Going Green

Recycling at Dokis and in West Nipissing


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As a courtesy to the French River cottagers, Riverview Marina is collecting some waste materials for recycling. If we wish this service to continue, we must do our part by adhering to the guidelines of collecting, sorting and crushing our recyclables. The following materials will be accepted:

PLASTIC BOTTLES AND CONTAINERS, #1 thru #7: all containers and bottles must be rinsed and placed loosely in the designated container. Remove lids and caps. No plastic bags.

POP CANS: must be crushed and placed loosely in the designated container. No plastic bags.

BEER CANS: must be crushed and placed loosely in the designated container. No plastic bags.

GLASS WINE BOTTLES, BEER BOTTLES, LIQUOR BOTTLES: must be placed in the designated area.

SCRAP METAL AND STEEL: (nominal charge) By request only.

All proceeds collected from the LCBO returns will be donated to the Leonard Dokis Foundation, which provides financial support to chosen individuals pursuing higher education.

In West Nipissing all 7 landfill sites have RECYCLING BINS for cardboard, newspapers, glass, tin, aluminum and plastics. They are accessible during hours of operation. There are also 24-hour access RECYCLING BINS located at:
Verner Arena Parking Lot
Crystal Falls Road at boat launch site
Field, Larocque Street behind Riverview Market
North Monetville Fire Hall

French River cottagers are more than welcome to drop off their recycling products at any West Nipissing recycling station. To access the West Nipissing Recycling Guide and see locations and hours of all landfill sites follow the links at www.westnipissingouest.ca  If you would like the address for any of the locations, please contact the MWN municipal office at 705-753-2250.

Starlight Marina will take aluminum cans and old boat, car, and flashlight batteries.

For information on what can be recycled click on West Nipissing Recycling Guide.pdf 

There is also a recycling centre in Cache Bay, which is outside of the municipality.

The Recycling Council of Ontario is a not-for-profit organization committed to minimizing society's impact on the environment by eliminating waste. RCO's mission is to inform and educate all members of society about the generation of waste, the avoidance of waste, the more efficient use of resources and the benefits and/or consequences of these activities. Since its inception in 1978, RCO has actively assisted municipalities, corporations, other organizations and individuals in reducing their waste.

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous materials are defined and federally regulated under the Hazardous Products Act administered by Consumer & Corporate Affairs. Health & Welfare Canada plays an advisory role. These products are classified in four hazard categories:

  •  Corrosive (such as acids)
  •  Flammable (burns easily)
  •  Reactive (explosive or produces toxic vapours)
  •  Toxic (poisonous to humans)

Transporting Hazardous Waste
If you have to transport hazardous waste, please ensure that:

  • All materials are left in the original container to allow for easy identification
  • Products are not mixed together
  • Wastes are sealed and labeled
  • Household batteries are in a small bag, plastic container or coffee can 

Hazardous Waste Centres

West Nipissing residents may take hazardous waste to the North Bay Hazardous Waste Depot year round. The depot is open from Wednesday to Saturday. It is located at 112 Patton St. off Seymour Street. They can be reached through North Bay City Hall at 705-474-0400. Also for more information click here. The depot will take batteries, motor oil, cleaning products, paints and solvents, pesticides, and propane tanks.  Note: They will not take PCBs or any unidentified products, pathological waste, or explosives. 

Noelville has a Hazardous Waste drop-off day, once a year, on the Saturday of the Labour Day weekend.  It is on Delamere Road, north of Alban. For more details, please call the French River Township at 705-898-2294.

Currently there is no permanent Hazardous Waste Centre in Sturgeon Falls or West Nipissing. 

Soaps And Phosphorus

How Soaps and Phosphorus Affects Lakes and Rivers

Phosphorus, often in the form of phosphates, has always been present, dissolved in lake and river water. It is a widely distributed chemical element, occurring naturally in rocks and soils, and it is one of life's essential components. In lake water, when phosphorus levels increase, so does the growth of algae. Chemical analysis to measure the concentration of this one nutrient, is a cost-effective way to determine overall nutrient levels, and thus the health of your lake. As a naturally occurring element, and one present in the cells of all living organisms, it is not unexpected that a certain level of phosphorus is present even in pristine lakes. As human habitation occurs along the shoreline of a lake, aquatic levels of phosphorus gradually rise. Since this means more nutrients are available, algal, bacterial and aquatic weed populations can also increase sometimes to unacceptable levels.

