Green Halloween

Posted by on Oct 3, 2017 in Learning Center

Halloween unofficially kicks off the season of celebrations. This is a great time to reduce garbage by using all of those other R’s you know so well (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink). So, start the season off right with these Green Halloween tips. Junk A Pumpkin – Think bent silverware, excess crafting supplies, game pieces, puzzle piece, screws, springs, doll hair… Up until now, these have been those items you have laying around that you didn’t know what to do with. Now you do! Check out this blog and video for some simple but creative ideas. Some of those bobbles and bits that are filling your junk drawer are also great scarecrow decorations! Un-decorate and Eat it – Choose a cooking pumpkin to decorate. Once you are finished with the decorated pumpkin, take off the easy-to-remove reusable decorations and make some pumpkin pie. Yum! Compost – Make sure to cut up the unused portions of your pumpkin and put them in your compost pile. Don’t have one? We can help you learn right here. Tricks for Toting Treats – Go ‘Charlie Brown’ and opt for the good ole pillowcase, reuse your plastic pumpkin, make a t-shirt bag, or use your reusable grocery bags to carry your treats. Bonus: Reusable bags hold more treats! Make your Own Costume – Have you seen the prices of costumes? There are many cool ideas online. Pinterest tons of great ideas. Bring Nature Indoors – Nature is a wonderful place to find decorations that bring the colors and smells of fall indoors to enjoy. Acorns, dried beans and corn, corn husks, gourds, pine cones, leaves, and twigs with brightly-colored berries make beautiful centerpieces. Since Halloween is just the beginning of our holiday celebrations, there are many other opportunities for greening your holidays. Like us on Facebook for more tips as the season rolls...

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Consider Composting!

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 in Adult Outreach, General, Learning Center

Food waste and yard waste together make up about 25% of what we throw away.  That means almost ¼ of what we throw away can be composted!  We can recycle nutrient rich “stuff” like leaves, twigs, grass clippings, weed and shrub cuttings, garden waste, and food waste back into the soil by letting nature do her thing. Composting reduces the need to water because of organic matter’s great water-holding capacity.  This can be a real money saver if you are on city water.  Compost can also replace the need for chemical fertilizers, improve soil structure (which cuts down on erosion), increase yields of fruit and vegetable gardens, and it can be fun! There are many different styles of composting, but they will all result in rich organic material that can be a great soil amendment.  And the best news is that compost happens…you can’t mess it up.  In fact, composting can be as easy as burying food scraps other than meats in your garden or flowerbeds.  Be sure you dig a hole at least 1′ deep and cover the scraps with 8″ or more of soil so animals will leave them alone. If you want to make compost that you can spread, here are the basics. Pick whichever method works for you. 1.  Bin or Pile – Deciding which one to use will depend on how fancy or neat you want your compost to be.  If you live in a residential area, you might prefer to keep it contained in a bin or store-bought composter.  A bin can also help to keep the pile from spreading as they will tend to do over time.  Bins can be pallets lined up to made a box, plastic bins, chicken wire, or a trash can with no bottom and air holes in the sides.  A pile should be at least 3’x3’ and preferably more like 6’x6’. 2.  Location – A pile or bin should be kept in a somewhat shaded area so that it won’t dry out so quickly. It is also important to keep it close the where you will eventually use the compost.  Some people choose to put the pile where they plan to plant next year’s crops so the finished compost can be spread right where it is.  You may also want to have your bin near the kitchen since you will probably incorporate a lot of food scraps. 3.  Tools – Basically all you need is a pitchfork to turn and aerate the compost.  A compost thermometer is sometimes helpful, as well. 5.  Recipe – Start with bare soil.  Exposed soil allows the flora and fauna living in the soil to travel into your compost and aid in the decomposition of the material. In general, a compost pile is made in layers of brown and green materials.  The exposed soil serves as the first layer of brown material. ...

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What To Do With Latex Paint

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017 in Learning Center

Unwanted or unusable latex paint seems to be everywhere. Many of us inherit a less-than-desirable collection of it when we buy a house; leftovers from the previous owners. The good news is latex paint is non-toxic and doesn’t require any special disposal (so please don’t bring it to Tox-Away Day…doing so slows down the line & increases the District’s cost to provide the events…). Once it’s been dried out, local trash haulers will pick it up with your normal household trash. But, there is a better way! Avoiding the need to dispose of that paint is a much better option. So, here are some quick tips to help you do just that. BUY IT RIGHT–the best way to avoid having leftover paint you don’t want is to buy the correct amount to begin with. Consult an online paint calculator or ask the representative at the paint counter for help figuring what you’ll need. STORE IT RIGHT–extreme temperatures will ruin paint! If possible, store paint in an interior closet. Be sure the lids are on tightly. You can even store the cans upside down and allow the paint itself to form an airtight seal against the lid. USE IT UP–before throwing paint away you no longer want, consider giving it another life. Maybe a neighbor or non-profit can use it (Habitat ReStore in Avon will accept usable latex paint in full or nearly full containers. They also sell a line of recycled paint–it’s good stuff at a very good price!). Or, perhaps it would make a perfect primer for your next painting project. If you must throw some paint away, simply add sand or clay-based cat litter to the paint until there are equal parts of absorbent and paint. Stir until well mixed. Place the uncovered container in a well-ventilated area until the mixture hardens. Then dispose of the uncovered container with your regular trash (leaving the containers uncovered lets your trash hauler know that the paint has been hardened).  TIP:  when drying paint from a container that is more than half full, line a sturdy cardboard box with a garbage bag. Alternate between pouring absorbent and paint into the lined box until the paint container is empty. Stir until mixed and let it harden. Click to watch our Latex Paint Drying Video Demonstration (yes, it is as exciting as it sounds…) Oil-based paints, stains, varnishes, lacquers, etc. should be disposed of at a Tox-Away Day. We accept these (and many other materials) free-of-charge at the...

