Increased Carton Recycling Yields Benefits

In the first quarter of 2014, the ability to recycle beverage and food cartons was provided to more than one million households across the nation. This latest enhancement in municipal recycling services brings the total amount of residences with carton recycling opportunities to almost fifty seven million.

Nearly all states offer carton recycling: South Dakota joined the list last year at number forty six and other states, such as New York and Ohio, which have had carton recycling in place for years, enhanced recycling services to increase the overall number of eligible households. Additional services have also been provided in Tampa, Florida and Memphis, Tennessee specifically for carton recycling. The Carton Council of North America hopes that with these gains in recycling accessibility, carton recycling will reach the fifty five percent mark nationwide.

In 2013, carton recycling was adopted by two states and increased just slightly over sixteen percent. Carton manufacturers, who frequently can utilize recycled material in the production of new cartons, contribute the increase in recycling to educating consumers, providing accessible recycling opportunities to residents and businesses, and the support of local governments and businesses to make recycling and waste reduction a priority. Consumer access to carton recycling has increased one hundred and sixty percent in four years and that increase is reflected in the total weight of cartons being sent for recycling instead of landfills.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Is carton recycling readily available in your city or town? Take a moment to review your state and local government’s list of recyclable materials and make sure you’re correctly distinguishing your waste materials from your waste recycling. Staying informed will help you save money in disposal costs and keep valuable materials out of landfills!

Going Green At The Golden Arches

International fast food chain McDonald’s Corporation has announced it is replacing its purchasing practice of foam polystyrene beverage cups for hot liquids such as coffee and tea and starting to purchase paper-constructed cups. The corporate-level decision was made as a result of customers asking for containers that were constructed with a higher recycled content and less environmental impact.

The Oak Brook, Illinois restaurant chain anticipates that its fourteen thousand United States locations will begin to switch over to the new beverage line throughout the winter and spring months of 2014.

The switch from foam to paper has been in the evaluation phase for some time. In 2012 the company conducted a test pilot with two thousand stores replacing the long-used foam coffee cups with extra-thick paper cups. The test results confirmed that customers were pleased with the switch and that the quality of the beverages was not compromised in any way. Recent changes and innovations in the manufacturing of high-quality paper cups made of recycled materials also resulted in making them a cost effective alternative to the standard polystyrene foam cups that have been in use for decades.

While paper cups still require some energy and chemicals to produce, they are easy to recycle, degrade quickly and put less of an overall strain on the environment.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Whether you run a large restaurant chain or operate a single-location corner sandwich shop, it’s worth the time to investigate environmentally-friendly products such as beverage containers. The more your customers can recycle, the less you need to dispose of in the trash. When you go green you can save green too!

Recycling Returns To New Orleans

It’s taken close to nine years, but the Louisiana city of New Orleans is now officially re-launching curbside recycling services for both residents and businesses living and operating in the Central Business District and French Quarter of the city.

The waste recycling services will be available for all residents and small businesses in those neighborhoods starting at the end of January, 2014. It is estimated that over four thousand residential and business locations will be eligible for the curbside recycling pick-ups. All recycling services are expected to happen on a weekly schedule for those in the target neighborhoods. Waste materials that will be accepted for recycling include all forms of paper, paperboard and cardboard, plastic beverage and food containers, and metal containers and cans.

Recycling services to these areas have been suspended since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the region. The Sanitation Department for the city is currently distributing eighteen-gallon size bins to residents and businesses at no additional cost. While these recycling bins are slightly smaller than those used in other neighborhoods the city hopes they will be easier to use and store for businesses and homes with limited space.

Curbside recycling services are currently available in other neighborhoods of the city for residential properties and small businesses. Residents in the historic French Quarter and Central Business District had been lobbying local officials that inclusion of their neighborhoods were necessary components to help the area achieve its municipal sustainability goals.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Whether it’s your town or business, it’s important to include everyone in your waste disposal and recycling plans. Every person, no matter where they’re located, is going to generate trash – and if you’re not making an effort to increase recycling and re-use, that’s money and profit coming out of your bottom line!

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!

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!

Save Money With Green Office Technology

If you’re looking to save your business money by reducing waste and enhancing recycling and other environmentally friendly practices, take a look at the resources provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Here are just a few of the suggestions you can try to incorporate “green” practices at work:

  • “Green” your printer by changing your settings to print double-sided pages. Use small type sizes when available and choose the “draft” option when printing to use less ink.
  • Use e-billing programs to pay routine bills for services and utilities when possible to save on postage.
  • Instead of printing paper copies of documents to store in paper file folders, save them to a computer or external device to keep records.
  • When shopping around for new cell phones or other electronics, look at leasing programs that includes proper recycling as part of the service contract.
  • Recycle or donate old cell phones and computers.
  • Re-use old documents as scrap paper
  • To encourage employees to recycle paper, make sure designated bins are easily accessible.
  • Reuse inter-office envelopes and file folders by putting a blank label over old information.
  • Use refillable tape dispensers instead of single serving ones.
  • Instead of printing labels for items such as a return address, use a customized rubber stamp and ink pad.
  • Encourage employees to use public transportation or car pooling to save on gas and pollution generation.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you want to save money in the office, it’s important to get all of your employees involved. Solicit suggestions and ideas from them and respond to their requests. Could the front office staff use recycling bins for paper? Does your sales force have an idea for reducing the cost of their cell phones? You never know who might be able to generate the biggest money saving idea!

