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Rain Garden Primera Iglesia Church

By Megan Goodwin

The summer is now approaching its later months and Arizona is preparing for the monsoon season. Everyone living in the desert knows how beautiful it can be, but they also know how precious water is. Now that the monsoon season is upon us, why not learn about rainwater harvesting and do your bit to conserve some water?

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By Daisy Vargas

Current information from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) suggests that Arizona will not be affected by the Animas River Spill from Gold King Mine.

On August 5, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with Missouri-based Environmental Restoration LLC, were expected to pump out and treat contaminated water from the Gold King Mine. When EPA workers were attempting to enter the inactive mine, a massive leak sprung. Read more

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by Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane

The rain is pelting the windshield. The wind is blowing so hard you fight with your steering wheel. In the middle of it all, you try to dodge the cardboard box that just tumbled in front of your car and struggle to see around the plastic grocery bag that just latched onto your windshield wipers.

Summer storms that occur during Arizona’s monsoon season introduce a new layer of peril for Valley drivers, particularly when litter finds its way into the mix. Don’t Trash Arizona, a joint effort of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), is reminding Valley drivers that our seasonal storms pack enough of a punch to send litter airborne, which increases the risk of car accidents during an already dangerous time of year.

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asu green

By Megan Goodwin

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education recently named Arizona State University as the 13th greenest college in the United States. Read more

By Rachel Gossen

LR
On Wednesday, the Dysart Unified School District and Kingswood Elementary was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Green Living got the chance to attend a tour of Kingswood with DOE representative Maria Vargas and Dysart superintendent Dr. Gail Pletnick, where we learned about energy efficient solutions the school has installed.

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DSC_1983-4

by Amanda Harvey

Have you ever wondered what happened to that t-shirt with a hole in it or that book with the missing pages that you donated to Goodwill? Fear not – it most likely did not end up in the landfill, thanks to the efforts of Mike Dizinno and the Retail Operations Center (ROC) in Phoenix.

If a product in stores does not sell after five weeks it gets transferred to the ROC. The ROC acts as a resource center for extremely marked down items on one side, and as a processing warehouse and sorting facility on the other, which is operated 24/7, 365 days per year.

The goal is to not send anything to the landfill, says Dizinno, the Director of Logistics for the Goodwill ROC.

DSC_1988 - 4-2As we toured the facility, a line of people waited outside to be let in the retail area. Most of these patrons buy items to then repurpose for their own use or to resell. Many of these items are sold by the pound at rock-bottom prices in hopes that someone will get use out of them. If items do not sell, they get transferred to the warehouse and are sorted by like item to be sold off to brokers, and mainly get shipped overseas. Donated computers, cell phones, printers and other electronics are collected and sent back to Dell – which Goodwill has a partnership with – to be refurbished or stripped for parts. Stuffed animals, linens, belts, purses and clothes are bundled in huge bails and are sometimes shipped off to developing countries to be used as-is or even taken apart for other use, such as rags and insulation. If the quality of the clothing is good enough, it may even end up in a department store somewhere overseas. Even single shoes get batched and sold. The point is – everything gets sold and used for some purpose.

Goodwill also has plastic bag collection sites in their stores, which are transferred to the ROC and sold in bails to Trex, a company that mixes melted plastic bags and sawdust together to make faux wood for decking and benches. “We’re doing about 35,000 pounds of plastic bags per month. It’s done better than ever expected,” said Dizinno.

Last year, Goodwill diverted 1.7 million pounds from the landfill. Instead of throwing it out, the next time you think an item is not fit for donation, drop it off to Goodwill. You never know – someone may see the shabby-chic potential in those tattered novels or someone across the ocean may desperately need that old t-shirt.

Read more about corporate social responsibility at greenlivingaz.com/csr

Photos by Kristen Stowe

FUSD 2012 Water Fesival 006 2-2

By Sara Weber

With the upcoming school year comes the potential for a serious environmental conundrum: How can faculty, students and families work together to reduce their school’s environmental impact? A school is obviously a place in which lights, paper, pencils, water bottles, trash and other green-fiend nightmares run rampant. To help placate some of these fears, Green Living magazine asked local education experts to share some advice on how they’ve encouraged faculty, students and parents to contribute.

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