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Found 8 results

  1. In today’s world, concern about the environment is at an all-time high. This is especially true regarding recycling, since communities across America have implemented recycling programs to reduce the garbage going into landfills. As people learn about recycling, it’s becoming very popular. If you’re interested in transforming the planet, here are four practices that can be implemented into your daily life. Recycle Your Aluminum Cans According to Waste Management Corporation, Americans drink one beverage each day from an aluminum can. However, even though the cans are 100 percent recyclable, less than half of those cans are recycled. For cans that are recycled, they can be put back on the shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days, and there are over 10,000 locations across the nation that purchase aluminum, making it very easy to recycle these cans while making a few extra bucks. Corrugated Cardboard With more and more people shopping online these days, households have an endless supply of corrugated cardboard taking up space. Some companies, like Ware Disposal, know just how helpful it can be to the planet when resources are recycled. However, it makes far more sense to take them to a recycling center, where they can be converted into chipboard that’s used to make cereal boxes, paper towels, and copy paper. Car Batteries The most recycled product in the United States, car batteries are a virtual goldmine in recycling circles. With more than half of the battery being made of lead, it can be used to create new car batteries. Along with this, the batteries contain several pounds of plastic, which can be used to create various new products. And finally, the battery’s sulfuric acid can be recycled and used in new batteries, converted to sodium sulfate for use in fertilizers and dyes, or neutralized and purified, enabling it to be released as clean water. Most automotive retailers will accept old batteries, as will recycling companies such as Ware Disposal, which as a zero-waste company handles all facets of solid waste and recycling. Computers With thousands of computers tossed out in the trash every day, it’s vital they be recycled. Containing plastic, metal, and glass, virtually the whole computer can be recycled. And don’t forget peripherals such as keyboards, printers, speakers, and external hard drives, all of which can be recycled as well. By becoming aware of what can be recycled and how doing so can benefit the environment, it will be easier than ever to help transform the planet.
  2. Most home owners and renters fail to realize that their homes are unhealthy environments filled with toxic substances that can cause a wide variety of health problems including asthma, immune system dysfunction and even cancer. Although you can't remove every hazard, you can reduce the amount of exposures by following these four tips. Use Homemade Cleaning Supplies Many people have heard stories from relatives, friends or co-workers about the fantastic benefits of using natural cleaners over manufactured products that contain harsh chemicals. Natural cleaners contain ingredients that you already safely use for cooking or personal hygiene, such as vinegar, baking soda and toothpaste. Homemade supplies break down quickly inside of septic systems and do not release any harmful toxins into nearby waterways and landfills. Choose Green Septic Solutions Harsh chemical toilet and drain cleaning products and non-biodegradable items like kitty litter, baby wipes and cotton swabs can damage plumbing and your septic tank. Some companies, like Econocycle, know that choosing cleaning alternatives that break down easily is the best bet. Remember to never flush anything other than human waste. Additionally, choose a green septic system by using an oxygenated bio-solution product that utilizes aerobic bacteria to improve the breakdown of materials in your septic tank. And instead of throwing organic trash down a garbage disposal, create a compost bin. Invest in Air Purifiers The air inside a house is rarely clean because many common household items release harmful substances into the air as they break down or come in contact with heat from sunlight and cooking. You also allow harmful substances into your home when you open windows and doors and bring particles inside on clothing and shoes. Air purifiers remove the majority of these substances so that you and your family can benefit from cleaner air. Pick Greener Household Products Whenever possible, pick household products that have been crafted using green material-harvesting and manufacturing processes. Additionally, pick products that break down into non-harmful byproducts. For example, choose natural materials like untreated wood, bamboo and stone over plastics. If you do not want to make your own household cleaners, choose ones that organizations like Consumer Reports or the Environmental Working Group have confirmed as healthier and greener alternatives. Keep in mind that you can also find personal and pet grooming products that are cleaner and greener too. You do not have to give up a modern lifestyle to have a home that is safe for you, your loved ones and the environment. You just need to make safer and healthier choices.
