Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Recycling & Sustainability

I moved out of the city to a small town (Ellensburg, WA) and already I can feel the difference in my state of mind. It's much easier here not to drive or spend very much money. Today I ran several errands which all took place in the same 3 or 4 block radius. It's only about a 15 min. walk into town and just a few minutes by bike. My rent has gone down by more than half, my car insurance (I still own my car) is way down, and my phone bill will be significantly lower since I can turn my head to talk to my other half rather than call him on the phone.

But anyway, all this self-focused energy of late has had me searching for motivation or just direction to get me back on the environmental path. I went back and looked at old links I had saved for later blog entries. I found some great info about recycling that I thought deserved mention, and some useful definitions and guidelines to sustainability.

First, it's kinda fun to play the Recycling IQ Game on the City of Seattle site. I learned a few things I didn't know before, like that wire coat hangers are recyclable.

On the Washington State Department of Ecology site, there's a Recycling FAQ page with some useful information. Here's a cool Recyclable Materials Poster as well.

The rules for disposal of electronics have changed. According to the King County website, "As of October 1, 2005, computers, monitors, TVs and cell phones will no longer be accepted in the garbage or at King County Transfer Stations." As a solution they list the Take It Back Network Recyclers.

I also found a great service called GreenDisk, which will collect your "technotrash" for a small fee and recycle it. They also happen to be located in Western Washington. According to their website, technotrash "... is a generally accepted term for obsolete or discarded electronic devices and materials such as cell phones, computers televisions, printers, inkjet & toner cartridges and rechargeable batteries. Technotrash usually has little or no remaining value unless it can be collected into large processable batches for recycling." Over the course of the years I've amassed enough of this stuff to warrant sending a batch of it to GreenDisk. It's about $6.00 plus shipping to send them a box of 20 lbs. or less.

The other resource I was happy to find is EcoEncore, which "... raises funds for environmental organizations in the Pacific Northwest through the resale of used books, CDs, DVDs, and software. Through the collection and sale of used media, Eco Encore turns used goods into financial support for the regional environmental movement." So... it's a worthy alternative to traditional thrift-store donations or the hit-or-miss methods of selling stuff online. On my next visit to Seattle I will take some things to donate.

The Department of Ecology has some good information on sustainability. This definition is from their Pocket Guide to Sustainability:

"Sustainability provides for current needs without sacrificing the needs of future generations. Sustainable practices require that we evaluate how our decisions today will affect society, the environment, and the economies of the future. Sustainability acknowledges that people, economies, and all life depend on healthy functioning societies, economies and ecosystems."

And from the Dept. of Ecology's Sustainability Plan:

Guiding Principles of Sustainability

These eight principles, developed by the agency Sustainability Team and authorized by Senior Management, provide a framework to guide Ecology toward sustainable solutions. They are intended to serve as overarching themes for the entire Agency and should not be viewed in isolation but as interdependent on one another.
  • There is inter-dependence between ecological, economic and social factors in achieving sustainability.
  • The concept of waste can and should be eliminated.
  • Healthy natural systems are the basis for sustainable communities and economies.
  • Future generations should be equal partners in decision making.
  • Local decisions have regional and global implications.
  • Incentives are necessary to create sustainable behavior.
  • Investment in the design phase of a process or product drives sustainable outcomes.
  • Human relationships and a collaborative approach lead to sustainable solutions.


At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Scott Salyer said...

hi sustainable girl,

i'm wondering if you'd like to exchange links. couldn't find your email anywhere on the site.

mine is scott at commoninsight.com.

At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Nicole Boivin said...

Hello, I'm Nicole from ecofreek.com- a search
engine for free and swap items. Our mission is to provide a
means for people to find items they need while reducing
landfill waste.

We would much appreciate a review of our site or any
feedback to help improve our service.

Nicole Boivin


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