Jan 26

Commit (or Recommit) to Reusables

Posted on January 26, 2023 at 2:22 PM by Kaitlynn McCumiskey

Reusables finalAnother intention you can set for the new year is to commit to using reusable items instead of single-use disposable items. With a little bit of planning and preparation you can easily incorporate reusable items into your daily routine. You can have a significant impact by cutting your use of single-use items, such as coffee cups, straws, water bottles, coffee pods, and plastic zip top bags.

One great place to start is with your morning coffee routine. Instead of using disposable coffee pods, which are too small to be recycled in Ontario County, can you try one of these other options for making coffee?

  1. Reusable coffee pods- use a reusable coffee pod instead of a disposable one. You can fill it with any ground coffee of your choice. Disposable coffee pods can be pricier than regular coffee, so this option can quickly help to save you money too.
  2. Pour-over- pour-over coffee can be made quickly and easily at home or in the office. The only special equipment you will need is a pour-over cone, regular coffee filters, and hot water.
  3. French-press- a French press is another great option for making coffee at home or in the office. You place the coffee grounds in the carafe, top off with hot water, wait a few minutes, and then press down the built-in filter.
  4. Traditional drip coffee pot- don’t hesitate to dust off that traditional drip coffee pot in the back of the cupboard or pantry. Their ease of use makes them a classic for a reason. The most environmentally conscious choice is always to use something that you already have, instead of buying new.

Don’t forget to compost your coffee grounds and bring your reusable mug if you are grabbing a coffee on the go!

Jan 19

Compost your Food Waste

Posted on January 19, 2023 at 10:53 AM by Kaitlynn McCumiskey

Compost finalThis new year, one of the biggest impacts you can have is to commit to diverting your food waste from the landfill. You can reduce your household garbage by 20% or more by composting. There are so many options for diverting your food waste it has never been easier. You can compost at home in your backyard bin, utilize a drop-off location, or sign up for a curbside service.

If you are interested in backyard composting, we have resources to help get you started here. We will also have backyard compost bins available this spring. We will send out an email to the Special Collections subscriber list once the sale opens. You can sign up to receive emails by visiting OntarioCountyRecycles.org and clicking Notify Me at the bottom of the page.

If you are interested in composting, but not able to or don’t want to at home, you still have some great options to keep your food waste out of the landfill. Click here for a list of drop-off locations and curbside service providers.

Jan 12

Conduct a Waste Audit

Posted on January 12, 2023 at 9:00 AM by Kaitlynn McCumiskey

Waste Audit finalWhat is a waste audit? A waste audit is a process to analyze the types and amounts of waste that you produce. Without knowing what you are sending to the landfill, how can you make changes to reduce that waste? Please see below for simple instructions on how to perform a waste audit. We have even created a worksheet that will help you calculate and track your waste, making it easier than ever to identify areas that you want to improve. Have you ever wondered how much waste you produce in a year? Do you wonder how much of that waste could be composted? We’ve got charts and calculators that will make it easy for you to dive into all the details.

1. Beginning the Waste Sort

A. Assemble the waste sample to be sorted using one week’s worth of waste.

B. Organize containers for holding the sorted wastes and a scale for weighing the samples. Office wastebaskets, cardboard boxes, and five-gallon buckets all work well.

C. Weigh the empty containers that the sorted wastes will be placed into and record these weights on a label on each container.

D. Sort the waste by major component (paper, plastics, glass, metal, compostable organics, other).

E. Place the sorted materials into separate labeled containers.


2. Calculations

A. Weigh each filled waste container and subtract the weight of the container to obtain the weight of the sample. Use the worksheet (found here) to record the findings of your waste sort by filling in the spaces highlighted in yellow under the materials tab only. You can then explore the calculations and graphs tabs at the bottom for more information.

B. You may choose to further sort a major waste component into more specific subcategories. You may want to dive into the plastics to see what the different types are and if alternatives exist to eliminate that waste. You may want to dive into the compostable organics and see if it is food scraps (peels, coffee grounds, eggshells) or wasted food that could have been consumed but has spoiled. If it is wasted food, what can you do prevent food waste in the future?

C. Alternatively, you can keep a scale by your trash can and weigh materials each time you go to the throw something away. Keep track of the material type and weight and add everything up at the end of the week.

Once you figure out what materials you are throwing away you can identify habits you want to change to produce less waste. If you perform a waste audit, or have performed one in the past, we’d love to hear about it. We’re happy to review the results with you and offer assistance on how to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink your waste disposal. Email us at recycle@ontariocountyny.gov. The next two articles will identify solutions for two of the most abundant materials most people find they are sending to the landfill.