Hewlett-Packard Sees Boost In Cartridge Recycling

International electronic products maker Hewlett-Packard Development has recently reported that in the last calendar year, it has increased the total quantity of HP Printer ink cartridges manufactured with recycled content by fifty percent.

Based in Palo Alto, California, Hewlett-Packard sustainability representatives stated in a recent press release that greater than seventy five percent of the company’s popular HP Printer, Copier, and Multi-function ink cartridges and close to twenty five percent of its HP Laserjet toner and ink cartridges are currently produced using a method of closed-loop recycled plastic. Closed loop recycling efforts rely of individual and business consumers to return unwanted on used waste materials – often for an cash or merchandise credit incentive – and those returned materials are then re-used to create new ones.

The closed loop recycling program at Hewlett-Packard utilizes recycled plastic from consumer recycled HP ink and toner cartridges as well as recycled waste plastic from other non-HP good, such as recycled plastic bottles and plastic clothing hangers. This recycled plastic is then used to create new HP ink and toner cartridges for their printers and copiers.

In the news release, HP has stated that since its printer cartridge recycling program was launched din 1991, over five hundred and sixty six million ink cartridges have been re-used and kept out of landfills worldwide.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: How can your business better utilize the waste materials generated by employees or customers? As a result of HP collecting used ink cartridges, they not only save money on new production but they also save their customers money. Creative buy-back recycling programs can help both you and your customers!

Bottle Ban Hits San Francisco

The governing board  for the City of San Francisco has recently approved legislation that would effectively prohibit the distribution and sale of water in plastic bottle on all municipal properties. The regulation would apply to all city events, including participating vendors and city departments.

The Board of Supervisors for the City unanimously endorsed the proposal. The plan will be phased in incrementally, and by October 1, 2016 it is anticipated that all events taking place on city-owned property would be expected to comply with the plastic water bottle ban. The only exception to the rule would be in the case of running and walking events and participant sports – in those instances, bottled water would be allowed.

The regulation does need a final vote, scheduled for later in March. If that vote is successful, as it is expected to be, than the legislation would need to be signed by the City’s Mayor – another hurdle which it proponents expect to clear without problem.

When enacted, the legislation will also require that city government enhance and improve public access to water in city owned or leased properties and events.

City administrators hope the new policy will help to reduce the amount of waste generated and increase the use of re-usable water bottles and drink beverages. Additionally, it provides a cost savings to the city in no longer having to purchase bottled water for special events.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Is bottled water something your business relies heavily on? While plastic bottles can be recycled, they still cost you money. Take a look at green-friendly options and you might find a way to reduce your waste and save money every month!

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!

Court Upholds Plastic Bag Ban

The Court of Appeals in California has recently upheld the city of San Francisco’s law banning the use of single-use and thin-film plastic bags in restaurants, grocery stores, delis, and retail shops doing business within the city limits.

The court’s upholding of the law now establishes a legal precedent that additional California cities may use as they attempt to create regulations that are modeled after the San Francisco one. San Francisco’s ban applies to all non-compostable plastic bags that a business would give to a customer upon checkout as well as imposing a ten-cent fee on other types of bags, such as paper or compostable plastic, that the business would provide to customers.

San Francisco first started its plastic bag ban back in 2007, which was directed at chain supermarkets and pharmacies. The law now applies to all retailers as well as retail food establishments. The law was opposed by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, based in Los Angeles, claiming that banning plastic bags violates health and sanitation standards. It is unknown if the group will appeal the decision to a higher court. However, as the public approval for limiting plastic bags use increases throughout the state, it has become easier for both small and large communities to enact regulations that limit and restrict the use of plastic bags that cannot be recycled.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Even if your town or municipality doesn’t have regulations about plastic bag use what are you doing to limit your use of plastics that cannot be recycled or re-used? As more and more customers look to support environmentally friendly businesses, you may find that you’ll make more “green” when you adopt green-friendly business practices!


Beverage Group Promotes Bottle Recycling

International beverage group, Dr Pepper Snapple has recently renewed its corporate partnership with the Keep America Beautiful non-profit group with a commitment to issue three hundred thousand dollars worth of environmentally focused grants to assist community groups, schools, and municipalities to provide beverage bottle recycling bins and collection centers to consumers.

