Woo Your Valentine This Year — With Recycling

valentines day

Whether someone recycles affects how attractive they seem, according to a recent study by The Recycling Partnership. A whopping 62 percent of Americans think that not recycling is a turn-off.

Younger folks are especially inclined to view being wasteful as a dealbreaker. In fact, adults 18-34 care so much about recycling that they would spend an average of $219 a month — or as much as $2,628 a year — if it meant everything they bought came from companies that make every effort to recycle.

This year, woo your Valentine with these recycling skills:

  • Give your Valentine a card made from recycled paper. And note that cards are recyclable only if they are free of glitter and metallic foil. If a card has glitter or foil on it, it cannot be recycled.
  • If you’re giving or receiving flowers, do a crunch test to see if the plastic wrap may be recyclable. If it’s loud and crinkly, toss it in the trash. If it’s flexible and quiet, it can be recycled with plastic bags.
  • Once you’re done with the flowers, put them in your green waste.
  • Candy wrappers cannot be recycled and go in the trash.
  • Wine bottles go in the trash to be recycled through our One Big Bin program.
  • If a wine cork is made from plastic, throw it in the trash. If it is made from natural cork, it can be dropped off for special recycling collection at many Whole Foods locations and other retailers.

Need to find out how to recycle something else? Look it up in our Recycling Guide.

Want to Green Your Super Bowl Party? Drink Out of This

super bowl beverages

If you’re one of the 100 million people who’s planning to watch the Super Bowl this year, take a moment to consider your beverage choices. Alcoholic beverages are undoubtedly a centerpiece of the game, hence the popular “Super Sick Monday.”

But whether your beverages are alcoholic or not, what’s the greenest choice for your beverage containers — plastic, glass or aluminum?

Plastic bottles are lightweight and easy to ship in bulk without breaking, but making them in the first place is incredibly hard on the planet. It requires oil drilling, extraction and processing with natural gas. What’s worse, very little plastic gets recycled. Even when it does get recycled, it can’t be recycled infinitely, and it needs to be combined with virgin plastic to be usable.

Glass bottles are made from silica, or sand, and limestone. Collecting these is not as hard on the environment as most other materials. However, glass bottles are the least eco-friendly to transport because of how heavy they are. Still, glass bottles are 100 percent recyclable!

Aluminum cans are made from open-pit mining for bauxite. This kind of extraction is very hard on the environment and causes permanent scars on the land. However, once we have the aluminum, it’s lightweight to transport (although not as light as plastic), and it can be recycled infinitely!

Which container should you pick?

  • Aluminum cans are the best choice if you’re choosing a beverage that has been shipped any great distance.
  • Reusable growlers or kegs of local brew are even better, if that’s an option for you. Reusing is always preferable to recycling.
  • Glass bottles from local breweries are also an eco-friendly choice, since they don’t have to be shipped very far.
  • If you’re buying soda that doesn’t come in cans, choose the two-liter plastic bottles — that way you’re purchasing less plastic overall.

No matter which containers you buy, remember to recycle! Set out a container with a clear recycling sign for your guests, and when the game’s over, you can take all the empty bottles and cans to a nearby beverage container recycling center to get your CRV money back. You might not make enough to pay off any game day betting debts, but it will at least make sure your beverage containers get a chance at a second run.

How to Live Zero Waste

For most of us, zero waste is a lofty goal. The average American creates about 4.4 pounds of trash each day. Curious how someone can lead a life that creates almost no waste at all?

Bea Johnson is the author of Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste. To get inspired, take a peek inside Johnson’s own zero waste home, and listen to her top advice on cutting back.

Keep Those Bin Lids Closed!

close bin lids

Keep your bin lids closed! This is important to do for two reasons:

1. It prevents loose items from blowing away in the wind and becoming litter.

2. It keeps animals out of your trash, where they might eat plastic by mistake. Eating human food can also harm animals health and increase aggressive behavior toward humans.

Remember: Keeping bin lids closed keeps litter in and animals out!

5 Eco-Resolutions That Will Make a Difference

new year's resolutions

Craving some New Year’s resolutions for your lifestyle that will have a serious impact on the planet? Look no further — these five eco-resolutions will do the trick.

dine in restaurant1. Avoid takeout food — or do takeout differently.

