Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reuseable Bags

I have to admit that I often leave my reuseable bags at home. If I leave reuseable bags in my car, they migrate to the house and remain at the house. Sometimes, I make an unexpected trip to the grocery store and have to take home a plastic bag.

Here is a great article about reuseable bags from Mother Nature Network. Here are two interesting quotes from the article if you cannot read all of it:
A nonwoven polypropylene bag, for example, would have to be used just 11 times to make up for the negative effects of a plastic bag used one time, according to a British Environment Agency study that compared bags. A cotton bag, however, would have to be used 131 times.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

12,000 Bottle Boat

Watch how a renewable boat is constructed on National Geographic TV.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Here's an Opportunity to Shred Your Personal Documents

Keep Williamson Beautiful is sponsoring this event:
Saturday, April 16







Saturday, April 16, 2011

8:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Shredding & Collection Location:

420 Century Court, Franklin

(Century Court is located off Columbia Avenue, the second stop light
north of Mack Hatcher Bypass).


 Documents must be removed from wire binding, 3 ring binders and heavy clips/clamps.

• Hard bound documents should be no larger than one inch thick.
• Paper clips and staples are acceptable.

Please bring your documents in:
• paper bags or cardboard boxes that can be recycled
• reusable container that we will empty and return
• Canceled checks
• IRS forms
• Insurance papers
• Investment statements
• Paycheck stubs

Papers that do not contain a personal identification number will NOT be accepted such as newspaper, magazines and photos
No Commercial Documents Accepted

Be a Part of Earth Day in Nashville

Volunteer or attend Nashville's Earth Day celebration on April 23.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Clean Up Scheduled

I sponsored a clean up in my neighborhood this past weekend. We collected a small pile of rubbish and flood debris. Here is another clean up in my area if you have time this weekend:

Waterway Flood Recovery Project - Bellevue

9:00 am
River/ Trail Cleanup
We would love your help!
River/Trail Cleanup
Bring anything to help with cleanup:
Trashbags, shovels, canoes, waders, grabbers, clippers....anything!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cash for Gold: It's True

This week, my husband and I collected some old silver and gold jewelry that we no longer wore. Some pieces, like my childhood charm bracelets, had not been worn in over 40 years. We took them to a local buyer for gold. My husband's jaw literally dropped when we were offered hundreds of dollars for pieces of jewelry that we had mostly forgotten that we owned.

We paid our mortgage payment and a dentist bill with the money.

I never believed those TV ads promoting Cash for Gold. But it's true. And it is recycling! The gold and silver will be melted down and used again.

We used a local dealer in Bellevue, our home. If there is not a "gold recycle outlet" in your city, try a place like Birk's Gold Exchange, a Canadian company that buys gold.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Discarded Building Supplies

Dumped broken concrete and gravel
I live in an area that has been newly built over the past 20 years. If I bought a house today, I would not buy a new house. But in 1996, it was important to my husband to have a new house. Today we would buy a small house in town.

There are many disadvantages in buying new. Our contractor removed all the top soil, so we still have drainage problems because we could never get grass to grow. I've planted a lot of trees and shrubs to help the problem.

Unfortunately contractors dump unused building materials. Thus, we periodically find piles of broken concrete and left over gravel in our area.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fast Food Litter Tops Roadside Trash in Britain

But I knew that was true in the United States, too. McDonald's fast food wrappers makes up the largest amount of litter I pick up near my home in Nashville, Tenn.

Here's a blurb from The Press Association about the Brits' litter:
Across the UK as a whole, McDonald's was the brand most seen as litter on the streets, making up 13% of the items found.
 I know that some will say that we cannot blame McDonalds for the litter, as the corporation personally does not encourage littering. But seeing trash with their logo on it is not good publicity.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Flood Damage Clean Up in Bellevue Saturday

Please help if you can:

(1 Mile Strip of River)

            When: Saturday, March 26th 2011
            Time: Meet @ 9:00 A.M.
            Where:  Meet in front of 8570 Sawyer Brown Rd.
            Map Location:  Google Map of Area

With this much trash at River Plantation we hope to
remove close to 20 TONS of debris!  We will also
be removing a dam in the making, which can
cause localized flooding if left unchecked.
Please email or call
@ 615-946-1824 to RSVP so we have enough supplies!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tsunami Creates More Plastic Trash in Oceans

