Thursday, August 27, 2009

Recycling in Cincinnati

It is a bit of an understatement to say that recycling is important to me. I mean... you DID read the title of my blog, didn't you? It's an integral part of my life that was ingrained at an early age. There was never a question as to "hmm, should we recycle this plastic bottle, or just throw it away?" I thank my mom for this fantastic habit, and now filling up my green bin is as normal as brushing my teeth or washing my hands.

I know that recycling is slowly becoming more and more mainstream. Just last week I convinced the boys who run the tuxedo shop in front of my house (yep, Mr. Tuxedo's) that they could, in fact, RECYCLE the 3-5 bottles of soda they drink a day. Same with all the cardboard boxes that they toss. They were a bit skeptical until they realized it was just like throwing things away, except for in a different box. Instant converts.

Cincinnati has a recycling program, which is better than cities that don't. There is a proposal that has been developed by some of the members of Cincinnati City Council that will improve the efficiency of recycling in Cincy, as well as turn a profit for the city and create jobs.

Councilwoman Roxanne Qualls sent me an email earlier today, and she puts it like this:

"Back in May 2008, council asked the administration to review the recycling program and recommend how we could increase the rate of recycling, share to a greater extent in any revenue from sale of recyclables, and increase the amount of money the city saves by avoiding landfill tipping fees. The original motion was extensive, and also directed that workers receive a living wage for sorting recyclables."

Basically the city has to pay to dump all the trash that we, the citizens, produce. It's expensive (not to mention really gross)

at $27.25 per tonne of garbage, and over 88,437 tonnes of garbage estimated to be dumped... that's a lot of money to spend.

However, recycling waste ends up paying the city back money... about $28.30 per tonne (at the end of 2008)

The enhanced system will include a Recycle Bank program that records how much individual households recycle, and then rewards them for it. (uh, that's awesome.) They also want to replace the dinky green bins for 64 gallon recycling carts.

Yes, the carts and the new system is going to cost money. But, as we've seen above... it's going to MAKE money. As well as create new jobs.

Qualls says that "the plan, if it were approved and implemented this year, would actually save $20,000 in 2009 and $240,000 in 2010. It would increase the amount recycled by 300% and create 20 new jobs at sorting facilities and 36 new jobs at recycling manufacturing facilities. It also would decrease greenhouse gas emissions.he plan, if it were approved and implemented this year, would actually save $20,000 in 2009 and $240,000 in 2010. It would increase the amount recycled by 300% and create 20 new jobs at sorting facilities and 36 new jobs at recycling manufacturing facilities. It also would decrease greenhouse gas emissions."

These recycling initiatives would be a really great opportunity for Cincinnati, but it is being threatened to be cut off in order to save police jobs.

If you care about the possibility of great recycling in Cincinnati, please follow the link to the Park+Vine blog post about this topic, where you can copy a letter to send to our City Council, specifically Ghiz, Bortz, Berding, Monzel and Harris.

check out Roxanne Quall's website for more info on the proposed recycling plan.

Tell Mayor Mark Mallory and City Council that you care about recycling in Cincinnati!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Plastic Bag Love: PLAG

It's Friday. Time for some Plastic Bag Love!!

I used to work with an awesome chick named Nikki who is really into plastic bags. She was integral in helping me get up the courage to start recycleDbin, and she's probably one of my biggest fans. And I can't help but be one of hers, because she was the one who got me hooked on plastic bags in the first place!!

Nikki makes PLAGs. If you think that sounds like Plastic Bags... you're totally right. She is an avid knitter, and one day decided to make yarn out of plastic bags instead of the usual stuff. Here's the lowdown from her Etsy site:

"I heart the Earth. I want to keep living here. I want my great-great-grandkids to live here. And I try to do my part to leave a smaller "footprint." I use cloth bags when going to the store, but there are times I stop unexpectedly and inevitably I get a plastic bag. I don't want to put this plastic into the landfill because it NEVER breaks down. Not completely.

