"Think before you throw" has been the mantra of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County since becoming an intergovernmental agency in 1988.
In addition to providing solid waste management services, the agency has a variety of programs for materials that have recoverability or require safe disposal. These items cannot go in the curbside recycling cart or should not be thrown away in the garbage.
The agency also provides numerous resource materials to educate residents in its 23 member communities to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle -- and Compost.
As a new year begins, SWANCC encourages residents to be more aware of what they buy and throw away, and that there are many ways to recover materials rather than sending them to landfill.
Food scrap waste heads up the list. In November 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that food is now the single largest type of waste going to America's municipal landfills and incinerators.
More than 33 million tons of food is wasted each year. When food is discarded in landfills, it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Americans throw away up to 40 percent of their food, an average of 20 pounds per person a month.
Much of this wasted food is actually surplus, wholesome and edible food that could have helped those in need. Food waste makes up about 12 percent of what is thrown away.
To provide guidance for residents interested in composting, SWANCC developed a seven-minute video called "Composting At Home." To learn more about backyard composting, tips for success and a composting guidelines packet, visit swancc.org/recycling/composting. To view the video, visit youtube.com/SWANCC23.
"Less is best," states Mary Allen, SWANCC Recycling and Education director.
She encourages SWANCC-area residents to utilize the agency's programs and resources to become better educated consumers and environmental stewards.
"Education is power, and together we can and will make a difference for future generations," she added.
SWANCC also offers the following videos at youtube.com/SWANCC23: "Recycling 101: The Do's and Don'ts," "How to Get Rid of Paint and Household Chemicals" and "SWANCC's Programs for Special Materials."
The Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County is an intergovernmental agency that was established in 1988 and is comprised of 23 communities: Arlington Heights, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Kenilworth, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Palatine, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Skokie, South Barrington, Wheeling, Wilmette and Winnetka.
SWANCC provides member residents a variety of waste reduction and recycling services, programs and resource materials. These include collections for special materials that cannot go into the curbside recycling cart or should not go into the garbage due to toxicity or recoverability, such as: computers and electronics, prescription drugs and sharps, compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, mercury thermometers, holiday lights and batteries.
Visit swancc.org for more information.
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