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September 2012 

 Jump to WasteCare's September 2012 Waste Recycling Blog


Success For Mercury Waste Recycling
Seattle Team Hits Homerun with Compostable Snack Bags
Waste Recycling of Plastic Increases Profits
Hospitals Find Cost Savings In Waste Recycling
Whole Foods Waste Recycles Cooking Oil
New York Transforms Landfill Into City Park
Mandatory Waste Recycling in Massachusetts Town
Marriott Increases Waste Recycling
Waste Recycling At The University Of Colorado
Recycling Dollars From Military Bases
Increased Levels of Food Waste Recycling Needed
More Polystyrene Bans in California
Waste Recycling Opportunities In Rural America
Canadian Company Waste Recycles Light Bulbs
City Limits Household Trash
Waste Recycled Drywall Potential
Textile Waste Recycling In Philadelphia
Set Reasonable Goals for Zero Waste Construction
Miller Coors Makes Waste Recycling Goal
Waste Recycling Mandated For Certain Items


Success For Mercury Waste Recycling

Posted on September 28, 2012

A national hazardous waste recycling program to collect automotive switches containing mercury has attained the four and a half million switches collected milestone. This amount equals over five tons of mercury that has been diverted from landfills throughout the country where it would otherwise poison the environment through leeching into the earth, air, and groundwater.

The National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program was established to manage what happens to mercury switches once the automobile is no longer on the road. Automotive manufacturers ceased production of mercury switches in 2002, but millions are still present in older vehicles. The switches were used for lighting under the hood or in the trunk, and in anti-lock brakes. The goal of the program is to collect and recycle ninety percent of mercury switches by 2017.

When old vehicles are sent to junkyards and landfills, they are crushed or smelted, which releases the mercury into the environment and causes toxic conditions. The program provides special storage buckets for the collection of the switches to automotive recyclers and establishes routine collection of the materials through regional partners.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Mercury is considered a hazardous waste and needs to be carefully handled. Failure to do so puts you, your employees, and community at risk for mercury poisoning. If your business involves this toxic substance, be sure you’re up-to-date on best practices and regulations. Failure to do so can result in fines and significant health issues!

Seattle Team Hits Homerun with Compostable Snack Bags

Posted on September 27, 2012

Baseball fans in Seattle, Washington will be the first to try ballpark peanuts served in a one hundred percent compostable bag. This is a new sustainability initiative launched by the Seattle Mariners at their Safeco Field home park.

The plan began earlier in the season when it was announced that the first ten thousand fans attending a game would receive a free bag of the popular ballgame snack delivered in a 100% compostable bag designed by the BASF Corporation.

The Mariners and and Safeco Field aren’t newcomers to the sustainability and waste recycling game, though. This season, the team has established goals to divert eight-five percent of its material waste from being disposed of in landfills. This goal is a twelve percent increase from what had been established five years ago.

The Mariners also belong to the Green Sports Alliance, a nonprofit group committed to assisting sports teams, leagues, and game venues reduce their environmental impacts and amount of waste disposal.

WasteCare Want You to Remember: The world of environmentally friendly products is always changing. Something that wasn’t quite up to consumer expectations one year might be vastly improved the next. If you keep your eyes and ears open to new developments, chances are you’ll find something that will save money and the environment!

Waste Recycling of Plastic Increases Profits

Posted on September 26, 2012

One of the concerns that businesses involved with plastic recycling have is how to consistently draw a profit.  While this is a necessity for any enterprise, with plastics recycling it isn’t always simple.  Gaining access to quality plastic waste materials can be difficult and the end-users, those businesses that manufacture goods from recycled plastic, can be ever-changing.

The most successful organizations involved with recycling plastics are those who keep a constant eye on developments both at the input and output level. Limiting a business to a single channel or stream, for example, food-grade, automotive, or construction, can result in potentially devastating results when market supply and demand changes happen in that sector.