I saw this idea to cut up the plastic bags and use it as yarn to create a market bag. Great idea I thought. Practical, not so much. The plastic has a decent amount of give and can stretch out of place quickly with heavy groceries. I use mine more of tote bag. To carry the umbrella and lunch bag to the office. It's also perfect as a beach bag.

Each Plag is made using previously used plastic bags - approximately 50 of them. I change the pattern each time based on the materials. Pictured here is a striped version. I also have solid and pattern bags in process that can be held if you are interested."

so this is what the yarn looks like:

and here's another shot of the PLAG in all its handmade glory:

(all of the images come from her Etsy site, just FYI)

It's a really neat concept that is doing its part to keep plastic bags out of landfills. And that's what we love.

PS - check out the rest of Nikki's Etsy site for really adorable knitted items like this RoboBear. Shop Local!

Diary of A DAAP Kid: Parties

When one thinks of college parties, beer pong, flip cup, kegs and flipped up collars may come to mind. Today I am here to distinguis the difference between the aformentioned college parties (aka Frat Parties) and the types of soirees us classy kids at DAAP like to throw.

In my four years at DAAP I've been to a number of shindigs ranging in scale from a few friends gathered for dinner and wine, to house-party madness a hundred costumed people strong.

The most important thing about DAAP parties is that there must be a theme. How else will you find the most ironic and creative outfit to wear?Yes, there's the usual themse, like Black and White, but how about Robots, Famous Couples, or Anything But Pants? Giving us crazy art students a chance to get creative AND drunk... now that's a match made in heaven.

Alas, many of my architect pals have graduated, and the number of parties has slowed to a trickle. This past Saturday night, however, I got a chance to attend the mother of all DAAP parties... ironically, not thrown by DAAP-ers, but by a group called Dance MF (you can fill in the abbreviation for yourself)

Dance MF traditionally hosts dance parties at the Northside Tavern on the first Saturday of every month. This month marked their one year anniversary (and the birthday of one of the creators)... so they threw themselves a big MF'n birthday party...

on a boat. ON A BOAT.

(image from It Probably Sucks)

I've been obsessed with this Lonely Island song (as have many other hipsters) since the first time someone else showed it to me on youtube. . Actually, I know all the words.

So when I heard the DANCE MF was going to be ON A BOAT, I was pretty darn excited. The tickets sold out quickly, but I managed to snag one via Craigslist about 5 hours before the ship set sail. I went with my friends Marco and Carrie and we had a blast.

The beer and wine and cake flowed, the DJ mixed some crazy beats, The Seedy Seeds totally rocked our faces, and I got to dance my tush off.

I would describe the mix and fashion of the people who attended, but I think pictures (none of them mine, all taken from MetroMix Cincy here:) will suffice. I'm pretty sure they were all DAAP graduates (or wannabes!)

check it out:

I'm on a boat and

it's going fast and

I got my nautical-themed pashmina afghan (Seedy Seeds!!)

Me, Marco and Carrie!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Call to Bloggers: Transit

As a very small part of the amazing blogging community in Cincinnati, I've had ample time to read tons of great posts about the most important issue going on in our fair city: The Anti-Rail Transportation Charter Amendment. I'm not even going to say the "s" word. This issue far surpasses the current rail options being looked into for the city center.

If this ballot initiative passes, it will be very difficult for Cincinnati as a city to compete with others around the country who are being proactive in updating their city centers so that people WANT to live, work and play there.

I've lived in Cincinnati for the last four years of my life, and I know its workings better than many of my friends who grew up here. This IS my home, and I have an obnoxious amount of optimism when it comes to the Queen City's future.

That being said, I have grown tired of running around in circles when it comes to the COAST v. Cincinnatians for Progress issue. I am reading the same blogs, tweeting the same tweets, and talking to the same people who agree with me in thinking that this amendment CANNOT pass. It's great that there is so much enthusiasm and recently, so much press coverage about this amendment.

