Friday, September 26, 2008

Put Your Change To Good Use

Do you have lots of change just laying around the house? My dad has containers of change in his office and I don't know why he doesn't just cash them in. Maybe after I tell him about this new project he will change his mind (pun intended).

Coinstar, the coin counting people, launched change for our Earch, which raises awareness for how the simple activity of refusing coin can help the environment. Coinstar estimates that there is $10 billion in idle change in the U.S. If we put back just 10% of this amount back into circulation, we could reduce the number of new coins that need to be created, thus lowering our environmental impact and preserving natural resources. According to Coinstar, 78% of Americans say they would make more of an effort to reuse their change if they knew it could help the environment. By reusing change or cashing it in, this new form of recycling can really make a difference.

So how can you help? Cash you coins in at your local Coinstar Center from September 15 through October 15, 2008. The city with the highest percentage volume increase per machine compared to the same time period a year ago will be named 'Coinstar's Greenest City' and the organization affiliated with the selected project will receive a $10,000 grant. The competing cities are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Milwaukee, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle. Even if you don't live in one of these cities, you are now aware of the change you can make by using and/or cashing in your change.

Since I live in the Chicago area, I have to give a shout out to Chicago's project, Chicago Gateway Green

Chicago Gateway Green, through its program, TREEcago, is partnering with the City of Chicago to launch Mayor Daley's "Tree Farm Initiative" with a volunteer planting day. The site of the planting is set for 120th and Peoria, in Chicago’s southside West Pullman neighborhood. Abandoned lots dot Chicago's landscape; the Tree Farm Initiative will transform these desolate tracts into green spaces with
the ultimate goal of moving the adult trees to places of need around the city.

Through the local Alderman's office, the City, and Chicago Gateway Green's network of supporters, they are working to bring together a diverse and committed group of volunteers to plant the trees. After the initial planting, Chicago Gateway Green will be responsible for maintaining the trees through its TREEcago program.

Rows of native, hardwood saplings will be planted, totaling roughly 135 trees. Native species are used to minimize watering needs and to maximize survivability. These trees will provide innumerable benefits to their urban surroundings. They will remove carbon dioxide and harmful particulates from the air, and produce oxygen. Their canopies will provide shade as well as habitat for birds and small mammals, and will reduce potentially damaging stormwater run-off. Beyond their environmental contributions, trees improve quality of life as well; they reduce noise pollution and increase property values.

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