This weekend I went on the ORAP Ice Climbing trip, and I noticed this sign at the entrance to the men's restroom at one of the rest stops along the way. The sign was put up by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the NYS Education Department. It is only on an 81/2" x 11" piece of paper, so its fairly easy to miss, but its a very good effort. The picture is a bit blurry (taken on my phone), but blue and red parts of the sign read:
Help Protect New York's Water
Don't Flush Unwanted Household Medications or Pour them Down the Drain
The website takes you to the New York DEC website, and has general information about the impacts of flushing your drugs on aquatic organisms. It explains that many of these drugs pass right through wastewater treatment facilities, and that low levels of household pharmaceuticals have been found in 80% of rivers and streams in the US. They go on to say how this is causing feminization of some fish, which has a large impact on spawning practices. It provides links to other websites, in addition to some suggested methods of disposal of drugs. Household drugs are also a problem if they are just thrown in the garbage, as the low levels of hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and contraceptives would be found in leachate from landfills. Informing the public about taking up better drug disposal practices is the first step to fixing the problem. I thought this was good location for this type of message, as it is passed by a large volume of people every day, but perhaps if the sign was a bit larger, it would be noticed more.
Additionally, I was taking a walk by the lake last week and I noticed a large pile of railroad stakes by the tracks, and it looked like it had been there for a long time. I guess since the railroad owns the land, it is most cost effective to leave railroad waste on the side of the tracks. This is a fairly large amount of rusted carbon steel, and I'm sure it could be recycled and used elsewhere rather than being left to rust on the side of the tracks. While researching what the spikes are made of, I came across numerous do-it-yourself websites that have some creative ideas of what you can make out of railroad spikes, like hammers, knives, bottle openers, etc., which is a good way to reuse them. Additionally, I found out that a recycling place will typically pay around $200 for a ton of steel.