Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Panda Love

The last few days have been nothing but panda talk at my house ... not to mention the various media outlets. Bai Yun made history on Monday when she gave birth to her 6th cub at the San Diego Zoo. This was a high risk pregnancy because of her age and ever since learning that she was showing signs of pregnancy, my son and I have been keeping our fingers crossed that all went well.

We have spent hours watching the Panda Cam trying to catch a glimpse of the cub, but Bai Yun has been holding the cub very close. It amazes me that such big animal can hold something so small and not harm it.

Today a video was released by the San Diego Zoo showing Bai Yun leave her cub for a brief moment to get a drink of water and the squeals were non-stop from my home. I am sure they could be heard down the block. The baby is just too cute.


More than just a successful high risk pregnancy, this panda birth makes the San Diego Zoo the most successful Panda Breeding Center outside of China. That is some pretty big conservation news to brag about. Way to go San Diego Zoo and congratulations to Bai Yun and Gao Gao.

I took the above photo of Gao Gao on July 4, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

If you must buy bottled water, look for this on the bottle

I am a huge fan of drinking water, but not a huge fan of plastic water bottles. Sure, I recycle all the cans and bottles that my family uses, but why even make plastic bottles at all?

A few months ago I voted on some artwork for Icicles Premium Frozen Yogurt - they were choosing a design for a new product - bottled water. We love Icicles and go there all the time because the store is just down the street from us, so I choose the label I liked best. I had no idea that I would actually be the one randomly chosen to win a $50 gift card and an entire case of the new bottled water.

I was happy about the gift card, but not too excited about a case of bottled water. I try my best not to purchase plastic bottles. At least I will recycle the bottles and the water tastes pretty good.

When I opened the case of water, I noticed something different about the bottles. They looked different and they felt different. It wasn't just the shape of the bottle, which by the way fits very nicely in your hand, but it was the feel of the plastic. Then I looked closely at the bottle.

So this is why it feels so good in my hand ...

The bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic. Unlike other plastic bottles of water that have a recycle symbol someplace small and out of sight, these bottles show it proudly. Not to mention the bright green background telling you that the bottle is made from recycled plastic.

Wait, that's not all, the bottle even says this

This means that all those plastic bottles we recycle were used to make this bottle. RPET stands for Recycled  Polyethylene terephthalate and the amount of energy saved making bottles from RPET is amazing. Aside from not filling landfills, bottles made from 100% RPET can reduce the carbon footprint by 65% compared to non-recycled plastic bottles.

So, if you must buy bottled water (and I know sometimes it can't be helped) look for 100% RPET on the bottle and always recycle your plastic bottles. 100% RPET is the eco-friendly way to drink bottled water and I applaud Icicles for doing their part in keeping the planet green.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's Global Tiger Day!

Celebrate the beauty of the tiger, the strength of the tiger, and the innocence of the tiger.

Take a moment to learn about the challenges tigers face and the conservation efforts being made to save them. Today is the day to spread the word and create awareness. 

In honor of Global Tiger Day, I have a challenge for you. I will personally donate $1 for every new "like" Life with Dylan gets on Facebook today, with a maximum of a $250 donation, to the Tiger Trail Challenge at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Are you up for my challenge? 

It's quite simple ... Just "like" Life with Dylan on Facebook, share the challenge with your friends, and the tigers could get $250 toward their new home.

Friday, July 27, 2012

6 Ways you can support Global Tiger Day

This Sunday is Global Tiger Day - a day of celebration for one of the world's most beautiful cats.
A day created to raise awareness for the tigers and for people around the world to support the conservation efforts being made to save the tigers.

Christopher, a Malayan tiger at the San Diego Zoo

As I have said before, one person can make a difference. Here are a few ways that you can help support Global Tiger Day and raise awareness for the tigers.

Most importantly, spread the word and create awareness!

Share what you will doing to celebrate and support Global Tiger Day in the comments below. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

ZooBorns New Interactive App brings animals and children together

If your children love animals and you have an iPad or an iPhone, then you need this new app from ZooBorns. Using three of the five senses - sight, sound, and touch - children can interact with some of the cutest baby animals from zoos and aquariums all around the world.

Just like the ZooBorns website, the ABC ZooBorns app has pictures and videos, but also includes age-appropriate spoken animal facts and interactive scenes. Children can enjoy exploring so many animals from Aardvark to Zebra and learn something about animal conservation at the same time.

