JeffCo H2O: Single Use Society

Single use-1Emptying a coffee pod into the coffee maker, drinking bottled water, bringing purchases home in plastic bags, and choosing pre-packaged food items are all very convenient.  That’s why it’s so easy to fall into the trap of use it once and throw it away.  But according to Newton’s third law of motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The results of enjoying these conveniences without regard for the waste they generate are landfills packed to capacity, littered roads, and trashed waterways. Every waterway on earth eventually drains to an ocean, and both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans have enormous islands of trash.01garbage-patch2The primary component of these floating dumps is plastic, and most of it comes from land sources.  Dozens of cities have passed ordinances banning the use of plastic bags for retail sales and assessing a deposit for recyclable drink containers.  While these types of laws can reduce the use of specific items or encourage their recycling, they don’t begin to address the  enormity of waste generated as the result of single use items.  There are some obvious small steps we can take to reduce our personal consumption, such as choosing items with less packaging, ramping up our recycling efforts for those convenience items we just can’t do without, and opting for reusable items whenever possible.  But the potential for change doesn’t stop with these few examples.  Consciously identifying and adopting more responsible consumption habits can change our society from single use to sustainable.oneuse-300x225-1

 What’s Happening?

Brown Bag Seminar Series – Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the August Brown Bag Series seminars at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.  The seminars are free, no registration is required, and light refreshments are provided.  Call 325.8741 for more details.

August 6 – The Buzz on Pollinators – Sallie Lee

For a bountiful garden, learn how to welcome bee pollinators in colorful and exciting ways in your garden.  Auditorium 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

 August 13 – Porous, Permeable and Pervious – James Horton

When it comes to pathways and driveways, discover beautiful alternatives to concrete and asphalt.  Auditorium 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Jefferson County National Night Out – August 5 – This annual event encourages partnerships between neighborhoods and the Sheriff’s Office to enhance safety and crime prevention.  For a list of locations and times, visit the Sheriff’s Office website or call 325-1450.

 Valley Creek Cleanup – August 23 – Pitch in and help pick up litter and trash from Valley Creek from 8 am – 12 pm.  Free t-shirt and hot dog lunch.  For more information, visit

National Dog Day August 26 – ‘Paws’ for just a moment to celebrate our special bond with canines and commit to picking up and properly disposing of your pet’s waste.

August is National Water Quality Month – What are you doing to protect water quality in Jefferson County’s 50 creeks and streams?


Lyn DiClemente
Jefferson County Department of Storm Water Management
B-210 Jefferson County Courthouse Annex
716 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North
Birmingham, AL  35203




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