2012 Used Oil Recycling in America
Years ago there was a Pogo cartoon with a picture of an oil tanker in a backyard, and the caption read, "We have met the enemy and it is us." At George Washington University in 1977 one of my environmental science books alerted me to the oil polluting my local watershed of Little Falls in Bethesda, Maryland that runs into one of the drinking water reservoirs for the nation's capital. Since then I have promoted the recovery of do-it-yourself automotive fluids from every possible angle. I began this effort in Montgomery County, Maryland and started DC's used oil recycling efforts. I even helped build the region's largest used oil recycling facility and assisted Virginia's used oil collection program since 1981.
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Lawn and Garden Conservation Practices
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. However since it is one of the most productive in the world, its continual decline due to nutrient over-enrichment is of concern. Over thirty years of research illustrated that the main concerns of the Bay were nutrient over-enrichment, dwindling Bay grasses, and toxic pollution. Land can be used and developed in ways that minimize impact on water quality improve water quality and allow aquatic life to flourish.
If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Manage It
As a nation we must better account how we waste in order to best manage these by-products. Deliberate waste directly depletes our earth's resources. It eventually results in many forms of loss through a degradation of our planet. Improved inventories of what we discard will stimulate a greater understanding of how we can better lessen such waste. There is a critical connection between waste and prosperity. Our living standards have provoked increased consumption. However, such resource mismanagement taps our limited energy and materials. Better tracking of the entire material generation cycle and material use flows can provide us with a more holistic approach to "best use" of our scarce resources.
Harmful Stuff In Our Homes
Every American must beware of harmful chemical products we may use. Mixing certain cleaners (i.e. bleach and ammonia) together can result in a killer gas by-product. Each year, we generate 1.6 million tons of hazardous household waste including, paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable and reactive ingredients. There is little information on how this impacts our health. Improper disposal of these toxins threatens public health and our environment. Especially if you live in a karst area where sinkholes, caves, caverns, and other holes act as direct conduits for contaminants to enter our wells and spring water when these products are disposed of on the ground or in other ways.
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