New Electronics Waste Recycling Options

Global office supplies retailers, Staples Inc., has long had a very successful business to consumer recycling program for unwanted or unusable electronics. Now, the company is launching a new initiative designed for businesses for all sizes looking to safely and securely dispose of e-waste.

The Framingham, Massachusetts based Staples has formed a partnership with Fresco, California based Electronic Recyclers International Inc. to create the Staples Advantage Technology Recycling Service. The new service will allow for businesses of all sizes to easily recycle electronics waste including items such as cell phones, munti-function printers and copiers, tele-communication equipment, computer equipment and peripheries such as keyboards through a simple, three step process.

Utilizing the Staples Advantage website, businesses can now order specialized recycling boxes for their unwanted electronics items, ship the items to Staples using a special label, and then, once items have been received, be sent a recycling certificate ensuring that items have been safely and properly recycled using standards set by the Basel Action Network for responsible e-waste recycling.

The benefits of recycling through the Technology Recycling Service includes environmental compliance and guaranteed data destruction by trained professionals at Electronics Recyclers International.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Regardless of your company’s size, electronics waste can take up a significant amount of space – and can be very difficult to recycle or dispose of properly. If you’re finding that old computers, telephone equipment, and other peripherals are taking up space, it might be worth your time to exploring e-waste recycling options.Whether it’s a national program like Staples Advantage, or a local collection set up by your local transfer station or town hall, you’ll be able to reclaim office space while being environmentally responsible when you dispose of e-waste in an approved and safe manner.

Arizona Cuts Costs With Reduce And Recycle Program

Government officials in Phoenix, Arizona have recently launched two new, recycling-incentive municipal waste and yard waste collection programs designed to save both the city and taxpayers money.

The first program for residents is being publicized as “Save As You Reduce and Recycle.” The initiative provides residential inhabitants the opportunity to save three dollars each month on their waste disposal bill if they cut-back from the standard, large trash container to a medium-sized cart. The program is designed to have residents become more aware of what materials can be recycled and what materials should be placed in the trash. Studies have shown that that many items placed in trash bins could be recycled but aren’t. The program is currently only available to those residents with curbside trash and recycling pick up as provided by the city.

The second program is being called the “Green Organics Curbside Collection” initiative, which offers residents, for a fee of five dollars per month, a large container for organic yard waste. This option will provide residents with a convenient way to properly dispose of grass clippings, branches, garden scraps, tree leaves, and other yard materials in an easy, convenient manner. The program will be implemented gradually throughout select neighborhoods to gauge effectiveness.

The two new programs are a part of the city’s strategic waste diversion plan, Reimagine Phoenix, which outlines steps for the city to reach a forty percent waste diversion rate by the year 2020.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Whether you’re trying to improve your recycling rate at home, at your business or in your community, it’s important to try creative, new solutions and involve every person. If everyone does their part, and has a vested interest in saving money and adopting sustainable practices, then your waste reduction and recycling plans have a much better chance of success.

EPA Announces Grants To Reduce Diesel Emissions

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced over two million dollars in grants available through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) to businesses and municipalities on the West Coast and in the Pacific Island Territories. The grants, designed to help reduce the amount of diesel emissions released into the environment by heavy construction equipment and large vehicles such as buses and tractor trailers, will be administered through the West Coast Collaborative and the EPA.

The funds will be used to clean up ninety three heavy- and medium-duty diesel engines, and reduce nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and carbon dioxide. By helping to promote clean diesel technology, the emissions reductions will help to improve environmental conditions in communities where older diesel engines can be found. The project is also expected to bring about public health benefits as well.

Some of the West Coast Collaborative projects for the prior year were:

  • California Air Resources Board: to retrofit diesel school buses.
  • Pima Association of Governments: replaced diesel school buses with natural gas buses.
  • Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management: replaced diesel garage trucks with renewable natural gas generated from food waste.
  • South Coast Air Quality Management: replaced older school buses with fully electric powered buses.
  • Port of Oakland: repowered diesel rubber tire cranes with Hybrid Electric Power.
  • Arizona’s Office of Energy Policy: repowered old construction equipment with Tier 3 engines.
  • Puget Sound Clean Air: replaced diesel trucks with liquefied natural gas.

WastCare Wants You to Remember: Is your business or municipal leadership staying aware of funding opportunities available through the EPA? Connecting with your regional office, or following the national agency’s news releases, can help to prepare you to take advantage of these grant programs when they arise!

