Earth Day

Lots of garbage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

I prepared for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by spending the afternoon with garbage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

First up:  an exhibit featuring  artwork by Dorothy Rissman made from trash she found on city streets, construction sites and beaches.

Dorothy Rissman - Snack Pack Dress

Dorothy Rissman - Reflector ball

Next: an introduction to the airport’s six pair of shiny new, computer-monitored trash compactors, set out for use by airlines.

(courtesy Sea-Tac Airport)

Sea-Tac Airport is incredibly enthusiastic about reducing waste and has won awards for the amount of trash it recycles and the wide range of things it recycles. For example, unsold food goes to food banks; spent cooking grease becomes bio-diesel fuel; and organic waste – including tons of coffee grounds, of course – gets composted.

Now the airport is turning its eco-eye on all the garbage that arrives on airplanes.

Instead of letting each airline take care of its own garbage, the airport bought a dozen computer-monitored giant compactors (six for trash; six for garbage) so that it can coordinate and monitor airplane trash.   Airlines that separate magazines, newspapers, soda cans and other recyclable items can get rid of that stuff for free.  And if they do a good job of helping the airport keep trash out of the landfills, airlines can get credit to help lower their annual bill.

Happy Earth Day!

Souvenir Sunday: funny soap and rescued tools

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day arrives on April 22nd so to do my part I thought I’d share a couple of smart, good-for-the-earth souvenirs I found recently on a road trip in Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory.

The first is this funny looking bar of soap -“designed to eliminate the unused center of traditional soap bars” – that I found in my room at The Resort at the Mountain in Welches, Oregon.

There are plenty of other hotels stocking this product, but it’s the first time I’d come across it.  And while it looks funny, it makes a lot of sense to me.  I mean, really – when was the last time you used an entire bar of soap on an overnight at a hotel?


(Vintage sprinklers at the Red Pig Garden Tools Museum)

The other unusual and super-earth-friendly  souvenir I encountered in my travels recently were “Old Gold” tools that Bob Denman and his wife Rita have for sale at Red Pig Garden Tools in Boring, Oregon.  (I’m not saying Oregon is boring; there’s actually a town named Boring)

Bob Denman is a blacksmith who makes much-in-demand, hand-forged tools out of recycled materials.  The “Old Gold” tools are just that: perfectly good and, in many cases, valuable old tools Bob and Rita rescue at yard and barn sales that just need a bit of cleaning and, in some cases, repair, before going back to work.

Denman explains a bit more in this video:

Interested in visiting Red Pig Garden Tools yourself? The folks at the Mt. Hood Territory are having a Sweet Spot Sweepstakes. Prizes include a free trip to the area – and a variety of weekly prizes.

Celebrate Earth Day at the airport

Several airports around the country will be marking Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22 with free gifts for travelers.

dia-bagAt Denver International Airport (DEN) they’ll be distributing these reusable grocery shopping bags to passengers in the (main) Jeppesen Terminal.

bos-postcard

At Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), more than two dozen kids from the East Boston YMCA will join airport staff to greet arriving passengers with  free plant-able postcards embedded with wildflowers.

“We have lots more postcards than we have arriving passengers that day, so we’ll be handing these out for a few days,” says an airport spokesperson.

seatacgrass

And at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, (SEA) they’ll be having a full-fledged Earth Day Fair complete with information booths about local sustainability projects, examples of green products, samples of organic food, and presentations about recycling everything from food scraps to building materials. The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Sea-Tac Airport in the Gina Marie Lindsey Arrivals Hall.