The app includes over 50 interactive scenes with touch activities and over 100 videos where children can see and hear real baby animals. The word association is also great because it will help the younger ones associate letters with the animals and get a jump start on their vocabulary. (The pictures to the left are screen shots from the app)

According to the information in the App Store, all videos have been screened and approved by parents. So no need to worry about what your child be be seeing. It's all G-rated.

The app only costs $2.99, which I think is a bargain because the app not only entertains, but it educates. I was so excited when I found this app the other day - My only wish is that they had this app when Dylan was younger. He would have loved it!

Here is a video that lets you see a little bit of what the ABC ZooBorns app has to offer.


For more information on the ABC ZooBorns app visit the ZooBorns website. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The conservation efforts of non-profit organizations depend on our help

The cornerstones of conservation efforts are the numerous non-profit organizations that depend on our donations to survive. We all get the mailings, the emails, see the shares on Facebook, and the tweets on twitter. Save the planet, save the oceans, save the rain forests, save the animals.
They are all doing good and it can be hard to choose just one. $25 here $10 there ... does it really do anything?

Some may argue and say yes, that $10 does help an organization. However, after many years of spreading my money to a variety of non-profit organizations I decided to make all of my contributions to just one this year. To help conservation efforts on a local level, where I can see what my money is doing, and also on a global level where I can help make a difference for animals across the globe was my goal. There are so many great non-profits and I want my money going to an organization that I can personally relate to.

Ultimately, my decision was based on the local level. When I saw first hand what my money was doing, there was no doubt in my mind. My monthly contributions would go to San Diego Zoo Global.

This amazing video shows all that San Diego Zoo Global does for the animals, planet, and the people who come to visit the parks.


Each month I give a specified amount to San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy as a Wildlife Conservancy Hero.  When extra funds are available, rather than give $10 to another organization, I help out by buying something on the monthly wish list. This is a wonderful way to make $5 - $10 go a long way because the wish list will tell you exactly what the money will buy. Items tend to go quickly, so I always check within the first few days of the month for the best selection - toward the end of the month the items left on the list are a little higher priced than I can afford.

I have fed a condor for a week, fed a Manchurian brown bear for 3 days, and supplied various enrichment toys for animals. My donations have helped in conservation efforts across the globe. So sure, that $10 does make a difference - but think of the difference hundreds of dollars can make for San Diego Zoo Global.

Do you make donations to non-profit organizations?  If so, what organization do you support?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Instagram Summer

I can't believe my summer vacation is over in one short week. Where did the time go? 

When I look back I think we didn't really do that much - and then I scroll through my Instagram pictures and realize we did. 

Days at the beach - impromptu trips for ice cream and frozen yogurt - visits to Aquarium of the Pacific, San Deigo Zoo, and his birthday at San Diego Zoo Safari Park - raising over $1,000 for the tigers - lazy days by the pool - sailing - time spent drawing - basketball at the park - Nighttime Zoo - Reptile Walk - Behind the Scenes Safari

Not bad for a summer vacation. This week we have another trip to the San Diego Zoo, a final trip to Legoland, and of course time by the pool and beach. 
The best part was that we spent time together. Late nights watching Animal Planet and NatGeo Wild were the best, but no Instagrams of that. 

Dylan still has another month of summer vacation (lucky kid) and I'm sure he will have fun at Nature Camp and with Grandma. I've been having so much fun on my vacation that I never got around to my to do list of chores, but that's ok, I'm sure they will all be there waiting for me next month. 

What have you been up to this summer?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why conservation is important to me

Everyone has something they hold close to their heart. Something they are passionate about and that somehow connects with them on a personal level. As you have probably figured out, I am passionate about conservation and preserving what the earth has to offer for our future generations. 

We recently lost an animal known as Lonesome George. He was the last of his species and now my family will never get to see this La Pinta Island giant tortoise. When my son and I read about this loss, we cried. Some may think crying over an animal you've never met is ridiculous. Others may think there are hundreds of other Galapagos tortoises - you see them at the zoo. These are the people that don't get it. They don't get the big picture and I would say that only a third of them ever will.

I will probably live longer than the Northern White Rhino species. My sons children will probably never get a chance to see a Northern White Rhino. Why? Because these animals are hunted and killed ... Just as the tigers and elephants are hunted and killed. When I read stories about this in the news, like the one I read today, it makes me sad and angry. I sit here racking my brain trying to figure out how I can help. These animals can't talk. They can't ask for help. So it is up to people like me, people who call themselves conservationist, to bring awareness to others about the plight of these animals and the importance of keeping them alive. Not just for our children and grandchildren to see, but for the survival of the animal world.

