Ohio City Boosts Recycling Efforts

Officials and administrators from the mid-western city of Columbus, Ohio, have recently decided to expand its municipal waste recycling program to include services to apartment complexes and condominium buildings. In many municipalities multi-family residences are excluded from city run waste collection, with property owners required to contract with private waste haulers for trash removal and recycling services.

Columbus’ Department of Public Service is set to expand the city’s RecyColumbus program in early March of next year. To be eligible to participate in the city’s new service offering, condo complexes and apartment buildings, along with new row-house and town-home developments in certain city neighborhoods, must have sufficient space for storage of the sixty-four-gallon recycling bins that the city requires for its biweekly recycling collections.

In addition, starting in early March, the city will also launch a weekly yard waste collection program. This is an enhancement in service from the current alternating week pick up schedule. City officials hope that the weekly pick ups for outdoor organic material will make the waste collection system more efficient and simpler for resident to participate in.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re a landlord or multi-unit property owner or manager, it pays to have your municipality involved with recycling services. The more tenants or renters recycle, the less you need to pay for trash disposal services! Going green can save you green!

Tips For Recycling Vehicle Antifreeze

If your business is responsible for managing and maintaining vehicles, then it’s important to understand the regulations for the proper use and disposal of antifreeze. Antifreeze is typically added to water in the cooling systems of cars, trucks, and marine craft to adjust the freezing point. Antifreeze is considered to be toxic to both people and animals as it contains lead, chromium, and cadmium in levels high enough to be considered a hazardous waste. Because of this, many states strictly regulate the disposal of antifreeze and make it illegal to dispose of it by dumping onto open land, sewers, storm drains, or septic systems as the heavy metal can contribute to drinking water problems and harm the wildlife and humans living in that community.

For businesses that rely on a regular use of antifreeze, establishing an antifreeze recycling program can reduce waste disposal costs and reduce the amount you need to spend on new materials. Recycling antifreeze by reconditioning it with special additives costs a fraction of what purchasing new would be and is relatively easy to do.

Recycling antifreeze is first done by removing contaminants such as oil and dirt and then adding select chemicals that extends the life of ethylene glycol, the primary ingredient in antifreeze. Ethylene glycol is derived from natural gas and has a very long effective lifespan, so it can maintain its usefulness for a longer period of time. The Earth911 organization can assist you in finding an authorized antifreeze recycling business or would like to learn more about the technology and chemical needed to perform this kind of recycling on your business site.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Antifreeze is a hazardous substance and needs to be properly stored, used, and disposed of. If your business frequently uses antifreeze, exploring recycling options, either in-house or through an authorized agent, may help you score points with customers for “going green” while saving money on purchase and disposal costs!


Virginia Town Doubles Recycling Rate

A city in the state of Virginia has improved its recycling and reduced waste disposal by making one simple change: increasing the size of recycling containers for curbside recycling services.

City administrators in Colonial Heights, Virginia have been amazed at the results since requiring the use of a ninety six gallon recycling container starting July 1 of 2012, instead of the smaller bin which had been used previously.

After one full year of data collection, the city’s seventeen thousand residents improved their recycling rate by an additional five hundred and forty tons of waste materials. Curbside recycling also doubled with an estimated sixty percent of all households participating.

But the biggest reward has been the amount of savings the city has seen. By enhancing recycling, Colonial Heights saved two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The funds will be used to purchase new playground equipment, make enhancements to the public safety communication system, and complete some renovation work on the town’s baseball field.

In addition, residents earned redeemable points and coupons every time they put out their recycling cart. The points could then be used at participating local restaurants and stores. The business involved with the recycling program reported an extra eighteen thousand dollars in new business as a result of the partnership.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Everybody wins when waste disposal decreases and waste recycling increases! Not only did Colonial Heights save money which it can use for other community projects, but residences and businesses were rewarded with coupons, perks, and new customers. Wouldn’t a similar system be great to have in your town? It’s possible!