EPA Announces Improved Recycling Rate

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that the total weight of all municipal solid waste generated and disposed of in the USA remained constant for the year 2011, compared to 2010, but that the country’s rate of recycling moved upward, improving over the prior year.

The EPA reported that Americans generated over two hundred and fifty million tons of solid waste in 2011, a near identical amount to 2010. Of that total amount of waste, almost eighty seven million tons, or 34.7% was recycled or composted. The national recycling rate for 2010 was 34.0%.

The total waste generated per person was almost four and one half pounds per day, down from 2010.

The EPA  also provides recycling rates for various waste materials. Newspapers and paper materials have a recycling rate of almost seventy three percent. Aluminum cans are recycled at close to fifty five percent and glass containers and PET plastics are recycled at  thirty four percent and twenty nine percent respectively. The biggest year over year recycling gains were seen by aluminum cans and tires due to part to their high demand on the manufacturing market.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Even small improvements in your businesses recycling rate or waste disposal rate can result in savings when you compare year to year. The important thing is to track your before and after to see what works and what doesn’t. Every company has unique waste disposal and recycling needs so if you want to save money, you need to do what’s right for your business sector!

How To Recycle Single Use Coffee Pods

Single-cup coffee makers are now a staple in today’s workplace. They can be found in staff break-rooms, kitchens, and customer reception areas. While they are very convenient and appreciated by those wanting a fresh cup of coffee or tea, the single serving pods do cause both an environmental and waste disposal concern as they are not recyclable.

It is anticipated that thirteen percent of the adults in the United States drink single-serving brewed coffee every day. This percentage is expected to increase each year as the popularity of the machines continue to grow. Luckily, coffee manufacturers are attempting to address the waste generation and recycling issue.

Most single-cup pods are made from a mix of plastic, aluminum, coffee grounds and paper. Each of those items can be recycled individually, but not when combined which is beyond the abilities of standard municipal recycling services.

Some waste reduction solutions do exist. TerraCycle provides recycling for used coffee pods and has diverted close to twenty five million capsules from landfills since 2009. Green Mountain also offers a workplace program for composting coffee grounds and recycling materials.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business relies on single serving coffee makers, take some time and look at how much waste they produce. You may discover that participating in a recycling program, or switching back to the old fashioned coffee pot, will save you more money!

US Postal Service Reduces Waste

The United States Postal Service was recently praised for waste recycling and reduction from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its involvement in the Federal Green Challenge, a program launched to reduce the environmental impact of federal agencies.

Ten post office regions were issued awards for diversion and recycling programs. The offices were: Albany, New York, District; Allentown, Pennsylvania, Airport Branch Post Office; Anchorage, Alaska, Processing and Distribution Center; Connecticut Valley District; Fort Myers, Florida, Processing and Distribution Center;  Honolulu, Hawaii, Processing and Distribution Center; Little Rock, Arkansas, Processing and Distribution Center; Mid-Hudson, New York, Processing and Distribution Center; Northern New Jersey District; and Topeka, Kansas, Material Distribution Center.

In 2012, the postal service increased its recycling rate eighteen percent from the prior year, beating its goal of a five percent increase. The recycling rate for the entire agency was forty eight percent for the year.

The eight hundred and fifty participating postal services locations across the country helping to save more than fifty two million dollars in 2012 by reducing water and energy use and recycling waste materials.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: What is your local post office and government offices doing to reduce material waste and increase recycling? Whether it’s recycling bins for paper and cardboard or carefully monitoring how much trash is disposed of weekly, there are plenty of ways to go green and save green!

Fast Food Chain Tries Composting Food Waste

The popular fast food restaurant chain White Castle is preparing to try a pilot program for composting food scraps and other organic waste at six locations throughout the Columbus, Ohio region.

The locations participating in the test program will recycle all uneaten and unused food waste and paper products. The collected refuse, which will range from coffee filters to hamburger boxes to all food products, will be composted by a locally-owned Ohio-based company. The compost that results from the program will be used for landscaping throughout each White Castle property and will also be available for sale by the general public to use in gardens, yards, and commercial landscapes.

The trial will run for six-months, and if it is determined to be successful in terms of waste collected, cost savings for landscaping, and reduction in waste disposal fees, then the chain will consider expanding the program to additional locations throughout the country.

This latest “green” program isn’t the first for White Castle, the company also decided to make the switch to recycled paper bags and materials as part of their environmental sustainability plan.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re in the restaurant business, there are many ways you can save some green by going green. Recycling more, composting, and cutting back on your garbage production is a smart move that may also earn some some positive publicity for your efforts!