If you have arts and crafts supplies that you can no longer use but are in good shape and can be enjoyed by others, or if need more supplies for your kiddos but want to avoid buying brand new items at the store, there’s a Facebook group for that! ZWB Arts & Crafts Supplies Exchange – Boston Area is the Arts & Crafts Supplies subgroup of Zero Waste Beginners – Boston Area (which is a zero waste discussion group) and can be found at here (link to https://www.facebook.com/groups/471408600160965/). In this group you are invited to: (1) offer up FREE arts & crafts supplies!, (2) discuss and share Do It Yourself (DIY) projects, and (3) talk about how to cut down waste in the community. There are several other ZWB subgroups for exchanging items, and a list of them can be found here (link to https://www.facebook.com/groups/306954597181551/permalink/348249096385434/)
Recycling is now even more important than ever since we are doing more takeout’s, and stores, in general, are using more packaging. The city of Newton DPW sustainable materials management division has very specific rules for recycling. If you want to know how to best recycle black plastic take out containers, meal/grocery delivery packaging, or drugs containers. Check here (link to: https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Green-Cart-Chronicle.html?soid=1105979720296&aid=zYjabAIyZ38)
If you are surprised by snow in October, you may want to read a little bit more about factors influencing our weather including climate change and La Niña. You can find more information about this here (link to https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/us-winter-outlook-cooler-north-warmer-south-with-ongoing-la-nina)
Ever wonder what the environmental impact is of the food you eat? How beef compares to tofu? How beer compares to tea? Use the Climate change food calculator https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46459714 to compare the different foods you eat to other carbon consuming activities and foods.
Still thinking about joining the Appalachian Trail challenge? Or perhaps you already have and are looking for a new spot to check out. Members of the Green Team would like to share some of their favorite local nature trails for you to enjoy. Some of our favorites local spots include Hammond Pond Reservation, Kennard Park, Oakdale Woods Conservation Area, and Hemlock Gorge. If you wish to venture a little further and want a flat trail, Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley has beautiful views of the Charles River. If you are looking for a place with a variety of trails of varying difficulty, Noanet Woodlands in Dover has 17 miles of trails to explore. Wherever you go, we hope you enjoy all nature has to offer. In addition, we would also like to encourage families to bring some trash bags with you and to pick up trash while you are walking; if you are so inclined, you could share pictures with the Green Team and/or post them on the Keep Newton Beautiful Facebook page.
Do you want to limit visits to the grocery store? Do you worry about the stability of the food chain during COVID-19? Do you want to support local businesses? Do you want to protect the environment? Then, buy local.
Local food producers are small businesses that can help ensure a healthy food supply while reducing transportation costs. Often the food is delivered directly to you.
For more information, visit https://www.buylocalfood.org/buy-local/
We have previously highlighted the issue of food waste in MA in general and Newton in particular, and the importance of reducing it. To better manage food waste, we shared two tips; these were (1) RECYCLING food waste through composting and (2) REDUCING food waste via meal planning to help ensure that you don’t over-buy (see our tips in the February 2 and May 3, 2020 Updates, respectively). A third way to lessen food waste by REDUCING is to store your groceries properly, to keep your food fresh and tasty for longer, and to use your food up using a variety of suggestions in this handy tool (https://savethefood.com/storage)
In order to inspire our children to be mindful of the environment, we must teach them about nature. Did you know that the Oxford Junior Dictionary has removed a number of nature-related words—acorn, dandelion, fern, ivy, newt, otter, kingfisher, and more from its pages, replaced by words from the digital age like “bullet-point” and “broadband.” While certainly the latter are important for children to know, we must expose them to the words that describe our environment. The book, The Lost Words: A Spell Book by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris uses a mix of illustration and poems with those “missing” words, to conjure back the magic of nature. Until we are able to get to the library again to see this beautiful book, bring these lost words into conversation on your next nature walk to inspire tomorrow’s environmentalists.
Did you know that food waste accounts for 27% of the trash stream in MA and makes up 4,573 tons of Newton’s trash annually? In addition to RECYCLING your food waste by composting (see our tip in the February 2, 2020 Update), a very important way to manage food waste is to REDUCE it in the first place. Meal planning and using grocery lists can help ensure that you don’t over-buy. You can use this meal-prep tool (https://savethefood.com/planning) to ensure that you’re only buying what you need at the grocery store.
With all the extra handwashing, have you ever wondered if bar soap is environmentally better than using liquid soap? Bar soap isn’t 100% zero waste because of the paper wrapping or cardboard box it comes in (although you can get bar soap without packaging!) But it is much better for the planet than large plastic bottles of liquid wash. Bar soaps last a lot longer than liquid soap which makes them also less expensive. Besides hand soap there are also shampoo and conditioner bars as well as solid dishwashing bars available.