Sports Fans Get Royal Treatment For E-Waste

Fans of the Kansas City Royals American League baseball team were in for a fun surprise at a recent electronics waste recycling and collection event. Held at the Royals’ home field, Kauffmann Stadium, the e-waste drop-off event was sponsored by Players for the Planet, a non-profit group that collaborates with sports teams around the country to help foster greater environmental awareness.

In a group effort involving Players for the Planet, Interstate Batteries, Vintage Tech Recyclers, Goodwill Industries, and Bridging the Gap, the two-day long electronics recycling event yielded over twenty five thousand pounds of unwanted, broken, or outdated computers, televisions, home electronics, cell phones, and gaming and media devices.

The big surprise for baseball fans came when Royals team-mates Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Gets, and Mike Moustakas stopped by to give out ticket vouchers for upcoming Royals home games for those recycling their unwanted electronics. All organizations involved believed the event not only helped to bring greater awareness to the community about the safe and responsible ways to recycle electronics but also showed participants the value of recycled materials as a part of the re-use and re-manufacturing stream.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: While electronics waste like old computers and equipment might take up space in your storage closet, it’s components can do serious damage to the environment if disposed of in a landfill. Make sure your business acts responsibly by recycling e-waste through an authorized recycler or special community event. You’ll gain space in that storage room and help to keep your community green!

Boston Tests Food Waste Composting Program

The city of Boston, Massachusetts has started a pilot program residents to collect food scraps and organic waste for use as compost.

The organic waste material is being collected for free at farmers markets throughout the city. The collection include items such as food scraps, tea bags and coffee grounds and filters, fruits and vegetables, egg and nut shells, and grains such as rice, bread and cereal, and pasta. In addition, house plants are also be accepted. The collected food and vegetation items are then used to create compost for both commercial and individual use.

The collection program will end in late October when the farmers markets cease operation, but the pilot will allow city administrators to test how residential composting can be incorporated into the city’s overall waste reduction plans.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino credits the program to feedback provided during open community meetings about the “Greenovate” Boston initiative to inform and involve the public on environmental concerns. The mayor supports food composting and other organic waste re-use programs as a way to help the environment and improve the city’s bottom line expenses.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Some of the best ideas for reducing waste and saving money can come from your community members. If you’re looking to make changes in waste disposal practices in your business or town, be sure to get as many stakeholders involved as possible. You never know what idea might be the big winner!

Airport Creatively Uses Recycled Waste

The San Francisco International Airport has a new piece of art – a true-to-sized replica of a Hummer created entirely of polystyrene.

Sponsored by Recology, the San Francisco waste and recycling hauler, the airport exhibit showcases twenty three years of local artists using the city’s waste as a creative medium and inspiration. More than one hundred pieces of artwork and sculpture by forty-five artists will be on display throughout the fall. Each piece of art is made entirely out of waste material being thrown away by city residents.

Just some of the pieces on display include: dresses made from bottles caps and newspaper plastic bags, masks made from various materials; and a giant whale tale constructed from re-claimed wood and other discarded construction materials. However, it’s the H1 Hummer, a vehicle known for it’s low fuel mileage, that attracts the most attention. The enormous amount of polystyrene needed to construct the sculpture didn’t take long for the artist to collect given the huge quantities of the material that end up in dumpsters every day.

In addition to providing some entertainment to busy worldwide travelers connecting through the airport, the exhibit has also attracted locals interested in seeing how materials destined for the landfill can be recycled into beautiful and educational piece of art.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Recycling waste materials isn’t just about re-manufacturing into brand new products, sometimes it’s about re-use. The next time you’re cleaning out your office’s storeroom or workshop, consider what can be donated to community groups. Unwanted wood, paint, textiles, containers, and paper can be used in craft projects by day care facilities and senior centers. You’ll reduce your waste disposal amount and do something good for your community!

Building Construction From Recycled Plastic

In Taipei, Taiwan, the nine-story EcoArk exhibition hall boasts an interesting accomplishment in green construction – its walls are constructed from more than one and one half million recycled PET plastic beverage bottles.

