Reduce/Reuse/Recycle and Pollution Prevention
Maine is working to achieve higher rates of individual and business recycling—and needs your help to succeed. Visit the State’s recycling program website for information on ways to recycle standard items (like mixed papers and plastics) and goods that need special attention (like batteries, cell phones and compact fluorescent bulbs). The State’s Maine Recycles Campaign also has posters and other materials available to help spread the word to employees, clients/guests and others about your business’s commitment to recycling.
Here are some other ideas for minimizing your generation of waste:
- Carry and use cloth bags for shopping–whether at home or on the road. Americans burn through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually, according to the Wall Street Journal (most of which end up incinerated, landfilled or clogging waterways and endangering wildlife).
- If you’re getting rid of items that still have life in them (wherever you call home), consider participating in www.freecycle.org -- which helps find others who could use what you no longer need. In Maine, many weekly papers also have a “Free” section in their classifieds where you can list items that others might reuse, keeping more stuff out of the waste stream.
- Get ideas for recycling and reusing from Green America’s article “21 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Recycle”
- By law in Maine, all “waste” computers and televisions must be recycled. The State Department of Environmental Protection provides guidance on how to do this. If you’re upgrading but your old equipment still works, you can post a listing at http://www.recycles.org/states/Maine/.
- Maine law requires the recycling of compact fluorescent bulbs as they contain small amounts of mercury that should not enter the waste stream. Just return bulbs to one of the more than 200 retail stores in Maine participate in Efficiency Maine’s recycling program for CFL bulbs.
- The Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club has compiled a list of locations where you can take batteries and items containing mercury for recycling.
- Get more ideas on ways to recycle and posters and flyers to help spread the word at the State’s Maine Recycles website.
One of the best means to reduce water and indoor air pollution is to use “green cleaners” that are made without toxic chemicals. The State has compiled a list of green cleaners that is useful reference for households and businesses.