Honestly, guys... I don't think the Anti Rail Amendment will be voted down if we continue on the way we are now. I know that it is still early in the game to be thinking this way. According to one of the Cincinnatians for Progress representatives who spoke at the Downtown Residents Council this evening (I consider myself a part-time DT resident ;) ) "Information is the key" He insinuated that there will be many measures unrolled between now and Election Day. He also called for interested parties to sign up and volunteer their time, monies, and/or talent at

I've heard some people mention that all this issue needs is "a really great PR team." Helloooo.. this community of bloggers and tweeters is a fantastic PR team. We've got a lot of man power and creativity right here. For free.

If voting down the Anti-Rail Amendment is something you feel passionate about, then you should try and do what you can to reach out to the people (in Price Hill, Westwood, Madisonville, Mt. Washington and all the other city voting neighborhoods ) who don't know, don't care, or are misinformed about what this potentially means for Cincinnati. We can talk about it together all we want, but in the end it isn't worth beans when the majority rules. I know maybe for some of you

(thanks Dan/P+V!)

but some of these Cincinnati blogs are read by people outside the city core. Blogs about food, being cheap, being a mom

ya'all reach a lot of people, every day. I don't know what the solution is. Maybe it's YouTube videos, door-to-door canvassing, or talking to radio personalities on their Morning Shows (hey there Married With Microphones!). Maybe CFP and Mayor Mallory have something amazing up their sleeves and I am totally in the dark.

But I do know that we have to reach outside of our comfort zones and start talking to whoever we know, who isn't IN the know.

Because we love Cincinnati, and think it's got a fantastic freakin' future.

Night, ya'll.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Charlotte, North Carolina

The streetcar debate is weighing heavily on my mind, and I think there's some things to be said...

that will wait til the next post.

Whilst on vacation, I got the opportunity to use the public transportation system in Charlotte, North Carolina. BF, friend and I stopped in Charlotte to get some lunch and see the sights. They basically totally humored me in riding the local light rail...

or else they got really sick of me talking about it.

Charlotte currently has a (free!) trolley system (NOT A STREETCAR) as well as a light rail system that runs out to the suburbs, but connects the stadium and the convention center (again, not a streetcar.) Apparently they have plans to install a streetcar at some point.

this is not a streetcar. it's a painted bus. btw.

Anyway, we walked around the city. I noticed they had bike lanes in the downtown area. There were several green/public spaces we walked by, and they were fairly full of the typical business-lunch crowd.

We each shelled out the $1.25 and hopped on the light rail and rode it a grand total of 2 stops - we didn't have time to ride the whole way. It was pretty sweet!

m@ figures out the money thang.

neato frito waiting area.


A clean, quiet ride and a diverse crowd. Lovin' it.

Charlotte and Cincinnati seem to be fairly similar. Charlotte is probably a little bigger than Cincy (sorry, too tired to look up facts) All in all it was a great little side trip, and I got my transit fix. SCORE.

Diary of a DAAP Kid: vacation

Sorry I haven't been around for a couple weeks, friends. I went on a small vacation to Charleston, South Carolina with some friends. It was a really great break from real life, and I managed to miss a week full of rain back home in Cincinnati.

Believe it or not, co-ops do not get paid vacation. and since I'm supposed to work a determined amount of days/weeks. So, if I take off any days, I have to make it up before the end of the co-op session. Needless to say, I worked a LOT of overtime before I left.

I traveled with my architect boyfriend to Charleston, South Carolina, where we stayed with architecture friends and saw (not surprisingly) a lot of great architecture. The trip culminated in a detour up to Virginia, to see Thomas Jefferson's piece de resistance, University of Virginia. Check it out!

sweet bridge in Charleston

we took the Blue Ridge Parkway for a good ways through Virginia.

I'm a self professed city girl, but I got my roots in the country... and part of me would not mind ending up out here...

we snuck onto the campus at night and took pictures. Fantastico!