Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Gift of Recycling

Today's gift card originated years ago from something called a voucher and has only gained momentum in sales and popularity. "In 2014, retail purchases made with prepaid cards will top U.S. $200 billion dollars, equaling five percent of all retail spending in the U.S.

"It's estimated that up to 28 to 30 percent of the United States population holds a prepaid card of some type and that two out of every three people in the United States have bought a gift card of some kind.

Recycling Food? It’s Not as Unusual as You Think

As stated in previous articles, when we discuss recycling we often think of plastics, aluminum, glass, paper, cardboard, and similar commodities. What about another item commonly thrown away? Food. 

“Recycling” food seems a little unsettling, but composting is a recycling of sorts. Composting is mixing various organic substances, such as dead leaves, food scraps, grass clippings, allowing them to decay, and using the new material for fertilizing soil. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I Prefer to Look At It As, "The Bag's Half Full"

If you’ve ever opened a brand new bag of potato chips only to find the bag half, or even a third full, you are not alone. This disappointing phenomenon is called over-packaging and greatly adds to our landfill problems in the United States. 

Potato chips aren’t the only culprit. Cereal, cookies, over-the-counter medicines, candy, toys....the list goes on and on. As The National, an online publication, reported recently, “over-wrapped food items are a principal source of the mounds of unnecessary waste that wind up in the nation's landfills. It is common to see food packaged inside cling wrap, inside a plastic container, inside a box, inside a bag. 

'Tis the Season

The holidays are a magical time of caring, sharing, family, friends, and.....trash? Around the holidays, many more families get together to share meals and exchange gifts.

Along with the wonderful time spent with special people comes a lot of trash.....to the tune of about 1 million tons per week between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all add up to an estimated increase in household trash of about 25 percent.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle....and Rethink

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports and promotes the 3 Rs, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, their focus has also included a fourth “R”….Rethink.

A program developed by the EPA called the Sustainable Materials Management Program (SMM) encourages consumers to “Think Beyond Waste”. This philosophy doesn’t just mean making good decisions after the usefulness of a product has been exhausted, which is said to be the end of the product’s life cycle. Options at this time include recycling, composting, energy recovery, and landfilling.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Food Surplus and....Hunger?

As we set our tables each day with nutritious meals and plenty to go around, it's hard to remember or believe that millions of people don't have enough to eat....and that's just here in the United States. USA Today estimates that an astonishing 1 in 7 rely on food banks and/or meal programs.

Within the Feeding America network, Hunger in America is a series of studies that focus on collecting demographic information about those seeking food assistance in the United States.

The 2014 study reveals that each year, the Feeding America network of food banks provides service to 46.5 million people in need across the United States, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors.

Do Trash Incinerators Do More Harm Than Good?

As we discussed in a previous article titled, Waste To Energy...Turning Landfills To Goldmines, burning waste extracted from a landfill can prove to be not only green and responsible, but a great source of potential energy.

At what expense, however, do the benefits come? Many argue that incinerators create health issues, will have a negative impact on the environment, and prove to be very costly.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Everything is Coming Up 7s

to understand what these different plastics consist of and if they are able to be recycled. Toys, packaging, electronics, and even cars almost always have some type of plastic in them. Are they all recyclable? Unfortunately, no.

The most popular and most abundant types of plastic are #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) and #2, high density polyethylene (HDPE). Water bottles and soda bottles are the most used and most recycled among #1 plastics. Gallon milk jugs, some shampoo and lotion bottles, bleach containers, juice bottles, butter and yogurt containers make up the majority of #2 plastics.

Biomass As An Alternative Energy Source

Biomass is a term referring to all organic matter that has stored energy through the process of photosynthesis, the process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy from the sun into chemical energy that can be later released to fuel the organism’s activities and functions.

Since plants live and grow they are, by definition, a renewable resource. Biomass is one of the most plentiful sources of renewable energy in the world. In the past two decades it has been second only to the use of hydropower in the generation of electricity.