The Green Scene an email publication of the Mahoning County Solid Waste District
Green Team

Inside this issue

Welcome Back Jack
Zoo News
Fair Winner
Celebrate Green
Holiday Shopping
Holiday Recycling
Holiday School Contest
Keep It Loose   

Green Team

Use Less Stuff

STUFF. Americans are obsessed with it. In fact, the late comedian George Carlin performed a five minute stand-up routine about this topic which is quite funny. Funny - that is - until you realize how serious the situation has become. In reality, our obsession with stuff is harming the planet.

   When did this obsession with stuff begin? It began after World War II when society was encouraged to adopt aggressive spending habits in order to stimulate the economy. And while this may have solved one problem, it created another. America’s obsession with stuff lead to overconsumption and overconsumption lead to the production of more waste. This is a problem that still exists today.

   In order to reduce waste, Americans need to use less stuff. This can be achieved by distinguishing between wants” and “needs” and acting accordingly. This can be further accomplished by adopting simple habits such as using a refillable water bottle, shopping with a reusable tote bag, and saying “no” to single use products. 

   Reducing waste is easy when you learn to “use less stuff.” Refer to the list at right for more tips on this topic, or visit

Green Tips:
Use a refillable water bottle                   
Shop with a reusable tote bag
Pack a zero-waste lunch                        Avoid excess packaging
Compost food waste

RREAP Recieves Funding for 2017

The Green Team is pleased to announce that the USDA Rural Utilities Administration has approved grant funding in the amount of $22,910.00 for the Rural Recycling Education & Awareness Program (RREAP) during the 2017 - 2018 grant year. These funds will allow RREAP to continue providing  environmental educational services to the county’s rural communities.

  I would like to thank Green Team Director  Lou Vega, the Mahoning County Commissioners, and the entire Green TeamTeam staff for their continued support. I would also like to thank all of the wonderful Mahoning County residents who have helped make this program a success.

Together we are making a difference!


        ~ Kim Lewis


Welcome Back Jack!

If you’ve noticed more pumpkins than usual growing in the Mahoning Valley, please be advised that this is no accident. Each year during October, Green Team educators visit Mahoning County schools with an exciting presentation about backyard composting that includes an interactive story, colorful costumes, and - you guessed it - pumpkins!

The story, titled Pumpkin Jack is a heart-warming tale about a boy named Tim who creates a friendly jack-o-lantern affectionately named “Jack.” After Halloween passes and Jack begins to rot, instead of throwing Jack in the trash, Tim places him in the garden and waits for the magic to begin. Throughout the seasons, Tim experiences the wonder of nature’s recycling by observing Jack’s transformation from jack-o-lantern to seed to pumpkin again. After Tim harvests his new pumpkin, he carves a face and welcomes back his old friend.

  After reading Pumpkin Jack students each receive a mini pumpkin to decorate and take home and are instructed to allow nature to recycle their old pumpkins into new pumpkins for next Halloween. In 2016, the education department distributed 2,200 pumpkins and 2017 promises to be just as big. By all calculations, the valley should soon be swimming in a sea of orange.

  If you’re one of the parents whose child brings home a mini-pumpkin from the Green Team, please support this environmental lesson by following through with the pumpkin activity. Remember: You’re children are counting on you.    


It's All Happening at the Zoo

Situated just fifty miles west of Youngstown is a national treasure known as the Akron Zoo. Originally dubbed Akron Children’s Zoo, this one-time small facility has evolved into a real jewel featuring  a wide variety of animals and one of the greenest campuses in the state. Green initiatives include a comprehensive sustainability policy and the famous Komodo  Kingdom Café. Housed in a LEED-certified building, the café was the first four-star green restaurant in Ohio and only the seventh in the nation.
You may visit the zoo during operating hours or join  them for a special event.  During October, children will enjoy non-scary trick-or treating at the ever-popular “Boo at the Zoo.” During the holiday season, people of all ages will enjoy the festivities offered during “Wild Lights.” For more information about the zoo, visit

American Recycles Day

    America Recycles Day (ARD) is  observed on November 15 and is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products.

    When material is recycled it becomes new again. Plastic bottles can become become carpet or playground equipment. Glass bottles and jars may be recycled into new containers or glassphalt.

   On America Recycles Day, take the pledge.   Learn - find out which materials are collected for recycling in your community. Act -reduce personal waste by recycling.  Share - in the next month, encourage one family member or one friend to begin recycling at home or at work.

  For more information about this subject, visit

Students @Springfield Elementary

Left: Mrs. Lewis poses with a group of students at Springfield Elem. School.

Right: Mrs. Flynn poses with students at C.H. Campbell Elem. School.

Students @ CH Campbell Elementary

Attention Fall Planters:

Take used nursery pot and flats to Lowe's, Home Depot or River's Bend Farm.  the pots will be sterilized for re-use.

