The Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington D.C. has been a popular restaurant for locals and visitors since opening its doors for business in 1856. Know for its seafood dishes, and in particular, oysters, two years ago the restaurant decided to enact its own form of environmental policy – it is returning their oyster shells back into the Chesapeake Bay. This area of the Atlantic Ocean is one of the primary sources for oysters in the United States and environmental stewardship of the area is essential for those businesses who rely on it for recreation and the seafood it produces.
Since starting the waste recycling program, the restaurant has returned almost eight hundred acres of oyster shells. This is the equivalent of ten waste disposal garbage bins being sent to a landfill every two weeks. The new recycling program has two benefits: not only does is save the restaurant in disposal fees but oysters need shells to order to live and reproduce. Depleting the Bay of oyster shells effectively limits the source and reduces the quantity and quality available to restaurants. This new policy helps to ensure that oysters will continue to be plentiful in years to come and diverts waste from local landfills.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: When it comes to avoiding waste disposal and increasing waste recycling, creative thinking is the key. Take a look at the trash your business produces. Is there a way you can turn garbage into gold? (or shells into oysters?)
North Carolina exceeds 1.1 million tons of generated food waste generated annually, and a new research study has shown that the state government could do much more in diverting that waste from landfills with increased waste recycling efforts.
The study found that the state should invest more time and effort into working with local municipalities to increase the collection and recycling of food waste from grocery stores and residents.
It is estimated that in North Carolina, food waste comprises twelve percent of all municipal solid waste with the average household disposing between five and ten pounds of food waste weekly with a total output of close to a quarter of a million tons of waste each year. In contrast, restaurants and supermarkets generate a little over half a million tons of food waste annually.
Based on current waste recycling practices, only sixty thousand tons of food waste is being used for other efforts – almost all food waste is being disposed of in landfills.
Waste Care Wants You to Remember: Recycling of food waste in North Carolina presents a business opportunity for those experienced in this kind of material recovery – both for residential and municipal waste recycling as well as commercial endeavors. Are you ready to make some “green” while going green?
A start-up company named Algix is turning to algae to manufacture plastics.
The company is working on cultivating aquatic biomasses (algae) for use as industrial, retail and commercial plastics.
Algae sources from wastewater treatment locations develop in nitrogen-rich environments, creating a high-protein organism. When blended with a base resin, a form of plastic is developed. Algae results in a thermoplastic while duckweed plants, which are also abundant at wastewater facilities, result in a strong, stiff plastic.
The created plastic material is ideal for injection and compression molding and thermoforming.
The plastic can also be used as mulching film sheets as it biodegrades and become plant food. Farmers or gardeners could unroll a sheet and let it dissolve naturally.
Additionally, there are uses for flooring and carpeting as well as the creation of biodegradable packaging materials, lawn and garden appliances, and paint cans.
There are some limitations to this algae plastic. One is that it cannot be made into a clear substance instead appearing dark green to murky brown. Users cite that this new form of plastic has an earthy feel different from conventional plastics. That difference, combined with it’s earth friendly composition could appeal to those looking for the convenience and durability of plastics but wanting something more environmentally friendly.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Waste Recycling and the green economy offers lots of room for innovation and entrepreneurship. What can you do with the waste generated by your business or community that can earn you “green”?
The Portland, Maine public school system has banned the use of lunch trays containing
single-use polystyrene in all cafeterias and meal distribution programs.
The school district will now be using lunch trays constructed of paperboard manufactured in Maine. While the new trays will cost the school system more money to purchase, the price is being offset by funds saved during the last school year as part of a comprehensive waste reduction and waste recycling program which greatly reduced waste disposal costs for the district. It is estimated that the school diverted close to thirty thousand tons of waste from landfills as a result of the program.
The new, locally made and environmental friendly lunch trays will be in place when school resumes in September. The district has over seven thousands students enrolled in grades K-12 and has traditionally used almost half a million single-use lunch trays each school year. The switch will reduce further the amount of waste that can be recycled versus school waste that must be disposed of in landfills.
The school district’s goal is to divert as much as seventy percent of waste to recycling efforts. The cost savings in reduced disposal fees will help to fund greener options for the schools such as the paperboard lunch trays. The school system also believes that the recycling program allows students learn valuable lessons about environmental stewardship by showing how small actions can result in big changes for everyone.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re involved with your community’s school system, take a moment to learn more about their waste disposal and waste recycling efforts. Making some changes can result in big savings for schools and local taxpayers!
Recycling old cell phones can result in small financial windfalls for consumers while providing manufacturers with recycled metals and plastics. However, the process can often be cumbersome and inconvenient as a result, less cell phones are recycled. However, a new system is being implemented in Texas with the introduction of self-serve cell phone recycling kiosks.
Produced by the California-based EcoATM, the self-serve kiosks, which resemble large ATM cash machines, will accept cell phones and small electronic devices from customers and provide cash back depending on the make and model. Dozens of these kiosks will be placed in shopping malls throughout the state.
Based on the success of the Texas project, the kiosks will be making their way to malls and shopping centers throughout the rest of the country next year.
Three years of testing self-service recycling in California yielded very positive results and high consumer response. The most often cited benefits were the instant gift card payment and the ease of use not found in other cell phone recycling programs.
The EcoATM machine also addresses security issues in that it erases all data from the phone or device when the customer accepts the offering price. Approximately seventy-five percent of the collected devices are re-furbished and re-sold. The rest are recycled for their metals and plastics.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: What can your business do that the competition is falling short on? With so many opportunities for waste recycling, where can you provide a valuable service while enhancing your bottom line?
