While you may think the phrase “Think Global, Act Local” is about the environment, it really goes beyond that. At its core, it is about sustainability, which is defined as providing the best for people and the environment — now and for the indefinite future.
For most of us, putting sustainability into action in practical terms will mean doing something in the community — which means we will “Think Local, Act Local.”
So what are some of the ways we can impact sustainability in our community? What are some ways local companies and organization are implementing sustainable practices?
In the next few posts, we’ll discuss both — and hopefully provide you with some ways you can increase sustainability in your local community.
Let’s start with the most obvious way to think local, act local: recycling. While it is probably something you do already, it never hurts to review some of the basics and find new ways in which to use old items.
Recycling at home
Wisconsin’s recycling law includes 13 items to be recycled and saved from the landfills. They are:
- Office paper (high-grade printing and writing paper)
- Corrugated cardboard (Do not include wax-coated cardboard, take-out food containers, or pizza boxes.)
- Aluminum cans
- Steel (tin) cans
- Glass bottles and jars
- Plastic containers labeled #1 and #2 on the bottom
- Major appliances
- Waste tires
- Car batteries (lead-acid types)
- Yard wastes
- Used motor oil
Curbside collection of paper and containers is required in communities with populations over 5,000 and population densities of at least 70 persons per square mile. Otherwise materials can be dropped off at local centers or picked up by arrangement with your local waste collection company.
Other ways you can reduce landfill waste include:
Your Yard waste and food scraps (no meat) can be made into soil. Composting duplicates nature’s natural decomposition process in your backyard and makes a rich humus you can used to improve your soil and making garden plants grow better.
Donating construction/building materials
If you or your business has no-longer-needed building items in new or good condition, such as tools, counters, cabinets, doors, windows, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, flooring and lumber, donating them to Habitat for Humanity ReStores is a great way to eliminate landfill waste and support affordable housing in the community at the same time.
Businesses save disposal costs, while the public can buy donated items to use for home improvement projects at a fraction of the normal price. Revenue from sales is used to support affordable home building and remodeling projects in the community.
Giving away furniture and other unused items
If you have furniture or other items you no longer need, but still have a lot of life in them, consider joining a local branch of the Freecycle Network. Comprised of 4,917 groups with 8,172,608 members around the world, this grassroots, entirely nonprofit movement is made up of people who offer items they no longer need for free to those who need them.
Recycle old electronics like computers, printers and cell phones. E-Cycle Wisconsin, makes recycling electronics easier by providing a list of collection locations across the state for items like computers, printers, cell phones and more.
Take all your plastic shopping bags back to the store. Currently several groceries and other retailers have collection bins for plastic shopping bags including: Roundy’s-owned stores (Pick ‘n Save, Copp’s), Kohl’s and Wal-Mart. Also many dry cleaners accept plastic dry cleaning bags and wire hangers) for recycling/reuse. Visit www.plasticfilmrecycling.org to see the types of plastic bags that can be recycled.
Next time we’ll talk about some local companies and organizations that have been recognized for their sustainability efforts.