Landfill Produces Solar Power

In an innovative, bold move, an old, no longer operational landfill located in Hartford, Connecticut, will be re-purposed and “recycled” to produce a quantity of electricity sufficient enough to power over one thousand area homes on a day with average temperatures and adequate sunlight.

A six acre section of the Hartford landfill will become the launching site of a new solar power generation project. Photovoltaic panels will be mounted on special artificial turf with the final project being completed and producing energy by October 1 of 2013.

The state of Connecticut opened the Hartford landfill over seventy years ago in 1940. The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority began leasing the site in 1982 and deposited municipal waste there until 1988. At that time, the location switched from solid waste to accepting incinerator ash from another waste-to-energy landfill. The location was used in this manner until 2008 when it was closed. The space has been used since that time.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Just as it’s a smart idea to look at the garbage your business is producing to see where recycling and re-use can make a difference, it’s also good to look at unused or underutilized space to see if it can be used for generating energy and income!

Join The EPA’s Food Waste Challenge!

The United States Department of Agriculture, along with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently launched a new program called the Food Waste Challenge. The national contest will involve government agencies, communities groups and organizations, farmers, manufacturers, retailers, and processors to work together and within their own organization to commit to reducing waste food.

Program participants will report the activities undertaken to reduce the amount of food waste produced, recover more amounts of food fit for human consumption, and recycle food waste for uses such as composting and animal feed. The USDA and the EPA have set a goal of recruiting four hundred participants in the program.

The collaboration between the USDA and the EPA is designed to involve businesses from different sectors throughout the country and to help train and educate the population about the growing problem of food waste. As part of the challenge, programs will also be designed and made available to help reduce food waste in meal programs offered in schools as well as updating procedures for making it easier to donate meat and chicken products to food pantries.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: When was the last time you checked your waste disposal bin to see what’s in it? Depending on the nature of your business, there may be a sizable about of food waste. Instead of paying to dispose of that waste, why not look for ways to reduce, reuse or recycle? You’ll save some green while helping others and the environment!

Chicago Expands Recycling Efforts

The City of Chicago will expand curbside recycling services to approximately sixty one thousand new households and residences. This addition of services is the second phase of an improved waste collection and recycling plan the city enacted over a year ago.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has stated that providing convenient access to recycling services is essential to improving overall waste reduction and recycling of in-demand materials such as plastics, paper, and glass. The city’s goal is to have recycling services available to all by the close of the 2013 calendar year.

The households involved in the phase two implementation will be receiving their blue recycling bins in mid-June with routine curbside pick up staring in early July. The entire project is designed to bring recycling services to over six hundred thousand residents in the city and expansion plans will continue throughout the summer and into the fall as routes and schedules are finalized with haulers and collectors.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Making it convenient and easy for your employees to recycle waste materials is essential for cutting back on your waste disposal fees. Are recycling bins easy to access and clearly marked? Has everyone been involved in the discussion about why increasing recycling is important? Getting buy-in helps to guarantee participation and improves your chances for success!

EPA Fines Recycler For PCBs

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has recently fined a Phoenix, Arizona recycler in excess of seventy thousand dollars for the illegal and improper handling and disposal of PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) hazardous waste materials at its operations facility.

Lighting Resources was cited for failure to safeguard worker safety and health as well as endangering the environment of the surrounding community. In addition to the monetary fine, the company must also develop and conform to a corrective action plan and show improvement in safety and proper disposal and recycling practices involving toxic waste materials.

PCBs are frequently used in plastics, industrial equipment, paints, and electrical transformers. The substance is incorporated into the Toxic Substances Control Act and is therefore closely monitored for compliance. Inspections by the regional EPA division cited Lighting Resources for improperly labeling containers of  PCB and other hazardous waste materials as well as failure to keep documentation regarding the transportation of PCB-contaminated materials.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business deals with PCBs or other forms of hazardous waste, it’s essential to be informed of and to follow federal and state regulations. Documentation and paperwork is crucial for compliance, so be sure you have the right person handling this essential procedure!


Turning Markers Into Fuel

Last year, students at an elementary school in San Rafael, California started an online petition and created a video requested that Crayola, a manufacturer of crayons, markers, and other school and art supplies, start a take-back recycling program to collect the millions of unusable markers typically thrown away by schools every year.

When the online petition started, Crayola issued a statement saying that they did not have the necessary infrastructure in place to process a recycling take-back program. As a result, several other competitors in the marketplace stepped forward and offered schools a recycling program if their products were used instead of Crayola’s.

One year and ninety thousand signatures later, Crayola announced that it had changed direction and would begin the process of obtaining and recycling waste markers. Marker caps can be recycled with most hard plastics and the marker barrel can be recycled after the tip and reservoir are removed. In addition, Crayola’s ColorCycle program allows schools and other groups to collect spent markers and ship them free of charge to a processing facility where they are converted into clean-burning fuel. This process uses the entire marker and does not require any dis-assembly beforehand.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: In this day and age, more and more customers are demanding environmental accountability from the organizations they do business with. What is your business doing to show that recycling and reuse are important? If you don’t, you might find your competitors stepping forward!

