It all comes back to you. Your attitude and your actions can make a world of difference. Recycling has three distinct stages, just as the chasing arrow symbol has three separate parts. The stages are precycling, recycling, and buying recycled.
Recycling Newsletter http://www.dtn.earthworksrecycling.com/
Newsletter of the Technical Assistance Program (http://tap.plastics.org)
Litter Prevention Campaign (http://www.dangerboy.org/wa_litter/comps.htm)
Recycling Newsletter: subscribe for free - firstname.lastname@example.org
Recycling Council of BC's 27th Annual Waste Reduction Conference and AGM: http://www.rcbc.bc.ca/upcoming_events/events.htm
Earth 911 (http://www.earth911.com) Local environmental resources.
Community Learning Network (http://www.cln.org) Database of lesson plans and curricular materials, K-12
Eco-Artware (http://www.eco-artware.com) Gallery of innovative recycled material gift items by independent artists
Additional Recycling Links Go to the RECYCLING page on this site.
Green Advisor http://www.greenadviser.org/Solutions for Living Green: Green Adviser offers the best resources available on
the web to help you help the environment. Find tips on buying environmentally friendly products, cooking green healthy meals, recycling and reducing waste. Learn how small changes in your everyday life can benefit the Earth.
Waste Calculator (http://www.metrokc.gov/dnrp/swd/ecoconsumer/calculator.asp)
The World's Shortest Comprehensive Recycling Guide http://www.obviously.com/recycle/guides/shortest.html
Washington Environmental Services Directory http://www.esdwa.comEvents of interest to Washington's environmental industry.
Freecyclehttp://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=freecycle&submit=Search This is a great "recycling" site for household things, or nearly anything, called Freecycle. This is a Yahoo group of several local groups giving away needed things in a relatively close proximity.
Curbside Recycling http://www.co.snohomish.wa.us/publicwk/Everything you need to know about curbside recycling.
Zero Waste http://www.grrn.org
Zero Waste & Emissions http://www.zerowaste.org
Resource Recycling, Inc. http://www.resource-recycling.comand http://www.myimprintstore.com/wsra_store/index.htm
EPA Pollution Prevention http://www.epa.gov/p2/new/index.htm
King County’s Waste Calculator http://www.metrokc.gov/dnrp/swd/ecoconsumer/calculator.asp
Recycling and Paper Arts and Crafts for Kids http://www.articlemyriad.com/recycling-paper-arts-crafts-for-kids/
Reduce Waste and Save Money at Home http://www.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Reduce-Waste-and-Save-Money-at-Home.17328.html
Composting Guide http://www.bbcleaningservice.com/home-composting-guide.htm
The Eco-Friendly Guide to Recycling Electronic Waste http://www.aerial-direct.co.uk/guide-recycling-electriconic-waste/
Guide to Sustainability & Recycling for Kids https://www.petitfashion.com/recycling/
Ollie Recycle's http://www.olliesworld.com/uk/index.html
Recycling Tips and Links http://www.movoto.com/buyers-tips/recycling
American Landfill Report https://www.saveonenergy.com/land-of-waste/
Our current "recycling" practices are a joke.
It's not even recycling in the sense that it's not a cyclical process.
It's a linear process. We take petrolium, make it into plastic bottles.
We go, "glug, glug, glug" and set them out at curbside for "recycling".
Some guy shows up and jumps out of a big truck (leaving the engine idling).
He then tosses the different plastic and other containers into various
bins and MAYBE the plastic will get "recycled" into some form of plastic
lumber which will then go to a landfill when it reaches the end of its
service life. I see this a merely postponing the ultimate arrival
of a silly plastic bottle at a landfill. Landfill, by virtual definition,
is unsustainable. The land will ultimately fill up. The plastic
liners that they use to contain the toxicity of landfills willl ultimately
fail and the groundwater will be irreversably polluted by all that stuff
that we're burying in a big hole in the ground. It will not happen in our
lifetimes, but there will be future generations paying the price for our
"out of sight, out of mind" mentality. In our truly sustainable,
advanced civilization of the future, the practice of landfilling will be
dramatically reduced if not fully eliminated. I should mention also that
the energy required to melt an old glass bottle into a new glass bottle
is almost the same as the energy required to make a new glass bottle out
of freshly extracted sand. Aluminum is an extremely energy intensive product.
