Do Something Good This Earth Month

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April is earth month and that is a chance to reflect on how we value the air, water and land that we live on. Take a look through the below ideas of things you can do (or do something else) and send me an email (rdicks@co.pierce.wa.us) with the tag line #DoSomethingGood and a short description of your effort and you will be entered to win free lunch with the Sustainability Manager or other prizes.

Go to the Sustainability Expo

Tacoma offers a great resource to South Sound residents in the annual South Sound Sustainability Expo Saturday April 14th. I will be there talking sustainability and I always learn new things about areas that interest me in the sustainability field.

Create a Rain Garden 

Two months ago I made an impassioned plea that we need to do something to save the last 76 Southern Resident Orca Whales (thanks for listening). One thing we can do is reduce the amount of toxic stormwater entering our storm drains that goes directly into our lakes, rivers and Puget Sound. Because I recently moved and now have a home with a grass area (I don’t want to mow) I was able to build a rain garden over the course of a few months.

My Orca Swale is dramatically reducing the stormwater on my block and it is visually much more interesting than yellow grass. It also will water my plants and has been a great way to get to know my neighbors. I never thought I would look forward to rain but I now am happy to see the usual wet spring forecast.

Travel into Nature

Spring is a great time to get out into nature and try some of Pierce County employees favorite hikes.

Go on a Bike Ride

Pierce County Public Works has created a great Bike Map so you can try a new trail this month.

Get a Garden Going

Now is the time to grow your own local produce. Not sure how to get started try this book. No room for a garden consider joining a community garden or sign up for Terra-Organics delivery to your County Building.

Plant a Tree

Trees clean our air and our water and make your home more valuable. Remember the “second best time to plant a tree is today.”

Recycle these six things you would normally throw away By Angela Angove (SWM)

Spring cleaning is more than just cleaning your home of dust and dirt that has built up over the winter months. It is also an opportunity to deal with all the extra “stuff” that quickly accumulates in the deep dark corners of your closets and garage. Before tossing those burned out holiday lights or broken power tools, know that there are several recycling options for all that stuff in Pierce County and beyond.

Crayons

For crayons in good condition, consider donating them to a local hospital, homeless shelter or after school program.  But for those broken and unwanted crayons taking up space in your drawers and storage totes that always seem to find their way into your laundry, send them to the National Crayon Recycling Program to be recycled into new crayons. Profits from the sales of the recycled crayons support the Crayon Recycle Program and recycling education.

Eyeglasses

For old prescription eyeglasses, reading glasses or sunglasses, consider donating them to the Lions Club. The Lions Recycle for Sight program distributes glasses to people in need in low and middle-income communities through the world. You can mail in your old eyeglasses or drop them off at any one of the collection box locations throughout Pierce County.

Holiday lights

Holiday light strings and Christmas lights can be recycled all year round at local recycling centers. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium partners with the Girl Scouts of America each holiday season for the Holiday Lights Recycling Program with drop off locations at the Zoo and throughout the greater Tacoma area. All proceeds from the program go toward the Dr. Holly Reed Fund which funds various animal conservation efforts.

Mattresses

Instead of taking that old mattress to the landfill, consider passing it along to a neighbor in your local Buy Nothing group or through Freecycle.org. There are also several locations for donation or drop off included in Pierce County (see link at the end of this article).

Power tools

When your finishing sander sands its last board or you are just tired of staring at that compound miter saw that does nothing but collect dust, consider donating it to a local tool library. Tool libraries are just like traditional libraries but with tools instead of books. The Tacoma Tool Library provides low cost access to shared tools and other durable goods, and encourages re-use, repair, and reduced consumption.

 Wine corks

You can only dream up so many DIY craft projects with wine corks. When you run out of ideas, either pass them along to a neighbor in your local Buy Nothing group or visit ReCORK to find a local drop-off location in Pierce County. ReCORK recycles and repurposes cork for products that replace environmental harmful foams and plastics otherwise used. There are a handful of locations right here in the Tacoma area that participate in this recycling program!

For a more comprehensive list for these and many other items to recycle during your spring cleaning please visit the Recycling Menu hosted by Pierce County here.