Daniel Dinkin’s Volunteer Experience

As someone who initially moved to the triangle area to attend UNC Chapel Hill, I found that I didn’t have time to get as involved with the community as I wanted due to school. However, I was always motivated to volunteer, both to meet people who share the same interest as I and to be part of a bigger cause. I volunteered with several organizations in Chapel Hill but I was still looking to get involved with an environmentally focused nonprofit.Once I learned of Keep Durham Beautiful, I decided to check out some of the volunteer events and I was happily surprised.

Daniel unloading tires at the 2nd Annual Tire Recycling Drive

My first volunteer event was the ReUse Rodeo where I served as a greeter who handed out goody bags filled with resources and tax return forms. This event encouraged locals to donate used clothing, books etc. I learned that there are many community organizations and non-profits who can utilize donations. This was also the first time I met the KDB personnel, Britt Huggins and Monica Ospina, who were extremely welcoming and immediately made me feel like I was part of the family. Their warm welcome, compounded with the cause that Keep Durham supported and the things I was learning fueled my interest to volunteer at other events as well.

My second volunteer experience was at the Durham Earth Day Festival, which brought awareness to the issues of sustainable resources and cleanliness of the environment. I was a Waste Warrior where I was at a station with three bins: trash, compost and recycling. I directed festival goers to dispose of their waste accordingly. While volunteering, I connected with another volunteer who was a former soccer player at UNC and works for a compost organization. She opened my eyes about the importance of compost and how integral it was to keep a clean environment. I was also surprised to learn that most of the things we consider trash can be easily composted.

The third event I was a part of was I love Durham Limpio- which consisted of working with Latino’s and non-Latino’s to remove litter in areas around Durham. We collected approximately 2,000 lbs. of litter. It was interesting to see how much of the litter we gathered were recyclables.

The last event I was part of was the 2nd Annual Tire Recycling Drive. There I met other volunteers, Ian and Anna, as well as an individual who worked with the Durham Public Health Department. He informed me that standing water in tires is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus, which was often asymptomatic and can be sexually transmitted. I also learned about the closed landfill that was nearby and how costly it was to maintain and treat trash.

Through my volunteer experience with Keep Durham Beautiful I have learned so much about the environment and not only how to keep Durham beautiful but how to also make conscious decisions in my own household. I found myself figuring out how to compost some materials from my trash and how to properly recycle. I learned of this organization through a friend, who is part of the YNPN mailing list and it’s hard to say if I would have known of it otherwise.

Celebrate Earth Month with Keep Durham Beautiful!

Earth Day is fast-approaching. Do you know how you’re celebrating? Consider joining Keep Durham Beautiful for one or more of our events this month!

April 22, 8am-2pm: Gather up your unwanted household goods for Durham’s first annual ReUse Rodeo! On Saturday, April 22nd, we will be accepting gently used books, clothing, furniture, working electronics, household appliances, cookware, tools, craft supplies, and more, to be donated to area non-profits and distributed back into the community. A complete list can be found on the event page. Paper shredding and e-recycling will also be available. Clear up your household clutter, help the earth, and give your gently used items a new life! The event will be held in the parking lot of The Shoppes at Lakewood at 2050 Chapel Hill Road. Want to help out at the inaugural Reuse Rodeo? Sign up to volunteer!

April 23, 12pm-5pm: Join us for Durham’s Earth Day Festival on Sunday, April 23rd! Participants will enjoy green activities and demos, learn about sustainable practices and products at the Sustainability Expo and Earth Day Market, enjoy great music and food, and much more! The festival will take place at Durham Central Park at 501 Foster Street. To learn more, visit the event page. Interested in helping out? We are looking for waste warriors to help with recycling and composting at the event. Sign up to volunteer today!

April 27, 8am-2pm: The Community Appearance and Litter Index is a quantitative assessment used across the nation to gauge roadside litter levels. Volunteers from the community receive training and then drive set routes in Durham to conduct a visual inspection of litter levels and help identify future clean-up sites. Sign up with your friends and help us make Durham a cleaner community! Breakfast and lunch are available for all volunteers. More information is available on the event page.

April 29, 9am-1pm: We are bringing I Love Durham Limpio back! We are teaming up with Durham community partners to do an extensive litter cleanup with ALL members of the community. The purpose of this volunteer opportunity is for Durham community members to join forces by giving back to their community while learning about the environment and the resources Durham offers. We’d love for you to join us on April 29th from 9am-1pm! Don’t forget to bring your old shower heads to be traded in for NEW water efficient ones. Please visit the I Love Durham Limpio event page to view more information.

