Recycle that computer!

One of many challenges when moving was the proper disposal of old electronics including both desktop and laptop computers, cell phones and TV’s. We no longer had the luxury of storing obsolete items behind closet doors, however we wanted to make sure they didn’t simply end up at the landfill either. So, with a little research, we found the date for the county’s electronic recycling event and marked our calendar to take advantage of the opportunity to dispose of a trunkful of electronics.


And finally we were able to safely get rid of items we’ve needed to dispose of for a couple of years. It feels good to not only free up space in the garage but to also know everything was disposed of properly.

image After we returned home, I remembered an app on my phone, iRecycle (available for both iPhones and Android phones), which claims to list local sites to recycle everything. I updated the app and realized we could have dropped off these electronics at many nearby locations most any day. No need to wait for the county recycling event.

While it’s not as easy to recycle electronics as other household items, it’s important to do so. Look for electronics recycling events sponsored by the local government, or better yet, download iRecycle, so you can find where to recycle everything.




Going Green Step 3: Recycle

recycleRecycling can benefit your community and the environment. By collecting materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash so they can be processed and made into new products you’re taking one more step toward going green. Thankfully, the city of Ocala has finally provided recycling containers for curbside pickup which makes this a much easier process.

Recycle metals: aluminum, steel, including hangers, and aerosol cans, but not spray paint cans. Did you know that recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power the TV for 2 hours?
Recycle paper: newspaper, mail, computer paper, and cardboard
Recycle plastic: plastic bags, plastic bottles, and lots of plastic containers. Check the bottom for the number to determine if it can be recycled.
Recycle glass: blue, brown, green, and clear.
Recycle electronics: cell phones, computers, video games and consoles, MP3 players, ink jet cartridges, and televisions. This is a little more difficult but there are websites that provide information about where these items can be taken.
Recycle hazardous materials:  paint, chemicals, batteries, pesticides, pool chemicals, and CFLs (you know, those crazy looking energy efficient light bulbs).

I know this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what items can be recycled. In fact according to the iRecycle website,their app helps users

find local, convenient recycling opportunities when you are on the go or at home. iRecycle provides access to more than 1,500,000 ways to recycle over 350 materials.


You read that right…1,500,000 ways to recycle 350 items. I’ve downloaded  iRecycle for Apple devices. There’s also an iRecycle

for Android devices.

Going green by reducing, reusing, and recycling is a part of your life already, but go the extra mile. Determine one new thing to do this year. (We’re composting thanks to a garage sale bargain!) Small changes by many can make a big difference!



Go Green

When I was in sixth grade in 1970, we celebrated the first Earth Day.  I remember numerous news stories on TV and in the newspapers about pollution problems in the Jacksonville area. There were pictures of who knows what being discharged from factories in to the St. John’s River. Of course, the paper factories were a major industry in Jacksonville and the odor emanating from them was a constant reminder of the air pollution problem in the city.  At that time plans were being formulated to protect the bald eagle since there was a real danger that our national symbol could become extinct. Looking back, it’s pretty amazing that so much focus was placed on the environment by the government and the media. What a successful campaign!

Jacksonville, FL 1960s
Jacksonville, FL 1960s

Schools were encouraged to spend time studying the issue of protecting the environment. That’s why I remember the news reports. We were to watch the news and cut out articles from the newspaper to share. My teacher, Mrs. Boyle, assigned research papers (an excellent way to get 12 year olds interested in the environment) and my project was on water pollution. But the important thing about that first Earth Day is that it started a conversation about the very real problems people were causing and how we might make changes to reverse the damage.

Many improvements have been made as a result of our nation’s focus on environmental protection. You no longer see the haze surrounding large cities. In the 1960s and 70s smog and other air pollution caused a visible haze especially noticeable when approaching a city. The air no longer has an odor associated with pollution except of course when fires are burning due to drought (or when you’re in Palatka where you can still smell the paper mills). Many rivers and lakes in the U.S. are in much better condition than 40 years ago, but I fear that some of that progress may be lost due to relaxing of some of the protections enacted during the past three or four decades. That’s why it’s more important than ever that each of us do our part to make a difference.

St. John's River algae blooms replace chemical spills in the 1960s and 70s.
St. John’s River algae blooms replace chemical spills of the 1960s and 70s.

I remember your Dad complaining about the crazy woman who would bring all of her mesh bags to Publix because she objected to cutting down trees to make paper bags. And at the same time my Uncle Bill was encouraging everyone he knew to ask the bag boys to double bag their groceries to help the paper industry. We weren’t very environmentally friendly.

While our nation is backsliding on environmental issues, more citizens are taking an active role in the protection of resources and the environment. So 43 years after the first Earth Day I want to remind you to make every day Earth Day and do your part. The Reduce, Reuse, Recycle slogan of Earth Day campaigns is the best way to issue these reminders. Do your part: reduce consumption, reuse resources, and then recycle. You can make a difference.