  3. With the average person in the United States generating over 4 pounds of trash per day, the importance of recycling should be blatantly clear. The things we discard have long been finding their way into the soil that produces our food, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Our trash contributes to the break-down of ecosystems and directly kills millions of animals per year. Sadly, the trash itself isn’t the only problem. Not only are we throwing it out in the first place, but we are manufacturing more of the same products that we discard. When we manufacture new glass jars, aluminum cans, or paper, we are cutting down more trees, using more energy, emitting more greenhouse gases, and using more water. What is the answer to this conundrum? Yes, recycling! Start with the no-brainers: aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass jars, cardboard, newspapers and magazines. Yet, don’t stop there—keep going! Here are 10 things that you should consider recycling the next time you’re faced with the decision of whether or not to throw them out: 1. Mattresses: When you purchase a new mattress, be sure that your retailer participates in a mattress recycling program where they will properly discard your old one. 2. Plastic Cards: For example, gift cards, credit cards and hotel keys. This year’s used up gift card can live again as next year’s gift card. 3. CDs & DVDs: With the ability to stream and download, we don’t really need these any more. That means that so many are getting thrown out. Consider donating them or taking them somewhere that will recycle them properly. 4. Writing Utensils: You can send that cup full of dried up pens, markers, highlighters, mechanical pencils, and even those stray caps for recycling. 5. Packing peanuts: The Styrofoam variety are a big no-no for the landfills, but can be recycled into many different products. 6. Trophies: Your old high school trophies can be made into shiny, new trophies through special programs. 7. Electronic waste: Electronic devices should always be disposed of properly. Ware Disposal and other recycling companies actually specialize in depositing these items safely. 8. Auto fluids: If you change your own fluids, proper disposal is a must. Most automotive stores have a recycling program, and so just make sure that you ask whether or not they have one before you go to them for services. 9. Toothbrushes and razors: These and many other personal care products can be dismantled and recycled so that they don’t pile up in the landfill. 10. Christmas Trees: Most communities have recycling programs that will turn your holiday tree into anything from erosion barriers to fish habitats, which means that things that come from nature can go right back to benefiting the earth again. Most of these ideas are fairly easy to accomplish and really only the beginning to all of what you can do. Doing a quick internet search for recycling centers in your area will get you started, though. A little bit of knowledge and a few extra minutes of your time is all it takes to make a lasting impact on our planet for generations to come.
  4. Each year, over 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide. Yes, that’s a 1 with 12 zeros. Most of these bags are used only once, after which they are discarded (only a tiny percentage are recycled). It’s quite hard to imagine such an enormous amount of plastic rubbish, but it’s not hard to realise this is not a good thing. Each of these plastic bags can take 500 - 1000 years to degrade, or maybe even longer, scientists don’t really know, but they’re pretty convinced it’s a very, very long time. These bags pollute our oceans, kill sea life and sea birds, and may be poisoning us humans as well. They also make beaches around the world look very unaesthetic. So how do we tackle this huge environmental problem? We could simply start using fewer plastic bags and reuse any that we do use. This may be a tough sell however. Another solution may be switching to paper bags. But are paper bags really that much better than plastic ones? Let’s have a look at some of the environmental benefits of paper bags. Paper bags are easier to recycle Most paper bags are recyclable. Almost any paper bag that does not contain any plastic and isn’t contaminated with food can be recycled. Paper can’t be recycled endlessly however. After having been recycled 5 - 7 times, a paper bag has to be discarded. If the paper is not or minimally inked, it can then be composted. Recycling paper does not come without its environmental issues unfortunately. Harsh chemicals and significant amounts of water and energy are needed during the paper recycling process. Not as harmful to marine lifePaper bags degrade faster in water than plastic bags and they will often sink to the bottom, whereas plastic bags usually float. Paper also doesn’t soak up pollutants as plastic does. This means paper bags are much less likely to cause harm to marine life. Paper bags hold more stuffOn average, a paper bag can hold more than a plastic one because they hold more volume and are stronger. Although there are some environmental benefits of using paper bags over plastic, neither are very environmentally friendly. Paper bags require more natural resources to produce than plastic bags, and recycling them still requires significant use of energy and water. A better option is to use reusable canvas bags.
