Jump to main content.


Environmental Protection Begins with You: A Guide to Environmental Community Service

Contents

About this Booklet

The ABCs of Volunteering

Recycling Projects

Reuse, Recycling, Composting and/or Household Hazardous Waste Projects Combined

Other

Resources

Glossary

PDF Version

View and print this booklet (24 pp, 517K, about PDF)

Make a Difference in Your Community—Volunteer!

EPA530-K-06-001
July 2006

This guide contains examples of volunteer projects related to solid waste management. Whether you’re an experienced volunteer or looking to participate in service projects for the first time, many benefits and opportunities await you. Volunteering provides the opportunity to enjoy new experiences, meet new people, learn new skills, and put ideas and talents to work.

We hope these stories will inspire and motivate YOU to make a difference by participating in a local volunteer program or maybe even starting one of your own. Be sure to check the resources for additional ideas on volunteering.

About This Booklet

This booklet is the second volume of a series of case study documents and contains just a few examples of volunteer projects related to solid waste management. Other examples are contained in Volunteer for Change: A Guide to Environmental Community Service, EPA530-K-01-002, May 2001, which can be ordered from EPA’s Web site or by calling (800) 490-9198. Many other community groups and organizations exist throughout the United States as well.

The ABCs of Volunteering

Thinking of volunteering? You might want to consider the following:

So, you’ve decided you want to volunteer for activities related to solid waste management, including waste reduction, recycling, composting, or household hazardous waste. Now it’s time to contact an organization that could use your help, such as:

Check your local phone book or the Internet for contact information, such as addresses and phone numbers.

Top of page

Contents

Recycling Projects
Reuse, Recycling, Composting and/or Household Hazardous Waste Projects Combined
Other
Resources
Glossary

Top of page

Contact

Al Matyasovsky
119 Physical Plant Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-4719
E-mail: aem3@psu.edu
Web Site: www.psu.edu Exit EPA

Raucous Revelry and Recycling

Penn State Beaver Stadium Post-Game Recycling Volunteer Effort
State College, Pennsylvania

The Penn State Beaver Stadium Post-Game Recycling Volunteer Effort (PGRVE) strives to promote environmental sustainability through recycling and heightened awareness of recycling, while also encouraging the Pennsylvania State University students to become engaged in public service through environmental activism. The first program of its kind in the United States, PGRVE is a collaborative initiative between students and the university’s Office of the Physical Plant.

After each Penn State home football game, typically 50 to 75 students volunteer to collect thousands of pounds of recyclable plastic materials that otherwise would be discarded with regular trash collection. When the other Nittany Lion fans are at home recapping the game’s highlights, these Penn State students re-enter the then-empty stadium, walking through the stands collecting recyclables left behind by the roughly 110,000 fans that attend each game. Often, this effort is further coordinated with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Nittany Lion fans, additional Penn State students, and other volunteer groups who walk in pairs through the parking lots and lines, collecting recyclable material from tailgaters and fans entering the stadium.

Materials collected through the PGRVE are recycled and the annual profits are donated to the Centre County United Way. In its 10-year history, PGRVE has collected nearly 300 tons of recyclables that would have otherwise required disposal. Throughout the years, the program has shared its unique stadium recycling approach and plan with many other colleges and universities, including: the Air Force Academy, the Ohio State University, University of Connecticut, University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, University of Tennessee, and University of Virginia, as well as with the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans.

Top of page

Contact

Kerry Suson
Arizona State University
Recycling Program
2325 E. Rio Salado Parkway
Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 965-7639
E-mail: recycle-q@asu.edu or
kerry.suson@asu.edu
Web Site: http://recycle.asu.edu Exit EPA

Living and Breathing Recycling at ASU

Arizona State University Recycling
Tempe, Arizona

By receiving college credits or community service hours (and maybe even getting a volunteer T-shirt) Arizona State University (ASU) Recycling volunteers gain even more than the satisfaction of participating in the campus recycling and beautification activities.

ASU recycles practically everything under the sun—white ledger and colored ledger paper (pastel, dark, neon), computer paper, newspapers (including inserts) catalogs (glue back and stapled), magazines (glue back and stapled), fax paper, envelopes (with or without windows), file folders, bound books, phone books, chip board, batteries, printer cartridges, cell phones, and even shoes.