Canfield Fair Winner

One lucky person in Youngstown won't have to worry about excess leaves this year. The Green Team is proud to announce that Rich Evick won our Canfield Fair drawing for the 
Earth Machine backyard compost bin. 
Congratulations Rich.

Christmas tree

Holiday Recycling Drives

Each year during the holiday season, an extra 5 million tons of waste is generated --- 25% more than usual! To address this issue, the Green Team is sponsoring two special recycling drives.

   Wrap It Up Again! is the wrapping paper and greeting card drive scheduled for December 26 through January 15 at our recycling drop-off sites. Remember to remove all ribbons and bows and to exclude foil wraps.

   The Christmas Tree Recycling Drive will be held December 26 through January 31 at designated recycling drop-off sites. Trees will be  donated to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for use as wildlife habitat. 

   Last year Mahoning County diverted nearly 5,000 pounds of wrapping paper and greeting cards along with 77,600 pounds of Christmas trees from the waste stream. Let’s make this year an even bigger success. Remember---every little bit counts

Celebrate Green

There is no better time than the holidays to host a zero-waste party. In fact, considering the amount of over consumption that occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is the perfect time for this type of event. 

  You should begin planning your party one month in advance to give yourself ample time for preparations. Once you have chosen a date, send out electronic invitations  or post invites on social media. After you have received a head count, buy only the amount of food that you’ll need for the evening.  When possible, select locally sourced  options and foods that are in season.  Once you have determined your food menu, consider drinks. Purchase beverages in Earth-friendly, recyclable containers and always remember to forgo the bottled water. Instead, opt for a carafe of fruit-infused water that will taste as delicious as it looks. Of course you’ll want to serve that water in something special. The holidays are an ideal time to get out the crystal goblets along with your decorative china, cloth napkins, and festive table cloth. 

  At the end of the evening, ask your spouse or a friend to assist you with the clean-up. Ensuring that everything is in it’s proper place will give you  peace of mind and a  feeling of deep satisfaction in knowing that you have done something kind for the Earth.

Green Holiday Shopping Tips

To make your holidays less stressful and more eco-friendly, consider these “green” shopping tips.
  • Start Early: Complete your shopping before the holiday rush. This will allow you more time to spend with family and friends.
  • Shop With A Reusable tote bag: Prevent plastic  bags from entering the environment. This gesture will conserve natural resources and prevent pollution.
  • Give the Gift of Experience: Purchase a gift pass for a local museum, zoo, or nature center. These activities will create memories that last a lifetime.
  • Buy Presents that Support Conservation: Consider a wildlife adoption  package, native seeds with gardening tools,  or a backyard bird feeder with seed and a field guide. 

Design-an-Ornament Contest

Are your students creative?  Do they like to create something from reused material?  Then you are ready for your students to enter the “Design- an- Ornament Contest.”  From now until November 17, 2017, students in grades K through twelve can make ornaments from any reused material that they can find.  Send them to the Green Team office. 

The Green Team will decorate a Christmas tree at Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek Park with various “reused” ornaments that the students send to the Green Team.  Other trees may be decorated as well, depending upon how many ornaments we receive. 

The contest part of designing an ornament is to see which classroom gets a bird feeder made from recycled material.  Every classroom that enters will have its name put into a jar.  After November 17th , the Green Team will pick a name from the jar to receive the bird feeder. 

Be creative and enjoy making the ornaments while teaching your students about “Reuse!”

                                                                                                                          ~ Peg Flynn

Be an angel...

and recycle your old towels and blankets. Angels for Animals is in need of used bath towels and small blankets for their animal charity. If you would like to donate these items please drop them off at the shelter located at 4750 State Rt. 165 in Canfield.

Keep it Loose

Remember to empty recyclables into containers loose. Plastic bags clog machinery at sorting facilities and have become a problem in the waste stream. Following the 3 R’s will help you manage plastic bags. 

Avoid the need  for plastic bags by always shopping with a reusable tote. Plastic bags often end up as litter and cause significant damage to wildlife and the environment. Reducing the number of plastic bags in circulation can help alleviate these problems.

Empty recyclables into bins loose and save your plastic bags for re-use.
Contact local food banks and thrift stores to see if they accept plastic shopping bags for re-use.

The following Mahoning County retail stores offer recycling receptacles for clean, dry plastic shopping bags:
  • All Giant Eagle Stores
  • J.C. Penney Store, Mahoning Ave., Austintown
  • Kohl’s
  • Lowe’s in Boardman and Youngstown
  • Marc’s
  • Target
  • Wal*Mart Super Center, Goldie Rd., Youngstown
  • Wal*Mart Super Center, Mahoning Ave., Austintown

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