Category Archives: Recycling

Make Recycling a Part of Your Household’s Routine

recycling tipsWhen it comes to recycling, many people underestimate how much benefit the act of simply recycling everyday products on a regular basis could have. Here are my top five favorite facts when it comes to recycling and how you can help reduce our planet’s waste:

  1. Recycled Metal: The most important resources that should be recycled are the earth’s metals. One company devoted to this task is Brilliant Earth, a conflict-free diamond company specializing in diamond and engagement rings that works to reuse silver, gold and platinum. The recycling process includes refining the metal back to its pure elements before molding it into different objects. Not only do recycled metals put less of a demand on the earth’s resources, but they are also less harmful on the planet, making Brilliant Earth a valuable company in relationship with the earth’s environment.
  2. Recycled Shoes: Nike, one of the largest athletic brands in the world, offers a recycled shoe program that accepts donated shoes. They use the rubber from each pair to make playground turf, which ultimately eliminates waste and saves thousands of dollars. Nike also uses all organic materials for its items, making it a leading brand in society.
  3. Cell Phones: Cell phones last an average of two to three years, which means the used ones have the potential to accumulate quickly worldwide. Fortunately, they can be recycled by disassembling the phone and removing the battery; both parts can then be donated by dropping them off at computer or electronic recycler units.
  4. Plastic Bags: Plastic bags can be seen everywhere, from packaging to grocery store bags. For the average household, the material often accumulates rapidly, and adds thousands of pounds of extra waste at landfills. Instead of throwing your plastic bags away, consider donating them to local grocery stores, so that they can be reused and remade.
  5. 25 Million Trees Can Be Saved Each Year: Saving a total of 25 million trees a year is much easier than most people think. If every household recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, it would equate to this seemingly impossible number.

These few simple recycling habits are some of the easiest for households to acquire, and can largely contribute to solutions that will ultimately preserve the earth’s resources, making it a more habitable place to live for many generations to come.

Guest post written by Sophia Evans

Are Solar Panels Helping or Hurting?

Solar PanelIf you are considering a green remodel of your home, you might want to think twice about solar panels. Solar energy has been touted in recent years as the smartest form of renewable power, and it would be, if it weren’t for solar power’s predisposition for waste. Unfortunately, solar panels only have a life span of approximately twenty-five years, and now that our initial solar experiments are beginning to require replacements, electronic environmentalists are having a hard time figuring out how to recycle these old panels.

Electronic Waste

Electronic waste is beginning to gain widespread attention as our society continues to mass produce and mass dispose of electronics. As of late, electronic waste, also known as electronic scrap, has been discarded to third world countries, where impoverished scavengers cut and burn old electronics to profit from the valuable materials within. In addition to putting their own health at risk by taking apart electronics without proper safety gear, these electronics hounds are endangering the health of their homes by releasing contaminants into the surrounding air and water.

Solar panels have obvious benefits for the environment, and environmental scientists are currently experimenting with more and more uses for them, from heating conductors to cars. But on the downside, solar panels also contain the same harmful materials found in many electronics, including cadmium, silicon tetrachloride, selenium, and sulfur hexafluoride. Of course, green-conscious solar power producers are hoping to maintain the eco-credibility of their solar products.

Solar Panel Recycling

Fortunately, there is some motion towards solar panel recycling, but it is still very limited.  Arizone-based First Solar, the world’s number one PV-cell manufacturer, has initiated an end-of-life solar module collection and recycling program. It currently recycles 95% percent of metal-rich semiconductor materials and 90% of module glass. But while the recycling program is free-of-charge, it is only applicable to First Solar products. This seems to be a common drawback with electronic waste recyclers. If they were truly concerned with the current state of electronic waste, wouldn’t they accept any form or brand of e-scrap? Yes, I’m more likely to buy new First Solar products, knowing they offer free recycling, but where does that leave me with my old, unusable solar panels?

Unfortunately, First Solar does not expect much solar recycling business any time soon. Though the company believes the service should pick up within the next ten to fifteen years, they might also want to consider producing solar products with waste-conscious updates in the meantime. As one of the premier solar recyclers, First Solar needs to set an example for other solar manufacturers. The addition of solar recycling plants around the country will not only benefit our earth, but create countless jobs in a struggling economy. Solar panels also are embedded with numerous precious materials, including pure silver. An effective recycling system could assist in the protection of our Earth’s valuable natural resources. Creating a solar panel from recycled materials costs nearly the same amount as creating a solar panel from new materials and requires only one-third of the energy. With these statistics, it’s obviously time to start recycling solar panels. Let’s not hurt our earth with the very products we use to protect it.

