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Making Cardboard Green

April 21st, 2012 No comments

Let’s face it, we all have to ship stuff from time to time, regardless of how un-green it can seem. Aunt Martha will be disappointed if you don’t send her a birthday gift, and what about all that old stuff you can sell on ebay so that someone else can re-use it? People who feel guilty about the carbon they’re expending by shipping stuff can rest assured now: UPS is trying to make its business more sustainable.

For example, UPS calculates the carbon footprint of all of its routes and has determined that more right-hand turns are more sustainable. By doing so, the company has saved 10 million gallons of gasoline since 2004 and last year reduced the amount of fuel consumed per package by 3.3 percent. They also buy carbon offsets to fund conservation projects for customers that request carbon-neutral shipments. They use something called “cube optimization” to ensure that packages are no larger than they need to be. And they use environmentally-friendly packaging materials, such as corrugated cardboard, which is both easy to recycle and also comprised of recycled materials.

Speaking of cardboard… there’s a 9 year old boy in East L.A. who has turned cardboard boxes from his dad’s auto parts store into arcade games. Caine Monroy cut and taped up old boxes and converted them into games using other re-purposed items like an old basketball hoop, with the idea of charging kids money to play. He created a claw game — that arcade game classic in which you try to retrieve a stuffed animal with a claw — using a hook and string. He also created a soccer game using old army men toys as goalies. And as prizes, he set aside his old Hotwheels cars. Talk about re-use!

Unfortunately for Caine, he didn’t have any customers for awhile. But when a documentary film maker came upon his cardboard arcade and decided to make a short film about the young entrepreneur, things changed. The film maker created a facebook page and a flash mob ensued. His project generated so much news coverage, it even made the front page of Reddit. Check out cainesarcade.com to see the film about this young recycler.

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Boulder House Treads Lightly

April 11th, 2012 No comments

It’s one thing to leave a small footprint by shunning the McMansions of the 90s and early 2000s by occupying a smaller dwelling. But one Boulder couple took the small-house trend to the extreme.

Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller built a 125-square-foot home.

Not only is the size environmentally friendly, the couple built it using reclaimed windows, beetle-kill lumber, solar power and a composting toilet that contains peat moss and saw dust.

“You’d be surprised how well it works and how much it doesn’t smell,” Mr. Smith told Denver’s ABC 7 News.

So what can you fit in a space that 19-feet long, wall-to-wall? A sitting area, a kitchen, a bathroom and a sleeping loft that can accommodate a queen-size mattress.

The Boulder couple is part of a growing movement of small-home dwellers. The web site

features the tiny homes of other environmentally-conscious people like a man who built a 400-square-foot cabin for less than $2,000. Roof-top solar panels and a small wind turbine provide all the electricity, including the water pump, lights and computer. A propane tank that provides back-up energy for the furnace and stove saves money. His water comes from a well he drilled himself, while rainwater that he collects provides water for gardening. He raises chickens, rabbits and tends fruit trees. He has no house payments or utility bills.

A documentary called “Tiny: A Story About Living Small“, scheduled for release this spring, will feature the Boulder couple’s home and others like it.

Categories: recycle Tags: ,

More of an Incentive to Recycle their Beverage Containers in California

March 24th, 2012 No comments

Consumers in California are getting more of an incentive to recycle their beverage containers. The state has said it will raise the rates paid to people who turn in their used soda cans and water bottles.

The redemption rates will increase by 3¢ for plastic bottles and 3¢ for aluminum cans. The rate per container remains the same at 5¢ for containers under 24 ounces and 10¢ for containers 24 ounces and above.

RePLANET, a company that operates recycling centers in California, said previous reimbursement rates were insufficient to support its collection program, forcing it to temporarily deactivate its automated recycling machines last summer. Following complaints from customers, rePLANET reactivated the machines and the state of California began to recalculate the rates, according to Recycling Today

Now it makes more economic sense for customers to line up outside recycling centers to cash in their items. Often in California, lines are long and people have to wait a long time to redeem their recyclables.

“Recycling beverage containers makes more sense than ever before,” Matt Millhiser, rePLANET marketing director, told the magazine. “The state’s new redemption rates, combined with our innovations in automated technology, make recycling more financially rewarding and convenient than any time in California history.”