Dixon Ticonderoga, a leader in the writing utensil manufacturing market, has recently announced that it will establish a national magic-marker recycling program. The program was prompted by a letter writing and outreach campaign started by a group of elementary school students in California.
The company, which is primary known as the makers of yellow No. 2 pencils, said that it is planning to increase the program so that it includes many of its other writing implements and art supplies. Many schools rely on these supplies throughout the year, so the waste recycling program is seen as a way to appeal to school districts wanting to reduce their waste disposal fees while providing a service that is environmentally friendly.
The decision to start the recycling program happened after students at the Sun Valley Elementary School launched an online petition on Change.org in early May, asking another popular manufacturer, Crayola, to provide a way to recycle used magic-markers. The students revived over eighty thousand signatures, but Crayola refused to implement a recycling program. This refusal prompted Dixon Ticonderoga, a Crayola competitor, to step up and offer a recycling program to school for their products.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Do you have a competitor who is refusing to address customers calls for recycling? By making the decision to “go green” your business can possibly attract new customers and add “green” to your bottom line!
Ever wonder what the largest recycling facility in the world can do? Phoenix, Arizona -based business Republic Services’s Newby Island Resource Recovery Park in Milpitas, California is processing close to one hundred and ten tons of various waste streams each hour and diverting approximately eighty percent of all waste material collected.
The Milpitas facility handles processing for all commercial waste materials generated in San Jose, California. It also contains the ability to process one hundred and twenty tons of residential waste material annually, with a close to one hundred percent recovery rate.
The Republic Service’s system features four lines for waste processing: a residential line, a commercial line, and two additional lines for commercial dry and wet recyclables. The conveyors stretch one and one half miles long. The amount of waste recycled and composted annually covers five hundred football fields and totals more than four hundred pounds per person.
San Jose’s goal is to divert all of its commercial and residential waste from landfills and use it to convert into energy.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: What is your business and community doing to reduce waste disposal and increase waste recycling? If you’re not going green then you could be losing “green” every year!
If you’re in the construction, demolition, or remodeling business, chances are you’ve waste recycled scrap metal. Ever wonder what determines the monetary value of various scrap metals? Here are a few factors:
1) The Global Marketplace: Overseas markets, especially China, play a significant role in determining US values as more than half of all US scrap metal is exported.
2) The Home Market: The overall health of The New York Stock Exchange also impacts the price of metals.
3) It’s the Economy, Stupid! Car sales are a good indicator of what happens in the scrap metal industry; when new sales are down, steel production is likely to be down. When demand increases, expect increases in scrap yard prices.
4) Who’s Buying? Like all businesses, scrap metal sellers want to make a profit. It’s a supply/demand balance between what sellers can charge and what buyers will bear. Location, type of metal, and demand can fluctuate.
5) Scrap yards and Scrappers: While catering primarily to a local market with smaller demand, scrap yard often have flexible pricing. Scrappers develop relationships with scraps yards to ensure they’ll receive the best prices for their materials.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Scrap metals have value so if you’re putting them in with your waste disposal materials you’re losing money! It pays to develop knowledge of the local and regional scrap yards and dealers in your area and do research to make sure you get the best price for your recycled metals!
The town of Severn, Maryland has converted the Millersville landfill to a gas-to-energy facility. Landfill Energy Systems is responsible for the design and construction of the 3.2 megawatt power plant. The new facility will provide electrical power to an average of two thousand homes in Anne Arundel County.
The new facility generates electricity with previously collected and burned methane and reduces the community’s reliance on coal and crude oil as energy sources. The plant has created new employment opportunities and it is estimated that the reduced emissions is the equivalent of removing five thousand vehicles from the road.
Landfill Energy Systems is responsible for forty energy producing power plants and operates in forty-five landfills in sixteen states. They are responsible for producing more than two hundred megawatts of renewable natural gas and electricity annually.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Is your municipality doing all it can to reduce its dependence on non-renewable energy and explore opportunities that are reliable and sustainable? Take a look at your local landfill and see what possibilities exist to help the environment and the members of your community!
Last year, an Illinois man charged with violating the Clean Air Act for illegal removal of asbestos was sentenced to ten years in prison, fined fifteen thousand dollars, and ordered to pay almost fifty thousand dollars in restitution to the Environmental Protection Agency.
During the court case, the prosecution argued that the business owner’s flagrant disregard for proper handling and disposal of the toxic material endangered the health of employees and the community surrounding the building. It was shown that by improperly handling the material, increased profits were attained by the company. Asbestos was historically used in construction and building materials and its microscopic particles can easily enter the lungs where it has been shown to cause lung cancer and other serious health and respiratory problems.
The case showed that workers hired for the job were not trained asbestos removal professionals and were not paid as such. Those employees assigned to the building were never properly trained in removal procedures. Additional evidence presented included failure to ensure that the hazardous insulation was wetted before being removed to prevent airborne particles, failure to mark vehicles utilized in the transport of asbestos, failure to properly mark the one hundred bags the removed materials were placed in, and illegal dumping of a hazardous materials in an open field in a public park, resulting in soil contamination and endangering public health.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Asbestos is a highly dangerous materials with stringent regulations for handling and disposal. If your business is involved with construction and remodeling where asbestos is present, cutting corners is not an option! Failure to follow the law endangers both the environment and your personal freedom.