Recycling volunteers can choose to participate in a wide variety of activities such as posting flyers around campus, giving presentations, answering questions at information tables, or volunteering to help with Earth Day and America Recycles Day events. One of the specific activities that volunteers engage in is putting signs on various recycling bins to educate the ASU community about what may and may not go into the bins. Volunteers routinely make rounds of the bins, replacing signs, and distributing educational information.

The recycling program not only has general student volunteers, but also has Recycling Ambassadors who share their recycling knowledge with students in their resident halls through presentations, brochures, games, and/or informational posters. To become a Recycling Ambassador, students attend a one-hour training class at the ASU Recycling Facility. Recycling Ambassadors are also responsible for monitoring the outdoor recycling collection containers and acting as liaisons between the hall and ASU Recycling.

ASU doesn’t stop there. Arizona State University: Clean & Beautiful, an initiative sponsored by Arizona State University Recycling, also provides volunteer opportunities. Volunteers clean up areas around the campus that need attention, gathering trash, leaves, or other debris and recycle them, whenever possible.

Top of page

Contact

Mary S. Allen
Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County
2700 Patriot Blvd. Suite 110
Glenview, IL 60026
Phone: (847) 724-9205
E-mail: mary@swancc.org
Web Site: www.swancc.org Exit EPA

Nike, Inc.
1 Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, OR 97005
Phone: (800) 806-6453
Web Site: www.nikereuseashoe.com Exit EPA

Kids of All Ages Get Their Recycling Kicks

Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County
Glenview, Illinois

Volunteers from a county agency, a major athletic company, and local high schools are working together to make recycling happen. The Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) serves 23 towns in Northern Cook County, Illinois, and Nike, Inc. offer high school students the opportunity to recycle athletic shoes through the company's Reuse-A-Shoe program. SWANCC's program has been operating for the past six years, three years as a pilot program and three years as a participant in the national Reuse-A-Shoe program promoted by the National Recycling Coalition.

Each spring, SWANCC solicits student volunteers to assist during a three-day shoe collection drive. Throughout the years, volunteers from 15 high schools have earned between one and four hours of community service credit to help with this project and have collected approximately 37,500 pairs of athletic shoes for Nike's program. The shoes are sorted and boxed for shipment by the high school volunteers. Hundreds of "gently used" shoes have been donated to charity.

On average, Nike processes between 1 million and 2 million pairs of athletic shoes each year through the Reuse-A-Shoe Program to create a material known as "Nike Grind." Nike Grind is composed of shoes from post-consumer collections, Nike shoes with material or workmanship flaws (defectives), and materials from the manufacturing of Nike footwear. Since its inception in 1993, Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program has recycled more than 16 million pairs of shoes. In addition, Nike has worked in concert with its community affairs initiative (NikeGo) to donate more than 170 basketball courts, tennis courts, tracks, fields, and playground surfaces made from recycled content to communities around the world.

SWANCC’s close relationship with area schools and other entities has made it possible to educate students and adults about the importance of reducing, reusing, recycling, and buying recycled. Nike’s “Air to Earth” shoebox—containing a video and a sliced shoe with samples of Nike Grind and sport surfaces—helps students understand the importance
of closing the loop in a product’s life cycle.

Top of page

Contact

Brenda Benner
201 Turkey Ridge Road
Millerstown, PA 17062
Phone: (717) 589-3724

Receptive Rural Recycling

Perry County Recycling
Perry County, Pennsylvania

It all started back in the mid-1980s when the sixth grade class at Greenwood Elementary School implemented Millerstown, Pennsylvania’s first recycling program as a way of earning extra money in this rural area. One Saturday each month, the school collected glass, tin, and aluminum in 55-gallon drums. When the drums were full, a local farmer would put the drums on a truck and haul them to a recycler. Unfortunately, after accounting for the transportation costs, not enough profit was realized and eventually the program was discontinued.

In February 1990, Greenwood Township, Tuscarora Township, and Millerstown Borough implemented a communitywide program within Perry County by collecting recyclables in the parking lot of Greenwood Elementary School. Perry County staff bagged the recyclables in large woven plastic salt bags obtained from a local plant. On a rotating basis, each municipality had the responsibility of hauling the materials to the recycler. The profits earned from selling the recyclables helped defray some trucking fees and employee salaries. Although never profitable, the program reduced the amount of waste headed to the landfill.