Designed by the architects at Miniwiz Sustainable Development, the use of recycled plastic is a key highlight designed to show other architects and construction professionals what is possible when non-traditional building materials are used.

The company also has another sustainable building in the development phase, this one for e-waste recycling firm Super Dragon Technology. That building will be built using discarded computer and electronic waste as well as waste polymers.

With a recent United Nations report showing that buildings are responsible for as much as forty percent of greenhouse gas emissions, Miniwiz is looking to expand and take their message of using recycled materials in construction worldwide.

Miniwiz success in Taiwan has been due in part to its ability to make materials and products cost-effective through a network of Taiwanese suppliers. Taiwan has both a well-developed recycling infrastructure and manufacturing industry. Taiwan recycles more than ninety percent of PET bottles which greatly exceeds the recycling rates of thirty percent in the United States and fifty percent in Europe.

The company currently produces three recycled plastic products for use in construction: iPolli-Bricks, a wall system made from one hundred percent recycled PET, Natrilon, a fiber made from rice husks and one hundred percent recycled PET, and Polli-Ber, a composite made from agricultural waste and recycled polymers.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re involved in construction it pays to be aware of the changes and innovations happening in the field. While ideas like walls made from plastic and electronics waste may seem novel and impractical, isn’t that what people once said about cell phones, the internet, and robotics?


Ontario City Sets Waste Diversion Record

A Canadian city has recently announced that it has surpassed the California city of San Francisco as the new leading municipality for overall waste diversion and recycling in North America.

City administrators from Markham, Ontario, part of the Toronto area, have announced that the city has attained a eighty one percent waste diversion rate, beating San Francisco’s eighty percent diversion rate. City officials are citing the use of new, clear garbage bags to help residents ensure that garbage is free of food scraps and organic waste and recyclable materials.

Markham had successfully held a seventy percent diversion rate for many years, but waste officials knew they needed to try something different if they wanted to continue the improvement. Switching to mandatory clear plastic garbage bags, along with the city provided bins for food compost and recyclables, resulted in the ability to see items being categorized as garbage – so “hiding” recyclables n trash bags increased in difficulty.

The jump in waste recycling and diversion is even more remarkable when one considers the city was at a thirty three percent diversion rate in 2001.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Even if your business or facility is brand new to recycling and waste diversion, it pays to remember that everyone has to start somewhere! If your diversion rate is very low, make a consistent effort to improve one year at a time by implementing well considered strategies. Over time, you’ll be saving more in waste disposal fees and on your way to a achieving a zero waste goal!

EPA Fines, Assigns Community Service To Hazardous Waste Violator

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined a commercial waste hauler in Rhode Island over fifty eight thousand dollars in fines and over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in community service clean-up work for violating federal and state hazardous waste regulations.

In additional to the monetary fine, PSC Environmental Services will be required to perform community service work by removing outdated and unwanted toxic chemicals from sixty public school buildings throughout the Providence area. The school clean out will also include hazardous waste training for teachers and donating safety equipment such as storage cabinets for flammable chemicals and eye washes.

The EPA charged PSC Environmental Services with failure to properly label, identify and properly maintain hazardous wastes containers at the company’s Providence facility. PSC was also charged with improperly storing hazardous waste and contributing to an increased risk of fire and toxic explosions.

In addition to the fine and community service, PSC will also ensure that its facility remains maintains compliance with all waste management regulations and will be monitored by EPA enforcement officials during its probation period.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Many businesses has some form of hazardous chemicals on hand – whether you’re in construction, landscaping, manufacturing, or facility maintenance, it pays to stay knowledge about the laws and regulations regarding toxic materials and have a plan to ensure those laws are followed. Failure to do so can end up costing both your bank account and your professional reputation!



More Container Bans In California

The city of San Jose in California is set to become the largest city in the United States to successfully ban polystyrene foam containers for those in the food service industry. In late August, the San Jose City Council voted to pass a measure to phase out the popular take-away containers starting in early 2014. The measure had wide support, passing 9-2.