Effective March 1, 2012, the CRV refund price per pound are:
  • Aluminum Cans – $1.57
  • Glass Bottles – 10.5¢
  • No. 1 PET Plastic Bottles – $1
  • No. 2 HDPE Plastic Bottles – 57¢
  • No. 3 PVC Plastic Bottles – $1.33
  • No. 4 LDPE Plastic Bottles -$1.87
  • No. 5 PP Plastic Bottles – 45¢
  • No. 6 PS Plastic Bottles – $5.62
  • No. 7 Others Plastic Bottles – 33¢
  • Bimetal – 30¢
 More information is available at www.calrecycle.ca.gov.
Thanks for Gem City Images for the use of their image
Categories: recycle Tags: , ,

Phoenix Faces Challenges Initiating Recycling Program for Multifamily Residences

March 1st, 2012 No comments

Phoenix, Arizona, named after the mythological firebird forever reborn from the ashes of its former self, is currently implementing a pilot recycling program for city-owned multifamily housing in low income neighborhoods. But there are particular challenges involved, mainly spreading awareness to residents regarding what goes into which receptacle, and inciting them to take advantage of such accessible means to recycle. In addition, city officials plan to overcome these obstacles by handing off awareness responsibilities to city property managers, a strategy that may lead to interesting outcomes.

The incentives for Phoenix to enact sustainability programs throughout city-owned property is clear. They need to reduce management costs over time and one way to do so is to make multifamily residences more sustainable. The pilot program being implemented at two city-owned apartment complexes, Park Lee Apartments and Sunnyslope Manor, hopes to prove this is possible, after which it will be extended to all low-income housing units under Phoenix ownership. If shown effective on such a grand scale, the program will be further expanded to cover all multifamily city residences to help curb waste management costs.

The problem is that property managers paid by the city are basically doing their bosses bidding by creating ways to inform residents as to the existence of recycling bins and the ways in which the waste is separated into them. Private-sector property managers aren’t going to be so pressured to go out of their way to inform and enforce a recycling program throughout low-income housing. In addition, initiating such a program among working-class, unemployed, and often unsettled droves of individuals raises its own set of challenges.

Such housing units in the northwest corridor between Phoenix and Scottsdale see all walks of life, from stay-at-home moms to transients to those who need just a little help getting back to being productive members of society. This diversity further complicates matters for those behind the program and managers tasked with making their property more sustainable. Schedules are odd, struggling families are resistant to change, and the residents themselves move in and out so much that it’s hard to ingrain any sort of habit change on a mass scale.

We know from experience a recycling program is successful based on these three factors:

  • Convenience
  • Education
  • Economics

Informing people about how to identify, separate and properly dispose of their recycling in and of itself takes little more than leaving fliers door to door and emailing a recycling FAQ. But things get harder when it comes to dishing out the responsibilities to property managers without offering incentives, and reaching out to individuals who are either too busy trying to get by to care or aren’t even bothered enough to throw their garbage in a trash can. Will Phoenix succeed in instituting a city-wide recycling program for multifamily residences? That depends on how badly they want to live up to their city’s namesake.

We can offer our Lessons Learned: Recycle Bin Setup

Read more…

iCanRecycle Showcased on FeedMyApp.com Today

February 19th, 2012 No comments

Come check out the write-up on FeedMyApp.com and download our iCanRecycle mobile app–it’s free! FeedMyApp.com is a Web 2.0 Directory with the best and latest web 2.0 sites, updated daily.

Fueled by a global network, 1000’s of app reviewed. Sounds good to us!

iCanRecycle is a virtual can crushing app. And, the best part is you can take any stored image or take a picture with your iPhone camera and apply it to the can, then crush away! Our virtual can may be rotated on both the vertical and horizontal axis for optimal viewing. Connect to your ecycler.com account to view all the cans you’ve actually recycled and see your environmental impact. We’ve calculated the carbon saved based on your recycling efforts and the equivalent of planted trees.

Showcase here: http://feedmyapp.com/p/a/icanrecycle/23327

Categories: achievements, ecycler, recycle Tags:

Junk to Art

February 9th, 2012 1 comment

Artists around the country are taking everyday objects that are no longer useful to their owners and turning them into works of art.

In Sacramento, Calif., artist Gioia Fonda has exhibiting her works of junk-turned-art at a gallery.  Ms. Fonda specializes in drawing piles of junk that speak to our society’s mass consumerism as well as to larger societal problems like the housing crisis. She has documented piles of junk and trash that have piled up outside people’s homes due to evictions and foreclosures.  She told the Sacramento Bee that her renditions of the junk piles represent “not only a reflection of the lending crisis but also a comment on our rampant consumerism and the utter disposability of what we produce and what we buy.”