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!

Mariners Win Recycling Championship

The Seattle Mariners professional baseball team with be partnering with BASF Corporation for the second year in a row to sponsor and promote Safeco Field’s Sustainable Saturdays waste recycling.

In this partnership, BASF sponsors the “zero waste” recycling locations and bins during games. Last year, the collective effort between BASF, the Mariners, and game attendees resulted in diverting two million pounds of waste material from regional landfills and saved the franchise and field over one hundred and twenty eight thousand dollars in waste disposal fees. It is estimated that the Sustainable Saturday program was responsible for diverting more than eighty six percent of waste generated at games.

Due to their recycling achievements in 2012, Major League Baseball awarded the Seattle Mariners the distinction of Recycling Champions for the American League division. For this year’s season, the team’s pitcher, Felix Hernandez will be working with BASF on a food waste composting promotion by giving away over ten thousand kitchen compost containers at an upcoming game. Attendees will be encouraged to compost their food not only at the stadium during game day but also in the own homes every day.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Sometimes it takes teamwork and collaboration to make strides in recycling. If your business is in entertainment or recreation, how can strategic relationships be created to boost recycling efforts, save in disposal fees, and make an environmental impact? Good publicity might be right around the corner if you do!


Zero Waste Goals For Manufacturing

International manufacturing firm, Procter & Gamble, announced that it has recently attain zer waste status at forty five of its production facilities worldwide.

The company, which makes household products and personal care items reduced its overall waste generation by sixty eight percent within the last five years. For the forty five manufacturing facilities receiving the zero waste designation, the goal was attained by recycling, reuse, and converting waste material into renewable energy. Less than one percent of all waste generated was sent to landfills.

Procter & Gamble’s long-term environmental strategic plan include attaining the zero waste designation at all of their facilities and using one hundred percent recycled or renewable materials in all the products the make. Reaching the zero waste status for the first forty five facilities helps to plan the transition for the remainder as well as provide a plan of what can be done more efficiently and effectively in the future. The overall goal is to conserve resources and save money while reducing the company’s demands of the environment.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Think your business is too big or too small to have a goal of zero waste? Think again! If you’re looking to save money on waste disposal start looking at ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Even boosting your waste diversion rate ten percent can result in big savings over the course of a year!

Is One Bin The Wave Of The Future?

The city of Houston, Texas recently was awared a one million dollar grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to launch its “One Bin for All” recycling initiative. This innovative new idea, where residents use only one bin for both trash and recyclable materials, with all waste materials being sorted off site, may revolutionize how cities can take control and maximize  recycling.

The awarded funds will be used to create a new recycling facility, expected to open in 2015. Houston currently has a recycling rate of fourteen percent but curb side recycling pick up is only offered to a third of them. All other residents must take their recycling to designated drop off locations.

Waste management officials in Houston are hopeful that new technologies will make the screening process in determining garbage from “gold” easier and more effective at the new facility.

Houston isn’t alone in moving to this trend. Montgomery, Alabama has already started construction on their new facility and will be moving to try to “one bin” method. Facilities operating this way use equipment such as ballistic shredders, density separators, optical scanners, and other technologies to sort waste materials into twenty different recyclable categories – including food and organic waste materials.

Once up and running, Houston hopes to reach a landfill diversion rate of seventy five percent.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Remember that there isn’t just one way to handle waste disposal and recycling. If you’re trying to cut disposal fees, it pays to look at a variety of methods and track your program for effectiveness. If something doesn’t work as well as you hoped, don’t give up – simply try something new!


ENERGY STAR Ratings for Commercial Buildings

Many people know that ENERGY STAR ratings can be found on appliances such as dis washers, refrigerators, and hot water tanks, but if you are a commercial builder or construction professional, did you know that the ENERGY STAR rating can also be awarded for commercial buildings and industrial and manufacturing facilities?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies building that meet their energy performance guidelines for utilizing less energy, reducing operating expenses, and cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions compared to the standard in their work sector. Commercial and manufacturing facilities account for close to fifty percent of energy use in the United States at an anticipated cost in excess of two hundred billion dollars annually.

