We've all learned to pay attention to the 3 Rs when it comes to trash. Most islanders try to reduce the amount of packaging, etc., we bring into our house and therefore will need to dispose of. Lots of us donate or think of clever ways to reuse clothing, furniture, etc., rather than sending it to a land fill. And recycling has become a way of life for everyone. We donate aluminum cans to a worthy cause or sell them and other metals at All Scrap Recycling on Betsy Parkway at the center. We use our blue recycle containers to recycle at the curb.
Pine Island Earth Friends learned more about a fourth R - recover - at its August meeting. Diane gave a presentation after she and Maggie toured Lee County Waste to Energy Facility on Buckingham Road in Fort Myers where 1 ton of trash burned equals 1 barrel of oil. Anything burnable can be transformed into an energy source with little impact on the environment. This facility began operations in 1994 and after expansion in 2004 it is the first Municipal Combustor permitted and constructed under the EPA's New Source Performance Standards in the United States since they were disseminated in the 1990s. The expansion made it possible to burn more than 1,800 tons of garbage per day while producing enough electricity to supply approximately 36,000 homes.
Tours of this facility and the adjacent Lee County Recycling facility are held on a regular basis. For more information call 239-533-8000. Pine Island Earth Friends will do a group tour later this fall and information about the date and time will be noted in the Eagle. The next meeting of Pine Island Earth Friends is Sept. 14. For more information, call Diane at 282-8804.
Practical Earth Friendly Tip for August: Help the process of waste to energy - separate your recyclables from waste at your curb. The following items CANNOT be recycled: pots & pans, cooking utensils, window screens, lawn furniture, glass, mirrors, dishes, cutlery, license plates, car parts, tools, shredded paper, packaging or paper with wax coating, plastic bags, plastic bottles that held hazardous products like pool chemicals, motor oil or antifreeze, plastic flower pots, newspaper sleeves, Styrofoam and polystyrene egg and meat trays. Sometimes we're not sure if something is recyclable. When in doubt, throw it out. Dispose of it in the trash; don't put it in the recycle container.