When I see a picture of an endangered animal or one at the zoo or read a sign at the zoo that says only 39 left in the wild, I literally stop and catch my breath. These animals are so beautiful and I fear that too many people take them for granted.

Don't assume that because you can see an animal at a zoo today it will still be there in 20 years. Zoos educate us about the animals and let us see them up close, but the best way to ensure a species survival is for the species to thrive in the wild.

Once you come face to face with an endangered animal, you will do whatever it takes to save them. I am proud to call myself a conservationist. I will continue to be an advocate for the environment and wildlife because one person can and does make a difference.

Noun: A person who advocates or acts for the protection and preservation of the environment and wildlife.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baby jaguars love to play

We have watched these two grow up and each time we visit the San Diego Zoo they just get cuter and cuter. In this video clip, Tikal and Maderas play with their mom Nindiri and at times seem to be fighting for her attention. It's hard to believe they will be 3 months old next week. Too cute!


You can learn more about the jaguar cubs on the San Diego Zoo's blog.

Wordless Wednesday - You're invading my space

I gave Dylan my old camera to use at the zoo last week and I think he may have annoyed this Golden Bellied Mangabey. The monkey came leaping from the tree and jumped at the window numerous times.

At first Dylan was scared, although he would never admit that, and then he began to show his teeth to the monkey. This went on for a few minutes and my only regret is that I didn't get it on video.   

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's National Zoo Keeper Week!

There are many national appreciation weeks for various professions, but this one is special to me for more than one reason. The obvious is that Dylan and I visit the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park on what some may call a regular basis - we actually consider them our second homes. Many of the keepers we know by name and they have become our friends. We look forward to seeing them almost as much as seeing the animals (many of which we also know by name).

The other reason this week is so special to me is that my son wants to be a Zookeeper. He wants to be just like the people he admires - and yes, he wants to pick up animal poop! Most people don't know what a Zookeeper really does and I think our friend Zookeeper Rick said it best in a recent Facebook post.

What is a Zookeeper?

Zookeepers are caretakers. Zookeepers are house keeping. Zookeepers are chefs. Zookeepers are educators. Zookeepers are construction workers. Zookeepers are gardeners. Zookeepers are parents to animals in need of a mom or dad. Zookeepers are the voice for those who don't speak our language. Zookeepers are nurses. Zookeepers are friends to other species. Zookeepers are advocates for conservation. Zookeepers are scientists. Zookeepers are behaviorist. - Rick Schwartz

I know Zookeepers arrive to work hours before the zoo even opens and even though we don't always see them, they are working hard behind the scenes. Sometimes they work late into the night preparing a PowerPoint presentation or writing a research paper for a publication - they help promote conservation and teach us things that help us understand the bigger picture. 

For me, the most special thing about Zookeepers is the time they take to talk to the people visiting the zoos. Zookeepers truly love their jobs and have a passion for sharing that love with others.

When was the last time you thanked a Zookeeper?

Monday, July 16, 2012

The art of drawing and being creative

I am a firm believer in nurturing a child's creativity and supplying the tools needed for a child to express their creativity. A few months ago when Dylan showed interest in drawing I thought great, maybe he got my creative gene.

Sure, he has made some pretty good things in school, but what mom doesn't love what their kids bring home from school. It often requires the obligatory You made that for me? I love it.

So when Dylan wanted to draw on his own and asked if he could start using my art pencils and sketch book I knew it was something he had a real interest in.

What started as simple drawings have turned into actual sketches with detail and shading. He sits for hours at a time trying to get each one just right.

Last week we made a trip to Michaels and purchased a real artist book. One that would teach him step by step how to draw. What? You thought he would draw something other than animals?
Not a bad start for a 9-year-old - I love having something in common that he and I can enjoy together. 

What do you do with your child that sparks creativity and imagination?

Friday, July 13, 2012

A birthday letter to my son

Dear Dylan,

Nine years ago today I gave birth to the most wonderful child I could ever imagine. He was perfect in every possible way. That child was you. You have made me a better person and bring so much joy to my life. You continue to amaze me with your knowledge about animals and compassion for others. Sometimes I wonder if I'm talking to a child or an adult. Even though I often tell you to be quiet (because you talk non-stop), I love listening to you tell me about what you have learned.

