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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: 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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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Programming Changes Due to COVID-19

Posted by on Mar 18, 2020 in Latest, Learning Center

April 4 Tox-Away Day Postponed In order to abide by current restrictions in place to fight COVID-19, the Hendricks County Solid Waste Management District will be postponing the April 4 Tox-Away Day at Brownsburg High School. The District is working to determine an alternative date for the event and will notify the public via local news outlets, social media and its email newsletter. Tox-Away Days are opportunities for Hendricks County residents to properly recycle or dispose of household hazardous wastes, medical sharps, unwanted medicines, tires, appliances, computer components and electronics. Currently, four other Tox-Away Days are scheduled for the year. Residents living in any part of Hendricks County are welcome to use any event. Each Tox-Away Day is open from 8am to 1pm. May 16 at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds in Danville July 11 at Hickory Elementary School in Avon September 19 at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds in Danville October 10 at Plainfield Middle School Many of the items and materials accepted for disposal and recycling at Tox-Away Days can be disposed of, recycled or donated for reuse every day via local organizations and waste management companies. Residents are encouraged to visit the District’s online Recycling Directory.  Opening of Yard Waste Recycling Centers Postponed Additionally, the opening of the District’s Yard Waste Recycling Centers in Brownsburg and Plainfield is being postponed to Friday, May 1. These centers accept brush, limbs, grass clippings, leaves and other organic matter for recycling from Hendricks County households. Fees are assessed for use of the centers and are based on the volume of material recycled. Brownsburg Yard Waste Recycling Center | 90 Mardale Drive Open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays | 7am to 5pm Plainfield Yard Waste Recycling Center | 7020 S. County Road 875 East Open Mondays, Friday and Saturdays | 7am to 5pm Residents can receive email updates and reminders about the District’s Tox-Away Days, Yard Waste Recycling Centers and other important waste and recycling information by subscribing to the District’s email newsletter, The ReSource. Please contact us with...

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Careful Car Care

Posted by on Aug 6, 2019 in Learning Center

Love of the automobile is an American tradition. Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are also a very American concept.  Millions of us do standard vehicle maintenance, including oil changes, in our own garages, barns and driveways. It’s a great way to save some cash, connect with your ride and get your hands dirty! But, it is vitally important that automotive fluids such as motor oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze and brake fluid are disposed of properly. Automotive fluids that are dumped down the drain, put in the trash or are poured on the ground can do significant environmental damage. If improperly disposed of, the amount of oil in one standard oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water. Every year, in the U.S., 180 million gallons of used motor oil is dumped on the ground, down sewers and into landfills by DIYers. That is 16 times the amount lost in the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989! The good news? There are many local outlets to properly recycle these types of materials. Most automotive fluids can be re-refined and used again and again—including motor oil, antifreeze and transmission fluid. When changing your own oil or working with another automotive fluid, carefully collect the unwanted solution in a sturdy container with a cap. Do not combine different chemicals in the same container. Used motor oil can be recycled locally at most auto service providers and auto parts stores—some local examples include Brownsburg Muffler and Service, Auto Zone, Indy Lube, Walmart, Mel’s Service Center and Indy Tire Center (full list). Some of these same places will also accept oil filters, brake fluid, antifreeze, and other fluids for recycling. Some limits may apply, so call ahead for program details and...

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