Tomorrow is America Recycles Day and we are pumped about some new things in Des Moines!

Two weeks ago we had the joy of accompanying Kum & Go in placing recycling bins at the pump at their convenience stores  in the Des Moines metro area. A project fueled by a DNR SWAP grant (pun intended) and put into place by RecycleMe Iowa and Waste Management will help divert more waste from the landfill.

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We are always happy to see that recycling is becoming more available and common in every day life and enjoy being a part of that movement. Enjoy being pumped up to see all the new recycling bins at local Kum & Go locations!

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As Halloween rapidly approaches, we thought we would give you a few ideas to green it up. This is a different list than the others you’ve read because we are giving you a practical action step to take post-Halloween hangover party.

Fun Fact: The average family of four spends around $330 for Halloween between costumes, decorations, candy and other spooky one time use tidbits. Sadly, the bulk of this ends up in the landfill for hundreds of thousands of years.

Good news: Every problem has a solution (read #1!)

Here is how you can green your orange:

1. Call us to avoid the landfill! 
- RecycleMe Iowa is offering to pick up your used Halloween decorations, pumpkins and costumes (for free!) in order to dispose of them properly or find reuse opportunities for next year. Call us at 515-650-1664 or email derek@recyclemeiowa.com to schedule a pick up or find where to drop off.

2. Pass on plastic – Most plastic used for Halloween costumes and candy collecting buckets contain harmful petrochemicals and toxins. Plus, they go straight to the landfill when you are done with them. We recommend using free or cheap alternatives to collect candy such as pillowcases, reusable grocery bags or these awesome Freak-O-Bags if you go above and beyond for Halloween.

3. DIY (or rent) costumes – Avoid the nasty toxins found in the plastic by creating your own costume out of household goods, trash (yup, we said trash), thrift store finds or check out costume swaps (DSM has one tomorrow!). You can also rent a costume from your local theater. If you live in Des Moines, there are great shops in Valley Junction that you can rent from.

4. Mind the face – When purchasing face paint to add that extra spooky feature to your costume, check with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to make sure your beautiful face is not tarnished with unsafe makeup or paint. For those of you DIYers, check out how to make face paint with food ingredients.

5. Organic Goodies – When purchasing treats to hand out to trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood, skip the typical treats and go organic with YummyEarth which can be found just about anywhere. If you need to buy in bulk, check out Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or just make your own.

6. Compost or Reuse your pumpkins – Instead of throwing your jack-o-lantern in the trash, compost your carving masterpieces. If you painted your pumpkin, wash off the paint and reuse your pumpkin. For more pumpkin uses and recipes check out these sites:
- 10 Uses for your Pumpkin
- How to Compost Your Pumpkin
- Call us! We’ll be your Pumpkin recycling station

We wish you the absolute best Halloween ever as you green your orange. Remember, we are always here to be your recycling/composting/zero-waste superhero’s and help you Enjoy More and Waste Less. Happy Greening!

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Hey everyone! Long time no bloggin’. Saving the world takes up a lot of time!

I wanted to check in and share the good vibes that were received from the Iowa Recycling Associations 2013 Conference and Trade Show at the Mid-American Center. (Check out the cool art piece displayed at the front door.)
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This was my first time attending and I was very pleased with the results and returned to Des Moines inspired, re-energized and ready to continue the fight towards bigger and better recycling and waste diversion strategies.

I had the joy of presenting on Zero-Waste and showing how easy it is to throw events that don’t create loads of waste, keeping your event classy and not trashy as we like to say.

 

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The main thing I want to share is how many multiple organizations are out there helping RecycleMe Iowa in our fight for a cleaner and greener world. Those people should be recognized and if you ever see them make sure you give them a high-five and say ‘Thanks’ for all their hard work. The following are just a few of those people (I could list them all but I want you to read the entire post):