While it is better to recycle old aluminum than to produce new aluminum,
aluminum cans are so light (as a ratio of surface area to weight) that
a substantial amount of slag is produced when recycling an aluminum can.
Although aluminum oxide has various industiral uses, that slag will probably
be landfilled. While biodegradable plastics CAN be composted, I expect
that the vast majority of them are going to a landfill where they will
sit forever - taking up the same amount of space as conventional plastics.
At 44 years, I'm old enough that I remember when milk, soda pop and beer
came in bottles that were not recycled - they were sent back to the bottling
plant, washed out and refilled. There is no reason why all of our
packaging couldn't be handled in this manner. If we had real leaders
and an informed population, we could have a standardized set of 30 or so
bottles and jars that would be reused indefinately. You could buy
pickles in a jar one week that had peanut butter in it the week before.
Some people might complain at having to lug the empty bottles back to the
store from which they managed to carry them full in the first place, but
I feel that a far reaching vision of humankinds future will call for something
entirely different than our present packaging practices.
As they bundle catalogs and newspapers or scour the fine print on cereal
boxes for post-consumer content, most avid recyclers will, if pressed,
confess to seditious thoughts that maybe recycling amounts to little more
than a penance that makes us feel better. But now all good recyclers
can rest assured that recycling is truly worthwhile: two new reports show
that recycling does pay off environmentally and economically.
According to "Greener Cartons" from the Alliance for Environmental Innovation (a project of Environmental Defense), companies can cut costs, demonstrate environmental leadership, and maintain package quality by switching to recycled paperboard packaging. Paperboard is used to make the folding cartons that package everything from aspirin to cereal, toothpaste to software. Not only does paperboard with post-consumer recycled content have less of an environmental impact (it uses less wood, energy and water, reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and air and water pollutants, and cuts the amount of trash sent to incinerators and landfills), it is cost effective and almost identical to virgin paperboard in terms of performance and appearance.
These savings were demonstrated in a recent Alliance project with UPS. Among other innovations, the project resulted in a recycled, reusable paperboard overnight mail envelope that better meets their customers' needs and created substantial cost savings. Other top brand names now packaged in recycled-content paperboard include FedEx overnight shipping envelopes, Kodak film cartons, Warner Bros. videos and DVDs, Excedrin and Celebrex painkillers, Clairol Natural Instincts and Wella haircolor, Duracell batteries, Hewlett-Packard printer cartridges, and Gillette Sensor shaving cartridges, as well as half of the food products on supermarket shelves. "It is a win-win opportunity for companies; they cut costs and help the environment at the same time," says Bruce Hammond, Alliance paperboard project manager.
A study from the Environmental Protection Agency also clearly shows the economic benefits of recycling. Among the key findings of the national "U.S. Recycling Economic Information (REI) Study" (in cooperation with the National Recycling Coalition) are that recycling and reuse add value to the U.S. economy: 56,000 establishments employ over 1.1 million people and generate an annual payroll of nearly $37 billion, demonstrating that the industry makes a vital contribution to job creation and economic development. Moreover, it is competitive with other major industries and has indirect benefits as well.
ZERO WASTE & EMISSIONS
According to new data from the Department of Ecology, Washington's recycling rate rose to 35 percent in 2000, up from 32.5 percent in 1999. This reverses a general downward trend that occurred during the mid-1990s. Over all, Washington continues to do better than the national recycling average of 28 percent. The Department of Ecology encourages citizens and businesses to purchase products that come in recyclable packaging, and to take advantage of recycling programs that are available in most areas of the state.
For more information about recycling: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa
(From a Washington State Department of Ecology News Release)
People in Eugene throw away an amazing amount of useable items. Mike Horowitz salvages an average of two pick-up loads each weekend, cleans them up and gives them away. According to his friend, Dennis Lueck, he has been dumpster diving every weekend for the past 5 years. He has found clothing, house wares, light bulbs, plastic coolers, backpacks, school supplies, and electronics. Some of these things were brand new; still in the box. Some Battery-operated equipment just needed a battery.
From Dumpster diving for a good cause in the Wednesday, July 11, Spokesman-Review.
Can anyone use plastic from handles off things like pots & pans,
small appliances, like electric can openers), tools, (like electric
saws and drills.)
Contact us at Earthworks Recycling email@example.com or (509) 534-1638: Jim
Enuf! The Planet's Favorite Band announces its NEW and IMPROVED website! Same address but WHOLE different look! Stop by and have a bit of fun!
