BUCKHANNON – Earth Day is every day, so for anyone who wants to extend their celebration of April 22 beyond a single day into the weekend and beyond, we have compiled a few ways to do that.
For those who go online to look for ways to celebrate this year, newswire.ca offers folks five COVID-friendly ways to celebrate Earth Day at home. These ideas include hosting an outdoor scavenger hunt; exploring your home for any item that could be upcycled and used as a planter; doing a home energy audit to find ways to conserve energy; taking the family Earth Pledge; and completing a carbon footprint activity.
In addition, check out EarthDay.org, to learn about more ways to take action now.
Locally, residents often wonder how to recycle, reuse and even repurpose some different items and here are some ideas to recycle hard-to-recycle items and keep them out of our landfills. Items that are often particularly difficult to reuse or recycle include newspaper and office paper, clothing, nail polish, plastic bags, plastic laundry detergent containers and winter accessories.
In the past, Buckhannon has offered tire recycling events, but one has not happened in Buckhannon since January 2019 due to the pandemic. But if you’re willing to travel a few miles, the recycling of tires is permitted on the first Thursday of each month from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tucker County Landfill, located in Davis, West Virginia, according to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s website. At that landfill, tires will only be accepted from W.Va. residents, so be sure to bring along your current West Virginia identification. The limit of tires is 10 per person, and they must be off the rims and tires are only accepted from cars or light trucks.
Just last weekend, on April 17, a paper-shredding event took place at the Recycling Center located on Mud Lick Road. If you missed that event, Belinda Lewis, director of the Upshur County Solid Waste Authority, said not to worry – there will be another community paper-shredding event in Buckhannon in September.
Some folks have utilized their additional time at home during the pandemic to whittle down their belongings, and those purged items must go somewhere. That’s why My Buckhannon talked to Kristi Wilkerson, director of the Upshur Parish House and the Clothes Closet of Buckhannon, to get some advice on how to put household items, cosmetics, clothing, decorations and books to use by giving them a second home and repurposing these items.
Wilkerson said donations of items to the Clothes Closet can help reduce the number of items in landfills and help other neighbors in the community.
“Some of the folks in the community have shared that they do not want to put items they are no longer using – or never did use – out in a landfill or put them out with the trash,” Wilkerson shared. “If someone else can make use of these items, they would rather donate them to organizations like us, and that really helps us and neighbors in the community. We appreciate that they think of us and want to help us out.”
Wilkerson said the Clothes Closet accepts a variety of items – gently used and clean clothes, housewares, plates, glasses, utensils, crockpots that still work, baby items (not car seats), non-upholstered furniture and books.
“Cosmetic items that are new or that look new can be donated to the Clothes Closet,” Wilkerson said. “Sometimes we get folks that are moving who will donate cosmetics, unopened bottles of deodorant or shampoo or even food. As long as items are not expired or as long as it is not past the ‘best used by date,’ they are something we can take and resell.
Wilkerson said the Clothes Closet accepts donations of books, and avid readers enjoy coming in to purchase those books.
“That keeps the books in circulation and helps save a tree,” Wilkerson said.
Live houseplants are another item people donate to the Clothes Closet.
“We have a neighbor in the community who donates plants, and she also does cuttings to start new plants,” she said. “Sometimes our garden growers have an abundance of something, and they donate that to us, and we can distribute that through our food pantry. Items like that can be left on the Parish House front porch or they could knock on the door to donate fresh produce. Nothing needs to be done to the produce – it does not need to be peeled, stringed or blanched. It is best left whole and untouched.”
Wilkerson said the Parish House uses items it sells at the Clothes Closet to raise funds to help neighbors with purchasing medicine, paying past-due utility bills and rent and for Christmas and Thanksgiving food baskets and meals. So, not only are items reused and recycled, but also, the sale of some of the items generates funds to help neighbors in need.
“Folks who need help with clothing can come to the Parish House and make an application for clothing from the Clothes Closet,” she said. “Neighbors can apply for this two times a year and the vouchers are good for four outfits – pants, shirts, socks – per family member. Each person can get a jacket or a hoodie and the family can get one household item such as a crock pot.”
In addition, if you’ve been throwing away plastic grocery bags, there are some far more planet-friendly options. You might consider purchasing reusable grocery bags that can be taken in the store to use each time they shop. But, realizing we forget these, Kroger of Buckhannon has a recycle container for paper bags located in their store immediately as you enter on the right.
Those large plastic laundry detergent containers are difficult to recycle so we offer two solutions: first, people may reuse those by purchasing laundry detergent in non-plastic containers and refill the original containers. The second idea is to purchase eco-friendly laundry sheets that are now available online. They are ultra-concentrated, pre-measured strips of liquid-less laundry detergent that can be tossed into the washer and can be used in all types of laundry machines, including the high-efficiency ones.
A final suggestion, especially as weather temperatures have dipped back down and snow has returned, anyone who has extra hats, scarves, earmuffs, gloves and mittens should consider packing up gently used items in baggies and placing them on the tree outside of Stockert Youth & Community Center for children or adults who may have lost their items or outgrown them. It will help folks remain warm as the temperatures have grown cold again.
However, you choose to celebrate Earth Day, we hope you remember to reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle and work to take care of our wonderful planet.