San Jose is the third largest city in California and the tenth largest city in the nation. The ban stops stores and vendor from distributing polystyrene containers to customers purchasing food in a gradual roll-out beginning January 1, 2014 and concluding a year later. Hardship clauses are included for those small businesses that require additional implementation time.

San Jose is working to achieve a zero waste goal and the City Council members view the ban as a way to reduce stormwater trash and reduce the overall amount of waste going to landfills.

Based on information provided by Californians Against Waste, there are seventy one cities or counties that have also banned polystyrene containers for food service.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re in the food service or grocery business, looking into polystyrene alternatives might be worth your time and energy. Much like plastic bag bans, foams container bans are growing in popularity – better to be seen as a leader looking for green and cost effective solutions than scrambling to make changes when the City Council takes a vote!

EPA Helps Teams Go Green

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a new Resource Directory for “Green Sports” aimed at helping sports teams, athletic facilitates and both professional and recreational leagues tips and strategies for reducing energy and waste.

The resource directory provides information on how to reduce the negative environmental impact sports and sports fan can cause and participate in federal and state programs through the Green Sports Alliance that help teams and venues reduce the amount of energy and water used and trash that must be disposed of. The new directory is divided into categories with resources for improving waste management, energy conservation, water conservation, and other environmentally friendly practices ideal for athletic teams and facilities.

Green Sports will also share success stories of successful cost and energy saving plans to serve as an example to those teams and clubs looking to establish a winning game plan. The Green Sports Alliance currently has one hundred and eighty members. Participants range from professional and collegiate teams and athletic venues and stadiums throughout the nation.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you are responsible for maintaining sports and recreation grounds, take some time and look at the tips and suggestions provided by the Green Sports Alliance. Whether the teams that use your space are Little or Big League-rs, saving money on waste disposal fees is always a winning strategy!



Plastic Bag Ban Hits New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico has become the latest in an ever growing number of United States cities to ban the use of plastic grocery bags. The new ruling applies to bags thinner than 2.25 mils, generally considered “single use” bags and will begin in early 2014. Smaller plastic bags for grocery items such as meat, fruits and vegetables, and bakery goods are still allowed.

The measure was passed almost unanimously, the only dissenter was one city council member who thought the ruling should also include thicker plastic bags used by more upscale retail stores. Other council members agreed with that sentiment, but stated that the ruling had large scale support at the current level and that expansions could be added as time progressed.

As part of the rule, paper bags, made of at least forty percent recycled materials, can still be available, but customers and shoppers would be charged a ten cent surcharge for them. Bag fees would not apply to those receiving food assistance such as food stamps. The bag ban does not apply to restaurants or food banks.

Santa Fe now joins cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco in California, Seattle, Washington and Austin, Texas, that already have established plastic bag bans.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Do you own a business that relies on plastic bags? It might be time to start looking into alternative solutions and asking your customers what they would like to see. You might be surprised by how many people embrace bag bans – by making changes now, you might be able to save money and be seen as a green “leader” in your community!

General Motors Helps Homeless With Recycling

United States auto manufacturer General Motors recently announced that it is continuing its waste material recycling program to donate scrap insulation from GM car doors to the not-for-profit group, Empowerment Plan. The unwanted insulation will be used to make coats and sleeping bags for the homeless in several northern cities.

This year, the automaker donated two thousand yards of Sonozorb, the noise reducing and temperature controlling insulation – enough to create four hundred coats and bags for distribution through homeless shelters in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, and New York.

The self-heating, waterproof coats are made by a team of nine seamstresses – who were once homeless. The group produces approximately one hundred and fifty coats each month and relies on donations from corporate sponsors such as General Motors.

GM officials are embracing creative solutions to waste reduction, recycling, and re-use. The company currently has one hundred and six landfill-free operation and manufacturing centers around the globe that take all waste and determine if recycling, reuse or donation or conversion to energy is the best course of action.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: One businesses trash can be another one’s treasure. Take a look at what’s in your waste disposal bin and try to see it from another person’s viewpoint – could materials be of value to a non-profit group? You might be able to save money, reduce your environmental footprint, and help those in need at the same time!