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Students Follow Scientific Process to Success With Rubber Mulch Study

An award-winning science fair project has put a couple of middle school students in the news, according to the Duluth News Tribune. Simulating the way runoff goes into waterways, the students found that a commercially available rubber mulch isn’t so good for the environment. Because of their scientific methodology and discovery, the students went so far as to suggest that tire mulch should stop being used on playgrounds.

Recycling tires for athletic fields and playgrounds was an innovative idea that was supposed to keep this stuff out of landfills. But this science project just highlights the fact that we, as a planet, need to stop and think not just about all the waste we’re creating, but the recycling mistakes we can, and do make.

For example, were you aware that plastic bags shouldn’t go in your recycling bin? Or that greasy, wet or food-soiled items can’t be recycled? From Christmas tree lights to auto parts and propane tanks, none of these things can go in your weekly recycling bin.

While we’re at it, we also need to take a look at reducing the food waste we create. Surveys show that only 53 percent of us are aware that food waste is even an issue — and another 42 percent don’t believe we have enough time to worry about it, anyway. The consequences of this is that one-third of edible food is wasted globally.

What’s worse, the average U.S. family of four wastes more than $1,500 of food a year. The good news is you can help eliminate this problem right at home. For starters, be open to purchasing cosmetically imperfect produce if you come across it at the grocery store or farmers market. Then plan your meals so you can buy only what you need for the coming week. And learn what expiration dates really mean — most dates are a manufacturer’s estimate of when it will be freshest, but many foods are safe to eat days, weeks or months after.
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