How important is recycling?

This post comes to us from the lovely and talented Christine Maddox from www.4nannies.com.
We have a complete open door policy for guest blogs. If you have an idea for a blog, please email it to me, and if it fits our criteria, I will send you a complete submission guide. We post one blog per week, more or less.   jim.murray@ourgreendirectory.com

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There has been a huge focus on recycling in recent years as people across the world attempt to cut down on the negative impact they can have on the environment. As well as individuals doing their bit, businesses and entire nations are getting involved; coming together to make a difference. With this in mind, are we doing enough to hit recycling targets, or does more need to be done?

Why bother?

There are some people who don’t think there is any point in recycling anything and just throw everything away. However, if you are one of these people, take a moment to consider the impact this actually has. You may find that you want to start recycling some of your items. Landfill sites are filling up rapidly and space is running out for all the rubbish. Nobody wants to be living next to a giant rubbish site, but if the amount of waste keeps building, this is a very real possibility for the future.

A lot of the items that end up in landfill sites can easily be recycled, effectively taking up less room and making space for things that can simply rot into the ground. Plastic bags from supermarkets take years to break down but can easily be reused for your shopping several times over. Some shops have started giving incentives to people who reuse their old shopping bags, while others have started charging for plastic bags in a bid to crack down on the amount of waste these create.

Bigger scale

The amount of waste being created across the world can impact us in a bigger way as well. Many people are concerned about the effects of global warming and the greenhouse effect so governments in various different nations have implemented recycling targets. Wales was recently shown to be on track to meet its recycling target, having a long-term goal of zero waste by 2050. While that might seem like an unachievable goal, they are already hitting over 50 per cent of that target.

If all the countries in the world took a similar stance to recycling, the effects it has on the environment could be drastically reduced. From the point of view of a business, recycling might not be a top priority but it should be. There are various companies that are dedicated to waste disposal and recycling so it would be wise for businesses to recruit these services if necessary. If the nature of the business means that lots of waste is being created but it is not practical for them to recycle or reuse any of it, an external company could sort this out for them.

It’s easy to think that the little things don’t make much difference but if everyone started recycling on an individual scale, the overall results would be breath-taking. Even in a small office, doing as something as simple as putting the empty milk cartoons into the recycling bin can do its bit towards saving the environment and cutting down on the carbon footprint left on this earth. Of course as a business there are professional providers of business recycling including http://www.bettsenvirometal.com/.

10 Ways to Use Less Plastic Every Day

Using cloth shopping bags is one simple way to lessen your use of plastics. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Plastic waste has become a pandemic—on land as well as in the world’s oceans. What can just one person do about such a global problem? Take these simple steps, courtesy of World Ocean Observatory: 

1. Avoid buying items packaged in plastic. Look for produce and other items that aren’t over-packaged. Buy food in glass jars rather than plastic ones, and detergents in boxes rather than bottles. Not only are you reducing the plastic you use, you’re sending a powerful message to the makers of those products that you don’t like plastic packaging.

Using cloth shopping bags is one simple way to lessen your use of plastics. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Using cloth shopping bags is one simple way to lessen your use of plastics. Photo credit: Shutterstock

2. Use cloth shopping bags. Plastic bags are an eyesore and are dangerous to wildlife. Keep reusable bags somewhere handy—in your car or your bike or by the front door—so you don’t forget them when you go to the market, grocery store or mall.

3. Skip bottled water. Carry a reusable canteen. Plastic bottles are one of the top five most common types of litter found on beaches. Since bottled water is much more expensive than tap water, you’ll also save money doing this, and avoid the possible hazards of plastic toxins leaching into your beverage.

4. Upcycle. Think of new uses for old items rather than discarding them or buying new ones. 

5. Bring a reusable mug when you order coffee. Stow it on your desk, in your purse, car or bag so you have it on hand when you order or refill your drink.

6. Say “No straw, please.” Straws are one of the top 10 items found on beaches. In most cases, drinking out of a straw is simply unnecessary. If you do need a straw, you can get a reusable stainless steel or glass one.

7. Wear clothing made from natural (not synthetic) materials. Wearing and washing clothes causes fibers to flake off, and polyester clothing is made of plastic. Tiny particles of microplastic found in oceans around the world have been traced to such synthetic fabrics.

8. Avoid disposable tableware, or use the compostable kind. Try using washable and reusable cups, plates or utensils. When using compostable tableware, be aware they will not biodegrade in a landfill and must be disposed of in appropriate composting conditions.

9. Don’t just discard electronics. Aim to repair or upgrade your devices instead of buying new ones. Sell gadgets and computer parts, or find a facility where you can turn them in for recycling.

10. Bring your own container for takeout and leftovers. When ordering takeout or bringing home leftovers, ask if you can get the food in your own reusable container.