  5. Plastic Vs Wooden Pallets

    If you have a business that deals with transportation of goods, and you have to deal with warehouses, you know the importance of pallets. Pallets are used for storing, handling and transporting loads with a fork lift. There are plastic and wooden pallets and while you may feel that you should stick to the basics and make sure that you have the good old wood pallets, here are some of the reasons why you should reconsider your decision. Cost At first, it may seem that wooden pallets are cheaper than the plastic ones, but that is not true in the long run. Wooden pallets can be sold after use and some may even find other uses like furniture or something to use in a garden, but the plastic pallets can be used many more times and they are much more durable. Therefore, by paying more in advance, you are actually saving money in the long run by opting for plastic pallets. Handling There are many things that you need to take care of when you have wooden pallets. You need to use chemicals to treat them and that are not always welcome near the freight that you may be using. You need to clean them and dry them before usage. Even then, you have splinters, broken or crooked pallets and many other problems. With plastic pallets, it is enough to hose them down or wipe them and they are as good as new. They are also very durable and they don’t change shape. Manipulation Another good thing is that it is easier to manipulate plastic pallets by hand and by machines. By hand, because there are no splinters and they are much lighter than the wooden pallets and by machines because they are designed in such a way that they can be taken and lifted from many angles and they are lighter and that means that the machine won’t be overburdened and can take more of the actual cargo. This saves time and reduces the costs significantly in terms of fuel saving. Stability Another good side of plastic pallets is the fact that they are far more stable than wooden ones, even if they are lighter. By using specific types of production processes and material, what happens is that you get a product that is at the same time light and durable, they are also equally strong at all their parts since the density of the material is the same. They are not influenced by the vermin and moist and they cannot rot as wood can. Therefore, they have 100% stability which is very important. More and more countries are introducing restrictions for the use of wooden pallets because of the ecological impact they have. They are made by cutting down wood. They are heavy which maximizes the costs and causes more fuel to be used. Vermin can hide and live there and they can be shipped to the countries and places where they can make real ecological disasters. Therefore, it seems that the wooden pallets should be left as interesting and lovely way of making chic furniture instead of in transport.
  6. California may soon follow in the footsteps of its largest city: On Aug. 29, the state Senate voted 22-15 in support of a statewide ban on plastic bags. The bill, SB 270, will phase them out in grocery stores and pharmacies beginning in July 2015, and in convenience stores one year later, with the goal of making California a plastic bag-free state by the end of 2016. The legislation, which passed both houses of the state legislature, must now be signed by the governor. If that happens, the state will achieve a historical victory for the environment. The good news? The governor plans to sign it. "I probably will sign it, yes," said Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat. "In fact, I'll tell you why I'm going to sign it; there are about 50 cities with their own plastic bag ban, and that's causing a lot of confusion," he remarked, referencing the similar plans in place in areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco. "This is a compromise. I'm taking into account the needs of the environment, the needs of the economy, and the needs of the grocers." In agreement was Senator Kevin de León, a Democrat from Los Angeles, who stated, "SB 270 is a win-win for the environment and for California workers. In crafting this compromise, it was imperative to me that we achieve the goals of doing away with single-use plastic bags, help change consumer behavior, and importantly, support and expand California jobs." That last note clashes with the words of Republicans, who have opposed the ban, claiming it will cause job losses for bag manufacturers. But such an assertion suggests a misunderstanding of the legislation, which will not do away with non-plastic bags; compost bags and paper bags will continue to be available, albeit for a ten-cent fee per bag. There is a strategy to that, as well: The goal is to encourage the use of recyclable and biodegradable materials and to give California manufacturing a boost by encouraging the continuous production of such bags. Hardly a jobs killer. Leslie Tamminen, director of Seventh Generation Advisors, a sustainability and clean energy advocacy group based on Native American philosophy, said, "Data from the over 121 local plastic bag bans [in California] has proven that bans are effective at reducing litter and changing consumer attitudes, and have refuted industry's claims of apocalyptic impacts on jobs and poor communities. A state plastic bag ban saves taxpayers huge amounts of money spent on litter cleanup, and protects the environment." It's worth noting that other nations have already moved forward on this issue, with the U.S. current lagging behind; Ireland, Taiwan, South Africa, Bangladesh, and Australia all have heavy taxation or outright bans of plastic bags, according to National Geographic. It is likely the countries have recognized the severe ecological threat presented by plastic bags, which non-profit environmental group Heal the Bay referred to as "urban tumbleweeds." Charles Tyler, a professor at the University of Exeter School of Biosciences in the UK, added, "Scientists have shown that some of these chemical compounds from plastics," which affect human health, "are getting into the environment and are in some environments at concentrations where they can actually produce biological effects in a range of wildlife species." David Barnes, a marine scientist with environmental research group the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England, said scientists have linked the uptick in plastic bag consumption with a dramatic increase in the deaths of sea life over the years. He remarked, "One of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet is the accumulation and fragmentation of plastics. Plastic bags have gone from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere." Today, "even in [some of] the remotest of environments, there is plastic floating on the sea surface. ... And I bet [plastic bags] will be washing up in Antarctica within the decade."
