Tag Archives: recycling

CORRECTED DATE:JoinSLCityCouncilDistrict3 Candidate Jennifer J. Johnson 9/13/09 for glass recycling

More in Jennifer’s recycling platform, where she interviews folks from around the city involved in recycling:

Buy Nothing Day in Utah

From KUTV Channel 2 UtahI am quoted near the bottom
Utahns Participate In Buy Nothing Day

While millions of Americans where rushing from store to store hunting for rock bottom deals of Black Friday, a significantly smaller portion of the population was refusing to spend a single penny on that day. 

Sarah and Derek Staffanson have decided to join the legions of people across the country taking part in “Buy Nothing Day.”  A grass roots effort to stamp out consumerism and unnecessary debt.

The Staffanson’s decided to spent this “Black Friday” decorating their tree.   Derek says for most of his life heading to the malls the day after Thanksgiving was part of his family holiday ritual.

He says during a long evolution he and his wife have decided that blatant consumerism often left him empty inside he says he still wants to buy certain things but says community service is more fulfilling.

Also celebrating “Buy Nothing Day” is Deanna Taylor.  She spent the afternoon at Library Square collecting old coat and handing them out to people who need them.

Staffanson and his wife say they enjoy living a simpler life. 

2008 Community Coat Exchange

Today was a success. We gave away about 600 coats.

Buy Nothing Day

Remember to Buy Nothing on Friday, November 28th, the day after Thanksgiving. Instead, do something for your community, your family, your world.


“Queens is Green Fashion Show” Magazine Feature Stor

Green Party member Lynn Serpe:

http://licmagazine.com/content.php – click “arts” in left sidebar, then scroll down.

By Olaitan Fakinlede

We’ve all heard someone make a mention of the Green Movement at one time or another – a revolution that has been putting celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Sting, Brad Pitt and Salma Hayek on the map for more than their millionaire spending habits. But when the Green Movement is not busy toting around celebrity action heroes in organic cotton shopping bags or boasting big names at eco-revolutionary events – destined to change the lives of all those dwelling in excess worldwide – it stands at the forefront of city-specific soirees like the recent Queens is Green event in Long Island City, organized by Green Party Member Lynne Serpe.

     Lynne Serpe claims that, “being Green is a lifestyle and not just a media-marketed, celebrity-backed movement, as some have come to believe.” She continued, “Part of going Green is buying locally and supporting local vendors.” Serpe decided to launch the Queens is Green show to prove it. 

     The event flyers – made of recycled paper and silk-screened organic ink by Arvid Nelson and Ciara Elend – was indicative of the Green innovations that would await us at the show. Over 150 people tried to reserve seats and only seventy could be admitted. In her opinion, the overflow was indicative of the Queens resident, and the average New Yorker’s definitive interest in Green.

    The show was split into two segments, with the first showcasing ten competing Green Designers – seven clothing designers and three jewelry designers – while the second segment displayed local Queens shops and boutiques carrying Green goods. At the close of both segments the judges announced the winner: jewelry designer Joel Voisard, who stopped to talk to Ins&Outs about his win.

INS&OUTS: Congratulations, Mr. Voisard! How does it feel to win?

JOEL VOISARD: I was pleased but surprised because I was almost certain that one of the clothing designers would win.

I&O: Really? Well, your designs were chosen given their uniqueness and precision in construction; did you disagree with the judges?

JV: (Laughing) No, I definitely agree with the judges, but I assumed that there would naturally be more focus on clothing designers – and there were so many outstanding designers, the competition was stiff.

I&O: So given your background in sculpture design and textile and pattern-making, why did you decide to design jewelry as opposed to clothing?
JV: Seeing as I am not proficient in sewing and fabric construction, I knew clothing design was not my calling. But because I enjoy working with my hands, I naturally leaned towards jewelry design.

I&O: Can you tell us a little about your design line?