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America Recycles Day Challenges You to Reduce Your Daily Trash

recycle2

The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash every day. And just 35 percent of it is recycled.

Keep America Beautiful (KAB) hopes to increase the percentage of waste being recycled through its annual America Recycles Day, which is Friday. The observance is aimed at promoting recycling awareness, commitment and action.

Photo credit:  Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Last year, more than 2,000 events were held across the U.S. and more than 2.1 million people worked to educate and encourage their communities to recycle. More than 3.7 million pounds of recyclables were collected—the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 280 cars off the road permanently.

Today, KAB will conduct a “Get Caught Recycling” event on the National Mall and in downtown Washington, D.C. Volunteers will ask people using the recycling bins placed around those areas to take the I Recycle pledge.

Another America Recycles Day event takes place in Philadelphia on Friday. A one-day recycling event will be held at 11 a.m. in Rittenhouse Square, one of Philadelphia’s most trafficked parks, by Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Recyclebank and the Philadelphia Streets Department. Educational and interactive stations will be set up throughout the square to demonstrate how to recycle in Philadelphia, why recycling is so critical, and what recycled objects are turned into. David Perri, the city streets department commissioner, will officially declare America Recycles Day in Philadelphia at the event kickoff.

Some events, such as this one in Cleveland, already have been held in conjunction with America Recycles Day. 

“Through our education programs and collection events taking place in communities across the country, Keep America Beautiful, its affiliate network and partners are raising awareness about what is recyclable and what material can become when recycled and given a new life,” Brenda Pulley, KAB senior vice president, recycling, said in a media release.

Want to show your support? Take the I Recycle pledge at americarecyclesday.org and specify what you pledge to recycle more. Ten people who make a pledge will win a park bench made from recycled content. Last year, more than 94,000 people pledged.

Organizers plan a America Recycles Day Thunderclap, in which they will post a synchronized message of support on the Facebook or Twitter accounts of supporters at the exact same time on America Recycles Day.

Visit IWantToBeRecycled.org to find your nearest recycling center, learn about what materials can be recycled and how they can be used.

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America Recycles Day Puts Spotlight on Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Aluminum cans are collected at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's America Recycles Day. Proceeds from the aluminum cans collected will benefit international slow loris conservation organization, The Little Fireface Project. Photo credit: Mark Horning

What happens to the stuff we throw away?

About 53 percent of it goes into landfills, according to the U.S. EPA. About 12 percent is combusted for energy. About 35 percent is recycled.

Aluminum cans are collected at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's America Recycles Day. Proceeds from the aluminum cans collected will benefit international slow loris conservation organization, The Little Fireface Project. Photo credit: Mark Horning

Aluminum cans are collected at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s America Recycles Day. Proceeds from the aluminum cans collected will benefit the international slow loris conservation organization, The Little Fireface Project. Photo credit: Mark Horning

Keep America Beautiful wants to make that percentage of recycled waste higher. So it launched America Recycles Day, a day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling through thousands of grassroots events held across the nation.

Want to hold an event? America Recycles Day provides toolkits and guides for would-be organizers. Want to participate in an event? Find one near you.

One such event is in Cleveland, where the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will give visitors who bring in select recyclables a free admission with the purchase of a regular admission from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9.

Eligible materials include aluminum cans, cell phones and rechargeable phone batteries, newspaper, catalogs, junk mail, magazines, ink jet and toner print cartridges, cooking and dining supplies and utensils, and pairs of shoes (no single shoes, rubber flip flops, ice skates, roller skates, slippers, ski boots or completely ruined or broken footwear will be accepted).

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will offer free document shredding from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (limit three bags or boxes), an area of exhibitors who promote different aspects of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” conservation games and crafts.

Proceeds from the aluminum cans collected will benefit The Little Fireface Project, an international conservation organization focused on the slow loris.

The video below is part of The Recycling Campaign, sponsored by Keep America Beautiful and the Ad Council. 

Berlin Street Artists Make Insane Art Out Of The City’s Waste

This is a really cool article about a ‘green’ activity that’s going on in Berlin Germany. The link below will take you to the Fast Company blog where this article is posted. I think this would be a great initiative to try and get launched in Canada, where there seems to be a never ending supply of stuff destined for landfills just hanging around on the streets. The artists’ ‘re-use of this material not only  makes for some very interesting art, but also reduces the burden that our ever growing landfills must carry.

The blog was written by NYC writer Sydney Brownstone, whose bio is below the link.

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3016733/berlin-street-artists-make-insane-art-out-of-the-citys-waste#6

Sydney Brownstone is a New York-based staff writer at Co.Exist. She lives in a Brooklyn apartment with windows that don’t quite open, and is interested in systemic abuse of public space and the commons. She’s written for the Village Voice, Mother Jones, Brooklyn Magazine, The L Magazine, and has contributed to NPR.