Cutting Edge E-Waste Recycling In Illinois

The Michigan-based company, 3S International, recently announced that they have opened a new electronics waste processing facility in Tinley Park, Illinois.

The sixty thousand square foot recycling processing facility contains 3S’s BLUBOX recycling equipment. BLUBOX contains the technology needed to reduce unwanted e-waste into recyclable pieces and safely extract elements, including mercury – at a rate of fifteen million pounds of electronics each year. 3S is currently the only company in the U.S. with the rights to use BLUBOX technology.

In the United States every year, millions of tons of computers and personal electronics are thrown away. While close to eighty percent of all e-waste materials are given over to specialized recyclers, the pieces often shipped overseas, re-sold, or sent to specialized landfills. Based on the results of BLUBOX recyclable processing, 3S will not have a need or reason to re-sell or landfill any of the electronics sent to them for processing.

3S currently collects and receives unwanted and unusable electronics throughout the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan and has the ability to handle  the e-waste recycling needs of six million people each year. The company’s goal is to open close to ten new electronics processing recycling facilities throughout the United States within the next few years.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If old cell phones, computers, gaming systems, and personal electronics are clogging up your home or office, it’s time to clean-up and start recycling! Even if you aren’t in an area that 3S services, chances are there’s a convenient e-waste drop off location at a local store, transfer station, non-profit group or house of worship, or municipal building. Many e-recycling events are publicized in local newspapers, or on radio and television stations, so get those dates on your calendar and get ready to recycle those unwanted items!

Waste Recycling Stations Boost Diversion Rate

As a result of using Farmers Brothers specially designed GreenDrop Recycling Stations, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) professional team the Portland Trail Blazers and the Moda Center arena where they play were able to increase the facility’s waste diversion rate to slightly over ninety percent during the 2013 season. This rate is a significant jump when compared to the thirty eight percent waste diversion rate the sports franchise had during the 2007 basketball season. The recycling containers are used to collected all waste generated at the stadium including plastic, paper, and food waste.

The GreenDrop Stations are just of Farmer Brothers custom recycling solutions designed to assist organizations and businesses increase their recyclable and compostable waste and decrease the amount of waste needing to be sent to landfills. The company, which is based in Torrance, California, is committed to developing waste management solutions that can result in one hundred percent diversion rates and zero waste facilities.

Farmer Brothers has currently developed a new waste recycling program to remove an estimated one and a half million pounds of packaging waste that would otherwise be sent to landfills. They have also launched a successful recycling and re-use program for turning over five hundred thousand pounds of coffee bags and containers into landscaping materials for weed control in empty lot reclamation projects throughout California.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: When it comes to saving money on waste disposal, it pays to think creatively! How can materials that might otherwise end up in the landfill be used again or sold and re-purposed into something else? Whether it’s using better recycling bins to motive your employees to recycle more or finding ways to compost food waste, thinking outside the box can help you to go green and save green at the same time.


Panasonic Begins Recycling Program For Rechargeable Batteries

The Power Tools Division of Panasonic and the not for profit group Call2Recycle are collaborating to launch a new recycling and waste management program for rechargeable batteries.

The Secaucus, New Jersey -based Panasonic Corporation of North America will be working with Athlanta, Georgia – based Call2Recycle and customers of Panasonic’s power tools to ensure that collection boxes are well positioned for assembly line workers to place used rechargeable batteries removed from recycled cordless tools. All rechargeable battery packs and battery cells weighing less than eleven pounds will be collected and recycled by Call2Recycle. As part of the new initiative, Call2Recycle will also provide educational programs and materials for customers and retailers to explain how the program will to improve recycling and keep batteries out of landfills.

The new, national recycling strategic plan for all Panasonic power tools replaces the company’s prior recycling model which relied on a patchwork of various battery recycling vendors and services which varied by region and customer location. The new plan allows for great stability and make for a uniform service provided to all stores and customers regardless of location. It is also expected that the new program will help to increase recycling levels.

The collected and recycled used batteries will be shipped to an approved battery processing facility, which will dismantle the batteries and manufacture the components into new materials for use in new batteries or steel alloy products.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business or tool storage room has old batteries collecting dust, make sure you connect with your local waste transfer station or battery manufacturer to see if recycling opportunities are available. Many municipalities charge extra fees to dispose of batteries, due to their toxic and hazardous qualities, so recycling may be a way to save money and save the environment!