The ocean trash of the Japan tsunami will be seen for years, according to this post from

Here's what Maximenko believes will happen: the islands [Hawaii] will see the first evidence of Japan's tsunami trash in a year and a half.
Currents will then carry the debris toward the west coast of the U.S. and rotate toward the islands, so that in five to six years Hawaii is expected to see the greatest impact which will then stretch over a prolonged period of time. Maximenko said scientists and engineers are exploring ways to develop traps either in the open ocean or along coastlines.
My mind is boggled that the trash, especially the micro plastic bits, from the tsunami will be around forever in the Pacific.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Broken Beer Bottle

What is worse than finding a beer bottle tossed on the side of the road? A beer bottle that has become a weapon - a broken beer bottle.

This becomes dangerous to wildlife and to others who have to pick up this mess.

I once had to get a tetanus shot because I was injured by picking up a metal real estate sign during a litter pick up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Although it's St. Patrick's Day and you're probably wearing green, are your clothes truly green, as in eco-friendly? Two British men, Rob and Mart Drake-Knight, are proposing Eco-Fashion.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Green Cleaners for the Home

Recently I was discussing with other women green cleaners. Christine Seivers sent me this link recently. Here's the article below. I'm going to get my husband, who does all our cleaning, to read it.

30 Easy Recipes for Greener Cleaning

While keeping your home clean can play a big part in keeping you healthy, you may be doing more harm than good if you're using harsh and potentially harmful substances. It may seem simpler to just pick up cleaning supplies at the store, but making your own at home won't require a degree in chemistry-- just some basic household essentials and a few minutes. If you've ever wanted to try some greener cleaning recipes, then here are some to get you started. There's a recipe to help you clean nearly every room of your home, keeping things healthy for both you and the environment at the same time.
These basic cleaning recipes will help you get started with greener cleaning.
  1. Cleaning Kit: If you want to construct the perfect green cleaning kit, use this list from the Care2 network to bring together all the items you'll need, including baking soda, washing soda, tea tree oil and vinegar.
  2. Window Cleaner: You don't need a chemical cocktail to keep your windows squeaky clean. Instead, mix vinegar, liquid soap and water to make a much more earth-friendly version.
  3. All Purpose Cleaner: If you want a cleaner that can go the distance but won't leave your home smelling bleachy, try this recipe from Green Living Ideas. It requires one part vinegar to one part salt.
  4. Disinfectant: When you hear disinfectant your mind probably assumes something pretty heavily laden with chemicals, but here you'll find two recipes that use little more than extracts and oils and water to keep things germ-free.
  5. Wallpaper Cleaner: If your home has wallpaper, you can help keep it clean and pristine by simply wiping it with a piece of white bread. It will remove scuffs and smudges without harming the paper.
  6. Air Freshener: No one wants a stinky home, but store bought air fresheners can do little to actually freshen the air. Not so for these natural alternatives that not only make your home smell great, but help actually remove odors rather than just covering them up.
  7. Linoleum Cleaner: You can use this cleaner to scrub both your hardwood AND linoleum floors. Who doesn't love something that does double duty? Just combine vinegar and water and buff to a shine.
Kitchen and Dining
Because they get so much use and involve sometimes messy meal making, the kitchen and dining areas of your home are probably tougher to keep clean. Not to worry, these recipes will help keep these spaces spick and span without resorting to harsh chemicals.
  1. Stainless Steel Cookware: If you'd like to keep your cookware as shiny as the day you bought it, you'll probably need to put in a little elbow grease. But these cleaning methods using natural products like lemons and vinegar can make it a whole lot easier.
  2. Oven Cleaner: Traditional oven cleaners are harsh and will burn your skin if you come into contact with them. Try using this recipe for oven cleaner that uses baking soda and vinegar instead.
  3. Silverware Polish: Keep your silverware looking like new with this recipe that will remove tarnish and shine up your silverware right before your eyes.
  4. Dish Soap: Make your own dish soap using this recipe that combines all-natural soap, baking soda, washing soda and lemon juice.
  5. Refrigerator Cleaner: A little baking soda and water will help keep your refrigerator grime-free and much less stinky.
  6. Disposal Deodorizer: Got food stuck in your disposal that's starting to stink? Use this remedy to remove the odors: toss some lemon rinds down the drain.
  7. Veggie Wash: Get rid of any dirt, chemicals or pests that might be hanging around on your produce with this recipe.
  8. Fine Linen: Use the power of the sun, boiling water and good old peroxide to clean up old or delicate linens.
You want your bathroom to be a place where you can get clean, not pick up more dirt. So use these recipes to give it a great scrub down.
  1. Tub Scrub: Kill all the mold and mildew in your tub and leave it smelling fresh and clean by mixing a small amount baking soda, soap and essential oils.
  2. Drain Unclogger: Don't dump a bunch of chemicals down the drain! Instead, use baking soda, vinegar and hot water to rinse away any clogs.
  3. Lime Deposit Remover: Is your shower clogged with lime from your hard water? It's simple to get rid of it with a bag of vinegar looped over the showerhead.
  4. Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Rather than using bleach or one of those silly blue bowl cleaners, combine baking soda, olive oil and a bit of an essential oil to clean your toilet to perfection.
  5. Scouring Powder: If you've got a ring around the tub that just won't come off, you might need something more powerful. This recipe will help you scour your tub without having to worry about getting chemicals on your skin at your next bath.
  6. Metal Polish: There are several metal polish recipes here that can help you keep your bath fixtures looking pristine, whether they're stainless steel, chrome or something else.
Fibers and Wood
From your furniture to your laundry, these helpful recipes will ensure that your home stays clean and fresh.
  1. Wood Floor Solution: With 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 30 oz of warm water, you'll have your wood floors clean in no time, without a harsh chemical in sight.
  2. Furniture Polish: You don't need to whip out the Pledge to shine up your favorite wood pieces. Instead, just use olive oil and lemon juice-- an inexpensive and Earth-friendly alternative.
  3. Carpet and Rugs: Read this article to learn how club soda, cornmeal, baking soda and liquid soap can take the place of harsh rug cleaners.
  4. Wood Buffer: Does your coffee or dining table have a scratch? Simply rub the meat of a walnut or other nut into it and watch it fade away.
  5. Spot Cleaner: If you've got a tough spot on your rug, couch or even shirt, try out this recipe for an amazingly effect spot remover.
  6. Water Stain Remover: Learn how to get rid of water stains on wood through this video, using an all-natural method.
  7. Red Wine Stain: Red wine is notoriously hard to get out, but with this simple recipe of dish soap and peroxide it doesn't stand a chance.
  8. Fabric Softener: If you hate static cling but want to stay green, use vinegar for softening and simply dampen your hands before folding to avoid it.
  9. Laundry Detergent: Check out this site for a number of great detergent recipes that can save you money and keep you green (all while smelling great!)

