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Learning Center

Here District staff members provide timely and useful information to you in a format that will allow you to quickly learn how every step you take to reduce, reuse and recycle DOES matter. The best way to stay connected and ensure you receive updates and reminders from us is to sign up for our e-newsletter; just complete the form at the bottom of our homepage.

Amy’s Zero Waste Quest: Managing Waste While Moving

Posted by on Jul 17, 2020 in Learning Center

Zero waste moving (closer to Near-o waste) is top of mind for us at the District as we just moved our office from Brownsburg to Danville moving tons of “stuff” (educational manipulatives, displays, furniture, etc). Here are some tips we can share with those of you who are on the move and don’t want to make a lot of trash. Sort everything as you begin packing into three categories, “keep”, “donate”, and “toss” (yes, some things still have to be thrown away). Make a plan for the items you will donate. Goodwill is a good place for most things.   And, you might be able to share your abundance with others in need, too.  Here are our favorite donation sites: Habitat for Humanity ReStore  – for furniture, lamps, fixtures Half Price Books – books, games, audiobooks, DVDs Consignment shops – clothing Check your “toss” items to make sure they are not Household Hazardous Waste. Look for a “Caution”, “Warning”, “Danger”, or “Poison” label.  If you see these labels, you need to bring those items to our next Tox-Away Day.  Check our website for details.  HendricksSolidWaste.com Pack items in reused boxes (ask local retailers) or storage totes (can be used again after the move). In our case, we were able to use lots of recycling bins and worm bins.  There is also this nifty service bin-it.com Instead of using packing peanuts for breakables, consider using towels, blankets, and even stuffed animals to cushion your fragile things. Recycle, recycle, recycle!  Make sure that when you set up your trash service, you also set up curbside recycling service.  Break down boxes, smooth out newspapers, and make sure that one of the first things out of the truck at your new home is a recycle bin.  Place it right next to the trash can so that it is very clear what goes where as you...

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Reread, Relisten, & Rewatch

Posted by on Jun 8, 2020 in Learning Center

Reread, Relisten, and Rewatch should be added to the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle list.  The written or spoken word, music, and movies do not wear out and some get better with time.  Lucky for us there are people willing to share used media for others to enjoy. If you are an avid reader who enjoys the aesthetics of a book, you may find yourself with mountainous piles and shelves full of books that you have already read.  Or maybe you are a movie buff or music lover who can’t resist a sale.  Piles of stuff that you no longer want or need can add stress to your life and can add trash to the landfill. Perhaps it’s time to share your media treasures! Shop or sell/donate to your local Goodwill or Half-Price Books.  It’s easy! Half Price Books – You can either sell your used books, buy used books at a discounted price or BOTH! Accepted: Children’s books, hardback books, paperback books, DVDs, audiobooks, CDs, LPs, Magazines, Audiobooks, Video Games, Video Game Consoles, and E-readers. Tips: Make sure that you bring good quality, nondamaged materials.  Books should have little to no highlighter marks or underlining and though they can be in less than perfect condition, they should not “smell funny”. CDs and DVDs should have little to no scratches and should be in their original cases. Books and magazines that are new and trending tend to bring more money than last year’s hottest reads. Half-Price Books donates or recycles what they cannot resell. Goodwill – If you don’t want to bother with selling your books, movies, or music, or if you are only looking to buy this might be the option for you.  Plus, as an added bonus you can write off the donation on your taxes. Accepted: Gently used books, movies and music, video games, game consoles, E-readers, and Audiobooks. Tips: Flip through your books to make sure you haven’t left any personal items between the pages. Make sure that CDs and DVDs are in their correct...

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Amy’s Zero Waste Quest: Farmers’ Markets

Posted by on May 21, 2020 in Learning Center

As part of my quest to zero waste I plan to make an effort to eat locally this year. If you are working on being a locavore, it helps to have a plan. Eating locally supports local agriculture, requires the use of less energy to transport food, fosters a sense of community, makes less waste, and is better for you. Whether you are a Farmers’ Market Newbie or a well-seasoned veteran, we have got the low-down on what you can expect to find in-season and when in Indiana. Before you visit the Farmers’ Market it helps to know which fruits and vegetables will be at the peak of the season and when you can expect that to happen. This guide will allow you to know when you can find your favorites and also when the season will wane (this is when you can get the best deal on bulk purchases).  We will focus on the local favorites: Strawberries and Blackberries – Don’t wait!  These delicious little beauties are ready in June. Look for shiny, brightly colored fruits that are fragrant. Lettuce and other greens – High in antioxidants and easy to prepare, greens are ready in June. Be sure to eat them as soon as you purchase them for the best flavor. Peas – Peas that are homegrown are sweet and lovely. Eat them raw, cook them right away or freeze them for later. Peas are available throughout June and into July. Potatoes, Brocolli, Carrots and Beets – Farmer’s Markets have all kinds of varieties to choose from. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. You will find all of these available beginning in mid-late June and into July. Beans, Cucumbers, Melons, Sweet Corn, Squash and Tomatoes – Jackpot! All of these wonderful local favorites are ripe at about the same time. Mid-July through August you will be able to feast on this bounty. Now that you know when to find your favorites, you might be looking for some recipes. Check out the following books:  Fresh From the Farmers’ Market by Janet Fletcher and The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather.  These are great reads with some recipes for all of those local finds. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the farmers you purchased your produce from. Very often, they can provide you with recipes and tips for preparing and preserving their harvest. Hendricks County’s farmers’ markets are beginning to open. Danville is now open on Saturdays from 8 am-noon until September. Plainfield will be open Wednesdays beginning in June, Avon on Tuesdays beginning in June, and Pittsboro will open on Wednesdays beginning July 1st. Brownsburg farmers’ market will likely open in...

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Focus on Food Waste

Posted by on Mar 25, 2020 in Learning Center

This particular topic, above all, is a personal heart mission. Approximately 1/3 of the food purchased in the US is wasted. At the same time, more than 41 million Americans face hunger, including nearly 13 million children, according to USDA. This is where the “Rethink” of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink” really comes into play. It takes some work to change your way of doing things. Just like you, I am busy. I don’t need another thing to do. But big changes require doing things you haven’t done before. And big change is what’s needed to put food into hungry people’s mouths instead of the trash can. Here’s what I am doing to change my behavior around food waste… Plan ahead and create a menu | Before I create my menu, I “shop” in my pantry and refrigerator/freezer. I try to pay attention to what the family has planned for the week, who will be home, how many people I am cooking for, and how many leftovers we will need for lunches the next day (we also pack our lunches). Another thing I am beginning to pay more attention to is the timing of when I need to use certain ingredients before they start to look unappetizing and therefore go uneaten. Know what the dates mean | The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service gives the following advice on their website about dates on food and what they mean https://www.fsis.usda.gov A “Best if Used By/Before” date indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date. A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date. A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula as described below. A “Freeze-By” date indicates when a product should be frozen to maintain peak quality. It is not a purchase or safety date. Get Inspired | I like to have a little inspiration when I am making big changes. Here are some movies to inspire you… “Expired” from www.notreallyexpired.com “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story” on Amazon Video Store and Use Food Properly | I found two great online resources for this one. Savethefood.com—storage, planning and recipes The Foodkeeper app—search your food type and it will tell you how long a particular food will keep and proper storage options Recipes for leftovers | There are so many great recipe books and websites available. One of my favorites is “Eat it Up!” by Sherri Brooks Vinton. Bonus: Amazon has used copies (flexing the “Reuse” muscle twice). A running mantra in our house is “Do it for the kids!” Who’s with me? Let’s do it for all the kids; young, old, born and yet...

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