Everything Must Go!!

By Helen Dauka, KAB Intern

The question is, “Go Where?”

You know you need to clean out your closets, basement, attics or storage unit, but you keep coming back to the same problem. Where do you send this stuff to? Garage sales do take some work and aren’t for everyone. So what’s a spring cleaner to do?

Here is a list of organizations that do know what to do with your unwanted stuff:

Operation Blankets of Love
Operation Blankets of Love distributes towels and blankets to shelter pets in need of comfort. So if you have blankets that aren’t keeping you warm, send them to folks who can make sure they’re keeping someone warm.

One Warm Coat
It takes a lot of space to hang on to a bunch of bulky winter coats. Whether it’s a change in temperature or just a change of style, it’s probably time to part with some of those coats. One Warm Coat is the perfect place to send your coats to make sure they get to a person in need.

Dress for Success
Remember when you filled your closet with outfits for interviews, the new job you might be getting, or the outfits you kept, “just in case” you needed to look professional? It’s likely that if those hypothetical situations never came to fruition you probably didn’t wear the outfits. If those outfits were you, you would have worn them by now. Instead, let your unworn outfits help those in need become the people that want to be by sending them to Dress for Success.

Just a few great organizations to get you on your way to a better closet and a better state of mind!

Waste-Less Jeans by Levi’s

By Helen Dauka, Keep Akron Beautiful Intern

Can you tell which of these pairs of Levi’s Jeans contains at least 20% materials from recycled plastic bottles and food trays?

 

 

 

 

The answer is the pair of Jeans on the left.
If you had troubles guessing which was which, don’t worry that’s the point. Levi’s new line of jeans, Wasteless, is designed to be more sustainable without the person wearing them being able to see or feel the difference.

So let’s talk specifics. What do jeans made of 20 percent recycled materials mean? It means each pair of jeans are saving eight 12- to 20-ounce bottles.

Brown beer bottles, green soda bottles, clear water bottle and black food trays are all sent to a manufacturing plant where they are broken down into tiny pellets, spun into polyester fibers and woven with cotton to produce the denim you see pictured above.

Johnathon Kirby, vice president of men’s design at Levis Strauss said that, “The end goal is to get people to think a little bit differently about about what they do with their waste. We want them to realize that a piece of trash can actually become something else that’s relevant to them.”

This ties in with what environmentalists call, “closing the loop.”

Now that you can see the difference these jeans are making for the world you can head over to Levi’s website and decide whether you can see yourself in the Wasteless jeans! There are Wasteless jeans for girls too!

If you find yourself loving the feeling of helping the environment and the feeling of the wasteless jeans, you might want to try Levi’s Waterless jeans too.

 

Get Rid of Clutter and Recycle at the SAME TIME!

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

Want to get rid of clutter for good, but make sure it goes to a great cause? Check out these ways to get rid of items and send them off to people in need:

1) Video Games- The Get-Well Gamers Foundation believes that playing Madden NFL 13 can help hospitalized children forget their pain. Send new and used games to its California HQ.

A young child plays video games after a procedure at a children’s hospital.

2) Running Shoes- One World Running promotes health in the United States and the developing world by sending new or nearly new athletic shoes to American shelters as well as Africa, Central America and Haiti. If your shoes aren’t quite “nearly new,” they’ll be recycled into material for tracks and playgrounds.

3) Prom Dresses- Get rid of unwanted tulle at Donate My Dress, which distributes prom, Sweet 16 and quinceañera frocks to girls who can’t afford them.

4) Onesies- If your infant has outgrown his teensy wardrobe, pass it on to Newborns In Need, which provides essentials for a child’s first weeks of life to hospitals serving ill and impoverished babies. The nearest chapter of Newborns In Need to Akron, Ohio, is the Hudson Chapter.

Here is a photo of onesies and sleepers donated to “Newborns In Need”

5) Teddy Bears- If your kids rooms are filled with practically new stuffed animals, consider donating them to Loving Hugs, which offers children in war zones, refugee camps and orphanages a cuddly new friend.

Pictured here are children in an orphanage with the teddy bears they received from “Loving Hugs”.

6) Eyeglasses- New Eyes for the Needy sends your old eyeglasses abroad, bringing the gift of sight to places like Bolivia, Ghana, and Cambodia.

7) Men’s Suits- Have you finally gotten a suit that fits? Donate old ones to Career Gear, which offers unemployed men interview clothing and career counseling.

 

An unemployed man looks for the perfect suit to wear to his upcoming job interview.

All of these options are a great way to get rid of unwanted items from your home– a great way to re-purpose!

Want more ideas on doing your part, like recycling, to save the environment? Go to the left of our homepage and sign up for the Keep Akron Beautiful newsletter. All we need is your name and email!

Landscapes of the Future: Sustainable Landscaping

By Cindy Pantea

Native grasses and plants for sustainable landscaping at homeHow about adding a field of native grasses and flowers to your landscaping to eliminate mowing? Or really planning to preserve what’s already on your property – tree for shade and natural streams – and then adding plants that will serve to feed yourself, the soil and insects?

That was the subject of last night’s presentation at the Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability (GAINS). GAINS is a group of business professionals who promote sustainability efforts in Akron.

The presentation, Paint Your Lawn Green – Sustainable Landscaping Techniques, was given by married couple and business partners, Samuel L. Salsbury, FAPLD, and Sabrena Schweyer, FAPLD, of Salsbury-Schweyer, Inc.

Sabrena, the plants expert, shared her knowledge about edible and natural landscaping. Samuel , the water expert, spoke about bettering combined sewer overflow systems (CSOs) and rainwater harvesting.

We learned from Samuel that having a combined sewer overflow system (rainwater and sewer), like ours here in Akron, means that in heavy storms, the combination rainwater and sewer flows into our rivers – contaminating them. Until such time as infrastructures can be built to store overflow water until it can be treated, it helps to be able to keep rainwater on your property, through rain gardens, wetlands, green roofs and rainwater harvesting (rain barrels), which can provide bioswales and help reduce overflow problems.

From Sabrena, we learned that certain plants and grasses can help with the absorption of rainwater. We also learned that we should copy the beauty of a natural landscape. After all, nature doesn’t plant in solid masses, so diversify. Plant in layers for direct benefit to humans, plant in areas of direct benefit to soil and wildlife, and choose plants that serve multiple purposes.

It’s called permaculture. It’s all about rethinking design, say these experts, and living more gently and in harmony with the earth. Do this instead of only inventing gadgets that, yes, aim to help but put only a band-aid on the larger environmental problems at hand – namely global warming.

But what will the neighbors or homeowner’s association say about my tall native grass field?

Nothing if they’re serious about the environment and conservation, and Samuel and Sabrena have had these conversations before – they won.

Meanwhile, this type of landscaping it is exactly what the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency advocates when it comes to the Conservation Reserve Program. In fact, the photo for this blog was taken from the USDA FSA Conservation Programs site, and it included this caption: Small CRP field enhanced with native grasses and flowers makes a lovely addition to the neighborhood.

It’s time for creative thinking in landscape design. I invite you to check out the site, and especially the portfolio page of Salsbury-Schweyer, Inc. You will absolutely fall in love with the natural beauty.

Thank you to GAINS for allowing me to talk about the Summit of Sustainability.

Find out more about GAINS. They’re on LinkedIn and Facebook!