- Used motor oil and filters are banned from landfills in Wisconsin. For do-it-yourselfers, check with a local mechanic or your municipality for recycling options.
- Cell phones are banned from landfills, but are not part of the e-waste program; luckily, many recycling options are available. For starters, check with your nearest electronics or cell phone store. In addition, some organizations collect old phones for redistribution or recycling.
- While compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are a smart investment for the environment and your wallet, they do contain small amounts of mercury and must be properly recycled; if your local municipality doesn’t recycle CFLs, most hardware and lighting stores accept spent bulbs for recycling.
- Old thermostats also contain mercury and should be recycled. Find a location here: www.thermostat-recycle.org.
- While slow, Styrofoam packaging recycling is gaining ground around the country; some Wisconsin communities now offer block Styrofoam recycling. For packing peanuts, mailing and moving stores often accept them for recycling and reuse.
Renew Your Commitment to Recycling
Although 75 percent of solid waste is recyclable, only about 30 percent is actually recycled.
By Katy Walter, Clean Energy Specialist
Here’s one more reason to be excited about the Brew Crew’s opener at Miller Park tomorrow: The stadium is now LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.
And much like winning the World Series, it was no easy feat. How do you make a giant structure with a retractable roof more sustainable? The answer is “very carefully.” According to The Brewer Nation blog:
Miller Park is one of the most complicated buildings ever certified in the LEED Existing Building rating system, due to the nature of the facility, the sheer volume of people, materials, vendors, the operable roof, and overall complexity of the building operations. Only two other Major League Baseball stadiums have achieved LEED for Existing Buildings (AT&T Park in San Francisco and Target Field in Minneapolis), and both of them are open-air facilities. The retractable roof makes meeting energy and ventilation thresholds more challenging.
Milwaukee’s own Johnson Controls masterminded the project, which includes a scoreboard that uses 50% less energy and retrofitted water faucets that will save 3 million gallons of water each year. Overall, the project will save 1,153 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year, which is the same as taking 220 cars off the road annually. In addition to the energy savings, a retrofit of water fixtures will save 3 million gallons of water annually and a more robust recycling program will up the amount of stadium waste diverted from landfills. Since the 2010, 35% of all waste has been recycled, and additional recycling containers have been added to both parking lots and inside the park for this season.
No doubt, this project is a grand slam for the environment, for the fans and for the Brewers.
By Sarah Witman and Sam Weis
Wondering what to do with that pumpkin sitting on your porch, now that Halloween has come and gone? There are many eco-friendly options for pumpkin disposal!
In Madison, residents may place pumpkins at the street’s edge alongside leaves and other lawn materials for collection. Go here to track collection service progress!
Home composting of pumpkins is another great eco-friendly option. Don’t compost at home? Simply drop pumpkins off at any of the three Dane County Compost locations if you don’t have the yard space for your own.
However, before tossing out old pumpkins, try these do-it-yourself reuses to get more mileage out of your jack-o-lantern.
Guts — boil to make pumpkin “stock” for an autumn soup. Great for vegetarians!
Meat — Make a pumpkin puree by baking the pumpkin, removing seeds and sending through a food processor. You can eat it plain, freeze for later or add to your favorite recipe: pancakes, pumpkin butter, muffins, milkshakes and more.
Pumpkins stored in a cool, dry place can last a few weeks, and even longer if uncarved. If your pumpkin is past the edible stage, brighten skin paled by cloudy fall days with an exfoliating pumpkin mask.
Mix 2 teaspoons pureed pumpkin, ½ tsp honey and ¼ tsp heavy whipping cream, and leave on for 10 minutes. You can also add brown sugar for dry skin, or apple cider or cranberry juice for oily skin. Vitamin A and other nutrients in pumpkins have major health benefits for the skin, and a handmade mask is far better for the environment than chemical-based products.
Seeds — roast ‘em to eat plain or top a salad. If you’re not a fan, put them outside for the birds, with cut-up pieces of other pumpkin leftovers to attract deer and other wildlife.
Shell — make it into a potted plant (provides its own compost) or put seasonal flowers in it like a vase. If it’s still firm enough, you can cut the shell into decorative food serving bowls (make sure there’s no waxy residue left from your lantern’s candle). Melons work well for this when they’re in season, too.
Pickled pumpkin rind is also said to be a delicious snack or condiment common in Germany.
Skin — dry in a food dehydrator with cinnamon sticks and fruit rinds, arrange around a candle, and you’ve got your own homemade blend of autumnal potpourri, as well as mood lighting for a homey atmosphere. Try stuffing tender pumpkin bits and other vegetable peels inside a chicken or other bird you’re roasting, to get a fresh mix of flavors.
With a little time and creativity, it’s spooky how many uses you can find for a left-over jack-o-lantern!
