Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Recycling Asbestos

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on June 9th, 2017

If you’ve ever remodeled an older home, then you know the trouble you’re in when finding asbestos insulation, siding or ceiling tiles. Most of us have heard about the dangers of Asbestos, but where did this material come from and why is it so bad? And how can we get rid of it safely? Well, let’s start at the beginning.

WHAT IS IT?images-5 It’s a natural occurring mineral found in the ground on every continent in the world. The asbestos minerals are made up of fine, strong fibers that are resistant to heat, fire and other chemicals. Because of it’s fire-resistant and insulation properties, it has a wide variety of  uses. Asbestos has a long history starting as far back as 2500 B.C. where it was first used as a cloth. But it was during the Industrial Age that it became the “go-to” material for ships, buildings, cars, and our homes. Some of the products made from asbestos include, cement, roofing, flooring (linoleum and carpet),  ceiling tiles, paper for electrical panels, break pads, and the ever popular home insulation. This stuff is everywhere!

asbestos4

Unfortunately, this widely used material comes with a heavy price, Cancer. One such cancer is Mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer linked to Asbestos exposure effecting your lungs, heart and/or abdominal regions. Those at greatest risk are construction workers, firefighters, mechanics, people working in factories, shipyards, mines and more.

The reason Asbestos is so dangerous is because the strong, tiny fibers that make up Asbestos can be easily released into the air. The fibers as so microscopic that you can’t tell you’re breathing them in. Essentially, you could be exposing yourself to it for years without any symptoms as it grows, and grows in your body.  Fortunately, we’ve moved away from using it and have instead replaced it with more environmentally acceptable substitutes. (*learn more on my website under Eco-Friendly Decorating). However, there’s still a lot of it out there.  So, what do we do with all of this cancer-laden material we’ve just unearthed in our home-sweet-home?

Recycle it! Yes, Asbestos can be recycled! Even though Asbestos resists most chemical reactions, it will react with strong acids and bases. The dissolved asbestos solution can then be melted and used to create glass or ceramic material. Recycling keeps it out of the landfill, where it’s still an active and dangerous material, and it can be reinvented into a useful, non-toxic material. Pretty cool, huh? Check with your local waste management facility to find out how and where you can recycle asbestos. *Removal of Asbestos material should always be handled by licensed and trained professionals.

There’s a lot of information out there on Asbestos and I want to point you to a very informative site brought to my attention by a Bright Ideas follower, Virgil, who was recently diagnosed with Mesothelioma and who has benefited greatly by the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net.

https://mesothelioma.net/recycling-asbestos/

This site has a wealth of information on Asbestos, industrial and occupational hazards, how to protect yourself, cancer treatments and support, how to recycle asbestos and so much more,  free and available to you. Please check it out!

Thank you  ~Colleen

If you have a Bright Idea you’d like to share, please contact me!

 

 

 

Yes , You Can Make A Difference!

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on November 23rd, 2010

What does Vegas, President Obama and the environment have in common? No, it’s not a trick question. The answer is: a woman who uses her creativity, strong set of values, and undying commitment to help ensure a cleaner world for all. Meet Dottie Turner, better known as “Dottie Do”. She’s Nevada’s recycle queen and she has a vision, a story to tell and a lesson for us all.

What you may see as trash, Dottie sees as treasure. A jar that once held jelly, now holds cotton balls on a bathroom counter. An empty juice bottle acts as a beautiful vase for a bouquet of flowers; a plain old shoe box decorated with bits of lace now functions as a jewelry case. Below, plastic pint baskets that once held berries are transformed into a decorative toilet tissue holder.

And of course, her proudest Dottie Do creation, an Obama ’08 campaign poster turned place mat which she presented to the then Senator during a town hall meeting.

Sound simple? Well, it is! In her own words, Dottie says’ “Everything that man has made, can be made into something different”. It’s true, we’re a wasteful society, but we don’t have to be. All we have to be is open. Open to possibilities, open to learning, open to giving and open to caring: for the environment and for future generations. I couldn’t agree more with Dottie when she says, “There are too many people who are not working for the future and thinking about what we leave our children.” She believes that “….our environment deserves as much attention as many of the other important issues of the day.” And she’s right, because without a healthy environment, we don’t have much of a future.

