Oct 18

8 Things To Do with Shredded Paper

Posted on October 18, 2018 at 11:01 AM by Regina Connelly

8 Things to do with Shredded Paper

While shredding private documents at home is a popular practice, it is an unwelcome guest in the recycling bin. Shredded paper is too small to sort traditionally, and the pieces often fall through the cracks of the sorting machines, potentially contaminating other materials such as plastic and glass.


The best solution to the shredded paper dilemma is to avoid shredding paper all together. The ink is removed during the recycling process of whole sheets of paper. But if you’re not comfortable simply marking out private information with a black permanent marker before recycling it in your bin. Or shred only the sections that hold private information and recycle the rest as whole sheets of paper.

And don’t forget, Ontario County offers free shredding events in the Spring and Fall to help you shred and dispose of your papers safely. To sign up for alerts on these events, simply click here!


However, if you prefer shredding the papers yourself, be sure to keep it out of your recycling bin, and find other ways to utilize it. Here are a few ideas to get you started:


8 Things to Do With Shredded Paper

  • Packing material for fragile items you’re storing
  • Use it as bedding for small animals or donate it to an animal shelter*
  • Stuff a scarecrow or kids’ costume with it
  • Extend your kitty litter supply by padding the box with it before adding the litter on top
  • Burn it in your fireplace or fire pit
  • Compost it**
  • Make your own paper
  • Use it for an art project (it’s great for paper-mache!)

*Be sure to call ahead first; some organizations may only accept certain types of shredded paper, as a lot of ink on the paper can be toxic to the animals (ex: Newspaper)

** Mix 2 parts paper with 1 part grass in a home compost pile, or Layer with food scraps and yard clippings in a curbside food/yard waste cart.

Sep 13

Cutting Back on Plastic

Posted on September 13, 2018 at 3:12 PM by Regina Connelly

Cutting back on plastic

Reducing Plastic at Home, Work and On the Go

Ontario County recyclers kept 927 tons of plastic from entering landfills in 2017, but we can’t stop there!

It can be sorta overwhelming to think about tackling our community’s reliance on plastic, but there are lots of little things we can all do on our own that will add up to a big impact. Everyone knows that replacing disposable water bottles with a reusable one is a great way to cut back on plastic waste but this great National Geographic article got us thinking about creative ways to cut down at home, at work and on the go.

At home…

  • Be thoughtful of packaging and materials when buying household items:
    • Swap your standard plastic toothbrush with bamboo or electric brushes with disposable heads to cut back on plastic going into the bin.
    • Ditch the plastic floss pick for a biodegradable one or go back to traditional floss in ecofriendly containers.
    • Instead of disposable razors why not try one where you just swap out the blades instead?
    • Go back to the bar! Body wash is great, but often comes in very wasteful plastic bottles. A bar of soap can last just as long and leaves you with nothing to throw out when it’s gone.
    • This maybe shocking to hear but babies go through upwards of 10,000 disposable diapers before they are potty trained. That makes them the 3rd largest consumer item in landfills. Imagine the impact switching to cloth diapers can have on non-biodegradable waste!
    • Scan the store shelves for household products that come in cardboard or paper bags rather than the more common plastic packaging.

At work…

  • Can you believe 1.6 billion disposable pens end up in the trash every year? A fountain pen is a really simple way to cut back on the amount of pen related waste we crate. And no, you don’t need a powdered wig to fit in. There are lots of exciting styles and once you get used to them they are a ton of fun to write with.
  • Disposable flatware and plates are easy but can pile up quick in the office. Next time you upgrade you home collection why not bring the old set to work for office meals?

On the go…

  • Carrying around a reusable straw is a great tip but we don’t have to stop there. Camping flatware has evolved so much over the years and there are lots of innovative sets that include everything you need. Why not carry a set in your glovebox or handbag to use wherever disposal silverware is the only option? And take it one step further and pack your own reusable takeout box for your leftovers.

These tips and suggestions oughta be a start but check out this blog for more inspiration to live a plastic free life. We’d love to hear how you cut down on plastic in your own lives, so feel free to contact us with any ideas you have!

Aug 15

The Scoop on Pet Waste

Posted on August 15, 2018 at 3:28 PM by Regina Connelly

  The Scoop on Pet Waste

Like it or not, pet ownership ups your waste quotient (plastic waste bags and water, to name a few), but with care and effort, you can skip the bags and dispose of your pet waste in an environmentally safe way, and maybe give your flowers a little boost in the process.

Dogs

Since dog poop can contain bacteria like E. coli and salmonella, it’s important to compost it separately from your vegetable garden compost, and use it only on ornamental plants. Proper composting destroys bacteria and pathogens to produce a safe, nutrient-rich soil, while eliminating the transporting of pet waste for disposal, saving landfill space and energy. For more information on how to do this, click here to read the USDA’s guide for composting dog waste.

If composting your dog waste is not of interest to you, look to used biodegradable pet waste bags instead of traditional plastic ones when throwing your pet waste in the trash. Also, keep in mind the smaller the bag the smaller the impact.

Cats

This waste can contain other harmful bacteria that require a significant amount of heat to kill, so it is not advised to compost it. Instead, look for a biodegradable kitty litter to replace traditional clay litter (which takes a lot longer to break down in the landfill) and place it in a recycled paper bag or biodegradable versions, then dispose of it in your household trash. This is the safest way to keep the bacteria out of our food and water supply, and help it to break down quicker.

With just a little extra effort, being an eco-friendly pet owner can be as easy as making some of these small changes to your daily routine. And as always, if you have any questions, you can always contact us for more information.