This is a really useful article, especially if you follow the hot links (such as 'take-back'). It paints a very good picture of many of the issues being worked on related to electronic waste. While the Electronic Industry Alliance (EIA) is getting a lot of press for the $100,000 they are spending on these pilots, that is miniscule compared to what governments are beginning to spend to deal with the problem. I think MA alone has spent over $1 million the last year or so.
(Thanks to Sego Jackson, Principal Planner, Snohomish County Solid Waste Management Division firstname.lastname@example.org )
John A. Osborne turns old building materials into useful things like
tables and cabinets. He started Phoenix Materials, Inc. a year ago
in Spokane, and his products always come with a story about their former
life. He finds the raw materials for his projects all over the Pacific
Northwest and the Southwest.
“I don’t want to get crossways with preservationists, but when something can ’t be preserved intact and in place, this is a great way to preserve it,” he says.
This comprehensive document provides extensive details for more than 300 major buyers and processors of recovered plastics in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. In addition to information about each company, the resins they handle and the form in which resins are desired, the directory presents indexes by company location and resins purchased. Produced by the publishers of ‘RESOURCE RECYCLING’ magazine and the ‘PLASTICS RECYCLING UPDATE’ newsletter, the resource document costs $54 within the U.S. Credit card orders can be placed at (503) 233-1305.
Two projects underway at the University of Massachusetts
(UM) could help reduce the numbers of used tires headed for the nation's
landfills. One of team of UM researchers is looking at new methods of recycling
old tires into new rubber goods. A second is developing a novel substance
that is a combination of asphalt and recycled tires, and could be used
in products as varied as roadways, construction materials, and roofing
shingles. Both research groups are part of the polymer science and engineering
"Rubber is one the most useful materials of the modern era, and helped spawn the industrial revolution," said professor Richard Farris. "It is prized in industry for its strength, elasticity and wear resistance."
"Unfortunately, rubber also represents one of the most difficult recycling problems ever encountered," added Farris. "One of the biggest pollution problems in this country is scrap tires. Although it's easy to collect, rubber is difficult to recycle. It's chemically cross linked, and those links will not melt and will not dissolve."
Researchers estimate that there are about two billion scrap tires now piled in U.S. landfills, with more than 273 million additional tires reaching the waste stream each year.
"This adds up to approximately 3.6 million tons of waste each year, or 230 pounds of rubber reaching the waste stream per second," noted Drew Williams, a doctoral candidate studying the issue. "Of these 273 million tires, about 170 million are burned for fuel, and 60 million are used in low tech ways, such as for synthetic turf for athletic fields. The remaining 40 million tires end up in landfills."
The team led by Farris is revisiting and improving a process introduced in 1853 by Goodyear, in which the reclaimed rubber is ground into a fine powder and mixed with unvulcanized rubber. The mixture is then vulcanized: that is, the material is heated and new cross links are formed, via the additional sulfur or other reactive materials, in order to restore its strength and elasticity.
Just five percent of scrap tires are now used this way because of quality concerns, Farris said. His team has developed a method to create a rubber material containing 100 percent reclaimed rubber, without compromising the material's quality. Williams is developing a material that combines rubber and asphalt into a product that withstands traditional asphalt's tendency to melt or become sticky in hot weather, and remains very flexible even at very low temperatures.
"These projects really represent 'green' chemistry at its best," said Farris. "We're generating lower amounts of waste, and reclaiming used materials, and all we're adding is heat and pressure."
Many of you have already heard that Staples Stores will be offering
tree-free paper for Earth Day. AOR did a quick follow up with the manufacturer
of the paper regarding its availability and recyclability. The following
is the response we received:
"All Staples stores will be carrying it by Earth Day April 20. It will be in all Staples at the same time. The paper is totally
recyclable. You can visit our website: www.livingtreepaper.com "
Here's a little info about the paper: Vanguard Recycled Plus(tm) is a 90% post-consumer waste, 10% nonwood paper manufactured by Living Tree Paper Company (Eugene, Oregon). The versatile sheet is guaranteed for use in ink-jet
printers, laser printers, and copiers and works very well as business stationery. The label reads, "No new trees went into this paper!" Instead, Vanguard Recycled Plus(tm) is made from recycled office paper and Hemp/Flax, a combination of hemp and flax fibers. The 24# premium white bond paper is acid free and process-chlorine free, and the Hemp/Flax portion is totally chlorine free.