For over ten years, the U.S. EPA has collaborated with businesses and builders to cut greenhouse gasses by utilizing best-practices for energy management. To be eligible for the ENERGY STAR rating, a facility must earn a score of seventy five or better on the EPA’s energy scale, showing that the building exceeds seventy five percent of comparable buildings nationwide. Many different kinds of building are eligible for the designation including, but not limited to: Bank branches, auto assembly plants, data centers, commercial buildings, manufacturing facilities, courthouses, dormitories, baking facilities, cement plants, financial centers, glass manufacturers, hospitals, hotels, petroleum refineries, houses of worship, schools, medical offices, paper manufacturers, retailers, supermarkets, and warehouses. To learn more visit the EPA’s website or contact your regional office.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: An ENERGY STAR building requires some thought and planning, but taking that time before construction can save big money for many years into the future. If you’re a commercial builder be sure to speak with your clients about the ENERGY STAR rating and how valuable a distinction it can be!

Walgreens Embraces Green Building Techniques

Walgreens, the popular pharmacy and drug store retail chain, is scheduled to build its first fully self-powered green commercial building utilizing geothermal, wind, and solar building technologies.

The store recently announced its plans to go “net zero” energy usage and become a leader in green building for retail and commercial use. Environmentally friendly construction techniques have grown in popularity in those business sectors with high energy usage such as data centers and manufacturing plants but retails locations have been slower to embrace the change.

The new, environmentally friendly store will be constructed in Evanston, Illinois, and is replacing an old Walgreens store that was energy ineffective and required updating. Customers coming to the new store probably won’t see much of a difference, but behind the scenes there will be wind turbines and solar panels, geothermal heat, LED lighting, and high efficiency refrigeration.

Designers of the store believe that when finished, the facility will produce more energy than it consumes therefore eliminating the monthly energy costs from the red into the black.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Even if you don’t have the word “green” in your business name like Walgreens does, you can still embrace smart green building techniques the next time your facility needs updating or new construction. Not only can these enhancements save you money in the long run, but they might even get your business some good press for being forward-thinking and environmentally conscious!

Go Green In Your Office This Spring

Did you know that the United States Environmental Protection Agency offers plenty of ideas and resources for businesses looking to reduce waste, reduce costs, and protect the environment?  Regardless of your business sector or how many employees you might have, chances are you have an front office that handles accounts payable, accounts receivables, bookkeeping, payroll, and customer inquiries. Here are a handful of tips that can help cut back on your waste and office costs:

  1. Use re-usable paperclips instead of staples to hold documents together
  2. Use the reverse side of unwanted documents as scrap paper for taking notes, phone call messages, and to-do lists.
  3. Make sure you have a recycle bin for paper, cans, plastics, and other recyclable goods! The more you recycle the less you have to pay to dispose of it as garbage.
  4. Reuse file folders and inter-office envelopes by placing a new label over the old writing
  5. Store documents online instead of printing out and storing in a file cabinet.
  6. Use a rubber stamp for your return address or pre-printed envelopes instead of printed labels.
  7. Always print double-sided pages and use a draft printer setting for documents that aren’t important – that will save you ink and paper!
  8. Pay bills via e-billing programs or offer direct deposit. That saves on printing checks and mailing them.
  9. Recycle or donate unwanted or outdated computer and electronics equipment.
  10. Encourage car-pooling, biking, or providing bus passes. Consider flexible or alternate work schedules to reduce heating and air conditioning use during peak times of the year.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business wants to cut costs and take an active role in preserving the world we live in, there’s no shortage of ideas to try! If you’re just starting out with “going green” pick a few changes that you can easily implement in your workplace or office. Once you start the recycling habit, and see the amount of money you can save, you’ll never go back to your old ways!