Saturday, April 20, 2013

SACG’s Earth Day Non-Observance

You may recall that the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden used to celebrate Earth Day in April along with a lot of other community gardens.  In 2010, we moved mountains and created our strawberry patch, blueberry bush turrets and neighbor/alley raised beds.  In 2011, we collected many bags of trash before it rained.  However, the organization sponsoring the City’s Earth Day annual event started coming up with pretty lame rewards for participating.   We used to get free compost  -- something we all desperately need.  Not anymore.   While we get some rewards for our volunteers – if they attend the City’s Earth Day party --  the event’s website has not recruited any volunteers for our or any other community garden (that I’m aware of) despite their best efforts using social media.   We didn’t participate at all last year (although, like always, we worked very hard that weekend).  This year, despite anemic interest among our gardeners, I tried to register  -- to get free food for the volunteers -- only to be told that we were too late.   It seemed that I had talked Green Columbus into letting us in late (because we didn’t need anything from the event organizers and were just trying to be social), but we still were not listed on their website.   Gotta wonder. 

The Dispatch ran a good article on Thursday reflecting something I've been telling folks for the past year:  Support for community gardens runs a mile wide and an inch deep.   We have been extremely blessed over the years to receive generous donations of various resources, but farming is hard work.  We need two kinds of volunteers:  1) Those individuals that are willing to come regularly and 2) Small groups --  that are willing to come once or twice a year (including in June, July and August).   We were blessed last year to have small groups come help us in June (Alliance Church/Urban Connections), July (Franklin County Master Gardeners), August (Vineyard Church) and November (Church of God Collide Youth Conference).

Sabrina, Tom and I were at the SACG this morning and got a lot accomplished.  A new neighborhood gardener was supposed to join us, but did not.  We put a latch on our eastern compost bin, put a latched gate on our middle compost bin, weeded the Garden paths, put wood chips around the BTBO raised garden beds next door, reinforced the south fence, moved extra cinder blocks to our western compost bin, transplanted more raspberry bushes, weeded the food pantry plot, and used our extra landscaping stones to create a flower bed along the southwestern fence line along East Main Street.  Barb and Frank mowed the Block Watch lot across the street with their electric mower.  (I out earth-dayed them by mowing my own lawn with my reel mower.  So there.)
On Monday (the actual date of Earth Day), Clean Turn will be delivering soil and mulch donated by Scotts Miracle-Gro and volunteers from Alvis House will be unloading it at the SACG.  Barb, Sabrina, Tom, Charlie and I will then use the soil to top off the raised beds and new flower bed and the mulch for our peach and cherry trees, flower beds, herb garden and the Block Watch flower beds.   (SACG Gardener and Artist John Sunami will be otherwise engaged on Saturday morning at the dedication of his street car statue at the corner of Livingston Avenue and Nelson Road.  Check it out the next time you drive by and remember that he also painted our sign).
Our Free Seeds from Botanical Interests have now all found a good home.  We shared them with the following community gardens:  Four Seasons City Farm, St. Vincent De Paul pantry garden (associated with Christ the King Catholic Church), Growing Hearts and Hands on Oak Street, Helping Hands (which grows food for the food pantry at the Clintonville/Beechwold Resource Center), and City Farm.  The remaining seeds went to the Growing Matters program, which supports a number of community gardens and approximately 250 backyard gardens in the Weinland Park neighborhood and near East Side.   I had planned to take them to the Tool Library, but Trish really wanted them and who am I to say no to her (or Jesse who came to pick them up and had to wait 15 minutes in the cold this morning while I gave a few other gardens a last-ditch  opportunity to get some).   I offered seeds to a number of other gardens, but they either did not need them or could not bring themselves to visit us on any Saturday morning this month.