Since I started this blog a year ago, I’ve been preaching about the three R’s of being green: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I’ve said that it takes time to change  old wasteful habits and  that it’s not always easy. And, I’ve heard all the excuses as to why  it’s difficult. “I don’t have time”, “It’s too expensive to go green”, and of course,”I can’t possibly make a difference”. Well Dottie says you’re wrong and I agree. After all, here is a woman  taking her passion for people and planet and creating positive change in her little corner of the world. Imagine if we all took that approach.  Each one of us making a small positive step towards healthier, better living. Each one of us creating a ripple. Eventually, all the little corners of the world  would be a better place. The ripple effect of small change is rather large my friends. Just ask Dottie’s children, grandchildren, neighbors and me, a total stranger who has been so touched by this woman’s deep sense of caring and ingenuity that my ripple has extended out to all of you.

So, the lesson here is, do like Dottie Do! Think creatively, care deeply, and know that yes, you can make a difference!

All photos courtesy of Dottie Turner

Decorating with Flea Market Finds & Yard Sale Sensations!!

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on July 13th, 2010

Summer is a great time to get outdoors and hit the yard sales and flea markets for great decorating finds. And what better way to help the environment and your wallet! It’s a great way to recycle items that would eventually end up in a landfill and finding great deals is good for the soul and easy on the budget! With a little imagination, you can turn trash into treasure with just about anything! Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Repurpose an old, slightly beat up dresser with fresh paint or stencil and use it as a T.V. stand or night stand in a bedroom. Or, try placing it in your kitchen for exta storage for table linens and special dinner ware.
  • Create some mood lighting with an old glass lampshade and a candle. Look for a vintage colored glass lampshade, place the candle on a small dish and place the glass lampshade on top. You’ve just created a one of a kind lighting piece! The amber colored, dimpled glass piece I used here, creates an interesting textured shadow effect.
  • Picture frames can be turned into many beautiful new items. Install a mirror, fabric, wallpaper, or even a new picture to give an old frame new life. Here, I framed an old record store promotion poster of Mick & Keith. Feeling crafty? Turn your old frame into a serving tray. Place a piece of whimsical fabric or wallpaper under the glass, hot glue some wooden handles on the side and voila!
  • Old wooden doors add architectural interest to any room. In the bedroom, they make great headboards. They can also serve as a dinning table or coffee table. Just leaning one against a blank wall will create a nice conversational piece, adding texture and interest to the room. You can also repurpose old windows. For example, gather a couple of small pictures say, from your vacation, and glue each one to a piece of heavy cardboard. Now hot glue or nail the cardboard to the back of the window.You now have a very unique picture frame that you can hang on a wall of use as a coffee table top!
  • Decorative boxes are one of my favorites! Use them to store your old VHS or cassette tapes, remote controls, or pictures. Odd numbers like 3 or 5, make an interesting arrangement. If you’re lucky enough to find vintage hat boxes, you won’t have to decorate them yourself. However, if you’re feeling crafty, you can always decorate your boxes with shelf paper. Most shelf paper is self-adhesive, just cut it to the size of the box. Try stacking the boxes next to a side chair or place on a table for an added decorative touch.

The key to decorating with great yard sale and flea market finds is to keep an open mind. Try not to get hung up on what the item was originally used for, but rather, what you can do with it. Think outside the box. By doing so, you’ll create one of a kind pieces and give your home a more unique, personal look. Also, get out there early and don’t be afraid to haggle-that’s half the fun! And remember, it’s only a good deal if you love it and can create something useful from it. So, put your creative thinking caps on, get outside and have fun!

*Photo Credits: 2 picture window frame is property of Gail@MyRepurposedLife.Blogspot.com  and the glass lampshade photo is property of Colleen Kennedy.

Oil & Water Don’t Mix

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on May 25th, 2010

Didn’t we learn this lesson in 5th grade science class? It has been over a month now, since the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and it’s taken me this long to write about it because every time I think about it I want to cry. I’m sickened and heartbroken. I’m angry, sad, frustrated and scared and I don’t even live near the Gulf so I can only imagine how those closest to the scene of the crime are feeling. Yes, this is a crime scene. This is a terrorist act, in my opinion. This is not green living and it sure isn’t healthy.