Keeping Bottles And Cans Out Of Landfills

The Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, recently signed into law a bill designed to keep plastic bottles and aluminum cans from being disposed of in regional landfills.

The new law offers financial incentives to all municipalities in Tennessee which provide recycling services to their residential and business members. The Recycling Development Council for the Southeast sees the new law as an important step in keeping valuable plastic and aluminum in the recycling stream and out of the waste stream. Both plastic and aluminum are waste resources that have manufacturing markets waiting and eager  to buy them if they are separated them trash to be recycled. Having more plastic and aluminum available for re-use also helps the state in job creation, supports economic development in the “green” industry sector, and helps to reduce strain on landfills in addition to reducing the cost associated with trash disposal.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Sometimes offering an incentive can be a big help to changing behavior. If you’re trying to get your employees to recycle more and waste less, think of ways to reward or incentivize them for changing their habits. If a department knows they can be eligible for a reward as a result of their cost saving, recycling efforts, they’ll be all the more enthusiastic to embrace recycling and encourage others as well!


Nebraska Looks To Tackle Old Tires

The Department of Environmental Quality for the state of Nebraska recently announced that funds are being awarded to the state in excess of two million dollars to support one hundred designated illegally dumped tire sites and waste tire recycling projects throughout the state.

In the state of Nebraska, a one dollar fee is levied against consumers for every new automotive tire purchased. The money collected from that fee is then awarded to municipalities and not for profit groups who work to manage the stream of old tires by cleaning up dump sites and finding innovative, new uses for them.

Individuals and businesses in Nebraska are responsible for generating an excess of one and a half million scrap tires every year – or one tire per person per year. The grants funds will help rectify environmental hazards caused by current tire piles and prevent illegal dumping of old tires.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Tires are a necessity for modern day transportation but old tires, when left outside, can cause environmental hazards. If your business maintains of fleet of vehicles, it’s worth investigating recycling solutions for used tires. You might just find a regional manufacturer who could use those tires for a new product!


Textile Recycling Hits Record High

Businesses and residents in New York City have recycled over one million pounds of waste textiles, including clothing, bed and bath linens, and kitchen accessories through the city’s specialized reuse program called re-fashioNYC.

A program is the result of a collaboration between the city’s Sanitation Department and the non-profit group Housing Works. The re-fashioNYC program started in the spring of 2011, and provides bins throughout the city where individuals and businesses can donate unwanted clothes, shoes, blankets, and other textiles.

All donations are processed through the Housing Works operations plant. Of the collected waste materials, close to half are resold in Housing Works Thrift Shops retail locations and the remainder are sold to manufacturers looking for recycled textile materials.

It is estimated that close to ten percent of all waste generated in the New York City area is textile materials that could be resold or recycled. The re-fashioNYC aims to lower that percentage by providing opportunities to recycle while contributing to the public good.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: When we think of recycling and waste reduction we often think of bottle and cans, paper and plastic. While textiles may not contribute as significantly to the overall waste stream, if you’re putting them in the trash then you’re paying to dispose of them! A savings of up to ten percent every month certainly adds up!

Is Pay To Throw The Right Waste Solution?

Many municipalities have made the decision to implement trash disposal “pay-as-you-throw” programs as a way to decrease the amount of waste heading to landfills, increase the amount of recycling done by residents and businesses, and cut costs.

The outcomes are often very dramatic, with most communities seeing their recycling rate jump from twenty percent to over fifty percent in less than two months time. Paying by the bag programs also create a financial incentive for people – both households and businesses – to produce less waste and up their recycling efforts. Whereas traditional waste disposal fees are accessed through municipal taxes and government fees, these new programs place the fee burden on those who generate the most waste with less of a burden placed on those who do not.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are currently over seven thousand communities around the United States that use a pay-as-you-throw program, with more joining on every year.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Oftentimes, the community sees garbage collection as a “free” service. Trash goes out and a truck comes to collect it. Those who own a business realize that monthly trash hauling fees can really add up and cut into your bottom line. It pays to minimize your waste and boost your recycling wherever you can!


Grocery Chain Boosts Food Waste Recycling

The supermarket and grocery store chain, Kroger, has announced a new anaerobic composting and digestion system designed for converting food that is not eligible for donation or sale into a fuel efficient biogas that will be used to power a regional distribution center in Compton, California.

Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the national retailer anticipates that the new system will be responsible for processing and converting in excess of fifty five thousand tons annually of unsalable and unconsumable organics and food waste – approximately one hundred and fifty tons of waste material each day. It is anticipated that the energy generated will be responsible for close to twenty percent of the energy required by the regional distribution center.

The program is the first of its kind for Kroger and received support and assistance from California Governor Jerry Brown, in addition to CalRecycle, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Compton, and Resource Recovery.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Food and organic waste material has many uses beyond feeding people and animals! If your business generates a substantial amount of food waste on a monthly or even weekly or daily basis, it’s worth investigating your options other than disposing of it in a landfill. You’ll be saving money on your disposal fees if that food waste can be turned into compost or biogas energy!