In the mid-1990s, the Penn State Cooperative Extension helped Perry County Recycling receive a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Through the grant, Perry County purchased large roll-off bins, which are distributed to individual drop-off sites.

Collections at the county’s individual drop-off sites occur once a month, and the picks up the extra costs to move the bins. Volunteers, including interested community members, school groups, church groups, scouts, and Lions’ Club members, operate the drop-off sites. Originally, Perry County only collected clear glass, bi-metal cans, and aluminum, but recycling has now expanded to collect brown, green, and clear glass; cardboard; newspapers; aluminum; bi-metal cans; and recyclable plastics.

Top of page

Contact

Tyler Dierks
Seattle University
901 12th Ave
Seattle,WA 98122
Phone: (206) 296-6290
Web Site: www.seattleu.edu Exit EPA

A History of Excellence

Seattle University’s Recycling Program
Seattle, Washington

Waste reduction and recycling on Seattle University’s campus began in 1988, with small-scale ventures by individual offices and student groups that collected aluminum cans to raise party funds and do something good for the environment. As the cost of solid waste disposal increased, the university began to realize that institutionalizing recycling efforts could be both environmentally and economically advantageous.

In 1993, the university recognized the need for a special unit within Facility Operations that specifically dealt with campuswide environmental issues. The Environmental Services Office (ESO) was established, and the positions of Environmental Safety Technician and Environmental Coordinator were created. Some of the many responsibilities of the new office included establishing a comprehensive solid waste management plan, assisting in the development of purchasing policies and guidelines that support waste reduction strategies and techniques, and producing a comprehensive campus educational program about waste reduction and recycling.

As with many large institutions, the opportunities to reduce waste or reuse materials at colleges and universities are practically limitless. They can be found almost anywhere on campus where waste materials are generated, including offices, classrooms, libraries, mailrooms, campus stores, student unions, food service areas, dormitories, and at special events. Because these opportunities were recognized early on, Seattle University’s waste reduction and recycling program has been a success.

During the first two years of the program—1988 and 1989—data from a campuswide waste audit showed that the recycling rate was between 31 and 37 percent. With increased educational efforts aimed at staff and students,along with greater accessibility to recycling containers, the recycling rate has risen to 62 percent. In 2003, the university recycled 745 tons of materials and saved $57,000 through recycling, composting, and diversion. Not limited to standard recyclables such as mixed paper, cardboard, plastic and glass bottles, and steel and aluminum cans, the university also collects fluorescent tubes, batteries, computers, scrap metals, ink cartridges, books, pallets, and noncompostable scrap wood. It also conducts surplus sales and recycles construction and demolition debris.

The university also operates an organics recycling program that includes composting pre-consumer food scraps and coffee grounds at its onsite composting facility. Landscaping debris is sent off campus to be composted. In addition, campus staff practices grasscycling (allowing mowed grass clippings to break down naturally in the lawns and feed the soil), and using coarse woodchip mulch from local tree services in planting beds.

Top of page

Contact

Linda Moreno
Volunteer Coordinator
Solid Waste Authority of PBC
7501 North Jog Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33412
Phone: (561) 640-4000 ext. 4327
E-mail: Lmoreno@swa.org
Web Site: www.swa.org Exit EPA

Floridians Help Protect the Environment

Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County County, Florida

Community volunteers play a vital role in disseminating information, educating residents, and promoting the Solid Waste Authority (SWA) of Palm Beach County’s environmental efforts. These volunteers are a valuable asset to SWA’s programs because of their dedication to the environment and willingness to promote SWA messages.

Implemented in 1994, the SWA volunteer program assists SWA in reducing annual solid waste generation in Palm Beach County. SWA volunteers support the community’s environmental initiatives in numerous ways:

Top of page

Contact

Christine Gardener
Program Assistant
Grissum Building
PO Box 6015
Columbia, MO 65205
Phone: (573) 874-6271
E-mail: cmgarden@GoColumbiaMO.com
Web Site: www.gocolumbiamo.com Exit EPA

Volunteers Instill an Environmental Ethic

Columbia Public Works
Columbia, Missouri

With a mission statement that emphasizes utilizing the unique talents, skills, and knowledge of volunteers to extend waste reduction and environmental cleanup programs, the Columbia Public Works’ volunteer program is an integral part of the community. Volunteers are involved in numerous activities, ranging from assisting at household hazardous waste collections to teaching compost workshops, distributing compost bins, researching and writing informational publications, and helping to promote events such as Earth Day and “A Day With Wildlife.” Volunteers even get the opportunity to wear a costume at schools and events and work on campaigns such as the Use Less Stuff holiday campaign.