Food Waste Bans Coming to New England

The New England state of Massachusetts is looking to have all restaurant patrons and owners have a “clean plate” when it comes to food scraps. The Energy and Environmental Affairs office for the state is looking to turn unwanted food into clean energy by enacting a ban on food waste disposal for commercial enterprises such as restaurants.

The plan, which is still in the preliminary stages, would require any business that generates a minimum of one ton of organic food waste per week to repurpose or donate the food. If approved, the plan would begin July 1, 2014. Most smaller, independent businesses would not meet the minimum threshold, but large restaurants, colleges, universities, large schools, hospitals, hotels and large office buildings with internal cafeterias would.

The plan would have collected food waste shipped to an anaerobic digestion facility for conversion into a biogas used in the creation of electricity and heat. Food scraps could also be shipped to a composting or animal-feed facility. The state is currently offering three million dollars in low-interest loans to private waste and recycling companies looking to develop their operations to include energy from organic waste production.

Organic food waste makes up close to twenty five percent of the waste stream being disposed of in landfills and incinerators. If enacted, the ban would help the state reach its goal of reducing the waste stream by thirty percent by 2020.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Food and organic waste has plenty of value – either as community donations, composting, animal feed, or as an energy source. If you’re still paying to dispose of your food waste, it’s time to look into solutions that could possibly save you money. By going green with food waste, you might save “green” every year!



For more information about AD, go to MassDEP’s website.

More Recycled Plastic Used In Bottles

The Californians Against Waste consumer and environmental advocacy group recently announced that Arrowhead bottle water, manufactured by Nestle Waters, will use fifty percent of recycled PET plastic content in all bottles the company makes.

In addition, the bottle’s shape will be redesigned so that it requires fifteen percent less energy to produce. A considerable amount of the recycled plastic will be sourced regionally by CarbonLITE, a recycling facility located in Riverside, California.

Currently, the state collects close to seventy percent of plastic bottles for recycling. In recent years, in excess of two hundred million pounds of PET plastic has been collected annually and re-sold for manufacturing purposes. The state would like to see that number increase to three hundred million pounds in the coming years.

PET plastic can be recycled and reused many times without impacting quality and is the ideal substance for manufacturing high-grade beverage bottles.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Does your business or facility have designated recycling for plastic bottles? If so, are your employees recycling them or mistakenly disposing of them with the trash? PET Plastic is desirable on the recycling market so every bottle that is put in the trash costs you twice: to acquire it and then to dispose of it. Save green every month on your disposal fees when you “go green” and commit to recycling as much as you can!

Reducing Waste And Energy At Work

Looking for some ways to cut back on the amount of electricity you use at home or work for operating equipment, cooling, and heating? Here are some tips provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Not only will they help to preserve the environment, but they’ll also results in cost savings!

1. Take control of your office equipment

One of the simplest things you can do to save energy and money at both work and home is to power down your computer and office equipment when not in use. Keeping non-essential computers shut off when not at home or work will result in immediate savings!

2. Invest in ENERGY STAR appliances

ENERGY STAR appliances are available in sixty different product groups ranging from lighting, cooling and heating, commercial equipment and computer and office tools. Spending a little more in up-front cost will save you money every month on your utility bills!

3. Get your building ENERGY STAR approved

Did you know that buildings can also earn an ENERGY STAR-label? Be sure your building’s facilities manager is aware of this program and working on way to attain it!

4. Green Your Transportation

Some popular options can include offering incentives for using carpools, public transportation,, biking, or telecommuting. If your business uses a fleet of cars or trucks, investigate the EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide when it’s time to update for the latest in fuel efficiency.

5. Recycle, reuse, reduce

Another easy solution to implement is buy only what is needed, use what you have as long as is reasonable, and recycle as much waste material as possible.

6. Go Green Power

The EPA’s Green Power Partnership provides information on how to switch to green power sources for both your home and business use.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: There are many tips and strategies that you can use at home and work to make small changes in both your utilities budget and the environment. Trying one or two for a month of two will show you the results!


Smaller Cities Explore Landfill Gas Opportunities

More and more smaller cities and towns are successfully turning landfill gas into vehicle fuel despite the fact that they are a small city with less landfill space and resources. Thanks to new scientific enhancements, smaller landfills can now efficiently generate fuel at economical costs.

