Special events, personal pledges help protect Indiana’s environment all year long
Each year, America Recycles Day reminds us that plastic, paper, glass, steel, aluminum, and electronic waste (e-Waste) do not belong in the trash. Learning how to reuse and repurpose recycled materials is not only good for the environment, it can also make a positive difference on your wallet. By participating in America Recycles Day this November 15, individuals and businesses can make a positive difference for the environment and learn ways to save money.
“With more than six million Hoosiers living in Indiana, if each of us pledges one small change to protect our environment, it will have a huge, collective impact,” said Thomas Easterly, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). “Recycling and reducing waste are simple ways to keep our environment cleaner and healthier, and there are many things we can do.”
IDEM offers these simple tips in anticipation of the national observance.
• Stop unwanted mail and phone books. You can help reduce waste by asking mail-order companies and other organizations to take your name off of their mailing lists and banking online. IDEM provides ideas for reducing unwanted mail on its website at www.IN.gov/idem/recycle/2349.htm.
• Take unwanted electronics to an e-Waste collection. Many local programs and companies offer various electronics recycling programs for households, public schools, and small businesses. Find local collection programs participating in Indiana’s e-Waste Program at www.IN.gov/idem/recycle/files/ewaste_collectors_list.pdf.
• Find out where materials can be recycled in your community. For information about local collection programs, visit www.IN.gov/idem/recycle/2340.htm.
• Measure your impact. That disposable coffee cup may seem like an insignificant amount of waste, but thousands of cups from your fellow Hoosiers quickly add up to a large amount of trash. Find out about the impact for many household items at www.IN.gov/idem/recycle/2355.htm.
• Buy recycled. Recycling is more than collecting materials and separating them from the regular garbage collection. The cycle is complete only when recovered materials are returned to the economy as new products and bought by consumers. Learn more about buying recycled at www.IN.gov/idem/recycle/2354.htm.
• Recycle household hazardous waste. Products with warning or caution on the label need to be properly stored and disposed. Examples are mercury containing products, gasoline, used motor oil and oil filters, used antifreeze, batteries, paints, stains, varnishes, and pesticides. Find out where to take unwanted products at www.IN.gov/idem/recycle/2351.htm.
• Compost grass, leaves and other yard waste. Yard waste takes up valuable space in landfills and contributes to the generation of landfill gasses and leachate—the contaminated liquid that collects in the bottom of the landfill as waste decays. Learn easy and environmentally beneficial ways to manage yard waste by visiting www.IN.gov/idem/recycle/2353.htm.
• Drop off or “take back” unwanted medicines. Unwanted and expired medicine may be a risk to human health and the environment if disposed of improperly. Many local collections accept unwanted medicines, sharps and controlled substances. Many pharmacies sell postage-paid envelops to mail back non-controlled substances for disposal. IDEM provides information at www.IN.gov/idem/recycle/2343.htm. Information about the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration National Take Back Initiative can be found at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.
• Hold an America Recycles Day event. For information and ideas, visit the America Recycles Day website at http://americarecyclesday.org/.
• Take the America Recycles Day Pledge: “Learn. I will find out what materials are collected for recycling in my community at americarecyclesday.org and Act. Reduce my personal waste by recycling. Within the next month, I will recycle more.” Sign the pledge on the America Recycles Day website at http://americarecyclesday.org/pledge/.
• Find out how to help keep your community beautiful. Visit the Keep America Beautiful website at www.kab.org/site/PageServer?pagename=index.
Established in 1986, IDEM (www.idem.IN.gov) implements federal and state regulations regarding the environment. Through compliance assistance, incentive programs and educational outreach, the agency encourages and aids businesses and citizens in protecting Hoosiers and the environment.