Staying eco-friendly while staying at home

I hope this issue of the Westlake | Bay Village Observer finds you all healthy and safe. We will all get through this together! That being said, things are changing very quickly and I want to review some changes that affect you right now.

In both Westlake and Bay Village, Simple Recycling curbside pick-up is suspended until further notice. If you have those bags filling up like I do, please find a good spot to store them until service resumes. I would hate for those items to be placed in the trash because there is a temporary service disruption!

There will be no hazardous waste or computer drop-off in Westlake for May. Please see the city website for a make-up day (not yet rescheduled). In Bay Village curbside yard waste and bulk pickup will resume on April 21.

More changes that affect us all: Heinen’s and Giant Eagle are no longer allowing reusable grocery bags in their stores. This is a huge bummer for me because I haven’t taken plastic bags at a grocery store in about 15 years! Aldi is operating as usual with allowing reusable bags. Please ensure you either reuse your blue grocery bags or save them for recycling. You can still recycle the bags back at Heinen’s or Giant Eagle locations.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “This is not good news for the environment, Jenny! What can I do, personally, to help?” That’s a great question! A lot of us are finding ourselves with more time on our hands – what a great time to start composting at your house! (I wrote a column on the topic several years ago explaining how I started composting. You can access it at

Also, and this is nothing new, please make sure you are ONLY flushing toilet paper down your toilets. With the increased use of wipes, many people are flushing them: This is a terrible idea for your plumbing and also terrible for the environment. Wipes do not break down and many are made with plastic. Please, please flush only toilet paper! And one last thing you can do: tap water is safe so please continue to drink it and avoid the use of plastic water bottles.

Some good news: With the huge reduction in cars on the road and with heavy industry shutting down, pollution has decreased worldwide and therefore our air quality has improved. However, this positive news comes with a huge asterisk: the globe is facing a garbage crisis because of the increased use of hand sanitizer (plastic bottles), wipes and water bottles.

Recycling in this country was already in crisis, and the garbage and waste accumulating during this time will be an issue that needs to be addressed. Please continue to recycle as usual, and continue to avoid the plastic that you are able to avoid.

I hope you are all staying home, and staying safe and healthy. We can each continue to do our part for the environment with the means we have available to us.

Read More on The Green Report
Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 9:00 AM, 04.21.2020