(From the AORlist newsletter.)
ATHENS, Georgia, October 7, 2002 (ENS) - A team of researchers has developed the first transgenic system for removing arsenic from the soil by using genetically modified plants. The new system could help remove the toxic metal from naturally and artificially polluted soil and water, reducing their threat to the environment and to human and animal health around the world.
**CARPET SQUARES--Too small for doormats, but fantastic to patchwork together for area rugs, soft mosaics, wall hangings that warm a space & baffle noise**
Cut them into coaster-sized pieces (so you could even use them as coasters
too) and place them fuzzy side down under the legs, corners, or edges of
furniture. On wood or other solid floors, these squares prevent the
furniture from scratching the flooring while allowing you to more easily
move and slide the furniture. On carpet, these carpet squares help
minimize the "dents" left in carpeting by the pressure of furniture legs.
On any type of flooring, these coasters can be used in stacks as
needed to steady the piece by leveling up the leg/side of the furniture that is not quite as long as the rest.
Carpet sheets can also be a great grass/weed killer in the yard. Set them down in strips or sheets under a ground cover to retard weeds or to remove grass from an area. (Be aware that the carpet may have non-organic/chemical elements associated with it you may wish to avoid in an edible garden).
Pieces of carpet can be placed between breakable/scratchable items when moving and storing them for added security.
I wanted to let everyone know about our Waste Calculator, a cool new feature on our King County EcoConsumer Resources website: http://www.metrokc.gov/dnrp/swd/ecoconsumer/calculator.asp. With this calculator, people can get an idea of the impact of their purchasing choices, for eight common products. Jay Beach in our office did a great job designing the calculator, which is based on the New York City Department of Sanitation's "Measure Your Impact" website.
Also as part of our EcoConsumer public awareness project, I am writing an EcoConsumer column for the consumer page in the Sunday Seattle Times/PI. It runs as the main feature on the page every three to six weeks. An archive of past columns is on our EcoConsumer website: http://www.metrokc.gov/dnrp/swd/ecoconsumer/columns.asp
The short address for the King County EcoConsumer Resources home page
(Thanks Tom Watson of the King County Solid Waste Division, for sending us this interesting article!)
Is your business “Truly Green”?
*Do you use fluorescent lamps to reduce energy consumption and provide high quality illumination? The use of fluorescent lamps is good for the environment because they require less electricity and they typically have a long life.
*Are you aware that ALL fluorescent lamps (even green tip and CFL’s) contain mercury as a necessary element for their operation? In fact, one spent standard four foot lamp contains enough mercury to contaminate 7,000 gallons of water. As such, when they are disposed of they require proper handling to reduce/eliminate mercury emission into the environment.
“Partners in Planet Protection” (PIPP) is an organization driven by a “Truly Green” objective to create additional awareness regarding Mercury contamination of the environment and to offer a low cost, federally compliant recycling service for mercury containing lamps.
EPA has established a special category called "Universal Waste" to encourage recycling of certain common items. An item that is eligible for classification as a universal waste is exempt from many of the cumbersome aspects of hazardous waste regulation that might otherwise make recycling impractical. Nevertheless, these items need to be recycled. Mercury-containing items that qualify include:
You can make a difference and PIPP can help. We are partnered with several of the largest environmental recyclers in North America. Our service offering provides small facilities with the same low cost, federally compliant, recycling services that have previously been exclusive to large organizations. Contact us today for additional information and a breakdown of our services.
Partners in Planet Protection
One company's garbage is another's gold. That's what Burt's Bees discovered when workers there donned hazmat suits and jumped into their trash to have a look at what they were throwing away.
Employees waded through two weeks of garbage and found recycling opportunities that cut the company's waste in half while generating $25,000 in estimated annual savings, says John Replogle, president and CEO of the natural ingredient body products manufacturer.
"We found money in the dumpster," he declares. "We've turned our waste stream from a cost center into a profit center."
Burt's Bees is one example of how companies across the U.S. are taking a close look at what's in their garbage bins to make big changes in reducing waste in the workplace. With many corporations setting sustainability goals of curbing trash and improving recycling, the dumpster dive is an instructive way of guiding them to hit those targets.