JV: Well, there are four lines, each consisting of a pair of earrings, necklace and a bracelet. The first line, “Red Light District,” was inspired by control room light bulbs from the ’50s. The second line, “Slate Knobs,” was inspired by knobs from 1970s Japan. The third line, “Orange Spacer,” was constructed from orange rubber banded spacers that I found from old cash registers. And the last line, “Coming Up Roses,” may have been the most time consuming given that, once finding the materials, I hand-crafted each rose using reclaimed fabric scraps, tubing and wiring.

I&O: Where did you find your materials, and how difficult was it narrowing down functional parts?

JV: I found several materials from torn down factories where old cash registers and machinery are dropped off and you can shop for parts, which are usually in excess.
I&O: How long does it take you to construct each piece?

JV: On average it takes me about a week or two to make each piece because after finding the material and making sure each piece is actually viable, construction begins and then consultation.

I&O: By consultation do you mean you ask other designers to evaluate your pieces?

JV: Yes and no. No, I don’t ask fellow designers, I ask my wife. She tries on the pieces, tells me what needs to be altered, and then we pick at the piece in the mirror. Finally it’s back to the drawing board until we agree it’s perfect. She’s the brains of the operation, so without her, it is a very difficult process.

I&O: Are these pieces ready to wear? And where can we purchase them?

JV: Yes, they are and you can buy them in Queens at Subdivision at 48-41 Vernon Blvd., or online at www.subboutique.com.

I&O: Now we all know that the “Green Movement” and its key slogan, “Go Green,” is fast becoming a household name in popular culture. Do you think that “going Green” is a trend?
JV: In some ways, I think “going Green” is a trend because of the marketability of the goods and the fact that many things Green are actually sellable and sensible items – it makes the movement easily transcend into pop culture.

I&O: Then is it safe to say that like most things adopted by popular culture, the Green movement will be subject to mass exploitation and possibly may not stick around?

JV: Since “going Green” has become so widespread it can become exploited, but in my opinion, people who are sincere about the Green Movement will stay true to Green and continue leading Green-efficient lifestyles.

I&O: Would you say that you and your wife lead a Green-oriented lifestyle?

JV: Absolutely, as best as we can. Since we live and work out of Queens I ride my bike to work daily. We recycle, we reuse our Ziploc bags, we buy locally and we purchase Green products.

US Mayors Agree to Phase Out Bottled Water

[Salt Lake City Mayor] Rocky [Anderson] targets waste of bottled water


Posted December 18, 2006 in [Water]

Doug Smeath – Deseret Morning News 

Rocky Anderson is taking his fight for a more eco-friendly Salt Lake City to a new enemy: bottled water.

In a letter sent to members of his cabinet last month, the mayor asked that departments stop handing out bottled water at meetings and interoffice events.
The letter does not rise to the level of an executive order or a new policy. Rather, it asks for voluntary cooperation.

“The environmental impacts surrounding the production, shipment and disposal of bottled water do not fit within the city’s goal to conduct itself in an environmentally sustainable way,” Anderson wrote.

According to his letter, more than 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to produce the plastic bottles for individual-serving water each year. A number of environmental Web sites corroborate that figure.

“Add to that the tremendous amount of fuel needed to transport it from the bottling line to the store shelf, and it is clear why bottled water has been described as the most inefficient method for transporting water in human history,” he wrote.

He cited a study by the Container Recycling Institute reporting that eight of 10 plastic water bottles end up in landfills rather than being recycled. There is no reason to use bottled water, Anderson wrote, in places like Salt Lake, where tap water is safe and clean.

Not to mention cheaper. Anderson’s letter estimates water is up to 10,000 times costlier when delivered by bottle rather than by tap.

The letter encouraged department heads to invest in water pitchers and reusable cups so that staff members can easily drink tap water in meetings. E-mail: dsmeath@desnews.com

There is a site called Knock Out Bottled Water  where you can see businesses in Salt Lake City that have pledged to not sell those products, has a page of resources, and links to Think Outside the Bottle.

