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Simple Tips for Greening Your Office

Posted on October 12, 2016 by | Comments Off

workDid you know that as much as 85% of waste generated in offices is recyclable? Recycling is the norm in city and county offices across Hampton Roads. Please consider following suit and starting a recycling program in your business or office. By recycling we reduce our environmental impact on the community, create lower cost raw materials for manufacturing and increase the life of existing landfills.

The City of Newport News is constantly researching new handling and recycling methods for our city and the region so that we can all recycle more, trash less.

Here’s some quick tips for proper waste disposal at the office:

  • Place recycling bins in each office, near each printer/copier and in each conference room.
  • Recycle your paper, aluminum cans, plastic/glass bottles and cardboard. Additional items may be accepted depending on your recycling provider.
  • Toss into the trash all dirty takeout containers and cups, paper towels/napkins/tissues, and waxed cardboard milk or juice cartons.
  • Set up a plastic film recycling station in your break room where coworkers can bring plastic grocery bags, newspaper bags, and clean Ziplock bags for recycling. When the station is full, simply drop off the plastic film at the plastic bag return at the nearest grocery or big box store.
  • Ditch bottled water and use tap.
  • Scrape food scraps into the trash, not the sink, when you clean up your meal.

This is a guest post by Dan Baxter, Business Recycling Coordinator, with the City of Newport News Public Works, Solid Waste Resource Recovery Unit.


Posted in: Going Green, Plastic Bag Recycling, plastic bags, Reduce reuse and recycle, Reducing Paper Use, Tap vs. Bottled Water

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Two Tons of Plastic Bags Recovered from Hampton Schools

Posted on June 14, 2016 by | Comments Off

Congratulations to Hampton Christian Academy Elementary for winning the Trex Plastic Bag Challenge again! They collected 1,035 pounds of plastic bags and consumer films and achieved a pounds per student ratio of 7.238. They will receive a Trex plastic bench. They are ranked number 5 in all 550 participating  schools by student ratio.

Congratulations also to Phoebus High School! The students there collected the most pounds of plastics bags – 1,205 – which is an equivalent of approximately 93,000 plastic bags! Because of their higher student population, their ratio was 1.004. The students collected nearly a quarter of all the plastic bags collected in Hampton during the competition.

Congratulations to Armstrong School of the Arts – they had the highest public school ratio in the city – 2.507 pounds per student.

Altogether, 16 schools in Hampton participated this year and collected a combined total of 5,166 pounds of bags and consumer films! That’s more than 2 tons of plastic bags. Think about that the next time you hold a plastic bag in your hand! That’s nearly 400,000 plastic bags! Nearly all the schools were supported by volunteers who helped transport the bags and plastic film to Farm Fresh locations for recycling. Thank you Farm Fresh stores, for allowing the participants to bring their plastic bags to your store!

Congratulations to all the participants for facilitating the students’ participation in this contest! Because of staff and volunteer support, nearly 10,000 students had the opportunity to participate in a fun and meaningful activity. Many thanks for your efforts!


Posted in: For educators, plastic bags, Reduce reuse and recycle, Uncategorized

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Pet Waste Stations Back for Local Grant Program

Posted on April 4, 2016 by | Comments Off is once again accepting applications for free pet waste stations in an effort to reduce bacteria in stormwater runoff. If your neighborhood, HOA or community association is ready to make ‘scooping the poop’ a priority, then you are invited to apply online at

To date, the City of Suffolk has used this regional program to grant 13 stations to neighborhoods across Suffolk. Regionally, more than 200 stations have been installed through the pet waste station grant program. The most recent pet waste station application in Suffolk was received from Suffolk Parks & Recreation for a second pet waste station to install at the new Seaboard Coastline Trail. The first station is located near the Driver entrance of the trail and the new station will be near the center of the trail. “We are getting TONS of usage!” says Helen Gabriel, Assistant Director, Suffolk Parks & Recreation. If pet waste is left on the ground, bacteria will be carried by rainwater to our waterways. Pet waste stations encourage citizens to pick up after their pets by making it easy and convenient to do so. 

Adding another station to the Seaboard Coastline Trail will prevent the overuse of any one station. “The overuse of a pet waste station creates a problem of its own.” says David Keeling, City of Suffolk Environmental Specialist. “Instead of being a benefit, it could become an eyesore and concentrate pollution sources.” 

askHRgreen-PetWasteStation-HomepageSlideSuffolk and other cities and counties will be granting stations to appropriate community associations that meet application requirements such as, emptying the garbage can when full, ensuring pet waste bags or garbage can liners are stocked and available for use, and ordering replacement pet waste bags or garbage can liners in a timely manner.

For more information, apply online at or for Suffolk properties you may call contact Alacia Nixson at 757-514-7073.

This blog contributed by Alacia Nixson, Environmental Technician with Suffolk Public Works.

Posted in: Don't litter!, Keeping storm drains free, Pets, plastic bags, Waterways

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Will Litter Determine the next Daytona 500 Winner?

Posted on February 19, 2016 by | Comments Off

Diem (1)Plastic bags and food wrappers – what in the world could they have to do with the next Daytona 500 winner?

