New Source For Green Plastics

The Biodegradable Plastic Institute, has created an online database providing information about more than three thousand kinds of plastic products that are compostable and have been proven to decompose in commercial composting processing facilities.

The creation of this resource should make it easier for businesses, consumers, and those operating composting facilities to know which plastic items such as bags, thin film plastic, cups, bottles, and other containers will naturally degrade into soil.

A growing trend in many municipalities is the effort of diverting organic matter and food scraps from landfills. This action helps to reduce the need and cost of landfills and waste disposal while encouraging the production of composting which is used and values for farming, agriculture and landscaping. The demand for compostable plastics in the food-service sector is growing in response to these new recycling initiatives. The database will assist everyone with identifying biodegradable plastics products that can safely and effectively be part of the entire food production to recycling stream.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If it seems like new developments are happening all the time in the areas of waste recycling and waste disposal, it’s true! If you’re looking to save money and help the environment, it pays to stay on top of the latest news – exciting new products are coming to market every year that can help you make changes within your business or municipality.

Recycling Record For State Fair

Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa is a popular annual event, attracting both local residents and tourists from all over the United States. This year, the event planners and administrators behind this week-and-a-half long Fair wanted to make sure that waste disposal costs were kept to a minimum while waste recycling rates were maximized. After working with Waste Management, the national waste disposal firm contracted to handle all waste and recycling for the Fair, to develop a strategic plan, at the close of the Fair they were able to report that the recycling rate reached an all-time high.

It was reported that the total weight for recycled waste, which included items such as paper, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and others, topped thirty five tons bypassing last year’s collection amount of twenty nine tons. In the last three years, the total amount of recyclable material collect has nearly doubled. The Fair brought over one million people to Des Moines this year over an eleven day period.

With a goal to not only increase recycling at the Fairgrounds but to educate visitors, attendees, and participants in continuing recycling after they leave, all involved feel that the strategy was a success and will be built upon in the years to follow.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: You don’t have to go it alone when it comes to improving your recycling rate! Be sure to involve your contracted waste hauler about the recycling services they offer and how they can help. If the company you work with doesn’t offer those services, maybe it’s time to look for another who can!


EPA Urges Septic System Care

Whether you’re a homeowner or property manager, taking care of your home or building’s septic system is essential for saving money on water usage and protecting public health. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently reported that approximately twenty five percent, or twenty six million homes and/or business rely on septic systems for wastewater treatment.

Failure to maintain a septic system can result in wastewater overflows, which can mean costly repairs, risks to the environment and public health, and polluted waterways. If you are unsure of the overall health and level of functioning for your septic system, a licensed inspector can help.

Property managers and homeowners would also be wise to follow the EPA’s suggestions:

· Have the septic system inspected by a licensed contractor every three years and pump the tank when required.
· Pouring grease, fats, and solid matter down drains can clog the system and drainfield. Avoid doing this as often as possible.
· Waste materials such as coffee grounds, disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, cat litter and cigarette filters should be disposed of in the trash and not flushed through the toilet.
· Promptly fix plumbing leaks and install water-efficient products that carry the EPA’s WaterSense label.
· Refrain from driving or parking on the drainfield. A vehicle’s could damage pipes and interrupt the underground waste water flow.

The EPA’s SepticSmart program can provide septic system owners and managers with advice and best practices for maintaining a healthy and safe septic systems throughout the year and for many years to come.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Our homes and businesses need fresh water and wastewater management every day. If your property uses a septic system, be sure you’re following the EPA’s guidelines and contact a licensed contractor if you suspect problems.  Taking care of your septic system today can save you costly repairs, loss of business, and environmental fines in the future!

Ohio Needs Improved Glass Recycling

What’s the biggest problem when your business has a high demand for recycled glass? Residents and businesses not recycling enough. This is exactly what is happening to Ohio’s three largest business consumers of recycled glass – their need for recycled glass is greatly exceeding the supply and the shortfall is somewhere close to one hundred and eighty five thousand tons a year.