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Yard Waste Recycling Centers are Open!

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017 in Learning Center

It’s hard to believe that materials that are so rich in organic matter and micronutrients could ever be called “waste”. But, we understand that not everyone has the time, space or inclination to compost. If you are looking to clear things like weeds, tree trimmings, plant materials, grass clippings and leaves from your yard, we have a place for you to recycle them. The District operates two Yard Waste Recycling Centers for your convenience in Brownsburg and Plainfield. The sites are open from April through November and are to be used by Hendricks County residents to recycle yard waste from their households. Businesses are not to use these facilities for material they may generate through their operations. Only organic material is accepted at these facilities. Tree stumps, sod, soil, building materials and plastic bags cannot be deposited at the Yard Waste Recycling Centers. Firewood may be left at the Centers free-of-charge for others to pick up to use. The material collected at the Centers is ultimately processed into mulch. Customers are responsible for unloading all materials. Wood chips are usually available for free pick-up at the Brownsburg Yard Waste Recycling Center. Residents are urged to call ahead to confirm availability and are responsible for loading and hauling the wood chips. Hours & Locations: Brownsburg Yard Waste Recycling Center 90 Mardale Drive Open 7am to 5pm on Tues., Fri. & Sat. Phone:  317-858-8231 Plainfield Yard Waste Recycling Center 7020 S. County Road 875 E. Open 7am to 5pm on Mon., Fri. & Sat. Phone:  317-838-9332 GreenCycle McCarty in Danville also accepts organic waste (including soil and sod) at the company’s facility in Danville and are another great, local resource for managing yard...

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Tox-Away Days: What You Should Know

Posted by on Mar 21, 2017 in Adult Outreach, General, Household Hazardous Waste, Learning Center, Programs, Recycling

The District offers multiple Tox-Away Days each spring, summer and fall. The events allow Hendricks County residents to dispose of their HHW free of charge. Fees apply for the recycling of televisions, appliances and tires (in some cases).  Regulations prohibit businesses from utilizing the events. So, what should you know if you are planning to utilize one of our upcoming Tox-Away Days? 1) They are very popular & well-attended.  As such, sometimes the lines for Tox-Away Days can be long.  But, don’t let that scare you away!  The lines typically move quickly with most visitors getting through in under ten minutes. Also, note that any Hendricks County resident is welcome to use any of the Tox-Away Days, you don’t have to only come to the one in your town. 2) We are there, rain or shine. Indiana weather is fickle.  But, regardless of the forecast or what might be falling from the sky, we will be there on Tox-Away Day. There have been instances when severe weather has necessitated us pausing the line so our workers could seek shelter.  If that happens, rest assured that we will resume the event when it is safe to do so and will get everyone taken care of. 3) Don’t bring latex paint.  We ask residents not to bring latex paint to Tox-Away Days.  Why? Because latex paint is a water-based substance and it is non-hazardous.  It can be dried out and disposed of with your normal household trash.  Discouraging latex paint from Tox-Away Days helps the District minimize costs and speeds the Tox-Away Day lines up for everybody (see #1 above). Check out our step-by-step paint drying video demonstration. 4) Document shredding is not available.  Protecting your private information is important.  But, the mission of the Solid Waste Management District is about protecting the environment. So, that’s our focus during these events.  Document shredding is available every day from Staples and Office Depot in their print departments.  Or, watch for information from your town about upcoming shredding events. 5) No heavy trash, please. Items such as mattresses, furniture, scrap metal, flooring and construction debris, etc. should not be brought to Tox-Away Day for disposal. We also are not set up to receive traditional recyclables like bottles, cans, newspaper and cardboard during the events. 6) Stay in your vehicle & let us do the work.  We Hoosiers are helpful & hard working by our nature. But, when it comes to Tox-Away Day, it’s better for everyone if you stay in your vehicle and let us do the unloading. The fact is, it helps keep the lines moving faster. Once one person gets out to help unload, then others begin to do the same thing–all that shifting, unbuckling, door opening, walking, chatting, walking, door closing, re-buckling and shifting takes time… 7) Be on time.  Tox-Away Days operate from 8am until 1pm.  The workers that...

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