Flexibility is also essential for success and having a production model and that can swiftly respond to the ever-changing needs of the marketplace is essential. With each passing year, the nature and use of plastics recycling changes – new products, new uses are constantly being developed – and the market show no signs of slowing down. As more large corporations adopt sustainability goals, the need for raw materials and finished goods changes. Successfully plastic recyclers are ones who keep their feet grounded in the present market, but always have their eyes and minds trained to the future.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Waste recycling of plastics is an important part of any recycling program and creating a business from the recycled bottle and containers can be environmentally and financially rewarding. Whether you’re starting a new business or have been establish for some time, it makes sense to be aware of the constant changes that are happening in the waste disposal and waste recycling world!

Hospitals Find Cost Savings In Waste Recycling

Posted on September 25, 2012

Nearly one hundred and fifty hospitals around the United States saved over fifty-five million dollars in their budgets last year through efforts in waste recycling, waste diversion, and conservation of water and energy.

The results of this study were recently released by Practice Greenhealth, a not-for-profit group helping hospitals and healthcare practices to achieve sustainability and environmental goals in their 2012 Environmental Excellence Awards report. The report is designed to help participating hospitals and healthcare practices measure performance and define steps to attain greater levels of waste reduction. Member organizations can use the facts, figures and case studies to develop new sustainability goals and identify the strategic step required to attain them.

The total amounts Practice Greenhealth member organizations recycled resulted in 64,800 tons of material waste being diverted from landfills. This waste recycling resulted in  savings of almost $17 million dollars. In addition, almost two thousand sharps containers were recycled through a specialized reusable program designed for medical waste.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: While their are numerous regulations for waste disposal of medial waste, hospitals can look to save money and the environment by focusing their attention on other areas. Food, paper products, energy and electric usage are all areas that can be re-designed to reduce the amount of waste disposal!

Whole Foods Waste Recycles Cooking Oil

Posted on September 24, 2012

Whole Foods Market, a supermarket chain that focuses on organic and natural products, is saving energy and costs in waste recycling cooking oil. Earlier this month, a test pilot to recycle used cooking oil began in the chain’s EverettMassachusetts location.

The facility will take the spent canola cooking oil used in the commissary’s industrial fryers and use it to power a generator which will provide almost 100% of the electricity needed for the seventy thousand-square-foot facility. The Everett location is responsible for preparing food to be sold in Whole Foods store throughout the Northeast and Tri-State Region.

The special generator was manufactured by the company Lifecycle Renewables which develops ways for cooking oil to power appliances, lights, and other equipment.

Reusing the canola oil is expected to save Whole Foods’ 20% on its energy bill and waste-disposal fees while keeping more than one thousand gallons of used oil out of landfills. It is believed that this is the first commercial food business in the United States to utilize a wide-scale vegetable oil to energy system. If the pilot is successful, Whole Foods will likely adopt the practice nationwide.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Is cooking oil a part of your business? If so, you might want to consider the options for reusing, recycling, or possibly selling the used oil. It could help to save you disposal fees and reduce your electric bill!

New York Transforms Landfill Into City Park

Posted on September 21, 2012

New York City continues its transformation of a former landfill into a city green space and park. The park is at the site of the former Fresh Kills landfill – once considered the world’s largest garbage dump – and its gas wells collect a level of methane sufficient to heat over twenty thousand homes.

The site is three times larger than Central Park and it is estimated that the conversion project will take close to thirty years and $140 million dollar to complete. The site has been closed as a landfill for over ten years and while the transformation is currently under-weigh, residents are skeptical on the ability to change a former eyesore into a place of recreations.

Despite the skepticism, the former landfill has been sealed and capped according to strict environmental regulations and has been deemed a safe location. However, there is still much work to do.

In March of 2012, the city began work on the solar- and wind-power stations that will occupy the site. That, along with the methane containing gas wells, will provide energy to city residents. In addition, a small section on the northern section of the site will open as a playground and on the southern end, a soccer field will be operational by the end of the year.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If the world’s most infamous landfill can recreate itself as a recreation site and community park, what can you do to improve your town or business’s waste disposal and waste recycling habits?