Takeout food creates a ton of waste. Well, a lot more than a ton. The boxes, cartons, cups, lids, bags, silverware, straws, napkins, packaged mini condiments — they all add up. Containers and packaging make up over 23 percent of the material that gets landfilled in the U.S. each year.

What can you do about it? First, get takeout less often. Either eat at home, or when you want restaurant food, take the time to dine in. Second, bring your own reusable takeout container! Instead of having a restaurant box up your food (in a container that will make its way into your garbage, recycling or compost within minutes), bring a reusable food container. Jars are perfect for beverages and other liquids. Third, if you are going to order takeout regardless, and you don’t want to use your own containers, simply refuse the unnecessary items: the plastic bag, the silverware, the condiments you won’t use, the napkins you don’t need. Every bit of trash you refuse helps make a difference and change the status-quo.

towels2. Trade in paper towels for real towels.

According to The Atlantic, the U.S. spends $5.7 billion each year on paper towels — that’s nearly as much as the rest of the world combined. The waste adds up. Paper towels and other kinds of tissue paper make up 7.4 billion pounds of waste a year. To give you an idea of how much that is, that’s the weight of nearly 30,000 blue whales — more whales than exist on our planet today.

In other parts of the world, fewer people rely on paper towels. Rags are a popular go-to, along with scrubbing brushes and sponges. So take the plunge — if you don’t have towels on hand, visit your local thrift store to find some. Worried about absorbency? Loose-woven fabrics will work best to mop up spills. Worried about cleanliness? If you wash and dry your towels on hot settings, they will be plenty clean enough to use over and over again.

shop secondhand3. Buy your clothing secondhand.

The fashion industry is far from environmentally innocent. Globally, more than 8 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions are produced by the apparel and footwear industries. Not only does the majority of clothing get tossed instead of donated or recycled — most of the clothing that gets tossed is also nowhere near worn out.

The good news? Buying one item of used clothing extends its life by an average of 2.2 years. And by buying used instead of new, you’re reducing electricity use, and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, plus the amount of plastics used to make synthetic clothing. It isn’t just environmentally friendly — often, you can buy higher quality clothing for a fraction of its original price, so you’re getting more value from the money you spend.

You can find used clothing at secondhand stores, consignment shops, vintage boutiques, thrift shops, and resale websites. As far as online vendors go, ThredUp, Poshmark, The RealReal, eBay and depop are popular choices. Used clothing stores are all part of a growing industry called “recommerce.” Recommerce is a $20 billion industry, and it’s growing faster than sales of new clothing.

repair4. Don’t toss it, repair it.

Over the last 100 or so years, the U.S. has been slowly cultivating a culture of disposability. Even in the 60s, 70s and 80s, repairing an item was far more common than it is now. The disposable mentality we have is partly due to how cheap everything has become — clothing, electronics and appliances are all more affordable than they used to be. It makes sense that someone would rather replace a cheap, defective item than pay to have it repaired by a specialist.

However, the fix-it culture we lost touch with is making a rebound, and for good reason. We simply have too much trash, with the average American generating 4.4 lbs of waste each day. Instead of tossing items that need to be repaired, more people are trying to fix them.

So the next time you come across something you have that’s broken, think of how you could fix it. Can you do it yourself, using an iFixit manual or a YouTube video? Is there a local repair cafe or fix-it workshop you could visit to get help from a local expert? Or is it something a tailor, shoe repair shop, or electronics shop could help you with? Every time you prevent an item from making its way to the landfill you are making a difference.

collection reminders5. Sign up for Collection Reminders!

When you sign up for our collection reminders, not only do you get an email each week reminding you when it’s time to put out your bins, you’ll also get a weekly tip on how to be a better recycler and live a greener lifestyle! By following our tips, you can feel good about reducing your carbon footprint all year long.

Ditch the Takeout Waste — Here’s How

Napkins, plastic cutlery, condiment packets, to-go boxes, cups, lids, straws, bags — the amount of waste created by takeout food is huge. Mostly, these are single-use items that go into the trash within minutes or even seconds of getting them.

