Earth Week 2014 is upon us, and while we will no doubt be reminded in schools, on trains and across media that little changes in our day-to-day routines can have a major impact on the well-being and sustainability of our planet, we thought it would be helpful to highlight the various local organizations, resources and even retailers who can help us all follow through with these little changes throughout the rest of the year, and beyond.
1) The Darien Environmental Group—The DEG is a nonprofit volunteer organization founded in 1990, with the purpose of educating Darien residents about the environmental impact of their consumer and lifestyle habits. Each year, the DEG reaches over 2,300 elementary school students through educational presentations, based on the belief that educating children at the elementary level is vital to the creation of sustainable environmentally-friendly lifestyle habits.
Through the years, the DEG has overseen many recycling programs including plastics, batteries, and electronics and has distributed reusable bags to new residents with information about being “Green” in Darien. The creation of the Recycling Center (the former transfer station/town “dump”) and evolution of single-stream recycling has allowed the DEG to expand its focus on its elementary environmental education programs, which now includes a 3rd grade field trip to the Recycling Center, in addition to in-classroom presentations about Water Conservation, Composting and the environmental impact of plastics on the world’s waterways and oceans.
2) Darien has a Swap Shop at the Recycling & Refuse Center (dump) on Ledge Road, open from 7 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday, which offers a treasure trove of other residents’ discarded (but perfectly usable) items for you to take with you (for free), from bicycles to books to children’s toys and strollers to furniture and sports gear … its contents change by the minute, and I’ve heard that Saturdays are very busy days with lots of terrific finds. Any Darien resident with a dump sticker is welcome to pick up or drop off items, with the exception of: TV’s, A/C units, anything broken, matteresses and cribs.
3) Town of Darien Annual Bulk Pickup Program (by appointment only between April 6 and June 7, 2014!) Ready to get rid of that old refrigerator or other gigantic junk item that is too large to fit into a car or SUV for transport to the dump or swap shop? For more information about how you can have it taken away for responsible re-cycling, click here.
4) Darien Household Hazardous Waste Day (June 7, 2014)—For safe, responsible disposal of hazardous waste (from oven cleaners and floor polish to weed killers, paints and paint thinners and driveway sealers and more), bring it all down to the designated drop-off point and let the Department of Public Works/Darien Recylcing and Refuse Center take it from there.
5) While recycling is the law in Darien, Single Stream Recycling, i.e. paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal can all go in the same recycling bin together, makes it much easier to do so. Here is a visual guide to how it works, and here are the more detailed guidelines about all items that can be recycled. If you’re interested in learning more about single stream recycling, the Darien Library is offering an interactive Q&A with recycling experts on April 27, 2014, from 2pm-3pm, in the Community Room.
6) Gardeners and DIY landscapers rejoice: wood chips and leaf compost are available for FREE to Darien residents—pick them up at the Darien Recycling & Refuse Center (the dump) on Ledge Road, just beyond the scale.
7) Want to enjoy some green, in the form of community parks and gardens? Darien has lots to offer! Selleck Woods, Woodland Park, Cherry Lawn Community Gardens, Stony Brook Park, and Tilley Pond Park are just a few: for links to more parks and beaches, visit the Town of Darien website.
8) When it comes to re-using and re-cycling in the preparation of kids’ lunches, as with anything else related to preparation for our kids, the easier it is to do or find, the more likely it is to happen. That’s why we felt it was noteworthy that Darien retailers Whole Foods and Palmer’s Market sell re-usable lunch bags, wrap-n-mat (sandwich and snack mat), and re-usable containers and water bottles for lunch boxes. So, the next time you’re out shopping for groceries, you can purchase a few earth-friendly lunch box items while you’re at it. Every little bit counts!
9) Annual Town-Wide Clean Up Day — What better way to contribute to the health and well being of our community’s natural resources than to roll up your sleeves and help clean them up? Organized by the Darien Chamber of Commerce and the Darien Beautification Committee, individuals and groups are assigned to various locations around town that need some TLC. This year, Clean-Up Day is on Saturday April 26, 2014. To sign up, please call Suzanne at: 203-655-3795.
10) And, of course, there are the specific events throughout Earth Week sponsored by various town organizations and retailers to help increase our awareness of both local and global eco-improvement efforts: click here for our roundup of 2014 Earth Week events in Darien.