Mandatory Waste Recycling in Massachusetts Town

Posted on September 20, 2012

The town of Arlington, Massachusetts has recently enacted an ordinance for limiting the amount for residential trash collection and mandating waste recycling.

The new rule, which went into effect in early September of 2012, states that residents are required to limit waste disposal to no more than three garbage barrels or 100 gallons and that recycled material must be put out on the curb in order to have the trash picked up.

During the initial month of the new procedure, JRM Hauling and Recycling, which handles all waste collection for the town, will issues stickers on uncollected garbage stating that trash was not picked up due to lack of compliance with the new rule. However, after the trial month is complete, those homes failing to follow the volume limits or recycling requirement will be fined.

Arlington has offered weekly recycling services to residents but hopes the mandatory requirement will provide the push to ensure full participation.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: More and more municipalities are moving in the direction of limits in waste disposal and mandatory waste recycling. What are you doing at home and work to prepare for these possible changes? Being prepared will help to save you money – both then and now!

Marriott Increases Waste Recycling

Posted on September 19, 2012

The popular hotel chain, Marriott, is reporting that it diverted 12,000 tons of material waste from landfills in the last year.

Leading in recycling performance measures is the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, which accomplished a 76% waste recycling rate, with 37% of waste being recycled and 39% being delivered to local composting facility designed for food waste.

Almost 100% of the Bethesda, Maryland-based hotel chain have recycling programs and more than 25% of their global locations divert food waste from landfills through local composting arrangements.

Marriott has improved and streamlined their waste disposal and recycling programs as a result of utilizing third-party waste audits and waste stream analysis to better manage and understand what waste was being generated and how recycling could be used to lower disposal costs.

Since launching wide-scale recycling efforts in 2006, Marriott has recycled more than 60,000 computers and other forms of e-waste from landfills. Their hotels also participate in recycling programs for soaps and shampoos through organizations such as Clean the World which donates personal care products to homeless shelters and impoverished communities around the globe.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re uncertain what to do with your current waste management plans, an outside audit is a great way to get ideas and suggestions about how to manage your waste stream, go green with recycling, and maybe save your business money!

Waste Recycling At The University Of Colorado

Posted on September 18, 2012

The University of Colorado is making a bold move and enhancing the recycling system in place for the school’s residence housing and cafeterias.

As the new school year started in early September, students, faculty, and staff at this Boulder, Colorad campus were greeted with a switch from separate recycling bins located throughout the dorms and eateries to single-stream bins.

The commingled recyclables, which included paper and bottles are being collected and processed by the non-profit group Eco-Cycle.

The switch to single-stream was done with the hope that recycling would become easier for all students and employees and therefore boost participation and the amount of materials that is waste recycled each month.

The University is staying with dual-stream recycling models for its academic and administrative building and over the year with collect data on which of the two methods was most successful for reducing waste disposal.

For this year, the school’s recycling goal is reduce the amount of landfill waste generated from one hundred and seventy pounds per person to one hundred and forty seven pounds per person pounds. The school is aiming for a waste recycling rate of ninety percent. The University began its recycling program in 1976 and its sports stadium is currently working toward a zero-waste goal.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Not sure what kind of recycling program to try in your business? Learn a lesson from the University of Colorado and conduct a trial experiment! The tools and services for waste recycling are always changing and improving so if you are willing to try something new you might just stumble upon a great new way to save your company some money!

Recycling Dollars From Military Bases

Posted on September 17, 2012

A closed military base in Concord, California is being re-purposed into residential housing, commercial storefronts and schools, and funds from recycling and reuse initiatives are going to help fund it.

The steel used to build the long-empty Concord Naval Weapons Station’s supply buildings and barracks along with several miles of train track rails will be waste recycled and sold to help defray the price of this soon to be five thousand acre housing and mixed commercial use development.

The Naval base was constructed during World War II but after years of dwindling use, was decommissioned 1999. Since then it has stood empty and unused.

