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Plenty of ways to be earth friendly around the home.
When the first Earth Day was celebrated in the spring of 1970, the goal was to bring attention to the need for everyone to work towards a healthy, sustainable environment. Today, as we approach the Earth Day celebration on April 22, homeowners have a variety of ways they can contribute to a cleaner, sustainable environment.
One of the most common ways homeowners help the environment each week is by recycling household items via their community’s curbside recycling program.
“ Even with the curbside recycling programs we have in our 12 communities, we still find about 30 percent of the trash collected from homes contains items that could have been recycled,” said Jeff McKeen, General Manager for SOCRRA, (248) 288-5150, www.socrra.org.
“In the past, we would have to separate the glossy inserts from newspapers or couldn’t recycle junk mail, but that is not the case anymore,” McKeen said. “The market for recycled items has also expanded internationally, and there is a huge demand for recycled newspaper in China, where they use it for cardboard boxes,” he said.
Communities like Livonia have been offering curbside recycling since the early 1990s, and the amount of waste that is recycled today has increased dramatically.
“When we first started recycling, we had about three percent of our city’s total waste stream being recycled, but today it is more than 50 percent,” said Brian Wilson, Livonia’s Superintendent of Public Service, (734) 466-2655, www.ci.livonia.mi.us.
Wilson said in addition to resident’s high participation in its curbside program, Livonia’s annual Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics recycling events draw huge crowds each year, with more than 2,700 cars going through the event last year.
The expansion of recycling services even includes old appliances these days, and both DTE Energy www.dteenergy.com and Consumers Energy www.consumersenergy.com have appliance recycling programs with rebates for customers.
While recycling is the easiest way for homeowners to help the environment, there are plenty of other ways to be “Green” when you are doing projects around the home.
If you are planning a DIY project, consider donating your surplus building supplies and even some slightly-used home items to one of the three Habitat for Humanity ReStores of Detroit and Oakland County www.metrorestores.org where they will be reused or recycled instead of being sent to a landfill.
Make sure to use environmentally friendly products whenever possible as you clean your home’s exterior this spring, such as CitriStrip paint and stain stripper from W.M. Barr & Co., www.citristrip.com; Krud Kutter exterior siding cleaner, www.krudkutter.com; and Simple Green all-purpose cleaner, www.simplegreen.com.
Making energy efficient decisions by adding insulation, installing a programmable thermostat, buying Energy Star appliances, getting a new high efficiency furnace or installing energy efficient windows helps you use less energy, which is one of the most important things we can do to help the environment.
So the next time you are hauling your recycling bin to the curb, think of the other ways you can help the environment by using environmentally friendly products for your home projects and by improving your energy efficiency. That’s something everyone can brag about!
If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail email@example.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege personally, call his "Handyman Show" on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The HANDYMAN SHOW can be heard on more than 130 radio stations nationwide.
Note: This article was accurate at the date of publication. However, information contained in it may have changed.
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