One of the most popular events is the Recyclabration. Held in the children’s area at the Columbia Festival of the Arts, it has become an attraction for all ages. Volunteers collect materials for use in making artistic creations and set up tables at which participants can work. In fall 2005, hundreds of people crammed the tables making envelopes from old calendars, flowers out of plastic six-pack plastic rings, and art from CDs and phone wires. The opportunity is used to promote waste reduction, reuse, and recycling, to educate people about the importance of proper recycling and the location of recycling collection sites for special materials, and to answer questions. Attendees enjoy being given the opportunity to use their creativity, and because the materials are all things that would otherwise be thrown away, they feel uninhibited about using them.

Volunteers are also helping shape the future of recycling in the county by educating children about recycling.Columbia Public Works is combating a “contamination” problem at the city’s material recovery facility,meaning residents are mixing non-recyclables with recyclables which “contaminates”the materials and slows down the sorting and recovery process. Volunteers help instill children with the knowledge to make them good recyclers from a young age. Several schools have shown interest in this effort and promote activities and classes so that every student can learn how to properly collect recyclables.

Top of page

Contact

Karen McCalpin
PA CleanWays
105 West Fourth Street
Greensburg, PA 15601-2981
Phone: (724) 836-4121
E-mail: kmccalpin@pacleanways.org
Web Site: www.pacleanways.org Exit EPA

Fighting Illegal Dumping and Littering

PA CleanWays
Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Every county in Pennsylvania is plagued with numerous illegal dump sites. To help combat this problem, PA CleanWays, a statewide nonprofit organization, fights illegal dumping and littering through a comprehensive approach that includes facilitating community cleanups, addressing problem disposal items, offering education, beautification, and adoption opportunities. The organization,which has a network of grassroots chapters and affiliates throughout the state, also provides technical assistance to individuals, groups, organizations, and companies interested in safely cleaning up illegal dump sites and keeping them clean.

PA CleanWays solicits volunteers interested in making a difference through participating in or organizing a cleanup. PA CleanWays has found that many of the common items in illegal dumps include tires (found in more than 90 percent of Pennsylvania’s illegal dumps), household products (e.g., cleaning supplies, diapers, paints, oil), and various toxic items. Unfortunately, household garbage can contain chemicals and other liquids that can eventually seep into and pollute the groundwater. Other items improperly dumped include appliances, furniture, vehicles and auto parts, and construction and remodeling debris. Furthermore, one of the more surprising items found are compostable materials such as yard clippings.

Illegal dumping is an ongoing problem; cleanups alone won’t solve it. Monitoring dump locations, increasing successful prosecutions, addressing problem disposal items, increasing affordable and convenient recycling or disposal opportunities, and providing public education are also needed.

Top of page

Contact

Marc A. Ross
Rock the Earth
1536 Wynkoop Street
Suite #B200
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 454-3304
E-mail: marcr@rocktheearth.org
Web Site: www.RockTheEarth.org Exit EPA

Defending the Planet One Beat at a Time

Rock the Earth
Denver, Colorado

Rock the Earth, founded in 2002 by environmental attorney Marc Ross, is dedicated to bringing about positive and beneficial environmental changes through active litigation and negotiation on behalf of members of the music industry, their fans, and the general public.The organization also focuses its efforts on reducing the ecological footprint of music tours through the use of recycling, biodiesel fuel for tour buses and trucks, organic clothing for merchandise, and wind power credits to offset tour emissions.The organization consists of a 25-person volunteer staff of environmental attorneys, technical consultants, public relations professionals, marketing and media relations experts, and a fundraising team.