Additionally, you can take the Individual Knockout Bottled Water Pledge

Kudos to Mayors across the U.S. who are taking action on phasing out bottled water in their cities:

Published on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 by Agence France Presse

US Mayors Agree to Phase Out Bottled Water


The US Conference of Mayors on Monday passed a resolution calling for a phasing out of bottled water by municipalities and promoting the importance of public water supplies.0625 02 1 2

The vote comes amid increasing environmental concerns about the use of bottled water because of its use of plastic and energy costs to transport drinking supplies.

The mayors, meeting in Miami, approved a resolution proposed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom along with 17 other large-city mayors to redirect taxpayer dollars from bottled water to other city services.

“Cities are sending the wrong message about the quality of public water when we spend taxpayer dollars on water in disposable containers from a private corporation,” said Newsom.

“Our public water systems are among the best in the world and demand significant and ongoing investment.”

According to the activist group Think Outside the Bottle, more than 60 mayors in the United States have already canceled bottled water contracts.

“It’s just plain common sense for cities to stop padding the bottled water industry’s bottom line at taxpayer expense,” said Gigi Kellett, national director of the Think Outside the Bottle campaign.

“This resolution will send the strong message that opting for tap over bottled water is what’s best for our environment, our pocketbooks and our long-term, equitable access to our most essential resource.”

The American Beverage Associations called the resolution “tainted with hypocrisies and inaccuracies.”

“While some mayors oppose the use of bottled water by city governments, most mayors across America gladly welcome bottled water when disaster strikes,” the industry group said in a statement.

“Our beverage companies continually come to the aid of communities ravaged by floods, fires, hurricanes, other natural disasters and compromised municipal water systems.”

The group said plastic water bottles “are 100 percent recyclable, making bottled water one of the few fully recyclable consumer goods.”

© 2008 Agence France Presse


Students at Utah High School prevented from hanging Buy Nothing Day Banner

A local high school principal prevented a class of students from hanging a banner for Buy Nothing Day.  Below is a commentary on this by Salt Lake Tribune columnist Paul Rolly.  It appears that this principal values capitalism over the environment and conservation.

Paul Rolly: Red scare at Viewmont High School

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} The advanced placement environmental class at Viewmont High School in Bountiful seems to be succeeding at making some of the school’s best and brightest aware of the need for conservation.
    Just so long as they don’t become Commies.
    RyLee Stowell says she and her fellow A.P. students, as a class project, created banners promoting “Buy Nothing Day,” an environmental alternative to “Black Friday,” which falls on the day after Thanksgiving and is touted by merchants as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
    “Buy Nothing Day” encourages conservation rather than consumerism on that day.
    But Stowell says when the students wanted to hang the banner on a balcony overlooking the commons area – where dances, programs and other student activities are advertised – they were told that the anti-consumer message would offend sponsors that promote their goods and services throughout the school.
    Principal Scott Tennis, however, says the students were never censored. They were allowed to put their message on bulletin boards throughout the school and displayed their banner in the lunchroom.
    But he was concerned that the students were unclear about what the message was trying to convey – if it was anti-capitalism, pro-socialism, or what?

Dumpster Diving

If you haven’t checked out the Dumpster Diving Community, you should.  Dumpster diving has been part of our lives always.  Tom is great at it and has been able to get tons of items from dumpsters that otherwise would end up in the landfill.

It’s amazing what people and businesses throw away.  Sadly, there are many greedy businesses who have the notion that if they can’t sell it, no one should have it, so they smash and break things on purpose so that dumpster divers won’t be able to get it. 

The dumpster diving community members have been having fun sharing their finds from dumpsters at colleges as classes are ending for the summer. 

How Green Are You?

Test Your Eco IQ

1.  Do you have recycling bins at your house? (my answer=yes)

Good for you! Recycling is probably the easiest thing you can do to go green! It even cuts up 1,000 pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming . Even though you do recycle, you can be even “greener” by choosing products with the least amount of packaging possible and by choosing easily recyclable packaging, like paper or glass; very few municipal recycling programs accept plastics other than those labeled #1 and #2.