Some potential sources for rising lake levels of phosphorus include faulty septic systems, soap and detergent products, shoreline erosion and excavations that allow greater run off minerals into the lake. We can prevent some of these sources and readily control phosphorus contributions from soaps and detergents.

How to reduce phosphorus at the cottage

It is very easy to become complacent at the cottage on the Upper French River, in terms of the products we use. It is too easy to think that if we can use them at home in the city, then we should be able to use them at the cottage as well. Unfortunately that is not the case. The issue of phosphorus is becoming more important as cottages are used throughout the entire summer, and some now have multiple bathrooms, showers and washing machines. It is important to note that phosphorus cannot be eliminated because it is not degraded or removed in septic tanks or by the leaching bed.  It will eventually enter the water table and the lake.

One way to reduce phosphates from entering the water table is to ensure that healthy, natural vegetation remains at the shoreline. This vegetation will absorb the phosphates. But don't add any extra fertilzers; this practice, if not banned, is highly discouraged, as it ends up fertilizing plant growth in the water.

We can prevent some of these sources and readily control phosphorous contributions from soaps and detergents. At cottages, we can all switch to phosphorus-free (as well as biodegradable) liquid hand soap, shampoo and dish washing liquid. To help to evaluate and identify these products, please visit: Environmental Choice

The only adjustment that you have to make when using the dish washing liquid is that it will not result in the level of suds produced by phosphate-containing detergents; however, the dishes will be as clean as if you were using your traditional soap.

This season, we have also been alerted to the "Simply Clean" line of household products, which are also biodegradable and phosphate-free. All qualify for the EcoLogo certification ensuring that they do not contain phosphates. More information about these products is available on the company web site Simply Clean

The product line includes detergents and cleansers, soaps, chlorine-free bleach, fabric softener, de-scaler and an all-purpose household cleaner. Most importantly, all these rather economical products are marketed locally from Natural Capital Resources in Sydenham, Ontario (www.ncronline.ca). For information and pricing contact Kathy Wood, General Manager, at 613-376-6006 (cell phone - 613-540-1627) or by email at ncr@sympatico.ca.

Since we all share the same shoreline and water, we all impact on each other.  Together we can make a difference by developing and adopting “water-wise” attitudes and habits. Every cottage should be using phosphate-free soaps both for hands and body, as well as for dish washing and laundry.  We must also ensure proper maintenance of our septic systems. Next time you buy soap, take a moment to read the ingredients and see if it has phosphorus in it. Each of us has a part to play in maintaining water quality.

Want To Clean Green? It's Not Hard To Do

Soapnuts from India are an eco-friendly way to take care of laundry
Feb 16, 2008 04:30 AM
Vicky Sanderson
Special to The Star
Environmentally friendly cleaning products used to be a niche retail category targeted at a consumer subset who were all supposed to wear goofy footwear and eschew deodorant. But the eco-market has gone mainstream, and it will soon be the merchant who doesn't carry a green cleaning line who's on the fringe.
Home Depot's Eco Options line, for example, now includes more than 1,600 products that it says have a "smaller negative impact on the environment than conventional products." Some of those items, such as the Method line of cleaners, have become phenomenally popular. This spring, Rona will launch a green house brand called Rona Eco. Products from the line are evaluated using "life cycle assessment," which looks at its impact on the environment – from obtaining the components to usage to disposal.
Rob Grand, owner of Grassroots Environmental Products, a green retailer who opened in 1994 and sells products online and at two Toronto locations (grassrootsstore.com), says growth of the category is driven both by increased concern over the safety of chemicals in consumer products and by a jump in the number of people who show sensitivity to conventional cleaners.
But Grand is skeptical about eco-friendly claims by some national brands. In Canada, he points out, manufacturers of cleaning products are not obligated to list ingredients. Typically, ingredients are not even given to consumers who call customer service lines seeking the information, which makers deem proprietary. (For more information on common toxins in cleaning products, go to toxicnation.ca, a site sponsored by the non-profit Environmental Defense.)