The organization strives to become the primary voice of the music industry as it pertains to current environmental initiatives by 1) bringing together members of the music industry, their fans, and the environmental community in order to publicize environmental issues of mutual concern, and 2) providing specialized, experienced, passionate, and pragmatic environmental, legal, and technical assistance to individuals and communities affected by past, current, or proposed activities that threaten the environment, natural resources, and/or human health.

Top of page

Resources

1-800-Volunteer.Org
Points of Light Foundation
1400 I Street, NW
Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 729-8000
Web Site: www.1-800-volunteer.org Exit EPA

1-800-Volunteer.org connects you to volunteer opportunities in your community, helps you track your volunteer service, and sends you automatic e-mail notifications— enabling you to respond when you’re needed most. You can also conduct a search for volunteer opportunities based on issue and zip code.

America Recycles Day
Web Site: www.americarecyclesday.org/ Exit EPA

America Recycles Day is a national grass-roots campaign dedicated to increasing the purchase of recycled-content products and recycling throughout America.

Action Without Borders
360 West 31st Street, Suite 1510
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 843-3973
Fax: (212) 564-3377
Web Site: www.idealist.org Exit EPA

This organization maintains an Internet database, Idealist, which currently boasts the most detailed community of nonprofit and volunteering resources on the Web. Information is provided by 20,000 organizations in 140 countries. Volunteers can search for opportunities based on a variety of criteria, including their area of interest, geographic location, or the duration of time they are available.

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition
33 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12210
Phone: (518) 462-5527
Fax: (518) 465-8349
Web Site: www.cectoxic.org Exit EPA

The Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is a statewide environmental organization that aims to eliminate pollution in the state of New York. Volunteers work to empower, educate, and assist others who are concerned about environmental problems and to eliminate solid waste and create healthier communities.

Cornell Composting
Web Site: http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/composting.htm Exit EPA

This Web site offers a comprehensive listing of composting resources as well as examples and case studies from Cornell’s Waste Management Institute.

Corporation for National & Community Service
1201 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20525
Phone: (202) 606-5000
E-mail: info@cns.gov
Web Site: www.cns.gov Exit EPA

National service partnerships offer opportunities for businesses, foundations, non-profits, educational institutions, local and state governments, and others to extend their reach and further their effect on communities. The Corporation for National Service currently has three main service initiatives—Learn and Serve America, AmeriCorps, and the National Senior Service Corps—as well as partnerships with other national organizations.

Earth 911
Web Site: www.earth911.org Exit EPA

This site can help you locate local environmental information and recycling centers for all types of recyclables based on ZIP code.

Earth Force
1908 Mount Vernon Avenue
Second Floor
Alexandria, VA 22301
Phone: (800) 23-FORCE (233-6723)
Fax: (703) 299-9485
E-mail: earthforce@earthforce.org
Web Site: www.earthforce.org Exit EPA

Earth Force engages young people as active citizens to improve the environment and their communities now and in the future. Earth Force offers training and supporting educators in programs that enable young people to lead community action projects focused on creating sustainable solutions to local environment issues in the community.

Eco-Cycle
Phone: (303) 444.6634 (Boulder, CO)
E-mail: recycle@ecocycle.org
Web Site: www.ecocycle.org Exit EPA

Eco-Cycle believes in individual and community action to transform society’s throwaway ethic into environmentally friendly stewardship. Its mission is to provide publicly accountable recycling; offer conservation and education services; and identify, explore, and demonstrate the emerging frontiers of sustainable resource management.

Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement (EASI)
P.O. Box 250
Catlett, VA 20119-0250
Phone: (540) 788-3274
Fax: (540) 788-9301
Web Site: www.easi.org Exit EPA

EASI’s mission is to build, promote, and utilize the environmental ethic, expertise, and commitment of older adults to expand citizen involvement in protecting and caring for the environment. In addition to providing information on senior environmental programs, EASI publishes a quarterly newsletter as well as a resource guide to national projects.

Hands On Network (formerly City Cares)
600 Means Street, Suite 110
Atlanta, GA 30318
Phone: (404) 979-2900
Fax: (404) 979-2901
Web Site: www.handsonnetwork.org Exit EPA

Hands On Network is a national civic movement bringing people together to tackle tough community problems.

