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Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Photo Friday | Do Good Work

A couple weeks ago, my friend Gretchen shared this illustration via The Story of Stuff Project, and I love it so much, I plan to print it out for my office's inspiration wall.

I'm certainly ambitious, but I plan to plant a lot of flowers in 2017 - to make it a great year, to do good for the environment, to inspire more people to live consciously.

You've got the power to make 2017 as full of flowers as you want. There will always be bad days and dark times, but it's all in how you respond (this is where I hear my yoga teacher cheering, because she says something to this effect pretty often). Instead of being pessimistic, it's much more productive to do something. I know what my strengths are, and I want to use them to help my community and my state, and in turn, the environment.



Illustration: The Story of Stuff Project

My friend Katherine recently shared this post with a similar message on Facebook, and it goes along with what I like to say about making the transition into a greener life. Start with small actions or changes of habit (like a reusable water bottle). It might seem insignificant to you at first, but as you start to make more small changes (like cloth shopping bags, a rain barrel, and getting a bicycle), those actions are compounded by the actions of others, and you start to see the larger impact.

https://red.org/
Photo: (RED)

What flowers will you plant this year?


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Year Organization: Decluttering

Decluttering is always a popular topic around the beginning of the year, and as we move into spring cleaning season. In my Times of Acadiana column last week, I shared a few ways to donate or recycle items you don't need so that you don't just throw everything on the curb for the trash guys to pick up.

There are so many options that it can be overwhelming to send everything to its proper destination, but I'm aiming to make it easier for you with a list of common items and the places they can go, so you don't have to do the research. However, I won't be coming to your house to do your cleaning out, so you're on your own there.

From clothing to housewares to books to home renovation materials, there’s a place to donate and recycle just about anything in your home. Sort and group your items that can be reused so you can donate them to different organizations.

Clothing/Shoes/Accessories

Fairly new clothing (especially children’s and infant clothing), shoes and accessories can be brought to consignment shops, where you can make a small amount of money back. Some stores in the Acadiana area are Clothing Loft, Clothes Mentor, Plato's Closet, and Once Upon a Child.

Older clothing can be donated to organizations like Arc of Acadiana, The Extra Mile, Salvation Army or Goodwill.

There are also tons of online consignment shops, like ThredUp or Tradesy, although the process may take a bit longer than doing it locally.

Garage Sales

If you’ve got a large collection of a variety of items, consider holding a garage sale. You’ll get rid of a lot of stuff that can be reused, and you’ll make a little cash in the process. Garage sales can be kind of a pain in the butt to prepare for, from sorting through all your stuff, pricing everything, getting the word out, and then waking up before the sun on a Saturday, but the payoff is usually worth it.

Visit my blog post from last January that details how to host your own garage sale.


Online Exchanges

If a garage sale isn’t your thing, try selling items individually online through Facebook marketplace groups (my husband's site of choice!) or other exchange apps/websites like Ebay, Letgo, or Craigslist.

And if you exchange goods within Lafayette, take advantage of the new safe exchange location in the Lafayette Police Department parking lot, thanks to Councilwoman Liz Webb Hebert! The spaces are surrounded by cameras that capture images of the transaction, along with vehicle license plates. The goal of the safe exchange location is to make buyers and sellers feel more at ease while making sale transactions.

Household Items

Donate household items to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. They accept furniture, appliances, working light fixtures, home decor, hardware, and even some construction material. They’ll also pick up larger items if you call and schedule a time with them. If you're remodeling at home, donate old fixtures still in working condition - including fans, sinks, cabinets, or lighting. (The ReStore is also a great place to purchase items!)


If you’re decluttering later in the year, donate your stuff to Hospice of Acadiana for their annual thrift sale. Check out my blog post from last fall on the annual thrift sale. Last year, they accepted:
  • Baby and toy items 
  • China/crystal/collectibles
  • Christmas and Mardi Gras decor
  • Garden/outdoor items
  • Home decor
  • Jewelry/boutique items
  • Kitchen items
  • Small appliances
  • Linens
  • Bath items
  • Small furniture pieces
  • Wall art

Random, Miscellaneous Items

Freecycle! Offer good items to friends, family or neighbors. You never know who may be in need of something, and on the flip side, you never know when they might have something you need.


A few months back, I cleaned out in my office's copy room, and realized just how many notepads we had stored up that no one used. I simply posted a photo on my Facebook profile asking if anyone needed some spares, and the stack was spoken for within a day! Although the paper is all recyclable, I didn't want to dispose of perfectly usable items, and I knew that there would be places who would gladly accept free notepads.
 

Books, CDs, DVDs

The Friends of the Lafayette Public Library is a nonprofit organization that manages donations and runs a semiannual book sale to raise funds for the Lafayette Public Library.

Located next to United Way of Acadiana on Pinhook, and equipped with a handy dropbox, the Friends take books, CDs and DVDs, but not encyclopedias, textbooks or magazines.

Textbooks

Last year, I researched where to recycle textbooks, because it can be difficult to find somewhere to send them. While I believe many college textbooks these days are digital, there's still a good chance you've got paper textbooks taking up space at home.

