Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Ways to Protect and Conserve Groundwater - Manage Waste}

It's the second week in Frannie's series of The Groundwater Foundation's Top 10 List of Ways to Protect and Conserve Groundwater at home.  This week Frannie will be focusing on managing waste.  There are many materials that we use in our homes that we have to be very careful storing, using, and disposing.  These materials include things like:
  • Paint
  • Motor Oil
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Batteries
  • Pesticides
  • Unused chemicals (i.e. - for cleaning, salt for de-icing pathways, etc.)

While Girl Scouts should leave these materials alone and let adults deal with them, you can still talk to parents/guardians about how they can be groundwater stewards and properly manage these materials.

Here are a few ideas to discuss:

1.  Prevent accidents that can hurt people, wildlife like Frannie, or the environment.  Make sure that all potentially toxic substances are properly sealed and stored. 

2.  Only buy as much as you will use.  There's no point in stocking up on a substance that will end up sitting on a shelf collecting dust!

3.  Don't dump or trash household hazardous waste.  The Environmental Protection Agency defines household hazardous waste as common household items that contain toxic, corrosive, ignitable, or reactive ingredients.  Many communities have household hazardous waste collection days (or even permanent sites).  Ask your parents/guardians to contact the local health department to find one near you.

4.  A growing number of communities are participating in medication take-back programs to keep pharmaceuticals out of the environment and from falling into the wrong hands.  Check in your local area for proper ways to dispose of these materials.  Do you live in Nebraska?  There are over 250 pharmacies participating in the statewide take-back disposal program offered by the Medication Education for Disposal Strategies (MEDS) Coalition.  Find a pharmacy near you!

Do you have more ideas?  Share other steps your family has taken to manage waste properly!