Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Recycle Your Batteries


Wait!  Don’t throw those in the trash.  Please… RECYCLE your batteries!
Look around at your electronics -- most consumers will realize that a majority of the devices we rely on require at least one battery. We use batteries in our alarm clocks, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, remote controls, cell phones, laptops, cameras, flashlights, tools… and countless other items.
Did you know…?
It is estimated that Americans use three billion dry-cell batteries each year.
So - the question is, do you recycle your batteries or do you throw them in the garbage where they end up in a landfill? When you throw used batteries into the garbage can.  We, as consumers, need to inform people that batteries should be recycled and NOT thrown away.
Did you know…?
It is illegal to dump corrosive or harmful items into landfills.
Batteries contain both recyclable materials and harmful materials -- some of the corrosive materials and harsh metals inside batteries are harmful to the environment and pollute the ground, contaminate our ground water and if the battery is accidentally incinerated it pollutes the air we breathe.
Although re-chargeable batteries are more available today than previously, we still use the single use batteries more frequently.  Re-chargeable batteries may aid in using less of the single use batteries; however, they also contain hazardous materials that should be disposed of properly.
If we recycle batteries, we are helping to keep these harmful contaminants out of our landfills, ground water sources, and our air. Recycling also helps save natural resources that can be salvaged and reused to make new batteries.
Did you know…?
Many electronic stores have a recycle kiosk for consumers to recycle batteries and other related items.
Choose an environmentally friendly alternative the next time you consider throwing batteries in the garbage.  Take your batteries to your local recycling center or contact a larger chain store like Best Buy or Radio Shack to find a drop-off.  Each of us can help make a difference.  If you are environmentally conscious, recycling batteries also makes you feel better.

References:



Recycle Fail in Minnesota

A recent analysis has shown that 18 million pop and beer cans and 19 million plastic bottles are going into the trash instead of the recycling in Duluth, Minnesota! What a waste!


In the Duluth, recyclable material being discarded is estimated to be more than $721,000 per year,  which includes more than $400,000 worth of aluminum and close to $200,000 worth of plastic.







This is a great opportunity for Duluth to step up their recycling game, and make a huge difference in the environment. The citizens of Duluth can raise awareness about this issue, and encourage fellow citizens to recycle their beverage containers. Now that the information is known about how much recycling is NOT happening, people can determine what the barriers are to recycling and work on making it easier for people to do it, and save lots of money and waste for the city.

duluth, MN recycling failure

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Monster in Your Medicine Cabinet

So, what do YOU do with your old expired or unused medications? Flush them, right? WRONG. It has been found that while this practice protects those in your home from accidentally ingesting the bad drugs, it does not protect fish, or other marine wildlife that may be exposed to them later. Another problem…if the water contaminated by your meds does eventually get reused, humans can be exposed to certain chemicals in those medications. Not, good. Not, good.

So, what do you do with your old medicines? You can’t just leave them in the medicine cabinet. Not only does that take up space you could use for other things, it also leaves potentially dangerous drugs sitting around where anyone can get a hold of them. Definitely not a good idea when you aren’t the only one in the house. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, more Americans abuse prescription drugs than people using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined (2011). Much of the time these medications are obtained from the family medicine cabinet. Another horrible thought…what could possibly happen if a child got a hold of your old meds, and decided to take a few, or more? It doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

So, if you can’t flush them, and you can’t keep them, where does that leave you? No need to worry, there are things that you can do. The best option by far is to see if your local community has drop-off days or places for old medicines. Sometimes there will be multiple drop-off spots that you can choose from. Just drive by the drop-off, and say good-bye to those dangerous drugs!

If absolutely no drop-offs are available, you could still toss your old meds in the trash. Just follow these precautions when you do:

1. Keep medicine in its original container, and cover the patient’s name with a marker, but not the information denoting what the drug is.

2. Modify the contents to make them unappealing to those who might want to take them. This might mean adding some vinegar to your pill container in order to semi-dissolve the meds.