Durham Launches Bull City Workplace Challenge

Workplaces Can Now Save Money, Earn Local Recognition & Help the Environment

Share! #Durham workplaces can now save money, help our environment & more through the #BullCityWorkplaceChallenge: www.BullCityWorkplaceChallenge.com


DURHAM, N.C. – Workplaces interested in saving money, helping Durham’s environment, and earning local recognition can now register to join the new Bull City Workplace Challenge.

City of Durham Mayor William V. “Bill” Bell and Durham County Board of Commissioners Chair Wendy Jacobs are challenging workplaces across Durham to take new strides toward a greener, more sustainable future by joining this new program.

Created by the Durham City-County Sustainability Office along with 10 City and County departments and community partners, the challenge is designed to help workplaces of all types save energy, conserve water, protect water quality, produce less waste, and support sustainable transportation. The program will publicly recognize workplaces that substantially address these sustainability goals. Any workplace located within Durham County can participate.

Workplaces can now register on the Bull City Challenge website and complete an initial scorecard to assess their current green practices. Participants then improve their score by pursuing the remaining actions on the scorecard. These scorecard actions range in difficulty, cost, and time involved. To help workplaces improve their scores, the challenge offers guiding resources, experts who can answer questions, and lunch-n-learns throughout the year.

As workplaces complete new scorecard actions throughout the year, they will document their progress by updating their scorecard to achieve Bronze, Silver, or Gold recognition and will be publicly recognized in Spring 2018.

“Over time, many of the same steps to save energy and water and reduce waste will save organizations money,” said Durham City-County Sustainability Manager Tobin Freid. “A lot of people who live and work in Durham value the environment and support sustainable action. The challenge will help Durhamites bring these values into their workplaces.”

Workplaces that join the challenge will take practical steps that include the following:

  • Protect the health of their employees, their customers, and the public by reducing air and water pollution and workplace use of toxic chemicals.
  • Lessen the impact of climate change by emitting fewer greenhouse gases.
  • Protect communities by reducing and diverting waste from landfills.
  • Conserve natural resources such as water supplies.

According to Freid, for workplaces that are just starting off with green plans, the challenge is a great way to prioritize specific, manageable, and practical steps to take. Workplaces that have already taken steps on sustainability will be able to track their progress and find even more ways to become more sustainable.

Participants in the Bull City Workplace Challenge will help Durham reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from residences, businesses, and institutions by 2030 as required in the 2007 Durham City-County Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan as well as part of the City’s and County’s strategic plans. For more information, visit the Bull City Challenge website or call (919) 560-7999.

About the Durham City-County Sustainability Office

The mission of the Durham City/County Sustainability Office is to help protect and improve Durham’s environment through wise use of natural resources by providing guidance and resources to City and County employees, businesses, and citizens. For more information, visit the website, like on Facebook, and follow on Twitter.

 

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Get Your Hands Dirty For Spring

The birds will start chirping and the bees will start buzzing soon! It’s time for us to go outdoors and start working on our gardens. If you are new to gardening and are planning to start your own veggie garden, we have some tips for you:

  • Your garden should receive a minimum of 6 hours of sun per day, 8-10 hours is ideal
  • Your garden should be located near your house (this will make you use it!)
  • Your soil should be fertile and easy to till. Loose, well-drained loam are preferable; sandy and clay soils are fine as long as you add organic matter 
  • Avoid soggy soils that remain wet after it rains
  • Your garden needs 1″ of water/week. Please water in addition to rain
  • Your garden should have good air drainage- should be on high ground
  • and the FUN part-plan what type of veggies you want to grow
  • Start planting after the LAST frost date- April 13th 
  • Be prepared to dedicate half an hour of work per day to your garden

If a veggie garden isn’t your thing, you can plant a flower garden. Keep in mind to plant native species. Native species are accustomed to the soil, climate, and water conditions of their habitat. They will also require less maintenance than non-natives and will attract native species!

For a list of native flowers, ferns, grasses, rushes, and sedges visit the North Carolina Botanical Garden at UNC 

For more information on gardening, please visit NC State Cooperative Extension  site. 