Well, if you watched Denny Hamlin win the Sprint Unlimited race at Daytona International Speedway last weekend, you might remember what happened to a guy named Brad Keselowski. Poor Brad. You see, Brad was leading the field early in the race when a plastic bag whipped out of the grandstands and onto the racetrack clogging Brad’s duct work. With no air flowing to his motor, Brad began to overheat and had to bring his race car into the pits. Brad rallied back to a distant 9th place finish after being involved in other on track incidents throughout the night.

And what about all those mysterious debris cautions we saw last season? Don’t even get me started! Three debris cautions were called in the final laps of the California Speedway race last spring. It was an issue again during the Chase Championship race in Homestead which closed out the 2015 season. NASCAR has been accused by fans and race teams alike of using  harmless debris  like paper products, food wrappers or plastic bags that blow onto the track as a way to tighten up the field to create better racing or even to give preference to certain drivers. Whether NASCAR debris cautions are based on fact or fiction, there’s no question that litter and trash are hanging out where you live, work or play.

The start of race season is followed closely by the start of the Great American Cleanup. The Great American Cleanup is the largest grassroots community involvement program in the United States. From March through June of each year, more than 4 million volunteers work together to transform communities by picking up litter and sprucing up public spaces. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to get involved to prevent trash and litter from impacting your community. You can find a list of the cleanup events happening in Hampton Roads on and check back often as new events are added.

I’ll be tuned in on Sunday to see if this year’s Daytona 500 winner has to overcome the “Battle of the Bag” but I also want to leave you with some simple tips to make your plastic bag use and little greener. First, remember you can REFUSE a plastic bag when you buy something small and don’t really need one. Also, remember to bring REUSABLE bags when you hit the grocery store and RECYCLE plastic bags you do use by returning them to your local grocery store. But most of all, just remember that YOU can make a difference in your community.

So….Boogity, Boogity, Boogity…..let’s go racing!

Posted in: Beautification, Community events, Holidays, plastic bags

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Bags of Fun – Suffolk America Recycles Day

Posted on November 24, 2015 by | Comments Off

Photo Credit: Suffolk News Herald  Wayne Jones, litter control coordinator and spokesperson for Keep America Beautiful, stands at Morgan Memorial Library with some of the bags full of plastic bags that were collected during a recycling event on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Suffolk News Herald
Wayne Jones at Morgan Memorial Library with some of the bags full of plastic bags that were collected for America Recycles Day.

For America Recycles Day, Suffolk Public Libraries opened their doors and within minutes citizens were steadily pouring into the Morgan Memorial and North Suffolk locations bringing their unwanted plastic bags, old batteries, retired cell phones and dried up ink cartridges.  Keep Suffolk Beautiful organized the recycling drive joining thousands of local organizers holding recycling events across the country. America Recycles Day is a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful.  In addition to collecting recyclables the two stations had free giveaways, storytime for children and a wealth of recycling information. “It was a really successful drive and the community came out to show their support,” said Kathy Russell, Chair of Keep Suffolk Beautiful, who was out at the North Suffolk location. Kathy reported that local high school students were taking selfies, homeowners were excited to empty a closet full of plastic bags and younger children had a great time at story time.  ”It was a lot of fun and people were grateful for such events to help prompt them to do some extra recycling.” 

Oceanography students from Nansemond River High School were encouraged to recycle their bags to help keep our oceans clean.  The Keep Suffolk Beautiful team at Morgan Memorial location was equally as popular and they were accompanied by the Virginia Master Naturalists who wanted to display their successful program for Fishing Line receptacles found at our city fishing hot spots.  Claudia Lee a Master Naturalist said, “We wanted to partner with Keep Suffolk Beautiful as they funded our receptacle program and we wanted to show the public how much fishing line we have kept out of our waterways.  It was also great to inform the public about the Virginia Master Naturalists, who we are, what we do and how you can join.”

At the end of the drive there were hundreds of batteries, boxes of ink and laser cartridges, two bags of old cell phones and enough bags to fill three large SUV’s.  One of the SUV’s was sent to Nansemond River High School where the bags were delivered to teacher Sally Karadeema whose FCCLA class (The Family, Career, Community, Leaders of America) has been busy turning plastic bags into crocheted mats for the homeless.  Ms. Karadeema who reached out to Keep Suffolk Beautiful for plastic bags for their project was extremely grateful to receive enough bags to complete it.  Ms. Karadeema said, “It takes about 500 plastic bags to make one mat and I’m sure we now have more than enough to finish our target of five mats”.  Ms. Karadeema kindly loaned Keep Suffolk Beautiful two finished mats to display at the drive and many of the people attending the event were there to recycle but also to support the student’s efforts. 

bag prepThe mats from Ms. Karadeema’s class are brilliant and the public thought so too. It was great to showcase their project and use it as a talking point for the need to recycle.  The average person uses 500 bags a year and it takes about 500 bags to make one mat.  The mat was a great visual to portray our message.  We thank the students for their hard work and also Suffolk Public Libraries for hosting us.  Keep Suffolk Beautiful would like the public to know they can recycle household batteries and ink cartridges all year long at all Suffolk Public Library Locations.    

Blog contributed by Wayne Jones, Litter Control Coordinator with the City of Suffolk.

Posted in: Beautification, Community events, plastic bags, Reduce reuse and recycle

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