Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Health & Wellness: Environmental Conservation

From the Grace Church Health and Wellness Committee, April 2008

April 22nd was Earth Day. That day, I heard an interesting discussion on environmental conservation. Two divergent Christian perspectives were presented. From one perspective, God is characterized as having created the earth and human intervention to preserve or conserve the earth is unnecessary. Alternatively, God created the earth and called man to conserve its resources. I support the second perspective.

Environmental Conservation begins at home. The principles undergirding these lifestyle choices are simple. Look for opportunities to recycle, reuse, repair rather than replace, and when disposal is necessary, do so properly.

· Recycling – The City of Cincinnati asks residents of single family dwellings to recycle their glass and clear plastic containers, paper products and aluminum cans. Residents are encouraged to recycle the following items: mixed office paper, magazines, cardboard, broken down telephone books, junk mail, brown grocery bags, computer paper, and paperboard (such as cereal boxes). Recycling bins are provided for free to these residents and are emptied weekly when set at the curb with your garbage. Recycling bins are also available to residents of dwellings of nine units or less.  Rumpke offers eight free drop-off sites within the City limits. Recycling these items performs two functions. It minimizes the need for manufacturing and packaging plants to buy additional raw material to make these products. In addition, it reduces the amount of solid waste that must be transported to an appropriate site and landfilled. Space within existing landfills is diminishing and siting new landfills for construction is becoming more difficult.

· Reuse - Donating your used car (truck, van, RV) for reuse is an option for us all. Several local agencies (e.g., St. Vincent de Paul, “Kars-4-kids.org,” Greater Cincinnati Television Educational Foundation, the Kidney Foundation) all accept donations of vehicles. Most of these agencies will come to your location and pick up the vehicle. All that is required are the keys and title. The vehicle does not have to be in good running order.

· Repair Rather than Replace: This wise saying used to be very common. Admittedly for some items like shoes, electronics and many appliances, this practice is more challenging than it was even ten years ago, but it is still possible. Consider repairing items before defaulting to replacing them. Consider durability of an item during its purchase.

· Dispose of Properly: Once an item clearly falls into the category of waste, its proper disposal is critical. Waste may be categorized as solid waste, construction and demolition debris (baseboard, wood products and concrete), hazardous waste (used motor oil, oil-based cleaning fluids, and turpentine), infectious waste (medical waste, used bandages, needles and other “sharps”) and yard waste (leaves and branches) . Solid waste is what we routinely put in our trash cans for weekly pickup at the curb. Included might be such items as food products, broken toys, and vacuum cleaner bags. Neither construction debris, hazardous waste, nor yard waste, should be put in your trash. Infectious waste may be placed in the “regular” waste stream but should be properly packaged to protect workers from injury.

Should you have concerns or want additional information about the material presented above, please contact your local health department, department of environmental services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.USEPA.gov), the Rector, or someone on the Grace Church Health and Wellness Ministry Committee (Chaired by Mrs. Florence Poyer, R.N.)

Prepared by: Walter S. Handy, Ph.D., member, Grace Church Health and Wellness Ministry Committee

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