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Sustainability Stories: April 2022

Earth Day Series- Randolph Recap

Monday, April 25, 2022  by qrelihan

Since MER is taking the entire month of April to celebrate Earth Day, I will give a full recap of all clean-ups on then blog next week.  However, this week I wanted to take some time to share with you my experience at the Randolph office’s clean-up last Wednesday.  We had more than 15 employees, grab trash bags, a pair of gloves and walk over to the river across the street to pick up some trash.  While I was out there, I made sure to note the type of trash I was coming across the most frequently and what trash items I was surprised to find.  In the list below you will find the most common trash items that my coworkers and I picked up, as well as some of the strangest items. 

Common Trash Items:

  • Cigarettes
  • Disposable face masks
  • Plastic bags
  • Food containers
  • Bottle caps

Uncommon Trash Items:

  • Articles of clothing
  • Deflated basketball

In addition to picking up those trash items, there was also some trash that we could not get to.  Unfortunately, there was some litter in the river and in the pond which was too deep to wade into without proper boots, and equipment.  Even though there we could not pick up all the trash we knew that we left that area better than we found it and that is all we can ask for.  This was our third year going to this spot to remove trash and we intend to do so for the foreseeable future. 

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Earth Day Series- MER

Monday, April 18, 2022  by qrelihan

 For the sixth Earth Day feature, I chose to focus on the waste transportation and disposal work that MER does.  As we approach Earth Day, I wanted to highlight the importance of proper waste transportation & disposal especially when it comes to the health & well being of the environment.

    MER is known for the Environmental Services it provides clients, such as the safe transportation of numerous waste streams.  As we approach Earth Day and make plans to participate in community clean-ups, we see the value in the proper management of waste.   This is especially true when you go to clean-up a beautiful river park and you see the garbage that is carelessly tossed on the ground, disrupting the aesthetic value of the environment.  However, MER personnel understand the importance of managing waste, specifically identifying waste streams, and making sure that it ends up in the right disposal or reuse facility. 

    This is because everyday at MER is Earth Day in the sense that it is our job to transport waste for our clients so that it ends up in the proper facility or center rather than incorrectly disposed of in the environment.  MER is licensed to transport nonhazardous and hazardous waste in every state we operate in.  All MER personnel who play a role in the management of waste is trained on how to properly handle it and are aware of what could happen if it is not handled properly. MER works with trusted transfer, storage or disposal facilities that are just as committed to responsible management of waste as we are.

    Even though it may seem simple the safe and proper transportation of waste to a transfer, storage or disposal facility is critical to the health of the environment, wildlife and people living in the surrounding communities.  For instance, improper disposal of a hazardous waste could lead to the pollution of drinking water sources for wildlife and humans which poses a potential health risk.  Or it could be that the trash has been exposed to a variety of diseases and leaving it out in the open makes the spread of disease for wildlife and humans that much easier and faster. Therefore, the responsible management of waste that MER performs daily plays a large role in maintaining the health of the environment and all life living in it.

    Not only does MER keep trash out of the environment, but they also work with clients to divert waste from landfills, when possible, to be reused, recycled, or reclaimed.  Oftentimes waste streams can have another purpose before they are brought to a final disposal facility.  The more waste that can be beneficially reused, the less waste that will end up in the environment.  MER provides the highest level of performance to clients, which means treating every day as Earth Day.

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Earth Day Series- Environmental Literacy

Monday, April 11, 2022  by qrelihan

    For the fifth installment of the Earth Day blog series, I chose to feature the importance of Environmental Literacy.  I included a link to an Environmental Literacy quiz from the Earth Day website for you to take and see what you can do to improve your environmental knowledge.

    Environmental literacy is the awareness of and concern for environmental issues, especially climate change. There are a few main themes that are tackled by environmental education such as, ecological knowledge, socio-political information, environmental issues and their affect, cognitive skills and environmentally friendly behaviors.  To put it simply it is being able to see how decisions you make will impact the community, environment, and future generations.  For example, understanding that by choosing to use a reusable water bottle rather than a single use plastic water bottle will be keep more plastic out of oceans and communities.

    However, you may be wondering why it is important to increase and expand upon your knowledge of environmental issues.  It goes back to the cliché saying of ‘knowledge is power’ because without any awareness to what is going on in the world around you it is difficult to make responsible decisions. This knowledge is often promoted in schools and at events put together by environmental NGOs. Oftentimes the target of environmental education is today's youth because they will be inheriting a world with problems that they did not create. However, it is equally as important for adults of all ages and backgrounds to learn about cimate change because it affects everyone. It is important to acknowledge that everyone’s level of environmental knowledge is going to be different, however everyone can always learn something about the environment that they did not know before. Therefore, I linked an Environmental Literacy quiz from the Earth Day website that you can take that will help you see that you know more than you think and there is always an opportunity to learn more.

Take this 2-minute quiz to see how environmental literate you are and learn ways to improve you knowledge and understanding of climate change issues:

Environmental Literacy Quiz - Earth Day

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Earth Day Series-Randolph, MA

Monday, April 4, 2022  by qrelihan

    In the 4th Earth Day blog series, I chose to feature the clean-up efforts of the Randolph office.  This year will be the third year that the Randolph office has participated in a clean-up in the community. 

     This year will be the second year that the Randolph office comes together to clean-up the river that runs near the office.  Since the river is in walking distance of the office, some employees would walk alongside it during their lunch break and noticed that there was an awful lot of trash along the river.  Therefore, it was an easy choice to make this river the site of our office Earth Day clean-up in April 2021.  Due to the amount of trash that we collected along the river last year, we think that it will be the perfect candidate for a clean-up again this year. 

    However, before there could be a river clean-up, employees from the Randolph office employees participated in a remote Earth Day clean-up.  In 2020, not even the COVID-19 pandemic could stop employees from taking some time out of their day to clean-up their neighborhoods.  This just goes to show the level of dedication & commitment to the environment and sustainability that all MER employees possess.  It is especially important to MER that we keep the places where we live and work, clean, beautiful, and healthy. 

     This is the perfect example of how an Earth Day clean-up or any clean-up throughout the year does not have to be a large, organized event to be effective and make a difference.  Whether you pick up trash with friends and family in your neighborhood or sign up for an official, organized Earth Day event you are still playing a significant role in maintaining a clean and pristine environment.  There is no such thing as a clean-up effort that is too small, because doing something is always better than doing nothing at all.

    To ensure the same level of success as the Earth Day clean-up last year we will be planning the river clean-up for the week of Earth Day, since it falls on a Friday and we know we can get more employees to participate if it is planned for earlier in the week.  A specific day and time for the river clean-up will be selected and announced soon.   If employees cannot join us on the day of the river clean-up, then we encourage them to grab a garbage bag and some gloves and pick-up trash in their neighborhood just like they did in 2020.

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