Grand suggests, naturally enough, that consumers who want verifiably green products deal with a retailer like himself, who only carries products from companies that provide ingredient information.
One such company is Toronto-based Nature Clean Living, makers of environmentally friendly laundry soaps, household cleaners, fruit and vegetable wash, and personal care items. The products are competitively priced. A one-litre bottle of all-purpose cleanser sells for $4.99 at Grassroots; buy a case of 12, and you get a 10 per cent discount. For a full list of retail locations, go to naturecleanliving.com.
Grassroots also sells Soapnuts, which grow on trees in India and Nepal and contain Saponin, which has soap properties. To use them, put six to eight half shells in the cotton bag that comes with the nuts, and pop it in the washing machine. That should be good for up to six loads. A package of 250 grams sells for $9.99, and a one-kilogram pack sells for $25.99.

Some of the most environmentally friendly cleaning products could be already in your kitchen– like baking soda (a.k.a. sodium bicarbonate). This naturally derived mineral is safe and non-toxic.
But not enough homeowners are aware of the many uses of this simple household product, says Julia Liska, a registered nurse and program adviser to the Personal Support Worker program at Humber College, and who also does product demonstrations for Arm & Hammer.

Baking soda is a great addition to the housecleaning arsenal, especially in homes with family members who are cognitively impaired or very young. In both cases, Liska suggests, the number of potentially dangerous materials in the house should be as limited as possible.

"Baking soda is probably the least harmful and most effective cleaner you can use in a home," she says.
In addition to its use as a deodorizer for fridges, Liska suggests making a baking soda paste to clean kitchens and baths. Using a tightly-woven microfibre cloth for the task means it will require a little less elbow grease.
Baking soda also makes a great silver cleaner paste, can be added to laundry detergent to boost its cleaning power and sprinkled into the kitchen composter to keep odours at bay. A box left on the back of the toilet will help absorb excess moisture, and it can also be used as a non-toxic toilet cleaner.
To make your own carpet deodorizer, place a cup of baking soda in a jar, add eight to 10 drops of your favourite essential oil and shake. Then, sprinkle the mixture on the carpet, wait a bit and vacuum.
For more uses for baking soda and cleaning recipes, go to Arm and Hammer. Or you can scour the Internet for a copy of Baking Soda Bonanza by Peter A. Ciullo. Arm & Hammer has recently extended its line to include a Carpet and Room Odour Eliminator and a line of dye and fragrance-free detergents called Essentials.
For general information on eco-friendly cleaning, Grand recommends Clean and Green: The Complete Guide to Non-Toxic and Environmentally Safe Housekeeping by Annie Berthold-Bond, available at Grassroots and online at amazon.com.

Cleaning Products - Be careful: Cleaning Can Be Hazardous

With growing concerns about global warming, more and more people are thinking about their personal impact on the environment. We are reviewing our energy consumption for our homes and automobiles. We might even be thinking about the quality of our food products. But it's also worth checking our use of personal hygiene and cleaning products, which have become a multi-billion- dollar industry in the developed world.

Through clever marketing we are made to believe that our homes and our bodies need to sparkle, be germfree and smell great. So we buy "easy-to- use" products that have us believing we are living a cleaner, healthier life. Well, this is not really true. Many household cleaners and personal hygiene products are made from chemicals, synthetics and fragrances that can actually be harmful to our health.
Cleaners contain a variety of harmful substances including carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), neurotoxins (brain damage), reproductive toxins (increase or delay in sexual development) and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (interferes with hormones). This includes anything from your toilet bowl cleaner to air fresheners, shampoos, and makeup.
Alcohol, methanol, bleach, ammonia, ethanol, phenol and propellants are commonly used in air fresheners, disinfectants, toilet bowl cleaners, degreasers, glass cleaners, metal polishes, hair and skin care products. When ingested, inhaled or exposed to skin these chemicals can cause lung, liver, kidney and heart damage.
Formaldehyde is found in detergents, disinfectants and many skin care products. It is also emitted from foams, plastics, insulation and many other household building products. Formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen and air pollutant.
Sulphuric, hydrochloric, phosphoric and hydrofluoric acids are used in a variety of cleaners to eat away dirt, grime or rust. These acids are irritants that can cause eye, nose and throat irritation from the vapours, and burns from contact with skins, and can even kill if ingested.
Many of these chemicals do not break down in your septic tanks, in landfill or in our water systems. They contaminate drinking water and can kill wildlife.
Household cleaners and beauty products also pose hazards for children who put anything and everything into their mouths, crawl on the floor or are curious about colourful bottles.
Since many of these cleaners leave behind residue, your children may be ingesting harmful chemicals without you realizing it.
Keeping our houses and bodies clean does not have to be a toxic adventure. Simple ingredients such as vinegar (disinfectant), baking soda (abrasive and deodorizer), liquid soap (pure soaps such as castille), salt (degreaser), lemon juice (disinfectant and de-greaser), water and elbow grease can do the job just as well at a much lower cost to our health and our pocket book.
To find out more about organic housekeeping and natural hygiene products check out the following books:
Organic Housekeeping, by Ellen Sandbeck;
Clean House, Clean Planet, by Karen Logan
On The Web:       www.lesstoxicguide.ca
Source: North Bay Nugget