Friday, March 11, 2011

How Much Plastic Have You Eaten Today?

In this report from the LA Times, ocean life is eating small bits of plastic that came from that bottled water you drank a few years ago. We're all guilty.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

More Flood Debris Removed

The Harpeth River Watershed Association successfully removed 3 more tons of flood debris from Bellevue at the River Plantation condominiums. More clean ups are scheduled this spring. Go to their website to find out more information.

Wine and Liquor Bottles as Trash

As I wrote earlier, I pick up lots of beer bottles and cans off my planet. Wine and liquor bottles are less frequently found. I've often wondered why?

I guess it's easier to pick up a six pack.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

I wrote a lot about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch at my former blog. The Garbage Patch is all the plastic that is floating in the ocean, which has gathered together in one large area. Most of the pieces of plastic are tiny and are mistaken for plankton by sea animals. That is why this story about making the floating trash an island surprised me.

A Plastic Wrapper for Bananas

I saw this on Jon Stewart's show last night. What and why? Click here.

BoJangles Famous Chicken and Biscuits

I used to eat chicken. I used to eat a lot of chicken. I grew up on fried chicken in the south.

But I do not eat chicken any more - not even famous chicken. These days, chickens get fed too many hormones and too much corn.

Unfortunately fast food restaurants contribute to the amount of trash tossed upon the planet. Please don't litter.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bottles of Beer As Litter

I've picked up hundreds of bottles and cans of beer over the years during litter pick ups. I've found full bottles of beer, too. I've never understood that.

