Archive for April, 2010

Reasons to Support your State Bottle Bill

April 27th, 2010 No comments

Reasons to Support The Bottle Bill

Keeping current with consumer habits
As America becomes a increasingly “on the go” society, a bottle bill will help to capture the containers of beverages not consumed at home. We are now enjoying beverages in the park, at the beach, in our cars and at the office. With over 20 years of experience bottle laws have help to recycle an average of 75% of all beverage containers.

Promotes Recycling and Reduces Waste
Bottle bills generally result in higher materials recovery rates–which benefit the environment by reducing litter and supports the recycling industry that depends on a constant stream of recyclable materials. Increased recovery rates leads to reduction of our reliance on oil and reduces the depletion of natural resources through the re-manufacturing of recycled material.

Provides Financial Incentives for Recycling
Deposits on beverage containers were used for many decades by the beverage industry to ensure the return of their refillable bottles. Deposits work because they provide a financial incentive to recycle and a disincentive to litter.

Bottle bills are unique from litter taxes or publicly funded recycling programs in that the money that the buyer pays is returned to them when they recycle the container. Deposits place the cost of managing post-consumer beverage containers where it really belongs–on those who manufacturing, sell and buy them. Whether they are landfilled, littered or recycled, there is a cost to managing ‘used’ beverage containers which has been passed onto the counties and municipalities and represent a cost to government and taxpayers. The deposit system shifts those cost to producers and consumers who choose not to redeem their deposits.

Produces High-Quality Recyclable Materials
Not all recycled materials get made into a new product. Breakage and contamination of materials in collection results in them being “downcycled” into material that can not be recycled. Containers collected through a bottle bill generally suffer less breakage and contamination–that means more beverage containers can be recycled into new products.

A study of glass recycling showed that only 40% of glass from single-stream systems is recycled into containers and fiberglass, 40% winds up in landfills and 20% are process into glass fines and used in low-end applications. In bottle bill systems, color-sorted material results in 98% being recycled and only 2% marketed in to glass fines.

Generally plastic material from single-stream MRFs yield about 68%-70%. Bales of PET from deposit return systems generally have a yield rate of about 85%.

A deposit system along with a curbside program will result in savings to local governments by reducing collection and processing fees.

Creates Jobs
A bottle bill law creates new jobs in the retail, processing, and recycling industry. Creation of jobs have been shown in every bottle bill state. Michigan gained 4,684 jobs, New York 3,800 jobs, Massachusetts 1,800 and Vermont gained 350 jobs.

Many of these facts and figures were pulled from the Container Recycling Institute site.

Categories: legislation, recycle Tags: ,

Happy Earth Day! 40 Recyclable Items for each Year of Earth Day

April 22nd, 2010 No comments

Today is the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. In honor of the big day, we’ve put together a list of 40 items that can be recycled (some of them may surprise you):

40. Yogurt containers
39. Cottage cheese containers
38. Strawberry (and other berry) baskets
37. Plastic milk containers
36. Waxed milk cartons
35. Soap bottles
34. Juice bottles
33. Juice boxes and cartons
32. Gallon water containers
31. Plastics grocery bags
30. Paper grocery bags
29. Plastic toys
28. Plastic hangers
27. Plastic trash cans
26. Beer bottles
25. Aluminum cans
24. Cell phones
23. Tin cans
22. Newspapers
21. White office paper
20. Corrugated cardboard
19. Brown paper bags
18. Phone books
17. Magazines
16. Junk mail
15. Envelopes from mail
14. Refrigerators
13. Air conditioners
12. Batteries
11. Motor oil
10. Tires
9. Car batteries
8. Printer ink cartridges
7. Scrap aluminum
6. Old bricks
5. VHS tapes
4. Old prescription medicine bottles
3. Flip flops
2. Roof shingles
1. Recycle this blog post and let people know about ecycler!


Categories: recycle Tags: , ,

Beyond Traditional Recycling!

April 17th, 2010 No comments

When someone says, “I’m going to recycle material X“, it usually references the action of placing something in a recycling bin for curb-side pickup or taking it to a recycling center. A lot of materials are capable of being recycled–everything from aluminum cans to rubber tires, we’ve outlined a few on our Recycling Facts page.

What’s the purpose of recycling? There have been books written on the subject, so we’ll simply list a few points here:Where everything you buy counts for our Earth

  • Reduce waste going into landfills
  • Recover natural resources
  • Energy conservation (less energy to make cans from recycled aluminum than from mining aluminum oxide, for example)

So, what if instead of the traditional recycling flow from consumer to recycling center to raw materials for manufacturing, we take those materials and merely create a product? Better yet, how about a product that is fun or useful (or fun and useful)?

We’re spotlighting several products made from recycled/reclaimed materials. Come check them out:

  • ecoist bags made from recycled/re-purposed newspapers, candy3 design choiceswrappers, food packages, soda labels, subway maps, etc.
  • one eighty design home decor made in the USA from reclaimed metals found via dumpster diving
  • reiter8 totes made from reclaimed sails

Think outside the (recycling) bin for an opportunity to make a green impact. For a full catalog of these wonderful items, check out

Texas Bottle Bill

April 15th, 2010 6 comments

There are currently eleven bottle bill states in the U.S., the first originating in 1971. Another ten states have deposit/refund legislation pending, including Texas.