We learned today that both of the families (and all of the kids) across the street from the Garden have moved away within the last week.  They gardened with us last year and the kids had asked to have their own raised beds again this year.  Sigh.  They will be missed – especially Kenaya.
Of course, I have some information about recycling to share in honor of Earth Day on Monday.
Responsible Recycling of Electronics.  If you are trying to get rid of household electronics (like televisions, monitors, computers, laptops, cell phones etc.), do not put them in the trash because they contain toxic metals.  Take them to Ohio Drop Off at 2899 Morse Road.  They actually will pay you for your old computer electronics, will unload your car for free and will only charge you $1 to properly dispose of your television.  They do not take refrigerators.  I’ve taken stuff there and you should, too.
RecycleForce Columbus now also provides a wide array of comprehensive recycling services to numerous clients and partners in central Ohio. Whether you’re a resident looking to get rid of that pile of junk that’s been sitting in your basement for months, or you’re a business that needs comprehensive e-waste disposal services, RecycleForce Columbus can meet your needs in timely and cost-efficient way.  And they employ ex-offenders to give them an alternative to a life of crime.  (Why should Bangledesh corner the market on recycling American electronics?)
Got A LOT of plastic?  Try Phoenix Recyling. They particularly want to hear from companies and manufacturers. They also want your Styrofoam (or the generic equivalent, called expanded polystyrene).
Now, the rest of us participate in curbside recycling. For almost any item in your home, SWACO has a suggestion about where you can take it to be recycled and avoid it going to landfill.  For instance, on July 27, 1992, SWACO’s Franklin County Sanitary Landfill began segregating and recycling appliances. An additional disposal fee is charged to cover the extra labor and recycling costs if appliances are brought to the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill. Residents can take their unwanted appliances directly to:
Central City Auto Parts
1930 McKinley Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43222
Accepts all appliances and refrigerators with Freon. There is a $15.00 fee for Freon removal. Drop off only – pick up service is not offered.

Columbus Appliance and Parts
2686 Westerville Road
Columbus, Ohio 43224
Takes all appliances and refrigerators with Freon and will evacuate Freon at no charge.
Drop off is free. Pick up fee of $29.50 if inside I-270.  Pick up fee of $39.50 if outside I-270. Additional fee may apply if appliance is in basement or difficult location

PSC Metals - Joyce
1283 Joyce Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43219
Will pay for metals and applicances. Will pay for applicances containing Freon and will evacuate Freon at no charge.

PSC Metals - Columbus
2205 Parsons Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43207
Will pay for metals and appliances. Will pay for appliances containing Freon and will evacuate Freon at no charge.

City of Columbus residents should call bulk pick-up at 645-3111. (Please Note that the City of Columbus will not pick up appliances with Freon).

Old tires should go to Liberty Tire Recycling located at 3041 Jackson Pike. Call 614-871-8097 for information.
Finally, the Columbus Underground ran the following article a while ago about common mistakes we make when putting items in the recycling bin that should not be going there.

Here is a list of 10 common recycling mistakes made at the curb. This list pertains to the Rumpke customers in Franklin County. If your community uses a different recycler, check their website for details.

1. Plastic tubs – yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, Cool whip, to-go containers etc. Rumpke only wants your plastic if it’s a bottle. (#5 plastic tubs can be recycled at Whole Foods Market)

2. Plastic cups & plates – just because it has a recycling symbol doesn’t mean the recycler takes it. Remember, only plastic bottles including; detergent, shampoo, milk etc.

3. Caps – Remove caps and lids from bottles and jars. DO NOT throw them in the bin.

4. Plastic bags – Plastic bags wrap themselves around the sorting equipment, and as a result, may shut down the whole facility. Recycle plastic bags at the grocery store.

5. Greasy pizza boxes – Grease contaminates the potentially recyclable cardboard because it cannot be removed from the paper fibers. Tear off the greasy part of the box and recycle the rest.

6. Motor oil and hazardous chemical bottles – residue remaining inside these containers presents a risk to handlers and contaminates other plastic recycling, collection trucks and processing facilities.

7. Napkins, paper towels, tissues etc. -. These are made up of fibers that are too short to be reused.

8. Dishes, drinking glasses, mirrors, window glass, utensils, cookware (glass, metal, ceramic, or disposable plastic) – Not for the curbside bin.

9. Styrofoam – egg cartons, meat trays, to-go containers, cups…any Styrofoam that’s been in contact with food. Sorry to say, these go in the garbage.

10. Coated food boxes – milk and juice cartons, frozen food packaging, juice boxes, paper coffee cups. These boxes are specially coated which make it difficult to recycle them.

We only have one earth; let’s try not to waste it:-)

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