3. Tape the container shut, and place the container in a bag or other package that no one can see through. This may keep those who might be looking for meds, from finding them.

4. Finally, toss in trash.

The best option for med disposal is, of course, to find a drop-off site. If that fails, take the above precautions, and then toss. Whatever you choose to do, do NOT flush your medications down the toilet.

For more information on this topic, read:
http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/living-green/living-green-citizen/household-hazardous-waste/pharmaceutical-waste-disposing-of-unwanted-medications.html

For more information on what to do with other household medical waste, read:
http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/industrial/medical/disposal.htm
http://earth911.com/news/2011/10/26/saving-sharps-saving-money-recycling-medical-waste/


Monday, November 28, 2011

Reducing Waste Can Create Jobs

With the state of the United Staes economy, it can be difficult to focus on environmental problems. But what if there were a way to address both at once? According to the report, More Jobs, Less Pollution, this is not only possible, but entirely probable, based on the jobs that recycling will create.

The basic idea presented in this report is a model in which 75% of the modern waste streams are recycled. By the projected date of 2030, it is estimated that greenhouse gases will be reduced by hundreds of tons, and creating 1.5 million jobs processing the materials.

By educating ourselves on the potential of recycling and implimenting new laws to help facilitate the growth of this job-creating industry, we can greatly benefit both ecology and economy.  If you're interested in learning more, read the above report (or at least the article below), and boost the signal!

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ahershkowitz/recycling_can_create_15_millio.html

Sunday, November 27, 2011

From roofs to roads in Iowa city

A roofing company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa has paired with the Solid Waste Agency there to produce material for roads from landfill-destined roofing shingles.They hope to divert 6,000 tons of shingles from being solid waste to being asphalt over the next year. The ultimate goal for the county is to divert a total of 10,000 tons of shingle waste per year.



The shingles are ground up and added to the asphalt mix, and reduce the need to buy other petroleum products to be mixed in. They do not affect the look and feel of the asphalt, and it is a double-win, as it saves money and diverts waste.

This is an excellent example of innovative recycling, and is something that can be done in cities all around the United States. As long as homes are being re-roofed, there will be shingle waste. Instead of that waste going into landfills, they can become a part of our roads. As citizens, we can urge political leaders to  make things like this happen in our communities. Imagine the difference that could be made with thousands of tons less waste being dumped into our landfills.

Chicago Tribune, Roofs to Roads

Now you can turn office documents into toilet paper

Not happy with the budget report? It may be satisfying to know that it will be a roll of toilet paper in half an hour. A Japanese company has invented a device that can turn office documents into toilet paper- on-site! It's called the white goat, and it can turn 40 sheets of office paper into a roll of toilet paper in just 30 minutes.

The device removes staples, shreds paper, turns it to pulp, and then flattens it and rolls it into toilet paper. Not only is this convenient, it is economical. It can produce a roll of toilet paper at about 10 cents per roll, instead of the standard 17 to 59 cents per roll. It also saves on packaging, shipping expenses, and the cost of offsite recycling.


The cost of this machine is $100,000, a fairly hefty pricetag. However, the machine will pay for itself, as it saves on the expense of having to buy toilet paper. It is a great option for large companies that have a flexible budget that is large enough to accomodate this. Companies that strive to be on the cutting edge of being green can gain major bragging points by purchasing this innovative device.

As consumers, we can put pressure on companies we do business with to get something like this, that will save not only on expenses but on paper waste.

As employees, we can educate our employers about this, and encourage them to make the leap toward a greener future.

Link to the article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7128495/Is-this-the-best-office-gadget-A-lavatory-paper-machine.html

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hazardous Consumption


Black Friday, Cyber Monday…Tis the Season to spend money la la la la la la la la la! What ads did you shop?  Almost all the big name retailers out there are advertising the all-time “lowest” prices available for TVs, Blu Rays, Laptops, Cell Phones, X-Box, PlayStation, Wii, etc. Admittedly, there are some great deals out there; so many that you may feel queasy about what you recently spent on your current electronic gear. You may even be swayed, as many are, to upgrade to the most recent version of the recent version upgrade you just purchased not so long ago. Keeping up Jones’ (or I guess the Kardashian’s today) requires maintaining your electronic repertoire in a socially consumptive manner. Out with the old and in with the new for the New Year right? Wrong!