Airline Reduces Waste With Green Cups

International airline carrier, United Airlines, has recently announced that it will introduce a brand new, green friendly hot beverage cup to use in its United Club in-flight drink service and hospitality rooms starting in March of 2014.

In the news release, the Chicago-based airline discussed the company’s shift to using an insulated InCycle Cup to replace the Styrofoam coffee cups that are currently in use. The new cup is completely recyclable and manufactured from fifty percent recycled materials. The InCycle cup is produced in the United States by MicroGreen Polymers.

MicroGreen’s technology for their recyclable beverage cups comes from re-using recycled water bottles and other beverage bottles made of plastic. One recycled plastic bottle creates four and one half InCycle cups. The InCycle cup is insulated, which eliminating more waste by removing the need for a hot beverage protective sleeve.

The switch comes as part of United’s strategy to evaluate all operational recycling to discover new opportunities to cut waste disposal and boost cost effective recycling. Additionally, the airline is simplifying the recycling process for flight attendants and grounds workers to increase overall recycling amounts. Over the prior six years, United recycled almost twenty four million pounds of waste materials generated through its aircraft and on-ground facilities.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: The market for recycled materials is always changing and improving. When was the last time you looked for environmentally friendly and waste reducing alternative products for your business or home? If it’s been some time, you might want to check again. You could be pleasantly surprised by the cost of green friendly products and how much money you’ll be able to save in the long run when you stop putting garbage in the trash and start recycling it instead!


EPA OKs Recycled Coal Ash For Concrete And Wallboard

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently approved waste coal ash as an acceptable recycled material to be used in the production of concrete and wallboard for construction purposes. Coal ash is the leftover waste material when coal boilers are used for steam power generation in large-scale industrial settings.

In a recent press release, the EPA stated that it had determined that using CCR’s or coal combustion residuals in construction materials such as wallboard and concrete is an acceptable alternative to the use of virgin materials or to other waste materials that rank less favorably on the EPA’s environmental benchmarks and well-being scale.

The EPA determined that the waste coal ash could be used as a portland cement substitute in concrete as an alternative to mined gypsum in wallboard. As nearly half of all coal ash is currently used in cement and wallboard, the EPA approval will help to boost sustainability and further lessen environmental impacts. Currently, a little more than half of all coal ash produced is placed in landfills – the more opportunities there are for the recycled material to be used productively, the less need there is for ground surface space to dispose of it.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Staying aware of the latest EPA developments can help you and your business save money. If your business deals with coal ash residues or concrete and wallboard, this recent approval may help you to reduce your disposal costs or reduce the price of commonly used materials. Paying attention to news from the EPA and your state’s environmental agency can help keep you in the know about grant opportunities, legal changes, and training and development programs that can help your business, employees, and community!


College Moves To Reusable Containers

In Ohio, Ashland University will join a popular movement on college campuses throughout the country by implementing the use of reusable takeout containers in their dining halls and commissaries.

The way the reusable containers work is similar to a re-usable water container. Students purchase a polypropylene food container for a few dollars and then bring it with them when purchasing food to-go, such as pizza, salads, sandwiches, or pasta. After eating, students simply rinse out the containers and place then in specially designed collection receptacles on campus.

The reusable containers are then washed and sanitized and placed back into circulation. Students simply pick up another container the next time they buy take-out food.

In addition to students, college faculty and staff are also being encouraged to participate.

Interest in programs like this are growing in interest outside of colleges as well. In Portland, Oregon, several food trucks that service the downtown area have started offering customers the reusable containers as well.

One of the benefits of the reusable containers are that they are dishwasher safe and can be placed in microwaves. Made of break-resistant, recyclable PP and can safely be used up to seven hundred times.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: The reusable products market is always changing. New products are developed and products that were formerly expensive, begin to drop in price. It pays to stay in the know about the relevant choices in your industry – what may have been cost prohibitive in pasty years may be cost effective now!

Using Surveys To Reduce Waste

The Department of Health and Environment in the state of Kansas is opting to use an online survey to evaluate the state’s practices to reduce solid waste and make recommendations for what needs improvement. Kansas defines solid waste as all refuse, including garbage, tires and discarded materials from agricultural, commercial, industrial, and domestic activities.