Keep Durham Beautiful Seeks Pollinator Garden Applicants

Keep Durham Beautiful
News Release
For Immediate Release: January 6, 2017
 
Keep Durham Beautiful Seeks Pollinator Garden Applicants
Durham-based community gardens are invited to apply for the “Healthy Bee Healthy Me” Pollinator Garden Program
 
Durham, NC – (January 6, 2017) – Keep Durham Beautiful (KDB) currently seeks applications from community gardens interested in installing a pollinator garden and interpretive signage near an existing community garden space. Four Durham-based community gardens will be selected to participate in the 2017 “Healthy Bee Healthy Me” Pollinator Garden Program.
 
The “Healthy Bee Healthy Me” Pollinator Garden Program is brought to you by Keep Durham Beautiful in partnership with Durham County Cooperative Extension to promote pollinator habitat throughout Durham City and County. The program is made possible in part by grants from The Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation and Triangle Community Foundation’s Support for Places: Environmental Conservation Public Benefit Program.
 
The goal of the program is to establish educational pollinator gardens in proximity to pre-existing community gardens to ensure the sustainability of nectar and pollen sources for our honey bees, native bees, butterflies and other pollinators throughout the year, and to increase the yield of the food crops grown within the community gardens.
 
Gardens selected to participate in the Healthy Bee, Healthy Me program will receive pollinator plants, tool loaning, technical guidance, and interpretive signage. Preference will be given to well-managed community gardens that serve low income or underserved populations, with a focus on food and revenue generation.
 
Our goal at Keep Durham Beautiful is to create more vibrant and beautiful spaces, where our residents are engaged to be good stewards of their community environment.

Providing bees and other pollinators with plenty of food sources throughout the year ensures the sustainability of their populations and increases the health and yield of the food crops grown nearby. Establishing pollinator gardens is one of the many ways that KDB promotes community greening and beautification.

For more information or to download the application visit: http://keepdurhambeautiful.org/programs/healthybeehealthyme or contact Keep Durham Beautiful at 919-560-4197.
 
About Keep Durham Beautiful
Keep Durham Beautiful is a nonprofit, volunteer organization working in partnership with the City of Durham General Services Department and Durham County to encourage residents, businesses, and community organizations to protect the environment and enhance the appearance of Durham through cleanup events, beautification projects, waste reduction, and educational activities. To learn more, visit the website, like on Facebook, and follow on Instagram, Flickr, and Twitter.

Durham Hosts E-Waste, Christmas Tree Recycling & Paper Shredding Event

Free and Convenient Event Open to All Durham Residents

Durham residents looking for an easy and free way to recycle electronic waste, shred confidential documents, and drop-off of their live Christmas trees should attend the City of Durham E-Waste Recycling & Paper Shredding Event later this month.

The event will be on Saturday, January 21, 2017, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the visitor side of the Durham County Memorial Stadium, located at 750 Stadium Dr. Staff will be on hand to unload old electronics, trees, and paper.

The event, sponsored by the City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department, Sonoco Recycling, Shimar Recycling, Synergy Recycling, and Durham County Government, will accept nearly all electronic devices with a cord, including:

  • Computers, laptops, keyboards, mice, printers, monitors, speakers, copiers, scanners, circuit boards, hard drives, computer parts, etc.
  • Televisions, stereo equipment, tape players, receivers, amplifiers, record players, etc.
  • Kitchen electronics, such as microwaves, mixers, blenders, choppers, etc.
  • Telephones, cell phones, and fax machines
  • Hair dryers, curling irons, alarm clocks, and vacuum cleaners
  • Power tools, cordless tools, etc.
  • Electronic toys, such as keyboards and video game systems
  • This event will not accept large appliances, refrigerators, air conditioners, or any other appliances that contain Freon. Confidential paper shredding will also be provided on site. 

Requirements for shredding include:

  • Paper may contain paper clips and staples; however, hanging file folders will not be accepted. 
  • Only paper should be brought for shredding. CDs, DVDs, and other non-paper items will not be accepted. 
  • All paper should be loose and not in binders or other binding items made of non-paper.
  • Residents may be present to observe their confidential document shredding if the amount to be shredded can fit into one 96-gallon roll cart (approximately 240 pounds of material or approximately eight small, banker boxes of material).
  • Participants with larger quantities will have items placed in boxes to be shredded off-site at Shimar Recycling’s secure facility.