This bottle was left on the white line in an empty theatre parking lot. It was empty.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pemmican Beef Jerky

I am mostly a non-meat eater, so when I find empty bags that once held beef jerky as roadside litter, I learn something. Pemmican is not a brand name. According to Wikipedia, it is a mixture of fat and protein, eaten because it is nutritious.

I usually just grab a protein bar made with whey protein. Plus this source of protein usually has chocolate involved.

I dispose of my wrappers into a trash can.

Friday, March 4, 2011

And For Dessert

Baked Apple Pie
Just like the fast food bag I blogged about two days ago, this wrapper for Baked Apple Pie has a symbol of someone putting the container into a trash receptacle. Again, the box was tossed on the ground.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bag of Litter

Bag of Litter
Some litterers will bag their trash and then throw the bag into the woods. I just do not understand littering.

During the past year, I have been working out of my car for various businesses. I buy a lot of coffee and snacks while I'm traveling around Davidson County. NOT ONCE, have I ever considered throwing the wrappers and cups in the environment!

I keep the trash in my car until I can recycle or throw it away properly.

News from Wisconsin

Recycling will be a victim of the budget cuts in Wisconsin, according to this online article. Let's hope the mandatory recycling enacted by law has become second nature by now.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fast Food Litter

Although this fast food wrapper has a symbol showing someone putting the bag into a trash can, diners refuse to get rid of their litter properly.

This was tossed out of a car. Then wildlife, probably an opossum, chewed on it.

Monday, February 28, 2011

LItter Harms Wildlife

This story from the Daily Record in Scotland breaks my heart:

Seal pup saved after horror injury as litter fears worsen

AN injured seal has had a miracle recovery as experts warn they are under threat because of a rising tide of litter off the Scottish coast.
Specialist vets say they are shocked at the increasing number of life-threatening injuries caused by balloons, discarded fishing gear and plastic bags.
In the latest incident an eight-week-old seal pup narrowly escaped death after his neck became tangled in a discarded fishing line.
The pup - nicknamed Ringo by staff at the Highland Seal Hospital in John O'Groats- suffered the injury as he ventured inshore looking for fish.
Hospital manager Jamie Dyer said: "Marine litter and discarded fishing tackle is a real problem. Balloons are also now a big issue as well - we've found a lot in seals' stomachs.
"Discarded plastic bags are a growing problem - turtles eat them thinking they are squid or jellyfish.
"We save about 30 seals a year and some have terrible injuries. Ringo is lucky to have his head still on.
"We are hopeful he can pull through. In addition to the neck wound, which is healing, he also has liver and gall bladder problems. He'll be with us for while."
Ringo was found exhausted and close to death by ferry terminal worker Marion Jack at Gills Bay in Caithness.
He had a gaping 14in wound, 2in wide and nearly 2in deep, just a fraction from his spine.
He was given his name by hospital staff because of the almost circular wound around his neck.
Ringo has been given ultrasound scans, antibiotics and pain-killing injections to help him survive.
Jamie added: "He's very lucky - the wound was close to severing the tendon by his spine. He then would have lost motor control and the ability to keep his head out of the water.
"I have never seen such injuries before where a young seal has survived. The fishing line almost decapitated him.
"But he is making steady progress. The wound is very nasty but hopefully he will recover fully."

Litter Gets Really Smelly

Littered Plastic Bottles
Occasionally I will go out on a Sunday morning and pick up litter along Newsom Station Road. I don't enjoy doing this, but I feel good about ridding the earth of just a small amount of trash.

My husband gets mad when I bring home discarded, stinking plastic bottles, but then, he gets mad at a lot of things.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Edible Litter

When I am out enjoying planet earth on my treks, I find lots of food products, tossed or dropped as litter and trash.

Well, maybe the Tootsie Roll Pop is not marketed as food. It's only 60 calories and 10 grams of sugar. Anyway, I hate to see a Tootsie Pop tossed on the ground.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What Not To Leave on a Public Bus

When I first started blogging, I had a real job in publishing and worked on West End Avenue in Nashville. Occasionally, I rode the bus to work to reduce my own footprint on our planet.

I enjoyed riding the bus because I could read books or magazines, listen to my music on my iPod or talk with fellow passengers.