Eco-friendly Tips

When buying products, choose those that have the Environmental Choice logo (three doves in a maple leaf). This means that these products have met strenuous guidelines, ensuring they are environmentally safe. These products are within usual pricing ranges.
Buy the least hazardous product. Study the labels on products to help you choose. Phosphates, nitrates, carbon dioxide, methane, and CFCs are the biggest culprits. Remember that some aerosols still use CFCs.
Recycle all cans and bottles. 
When buying paper and scribblers look for unbleached products with high post-consumer recycled fiber content.
Look for unbleached toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues.
Look at buying organic food, which supports environmentally conscious farming. Buying organic food in a regular supermarket is usually pricey; but in stores specializing in healthier alternatives they are not as expensive. Good Earth Produce, Debaji’s, Earth’s General Store, and Terra are good places to start. If you know your prices, good deals usually come up.
When going grocery shopping bring cloth bags, or reuse the plastic bags. This saves on a lot of waste. Plastic does not decompose very well.  If you choose plastic bags, return them to the store for recycling (e.g. Metro).
Composting is a viable way to reduce waste and it improves your soil nutrition.
As well, don’t underestimate the power of recycling. Bring your old newspapers, ads, plastic, and cans and bottles to recycling centres (see Garbage section for list of West Nipissing recycling centres).
Donate old magazines and books to the library, doctor’s or dentist’s offices, hospitals or centres like the Cross Cancer Institute. For old clothing and appliances, which still work, donate these to Goodwill stores or the Salvation Army.
Concerned about water waste? Fill a two-litre pop bottle with sand and place it in your toilet tank. This can save 50-80 % of water normally used just by flushing your toilet. On top of that, as a rule, dishwashers use less water than hand washing. If you are hand washing, use less water in the sink and wait to rinse everything to the end. As well, when brushing your teeth, don’t let the water run!
Keep salt shakers full of baking soda at kitchen and bathroom sinks - soda will shine taps, remove spots from kitchen counters as well as cleaning the sinks.
Drain Opener: Open drains with plunger or metal snake. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into drain (or washing soda), add 1/2 cup vinegar. Wait a few minutes and follow with 2 cups boiling water. Flush weekly with equal amount baking soda and boiling water. Don't pour fat or cooking oils down the drain; instead cool and dispose with household garbage. [Alternate drain opener recipe: Mix together 1 cup baking soda, one cup salt, 1/4 cup cream of tartar. To keep your drain from being clogged, regularly pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into drain. Follow this with one litre of boiling water and then flush with cold water. If drain is clogged, pour in 1/4 cup baking soda followed by 1/2 cup vinegar. Close drain until fizzing stops and flush with boiling water.
Air Freshener: Ventilate. Add cloves and cinnamon to boiling water. Set out dish of vinegar.
Chrome Cleaner: Use baking soda and a dry cloth.

