Donate recyclables
A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village wants your garbage. Well, your recyclables anyway. The Discovery Village uses various items for arts and crafts. So before you recycle that cottage cheese container, check out this list and see if it’s something they can use.

Egg cartons
Baby food jars
Clay extruders
Artificial flowers
Origami paper
Used CDs
Small square colorful tile
Film canisters
2-liter pop bottles
Toilet paper and paper towel tubes
Plastic recyclables (yup, that means cottage cheese
Recycle and reuse your ink cartridges

“When you run out of gas, you don’t throw away your car’s engine,” says Britt Sexton Marketing Supervisor at IMEX America Corp., a Salem-based printer toner manufacturer that specializes in remanufacturing. “But that is exactly what happens when empty printer cartridges are not reused.”

There are two types of cartridges: laser and inkjet. Both types can be returned to various collection points to be inspected, cleaned, have worn parts replaced and refilled.

“We hear a lot about recycling in the media, or the reprocessing of plastics and metals. But reusing existing materials is an even more efficient use of our resources. It is greener than recycling,” says Sexton.

The cartridge remanufacturing industry helps ensure that cartridges are reused many times and that any unusable components are recycled. And the best part is there’s even a little something in it for you: “When you purchase a remanufactured cartridge, you can save 30 to 50 percent or more on your printing supplies,” Sexton says. Local sources and drop-off points of printing cartridges:

Rapid Refill Ink
234 Liberty St. NE
(503) 587-0465

Island Inkjet
3815 Devonshire Ave. NE
(503) 365-0012

Macro Solutions
Mail order only
(800) 537-5432

Pack a bag
Invest in a cloth bag that you can bring with you to the grocery store and reuse over and over again. Roth’s offers a simple canvas tote for $4.99. Blaine Vogt, keyperson at Roth’s Vista Market, says that these totes can carry roughly twice that of a regular paper bag. Considering that one Roth’s store goes through approximately 4,000 disposable bags each day, this simple practice could make a world of difference. And hey, if Roth’s is purchasing fewer bags maybe grocery prices will go down! If a tote bag is simply not feasible, consider keeping a stock of bags (paper or plastic) in your car that you can reuse each time you go to the store. At the very least, recycle your used bags. Most stores have bins that you can stuff your plastic bags into and paper bags can be recycled with your newspapers.

Be a Master Recycler
Marion County offers a Master Recycling class, which is open to the public. According to their Web site, Master Recyclers receive 30 hours of comprehensive training in all aspects of solid waste management, and then go out into the community and help others learn how to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Deadline for signing up for the class is April 13. The class runs April 26 to June 14. For information or to get an application call (503) 588-5169 or visit

There is much to be done around the house (besides recycling) that can result in a pretty major environmental impact. For instance, if every Salem Monthly reader turned their thermostat down two degrees in the winter and up two degrees in the summer, we could save 130,000,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. That’s like planting 65,000 trees! Here are more quick and simple changes you can make today.

Change light bulbs
According to the Energy Star Web site, Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs use two thirds less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light. Yes, they are more expensive, but they last up to 10 times longer. Another bonus: CFLs generate 70 percent less heat, so they are safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling during the summer months.

Shop local
Most food that is on your typical grocer’s shelf has traveled a long ways to get there, perhaps from nearby California or Washington, or maybe as far away as Chile. Either way it takes plenty of energy to get it here. Keith Nelson, co-owner of Teal Creek Farms for 15 years, says that the best way to curb this energy is to hit the local farmer’s market first to stock up on what you can, and then shop the mainstream grocery store. Salem Saturday Market will start in May, but don’t forget about the year-round Public Market which is held at 1240 Rural Avenue every Saturday morning. Also check out for locally grown produce delivered right to your front door.

Buy organic
“Pesticides and herbicides are polluting the ground with chemicals that won’t just go away,” says Keith Nelson, co-owner of a local organic farm. True, organic produce can cost a little more, but just think — you won’t be eating poison. Beauty can be green, too Aveda’s mission statement goes something like this: “Aveda believes in conducting business in a manner that protects the Earth, conserves resources and does not compromise the ability of future generations to sustain themselves.” They offer a line of eco-friendly beauty products, including hair care, skin care, makeup and “pure-fume.” Visit their Web site to find out more about their environmental and sustainability policies:, or visit a local retailer that carries them.

Bella Vita
285 Liberty St NE Ste 130
(503) 391-2253

Above & Beyond
1420 17th St NE
(503) 391-919

Kill junk mail
We told you no scary statistics. But we didn’t say anything about big, scary numbers. So here goes: Junk mail kills 100 million trees every year. And even if it didn’t, you’d still want to get rid of those pesky offers that not only clutter your home but practically invite identity thieves to steal your information. Opt out now by visiting or calling 1 (888) 567-8688.

Clean green
Household chemicals are dangerous stuff. Most contain hazardous chemicals that end up in local water bodies. According to Marian Smart, supervisor at First Impressions Janitorial Service, a simple mixture of vinegar and water works to clean most household surfaces. It also helps eliminate those nasty sugar ants, she says. Just spray it around the sink and they should be gone in a couple days. There is a complete list of safe alternatives to other household products on the Marion County Web site:

If you like to go to garage sales, you will LOVE Freecycle. According to their Web site, “The concept of Freecycle Salem is simple. You have something you no longer need and you wish to `recycle’ it rather than throw it into the landfill. You can post items to give away, or make a request for wanted items, but the bottom line is that it has to be free.” There are several posts daily of offered items — everything from exercise equipment to kittens. It’s quick and easy to sign up, visit