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Sustainability Stories: September 2021

Why Have World Clean-Up Day?

Tuesday, September 21, 2021  by qrelihan

      This past Saturday was World Clean-Up Day and although the MER Trash Scavenger Hunt will continue for the rest of the month, it is important to understand why we have a World Clean-Up Day.  According to a 2020 study by the Keep America Beautiful Organization there is a total of 50 billion pieces of litter in the US.  The top contributors to litter are cigarette butts, fast food packaging and plastic waste, all of which you would likely see walking in your local park or driving on the highway.  If every American went outside on World Clean-Up Day and picked up 152 pieces of litter than America would be litter free (Keep American Beautiful 2021). This just goes to show the positive impact that one person can have on the environment by doing something as simple as picking up trash. The standard sized household trash bag can hold 240 12 oz cans, this means that you would not have to fill an entire trash bag for the US to be litter free (New York Times 2013).  Although the offical date for World Clean-Up Day has passed it is never too late to get out in your community and pick up some trash!  

Complete the game card linked here to earn a prize by sending it along with photos to stewardship@moranenvironmental.com : MER_Scavenger_Hunt.pdf


All of the pictures below were taken on my 5 minute walk to the grocery store and all the litter pictured was subsequently disposed of properly.

Pictures Below (from left to right): PPE/face mask, cigarette butt, plastic cup and a battery


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Waste Disposal Methods

Wednesday, September 8, 2021  by qrelihan

Examples of beneficial reuse: Paint & coatings produce waste that can be used as solvents or fuel, and construction debris such as metal, glass and lumber can be reused to build smaller projects.

Examples of composting: Manure, coal ash, food scraps and lawn waste decompose naturally in the environment.

Examples of recycling: Paper products & packaging, and plastic water bottles can be sent to recycling facilities.

        According to the EPA, in 2018 paper products, food waste and plastics make up the largest percentage of waste that went to landfills (EPA 2018).  The good news is that the waste that makes up the largest percentage of landfills can easily be diverted using alternative methods. For instance, food waste can be composted, while plastic can be recycled and cardboard can be reused to serve a new purpose. While participating in World Clean-Up Day, make a mental note of the trash you are finding and ask yourself where it could have gone instead.  

*Reminder: World Clean-Up Day is September 18th and participating is as easy as picking up trash in your neighborhood*

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