Our own Kathy Deprey has written a series of very creative environmental tips, there is one for each month of the year!

She suggests ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. From bringing your own coffee mug to meetings where they use the dreaded styrofoam to finding a "glass recycling" buddy. you will find lots of valuable suggestions that you have probably never thought about!

If you have ideas of your own, please don't hesitate to bring them to the attention of the Environmental Projects Committee. All suggestions are welcome!

Since Avondale Estates does not offer recycling pick up for glass any longer, we have to take matters into our own hands.  Do not throw your glass into the general trash.  Partner up with a neighbor!  Keep a container for your bottles and jars and such, then alternate trips to the DeKalb Farmers Market recycling center (at the south end of the parking lot, if you haven’t found that yet).  There are separate bins for clear, green and brown glass.  Even if you go just every other week, that’s only one trip for you in a month.  And won’t you feel good about recycling that glass instead of throwing it into a landfill?  If you need help contacting a partner, ask at our garden club meetings.

Our Avon environmental committee is initiating a recycling bin at our general meetings for specific items, three times per year.  There will be a notice in this article the month prior to the bin, letting you know what to bring. 

At the November meeting, the bin will be for your rechargeable batteries. (Not regular batteries, but just the special rechargeable ones, please.  We would rather not have to sort through them to pick out the non-rechargeables.)  So start collecting those pesky batteries that you don’t want, can’t use, or which won’t take a charge any more, and bring them to the November meeting. Won’t that be easy?  Won’t you feel good participating?  Let us do the legwork to recycle those for you.  Don’t throw them into the landfills!

Bring your own mug to any meetings, gatherings, social activities where you would otherwise be using a paper or plastic cup or Styrofoam.  Be a trend-setter!  Do it every time!  Spread the word by your actions!  Make others feel guilty for using Styrofoam!  Bring along a mug or cup that has a fun or personalized message.  If you haven’t got a fun cup, check out the selection at Richard’s Variety (we don’t get a commission on sales there, but will go along when you’re shopping there – great stuff. And they are next to Trader Joe’s which loves to see you bring your own shopping bag.)
Our Avon recycling bin will be at the January club meeting.  Bring fabric items, such as clothing, drapes, other fabrics, anything that could be pulled apart.  It will be delivered to ReLoom, on North Decatur Road in Scottdale.  You may have seen their products at Autumn Fest or other arts festivals around Atlanta.  At ReLoom, weavers (many are refugees) design and produce handmade products. With a stable salary and 100% healthcare coverage, employees gain a financial foundation, leadership skills, and a sense of purpose and accomplishment.  Take a look at the website for excellent products and volunteer opportunities.
You’ve probably received at least one package during the past month from someone who loves you (or from, and they love you too) which included those styrofoam peanuts that spilled all over your floor when you opened the box.  Don’t throw them away into a landfill – take them to the UPS office so they can be reused.  Two UPS shipping stores are;
    1. North Decatur and Clairmont (there’s a Publix there and Evans Fine Foods used to be there)
    2. The one by the Lowe’s in that shopping center on Moreland just south of DeKalb Avenue (there’s a Target, Barnes & Noble, Kroger there).
The popular Avon recycling bin will be at the March club meeting for your magazines.  Bring magazines that have lots of pictures for the folks at Mountainview Personal Care Home. How about interesting magazines for our servicemen and women?
They love to read what you love to read!  National Geographic, Time and Newsweek, People, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart, Car and Driver, Sports Illustrated – bring ‘em all on!

Take a look into your trash.  What are you throwing away, which could actually be recycled or composted?  Cereal boxes, cardboard egg cartons, TP and towel rolls can compost.  Same for the boxes for plastic wrap and tinfoil (tear off that serrated edge first).  Foil can go into your recycling bin – use it a few times, wipe it off, and presto change-o, it’s recycled into new foil.  Those non-plastic milk and juice cartons can go into your recycling bin.  Plastic jugs and bottles, yes, add them in but make sure they are clean.  Any food or drink left in recyclable items contaminates the entire load and it all goes into landfill instead.  Empty ‘em out!  Clean ‘em out!  

Magazines are now recyclable – the glossy coating doesn’t affect that.  Junk mail goes in too, so there really is a use for it after all.  And phone books – if you’ve still got one and don’t want it – they recycle too!  Keep office paper (white) separate from newsprint and magazines – have a dedicated trash can by your computer and printer (and print less anyway).  