Texas Bottle Bill Legislation Mission Statement

The mission of the Texas Bottle Bill is to establish a deposit/refund program to decrease the volume of aluminum, glass & plastic beverage containers in our lakes & rivers; bays & bayous; on our roadways and public lands. The deposit/refund system will combine financial incentives & convenient redemption centers; this along with curbside collection will ensure the maximum number of beverage containers for recycling. This Texas Bottle Bill will establish a funding base to create jobs locally and throughout the state in the recycling industry and bring processors and manufactures into our state. The Texas Bottle Bill will reduce Texans carbon footprint by increasing the supply of high quality materials for recycling and help replace the practice of using virgin material to produce new products.

Litter travels from all corners of Texas into our storm drains and waterways until it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. The mission of the Texas Bottle Bill is to stop the unnecessary and improper disposal of valuable resources and to help create jobs for our communities here in Texas.

To help pass the Texas Bottle Bill in 2011, contact your State Representative and State Senator today (check here for details). Ask them to Support the Texas Bottle Bill in 2011.

Texas Bottle Bill for 2011

The proposed Texas Bottle Bill for 2011 will initiate a 10¢ refundable deposit on all aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers sold in the State of Texas.

TX Bottle Bill

Buffalo Bayou, Houston Texas

With the passage of this bill Texas can:

  1. Create new jobs in the recycling and processing industries in Texas.
  2. Reduce landfill space by taking recyclables out of the waste stream.
  3. Reduce greenhouse gases.
  4. Bring new manufacturing jobs to Texas.
  5. Reduce reliance on oil and other natural resources.
  6. Increase our overall recycling rate (bottle bill state average is 75%).
  7. Clean our highways, streets and waterways of litter.

Proposed Bill

Beverages Covered
Beer, malt, carbonated soft drinks, mineral water, wine, coffee, tea, juices and non-carbonated waters. Dairy products excluded.

Containers Covered
All sealed containers made of glass, plastic or aluminum containing a beverage of 4 liters or less.

Amount of Deposit
10¢ on 24 oz or less, 15¢ on greater than 24 oz

Handling Fee
A handling fee to be paid to retailers, redemption centers, recycling centers and registered curbside operations

Reclamation System
Retail stores, redemption centers, recycling centers and registered curbside operations

Beverage Container Fund
Administered by a non-profit co-op

Program goal
75% overall recycling rate for Texas

New York City Considers Huge Recycling Legislation

April 13th, 2010 No comments

New York City is looking to dramatically overhaul its recycling program, which would mean more materials accepted at the curb, as many as 1,000 recycling bins placed across New York’s five boroughs and an increased emphasis on collecting household hazardous waste (HHW).

The New York Times reports that it would be the first major change to the city’s recycling legislation since 1989 and would coincide with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Among the highlights:

NYC Considers Huge Recycling Legislation

NYC Considers Huge Recycling Legislation

  • The New York Department of Sanitation would begin collecting all rigid plastic containers, as opposed to the current program that accepts just plastic bottles and jugs. This would cover products such as yogurt tubs and butter containers, and the city anticipates it would result in 8,000 tons of plastic diverted from landfills each year.
  • Within the next 10 years, 700 new recycling bins would be installed to allow easy access for public recycling. There are currently about 300 of these bins in operation.
  • Each borough would host at least one annual HHW collection event, with the long-term goal to create permanent sites. Each borough already operates a Self-Help Special Waste Drop-Off Site that accepts a limited number of common hazardous products such as batteries, fluorescent bulbs and paint.
  • New York would establish a manufacturer and/or retailer take-back program for consumers to safely dispose of unused paint, as it’s estimated that this accounts for 50 percent of NYC’s HHW.
  • The Department of Sanitation would set up separate bins to collect clothing and textiles.

Another important distinction created by the new law would be to differentiate between residential and commercial customers when it comes to fines for not participating. Buildings with one to eight units would pay a $25 fine for the first two violations and it would jump to $100 for the third offense, whereas buildings with more than nine units would start at $100 and jump to $400 on the third strike. The City would offer recycling workshops and trainings as an alternative to paying fines.

This isn’t the first time that New York City has developed a separate recycling initiative than the rest of the state. In 2008, it began a retailer plastic bag take-back program that was later adopted by the entire state, and New York City currently has a landfill ban on rechargeable batteries that is not in effect at a state level.

The expansion of New York City’s recycling legislation will go before the Solid Waste Management Committee and will then need approval from Mayor Michael Bloomberg in order to move forward.

If passed, many of the changes will not take effect for several years, such as the plastic expansion that is contingent upon a new recycling facility in Brooklyn, which will not open until 2012.

Thanks Trey Granger and Earth911 for the article!

Paper Recycling Hits Record High

April 2nd, 2010 1 comment

A record-high 63.4 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling in 2009, according, which is funded by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF & PA).

Paper Recycling

Paper Recycling

The all-time high exceeds the industry’s 60 percent recovery goal three years ahead of schedule.

“Recycling is one of America’s great environmental success stories, and the paper industry is proud of our ongoing leadership role in this arena,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman.

“[This] announcement is a testament to the work of the industry and the commitment of millions of Americans who recycle at home, school and work on a daily basis.”

In 2009 the amount of paper recovered for recycling averaged 325 pounds for each man, woman and child in the United States.

About 50 million tons of paper and paperboard were recovered last year, down slightly from the year before, after plateauing at about 52 million tons in 2007, reports Environmental Leader.

According to the U.S. EPA, approximately 33 percent of the municipal solid waste stream is made up of paper and paperboard products.

Paper makes up the largest portion of the municipal waste stream and is also one of the most highly recovered materials as 87 percent (268 million) of Americans have access to curbside or drop-off paper recycling programs.

Thanks Earth911 for the article!

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: ,