Fifth Annual Swap Day to be Held on October 7

Melrose, MA–Melrose’s Fifth Annual Swap Day will be held on Saturday, October 7, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the parking lot behind City Hall at 562 Main Street. The event is run by the Melrose Recycling Committee in partnership with Birth to Five and the Melrose Department of Public Works.

Swap Day is a community reuse event that provides an opportunity to save reusable items from being discarded and give them a new life and a new home. It’s a “take it or leave it” event: You don’t have to bring something to take something. And if you do leave something, don’t feel that you have to take something away. If you are looking to “de-clutter,” this is a good opportunity to give new life to items that may no longer have a place in your home but that have not outlived their usefulness. If you are moving in to Melrose, or just need certain items, here’s an opportunity to find what you are looking for while sticking to a tight budget.

All items must be clean, only gently used and able to be carried by one person. All items will be inspected and approved before entering the event. Please enter the parking lot in between Memorial Hall and the Fire Station and follow the directions of the staff on site.

Although there may be some changes to the lists of acceptable and unacceptable items, for now, please follow the guidelines presented here and set aside items accordingly.

Acceptable items including the following:

Clothes and textiles, which in addition to shirts, pants, blouses, etc., may include purses, bags, jewelry, scarves, coats, gloves, hats, backpacks, totes, shoes, and sandals.

Books, CDs, DVDs: Books can include textbooks. CDs and DVDs should be in their original labelled cases and not scratched.

Sports equipment, including balls, bats, rackets, and roller blades.

School/office supplies, including notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, staplers, scissors, file folders, and craft items.

Household items such as small furniture (nothing upholstered) and home décor. This can include kitchen items such as dishware, pots, and pans; small electronics such as blenders and toasters (in working condition); small furniture such as tables and chairs (not upholstered, as noted); and artwork and décor, such as pictures and picture frames, baskets, vases, and clocks.

Small electronics, such as DVD players, radios, phones, and computer accessories. NO TVs and monitors. Those can be dropped off at the DPW City Yard during the week and during Saturday events.

Items that are NOT acceptable include large appliances and metal goods, large upholstered furniture, and—as noted—large electronics such as TVs and monitors. Your old TVs and computer monitors can be dropped off at the Melrose City Yard during the week, with a fee charged for the monitors.

All items not swapped will be donated to the charitable organization Big Brother/Big Sister. For a complete list of items, visit http://www.melrecyclingcommittee.wordpress.com.

For more information, contact George Stubbs at stubbsfamily15@verizon.net, or at 781-665-0142.

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Recycling Committee to Sponsor Showing of “BAG It”

Melrose, MA—The Melrose Recycling Committee will sponsor a viewing of the film “BAG It: Is your life too plastic?” on Tuesday, September 12th at the Milano Senior Center. The presentation will begin at 1:00 p.m.

The movie explores a product we all use—plastic bags—and the unexpected consequence of using them. The film is gripping, funny, intelligent and sure to change your life.

Following the movie there will be a discussion that focuses on Melrose and what an ordinance limiting their use might look like.

All who attend will receive a beautiful, sturdy, reusable bag. There will also be refreshments and prizes.

Come find out what’s up with the Melrose Bring Your Own Bag Initiative.

For further information, contact: Trudy MacDonald at 781-665-0975 or trumac@verizon.net.

What’s Inside Us? Plastic!

There can be no question that plastic materials have provided us with a broad range of conveniences, from packaging and storing goods to building durable products ranging from furniture to phones. But at what price? There’s considerable information on where plastic waste ends up, from our parks, trees, rivers, streams, and lakes to the gyres of swirling waste materials in our oceans, of which much has been written in recent years.

We’re only just beginning to learn, however, how much the breakdown products of these plastic wastes—microscopic plastic fibers—return up the food chain or through the hydrological cycle to invade our bodies.

A recent article by Orb Media, a new media source that claims to offer a new model of journalism by combining crowd and professional reporting with massive data analysis, begins to chart this invasion. The article summarizes what Orb Media claims to be the first public scientific study of its kind, asking the question: If microscopic plastic is in oceans, lakes, and rivers, is it in drinking water as well?

What they found was certainly troubling: Previously undetected levels of plastic are contaminating the tap water of cities around the world. From the article:

“Microscopic plastic fibers are flowing out of taps from New York to New Delhi, according to exclusive research by Orb and a researcher at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. From the halls of the U.S. Capitol to the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, women, children, men, and babies are consuming plastic with every glass of water.”

In total, more than 80% of the water samples collected by the researchers on five continents tested positive for the presence of microscopic plastic fibers.

What does this mean for our health? It’s not entirely clear yet—more study is needed—but we do know that microscopic plastic fibers, or “microplastics,” do absorb toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer, developmental problems, and other forms of health impairment. As the article points out, microplastic particles can be small enough to migrate through the intestinal wall and travel to lymph nodes, for example.

What can we do about it? There’s not much we can do about the volume of microplastic fibers that are already in our drinking water and, as a consequence, in our food. We can, however, begin to “de-plasticize” our lives by doing things like rejecting the use of single-use plastic bags and going to reusable cloth or canvas bags. And we can be more observant about the types of packaging we accept for the goods we buy, as more and more product vendors begin to provide alternatives to plastics in their packaging.

We’ll get there, even if it is by only one micro-step at a time.