The Connecticut-based Keep America Beautiful recently announced the funding agreement with the Texas-based beverage and bottling manufacturer. The new funding will provide for a second year of the Keep America Beautiful Parks Recycling Grant Program, which helps to provide recycling bins in public parks of all sizes throughout the United States and promote education and public awareness campaigns to encourage citizens to recycle when visiting recreational areas.

The grant program is currently accepting applications from those agencies interested in obtaining recycling bins on its website. Non profit environmental groups affiliated with Keep America Beautiful are eligible to submit a request as well as all government agencies at the state and local levels that are responsible for recycling activities in recreational areas such as parks, community green spaces, playgrounds, athletic fields, and public green-ways.

In the grant’s first year of operation, over seven hundred recycling bins were placed in parks, athletic fields, neighborhood green-space, beaches, and walking trails. The program provided thirty three grants to agencies in twenty three states in all regions of the country.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re looking to keep your municipality clean and reduce waste, installing more recycling bins can help. Grant opportunities can help you save twice: once when you receive a bin for no charge and then again when you have less trash to dispose of in landfills!



New Source For Green Plastics

The Biodegradable Plastic Institute, has created an online database providing information about more than three thousand kinds of plastic products that are compostable and have been proven to decompose in commercial composting processing facilities.

The creation of this resource should make it easier for businesses, consumers, and those operating composting facilities to know which plastic items such as bags, thin film plastic, cups, bottles, and other containers will naturally degrade into soil.

A growing trend in many municipalities is the effort of diverting organic matter and food scraps from landfills. This action helps to reduce the need and cost of landfills and waste disposal while encouraging the production of composting which is used and values for farming, agriculture and landscaping. The demand for compostable plastics in the food-service sector is growing in response to these new recycling initiatives. The database will assist everyone with identifying biodegradable plastics products that can safely and effectively be part of the entire food production to recycling stream.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If it seems like new developments are happening all the time in the areas of waste recycling and waste disposal, it’s true! If you’re looking to save money and help the environment, it pays to stay on top of the latest news – exciting new products are coming to market every year that can help you make changes within your business or municipality.

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?


Colorado Considers Bag Fees For Retailers

The city of Durango in Colorado is joining the ranks of municipalities throughout the United States looking to curb litter and reduce waste disposal by considering a plastic ban ban. The City Council of Durango is moving incrementally toward the ban by first implementing a ten-cent fee for use of disposable plastic and paper bags.

The fee would apply only to large retail and grocery stores and the cost of implementation will be split between businesses and city government. The city is now beginning a comprehensive outreach campaign to inform all residents, consumers and businesses of the importance of using re-usable shopping bags and the environmental impact that single use plastic bags have on wildlife, the environment, and landfills throughout the state..

Some residents have expresses concern about the fees but Durango Mayor Dick White is standing strong on the fact that the elected officials need to do what is best for the long-terms health and well-being of the community. The final vote on the measure will take place later this summer, and if it passes the fee for plastic bags would being in early March of 2014.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Most people do not embrace change readily, but plastic bag bans are going to increase in popularity as time moves forward. If your business relies on plastic bags, start thinking of alternatives now – don’t wait. If you can be two steps ahead, you’ll already be prepared – and while your competition is trying to fight city hall, you’ll be taking their customers by showing how “green friendly” you are!

California Increases Plastics Recycling

Berkeley, California presidents will soon be able to recycle more varieties of plastic containers as part of the city’s curbside recycling service. Ecology Center, a not-for-profit group that has overseen Berkeley’s recycling program since the mid-1970s, will now accept clean dairy tubs, plastic cups, food storage containers, and plastic trays. Prior to the change, residents were only allowed to recycle milk jugs and plastic bottles.

The reason for the delay in accepting additional forms of  plastics was difficulty with establishing a viable market for recycling them. Ecology Center and city officials did not want to collect materials under the guise of recycling only to have them incinerated or landfilled when a recycler or manufacturer requiring those plastics could not be found.

The city presently is not accepting items such as Styrofoam, thin film plastic, compostable plastics, and plastic utensils including coffee lids. However, should a business enterprise be willing to work with the city to acquire those items, there is the possibility that the collection list could change.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Recycling your waste materials is a great idea, but you want to make sure the items you’re collecting have a value and market demand. Take time to research the opportunities that are available and plan your recycling programs accordingly for maximum benefit to the environment and your bottom line!

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!