One recycling production facility in Dayton, Ohio cannot fill all the orders for recycled glass that come in every month. Fiberglass insulation makers such as Owens Corning and Johns-Manville say they could utilize every bottle that is recycled or thrown away. And, Ohio-based bottle manufacturer Owens Brockway, is having to address its materials need by purchasing recycled glass from the neighboring states of Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Representatives from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says this is a perfect example of how recycling issues can become economic issues. When major manufacturers cannot have easy access to the materials they need they cannot expand their business and could possibly relocated to another region.

The state of Ohio, has made efforts to encourage and increase glass bottle and container recycling by adding more drop-off centers and containers and launching an innovative new strategy involving bars and taverns that serve a high volume of glass beverage containers. One such program in Marion, OH resulted in collecting two and one half million tons of recycled glass and it is hopeful that the program will be expanded to Cleveland and Columbus.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Manufacturers throughout the country are in need of waste materials that we often send to the landfill. Instead of paying big fees every month to dispose of your waste, start looking for businesses that may it. You might be able to go from spending money, to adding an additional revenue stream!

Utah Mayor Sets High Recycling Goal

Salt Lake City, Utah Mayor Ben McAdams is urging residents and businesses residing in the capital region to start recycling more. A recently release report shows that more than Sixty-five percent of the waste materials deposited in state landfills in considered recyclable.

With a total population of close to one million residents, the Salt Lake City area is home to both state government operations and tourists attracted to the skiing and outdoor sports the area is known for.

The city’s new awareness building campaign, “How much of it is yours?” is aimed at boosting the city’s low sixteen percent recycling rate. The city has set a goal of doubling that rate to thirty six percent over the next two years. If the city can increase its waste materials recycling to even twenty five percent, it will save the city close to sixty five thousand dollars per day in costs that would be associated with garbage removal and securing space in landfills. Every bit of extra recycling prolongs the space available in the city landfills for items that cannot easily be recycled.

The city has offered curbside recycling collection for over ten years but participation has been low. Becuase of this, the city will also launch a new, educational effort for residents to take greater advantage of services that the city already provides to them.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Even if your present recycling rate is low, there’s no better time than the present to get to work on improving it! Take a look at what you have in place and if it’s effective for your employees or customers. When you set obtaining goals and make your plans well known, you’ll be on track for saving money and keeping recyclables out of your landfill!

Another California Bag Ban

Yet another California town has unanimously agreed to ban the use of thin-film plastic bags at supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores, and all businesses operating within city limits starting on February 1 in 2014.

The Arcata City Council, which primarily represents the population affiliated with Humbolt State University, and is comprised of a majority of elected members representing the Green Party, said that unlike other plastic ban bags this decision also applies to small businesses or those owning stores with less that ten thousand square feet. Business may offer customers paper bags for a fee of ten cents a piece with the business keeping the profit.

However, restaurants and food establishments are not a part of the plastic bag ban, at least not initially, as municipalities await the resolution of a state-wide lawsuit over San Francisco’s recent decision to prohibit the use of plastic bags for take-away food in restaurants.

Additionally, thin film bags used for meat, produce, bulk foods, and prescription drugs also are still exempt from the ruling.

City officials have said that the goal of the plastic bag ban is to promote reusable bags as a way to reduce trash, little and disposal costs.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Plastic bag bans are sweeping across the nation and while each municipality may choose different implementation schedules and exclusions, one thing is clear: they are becoming widespread and popular. If your business relies on plastic bags, be proactive and start looking into alternate solutions. Better to play offense and be ahead of your competition than on the defensive when your city or town votes to enact one!

California University Receives Award from EPA

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the University of California, Irvine special honors for its accomplishment of achieving zero waste status through its food recovery programs. The University’s waste recycling program diverts eighty three percent of total waste materials by reusing, recycling, and food composting. The university now diverts five hundred tons of food and organic matter waste. University officials credit the school’s involvement in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge program as a major factor in obtaining the tools and resources it needed to make significant changes to its waste management program.

The improvement in food waste recycling came about through a collaborative effort between the University’s Facilities Management group, Orange County Waste Management, and Aramark Campus Dining Services who oversees all food and meal production for the school.