It is expected that a total of eight million dollars will be received from the selling of the steel.  In addition, the concrete that was used for building throughout the base will be waste recycled and used for the roads in the neighborhood saving the project an expected one million dollars.

When completed, the new development will include twelve thousand homes, six million square feet of business space, almost eight hundred acres of parks, and be home to twenty eight thousand people. It is projected that the new development will add twenty six thousand jobs.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Waste Recycling and re-use is a great way to save money on any construction project. Whether you’re starting from scratch or remodeling a pre-existing building, look for innovative ways to capitalize on your “trash”.

Increased Levels of Food Waste Recycling Needed

Posted on September 14, 2012

Did you know that in the United States, the amount of unconsumed food has a dollar value of over one hundred and fifty billion dollars a year and has a weight of approximately twenty pounds of food per month per person? This amounts to over forty percent of all edible food in the country heading for waste disposal in landfills.

That amount of waste equals between one and two thousand dollars per year in annual losses for a household with four members. In comparison to other regions of the world, the typical American throws away ten times the amount of food as the typical person residing in southeast Asia.

Almost a quarter of all food waste is comprised of fruits and vegetables. Dairy products and meat/fish/poultry follow with twenty percent of all food waste per category.

The problem with uneaten food is that it is disposed of in landfills and is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas methane emissions. Cutting food waste disposal and increasing food waste recycling would help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce landfill space, and help agriculture composting and soil replenishing efforts in addition to feeding families who do not have a stable supply of food

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: What are you doing at home or work to reduce the amount of food that must be thrown in the garbage? Investigating ways to compost, donate, or make smarter purchasing decisions can not only help the environment and your community, but save you close to two thousand dollars a year!

More Polystyrene Bans in California

Posted on September 13, 2012

Hermosa Beach, California is expected to become the state’s sixty-fifth city to enact a ban on polystyrene food containers.

The new rule will also include polystyrene packaging used by supermarkets for food items including rotisserie chickens, individual deserts, and packages of muffins. The California Grocers Association is concerned that the inclusion of these types of packages will cause hardships for grocery store owners. Currently, the clear polystyrene packaging used for food is recyclable unlike its styrofoam counterpart which is primarily used by restaurants.

The Hermosa Beach city council, which has a population of 20,000, is convinced that grocery stores in the area have access to affordable, alternative materials such as PET and polyethylene packaging to replace the clear food containers. Currently, one-third of the polystyrene bans in the state include the clear polystyrene packaging.

The new rule is expected to being in March 2013 and will include polystyrene plates, bowls, trays, wrappings, condiment containers and cartons, and cups — but it does not apply to cup lids, straws, utensils or packaging used for uncooked fish, poultry, or meat.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: As a business owner it pays to be ahead of the trends. When was the last time you looked at pricing for more environmentally friendly containers? You may find that going green is easier on your budget than you expected!

Waste Recycling Opportunities In Rural America

Posted on September 12, 2012

A national issue is facing rural communities as they strive to implement successful recycling programs. Two of the main stumbling blocks are overall low population number  and the distance from reuse markets. However, despite these challenges there are opportunities, it just takes some creativity and a decision not to force rural communities to follow a metropolitan-area recycling model.

For example, one community in rural Kansas shredded select waste material from a local manufacturer and used it as an alternate means for ground cover.

For those rural areas that also have agriculture-based businesses, small scale anaerobic digestion of organic waste is also a popular and successful model to implement. The results are rich compost and other matter that can be reused or sold.

Another solution is for small rural communities to work together collectively to establish waste recycling opportunities. With a regional system, costs are shared and more materials can be collected for resale.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Are you in the business of waste disposal and waste recycling? Take a look at the business opportunities provided by small rural communities. By helping these regions of the U.S. go green, you might be able to make some green as well!

Canadian Company Waste Recycles Light Bulbs

Posted on September 11, 2012

Dan-X Recycling in Nova Scotia, Canada, may be the first recycling company of its kind to be devoted strictly to the waste recycling of light bulbs. The business uses its own, specially designed and built machine to break apart the bulbs and separate the different parts for recycling and reuse.