Carpet & Upholstery cleaner: Clean stains immediately with cold water or soda water. Vacuum with wet/dry unit. Sprinkle cornstarch on rug and vacuum. Use soap-based non-aerosol rug shampoo.
Expired Medication: Return surplus medication to your local pharmacy. Antibiotics should NOT be flushed into septic systems. They kill useful bacteria in the system. 
Fabric Softener: Add 1 cup vinegar or 1/4 cup baking soda to rinse. Another method is to put aside one wet article such as a towel after the wash is completed and to add to the clothes being dried 5 or ten minutes before the end of the drying cycle.
Furniture polish: Mix 1 part vinegar and 3 parts olive oil or use 1 tsp lemon oil in 1 litre mineral oil. Apply with a soft cloth. Buff again if desired.
Laundry Bleach: Substitute 1/2 cup borax per wash load. Use a phosphate-free soap. Wash clothes in water and 45 ml (3 TBS) washing soda. Rewash with 1 cup pure soap powder with 1 1/2 to 3 TBS washing soda. Treat stubborn stains prior to washing.
Laundry detergent: Add 1/3 cup washing soda to water before placing clothes in machine and substitute soap flakes or powder for detergent.
Oven Cleaner: For baked-on grease, wipe with ammonia and let sit overnight, then scrub with baking soda. Use a tray to catch spills, sprinkle salt on spills when still warm and scrub.
Porcelain Cleaner: Apply baking soda/water paste, let sit, rub clean and rinse.
Scouring Powders: Baking soda or salt.
Stain Remover: Clean stains immediately with soda water.
Stainless Steel Cleaner: Wash in 4 L warm water and 3 tbsp (45 mL)  baking soda.
Tub & Tile Cleaners: Apply vinegar (full strength) to area then scour with baking soda. Use a toothbrush for scrubbing cracks.
Window Cleaner: Use solution of 125 mL vinegar in 4 L warm water. Use crumpled newspapers to dry glass.
Wood Preservatives: Mix 3 cups (750 ml) exterior varnish with 30 mL (2 tbsp) paraffin wax and enough mineral spirits or turpentine to make 4.5 mL. Dip wood or apply with a brush. Let dry. Paint a few days later. Purchase rot-resistant lumber such as cedar.

Composting is created through the natural breakdown of organic material (kitchen and yard waste) by bacteria and fungi (micro-organism). Not only can composting reduce average household garbage weight (compost) can be used as a soil enhancer, reducing or even eliminating the need for chemical fertilizer. Your compost bin (available from most hardware stores) will work best if it’s fed a mixture of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) kitchen and yard materials. Green material includes things like fruit and vegetable peels and cores, coffee grounds, tea bags, crushed egg shells, cut flowers, grass and hedge, clippings and so on. Brown material includes stale bread, wood chips, coffee filters, nut shells, dried weeds, mulched twigs etc…

What Should Be Burned
Every year at the cottage, we all tend to accumulate excess wood and other materials. However, it is very important to understand that not all of these materials should be burned in our fireplaces, wood stoves, or open pit.

To improve the safety and efficiency of your wood-burning appliance and reduce the pollution from residential wood burning:

Start your fire with newspaper and dry kindling. Gasoline, kerosene or charcoal starters are dangerous; never use them to start a fire in a stove or fireplace.

Burn small, hot fires – they produce much less smoke than smoldering ones
Burn seasoned dry wood – “green” or wet wood produces significantly more smoke. Season firewood for at least six months.
Split wood into pieces 10-15 cm (4-6 in) in diameter. Fires with more surface burn better.
Never burn garbage, plastics, cardboard or Styrofoam. Burning garbage releases toxic gases 
Burning treated or painted wood, particleboard or plywood is a health hazard. Wood treated with varnishes and sealants, wood from orchards sprayed with pesticides, and pressure-treated wood may contain toxic chemicals. Burning treated wood may release these toxic chemicals into the environment in the smoke or in the ash that is disposed of later.
Regularly remove ashes from a stove or fireplace. Store ashes in a covered metal container in a safe area away from the house. When cooled they may be mixed with other compostables.
Store wood outside, off the ground and covered. Bring it inside as needed. Moisture from green wood increases the relative humidity of the indoor air, which can lead to mould and mildew growth. Both can cause severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
Use a high-efficiency wood stove, fireplace or insert certified as low emission by the EPA, a standard accepted in Canada. These appliances burn most of the smoke in the firebox and can cut emissions by 90%.
Maintain proper clearances from combustibles. Keep household items such as drapes, furniture, newspapers and books a safe distance from stove and fireplace heat and stray sparks.
Reduce your heating needs by making your cottage more energy efficient.
Regardless of the type of wood-burning appliance, it should be installed by professionals and inspected and cleaned once a year by a technician certified under the Wood Energy Technical Training (WETT) Program.

Green Tips

Check out other practical ideas for "green" cottage living in Cottage Life magazine then click on Environment and enter Green Tips on the search line.