Reduce C&D Waste With Deconstruction

Cutting back on the total amount of construction and demolition materials your business disposes of in combustion facilities or landfills can provide several benefits.

The first step to take is to generate less waste. Carefully pre-planning and materials costing can result in less waste materials to dispose of once the construction or remodeling / renovation project is completed. Taking these preventative steps not only help to reduce the environmental damages associated with landfill disposal, but can also save money on disposal fees, labor costs, and the need to contract with outside services or vendors.

The best way to generate and use less resources, which also helps to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, is to reduce, re-use, and recycle all C&D materials that are needed for the project. In addition, deconstruction and selective demolition can help to cut costs for large-scale renovation or building rehabilitation projects as they have the possibility to divert significant amounts of unwanted or unusable materials from landfills that can be re-sold or recycled. Materials recovered from deconstruction can often be donated to non-profit groups or charities for tax benefit.

Deconstruction can be utilized for a variety of projects. Whether it’s for an entire building or a simple room remodel, items such as cabinets, molding, shingles, historic architectural details and high quality wood have appeal on the re-sale market.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: The next time you’re working on a construction or renovation project, consider the different ways that you can reduce the amount of waste you need to dispose of in the landfill. By looking at opportunities for recycling, donation, and re-selling, you’ll be able to save green and go green on every project!

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!


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!


Glass Recycling Basics

For hundreds of years, glass has been used for containers, holding everything from foods to liquids to precious jewels and gold. But did you know that the glass that holds your water as well as the glass that is used in your computer can be recycled and re-used many times over without losing its strength and durability? Unlike many other substances which break down and lose their usability quickly, old glass has many future applications.

Americans are responsible for adding almost twelve million tons of glass to their municipal solid waste streams. However, only twenty eight percent of that total amount is recycled and put to further use. Most recycled glass comes from food and beverage containers, which can easily be placed in curb-side recycling pick-up bins or dropped off at local transfer stations. Glass is also found in items such as household appliances, furniture, and electronics such as computers and televisions.

Glass from beverage and food containers can be recycled many times over. In fact, ninety percent of all glass that is recycled is used in the manufacturing of new glass containers. Additionally, the recycled glass is used to make kitchen tiles, wall insulation, and counters. Businesses responsible for producing these items require a steady supply of crushed, recycled crushed glass to supplement their new materials. When recycled glass is in short supply, manufacturing slows, prices increase, and business suffers. However, with increased glass recycling efforts and higher recycling rates, these problems don’t have to occur.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re interested in knowing more about the benefits of glass recycling, there are three resources to consider: the Glass Packaging Institute in Washington, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries; and Clean Washington Center, which helps to develop re-sale opportunities for recycled glass.


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?


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!

Is Your Business Recycling Cartons?

Are you responsible for waste disposal operations and recycling for a restaurant, grocery store, school, or commercial building? If your facility routinely disposes of paperboard beverage cartons for milk, juice, liquids, and other beverages you may want to make sure you’re properly recycling them. Cartons are available in two types: refrigerated and shelf-stable. Refrigerated cartons are often used for milk, fruit juice, cream and dairy products, and egg substitutes. Shelf-stable cartons do not require prior refrigeration and are often used for fruit and vegetable juice, milk, milk substitutes such as soy, almond, or rice milk, soups and wine.

Right now, more than fifty one million American residential households and forty five states accept beverage cartons through curbside and drop off recycling programs. Alabama is the latest state to join in offering residents and businesses this kind of recycling. There has been a strong increase in carton recycling over the last three years when only twenty six states offered it.

Recycled carton have value in that they can be manufactured into various paper tissue products, paper goods, and building materials. The Carton Council, which helps states and municipalities establish recycling programs, works to promote carton recycling and divert used cartons from local landfill. The Carton Council does offer a mail-in program for those individuals living in areas that have not yet adopted carton recycling.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Recycling innovations and policies are always changing and being updated so it’s important to stay aware of what’s happening in your city and state. Do you typically dispose of your empty cartons by throwing them into the trash? You might be pleasantly surprised to discover from the Carton Council that they can be recycled!

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!