Sure you might upgrade from last year’s version of the latest and greatest of gadgets, tossing the others to the curb without looking back, but they and their poisonous contents don’t simply go away because you throw them away. See, the sneaky thing about all these must have wonders is that they are ultimately made up of hazardous materials that when thrown away compose hazardous waste! Yes, yes all of those televisions, cell phones, laptops, and other goodies contain harmful substances and carcinogens such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and other skull and cross bone substances! Very comforting to know that most of us have these items in abundance in our homes and we play with them daily!

Think back a few years when in order to be able to actually watch TV we were given the option of getting the sleek skinny new flat panel TVs or digital converter boxes (or crazy subscriptions for cable) so that we could happily continue to watch hours upon hours of television daily. A large percentage of Americans purchased new TVs and trashed their old ones (some were recycled, many were not) at this time. Well unknown or perhaps ignored by many was the weight in lead contained in those old tubes -about 4-8 pounds! Talk about a substance we don’t like to have in our presence, I mean most landlords require tenants to sign a waiver of liability if the dwelling may have had lead paint at one time-I don’t ever recall signing a waiver when buying a TV! Worse yet I don’t ever recall receiving information about how to dispose of an old TV when buying a new one!

Don’t fret! If you, like many others (myself included) have purchased a TV recently and intend to keep upgrading all of your electronic goodies (tablets, blu rays, dvd, MP3, laptops, HDMI, gaming consoles, etc.) you can do so wisely. Hey, it is your money after all-spend as you wish, but please dispose of your old gear in a responsible (and legal) manner. Many manufactures today are required to provide recycling programs that allow you to evict your old stuff in a safe and proper manner and many disposal companies and landfills won’t allow you to dispose of your e-waste openly. Please don’t drop them on the side of the road! Check out the following links to see where you can responsibly and legally dispose of used electronics.


or Call Metro Recycling: 503-234-3000


Donation agencies such as Goodwill are decent venues for passing off your old reliables as well. The following link can help you find a donation center and estimates how your donation impacts the environment!




Sources cited:





America Recycling Day – November 15, 2011

Although this message may seem simple, it is direct and to the point.  Recycling is something that anyone and everyone can do no matter what your age is.  Even the smallest of contribution in relation to recycling can have an impact.  America Recycling Day pays extra attention to the importance for all American’s to get involved with recycling. For almost 14 years now America has considered November 15 as a day for all Americans to participate with any type of recycling on this day.  This day is designate to educate, motivate and get people involved with any recycling event, project or individual activity.  On the America Recycles Day website you can take a pledge to recycle or learn other information in relation to recycling.  Everyone creates waste on a daily basis whether it be Municipal Waste, Electronic Waste, or Hazardous Household Waste.  It is estimated that every day an American Family can produce on average a little over 4 million pounds of hazardous household waste alone, that if not recycled could end up in landfills in your communities.  Since we all contribute to the waste problem, then we should all want to be part of the solution.  We need to learn alternatives to throwing away everything into the local landfills and become better recyclers in the process.  I took the pledge to participate so how about you?  If you believe that we need to save our environment then get involved along with those around you! 

Image Detail


Thursday, November 24, 2011

GET CASH FOR YOUR OLD ELECTRONICS!


Nowadays everyone wants the newest... coolest technology. They come out with a new phone at least every month, and if you want to “keep up with the Jones’.. the phone you just purchased last month is seemingly obsolete! I remember when I bought a cool new flatscreen 720p tv. Then they came out with blu ray players, and you had to have a 1080p tv to use it to its “full HD capabilities.” Now they have 3D tv’s... whats next. To make a long story short, we are creating new technologies at a rapid rate. Leaving “last months models” to go to waste.
I have complied some interesting statistics to show how big the problem of E waste has become. Some of these stats are from a year or two back, so if they have changed, the problem has only gotten worse.