Household Cleaners, Paint, Pesticides, and Chemicals

Collect any household cleaners, pesticides, paint or chemicals for Lafayette’s semiannual Household Chemical Day. Typically held in spring and fall, the event is open to residents of Lafayette and unincorporate areas of the parish. The collected materials are recycled or properly disposed.
  • Chemical cleaners
  • Gasoline
  • Herbicides
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Paint and paint products
  • Paint thinner and stripper
  • Pesticides
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Pool chemicals
  • Stains
  • Turpentine
 

Electronics

Bring your electronic waste to Household Chemical Day as well, or bring items (like old computer monitors, keyboards, cords, cell phones or phone chargers) to Best Buy or Office Depot.

Electronic items that are accepted at Household Chemical Day:
  • Laptops
  • Computer hardware
  • Computer accessories
  • Telephones and telephone systems
  • Cell phones/bag phones
  • Security systems
  • DVD movies and video games
  • MP3 and DVD players
  • XBoxes, Playstations, Wii
  • Digital cameras and DVRs
  • Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS)
  • Circuit boards (any type)
  • Networking equipment
  • Fax machines
  • Processors
  • Telephone and computer cables
  • Printers
  • Toner and ink jet cartridges
  • Stereos
  • Portable GPS devices
  • Flat screen monitors

Recycling information for these items (through medication) is courtesy of Lafayette Consolidated Government.

Televisions and computer monitors smaller than 32"

Best Buy
Office Depot (fees may apply)

Rechargeable Batteries

Best Buy takes lithium ion only
Batteries Plus


Automotive Batteries

Louisiana Scrap Metal
Most Automotive Stores (AutoZone, Firestone, Advance Auto Parts, Pep Boys)

Motor Oil or Antifreeze

Most automotive stores
Wal-Mart

Compressed Gas Cylinders

Ameri-Gas: 2317 N. University Ave.

Tires

Public Works South District Yard, 1017 Fortune Road (ph: 291-7072) (page 11 of the LCG Pride Guide)
Colt Inc. Scrap Tire Center

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

Home Depot
Lowe's


Appliances

Louisiana Scrap Metal
Once a month curbside collection (check LCG's Bulky Waste map for your designated week)

Fire Extinguishers

Gulf Land Fire Safety Inc., Carencro, La.

Medication

Most local pharmacies (call ahead)

Mardi Gras Beads

Donate them to LARC or Arc of Acadiana. Both organizations repair and resell beads, providing employment and proceeds for people with developmental disabilities. This is one of my favorite things to do every year after Mardi Gras, so that beads can be reused and not trashed. (And if you're riding on a Mardi Gras float - purchase your beads from one of the two retailers!)

In Lafayette, if you're going to be at Le Festival de Mardi Gras at Cajun Field, drop your beads in the truck near the stage - all collected beads go to LARC for sorting, repairing and reselling.



Plastic Bags

As I wrote more about in last week's Photo Friday post, recycle your plastic bags at:



As always, be sure to check with any organization to confirm they can accept your donations or items for recycling - before you load up the car.

Is there an item you want to get rid of that isn't in the list above? Leave a comment here, or email me, and I'll do some research for you, and add it to the list!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

Photo Friday | Recycling Plastic Bags

In the spirit of the new year, I wrote a column this week for the local newspaper Times of Acadiana on how to recycle and donate when decluttering your home. (Read the column here!)

Next week here on the blog, I'll expand on the column and have a more comprehensive list of where you can donate just about any item in your home.

And for today's Photo Friday, we're tackling one of the most annoying items: the mountain of plastic bags that never seems to go away!

Many grocery and department stores have bins near the front door that are dedicated to collecting plastic bags for recycling. Simply bring your bags to the store, and drop them inside the bin before doing your shopping.


Offhand, in Lafayette, I know that Rouses, Albertson's and Target have bag recycling bins near their front entrances. In Abbeville, head to Robie's to drop off your bags.

My nearby grocery store participates in the Bag-2-Bag closed loop recycling program. The bags are processed and made into new plastic bags.

http://novolex.com/sustainability/bag-2-bag
Graphic: Novolex

While I always stress the importance of reusing plastic bags if you have them in the first place, these recycling programs are the best way to do something responsible with ripped plastic bags.

Right around the beginning of the year, I sorted the plastic bags in our house and kept the intact bags for cat litter scooping and bathroom trashcan liners. Any torn or holey plastic bags went in my car to be dropped off at the grocery store, shown above.

So, with 30 minutes of effort (not counting the time it took me to drive to the store), I was able to declutter a bunch of torn plastic bags and send them off to be recycled!

Does your favorite store accept plastic bags for recycling? Let me know in the comments, and I'll be compiling a list and map of stores in Acadiana where you can recycle your plastic bags easily! (And where you can receive discounts for using cloth bags!)
Eco Cajun | The Earth Just Wants To Be Loved Ba-You! All posts, content, graphics and photographs copyright 2009- 2016 Eco Cajun, unless otherwise credited. BLOG DESIGN BY Labinastudio.