  7. Every year around 100 billion plastic bags are manufactured, sold and used on the European market. In 2010, there was 200 plastic bags for each person living in Europe. As one can imagine, many of these plastic bags end up as litter in nature where they pollute the environment, especially aquatic ecosystems, and harm wildlife. But this past Tuesday, the European Union moved one step closer to reduce the use of plastic bags in Europe. It was the European Parliament which voted in favor of a proposal from the European Commission to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic bags by half in 2017 and by 80 percent in 2019, compared to 2010 levels. It’s hoped that the so-called light bags, which are mainly used to wrap up loose food, will gradually be replaced by biodegradable and compostable bags by 2019 in Europe. The vote, however, was just the first reading of the bill and the future of this legislation will be decided on after the upcoming European Parliament elections at the end of May. “MEPs have today voted to significantly strengthen draft EU rules aimed at reducing plastic bag use and waste, notably to include obligatory European reduction targets and a requirement that plastic bags come at a cost,” said Margrete Auken, a Danish MEP who is a member of the Green group, shortly after the vote. “As front-running countries have demonstrated, dramatically reducing the consumption of these disposable bags is easily achievable with a coherent policy.” This reduction could be achieved by imposing taxes or fees on plastic bags, issuing advertising rules or even banning the use of plastic bags in certain shops. But it will be up to each member state to enforce their own rules and guidelines. This legislation advocates for a mandatory charging of carrier bags in the food sector and a recommendation to charge for plastic bags in the non-food sector. “The huge and growing consumption rates of plastic bags - 100 billion bags per year in the EU alone - demonstrates a reckless waste of resources. Plastic bags are a symbol of our throw-away society and unsustainable lifestyles,” said the European Commissioner for Environment Janez Potocnik in a statement. “We use them for a few minutes, but their legacy lasts for hundreds of years, often as harmful microscopic particles that are damaging the environment worldwide, especially the marine environment. In the North Sea, the stomachs of 94 percent of all birds contain plastic,” Potocnik added.
  8. The issue of waste plastic is of huge concern globally and in the UK alone, approximately 4.5 million tonnes of plastic enters the waste stream every year. As a keen reader of Green Blog I thought that it might be interesting to summarise the latest developments in the field of recycled packaging, here in the UK and Europe. Approximately half of the EU's waste plastic currently ends up being sent to landfill, as highlighted by a Green Paper released by the European Commission in early March. This is obviously a huge waste of energy - in fact, disposing of waste plastic in landfill has been estimated as the equivalent of burying 12 million tonnes of crude oil annually. In a world of finite energy resources this is clearly unsustainable and unacceptable. The Green Paper also highlighted the problem of single use plastic bags. It is estimated that 200 plastic bags are used per person each year in the UK, a statistic that has led some to call for non-biodegradable carrier bags to be banned. In fact, non-biodegradable bags were banned in Italy over two years ago - with other European countries taking steps to discourage their use. Ireland, Bulgaria and Denmark have introduced a plastic bag tax which has hugely reduced the number of bags used.In Ireland there was a 90% fall in their use following introduction of the tax, figures mirrored in the UK when leading retailer Marks & Spencer started to charge for bags and saw a drop in their use of 80%. Northern Ireland is the latest country to implement a carrier bag tax, when in April retailers began charging at least five pence (eight US cents) a bag, with the proceeds being forwarded to the British government's Department of the Environment. Urgent action is required because, as many of us realise, our environment is being massively contaminated by plastic - a fact starkly portrayed recently in the documentary Trashed. The documentary highlights various landscapes that have been polluted by waste, including the "˜Great Pacific Garbage Patch', a massive concentration of marine debris in the Pacific Ocean. Seaborne waste is not merely visually unpleasant - it is a real danger to animal and human health. Plastic particles in the sea attract chlorinated dioxins, which are then eaten by marine creatures. Humans ingest the harmful chemicals when they eat fish and other sea life. As well as wasting energy resources, the disposal of plastic through burial and incineration is hugely damaging to the environment. Greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide are emitted when waste breaks down or is burnt, and these gases contribute to global warming. Raised global temperatures cause ice caps to melt, releasing into the oceans even more toxins that had previously been stored in the ice. Recycling waste plastic is a good way of cutting down on the amount sent to landfill or incinerated. Here in the UK 92% of local authorities collect plastic bottles for recycling; bottles are typically made from two of the most easily recyclable plastics, PET and HDPE. Some plastics are unfortunately harder to recycle - the type used to make yoghurt pots and margarine tubs, for example - but large investments are currently being made in the UK into new plastics recycling technology, so hopefully it will not be too long until we significantly reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill or incinerated. Whilst we still have a long way to go, the signs are very positive that here in the EU we are starting to take the problem of waste plastic seriously.