                                      
The following information is from www.electronicstakeback.com. They have a great site, that provides alot of information on our current e-waste problems, how you can help out, or donate money, they have a blog, news reel and many other interesting features.
   The EPA estimates that 29.9 million desktops and 12 million laptops were discarded in 2007. That’s over 112,000 computers discarded per day!
   The EPA report (above) estimates that 31.9 computer monitors were discarded in 2007 – both flat panel and CRTs.
   In a 2006 report, the International Association of Electronics Recyclers projects that with the current growth and obsolescence rates of the various categories of consumer electronics, (a broader list than the EPA used above, including DVDs, VCRs, mainframes) somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 billion units will be scrapped during the rest of this decade, or an average of about 400 million units a year.
In 2008, we generated 3.16 million tons of e‐waste in the U.S. Of this amount, only 430,000 tons or 13.6 % was recycled, according to the EPA. The rest was trashed – in landfills or incinerators.
   “Some 20 to 50 million metric tons of e‐waste are generated worldwide every year, comprising more than 5% of all municipal solid waste. When the millions of computers purchased around the world every year (183 million in 2004) become obsolete they leave behind lead, cadmium, mercury and other hazardous wastes. In the US alone, some 14 to 20 million PCs are thrown out every year. In the EU the volume of e‐waste is expected to increase by 3 to 5 per cent a year. Developing countries are expected to triple their output of e‐waste by 2010.” 
E‐waste is still the fastest growing municipal waste stream in the US. The category of “selected consumer electronic products” grew by almost 5% from 2007 to 2008, from 2.84 million tons from 3.01 million tons to 3.16 million tons.
While it’s not a large part of the waste stream, e‐waste shows a higher growth rate than any other category of municipal waste in the EPA’s report. Overall, between 2007 and 2008, total volumes of municipal waste DECREASED, while e‐waste volumes continue to increase.
  Only 13.6% of the consumer electronic products generated into the municipal waste stream (meaning, that people tossed out) were “recovered” for recycling in 2008. This compares to the overall recovery rate of all categories of municipal waste was 33.2% in 2008. A total of 430,000 tons of electronics were recovered in 2008.
Their are ideas of different programs and laws that could be implemented to reducing our growing e-waste stream. But for now the solution is simple... we need to promote awareness of this issue and the ease of recycling old electronics in our communities. There are so many different companies that provide e-waste recycling. Many places will actually pay your for your old cell phones, laptops etc. I think that when people know that they can get money for their old electronics... they will be less willing to just throw them away.
I found a great resource online that helps you to find the best cash offer for the electronic good that you want to recycle. www.ecosquid.com I hope to raise awareness about sites like these, and start getting people to recycle their e-waste. So tell your friends!


                            

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Biogas Offers Poor Countries a Cleaner, Safer Fuel

Biogas fuel technology can provide both needed energy and sanitation, as it converts methane gasses from  animal feces and converts it into useable energy. Methane gas is odorless, and can be used to heat homes and for cooking fuel. Using biogas instead of firewood protects forests from deforestation due to firewood demand. Burning biogas for cooking is also more healthful, as it does not produce smoke as firewood does. Smoke produced from firewood is not only unpleasant to breathe, it can cause lifelong health effects like asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory problems.



It protects the environment, as burning methane for energy produces much less greenhouse gas as burning wood or coal. The only downside is the cost of the equipment needed to utilize biogas. It is not expensive, but can be out of reach for many who are living on next to nothing.

This is where public-private partnership can play a role, as companies can build relationships with developing countries to help provide the technology. It is our role as citizens of the developed to keep the pressure on these companies to do this.


Biogas is a great solution for the developing world and the climate!

Biogas, NY Times article

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fancy Up That Trash!