Keep America Beautiful (KAB)
1010 Washington Boulevard
Stamford, CT 06901
Phone: (203) 323-8987
Fax: (203) 325-9199
E-mail: info@kab.org
Web Site: www.kab.org Exit EPA

KAB is a nonprofit organization whose network of local, state, and international affiliate programs educates individuals about litter prevention and ways to reduce, reuse, recycle, and properly manage waste materials.Their programs focus on enabling local volunteers to acquire the skills, tools, and resources to work together in building quality communities. Through partnerships and strategic alliances with citizens, businesses, and government, KAB’s programs motivate millions of volunteers annually to clean up, beautify, and improve their neighborhoods, thereby creating healthier, safer, and more livable community environments.

National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
Campus Ecology Program
11100 Wildlife Center Drive
Reston,VA 20190-5362
Phone: (703) 438-6000
Web Site: www.nwf.org/global-warming/campus-solutions.aspx Exit EPA

Since its founding in 1989, NWF’s Campus Ecology Program has become a cornerstone conservation initiative in higher education. The program works to transform the nation’s college campuses into living models of an ecologically sustainable society, to train a new generation of environmental leaders, and to ensure a strong future for America’s environmental movement. Its primary goal is to reduce the need to reinvent the wheel of environmental action from campus to campus by communicating to campus organizers what other environmental leaders have already learned. NWF’s Web site features a yearbook of successful programs and activities.

Network for Good
8615 Westwood Center Dr.
Suite 1A
Vienna, VA 22182
Phone: (866) 650-4636
Fax: (703) 265-6811
Web Site: www.networkforgood.org Exit EPA

Network for Good is a nonprofit organization that connects individuals with their favorite charities—making online donations, exploring volunteer opportunities, and learning more about the causes that matter most.

Points of Light Foundation
1400 I Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 729-8000
Fax: (202) 729-8100
Web Site: www.pointsoflight.org Exit EPA

The Points of Light Foundation’s mission is to engage more people more effectively in volunteer community service to help solve serious social problems.The Foundation, among other things, assists employers in developing workplace volunteer programs and helps develop youth service leaders and youth service programs.

Seattle Works
312 First Avenue, N.
Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: (206) 324-0808
Fax: (206) 324-0817
E-mail: info@seattleworks.org
Web Site: www.seattleworks.org Exit EPA

Seattle Works was founded in 1989 by a group of young adults who saw the need to involve their peers in community service. The organization has since developed several innovative volunteer programs that mobilize people to get involved in their community. Seattle Works operates on the premise that people in their 20s and 30s want to give back to their communities, but often just don’t know how or where to do it most effectively.

Student Conservation Association (SCA)
689 River Road
Charlestown, NH 03603-0550
Phone: (603) 543-1700
Fax: (603) 543-1828
Web Site: www.sca-inc.org Exit EPA

SCA is America’s largest and oldest provider of national and community conservation service opportunities, outdoor education, and career training for youth. SCA volunteers and interns annually perform more than 1 million hours of conservation service in national parks, forests, refuges, and urban areas in all 50 states.

Recycler’s World
Web Site: www.recycle.net Exit EPA

This site is a worldwide trading center for information related to secondary or recyclable commodities, byproducts, and used and surplus items or materials. The site also offers a calendar of events, a listing of associations, and a publications list.

The Compost Resource Page
Web Site: www.oldgrowth.org/compost Exit EPA

This site offers a detailed overview of composting and a list of additional resources on home composting and vermicomposting, as well as composting toilets.

The Freecycle Network™
P.O. Box 294
Tucson, AZ 85702
E-mail: info@freecycle.org
Web Site: www.freecycle.org Exit EPA

Freecycle aims to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources, and eases the burden on landfills while enabling members to benefit from the strength of a larger community. Membership is free. Individuals in a given community give and receive unwanted items as a way to reuse and recycle.

The Master Composter Site
Web Site: www.mastercomposter.com Exit EPA

Visitors to this site can learn everything they might ever want to know about making and using compost. The information is geared toward home composters and includes directions on how to build a compost pile and contact information for local composting programs.