The survey will be collecting both residential and commercial-owners’ thoughts on recycling services, how to properly dispose of e-waste, and if taxes on paint and mattresses should be imposed to help fund waste reduction programs.

The state’s Bureau of Waste Management is administering the survey and collecting all information. The survey will be available to all through mid-August.

In addition to the survey, the Department of Health and Environment will also be collecting and preparing information about state-wide trends in composting, recycling, and waste disposal.

The final report will be delivered to the Legislature in early 2014 and help policymakers decide if new regulations are needed to improve waste management and recycling practices.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: When your business is looking to evaluate waste management and recycling practices, it’s a smart move to go directly to your employees and ask them what is working and what could be improved. When you engage all members of your team in cutting costs and going “green” you have a better chance of success!


New Paint Take Back Programs

In the state of Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton has signed into law a requirement that all paint manufacturers contribute to and support a take-back recycling program for consumer paint purchases. Such a law has been discussed and proposed since 2008 but did not receive full support until this year.

In 2008, Minnesota was the first state in the nation to introduce legislation that would create producer responsibility for recycling unwanted or unused paint. Since that time,  five other states have passed laws governing this form of waste. Those states are Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, California, and Oregon, with Minnesota being sixth.

The paint recycling program in Minnesota will be funded through container fees that manufacturers are required to pay to PaintCare, a not-for-profit organization that will implement and oversee the recycling program throughout the state. All paint manufacturers who wish to sell products within the state will be required by law to register with PaintCare.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Paint helps to make our homes and offices look beautiful but unwanted and unused cans of paint can be an environmental and health hazard. If you aren’t in a state with a paint take-back program, be sure to contact your local  transfer station of environmental protection office to make sure you are aware of the proper disposal methods!

Recycling Asphalt On The Rise

Indicating that the construction and transportation sectors are looking to cut costs by using recycled materials, it was reported that in 2011 the highest levels to date of warm-mix asphalt had been used in the construction of new pavement for roads, driveways, and parking lot areas. Warm mix is a form of asphalt that is generated using recycled asphalt siding shingles and reclaimed pavement.

It is estimated that almost seventy million tons of recycled asphalt-based waste materials were collected in 2011 as a result of reconstruction and demolition work. The unwanted asphalt is then sold for reuse in the manufacturing of new pavement.

Another benefit of the warm-mix asphalt is that it requires less energy use to produce the same quality level of traditionally manufacture pavements. As a result, businesses save money by using it both in not needing as much in raw materials but also in the energy costs to produce it. Due to the lower production temperature, there are also less emissions that occur during the paving process. Users of the warm mix method claim the product has a high level of performance while helping to make the construction of roads and driveways a bit more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business is responsible for or involved in the construction of roads, parking lots, or driveways, informing your customers about the benefits of recycled asphalt is something they may want to hear. And don’t forget! If you have unwanted or old asphalt materials, don’t pay to dispose of them before you investigate their market value!


Alternative Wood Decking Increases Plastic Film Recycling

Southern California alternative wood decking manufacturer Trex, is increasing its collection of thin-film plastics in its home-base and hopes to expand operations throughout the country.

Since 2008, Trex has partnered with regional dry cleaners, grocery stores, hospitals, and the San Diego Padres’ Petco Park for collecting the unwanted lightweight plastic film and bags it uses in the manufacturing of wood alternative decking and construction materials. Trex decking is made of ninety five percent recycled material, combining sawdust with recycled items such as bread and sandwich bags, plastic newspaper sleeves, and grocery and dry cleaning bags.

Using compressed-air mini-balers, Trex has able to make the collection and storing of the waste materials easier and less expensive for their participating partners. Company officials hope that it is this convenience and ease of use that will allow operations to expand in the coming years.

In 2011, over one billion pounds of plastic film and bags were recycled in the United States. More than half of all that recycled plastic material was acquired by the businesses in the plastic and alternative decking and construction materials industry.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: In construction and remodeling, the alternative materials market is a growing one. The plastic grocery bags you choose to recycle today not only help reduce trash in landfills but they also help new “green” businesses to grow and develop!