Written by Lynn Jackson

Think Before You Throw Away

recycle old itemsIf your house seems a bit more cluttered than usual, you might be temped to throw out items you don’t use. However, you may be throwing away money as well. Instead of breaking out the garbage bins, why not have a yard sale? Not only will it be a source of extra income, but it will also be a great way to “recycle” used items.

Equifax Finance Blog writer Mechel Glass shares some tips in her article

Need Extra Cash? Host a Yard Sale.

First, you need to pick a date for the yard sale. Some last for the entire weekend while others are a one-day affair. Once you select the date, make sure and get any necessary approval from your homeowner’s association or local government. Also, some neighborhoods designate a specific weekend or two each year for yard sales and do not allow yard sales at any other time.

Second, try and recruit neighbors to help. Turning your yard sale into a multi-family yard sale can increase traffic and allow for greater advertising.

Third, be sure and promote your yard sale heavily. You can check your local newspaper for yard-sale specific ads. Online sites like Craigslist.org or garagesalesource.com have resources to help with advertising. Be sure to be descriptive about some of the key items you have – baby items, collectibles, furniture, etc. If there are many families taking part in the sale, use terms like “multi-family” or “neighborhood sale” to help let buyers know.

To ensure that your yard sale is a success, be sure and read Glass’ full article.

Reduce Unwanted Mail with Catalog Choice

How much unnecessary mail do we end up with in stacks on the kitchen counter? Most of it doesn’t even get read…it just clutters the house, collects dust and gets in the way until we get around to putting it in the trash. Now, thanks to Catalog Choice and retailers, we can alleviate the clutter in life by stopping unwanted mail.

In 3 easy steps you can make your life more green-friendly:

  1. Fill out the online registration form, including your primary mailing address (only used to have appropriate mail stopped)
  2. Find and set mail preferences for catalogs. They contact the providers to request your mail preference.
  3. It can take up to 12 weeks to process your request and for you to stop receiving catalogs.

This program is designed for continued use and as a registered user, you will discover features related to managing catalogs at multiple addresses adding new catalogs to our database and other ways to go paperless.

Benefits to going paperless:

  • reduce mailbox clutter
  • lowers merchants costs of distribution
  • positive impact on the environment, reducing energy consumed, carbon emmissions, lost forests resulting from production and discarding of unwanted catalogs.

Participating Catalogs include:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Ann Taylor
  • REI
  • UncommonGoods
  • Early Advantage

Imagine the trees, energy and waste saved if you stop getting your unwanted mail…join the craze to go green and make your life clutter free!

First Green Resource Center to Come to West Palm Beach

There is just one more reason to add to the long list of reasons why we love the city of West Palm Beach, Fla. Mayor Frankel recently announced that the city will be the first in the United States to partner with the National Green Energy Council on a Green Resource Center.

The resource center will become a place for the community to consider its energy efficiency and renewable energyas  well as a place to create sustainable jobs. The GEC will create educational seminars, classes and educational forums for local government officials, corporations, small business owners and local residence. The Green Resource Center has been a focus of the GEC for over a year and no other cities wanted to take the first step.  Some believe that the program is going to bring jobs with the city to the unemployed. The center will remake products that will  be  potentially shipped all over the world.

Essentially, the center will perform an analysis for clients in regards to their current energy usage.  The GEC’s Green Resouce Center Plan includes:

1.  Create a facility with educational classroom areas.

2.  Create a location within the city that consults local residents and businesses on how to reduce their energy usage through energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

3. Perform business community outreach in order to educate existing employees about energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.

4.  Entertain monthly discussions amongst community leaders about opportunities to alternative energy applications and green job training.

5.  Create an educational environment for the newly unemployed that will assist them in changing their career paths in order to take advantage of the new 21st century green tech jobs.

The Green Resource Center opened at the West Palm Beaches E4 Summit.

O Recycled Tree

by Megan McLaughlin

Cutting down a tree, for many, is a Christmas tradition families could never live without. For others, plastic serves us well. But for those purists who need the thrill of hunting for the perfect, live tree, consider another option this year. Make this Christmas one Mother Nature will never forget and consider renting a recycled tree.

Yes, its true...in several places around the country, and the world, people are renting live, potted trees, that can be returned at the end of the holiday season. EVERGROW Christmas Trees Company in British Columbia, Canada does just this. Their philosophy? "Cutting a tree down just for the Christmas season is a waste of a beautiful resource that is beneficial for the environment. Having an EVERGROW Christmas tree in your home will allow you to have a real tree while helping to reduce our impact on our environment." Most of us in the eco-concious community couldn't agree more.