Requirements for live Christmas tree drop-off include:

  • Trees taller than six feet should be cut in half.
  • Remove all decorations and hardware, including tinsel, lights, garland, ornaments, nails, and stands.
  • Do not place trees in bags.Residents who can’t make this event can still safely and conveniently recycle their old electronics at the City’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center. The Center will also accept live Christmas trees at no charge from now through Saturday, February 4. Trees delivered after February 4 will be subject to the usual disposal fees. The Center, located at 2115 E. Club Blvd., is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon. For information about items accepted at this event or the City’s recycling facilities, contact Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200 or visit the City’s Solid Waste Management Department Web page

East Durham Children Help Pollinators while Learning about Food Production

Pollinators

Keep Durham Beautiful AmeriCorps Member, Monica Ospina, teaching 3rd graders at Spring Valley Elementary School about the important role pollinators play in our food production.

This fall, Keep Durham Beautiful partnered with East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) to educate East Durham 4th and 5th graders about the importance of pollinators. These young students are enrolled in the East Durham Youth Health Leadership Council (YLC) Program.

The purpose of EDCI’s Youth Health Leadership Council Program is to inspire, educate, and empower youth to become advocates for health and wellness within their community. The program provides training and leadership development opportunities for East Durham children. The training that is provided for the youth empowers them to lead the design and implementation of a community-based health intervention project, with the following core topics: leadership development, nutrition and healthy eating, health disparities, and physical activity.

One topic that interested EDCI was the connection between pollinators and food. At Keep Durham Beautiful, we found this to be an excellent opportunity to educate these young leaders about the relationship between pollinators and our current food system. Pollinators help plants to reproduce by carrying pollen from one plant to the other. It’s crucial to understand the process of how a berry becomes a berry (just to name a beloved fruit) and the key role pollinators play in that process.Experts calculate that pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 mouthfuls of drink or food that Americans consume.
The children learned that populations of pollinators, in particular bees, have been in decline in recent years due to pesticide use and habitat loss. However, as gloomy as that may be, we wanted to remind the kids that they play a vital role in helping to protect our pollen-loving friends! The youngsters learned that they can help raise awareness, advocate for pollinator-friendly gardens and habitat preservation, and decrease our use of pesticides.

To make the lesson hands-on, we planted pollinator-friendly seeds in Sub Irrigated Planters (SIP’s) also known as “self-watering plants.” The SIP’s were created with recycled 16 oz. water bottles that were collected from the City of Durham’s General Services Department. We also gave the kids extra pollinator friendly seeds, so that they can plant more at home. They were excited to help plant the seeds and advocate for pollinators.

Once the kids finish all of their training they will design and implement a project of their choice, if they decide to plant a pollinator garden in their school or community, Keep Durham Beautiful will be excited to guide them through the process.

More information on how to create your own SIP: http://www.brooklynseedcompany.com/how-to-make-a-plastic-bottle-sip/

Field Trip: Where Does Our Recycling Go?

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On Wednesday, November 16th, twenty-one of us took a trip to North Raleigh to visit the Sonoco Recycling Center. It was a great experience for us to learn about what happens to our recycling after being picked up by the truck.

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It all starts here at the transfer station. This location in Durham is where both recycling and garbage trucks come deposit what they picked up from our curbs. Their contents are dumped into trailers and hauled to their perspective locations.

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The machine pictured is responsible for sorting all our recyclables. It is called the Material Recovery Facility (MRF). The feed all the recycling into the MRF where the sorting begins.

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We all had a lot of questions for our tour guide Cesar. He answered a lot of misconceptions about what happens to our recycling and surprised us with how the market of recyclables works. He explained how the materials went through the system, were sorted, and then shipped to other locations and made into packaging for products we use every day.

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All our recyclables heading up the conveyor belt to get sorted!

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This belt separates the paper products from the glass, aluminum and plastics. Then they are sent to the respective locations to be bailed and prepped for shipment.

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Here workers are doing a quality control check get any debris or garbage that may till be mixed in with the aluminum.

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Here are all our recyclables bailed and ready to be shipped out to other locations to be remade into new packaging. As you can see this place is a very busy facility that works 24/7 to sort out our waste and keep it from landfills.

We want to thank Sonoco and their employees for being such great hosts. We all learned a lot from the visit. Thanks to Oscar Lyons and Patricia Fossum of Durham Sold Waste Management. Oscar got us to and from the locations safely, and Patricia showed us around the Durham transfer site. Also, thank you to Chelsea Arey of Wake Solid Waste Management for helping to coordinate the visit.