1. Jen Jordan with Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center – She is amazing and plays a critical role in encouraging progressive solutions.
2. Bonnie Haas with Kettle Creek Corp. – An individual who has a strong passion on protecting our natural resources for our children through responsible business choices.
3. Matt Krug with hibu (Yellowbook) – Did you know Yellowbook is doing awesome things for our recycling world?! Me either! Check them out and their proactive decisions to help reduce everyone’s waste.
4. Rob Bell with FOCUS Consulting – The keynote speaker did an excellent job speaking about good customer service and general positive outlooks in life and business. Fun fact: he was extremely shy when he was young.
5. Adam Hammes with Kum & Go – Kum & Go is making sure they consider the triple bottom line with it comes to sustainability (People, Planet, Profit) and implementing that in all of their decisions. Stay updated on social media for more fun things RecycleMe Iowa and Kum & Go are doing to better our recycling community in the Des Moines metro area.
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6. Alicia Presto with Iowa Waste Exchange – She is helping divert waste and keep the recycling world inspired and hopeful.
7. Joe Hummel with City Carton Recycling – Another proud panther doing his part in Iowa to reduce landfills and divert waste. Go Joe go! Rarrr!
8. Dan Nickey and Diane Albertson with Iowa Waste Reduction Center – Both are providing responsible education on waste diversion and helping small businesses protect the environment among many other things. Check out their Food Waste Reduction workshop in Des Moines on Oct. 30th. They WANT to hear your voice and your ideas on food waste. Plus, RecycleMe Iowa will be there making the event be zero-waste!
9. Teresa Kurtz and the rest of the Iowa Recycling Association crew – Thanks for putting on a stellar event!
10. Dixie Quick’s – I have to give a shout out to one of the best restaurants in Council Bluffs. Brilliant food, service and decor. It was featured on Diners, Dives and Drive-ins and has an art gallery connected to it which had an exhibit featuring recycled art. Um…Saweet! Please check them out if you are ever near the Omaha/Council Bluffs area.
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The list could go on but I need to put my superhero cape back on and get back to work. Enjoy the photos and we’ll see you at the Oct 30th Food Waste Reduction workshop in Des Moines.
Keep calm and recycle on folks.
Cheers!

Happy Earth Day all you recycling gurus!!!

It’s our favorite time of the year. Time to reconnect with the Earth, pat yourself on the back for the changes you’ve made and make that new Earth Day resolution. Heck, go outside and pick up some trash! The winter is leaving (hopefully) and underneath all that grime is litter and it isn’t going away. Put on some gloves and go make the day great. We appreciate each and every one of you who does your part.

RecycleMe Iowa is in our 3rd year now (we made it through our terrible two’s! yay!) and we still believe that every day is Earth Day. With all the crazy weather this year, all we ask is for you to be awesome today and join us in our journey of Global Cooling.
Here’s how:
1. Apartment tenants, sign up now!
2. Businesses, get a quote and let us bring the good vibes to your office!
3. Events, zero-waste makes your event less trashy (pun intended)!

Thank you Des Moines for allowing us to have a home here, lets keep greening and growing together!

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Last night I had the privilege of hearing James Balog speak at Drake’s Knapp Center. James is a National Geographic photographer who documents climate change. His speech last night focused on the Glaciers that have been melting at an extremely rapid pace which he has documented with 25+ cameras in hand and mounted to rocks in the outdoor climate.*

Breathtaking is a word to describe the photos of his discoveries.

He touched base on three things I want to relate to:
1. Perception
2. #eyeseechange
3. Using your voice

Yes, we know the glaciers are melting but to see how much and how fast was scary. He was able to capture the largest glacier that has ever broke off into the ocean. With a volume loss of 1.8 cubic miles. Compare that to sizes we can relate to… It’s similar to 3000 White Houses falling into the ocean. Watch this video at 16:00min to grasp what that looks like.

Speaking of perspective, James had a slide that said ‘Perception Matters’ and I couldn’t agree more. We MUST change our perception and take steps to reducing our energy consumption. There are a million ways we can do this, so just start doing it! Say no to plastic bags and styrofoam containers, stop being so wasteful and turn off your computer at night. These are easy steps with big impacts. It’s just one step at a time and one foot in front of the other.

James is also using social media and our access to instant images to help the world see these changes. Start taking those photos and use the hashtag #eyeseechange to keep the conversation going. It’s up to each and every one of us to be a part of the solution and extremely easy to do.

We also have another useful tool at our disposal, our voice. He talked about using your voice too. We as human beings have the ability to express complicated thoughts so start speaking up. Say something! Keep telling your boss you want a recycling solution, tell your friend it’s not cool to litter, share your knowledge with others. That is why we have a voice, to share it with others.

There is an incredible group of kids in DSM that are using their voice to make change in their community. Their topics may not be directly related to global warming but they are using their voice to make a positive impact in their schools, their homes and their community. Lucky for you, you have the chance to see how that works tonight at the Hoyt Sherman Place at 6:30. The kids from Movement 515 and RunDSM are hosting their first annual DSM Poetry Slam and believe me these kids have something to say. Come watch how they bravely share their voice and learn how to do it yourself.

Change your perception, make those changes, use your voice and your technology #eyeseechange, come watch these DSM kids for some inspiration tonight and then go watch Chasing Ice. All in a days work of making a difference.

*Note: A free screening of James Balog’s “Chasing Ice” will be shown on April 6th & 7th at 7:00pm in Drake’s Olmsted Theater

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