When the practice of turning landfill gas to vehicle fuel was first introduced, it was only cost efficient for the largest of landfills as the minimum requirement was one thousand cubic feet of landfill gas per minute. However, the technology is now available so that disposal sites producing even a few hundred cubic feet per minute can take advantage and harness the gas into usable energy.

The development and use of landfill gas has been very successful over the past few years in the United States and due to its growth, municipalities are now looking for ways to use it to generate electricity as well as to pipe the vehicle fuel directly to users and buyers. For municipalities that have fleets of cars and trucks to maintain, landfill gas is a great way to control for skyrocketing gasoline prices imported from other countries.

For example, in Washington Parish, Louisiana, fifteen parish-owned vehicles are now completely fueled by landfill gas. In St. Landry Parish, the landfill gas program generates ten gallons of gasoline each hour and is used to fuel vehicles for both garbage and recycling collection and the sheriff’s department.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: What are your elected officials doing to embrace new technologies like turning landfill gas into vehicle fuel? Whether you’re a business owner, a home-owner, or just an interested citizen, encouraging your community to go green will help to save everyone money!

Avoid Illegal Construction Dumping

While it might be tempting to avoid waste removal fees by dumping construction materials illegally in remote or deserted locations, the outcome of a recent court case in California should change your mind. A California contractor and construction firm has been ordered to pay $170,000 in fines for illegally dumping waste materials in a  protected wetlands areas while working on the construction of a strip mall.

In addition, the company will also have to pay another $150k to assist in the rehabilitation and repair of the nine acres that were polluted and contaminated by their waste materials. The case involved over two hundred construction waste loads from large dump trucks being illegally dumped into protected wetlands essential to salmon and steelhead populations.The river where the dumping occurred is considered impaired due to low dissolved oxygen, excessive sediment loads, and high water temperatures.

The illegal dumping happened from 2005 to 2008 and polluted over four acres of wetlands and violated the Clean Water Act, a federal regulation designed to  protect our country’s coasts, lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands, which are vital to human health and the well-being of our environment.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Cutting corners to save in waste disposal fees is never a good idea. Resorting to illegal dumping will certainly land you and your company in hot water!

Recycling for Construction and Demolition

Construction waste is a large part of the total waste stream in the United States. While most construction waste is sent to landfills, it is estimated that 90% of this material is reusable or recyclable. Recycling construction waste can help to preserve natural resources and save businesses and consumers money. Common construction items that have the potential for recycling include wood, carpet, paint, wallboard, metal, and plastic.

There are 3 methods that construction contractors can use to improve recycling:

  1. Collecting Mixed Materials – In this method, all materials for recycling are transported to a designated facility, which then arranges the sorting and recycling process.
  2. Separation at the Source – In this method, construction materials targeted for recycling are sorted from other items at the site by category (such as metal, wood, and concrete) and then transported to recycling facilities.
  3. Processing On-Site – In this method,  materials identified for recycling are processed on site and made ready for reuse.

The cost benefits that can result from construction recycling include: reduction in disposal and transportation costs, reduction in the need for new materials, and the potential for reduced labor costs.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Taking the time to effectively recycle C&D waste materials helps to save your company money while keeping materials out of landfills.


Clean Sweep for Commercial Pesticides

Individuals states have been reducing pollution and contamination for more than twenty years by collecting chemical waste. Since many chemical waste programs are designed for individual residences, farmers and ranchers are prohibited from utilizing them. However, many states have also enacted “Clean Sweep” programs that are designed for ranchers, farmers, and others involved in industries using chemical pesticides.

In states offering Clean Sweep programs, it is often the department of agriculture which organizes and oversees the program. In some states, Clean Sweep programs are limited to ranchers and farmers, but other states make participation available to pest control businesses, golf courses, lawn maintenance companies, homeowners, etc. These programs are generally supplied funding through pesticide registration fees, the EPA, and state funds. Many states offering Clean Sweep use single day events, similar to electronic-waste collection methods, as their primary collecting effort, but the opportunities vary from state to state. Most Clean Sweep programs require preregistration so business interested in participating should contact their state’s department of agriculture or municipal transfer station to learn more. The hazardous chemical waste that is collected is then transported and disposed in a high-temperature incinerator through an appropriate contractor thus ensuring safe disposal that will not contaminate the soil or surrounding groundwater.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If chemical waste is generated through your everyday business activities, contact your state’s Department of Agriculture to learn more about Clean Sweep programs. They can help you to help save the environment and cut back on disposal costs!