But I never understood why people would leave behind their garbage. I can understand leaving behind a newspaper, as others could read it, but why leave behind the remains of your fast food meal?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sometimes Litter Can Be Used

Not everything I find by the side of the road is “trash.” Sometimes, we find things, like car flags, baseball caps, screwdrivers and clothes. Baby items are very popular. I'm always putting pacifiers in the trash bags. Once I found this child's rattler.

If it’s something we want or need, we’ll pick it up and take it home. I once found a red rubber dog bone that became my late dog’s favorite toy. He played with it for years until it fell apart by his constant chewing. After tossing it out in our trash, we had to buy him another one. We sometimes find money, too. That’s litter we don’t mind finding and keeping.

An ATM for Used Electronics

Here's a great idea as reported on, where you can read the entire article:

Phone recycling machines set to appear on street corners

Posted on Wed, 02/23/2011 - 09:29 by Kate Taylor
How many old phones and other gadgets do you have sitting around at the back of a drawer? You could soon turn them into instant ready cash - and incidentally help the planet - simply by dropping them into a slot.
EcoATM has been trialling its machines in several locations, and has now won investment from Coinstar and a grant from the National Science Foundation to advance the technology and get the machines out more widely. It plans to widen the range of devices the machines can handle.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

40 More Tons of Flood Debris To Be Collected

Those amazing people at the Harpeth River Watershed Association will clean up 40 more tons of flood debris this spring. Click on the link above to volunteer your time or money to this great cause.

Another Cup in the Wall

Cup in a crack.

Cup filled with dirt from erosion.
In our neighborhood, we have a nice rock wall, which is crumbling because a developer cleared the land above it and then the flood last May caused further erosion.* Occasionally, people stuff their trash on the ledges or in cracks on the wall. I know that it is neighborhood children, but this is litter.

*Don't get me started about the horrible flood in Nashville last May. I know that irresponsibility from the developers in the area made the flooding worse.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Learn to Build a Rain Garden

Rain Garden Workshop - Feb 25, 9am-3pm   RainGarden  
Rain gardens add beauty to the landscape, help reduce flooding by allowing storm water to be absorbed by the plants and infiltrated into the ground, and help clean our streams and watersheds.    
You'll learn basic ecological concepts and how to make practical & cost-effective aestheci and ecological improvements through hands-on training creating and installing a functioning rain garden.  The workshop will be led by Tennessee Environmental Council Executive Director, John McFadden (PhD).
The workshop is ideal for city stormwater managers and coordinators, local park and greenway managers, greenway design consultants, watershed associations, landscapers and others interested in learning about rain gardens.  Valued at about $75 we are offering this workshop with a donation to the Council of just $25!

Click here for more information and to register. 

Knock Knock Knocking on Heaven's Door

Although I have solicited people for the Census and other organizations, I personally don’t like to be telemarketed by phone or visited door to door. We live on a hill and have steep steps to our front door, so we rarely have unwanted solicitors, except for stray cats or opossums. I was not happy when I found this flyer on my storm door. I don’t mind flyers being put on my front door, as I take them off and throw them into the paper recycle bin if I’m not interested. And I wasn’t interested in this series on Your Secret Life, hosted by a non-denominational church in the area. I became disgusted when I found some of the flyers in the street a few days later, which made them litter.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Keep Our Water Clean; Don't Litter

draintrash_0820.jpgOften I notice storm drains clogged with plastic bottles and aluminum cans, paper, styrofoam and lots of cigarette butts. Wastes should not go into storm drains because the drains empty into our rivers where we get our drinking water. It is illegal and environmentally not correct to pour paint, oil, car washing soaps, wax, etc. into storm drains.

Wildlife, such as the Nashville crayfish, is in danger from the pollutants we throw into storm drains. 

Whenever you see a storm drain, notice the litter. That trash is going into your water.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Great Opportunity to Help Clean Up

HRWA and River Plantation Section II will be cleaning up
Flat Creek Saturday February 26th
Time: 9:00 am till we’re done (3-4 hours)
Bring: proper clothes, if you have waders or good boots, we will need some folks to get in the shallow creek to retrieve trash and debris. Bags, gloves, coffee and snacks provided
For more info or to let us know we can count on you,
 call or email: , (615) 476-6579
The Harpeth River Watershed Association worked with Metro Public Works and me last fall to clean up Beech Creek in the Boone Trace subdivision. The residents of Boone Trace were also hard hit by the floods in Nashville last May. HRWA, Metro Public Works and other volunteers picked up over 8 tons of flood debris in the Beech Creek area.