Takeout food can be delicious, but it can also be super wasteful. In the U.S., single-use items make up 10 percent of all our waste. Get some tips on how to reduce your takeout waste by watching this video:

Lincoln Christmas Tree Collection

Recycle your Christmas tree!

You can drop off trees at the Lincoln Airport at 1420 Flightline Drive (the open field adjacent to the airport) between December 26, 2018 and January 6, 2019. All lights and ornaments must be removed. No flocked or painted trees will be accepted.

You can also place Christmas trees in green waste containers if all lights and ornaments have been removed and the tree is cut to 4 feet or smaller. No flocked trees will be accepted. All trees put in green waste will be composted.

How the Plastic in Our Clothes Is Polluting Our Water

plastic in our clothes

Communities in California have been rallying around the issue of plastic pollution, addressing major culprits from plastic bags to straws to water bottles. One huge culprit that hasn’t been addressed yet is the plastic in our clothes — simply by washing them, we’re polluting our water.

How is that possible? About 60 percent of all clothing in recent years has been made from synthetic fabrics — polyester, nylon, and acrylic, to name a few. Unlike clothing made from natural fabrics, such as cotton, these materials are made from plastic fibers that won’t ever fully biodegrade. Instead, they’ll continue to break down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic. Over time, this plastic will accumulate in our water, our soil and our bodies.

One load of laundry is estimated to shake loose anywhere from 1,900 to 200,000 plastic microfibers. The microfiber-full water from our laundry machines travels to nearby water treatment plants, where some of these fibers are removed. However, most of them are too small to be filtered out of the water. The rest of the microfibers go on to enter rivers, lakes and oceans.

A recent study showed that over 80 percent of tap water tested positive for plastic fibers. Scientists aren’t completely sure what the health risks of consuming plastic microfibers are. However, studies have shown in zooplankton, microfiber consumption affects growth and reproduction. A similar study on crabs showed that those eating a small amount of microfibers ate less overall and had less energy.

So if we’re tired of drinking our plastic clothes, what can we do about it?

  1. Purchase clothing made from natural fibers whenever possible, and avoid synthetic fabrics.
  2. Wear — and wash — synthetic clothes less frequently.
  3. Use front-loading laundry machines, because they loosen fewer fibers than top-loaders.
  4. Use liquid laundry soap instead of powder soap.
  5. Wash clothes on cold water instead of hot. Hot water is tougher on them, and causes more fibers to loosen.
  6. If you have the means, consider installing a home water filter for microfibers.
  7. Try using a device to collect the fibers in your washing machine, such as a Cora Ball or a Guppyfriend.
  8. Make sure to put dryer lint in the trash — never wash it down the drain.

Still curious? Learn more about how you can reduce the impact of clothing on the environment.

How to Recycle Plastic Bags: A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

Did you know that plastic bags are actually recyclable? They don’t get recycled when you toss them into your curbside garbage. Unlike hard plastics, they are incredibly thin and flexible, so they are nearly impossible to sort. However, you can recycle them another way.

Many grocery stores have special bins to collect plastic bags, and these bags are often recycled into plastic lumber for park benches and outdoor decks. It’s better to recycle plastic bags than throw to them in the trash, because it’s easy for them to blow away at the landfill and become litter in the local environment and waterways.

Stores that often accept plastic bags for recycling include Raley’s, Safeway, Save Mart, Target, Walmart, WinCo and Whole Foods. You can find plastic bag recycling at the following places in Lincoln:

Lowe’s
51 Lincoln Blvd, Lincoln, CA | (916) 644-4030
Map & Directions

Safeway
67 Lincoln Blvd, Lincoln, CA | (916) 408-0800
Map & Directions

Target
950 Groveland Ln, Lincoln, CA | (916) 251-3002
Map & Directions

Walmart
255 Lincoln Blvd, Lincoln, CA | (916) 209-5129
Map & Directions

Remember that plastic bags include bread bags, cereal box liners, dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, produce bags, sandwich bags, plastic wrap packaging and more.

Plastic bags should be clean, dry and completely empty before being recycled. If a bag tears or crinkles, it’s not recyclable.