So you’ve probably heard about the 3 R’s of waste management, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, right? Most would agree that they’re good words to live by if you’re a concerned citizen looking to do good things for the environment. Were you aware, however, that the 3 R’s are a sequential list where Reducing is better than Reusing and Reusing is better than Recycling? That’s right, you read it correctly. While Recycling is great, starting from the top of the list is way better. So maybe you think you’ve already Reduced your waste as much as possible? That might be so, but I bet there are many things that you could still do to Reuse.

One way to Reuse is to Upcycle. While this is an interesting term to be sure, all it really means is that you take that old and worn junk, and transforming it into new, and sometimes better, products that can be used for gifts, or a number of other things. So what kinds of things can you make? You know all those plastic bags from the grocery store, turn them into sewable fabric. That drier lint that builds up, transform it into clay for molding. Sure Upcycling may take some time, and you will have to be creative, but just think of the wonders you could make while cutting your trash contribution. Give it a try, the benefits could surprise you!

For more about Upcycling check out these links:

To make plastic bag fabric try this link:

To learn how to create clay and other things out of drier lint, try this link:


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eco-Friendly Clothing



Being a lover of fashion, a topic that has caught my interest is the use of eco-friendly clothing. How often do we end up throwing away old or unused clothing?

On average, Americans throw away nearly seventy pounds of clothing each year. Add it up, and over 145 billion pounds of recyclable clothing go to landfills EVERY YEAR!  Some more facts for you: non-recycled clothing makes up 5% of municipal sold waste. The recycling of clothing is called textile recycling. With 95% of clothing able to be recycled, it would seem easy to alleviate a large portion of what is going to landfills. However, based on the amount of textile recycling that does occur, only 2.5 billion, out of the original 145 billion pounds of clothes are recycled. So what can we do?

There are numerous lines of environmentally friendly clothing that are sweeping through the fashion world. Nordstrom's carries some eco-friendly clothing items under the Holistia line, and there are many websites that you can order clothing from. White Apricot, Alternative Apparel, and Patagonia are just a few of the websites that provide eco-friendly clothing lines. Their clothes are made with organic cotton and recycled materials. Patagonia uses recycled soda bottles and old unworn clothes to make polyester, which is then used to make clothes. Other suggestions to prevent clothes being sent to landfills is donation, garage sales, and clothing swaps. A fun and inexpensive way to spiff up your wardrobe is to hold a clothing swap with your friends; your clothes are reused (and again appreciated), and you've got some spiffy "new" duds as well!

Here are some sites to check out that feature eco-friendly clothing!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tout Your Tote Bag


                
           On October 15, 2011, Portland’s plastic bag ban went into effect, banning the use of plastic bags in major grocers and retailers with pharmacies. While this ban is indeed a step in the right direction, paper bags are no better. That’s right. Most of us are used to hearing the question “paper or plastic” whenever we go shopping and we all expect “paper” to be the environmentally correct choice. Unfortunately, any product that is designed for one-time-use, whether paper or plastic is bound to wreak havoc to the environment.
          Paper bags leave a larger carbon footprint from production to recycling than plastic bags. It is true that plastic bags pose unique challenges to the environment. They get consumed by and tangled among animals, they clog storm drains and get in our waterways, but a quick look at the data and you will realize that if anything paper bags are the lesser of two evils. Paper bags require four times more energy to produce than plastic bags and in the process they generate 70 percent more air pollutants and 50 percent more water pollutants. One of the reasons that people opt for paper bags is that they are recyclable, but so are plastic bags. In fact, it takes nearly twice as much energy to recycle plastic than it does paper. To top it off, paper bags weigh more (about nine times as much) meaning that more energy is required to transport them and they take up more space in the landfill.


