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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.

Latex Paint Disposal

Posted by on Mar 9, 2018 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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Environmental Educator of the Year | Emily Cates

Posted by on Feb 26, 2018 in Learning Center

Emily Cates, Food Service Administrator for Avon Community School Corporation, was honored last week as the District’s Environmental Educator of the Year! Mrs. Cates has worked for years reducing the environmental impact of the School District’s Food Services Department. Through her efforts, her department has been awarded multiple grants from the Solid Waste District aimed at bolstering the School District’s cafeteria recycling program. Additional grants were awarded to replace wasteful single-use plasticware and polystyrene trays with durable, reusable flatware and trays. Most recently, Mrs. Cates has helped organize a food rescue program that is not only diverting edible food from the waste stream, it is getting that food into the hands of those in need right here in our community! Thanks to the food rescue program, student with leftover fruit, prepackaged food, and drinks, can simply place those items aside when they are done eating. Those items are then made available for other students, taken to the Mary Lee Maier Community Pantry, and distributed to other nearby food pantries. Emily Cates is quick to point out that the extensive environmental stewardship programs she oversees would not be successful without the help of those she works with in Food Services Department and the support of the Facilities staff members across the District. While Emily Cates isn’t an environmental instructor in the traditional sense of the word, she’s certainly taught many student and staff members what it means to reduce, reuse and recycle! Congratulations,...

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Electronics Recycling

Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in Learning Center

Did you notice how many electronic devices were given as gifts during the holidays? It’s true that electronics comprise an ever-increasing proportion of what we throw away. We have seen a huge increase in a number of electronics we receive at our Tox-Away Days. In fact, in 2017, we received and recycled over 100,000 pounds of e-waste through that program–a 19% jump over the previous year. Fortunately, there are options for safe disposal of electronics in Hendricks County. Below, we’ll explain an easy way to connect to those recycling options. First, let’s talk about why it is so important to recycle your electronic gadgetry. Electronics make up about 1-2% of the waste stream (what we put in the trash). A greater issue is the rate at which this portion of the waste stream is increasing and the toxicity of those items. Electronic waste is the fastest growing portion of the waste stream! What’s more, CRT’s (cathode ray tube) TVs and computer monitors contain many toxic substances including lead, mercury and cadmium. To protect our air, soil and groundwater from those contaminants, most electronics cannot be disposed of in a landfill or incinerator. Local electronics recyclers include Goodwill, Best Buy, Staples, Electronics Recyclers International, NuGenesis, Office Depot and Ray’s Recycling Transfer Station. You should always contact the recycling organization directly for details about their specific program prior to delivering your items. A couple of notes on recycling televisions:  not all electronics recyclers will accept TVs for recycling. Those that do will charge $20 or more to take them. (The District charges $20 or $25 per television (depending on size) at our Tox-Away Day events.) Need help recycling other post-holiday leavings? Visit our Online Recycling Directory.  Once there, select the item you have and your local options will populate....

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Green Gift Wrapping Ideas

Posted by on Dec 11, 2017 in Learning Center

It should come as no surprise that Christmastime isn’t the most eco-friendly time of the year. We’re not here to bust your chops about that. But, there are some fun and easy ways to create less trash as you celebrate this year. One of the easiest ways is rethinking how you wrap the gifts you give; especially since wrapping paper is not recyclable! (Neither are traditional bows and ribbons…). Here’s our list of earth-friendly alternatives to traditional gift wrapping: Furoshiki. Never hear of it? The idea is to wrap a gift in a square of fabric. No finding the end of the tape, no running out of paper, and you can use a scarf, hanky, hand towel, or blanket to make the wrapper part of the gift. There are some great how-to videos on YouTube. Cardboard kind of looks like gingerbread. Decorate accordingly. Add a touch of the outside instead of bows. Pine clippings, boxwood, holly, cedar, pine cones and rosemary make for beautiful and fragrant adornments. Wrap gifts in Kraft paper and recycle it when you are done. (You can find it with the shipping supplies at stores or you can use paper grocery bags turned inside out). Another alternative to bows is to print a favorite picture of the recipient to add to the box. Use reusable bags. Start a new tradition. Make or buy a Santa sack for your children. No wrapping needed. Did you get some bubble wrap in a shipment? Wrap a box in bubble wrap.  It kind of looks like ice/snow and it’s basically a toy, too.  Who doesn’t love to pop bubble wrap? If you still get a newspaper, wrap in the funny papers. Use old wallpaper scraps. Your favorite sheet music can make a cool wrapper. (Okay, maybe not your favorite…) Cereal boxes can be folded into new boxes. Only have the top or the bottom of a gift box. That can be folded into a new box, too. Pringles cans make great cookie holders. Old holiday cards can be made into new gift tags. Yarn, satin ribbon, jute and other craft supplies can be used for tying packages. Aluminum foil is both shiny and recyclable. Need other ideas? One...

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