A service such as this seems to be rare at the moment, but perhaps its popularity is growing. Here are a few other places that rent living trees:

The Original Living Christmas Tree Company
in Portland, OR
Adopt A Christmas Tree in San Deigo, CA
and Christmas Tree Man in the United Kingdom

If this rental service isn't available in your area, you can always purchase a potted pine tree from your local nursery, or a tree that comes with a root ball, so it can be re-planted at the end of the season.

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Computers

by Megan McLaughlin

Its the holiday season and you're probably resting after a long weekend of shopping, right? Probably not the case for many of us, but in this time of buying and gift giving, you may want to consider giving back...to the environment. If a new computer or other electronic device tops your holiday wish list, consider recycling your old devices if they are no longer in usable/"sellable" condition.

The EPA is out to educate the US on how to recycle electronics. Through awareness alone, we can begin to be more thoughtful when it comes to disposing of old, seemingly useless electronics. The EPA's "eCycling" page offers information and solutions to recycling electronics; what, where, when and how.
The Facts: "Because consumer electronics like personal computers, TV's, cellphones, and stereo equipment contain lead and a variety of other hazardous materials, eCycling, the recycling of electronic equipment, helps protect the environment. And because electronics are becoming obsolete at an ever faster rate, their volume is growing two to three times faster than any other type of waste. It is projected that 500 million personal computers have been taken out of service from 2000 and 2007."


Through the EPA's eCycling website, you can learn where to recycle your unwanted electronics. They also recommend donating, of course, because let's be honest...no one is going to buy your Nokia cell phone from 2002 off your eBay account. Instead of throwing old cellphones out, you can donate them or find a way to recycle them. And that is just one example!

For related information check out these links:

The right way to recycle batteries
Waste Management for a Modern World
Reducing consumer waste: It’s not just about the cans and bottles

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Get Naked!

by Megan McLaughlin

You haven't lived until you try Naked Juice! It is delicious and its creators are committed to making the world a greener place!

"From fruit to blender to bottle to gulp, Naked Juice is dedicated to making it easy for you to contribute to a greener world." And just how are they doing this? They use recycled plastic bottles that can be recycled again and again. They also have big plans for the future...
By 2010, they are planning to reduce their oil consumption by 57,000 barrels a year, which, in turn, will cause them to use 48% less energy in the process!

Now for the best part - the juice: 100% all-natural, 100% juice made from the best fruits and vegetables, they never add sugar, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors! Each of their bottles contains over 3 servings of fruit and they are oh-so-delicious.

Do yourself a favor and give Naked Juice a try! You'll be helping Mother N. out as well! Look for these guys in your local grocer...

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Learning Green Lessons

by Megan McLaughlin

Summer is wrapping up quickly and you may not have given school a single thought yet! However, now is the time to get ready to hit the books again and, this year, you should consider trying it the green way! There are tons of school supplies that are better for the environment and you don't even have to special order or scour the earth to find them. Most of these supplies can be found right in your usual stores...you just need to know what to look for!

According to an article on Care2.com called Green Pencils and Pens, "Every year Americans discard 1.6 million pens. Placed end to end, they would stretch 151 miles—equivalent to crossing the state of Rhode Island almost four times!" Another article on Care2.com, Best Cool Green School Supplies, offers great solutions to the anti-green school supply issue. Here are some tips to remember when shopping for school or office supplies this fall:

- If you're looking for pencils, find some that are made from recycled materials
- Buy paperclips that are made from recycled steel
- Find a staple-free stapler (so cool)!
- Buy cardboard notebooks and recycled paper
- Stop using paper bags for your lunch!

If you're still wondering how you can start off the school year on a green foot, check out some of these blog articles on Experience.com:

Be a back-to-school green machine
Work Green
And when you're done with your supplies, check this out: Winter Break Can Be Green

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Consumer Electonics Recycling Event

Atlanta — stop throwing it all away. Reduce the amount of land fill space needed and reduce your carbon footprint.

Recycle your old electronics at Turner Field on Saturday, November 22 from 9 a.m. til 4 p.m. This event is part of the Sony National Take Back Recycling Program in partnership with Waste Management.

Items accepted include: TVs, computer monitors, computer systems, VCRs, DVDs, cameras, phones and other consumer electronics.

Turner Field is located at 755 Hank Aaron Drive, Atlanta, GA 30315.