2.Have you replaced at least one incandescent bulb in your house with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL)? (my answer=yes)

Good for you! Replacing just one 75-watt incandescent bulb with a 19-watt CFL cuts 75 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year and up to 750 for the life of the bulb, not to mention the money savings on your energy bill.

3.  If you drink takeout coffee or tea, do you bring your own mug or use a disposable cup from the cafe? (my answer=reusable mug)

Bravo! Reusable mugs are healthier for you and for the planet, leaving trees in forests where they belong and keeping non-degradable polystyrene out of landfills.

4.  Which saves more water, washing dishes by hand or using a dishwasher?(my answer=by hand)

No! Surprisingly, hand washing dishes can actually use up to 50 percent more water than a water-saving, energy-efficient dishwasher. The most efficient dishwashers on the market use only 4 gallons of water, but some conventional models can use as much as 14 gallons. If you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, look for Energy Star-rated appliances. They use at least 41% less energy and water than federal standards require.  This one I wasn’t sure about since I don’t have an electric dishwasher and hadn’t done my research.

5.  How often do you use green cleaning products? (my answer=whenever I can find them)

That’s a good start. Using green cleaners all the time cuts down on your environmental impact, since conventional cleaners are filled with a host of chemicals that produce harmful byproducts during production and harm aquatic life when they wash down the drain. Green cleaners are also healthier; they have fewer volatile organic compounds that can trigger asthma and other respiratory problems, and rarely do they contain chemicals that can poison you or your children or cause serious skin reactions if spilled.

6.  Which do you prefer: bottled water or tap? (my answer=tap)

Good for you! Tap water meets stricter federal and local standards for chemical contaminants, and drinking tap water helps eliminate the waste associated with single-use plastic bottles, only 10 percent of which are recycled each year.

7.  Have you installed aerators on your kitchen and bathroom faucets? (my answer=yes)

Congratulations! Aerators cut water usage from 5 gallons per minute to 2.75 gallons or less. The most efficient models use only 1 gallon; if yours isn’t a 1 gpm model, replace it and save even more water than you already are.

8.  When you go shopping, which do you choose? Paper or Plastic? (my answer=paper)

Trick question! Neither. Bringing your own bag is the more environmentally responsible choice. In the U.S., petroleum-based plastic bags consume about 12 million barrels of oil annually, and many are not recycled, meaning that they end up in trees and waterways where animals mistake them for food. Paper bags consume four times as much energy to produce as plastic bags and they generate 70 percent more air pollution during manufacture.This WAS trick because “neither” wasn’t an option in the answers!

9.  How do you get to work? (my answer=a little of everything)

You’re off to a good start. The less you drive, the less you pollute. An average 12-mile daily commute generates 2,750 pounds of CO2 annually, so cutting your driving by half would eliminate 1,375 pounds.

10. Do you purchase renewable energy through your power utility? (my answer=yes)

Way to go! It may cost a little more than coal power, but a home powered by green energy cuts down on both greenhouse gas and mercury emissions coming from coal plants but it preserves natural environments from destructive mining.

For more information about issues on the quiz and more, please see:
Recycling Now
Are Compact Fluorescents a Fire Hazard?
Water Saving Appliances PR
Rites of Spring (Cleaning)
Consider Its Lifecyle: Bottled Water



I belong to Salt Lake Freecycle – a yahoo group that is designed for people to give things away (or trade). Absolutely no money can be exchanged. It’s a great way to recycle things and give stuff away you don’t need anymore – instead of throwing it away. It’s nationwide, so you can join from just about any city – or if there isn’t one in your city, you can start one!

The deal is that you post what you have to offer and folks who want your stuff come get it. You can also post things you are looking for. Last year we gave tomatoe plants to a Ronald McDonal House in Salt Lake City through Freecycle. This year I’ve given away boxes of clothes and some other assorted items. I love getting thank you’s from folks who have picked up stuff I’ve offered.

What a great system!