love getting new (to me) clothes at local consignment and secondhand stores because you can go green and save green at the same time! Last, Goodwill recycles whenever possible - if something can’t be resold, they always look for ways to recycle the materials. Best of all – most secondhand stores support much needed community programs. In this case, Goodwill provides long-term employment solutions for persons with disabilities and individuals with social and economic disadvantages.

So come join us for a day of seasonal fun on Saturday, October 11th from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. This FREE, outdoor event will have more than 40 vendors on-site for interactive children’s activities and giveaways!  The event is open to the public with plenty of local food vendors and free parking. Bring the little ones in costume for some trick-or-treating and then join in the fall excitement with games, face painting, live music, pumpkin carving contests, arts and crafts, and a Halloween fashion show. You can even go green and create your families original Halloween costumes when you visit the Goodwill’s pop-up retail shop instead of buying new at the big box store. The first 500 event attendees will also receive a reusable bag giveaway. 

There will be plenty of fun for the grown-ups as well including:

  • Get Organized! Organizing expert, author, and Goodwill International spokesperson Lorie Marrero will share tips on how to de-clutter, organize your home and get ready for the holidays! Lorie will conduct two 30-minute sessions which will include giving away a limited number of copies of her bestselling book, “The Clutter Diet”, as well!
  • Get Started! Goodwill Job Search Experts will be on-hand to conduct 3 mini-workshops, each free and 30 minutes in length:
    • Job Interviews Made Easy: Come learn the top 10 job interview mistakes to avoid in this highly interactive and fun session! Attendees can volunteer for one of two teams and vie “Family Feud” style for prizes, while learning what to avoid and what to do in an interview. And don’t worry, if you’d rather just watch and learn, that’s okay, too.
    • Resumes That Work:  Come learn the top 10 resume mistakes to avoid in this highly interactive and fun session! Attendees can volunteer for one of two teams and vie “Family Feud” style for prizes, while learning what to avoid and what to do in an interview.  And don’t worry, if you’d rather just watch and learn, that’s okay, too.
    • The Game of Life: In this session, attendees will get to make some “real world” decisions in a not so real setting and learn how those decisions impact their lives.  The leader will also share an overview of the ways Goodwill can help individuals be successful in life. Be sure to grab a seat for this eye-opening, entertaining, and educational seminar.

 Check out the complete list of festival fun and call (757) 268-7463 for more information. We’ll see you there!

Posted in: Community events

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A Windy New Energy Source

Posted on October 2, 2014 by | Comments Off

wind-generator-1184115-mThere’s a breath of fresh air blowing through Chesapeake and it’s coming from Grassfield High School.  It’s a wind turbine!  The new structure has been in the works for years but finally came to fruition over the summer.  The turbine is expected to help power the concession area at the football stadium, greatly reducing electricity costs for the school.  Plus, students in the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Academy will get to study the benefits of this alternative power.  The wind turbine was funded by the Chesapeake Public Schools Educational Foundation, with support from many business partners and of course, a strong fundraising effort by the students at Grassfield High.

So how exactly does wind become electricity?  Let me break it down for you in a way that even my own non-science brain can understand.  The main components of the turbine are the blades, the shaft and the generator.  When the wind blows, it moves the blades.  Those blades are connected to the shaft which spins inside the turbine.  The spinning shaft is connected to a generator which then produces the energy!  (You know that generator you bought in case of hurricanes?  It probably requires gas to produce energy.  This one doesn’t need gas but uses the power of the wind instead.)   Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  I’ll admit there are a few more details to that process but you get the gist! 

Here’s a quick math problem to throw in there for good measure.  Wind + Turbine = Electricity to cook you a hotdog on game day. 

Now that’s a delicious and efficient use of energy.

Posted in: For educators, Going Green, Service Learning, Uncategorized

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