The consequences of this spill are just starting to come to light as more oil covered birds are being found everyday and the death toll of hundreds of sea turtles and other marine life rises. As the oil reaches deeper into the wetlands of Louisiana, delicate ecosystems are being destroyed. One of the things that really scares me is the inevitability of the Gulf Stream carrying this pollution up the entire East Coast just as the summer season begins. As an East Coast native, I have spent many summers enjoying those beaches and I fear that will soon be just a memory and I’ll never enjoy those beaches again.

I’m also aware of the thousands of people that depend upon the coast for their livelihoods and my heart goes out to them. As I sit here in shock over the whole disgusting matter, I wonder WHAT CAN I DO? I know many of you are wondering the same while others, simply don’t understand how the spill in the Gulf effects them when they don’t live anywhere near the Gulf Coast. Well, if you love seafood such as oysters, clams, fish, etc. than you’re effected because these items are being destroyed and whatever items can be salvaged will be priced sky high.

Now, if you’re like me and don’t like seafood (yes, I grew up on the East Coast and don’t like seafood!) well, you’re still effected. Do you love the beach? Do you love to swim in the ocean and walk on the sand? I do! I love the the smell of salt water air. However, when there’s oil in the ocean we can’t swim. Oil in the water means oil on the beaches. That means beach walks will leave tar on your feet. Not to mention breathing that oil laden air.

O.K., so maybe you don’t even care for the beach. How are you effected? Simple. This spill happened because our government did not enforce any rules or regulations for the companies responsible. When one large company is exempt from following rules, that opens the doors for others to be exempt. That means, any large company can come into YOUR town and engage in destructive practices without any regard for you or for the environment. And guess what? It’s happening now, all over America. One just needs to look at Virginia’s coal industry practice of mountain top removal to understand. What’s worse is, these large companies get a slap on the wrist and are allowed to continue polluting and destroying lives. So much for homeland security.

Just because this disaster didn’t happen in your backyard doesn’t mean you’re free of its harm. We are all connected. You, me, the environment, everything is connected. We have just one world. Once we destroy it, that’s it. We don’t have another one to move to. I love this big, beautiful planet and I want to help save it. If you feel the same, than please, take action. Write to your senators, congressmen/women, the President and demand and end to oil drilling and demand clean energy now. Check out the links below to learn more:

Matter of Trust is collecting hair to soak up the oil. Learn more here: http://www.matteroftrust.org/

Environmental Defence Fund: http://www.edf.org/home.cfm

Greenpeace: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/

The Sierra Club: http://www.sierraclub.org/

Environmental California: http://www.environmentcalifornia.org/

BTW…..I know I’m supposed to be giving you tips on eco-friendly, healthy living but I had to vent a little. Besides, the best tip I can give you now, is to speak out for the environment because if we don’t we won’t have one.

Thanks for reading.

Peace, Colleen

*photo courtesy of Newsweek

Make Everyday Earth Day!

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on April 19th, 2010

By now, I’m sure you’re aware of the various Earth Day celebrations and events taking place in your community so, I won’t list them here.

Instead, I’d like to talk about how we can make Earth Day a daily celebration and not just something we do one day a year. Earth Day is not just about celebrating the planet but honoring it and we do that by the choices we make everyday. In my last organizing blog, 7 Tips for Better Organizing, I mention how being organized is a process and a matter of habit. If we take that same mentality and apply it to Earth Day, then slowly, everyday will become Earth Day. Here’s what I propose:


LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT OUR HABITS How are we shopping, eating, cleaning, traveling, consuming?  Can we recycle more? Can we consume less? In each of these areas we need to look at our actions and see if what we are doing is helping or hurting our environment. We need to explore alternatives and find eco-friendly solutions. I think one of the biggest change we can make is to consume less. Before we buy am item, we need to ask ourselves, do we really need it? Would my life suffer without this item, or could I actually get along without it? Also, are the things we’re buying supporting companies that are doing good in this world or are we supporting companies that continue to pollute our environment? For example, fair trade products help local families earn a decent living while supporting sustainable practices.

THE LARGER PICTURE What we do today, effects how we live tomorrow. It has been said that it takes 30 days to change a habit. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. It takes commitment, dedication and honesty. It’s a process that begins with small steps. Let this Earth Day be a new beginning, like New’s Year Day. What small step will you take today, tomorrow and the next day to make our world a better place? Honor  Mother Earth, our home, by changing habits to support a healthier, happier lifestyle. In the end, we’ll all be the better for it!