Businesses are also finding new revenue streams in their garbage by taking items that were hauled away to the landfill in the past and instead selling them to someone else for cash -- a boon is a slow economy. In addition, many companies seeking LEED certification are sifting through their trash as part of waste stream audits to earn credits toward that seal of approval from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Dumpster diving helped move Burt's Bees closer to its goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2020. Set 18 months ago, the company quickly made great strides at reaching that target and went from producing 40 tons of waste per month down to an impressive 10 tons per month by aggressively recycling and introducing composting at its Durham, N.C., corporate office and manufacturing plant, says Replogle.
"Then we were stuck and needed to reinvigorate the effort again," he recalls.
So the company's green team devised a plan last summer to stockpile all garbage for two weeks, then dump it in the parking lot and enlist a group of employees to pick through it and see what they could divert from the heap. On a steamy summer day, the group sorted the hefty mound of trash into three piles: items they already recycle that shouldn't have been in the trash; things they could recycle if they had an outlet to send them to (such as plastic buckets); and stuff that was truly garbage and couldn't be recycled for sanitary reasons (including latex gloves and hair nets).
"Once you've seen your garbage up close, it's hard to ignore it," jokes Shira E. Norman, a research consultant in the Chicago office of YRG Sustainability, a consulting firm that works with companies applying for LEED certification.
Seeing is Believing
While there may be a certain "yuck" factor to picking through your company's garbage, experts insist the exercise makes a strong impression on employees that can inspire behavior change with far greater impact than any written report or e-mail alert, Norman says.
Burt's Bees' Replogle agrees. He says they used their dumpster diving effort as a teachable moment and urged its 300-plus workers that day to inspect what they were throwing away. The exercise was so visually compelling that the company recorded the event and posted it as a video link on its website's sustainability report. For awhile, the video was drawing rave reviews on YouTube.
"That walk through the parking lot and seeing all that trash translated into a collective 'aha moment' and we all realized we could do a better job at recycling," says Replogle. After that experience, the company quickly jumped from 80 percent compliance in recycling to 98 percent, he says. "Now we have a shared ethos of taking responsibility," he adds.
Even companies with robust recycling programs can find room for improvement
in a vigorous search through their garbage, asserts Todd Sutton, who derives
his business, WasteSleuth.com, from helping corporations and public agencies
analyze their trash and find smart ways to reduce it. He says many people
think they're already doing the most with their garbage if they have a
recycling bin in the office.
by Mother Nature Network11/01/12
Photo: Flickr/Michael Cory
Written by Jim Motavalli, Mother Nature Network
Do you have any idea what happens to the tires when you junk your car? I didn’t think so. What about the 1.2 million tires on the 300,000 cars that are in the Hertz rental car fleet at any one time? I didn’t think you had the answer there, either.
I thought you’d be pleased to learn, in a Mother Nature Network exclusive, that not only do up to 90 percent of America’s tires get recycled, and made into products as diverse as playground mulch and landfill bedding, but Hertz has just signed an agreement with the largest recycler to recover the material from the worn-out tires that leave its fleet every year – an estimated 170,000 of them.
“We’re the first rental company to commit to zero waste for tires,” said Hertz spokesman Rich Broome. “We recently went through our operations to see where we could do better environmentally, and we are recovering oil and we don’t waste water, either. Our tire recycling was at best haphazard. We didn’t know what the local operators were doing with them. But because of our agreement with Liberty Tire Recycling, no Hertz tire will ever be landfilled again.”
Jeff Kendall, CEO of Pittsburgh-based Liberty, says that his company processes 140 million passenger tire equivalents every year, amounting to 1.4 million tons of material. Used rubber isn’t worth all that much, so Hertz doesn’t get paid for its surplus tires, but it does acquire peace of mind.
According to the EPA, America generates 290 million scrap tires annually, and 233 million of them make it to a market. Some 130 million are used as fuel, and 53 million go into civil engineering projects.
So what will happens to Hertz' tires? Kendall explains a few uses:
“Another big coming use is to mix our crumb recycled tire rubber with liquid asphalt for a quieter, better-draining road,” Kendall said.
Hertz has 3,000 locations, including both airport- and off-airport. That’s a lot of tires. It’s good to know they’re going to a good home. This is not your grandpa's rental-car industry. It's greening with a vengeance, renting electric cars, adopting car sharing and more. Check out Enterprise Rent-a-Car's Driving Futures here.
More from Mother Nature Network:
Buying a car: 6 tips for smart consumers
Scientists successfully generate gasoline out of thin air
Keep on trucking: a tour of Smith Electric
Sweden runs out of garbage, forced to import from Norway