But those plastic grocery bags? No, no, no, do not put them into the recycling bin.

Isn’t this wonderful?  What’s in your trash can that doesn’t need to end up in a landfill?  Maybe a lot of stuff.  If you sort it before you throw it, you’ll be surprised at how easy this is going to be.  Pat yourself on the back.  Spread the word.

You’ve started your spring and summer gardens already, and now you have a bunch of plastic pots that you don’t want or need.  Don’t throw them into a landfill.  Either put them into your recycling bin or return those pots to a garden center.  Or reuse! 

When you’re dividing your Lenten roses and cannas and hostas, put them into those used pots sitting under your potting table or at the back of the garage, then give that nice plant away to a neighbor.  Or bring it to the next Federation of Garden Clubs meeting for someone there to take home.  There’s always a fun selection of special plants at Federation, free for the taking, so add yours to the mix. 

Federation meetings are open to everyone, fourth Thursday of most months, at Callenwolde 10:00 a.m. with light refreshments and great programs.  Just so you know.  And you are invited.

You probably did this a few years ago when Atlanta was in a deep drought and everyone was hyper-aware of water usage.  Why not now too?  Keep a bucket in your shower to catch the water before it warms up, instead of letting it just flow away down the drain.  Carry it out to water your garden and pots. Even if you can’t carry that bucket out to your garden, you can still use that catch-water right there in your bathroom and reduce your water usage.  Flush with it!  Just dump it into the commode (not into the tank at the back) instead of using the flush handle which empties the tank and makes it fill up again. The average flush uses 3 ½ gallons of water from your tank!  Not sure if this works? Try it once, and report back to the Club.
Are you finished with your reading list?  Not sure what to do with all the books that you’ve accumulated over the past year or so, which your friends have already borrowed and returned?  Donate your books to any number of groups: United Methodist Children’s Home on Columbia Drive, our local library, Salvation Army, Goodwill, thrift stores like Second Life in Avondale, a Better World Books collection box, or others that you already know about.  Do you want Avon Garden Club to collect and ship fiction and non-fiction books to US servicemen and women?  How about for inmates?  Do you want us to send reference books and textbooks and children’s books to schools in African villages?  Let us know – we’ll see what we can do.  There are lots of services through which we can share our wealth of books.
What can I do with the plastic liner cereal bags?  I just know there’s some use before tossing them into the landfill piles.  Of course there is!  How about using them instead of Ziploc-type bags for storing food.  Or as a cover when you microwave your leftovers (which of course you had stored in the bag in the first place).  Did you know that these bags are strong enough to stand up to a good pounding?  They are – you can flatten a chicken breast without making a mess or busting through the bag.  But don’t put them into the recycling bin – that type of plastic is not recycled, and besides it would have food contamination from your food storage and/or pounding.  What else could you store in a nice strong bag like these?  Let us know your good ideas.
Got any old jeans?  Are you feeling handy?  Do you think Avon Garden Club should try some crafty work with our old jeans?  Those denims can be cut up and used for lots of projects, instead of resurrecting the 1970’s cut-offs fashion.  How about:
    Hot pads
    Oh my gosh – strips of jeans into a wreath!  No sewing involved!
    Pockets into purses (sounds kind of familiar)
    Denim corsage
    Pillow covers
    Denim napkins to go with your denim placemats
    Draft blocker (you know, like those snakey things at the bottom of a drafty door)
    Baby bib
    Stuffed animals
So you’re going into this store for just two or three things, a quick side trip from your other errands (because Avon Garden Club members don’t run just one errand at a time, they always combine lots of trips into one to save gas).  Don’t accept a plastic bag for those items, just carry them and your receipt. Say it loud and proud: “I don’t need more plastic bags, thank you!  I’ll just carry these.  Have a great day.”

Our Avon recycling bin will be at the November meeting, ready to collect your cast-off clothing.  Maybe you already are doing this, and have a favorite group – let us know - Salvation Army, the Kidney Fund, Second Life, a women’s shelter or other service agencies. 

Maybe it’s hard to get motivated to clear out the clothes you really haven’t worn for a while – this is your reminder that it’s time!  How about this idea: on the first of every month, remove one article from your closet and drop it into a box at the back of the closet.  One on one, eh?  One sweater on January 1, one skirt on February 1, and so on.