You have already done some pretty great things, including raising over $1,000 for the tigers, and I can't wait to see what you do next. I just know that you are going to grow up and become something truly special. You have and you will continue to make a difference in the world.

As much as I would like to keep you small and miss the days when I could hold you in my arms, I know that you are growing up. I no longer have to lift you up to see over the railing or hold you on my shoulders. I don't have to tell you to hold my hand anymore, but I sure do like it when you reach for mine. You see Dylan, this tells me that in some small way you are still my little boy.

And when you act silly or climb on animals statues begging for me to take your picture ... well, this reminds me that you are still a kid too ... at least a kid at heart.

Happy Birthday Dylan!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Birthday wishes really do come true

Tomorrow is Dylan's 9th birthday and all he wanted for his birthday was to raise $1,000 for the tigers at San Diego Zoo Safari Park. He wanted to help save the species from extinction and build a new home for them called Tiger Trail.

As you probably know, Dylan had various fundraisers, recycled cans and bottles, saved all of his allowance money, and many people donated money in his name. Some people I know and some who donated are complete strangers who found Dylan's story and donated through social media links.

I am very happy to report that as of today Dylan has raised $1,317 for Tiger Trail.

(and that's not including birthday money that I know is coming in the mail still from family)

Tomorrow we will be spending the day at the Safari Park and meeting some big cats, including the tigers, up close on a Behind the Scenes Safari Tour that we won from the Pin It For Tigers contest last month.  The perfect birthday as far as Dylan is concerned.

Although Dylan has met his goal, the tigers still need our help. For the Safari Park to receive the anonymous donation of $9 million, they must raise $2 million on their own.

This is a screen shot from the Safari Parks website showing how much they have raised so far. As you can see, they are almost halfway there.

Whether you make a donation in Dylan's name or just go to the Tiger Trail Challenge website makes no difference to me. What matters is that you donate. For every $2 that is donated, the park receives $9 - which means Dylan's $1,217 is actually $5,476. That is pretty amazing if you ask me.

The Safari Park has until December 31, 2012 to meet the $2 million goal.

Dylan and I will continue to send money because this is something that we both believe in.
For all of you who donated in Dylan's name and  helped make his birthday wish come true ...


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How my phone is saving the trees

I can recycle with the best of them and I refuse to use plastic bags - however, when it comes to organization I love my paper. The feel of the paper. The colored pens. The post-it notes!
I thrive on making lists and crossing things off as I complete them. I searched and searched for an organizer that was made of recycled paper, but oddly enough most of them were covered in .... get this, Plastic!

I have been a loyal customer to MomAgenda for many years now and nothing could make me stray. Until now.

I had tried going electronic and it scared me. About three months ago I started using both my phone and my paper calender. I figured I could ease myself into it - wrong. All this did was create mass confusion and chaos in my life.

So I took the plunge. I have used nothing but my phone for the past two months and I couldn't be happier. Everything in one place and no paper waste.

See all those dots?
Those are my appointments and important reminders.

I'm happy, the trees are happy, all is good in my universe.

So tell me, do you use a paper organizer or your phone to keep track of your appointments?

Wordless Wednesday - Floating the day away

After hours of playing in the pool, sometimes all you need to do is float. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Nutty is a little nutty ...

Yes, we have urban wildlife at our home. His name is Nutty.


What? You don't see this every morning at your house?

The kindness and generosity of a stranger that I will never forget

Two weeks ago I received an email from someone I didn't know. I met them a few days later, for a brief moment, and all I could do was smile and say thank you for your kindness and generosity - this means so much to me. Actually, I think I said thank you about 5 times.

Here is the email:

Hi Michelle,

I just read Dylan’s story in the Newport Beach Independent. I think his dedication to his dreams and concern for wildlife at such a young age is not only admirable but, inspirational.

Given his passion for Tigers, I have something he might be interested in having. It’s a beautifully framed picture of a tiger (believe it’s a Bengal or Malayan – not sure). It’s a print by a well known artist, Jouve. It measures about 30” x 45 or so.

It retails for about $140 online. I’ve had it listed on Craigslist for $45 but, frankly that site brings out people who aren’t serious or who make an initial inquiry but never respond back. I thought given the excellent condition and low price, I’d surely find a buyer but, I didn’t.

I then saw Dylans great story this am…. I’d like to give it to him, or you can give it to him as a gift yourself (doesn’t matter to me), no charge. Given his passion for Tigers, I think he might enjoy having it?