The EPA estimates that thirty five million tons of food is wasted every year and is the largest percentage of waste material that is sent to landfills. When unwanted and unusable food is sent to a landfill, the organic matter decomposes and contributes to the production of methane, a greenhouse gas. The Food Recovery Challenge encourages large producers of food waste – such as schools, and businesses and organization with on-site food production facilities, to reduce their contribution to greenhouse gasses – and save money on their regular trash disposal fees – by increasing efforts to prevents food waste by utilizing donation, composting, and anaerobic digestion programs.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Food is a terrible thing to waste, and putting your business’ food waste in the trash is wasting your money! If food and organic waste is a significant part of your weekly disposal, it’s time to start looking into “green” friendly alternatives.

Keeping Phones Out Of Landfills

The Guinness Book of World Records has awarded a record to Sprint Telecommunications for recycling 103,582 cellular phones in a seven day day time period – nearly doubling the record held by AT&T from the previous year.

In the United States, Sprint was the first wireless provider to provide customers with a  buyback recycling program, offering instant credit for cell phone and similar devices sold through its retail stores. Sprint officials says the company prides itself on its green practices such as phone re-use and recycling and reducing the levels of electronics waste that is sent to landfills every year.

Sprint estimates that currently forty percent of their customers participate in the recycling-buyback offer. However, their corporate goal is ninety percent customer participation by the year 2017.

While the final number won’t be available for a few months, Spring anticipates it will recycle or reuse close to one hundred million pounds of e-waste in 2013 – waste materials that might otherwise have ended up in the trash.  The company also is making efforts to use more environmentally friendly packaging and has recently formed a partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the management of sustainable materials program.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Does your business keep track of records set? Chances are you award employees recognition for high sales or profits, but what about high levels of recycling and saving money in waste disposal costs? Waste diversion and recycling can help your company go “green” while saving green every month!

College Life Starts With Recycling

In Alabama, students at Auburn University recycled more than fifteen tons of waste paper and cardboard after “Move-In Mania 2013”, the weekend when students return to campus and residence halls for the start of the fall semester.

Recycling and trash disposal units were provided in the four residence areas to simplify the recycling and garbage collection process for both students and their parents. The easy to access locations were cited as a key reason why over thirty thousand pounds of cardboard was collected.

The National Retail Federation estimates that a little over eight hundred dollars was spent this fall on supplies needed by college students for both the classroom and their dormitory or apartment. Many of these items are boxed in cardboard and therefore the packaging can be recycled.

The University also collects for recycling paper, plastic bottles with No. 1 and No. 2 designations, and steel and aluminum cans. The overall recycling rate compared to trash generated for the entire weekend was twenty percent.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Are you making it easy for your employees to recycle their waste materials like paper, cardboard, cans, and plastic bottles? Having easy to access and well marked receptacles makes a big difference. If your recycling rate is lower than you’d like, take a look at the placement of your recycling bins – adding a few more or changing their location could make a big difference!

Apple Starts New Recycling Program

The internationally popular computer and cell phone maker, Apple, has come forward with a consumer-focused plan to make it easier to recycle old iPhones and receive credit toward the purchase of a new one. The new program will be called iPhone Reuse and Recycling and be available at all Apple retail store locations.

The program, which started at select stores in late summer, and will roll out to other locations throughout the fall months, allows any individual with a valid cell phone contract using the iPhone to trade their unwanted, out dated, or used phone for store credit. The credit is designed to be used towards purchasing a new iPhone. The only qualification for participating is that the used cell phone must be in working order in order to participate and receive store credit funds.

The launch of Apple’s new recycling program coincides with the company’s release of the new iPhone 5S. Expected to be a popular choice among iPhone users, the recycling plan will provide consumers with a safe and easy way to recycle their old cell phones while receiving some credit towards a new one.

Wastecare Wants You to Remember: Providing product recycling solutions to your customers is a great way to encourage recycling and enhance the buying cycle. This strategy works well for all kinds of electronics waste such as cell phones, computers, and home electronics as these items have value on the after-market once they are dismantled. However, if you think creatively, you might be able to offer a similar bring-back program for other items that have value in your area.