OK, so paper bags are not so great after all. Then why is all the attention on plastic bags? The answer is simple. Plastic bags are a visible sign of waste. They are an ugly staple of the urban environment. Paper bags are not so visible. We cannot see the damage caused to the ozone by paper bag production, but we can see a helpless bird caught in a plastic trap. But, there is good news. We do not have to choose between paper and plastic.  
Many of you have probably heard of the grocery tote bag. It is a bag designed to hold groceries, but it is durable and reusable. It is stronger than both paper and plastic bags and the strong handles make them easier to carry. How many tote bags you will need depend on how big your shopping sprees are. If we assume that you go on very large shopping sprees we can say for the sake of argument that you may need ten tote bans. In that case, all ten tote bags will cost you less than ten dollars. Since the average American uses 444 plastic bags each year you will also be saving 434 bags.
The key to using tote bags is to put them in a convenient place so you will remember them when you go shopping. If you drive, then the glove compartment or the trunk are good places. If you are a student, put them in your backpack. If you bike, put them in your seat pack. A common strategy is to  leave them hanging next to your front door so you see them before you leave the house. Better yet, leave a few in the house and a few in the car or bike in case you forget. Whatever your strategy, remember how much you are saving by bringing your own bag to shop. Next time you are asked “paper or plastic”, say NEITHER! 



Article Sources:

Image Sources:


Paper Waste-Kicking Out the Junk Mail Salesperson


Why is getting the mail anymore such a chore?! Getting the mail is like working in a mail room-I have to sort all of the trash from what is actually important mail, only I am not getting paid to do it! Perhaps I should bill all of these advertising companies for the time it takes me to go through all the garbage they stuff into my mailbox! Seriously, like many others, every day I find my mail box jammed full of unwanted advertisements, credit card offers, catalogs, etc. I almost need a crowbar to pry it all out!  Like many Americans, I generate enough trash on my own-I don’t need help stuffing my garbage and recycling bins with more!
According to a CBS News report, Americans receive more than 90 billion pieces of mail each year! Most of this intrusive mail is composed of advertisements that we never asked for (about 59% of the mail you receive!). This amounts to 50 million tons of junk mail that ends up as household waste every year-that is a lot of waste! Over consumption is an American trend, but the amount of mail we receive far exceeds our consumption needs and wants-how many laptops and weight loss machines does one household really need?

So why is opening the mail box is like walking onto a used car lot where you just can’t get away from the pushy salesperson?  Believe it or not, the companies that generate this garbage really believe that we want it! How can we escape being inundated with all of this trash and reduce the amount of paper we throw away? We can start by “opting-out”. There are several organizations that help keep this waste out of your mail box and garbage bin by preventing unwanted mail, phone books, and other forms of waste from ever arriving-all you have to is sign up. The following links can help you kick these intruders out of your mailbox, home, and trash bin. You can further reduce paper waste in your home by opting for paperless billing. Many service providers today have this option-all you have to do is sign up for it with the provider(s) you use. This saves a significant amount of time any money for all parties and reduces the amount of paper waste generated in households across the country.

Help reduce the amount of paper waste you throw away by going to the following sites and opting out.
To say “good bye” rather than “good buy!” to ads you don’t need or want go to:
Don’t need all of those expensive glossy catalogs? Go to:
https://www.catalogchoice.org/

To keep that bulky phone book from arriving-don’t chase the poor person tossing it on your door step down the street-opt out at:
http://www.ypassociation.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Environmental1&Template=/CustomSource/ZipSearch.cfm

Calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT will stop the credit card offers from arriving to your mailbox and reduce the risk of your identity being jacked.
Sources:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/10/earlyshow/contributors/susankoeppen/main20061441.shtml

Saturday, November 12, 2011

DOWN With Downspouts!

   
    It rains a lot in Portland! To be more precise it rains an average of 37 inches every year. As we mentioned in an earlier post, storm-water and sewage both flow into the same system of pipes underneath our city. Unfortunately, whenever there is a great deal of rain the pipes overflow and the excess (a mixture of storm-water and raw sewage) flows into our rivers, streams and groundwater.
    The good news is that there is something that every home-owner can do to preserve the integrity of our water resources. DISCONNECT YOUR DOWNSPOUT!
    OK, first of all, what is a downspout? Well, the downspout is that thing that directs the water collected by the gutters of your house or apartment into a pipe in the ground. In Portland that pipe usually leads to the sewer or a storm drain. Either way, disconnecting your downspout helps ease the demand on our system, mitigating the chance of an overflow during heavy rain.