I’ve attached some pics of the painting. If you think he might be interested in it, please let me know. I’m local in Corona del Mar. Thank you.

The picture now hangs in our living room.

Tigre Royal

I may never see this person again, but I will remember them forever. This gift means more than any amount of money donated for Dylan's birthday wish because this gift came from the heart. This gift is priceless.

Pierre-Paul Jouve was an acclaimed sculptor and illustrator - he is known for his depiction of big cats and for illustrating a French edition of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Some of his work can be seen in the National Museum of Wildlife Art, located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What dreams would you pursue if money were no object?

Everyone has dreams - things they want to do and places they want to go. For some it is to climb the corporate ladder, for others it is to raise a family or maybe travel the world. We all have different dreams, but most of us have one thing in common - money. Ah yes, the almighty dollar that seems to control our wants and desires.

The other day I was thinking. Well, really I was daydreaming. Dreaming of all the things I wish I could do and the places I wish I could go. Then I remembered a promise that I made to Dylan a few years ago - to take him to Africa. Yes, way back when he wanted to visit Africa and see the animals he loves so much in their natural habitat.

What I wouldn't give to make this dream come true for both of us, but that little thing we call money keeps getting in the way. I have never been one to like the word no, so I will keep this dream alive, for me and for Dylan. One day we will make it to Africa.

Then I got to thinking. Yes, this time really thinking. What else would I do if money were no object? 

Five years ago I probably would have said buy a big house on the beach and spend my summers living in Maui. Today my answers are a little different - actually, a lot different! Maybe I have matured, or maybe I just see the bigger picture now. Maybe a little of both.

If money were no object I would:

  • Buy a small home and live the simple life. 
  • Volunteer my time teaching others about conservation.
  • Give more than $25 a month to non-profit organizations that I believe in.
  • Travel to Australia and see the Great Barrier Reef before it disappears forever.
  • Give my son the best education possible so he can be whatever he wants to be.
  • Travel to all the amazing zoos around the world.
  • Spend time on the open ocean and see the whales and dolphins living free.
  • Create a scholarship for college students studying the environment, zoology, and wildlife conservation.
  • Travel to Africa.

Not once did I think about buying designer clothes, a fancy car, or a big home. When I asked my friends on Facebook what they would do if money were no object, I was pleasantly surprised by their answers. Volunteer more, fund projects that change the world, pro bono work, feed and clothe the homeless - none of which are selfish answers. Now I'm not saying there is anything wrong with wanting to buy a big house or designer clothes; it is just nice to know that other people see the bigger picture too.

What would you do if money were no object? 

Think about and make your own list. Then take that list and make it a to-do list or a bucket list. Turn your dreams into realities because nobody likes to hear the word No

Photo courtesy of zrim under the Creative Commons License.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our long awaited walk with the reptiles at San Diego Zoo

When most people think of the 4th of the July, they think of BBQ's, picnics, homemade desserts and fireworks with friends and family. Well, we spent the 4th a little differently this year. Still with friends and family, just not the human kind.

After what seemed like a year of construction, the San Diego Zoo had its grand opening of the new Reptile Walk on July 4, 2012 - we had to be there. Dylan and I had both missed seeing the frogs and especially the Galapagos tortoises. The new long awaited Reptile Walk is amazing and definitely worth the wait.

Still located behind the Reptile House, the Reptile Walk is a beautiful stroll down planked pathways that are lined with trees and lush landscaping.

Once  through the entrance, you enter the first building which houses the amphibians and California native species.

The new open-air design allows for better public viewing and the enclosures are much bigger. You still have to look around to find those tiny frogs, but the glass is now a good 4-5 times larger than before. Here you will see poison dart frogs, tree frogs, mossy frogs, king snakes, giant horned lizards, a green tree boa, and more. 

I'm not sure if it was the new habitats or if it was too early in the morning (9 a.m.), but there were about five animals that we couldn't find in their enclosures. We did go back at night and see a few more, but then it was too dark for pictures.

Next, another pathway takes you to the new Chinese Alligators. These reptiles are critically endangered and most now live only in breeding centers like the San Diego Zoo.

One of things I love most about the San Diego Zoo is the informative signs throughout the zoo like this one. Every trip is a learning experience for me and Dylan.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - All grown up

A new haircut and he looks years older than he is. Oh, Dylan ... don't grow up so fast.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The day Dylan saved the caterpillar

On a recent visit to the San Diego Zoo my son did the unthinkable - well, at least to a parent. He ran out into the street just as one of those big tour buses was coming up the hill. Why would he do such a thing? He knows better. I knew the bus would slow down, or even stop because they don't go that fast anyway, so I proceeded to run after him. I know, not smart.

