Carpet Manufacturer Boosts Jobs With Recycling

Shaw Industries Group, the industry’s largest manufacturer of commercial and residential carpeting and floor coverings, has recently announced that it will expand its waste recycling and reclamation efforts with a new Evergreen constructed facility in Ringgold, Georgia. It is expected that the new recycling processing facility will create seventy new full-time employment opportunities. Currently, Shaw employs over fifteen thousand people throughout its offices and production plants within the state of Georgia and the southeastern region of the United States.

Shaw has successfully reclaimed and recycled in excess of seven hundred million pounds of carpet, hardwood, laminate, tile and stone flooring products, and synthetic turf since the company started its popular take-back reclamation program in 2006. The new Evergreen Ringgold recycling plant will give the company increased flexibility for developing recycling solutions for its nylon and polyester carpet and flooring products.

In addition, the Evergreen Ringgold facility will be responsible for producing high quality post-consumer recycled materials that can be re-sold for use in a wide range of products and applications. The company’s ultimate goal is to reclaim the highest percentage of their carpeting and floor as possible, thus keeping unwanted materials out of landfills and generating and additional revenue stream. The facility is on schedule to be fully operational by 2015.

Georgia Quick Start, the state’s workforce training program, will collaborate with Shaw’s employees to ensure that proper training is available to support the new recycling initiatives.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business or place of employment generates a significant amount of waste materials that can be recycled or re-sold, it may be in your best interest to develop your own recycling processing facility. You’ll create jobs, reduce waste, and develop new revenue streams!


Municipal Partnerships Boost Recycling Rates

Officials in Rochester Hills, Michigan, a city of seventy thousand residents located on the northern outskirts of Detroit, have recently reported that the municipality’s waste recycling rate has increased more than four-fold over the past five years. Administrators for waste disposal and recycling services credit the significant gains to the city’s partnership with Recyclebank.

Rochester Hills is credited with being the first municipality in the Midwest to partner with Recyclebank which is based in New York. Since collaboration started in 2008, the city has experienced a three hundred twenty three percent increase in the total number of pounds recycled by city residents and businesses. Based on this rate of success, Recyclebank’s contract has been renewed by the city for another five years of service.

As a result of the partnership, Rochester Hills residents have increased their waste recycling levels to an average of six hundred and seventy pounds per household each year. Tjhe city’s diversion rate currently stands at twenty seven percent. Since April 2009, the overall amount of collected materials for recycling is nearly twenty two thousand tons. In terms of the overall cost saving experienced by residents, the total amount of money saved since January 2011 is close to two million dollars.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Spending money isn’t always a bad thing – especially if it can help you to make or save more money in the long term. If your town or business doesn’t have a comprehensive waste management and recycling program it might be worth investing in a collaborative partnership. Reducing waste and increasing recycling, re-use, and re-selling is a sure-fire way to avoid escalating landfill fees and preserve the quality of life for all who live and work in your community!

EPA Energy Star Honors For Georgia Businesses

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Department of Energy have awarded six businesses in the state of Georgia with Energy Star honors. In addition to the top honorees, an additional one hundred and twenty seven  public, private, and non-profit groups were celebrated for their practices of protecting the environment by reducing their energy use through innovative building improvements and green home construction practices, waste reduction, facility re-design and education and training.

The top award winner were chosen from nearly sixteen thousand Energy Star affiliated home builders, real estate companies, hospitals, public schools, manufacturers, and retailers for their commitment to promoting greater energy efficiency throughout their buildings, facilities and operational practices.

Two Atlanta-based businesses were named Energy Star Partner of the Year for their long-term sustainable practices:  The Home Depot and Servidyne. Home Depot is a North American home improvement retailer with locations throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Servidyne is a building optimization company focuses on energy reduction.

Four businesses throughout the state were named Energy Star Partner of the Year for comprehensively and strategically managing energy use in all facets of their work. These winner are: Alpharetta: Burton Energy Group; Atlanta: Beazer Homes USA; Decatur: Georgia Interfaith Power and Light; and Peachtree City: Hoshizaki America.

Buildings, homes, and products can earn the Energy Star designation for attaining high standards in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Over one and a half million new homes and twenty three thousand office buildings, hospitals and schools have earned an Energy Star designation. As a result of Energy Star, American businesses and families have saved nearly three hundred billion dollars on energy costs.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business is constructing new building space or preparing to purchase equipment, be sure to consult with an Energy Star recognized construction firm or supplier. You’ll save green every month when you go green with Energy Star!

Indiana Looking To Increase Recycling

Elected officials from the mid-western state of Indiana are looking to have a legally mandated recycling goal of fifty percent approved and voted on later this year. The ruling would apply to all counties in the state and include both residences and businesses.

The Indiana Senate and House of Representative recently passed a bill that would establish a mandated recycling goal of a minimum of fifty percent for all municipal waste collected in the state. While the bill has not yet been signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, he is expected to as he has voiced support for the bill. Additionally, the bill is also endorsed by the state’s Recycling Coalition which would be involved in the implementation of increased waste recycling efforts. If signed into law, the new recycling goal would also have data reporting requirements and benchmark reporting to ensure all sectors are participating.

The elected representatives who support the bill say the increase in Indiana’s recyling rate will help to conserve energy, create new jobs, and help to protect the state’s environment and quality of life for residents and businesses. Additionally, many manufacturers both small and large that operate in the state, have supported the bill as a cost effective way to source valuable recycled materials needed in their production processes.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you look at recycling as a smart business decision you’ll never look at it as a difficult task – in fact, once you get the recycling “bug” you’ll be looking for more and more ways to save money, make money, and help your community through increased recycling and decreased waste disposal. Why through valuable material in the trash when it can be used by another business or community group?