The aluminum caps from the bulbs are sold to a Canadian scrap metal recycler and the phosphorous at the core of the bulb is sent to a company in Quebec for removal and reuse of mercury. The company is still looking for a business interested in acquiring the glass which could be used in the manufacturing of decorative patio stones, concrete, and other building materials.

Dan-X receives its light bulbs from local recycling and trade-in programs designed to have individuals and businesses trade in old, inefficient bulbs for energy-saving ones. In the first two months of operation, the business received over 275,000 light bulbs, with many more to follow.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Take a moment and look at the items ending up in your business’ garbage. What are you paying money to dispose of every month? Could some of that waste be recycled and save you money?

City Limits Household Trash

Posted on September 10, 2012

Citizens in Hamilton, Ontario Canada are only allowed to waste dispose of one, thirty-six gallon trash container per resident per week at a maximum weight of fifty pounds.  This number has been reduced from the original rule of a weekly maximum of nine containers per week.

Hamilton is comprised of six smaller towns that merged together in 2000. There is a total population of a little over half a million and the municipality manages over five hundred million pounds of waste annually.

In 2000, when the nine-container per household rule was in place, the waste recycling rate was only sixteen percent. Between 2001 and 2006, Hamilton updated its waste management strategic plan and as a result improvements were made to its materials recovery facility with the addition of a composting area, a recycling area, and increased community education and outreach. During this time period, the waste recycling rate of the city rose to forty percent.

However, the number of allowable containers per week was still to high and it was decided that it should gradually be reduced. The city first moved to a three-container maximum in 2008, and then progressed to a one container plus one bag rule, and then finally to the one bag or one container rule that stands today.

Since enacting the rule in mid-2010, ninety-eight percent of the residents have complied. Those household who exceed the weekly limit are given three warnings before fines are administered.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: How is your town or business handling waste disposal and waste recycling? The more you throw away, the more you pay, so it’s worth it to increase your volume of recycled materials!

Waste Recycled Drywall Potential

Posted on September 7, 2012

Some construction and demolition materials can easily be resold or recycled after a project is completed. Items like scrap metal, masonry, and wood typically are in high demand and there are many organizations and businesses interested in acquiring them. But what to do with building materials that have less demand like gypsum wallboard?

Currently, research in underway at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte to determine the effectiveness of this material as a soil additive.

While drywall isn’t considered a toxic material, when it is disposed of in a landfill it can produce hydrogen sulfide, a potentially dangerous gas. When the drywall is left for garbage, it’s beneficial components, namely, calcium sulfate, a proven and safe soil amendment, are wasted from being reused.

In preliminary research, gypsum drywall successfully increased the yield of a canola crop when it was used as a soil additive. The study also showed that there is potential for the drywall to increase the amount of carbon captured in the soil and thus reduce the amount released into the atmosphere as green house gas.

Establishing a way to waste recycle drywall would benefit construction firms by saving money on waste disposal fees, reduce the incidence of dangerous gasses developing in landfills, and help to replenish and strengthen crops and other agricultural needs.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: With waste recycling becoming an important part of the construction industry, to pays to stay on top of the latest research and developments. Cutting disposal costs will help you to go green and save green!

Textile Waste Recycling In Philadelphia

Posted on September 6, 2012

Citizens in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will soon be able to recycle unwanted and pre-owned textiles with a new curbside recycling program administered by textile recycling company Community Recycling and the hauling and waste disposal business, George Leck and Son.

In the business partnership between the two local companies, George Leck and Son will include textiles as part of its curbside recycling services for its customers and Community Recycling will purchase the clothes, handbags, shoes, belts, cloth, and other textile items.  Community Recycling then sorts and prepares the materials for resale, reuse, or recycling  to companies and manufacturers wanted recycled textiles throughout the United States and abroad.