    Disconnecting your downspout is simple. You merely need to disconnect your downspout and redirect the water into a porous area that can safely absorb the water. Downspout elbows and extensions are available at any home improvement store as well as splash guards to prevent erosion of soil. But if you're planning to disconnect your downspout you should consult the following links as there are certain precautions that need to be taken. The water must be drained into a porous area at least one-tenth the area of the roof. So if the roof is 500 square feet, the water must drain into an area of soil of at least 50 square feet. Precaution should be taken for safety, do not let the water run over concrete or other non-porous surfaces. Also, make sure that water is released at least ten feet from any retaining wall. For detailed instructions on how to disconnect your downspout and help keep our rivers clean please follow these links including a detailed instructional video by the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.

http://www.portlandonline.com/bes/index.cfm?a=322320&c=54309
http://www.marc.org/Environment/water/downspout.htm
http://www.jamesriverassociation.org/what-we-do/watershed-restoration/Downspout%20Disconnect.pdf


Image Sources:
http://www.marc.org/Environment/water/downspout.htm
http://www.portlandonline.com/bes/index.cfm?c=54651
http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-make-a-downspout-diverter

Friday, November 11, 2011

MIT Recycling Game Is a Hit with Students


MIT Recycling Game Is a Hit with Students

Recycling is never something that most people find enjoyable. It is tedious and requires more effort than simply throwing the garbage out into the waste basket. This is one of the reasons that people do not like to do it, because companies have not made it fun or easy. If you have ever gon up to the Saturday Farmer's Market in Portland, you will know where I am coming from. Throwing away garbage is one of the most confusing tasks at the market, because there are not a great deal of garbage cans to dispose of things. 

However, a company called Greenbean Recycling in Boston, is changing the way that students at MIT look at chucking garbage. They have reengineered garbage cans so they tabulate points for each item students recycle. The most success from this program has come from competing frats and sororities. Greenbean Recycling is also offering prizes for people who recycle the most garbage. The reason that this program is so effective in my opinion, is because people like doing it.

It is fun and there is a bit of competition to it, which drives a lot of people. For me personally, I like playing soccer because it is a competitive game. Recycling in the case of this article and through Greenbean Recycling, has been made out to be extremely fun and entertaining. I find that when I have a game involved with anything tedious or lacking in entertainment value, suddenly I want to do it, because there is some enjoyment that I derive from the activity. Recycling should be one of those activities that everyone likes.  

Article retrieved from: 

http://earth911.com/news/2011/11/11/mit-recycling-game-is-a-hit-with-students/

Recycling, reusing used electronics


Recycling, reusing used electronics 


The idea of recycling used electronic devices isn't exactly new. People have been doing this forever through sites like Ebay and through classifieds, pawn shops, and the Goodwill. If you go into a Goodwill store you will see dozens of electronic devices for sale including mouses, keyboards, cell phones, and computers. If you look on sites like Ebay, you will find everything from speakers to Playstations.

The number of organizations that exist nowadays that recycle these devices is also mind boggling. There are also a large number of solutions for E-waste that includes trade-in electronics for cash and gift cards, donating to Goodwill's ReConnect Program, giving cell phones to soldiers and other good causes, reconsidering upgrades to new phones, and getting involved with the recycling community.

I feel that that if people played more of a role in cutting down their own roles in making E-waste, then the planet would likely be much better off than it is right now. Many of the electronic devices that get thrown into landfills contain very toxic chemicals that can harm the environment and leach into the soil and pollute an area for decades or centuries. some damage can even be irreversible.




















It is very important for everyone to work towards eliminating unnecessary waste from our landfills and look towards recycling more often. There are many countries around the world that would be happy to take our second generation Iphones and two year old camcorders. I feel that our society is really geared towards consumption of the lastest and greatest things, when we should really be focused on conserving the greatest thing we have of all, which is our planet.

Article retrieved from:

http://www.sj-r.com/features/x1691080237/Recycling-reusing-used-electronics