The Heart of America Foundation
401 F Street, NW
Suite 325
Washington, DC 2002
Phone: (202) 347-6278
Fax: (202) 347-8599
Web Site: www.heartofamerica.org Exit EPA

The Heart of America Foundation is a national humanitarian network that celebrates, honors, and empowers both young people and adults. One of its initiatives, Heart Corps, is a college scholarship program that rewards students with financial credits for their future education based on time volunteered for community service. Heart Corps gives students an opportunity to nourish their self-esteem, improve their neighborhoods, and earn financial credits toward their education through serving their communities.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR) (formerly Office Solid Waste (OSW))
Web Site: www.epa.gov/osw

ORCR provides detailed information on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle as well as on composting and source reduction. The site also provides an extensive list of links to relevant sites.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program (EPP)
Web Site: www.epa.gov/epp

EPP is a nationwide program that encourages and assists executive agencies in the purchasing of environmentally preferable products and services. This site includes tools to implement EPP, successful stories and events, and an EPP discussion section.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Volunteer Clearinghouse
Phone: (800) 865-8337

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Volunteer Clearinghouse is a nationwide, toll-free hotline for individuals who want to volunteer their time with the Corps. By calling the hotline, a potential volunteer can express interest in any Corps project nationwide.The Clearinghouse gives the individual a point of contact for the area they have requested, as well as written information about the area’s volunteer opportunities.

VolunteerMatch
385 Grove Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 241-6872
Fax: (415) 241-6869
Web Site: www.volunteermatch.org Exit EPA

VolunteerMatch, a service of the nonprofit group ImpactOnline, uses the Internet to help individuals nationwide find volunteer opportunities.VolunteerMatch’s online database allows volunteers to search thousands of onetime and ongoing opportunities by ZIP code, category, and date.

Youth Serve America (YSA)
1101 15th Street NW
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 296-2992
Web Site: www.servenet.org Exit EPA

YSA is a resource center and an alliance of more than 200 organizations committed to increasing the quantity and quality of opportunities for young Americans to serve locally, nationally, or globally.YSA’s mission is to strengthen the effectiveness, sustainability, and scale of the youth service movement.YSA believes a strong youth service movement will create healthy communities and foster citizenship, knowledge, and personal development of young people.

Top of page

Glossary

Biodegrade: To decompose under natural conditions—the breakdown of a compound to simpler chemicals by microorganisms.

Compost: A crumbly, earthy, sweet-smelling mixture of decomposing organic matter (e.g., leaves, food scraps) that is often used to improve the texture, water-retaining capacity, and aeration of soil.

Grasscycling: Source reduction activity in which grass clippings are left on the lawn after mowing. The practice consists of mowing grass so it is never more than two to three inches tall. The grass clippings are left where they fall and allowed to decompose, returning nutrients to the lawn.

Household hazardous waste (HHW): Small quantities of unused or leftover hazardous products used in the home that become waste. Paints, pesticides, and some cleaners are examples of household hazardous waste. Caution must be taken when handling, storing, or disposing of these products.

Landfill: An engineered disposal site where solid wastes are deposited, compacted to the smallest practical volume, and covered by soil or other material applied at the end of each operating day. Hazardous wastes are taken to special disposal sites selected and designed to minimize the chance of releasing hazardous substances into the environment.

Municipal solid waste: Wastes such as durable goods, disposable goods, containers and packaging, food scraps, yard trimmings, and miscellaneous inorganic wastes from households, certain commercial establishments (e.g., businesses or restaurants), institutions (e.g., schools or hospitals), and some industrial sources. It does not include nonhazardous industrial wastes, sewage, agricultural waste, hazardous waste,or construction and demolition waste. Also known as garbage, trash, refuse, or debris.

Recyclable: Material that still has useful physical or chemical properties after serving its original purpose and can be reused or remanufactured to make new products. Plastic, paper, glass, steel and aluminum cans, and used oil are examples of recyclable materials.

Recycling: Collecting, sorting, processing, and converting materials that would have been thrown away into raw materials used to make the same or new products.

Refurbish: To repair, clean, and make useful again. Some electronic manufacturing companies and other businesses take back used equipment, refurbish it, and sell it again.

Source reduction: Any change in the design, manufacture, purchase, or use of materials or products (including packaging) to reduce their amount or toxicity before they become municipal solid waste. Source reduction also refers to the reuse of products or materials.

Trash: Items that are discarded because they no longer work and are uneconomical or impossible to reuse, repair, or recycle.

Top of page


Local Navigation


Jump to main content.