College football game days, especially in Madison entail many things: Tailgating, routing for the Badgers, and celebrating well past the Fifth Quarter, regardless the score of the game. This long-time tradition is now supplemented with another deeply rooted Wisconsin belief: We ought to take care of our environment and maximize efficiency with recycling.
Five years ago, some UW-Madison students got together and formed REthink Wisconsin. REthink works to educate the public about the benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling waste; takes action to help people implement sustainable waste management practices; and promotes the adoption of strong sustainable waste management policies across campus.
The organization’s biggest achievement has been its work with Camp Randall Stadium and the athletics department through the “Wear Red, Think Green” program. After every home football game, a group of volunteers spreads out and walks through the stadium seating with garbage bags, picking up anything and everything that is recyclable before the custodial staff comes through and throws everything else in the garbage. Since the 2008 season when the program began, Wear Red, Think Green has diverted 17,510 pounds (8.755 tons) of recyclable material from landfills!
We encourage those of you reading this to partake in this effort; either by picking up your recyclable material and placing it in an appropriate receptacle after the game, or by joining us as we sweep through the stadium. REthink Wisconsin welcomes the support and participation of individuals and organizations committed to a more sustainable UW-Madison. Information regarding “Wear Red, Think Green” can be easily found at rethinkwisconsin.org.
Submitted by Julian Holtzman, UW-Madison student, Rethink Wisconsin member and dedicated Clean Wisconsin volunteer
Thanks to your hard work and emails, Governor Walker was not successful in ending Wisconsin’s recycling program this spring. Still, funds for local recycling programs were cut by 40%, meaning communities will be forced to decrease to their service, or charge fees to make up for the lost revenue.
Now, a bill has been introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) that has the potential to change this and restore the $26 million cut from the recycling fund in the budget.
Small actions like this take less than a minute, but have a huge impact!
Today, Senator Chris Larson and Representative Mark Pocan began circulating legislation that would fully restore funding to the state recycling program. Recycling is something that all Wisconsinites can stand behind, and Clean Wisconsin is proud to endorse this legislation.
For more information, check out the press release issued this morning:
LEGISLATORS PROPOSE RECYCLING FUND RESTORATION ACT
Madison – State Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and State Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) circulated a bill today amongst their colleagues that would reverse Republican cuts to the recycling fund that resulted from passage of the current state budget.
“Protecting our environment through responsible recycling programs not only protects our natural resources, but it’s good for business and good for our economy,” said Pocan. “When we weaken recycling programs by raiding their funding, what does that say to families trying to teach their kids about protecting the environment?”
The Recycling Fund Restoration Act would direct $26 million in additional funds to the recycling fund, which is exactly what was cut from the fund.
“The recent reduction in funding for recycling programs in the state amounts to an endorsement of overflowing and unsustainable landfills,” said Larson. “This bill will encourage responsible long-term management of waste in Wisconsin, and the benefits from this effort will be felt for generations.”
When Governor Scott Walker originally released his biennial budget, he eliminated the requirement that local governments operate recycling programs, which has been law in Wisconsin for over two decades. He also raided the recycling fund and gave the money to the new Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The ensuing budget debate saw bipartisan support for the program. Ultimately, the recycling requirement was reinstated, but Republicans raided $26 million from the fund.
“Even though Governor Walker’s plan to eliminate funding for recycling was rejected, this reduced funding will still result in major cuts to services or higher fees for citizens,” said Amber Meyer Smith, Director of Government Relations for Clean Wisconsin, who is endorsing the bill. “As legislators shift to focus on ideas with bipartisan support, there is no better place to start than the popular recycling fund.”
The bill was circulated for co-sponsors today. Legislators have until September 7 to sign onto the bill. Clean Wisconsin is the oldest and largest state group dedicated to protecting Wisconsin’s environment.
-Contributed by Sam Weis, communications director.
Something special is happening in Milwaukee. A new company called Cream City Grecycling is hard at work collecting used cooking oil from restaurants, schools, and cafeterias across the city, paying them for what was once waste they had to pay to get rid of. After collecting the waste, they process it in local refineries to turn it into clean, renewable biodiesel that can power cars and trucks.
That’s pretty cool, and beyond being good for the environment, it helps create jobs, keep money flowing in the local economy, and reduces our dependence on fossil fuels.
You see, Wisconsin has a very costly addiction to dirty fossil fuels. Every year, we spend billions of dollars purchasing coal, oil, and natural gas from out-of-state. In 2009, we spent over $12 billion for these fuels. If you include electricity that we buy from other states that is generated from fossil fuels, that number jumps to over $18 billion.
That’s a lot of money, and, once it leaves our economy it never comes back. In return for the billions and billions of dollars we spend, we’re left with polluted air and water, contaminated by the pollution that burning fossil fuels leaves behind.