In addition to her finished drawings, Ms. Fonda showcases the process of arriving at her finished work. She starts by taking color photos of junk piles, then draws specific objects and cuts them out. She then arranges the cut-outs into collages and makes copies.

A Dallas artist who goes by the name Vet  has been working with a group of artists and community organizers called Art From Scrap. The group collected industrial surplus items and offered it to the community for use in art projects.

“A lot of recycled items are non-toxic overruns and surplus from businesses that would normally be discarded,” Vet told Pegasus News. “I like working with multiples of one item, like different bottle tops, melted crayons, beeswax, shola berry wood chips, fabric swatches, old books, pull down shades, gourds, and pear pods.”

She built a 30-foot “Book Berm” out of discarded books as well as a folded paper tree, miniature dolls and people crafted from Styrofoam.

“Working with recyclables expands my range of mediums by allowing me to combine craft and fine art,” Vet said.

Visit chicago.ecycler.com

We are making junk removal simple, problem free and without surprises. We are born out of the idea that we can enhance the social value of recycling. All junk collected is treated as an asset and not as trash with the appreciation toward sustainability and end-of-life concerns.

We make all efforts to reuse (i.e., donate), upcycle and recycle the materials before the landfill is considered.

Categories: junk, materials, recycle Tags: ,

Recovered Materials from Waste Stream

February 2nd, 2012 No comments

Great News for Recycling!

We’ve tallied our 2011 recycling numbers and would like to share some of them.

Exhibit A: From two local (to ecycler HQ in Chicago) sources we have recovered over 300 pounds of aluminum from tapping into what was previously a waste stream. Almost 9000 cans have been recycled from these two businesses, one a restaurant and one a large automobile dealership.

Of course, 10,000’s of cans and bottles have been recycled through ecycler, but these two businesses show a great density of materials for our collectors.

Exhibit B: In only a few months since launching our “hard-to-recycle materials” service, almost a thousand pounds of miscellaneous materials, like crayons, CD’s, VHS tapes, tennis balls have been diverted from the landfill to specialized recyclers. For example, 33 pounds of crayons have been transformed into new crayons ready for a child’s art project.

“In the process of Recovering Materials from a waste stream, everyone’s a winner. Fewer tons of waste go into the landfill—instead, those materials will find new life. This action not only creates a greener world for us, but also supplies much needed opportunities to the workforce.”

We started the collection of books for recycling in January 2012, a very exciting addition to the ten other hard-to-recycle materials already offered. Ecycler will continue to expand the recovery of materials by reducing the amount of recyclables going into the waste stream of businesses and residential households.

We now have the capability to recycle 11 materials:

CD’s, DVD’s and discs: http://ecycler.com/discs
Crayons: http://ecycler.com/crayons
Tennis Balls: http://ecycler.com/tennis_balls
Alkaline Batteries: http://ecycler.com/alkaline
Wine Bottle Corks: http://ecycler.com/corks
VHS Tapes: http://ecycler.com/VHS_tape
Inkjet Cartridges: http://ecycler.com/inkjet
Eyeglasses: http://ecycler.com/eyeglasses
Keys: http://ecycler.com/keys
Bicycle Inner Tubes: http://ecycler.com/inner_tubes
Books: http://ecycler.com/books

Make a difference and recycle with ecycler.com!

Help your books find good homes!

January 25th, 2012 No comments

Are you the kind of person that hates to discard used books for fear they’ll end up in a landfill?  Do those late-night pet adoption commercials get you thinking that you’d like to set up an adoption agency for used books?  We’re right there with you, and we’ve got some great news for you!

We Recycle Books: http://ecycler.com/books

We’re delighted to announce that we now accept books as a part of our recycling programs.  We’re committed to helping find good homes for your books, and now it’s easy to join in. Simply navigate to ecycler.com/books and click the Start Recycling Now button on the page, select the number of books you are recycling (or enter in the count). Fill in the form, print out your shipping label and then rest assured that your books are on their way to nice, new homes where they’ll be treated well, with lots of tender loving care.
Recycle your Books on ecycler.com

Books cannot be easily recycled like other paper, because of the chemicals, such as glue, and other binding materials used to make them, so reuse is a great option.