I am still overcome with the amount of debris carried by our Harpeth River system after the floods. It is important to remove this trash from our waterways.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Trash on the Highway

This is not the title of a country song, but something I get mad about because of the danger, as well as the fact that it’s littering. Hauling your stuff in an open truck bed is not legal. I have spent thousands of dollars repairing my car because I’ve hit pieces of a wooden pallet and a blown semi truck tire on the interstate. I drive defensively looking ahead in the road for pieces of furniture dumped out of open bed trucks. I’ve had a dresser drawer slide out of a truck in front of my car. Fortunately I was able to move into the left lane and avoid it. One morning, I was driving out of town very early, and a hardback book hit the driver’s side of my windshield. It wasn’t War and Peace, but made a SMACK on the windshield and frightened me.

A horrible accident happened on the interstate a few years back when mattresses fell out of a pick up truck and killed several people in a car hit by them. The state of Tennessee has litter laws that outlaw open bed hauling, but folks continue to move their stuff in pick up trucks.

I once spotted a destroyed mattress on the side of the interstate, after someone hit it. The insides of the mattress was blown everywhere. I've seen chairs on the side of the interstate, and I know that these toppled out of trucks. I once saw a semi trucker run over a plastic play gym as it fell out of an open truck in front of him. No, the play gym didn’t survive.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Future Olympics Are Working Toward Sustainability

Here is a guest blog post written by Nerissa Barry:

Substantial Environmental Changes to International Event
Since Rio de Janeiro was announced as the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics, discussion centers now on which city will win the 2022 bid for the Winter Games. The United States might be a serious contender. If a city in the United States captures the bid, the United States Olympic Committee would logically look to increase their athletic achievement in the Winter Games, as well as work to construct an environmentally friendly space for the games to take place in.

In acknowledging the amazing display of athleticism found at the Olympics, it is also admittedly a carbon-rich event. Scientists have estimated that more than 2/3 of carbon emissions are produced from the event. This high statistic is a result of the fact that of the 1.5 million Olympic spectators, most travel via airplane.

The USOC members are committed to finding ways to continue the environmentally conscious ideas carried out at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The summer Olympics showcased serious efforts toward conservation, sustainability, and alternative energy sources.  In Beijing, sustainable efforts were directed toward,

               Solar power - Solar power lit up lawns, streets, courtyards, and several venues, including some within the Olympic Village. A 130 KW photovoltaic lighting system illuminated the city's National Stadium, the main venue for the football competition.
               Water Conservation - Waste water was collected from the Qinghe sewage treatment plant and filtered back to be used by the village and other grounds various heating and cooling requirements. This water conservation measure saved 60% in electricity. Rainwater was also collected from the site grounds. In summary, over 75,000 gallons of water was collected via porous bricks, road pipes and wells installed on roofs.
               Natural Light - Remember the 'Water Cube' where the aquatic events were held? The walls of the National Aquatics Centre provided natural light, 'beam-pipes' moved sunlight through corridors, toilets, and car parks at many of the venues, including the Olympic Green.
               Recycling - The 2008 Olympic hosts set a goal of 50% recycling of waste paper, metals, and plastics.

While the Olympics in 2008 had great new ways to use filtration and insulation for the events, the IOC as well as the USOC is hoping to progress that vision to include many other products that will help reduce waste and promote conservation. You can expect these products to appear all over the market in the next year. With the USOC recommendation and commentators suggesting that a city within the United States will win the 2022 bid, a fully sustainable and green-powered Olympic Games is closer then we might believe.

Local Man Wages War on Illegal Signs

The Tennessean recently featured Metro Beautification and Environment Commission advocate, Russell Brecheen:
Russell Brecheen, of the Metro Beautification & Environment Commission, throws hundreds of road side signs into the recycle dumpster at the Omohundro Recycle Center. Brecheen and volunteers drive through areas picking up the signs that are located in the right-of-way, which is illegal.