Before I could grab his arm, he was kneeling down on the ground. What on earth ... and then I saw it.

Of course. The only reason my son would run out in front of a moving vehicle was to save some sort of creature. How he saw it is still a question I can't answer, but right there in the middle of the pavement was a beautiful caterpillar.

One who was sure to meet his fate against the tires of the bus if Dylan hadn't run after him.

Lucky for us (and the caterpillar) some other people were still in the street by the Polar Bears and the bus had to slow down. Dylan gently picked up the caterpillar and we walked back to the sidewalk. Now that we were all out of harms way it was time to introduce ourselves to this little creature. This was the softest caterpillar I have ever touched and at the moment when Dylan let me hold him, I realized the reason he ran out in the street. 

Once you hold nature in your hands, you are forever connected and the desire to preserve and protect becomes second nature. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why Yes, You Can Recycle That!

Nothing gets under my skin more than people who don't, or should I say won't recycle. For one reason or another they say it is too much work. Now I will admit that I make more of an effort to recycle than the average person does, but once you start recycling it just becomes second nature.

Common excuses I hear are:
  1. I don't have time
  2. I don't know what to recycle
  3. The city recycles for me
Number 3 has got to be my favorite - let someone else do it.  

Although you can buy a variety of containers for your recycling, they really are not necessary to do the job. Making your own bins to separate paper, plastic, cardboard, cans, bottles, newspapers, etc is quite simple. Rather than use plastic bags, that will just be thrown away, to collect your aluminum cans and plastic bottles try a reusable shopping bag. The handles make it easy to carry them down to your car and to the recycling center.

I personally do not use paper or plastic bags, but when Dylan's school stuff came home in a brown paper bag I reused it. The paper bag makes the perfect collecting spot for plastic containers, soup cans, and egg cartons that can be recycled. It only takes a few seconds to rinse out the containers and tear off the can labels.

Newspapers, magazines, junk mail, cardboard boxes from food - just stack them up - no container needed.

My recycling wall. 
Now the city I live in does provide recycling trash cans, so this is where I put my stack of newspapers and other paper products. Cans, bottles, and plastic I take to the recycling center once a month. 

OK, for those of you who answer with number 3 from above - the city recycles for me. Well, so does my city. However, if you read your cities web page you will probably find something along the lines of what my city's web page says.

In compliance with the State-mandated recycling goals, the City contracts with CR&R to transport all City-collected solid waste to a materials recovery facility (MRF) where the waste is sorted. The MRF is uniquely designed to separate and recover recyclable materials from unsorted (commingled) household waste. This process eliminates the need for additional containers and separate collection pick up normally associated with residential recycling programs. Even though residents are not required to separate their recyclable, you are encouraged to seal wet refuse in bags to prevent contamination of newsprint. (from the City of Newport Beach web page)

As you can see, only the recyclable goods that have not been contaminated can actually be recycled. To save the newspaper, you are asked to seal your wet trash in a plastic bag. 
Doesn't using a plastic bag defeat the purpose of recycling?

Now that I have you thinking about recycling, let's go one step further. 

Have you heard of TerraCycle? If not, you have now. TerraCycle is the answer to all things you didn't think could be recycled. Personal care and beauty product packaging previously just thrown in a landfill can now be recycled through a TerraCycle brigade. So my shampoo bottles, lotion tubes, and makeup containers go in a bin instead of the trash can. Once I have enough to fill a box, I will send them to TerraCycle (free with their prepaid shipping label) and I can have the money donated to a charity of my choice or I can redeem points for products made from the recycled packaging. It's a win-win situation. The same applies to my bin of GoGo squeeZ applesauce packages. 

My recycling area is next to my trash can so it doesn't take any extra effort. I go to the same area with trash and my recycling. The best thing is that I only take out my trash once every two weeks because 90% of what I use can be recycled. 

Now that you now how easy it is to recycle, that recycling doesn't cost you any money, and that YES, you can recycle that ... I'm giving you a challenge.

I challenge you to start recycling one new thing during the month of July. If it's cans and plastic bottles great, but think outside the box and start recycling something that you don't get money for. After all, the point of recycling isn't just to get money ... we recycle to reduce the impact of landfills on the environment. 

Are you up for the challenge? What will you start recycling this month?