Luckily, we already have the technology we need to substantially reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Companies like Cream City Grecycling use resources that Wisconsin already has to produce the energy we need to power our economy. In doing so, they create jobs and invest in Wisconsin instead of sending money out of state.
While collecting used cooking oil to make biodiesel won’t solve our problem alone, there are many other ways that we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels today.
Wind, solar and bioenergy can all help reduce our dependence on expensive, dirty coal to produce electricity. These technologies are effective, time-tested methods of producing energy and they can be manufactured and produce energy right here in Wisconsin. All we need to make these energy solutions a reality is to pass policies that encourage their growth.
We also have the opportunity to use other waste streams to meet our energy needs. Here in the dairy state, we can use manure from our 1,266,000 cows to produce electricity using manure digesters. Many manure digesters have the added environmental benefit of removing large amounts of phosphorus — the nutrient responsible for harmful algae blooms in Wisconsin lakes — from water.
There is no silver bullet solution, but by investing in an array of time-tested clean energy solutions, we can substantially reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Companies like Cream City Grecycling are blazing the path forward. Following their lead will help clean our air and water, create jobs, and strengthen our economy.
-Contributed by Sam Weis, communications director.
After months of work, the biennial budget has finally been signed into law. For better and for worse, some changes were made to Governor Walker’s original budget proposal. Clean Wisconsin fought for environmental provisions impacted in the budget, and we wanted to let you know what the final budget bill includes:
Recycling: While Governor Walker’s effort to end Wisconsin’s recycling as we know it was denied in the Legislature, the funding for local recycling was still cut by 40%, which will result in communities making cuts to their services, or charging fees to make up for the lost revenue.
Phosphorus: Efforts to delay Wisconsin’s phosphorus rule were removed from the budget.
Focus on Energy: Despite efforts of hundreds of businesses and numerous last minute press accounts of the cost savings and job creation the Focus on Energy program brings to Wisconsin, Governor Walker ignored requests to veto the cuts made to the program.
Stewardship: Funding for this program, which protects precious lands and open spaces for generations was reduced by $26 million, but also removed were the poison pills included in the Governor’s budget that would have made purchasing land all but impossible.
Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement Program: The state will honor commitments to farmers that had been jeopardized by Walker’s budget, but no future funding for this program that keeps agricultural land in production will be made available.
What’s next for Clean Wisconsin? There are still a lot of issues to work on with the legislature and the administration. We expect to continue working on high profile issues like mining and nuclear power yet this session, as well as continuing to push for policies that promote clean water, clean air and clean energy for Wisconsin.
Contributed by Amber Meyer Smith, director of programs and government relations.
As a result in part from Clean Wisconsin’s work in 2009 to pass the E-waste Recycling Law, Wisconsin’s ground and water are protected from the waste of old computers, televisions and other e-waste containing toxic substances.
For the third year in a row, Dane County will hold a free e-waste collection event at the Alliant Energy Center, allowing area residents to drop off unwanted TVs, computers, and other electronics for recycling. Past events, believed to be the largest in North America, have helped prevent an estimated 1.3 million pounds of electronics from going into area landfills. Sweet!
Here are the details:
When: Saturday, June 25th from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Where: The drop-area will be in the back parking lot of the Alliant Energy Center.
Click here for more details.
Is this not a convenient time or location for you? Don’t worry, there are more!
Universal Recycling Technologies (URT) is celebrating its recent successes and ongoing commitment to responsible recycling with a series of FREE community e-cycling events this June. URT will accept old computers, monitors, printers, TVs and other household electronics and recycle them for FREE.
When: Saturday, June 18 from 10am-2pm
Where: Three convenient southern Wisconsin locations:
1. The Janesville Mall, 2500 Milton Avenue, Janesville, WI 53546
Look for the big trucks in the mall parking lot facing Milton Ave., near Kohl’s Department Store
2. East Towne Mall, 89 East Towne Mall, Madison, WI 53704
Look for the big trucks in the frontage area in front of the food court and Barnes & Noble
3. West Towne Mall, 66 West Towne Mall, Madison, Wisconsin 53719
Look for the big trucks just behind Sears and adjacent to Dick’s Sporting Goods
* URT regrets it is unable to accept appliances, dehumidifiers or mercury-containing devices.
BONUS: Can’t make it on June 18? On Saturday June 25 from 10am-2pm URT will host a second FREE recycling event at its headquarters, 2535 Beloit Avenue, Janesville, WI. Once again, URT invites visitors to stop by with their old computers and household electronics.
I don’t know about you, but I have had an old laptop (that stopped working sometime in 2007) rolling around in my trunk for months. I’ll see you there!
-Contributed by Jenny Lynes, membership assistant.