EPA Assists With Hurricane Waste Removal And Clean-up

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Region 7 is providing assistance of two and one half million dollars to the government of Joplin, Missouri to assist in the waste removal, cleaning and remediation of cadmium-and lead-contaminated properties that resulted in the wake of a tornado which caused catastrophic damage in May of 2011.

The additional round of federal funding is provided through the agency’s Superfund program, and in working with the city, will be used to hire additional remediation staff, purchase equipment, and allow for additional testing services for ground contaminates, ground excavation and when needed, soil replacement.

The EPA has already contributed almost five and one half million dollars to ensure safe homes and properties across the affected region. The additional funding is necessary to continue the rebuilding efforts and hopefully lead the city into a full recovery.

The tornado that struck Joplin was responsible for killing one hundred and sixty one people and injuring over one thousand. The tornado destroyed or damaged nearly eight thousand homes, schools, businesses, and churches. The tornado, along with the subsequent clean-up and demolition, disturbed contaminated soil from historic mine waste areas, resulting in un-safe levels of lead and cadmium in the soil and groundwater. The city of Joplin currently has ordinances requiring all residential soil to be tested prior to redevelopment to ensure health and safety.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Cleaning up after a natural disaster to more than simply moving debris to a landfill. If your municipality is in a region at risk for hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, or other threatening weather, be sure to have a plan in place for ensuring safe waste removal and protection against toxic waste and chemicals. You’ll save lives and recovery faster if you do!

EPA Offers Grant Funding For Pollution Reduction

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making two million dollars in grant funding rebates available to both private owners of construction equipment and municipalities to retrofit or replace older diesel engines in construction vehicles. The rebates serve as an incentive to reduce pollution and improve air quality in the areas where the trucks and heavy equipment in used.

The exhaust from diesel engine equipment can negatively affect children, those with health and respiratory problems, and senior citizens. Updating the older engines helps to make them more environmentally friendly by limiting the quantity and nature of the exhaust and therefore improves the air quality in the area where the equipment travels or is being used.

The rebates are a part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). Starting in 2008, DERA has awarded in excess of five hundred million dollars to businesses, municipalities, and public groups to update over fifty thousand diesel powered heavy equipment vehicles. Old diesel engines release significant amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides into the air, however, specialized equipment can help to reduce these emissions and reduce the health impacts to those operating the equipment as well as those living or working in the vicinity.

All owners of private and public construction equipment in areas with poor air quality, or air quality issues, are urged to apply for the funding. Applications are due by January 15, 2014 and funds should be awarded in February 2014.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business in involved in heavy construction or transportation, investigating grant funding rebates from the EPA may help you to improve your diesel-powered vehicles. Keeping your employees healthy means more time on the job and more “green” for your bottom line!

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!


The EPA’s Check-List For Construction And Demolition Waste

Before you start your next construction, demolition, or remodeling project, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a few suggestions that can help to save you money and protect the environment.

1) Contact your state’s environmental protection office. They can provide information for recyclers and waste haulers. This will help you in recycling as much of your waste materials as possible.

2) Investigate local salvage businesses before purchasing new materials and products. Many offer wood, flooring, windows, cabinets, doors, hardware, and appliances that are in good condition for inexpensive prices.

3) Become familiar with the the EPA’s ReUse People website. This nonprofit group helps businesses to reduce their solid waste by salvaging building materials and making them available to low-income businesses and families in Mexico.

4) Review the United States Army Corps of Engineer’s document, “Selection of Methods for the Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling of Demolition Waste.” to become familiar with the best practices for reducing and disposing of construction and demolition waste.

5) Consider donating your unwanted or left-over construction materials to an organization such as Habitat for Humanity that can use them in building homes for low-income families.

6) For home remodeling projects, look through the “Field Guide for Residential Remodelers” pamphlet offered by the National Association of Home Builders. They provide cost-effective solutions for managing common remodeling waste.

7) For older homes, be sure to read the EPA’s resources on abating lead-paint hazards to ensure that you are staying with the law in terms of removal and disposal of this toxic substance.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Rules, regulations, and environmental best-practices are always changing, so it worth your time to stay informed. Not only will your customers see you as “green friendly” and looking out for their best-interest, but it can also keep you out of trouble and avoid costly fines from breaking the law!

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!

EPA Helps Teams Go Green

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a new Resource Directory for “Green Sports” aimed at helping sports teams, athletic facilitates and both professional and recreational leagues tips and strategies for reducing energy and waste.

The resource directory provides information on how to reduce the negative environmental impact sports and sports fan can cause and participate in federal and state programs through the Green Sports Alliance that help teams and venues reduce the amount of energy and water used and trash that must be disposed of. The new directory is divided into categories with resources for improving waste management, energy conservation, water conservation, and other environmentally friendly practices ideal for athletic teams and facilities.

Green Sports will also share success stories of successful cost and energy saving plans to serve as an example to those teams and clubs looking to establish a winning game plan. The Green Sports Alliance currently has one hundred and eighty members. Participants range from professional and collegiate teams and athletic venues and stadiums throughout the nation.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you are responsible for maintaining sports and recreation grounds, take some time and look at the tips and suggestions provided by the Green Sports Alliance. Whether the teams that use your space are Little or Big League-rs, saving money on waste disposal fees is always a winning strategy!