According the Environmental Protection Agency, thirteen million tons of textile waste was produced last year. However, only two million tons of that was recycled – the rest was disposed of in landfills.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Innovation and partnerships are important to helping your business go green and save green. Take a look at what you routinely place in the trash – do you see an opportunity to move from waste disposal to waste recycling?

Set Reasonable Goals for Zero Waste Construction

Posted on September 5, 2012

When considering the goal of zero waste construction projects, there are many apparent, and hidden, factors to consider. The first factor is understanding the definition of zero-waste. While different businesses can have different opinions, the most common is that the organization recovers, recycles, and reuses the most material possible so that a minimum amount most be disposed of in landfills.

Common strategies in zero-waste construction projects include using recycled steel, concrete made of fly ash, solar panels, and interior finishes such as flooring made with recycled materials.

One of the larger construction projects of this kind was the Hangar 25 LEED Platinum certified jet hangar in Burbank, California. The facility was constructed using thirty-five percent recycled materials, with over seventy-five percent of all material waste heading to recycling facilities instead of landfills. The hangar’s energy needs are complete met using photovoltaic solar power.

There’s no doubt that striving for zero waste can have its challenges, including collecting and reclaiming waste materials, and securing participation from customers. But having realistic goals and patience can pay off in the long run. The end-result of zero waste construction isn’t about getting to “zero”, it’s about making the strongest effort possible.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: It’s impossible to be “perfect”, either as an individual or as a business. Zero-waste construction is about reducing your waste disposal  and increasing your waste recycling as much as possible. Set small goals and keep looking for new ideas – ever step is a positive one towards saving the environment and helping your business to prosper!

Miller Coors Makes Waste Recycling Goal

Posted on September 4, 2012

MillerCoors recent sustainability report indicates the company achieved a zero waste-to-landfill goal for four facilities and is currently in the process of establishing a recycling center at another.

The Chicago-based company also surpassed its target of reducing landfill waste disposal by fifty percent, instead obtaining a fifty-five percent waste recycling rate. This rate is greatly increased from 2010, when the company only achieve a thirty-two percent diversion rate.

By 2015, MillerCoors has stated that it will reduce the overall packaging weight throughout its product line by two percent, the equivalent of sixty-eight million pounds of materials.

A new recycling center was established at its brewing facility in Eden, North Carolina, and included an aluminum baler, a cardboard baler, and recycling containers.The result was that the facility recycled ninety-two percent of its generated waste.

In addition, the company also reuses or recycles spent brewer’s grain and yeast, glass, wood, plastic, aluminum, and other materials.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: How is your business handing waste disposal and waste recycling? Setting short and long term sustainability goals can help you move forward in saving green by going green!

Waste Recycling Mandated For Certain Items

Posted on September 3, 2012

A mandatory takeback program has been successfully enacted in San Luis Obispo County, California for fluorescent lights, household batteries, medical supplies and latex paint in an effort to keep these toxic and hazardous items out of landfills. The mandatory program was agreed upon after a similar program of a voluntary nature was found to be ineffective in reducing the waste disposal of these items.

The mandatory program targets retailers that sell the four targeted groups and allows consumers the ease and convenience of knowing that all stores will accept the used items for recycling. When the system was voluntary, select stores did not participate thus causing confusion about how and where goods could be recycled.

San Luis Obispo has 267,000 residents. Since starting the recycling program in 2009 the retailers have collected almost eight million medical sharps, two and a half million household batteries, one hundred thousand fluorescent lights, and over three thousand liters of latex paint. Were the recycling program not it place, this large quantity of waste would have been disposed of in the regional landfill.

The county ordinance states that if retailers sell these items, they must also offer a way to collect it for recycling. The stores then contact the county waste office for pick-up. The retailer is charged a small fee, but they are allowed to pass that cost along to consumers if they choose. However, few stores have done this as the recycling bins prompt customers to return to the store and therefore help to increase visits and sales.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: What is your local government or business doing to help increase the waste recycling of fluorescent lights, household batteries, medical supplies and latex paint? Is there an opportunity here for you to increase sales while diverting waste from landfills?

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