We happily accept all sorts of books, be they hardcover or softcover editions, new or old. All we ask is that the books be in decent condition, without mold or mildew. It’s okay if there are markings. Just use common sense – don’t send any books that you yourself wouldn’t want to receive. The books will transferred to the care of our recycling partner who shares our commitment to getting books out of the trash and into the hands of new readers. The goal is to give each book as many new lives as possible. Come join the revolution.

According to ALA Recycling Industries, in 2006 the U.S. printed more than 172,000 new book titles. In order to produce just one ton of paper needed for these new books, 3,688 lbs. of wood, 24,000 gallons of water, 216 lbs. of lime, 360 lbs. of salt cake and 76 lbs. of soda ash are required. The process produces 84 lbs. of air pollutants, 36 lbs. of water pollutants and 176 lbs. of solid waste which must be treated and properly discarded.

Happy recycling!

Attention, no books were harmed in the filming of these Crush that Can videos:

Thanks for Ben Oh for the use of his image
Categories: materials, recycle Tags: , ,

Walking and Being Green

December 16th, 2011 No comments

A lot of people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, but everyone can walk and be green.

That’s because several shoe makers have launched environmentally-friendly sneakers. Timberland has a line of shoes called Earthkeepers made from eco-friendly materials. The boots are outfitted with organic cotton laces, recycled rubber outsoles and linings made from recycled plastic bottles. The leather in the shoes come from tanneries that meet certain criteria for energy use, waste production and water treatment.

When these boots are no longer suitable for walking, customers can return them, free of charge, to Timberland and they’ll recycle or reuse the materials. The company also makes clothing under the Earthkeepers brand made from organic cotton and recycled polyester, none of which is “dry clean only,” due to the hazardous chemicals involved in dry cleaning.

Fans of Nike shoes can participate in the company’s Reuse-A-Shoe program, which collects old, worn-out athletic shoes for recycling. The company transforming them into “Nike Grind,” a material used in creating playground and athletic surfaces, such as tennis courts.

Here’s how it works: Any brand of athletic shoe can be accepted, so long as it meets Nike’s recycling guidelines. Shoes can be dropped off at Nike Reuse-A-Shoe recycling locations around the country or at one of the company’s events. Once a critical mass of shoes has been collected, Nike ships them to a processing center in either Belgium or Memphis, TN, where the shoes are dissembled and sorted into three types of raw material: rubber from the outsole, foam from the midsole and fabric fibers from the upper. Once those items are ground up, they find new life on sports fields and tracks, and sometime in new shoes and clothes.

Sadly, another eco-friendly shoe maker is going out of business. Simple Shoes, which made shoes from bamboo, cork and coconuts, is ceasing distribution, but Zappos.com will continue selling select styles while supplies last.

 

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: ,

Dreaming of a Green Christmas

December 13th, 2011 No comments

Time is running out to wrap up holiday shopping, and if you still don’t know what to get for people, turn to the environment. Everyone can feel good about receiving a gift that’s green.

Uncommon Goods, a web-based retailer and catalog, has a whole section of green gifts that are more unusual and thoughtful than the standard fare of knickknacks made from recycled glass bottles.

For the fashion plate on your list who doesn’t want to be caught wearing the same thing as someone else, consider a skirt made from recycled sweaters – no two are alike. There are also scarves made from t-shirts and belts made from spent fire hoses.

For the techie who has every device, the retailer sells iPad cases made from old mail sacks and pouches made from the same material that can keep cords and chargers organized, as well as other items. A company called ATP Electronics makes the EarthDrive, a USB drive made from biodegradable polyester that’s derived from renewable resources, such as corn. Another company called Devotec recently came out with a portable stereo speaker system that can play music wirelessly via Bluetooth while charging its battery from an integrated solar panel. The system can play continuously when in the sun, even if the battery has no charge.

The home decorator might enjoy vases made from recycled fire extinguishers, picture frames made from recycled ceiling tins or bookends fashioned from old vinyl records (if they even know what a record is), also available from Uncommon Goods.

And don’t forget about kids- they can be green, too.

Plum caters to parents who don’t want to keep buying new clothes for their fast-growing babies and toddlers.

People can sign up to receive a set number of outfits each month and then return them a month later for all new clothes. All items are washed before they’re sent out, and outfits that come back stained are donated or recycled. A perfect gift for the new parents on your list.

Bigger kids might like the Wild Science Worm Farm, a fun way for them to learn about the ecosystem.

Categories: ecycler, recycle Tags: , ,