Sanford Myers/
The Tennessean

Sometimes The Litter Is Alive

Christmas was abandoned as a kitten.
Our house is on the outskirts of Nashville, Tenn., in a rural landscape along the Harpeth River. When we moved into our home in the late 90s, our jacuzzi meowed the first night we slept in the house. A kitten was living under it. The contractor then informed us that a cat gave birth under our house, and he thought that most of the kittens had left. The kitten was adopted by a neighbor and named NoTail, since he was a manx.

Soon, we noticed a parade of cats and sometimes, dogs, patrolling the area. All of them had been dumped by people who did not want them. Gradually, the animals would be rescued or adopted by families in the neighborhood. Possibly, some became dinner for coyotes.

Tiger looks at litter in the yard.
In 2001, our hardened hearts were softened by one kitten discarded by her owner. We relented and added Christmas, above, to our menagerie of birds and a dog.  Later we added another stray cat, Tiger, the orange tabby at right, to our menagerie. Tiger is photographed with an illegal flyer that someone placed on our mailbox, but that is another blog post.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, 6-8 million dogs and cats go to animal shelters each year. This does not include many of the animals abandoned on country roads or in neighborhoods.

Is this littering? Yes, in the worst way.

What Is in This Trash Truck?

A trash truck triggers a NORAD alarm in this story from

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One Use for Trash

I hate trash, but this is a great use of our trash:

How Not to Compost

Since I started my litter blog years ago, I've become more aware of the footprint I am leaving on my planet. I also have very poor soil in my yard because the developer removed all the top soil when the houses were built. I thought that I could improve my yard by composting my organic trash and applying it to the yard to enrich the soil.

I have harvested about two gallons of usable compost in three years. But it was quality stuff. I'm a regular composter now, although my compost pile freezes in the winter and rarely gets hot enough to cook in the summer.

The stuff in the photo is not compostable. The cardboard boxes could be added to a compost pile if the box was shredded. Again, someone dumped all this trash in my neighborhood. Again, our public works department, paid with our tax money, picked it up for me.

According to, Keep America Beautiful has calculated that litter costs the United States $11.5 billion dollars yearly. Remember that fact when you see a plastic bag gently surfing in the wind or come upon a pile of trash while you are hiking.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rain Garden Workshop

Periodically, I'll include local events to clean up or protect our environment:
Rain Garden Workshop - Feb 25, 9am-3pm   RainGarden  
Rain gardens add beauty to the landscape, help reduce flooding by allowing storm water to be absorbed by the plants and infiltrated into the ground, and help clean our streams and watersheds.  This workshop offers the following:

~ We will address problems associated with traditional storm water management practices and lack of maintenance of facilities and presenting ideas, information and practices designed to retrofit urban environments.  

~Learn basic ecological concepts and how to make practical and cost effective aesthetic and ecological improvements through hands-on training.

~ We will build an actual rain garden as a part of the workshop.

~ Several $250-$500 grants for riparian tree planting will be given to qualified participants on a first-come, first-served basis. 
The workshop will be led by Tennessee Environmental Council Executive Director, John McFadden (PhD).  The workshop is ideal for city stormwater managers and coordinators, local park and greenway managers, greenway design consultants, watershed associations, landscapers and others interested in learning about rain gardens.  Valued at about $75 we are offering this workshop with a donation to the Council of just $25!   Click here for more information and to register.  

Why Do People Litter?

I've been blogging for the last four years on another blogging platform about litter. Because I love Google, I decided recently to move the blog. The overturned, abandoned hot tub, which was left on the side of Newsom Station Road in the outskirts of Nashville, Tenn., started my blogging obsession about my trash obsession.

There is an orange fungus* that I have seen growing in my yard. When I first noticed this overturned hot tub, I thought that the fungus, laced on steroids from our water supply, had grown out of control on the side of the road. Or was it an alien ship abandoned by visitors from outer space? Should I admit that I was actually startled by the litter? I was.

How did this large lump of litter make it to the side of the road? Did it fly out of the back of a pick up truck as countless plastic bags do each day? Did someone flick it out a car window just like a cigarette butt?

I never learned (or cared) who tossed this in my neighborhood. I just called Metro Public Works, who picked it up for the slob who left it there. For me, this slob's trash changed my life.

*The fungus is known as the dog vomit slime mold.