 

America Recycles Day

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While recycling has become more accessible over the years, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)[1], Americans only recycle 34.4% of the waste we produce. With the volume of world-wide waste expected double by 2025[2], we have a lot of work to do to increase recycling rates and continue educating our community about the importance of recycling.

As part of this effort our national affiliate organization, Keep America Beautiful (KAB), has designated November 15th as America Recycles Day. Today, across the country people are working to promote recycling in their communities and KAB is asking people to take a pledge to learn more about recycling, start reducing waste at home, school, and work and to teach others in about recycling.

So on America Recycles Day this year, we want to encourage you to take the America Recycled Day pledge and make efforts to keep reducing your waste. Curious what we can recycle here in Durham? Here is a helpful guideline for what items are accepted in our community:

 

recycling

 

Remember to rinse out and empty all items you wish to recycle. Also, it is important for any cardboard you want to be clean of chemicals or paints and dry.

*Plastic bags can be recycled at any location that accept film plastic. Both Harris Teeter and Food Lion typically have containers for recycling plastic bags and other film plastics at the store entranceway allowing you to easily drop off your old plastic bags before grocery shopping. (Or for the advanced recycle: choose to bring a reusable bag!) For a full list of nearby locations that accept film plastics, visit: Plastic Film Recycling Locations

 

Another great way you can help reduce waste in our landfills is by investing in Don’t Waste Durham’s GreentoGo box. Since most takeaway containers are not recyclable, these boxes give you a reusable method to bring leftovers home. For more information and to support this innovative new program, please visit their Kickstarter

Still have questions about what is recyclable or want to get more involved in our mission to reduce waste here in Durham? Contact us at: info@keepdurhambeautiful.org

[1]Municipal Solid Waste, Environmental Protection Agency, https://archive.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/web/html/index.html

[2] Global Municipal Solid Waste Continues to Grow, World Watch Institute, http://www.worldwatch.org/global-municipal-solid-waste-continues-grow

10 Reasons to Be Thankful for Trees

thankful-tree-giveaway-2016Durham residents are encouraged to register for a free tree as part of the Give Thanks: 2016 Keep Durham Beautiful Tree Giveaway and Food Drive

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s not too early to start reflecting on things we are thankful for. From providing the clean air and oxygen we appreciate during our outdoor fall activities to producing apples for that delicious apple crisp our neighbor makes– trees should be added to your list of things to give thanks for this November. While there are many reasons to be thankful for trees, here our 10 of our favorite motivations for planting, caring for, and protecting Durham’s trees:

10 Reasons to Be Thankful for Trees:

  1. Trees reduce violence: Studies have shown that barren neighborhoods and homes have a greater incidence of violence than their greener counterparts. Trees and landscaping help to reduce the level of fear.
  2. Trees conserve energy: Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. Reducing the energy demand for cooling saves money and reducescarbon dioxide and other pollution emissions.
  3. Trees cool the streets and the city: Trees cool a city by up to 10°F, by shading our homes and streets, breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves.Trees bring diverse groups of people together: Tree plantings provide an opportunity for community involvement and empowerment that improves the quality of life in our neighborhoods. All cultures, ages, and genders have an important role to play at a tree planting or tree care event.
  4. Trees provide oxygen: In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
  5. Trees provide economic benefits: The beauty of a well-planted property and its surrounding neighborhood can raise property values by as much as 15 percent. Similar benefits are seen in business districts; studies show that the more trees and landscaping a business district has, the more business will flow in.
  6. Trees combat the greenhouse effect: Trees absorb CO2, a major greenhouse gas, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles.
  7. Trees clean the air: Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.
  8. Trees help prevent soil erosion and water pollution: Trees reduce and slow runoff, holding soil in place and helping filter water naturally.
  9. Trees provide food: An apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year and can be planted on a small urban lot. Aside from fruit for humans, trees provide food and habitat for birds and wildlife.

Help spread the love for trees:

Help spread the love for trees by joining us for our Give Thanks: 2016 Keep Durham Beautiful Tree Giveaway. Thanks to a generous donation from Alliance for Community Trees, Keep Durham Beautiful will be handing out 300 trees for Durham City and County residents this fall. To learn more about the tree species available and giveaway pre-registration, visit: www.keepdurhambeautiful.org/treegiveaway2016