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: , ,

Winter Cleaning!

January 21st, 2012 No comments

There’s no need to wait for the birds to start chirping and the flowers to start budding to get rid of the junk around your house.

Why not do Winter cleaning instead of Spring cleaning? After all, the skies are still gray (in most parts of the country) and who wants to waste a sunny, Spring day inside clearing out clutter?

If it’s too overwhelming and you don’t know where to begin, consult a professional organizer. FindMyOrganizer.com is a site that can help you choose one. A third party can help sift through the clutter without the emotional attachment most people place on their possessions and make suggestions for how best to organize the items you do keep.

But if you don’t have a need for outside help, or can’t afford it, plow ahead on your own with these suggestions:

Start small: Don’t try to attack your entire house at once, or you’ll be tempted to give up. Pick one room that’s particularly troubling and then start in one area of that room, such as the closet or the overstuffed drawers. Once you get one area of the room under control, move onto the next. If you’re still on a cleaning streak, move onto the next room. When you’re tired, stop for the day and resume the next day or the following weekend.

Sort, sort, sort: The key to successful de-cluttering and organization is to think in terms of categories. When going through your linen closet, for example, make a pile of mismatched sheets and towels that you never use and set them aside for donation, if they’re in decent condition, or reuse as cleaning rags. Then fold all of the good hand towels, washcloths and bath towels and group the matching sets together back on the shelves. Do the same with bed sheets. Sort out all the other loose odds and ends in the closet, such as shaving supplies, sewing kits and hotel shampoos (c’mon, you know you take those home) and organize like items into clear plastic bins, label them and stack them on the shelves where they can be easily identified. Ah, order.

Purge quickly: Once you’re done, you should have items in boxes or bags meant to either sell, donate or toss. Don’t keep those things lying around or you may never get around to properly discarding them, thus contributing to more clutter (and a possible change of heart). Immediately list the items of value on ebay or craigslist, put the recyclable items on the curb or take them to a center, drop the donatable items off at Goodwill and toss the rest.

You’ll feel like a weight has been lifted. And then, when Spring rolls around, you can secretly smile to yourself when you see your neighbor going through his garage while you head out for a bike ride.

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.

Thanks to Bill Longshaw and christineshomeandtraveladventures.blogspot.com for the use of their images!
Categories: ecycler, junk Tags:

Reducing, Reusing and Recycling in the Workplace

January 17th, 2012 No comments

We often talk about (brag about!) being earth-friendly, going green and recycling in our home. But most of us spend a good portion of our lives in another environment, one that generates its own share of waste: the workplace. Whether you work for a large company or a small business, you likely have an office in which you spend five or more days a week. That office requires heating and cooling; it uses paper, appliances, and other materials; and it creates waste just as prolifically as does the home – if not more so.

If you are a business manager or simply an outspoken person in your office, you can take concerted steps toward reducing, reusing and recycling in the workplace. Here’s how:

REDUCE

Technology has made it increasingly easy to reduce in the workplace. By using cloud computing, electronic billing, and email communication a business can go paperless and save troves of trash (and money) the process. You can also reduce on your electricity consumption by installing intelligent thermostats and energy-efficient lighting. The possibilities are truly endless and the potential for savings are considerable. As a successful energy-reducer can tell you, you don’t need solar power to save on utilities in the workplace.

REUSE

Changing workplace trends dictate that companies are always creating waste. Every technological and management change likely yields discarded furniture, printers, and various other office items. All of these materials can be donated to agencies that will help reuse them in some capacity. An office truly committed to being environmentally-friendly is not one that will leave generations of printers sitting in a landfill.

RECYCLE

Most people find it far easier to recycle in the home than in the workplace. The reason? At home, many of us have a dedicated bin for trash and another one dedicated for recycling. Every time we empty the trash or take the bins to the curb we are reminded to sort the recyclables out from the items that are not. We often don’t get this kind of reminder in the office, where trash receptacles are abundant but recycling bins are a far rarer find. There’s an easy solution to this, however: next to every trash can add a well-marked recycling bin. Certainly make sure there is one in the kitchen or wherever employees tend to eat their lunch.

Hopefully these tips can help your business better reduce, reuse and recycle. Doing so not only helps the environment, but can also translate favorably towards the company’s bottom line. As far as the workplace is concerned, there’s really no reason not to go green.

Top-20 Ways to Make your Business Greenerhttp://blog.ecycler.com/2010/11/13/top-20-ways-to-make-your-business-greener/

Read more…

Stop SOPA / PIPA

January 13th, 2012 No comments

We, at ecycler.com, do NOT support SOPA / PIPA.

For the very first time, we are posting something not related to being green or recycling. SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) are dangerous and written from a point of ignorance of the Internet and Innovation.

For an explanation, please watch this short video PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks the Internet from Fight for the Future.

Some initial thoughts (partially borrowed from WordPress News):

  • Our legal system maintains that the burden of proof is on the accuser, i.e., people are innocent until proven guilty. This tenet seems to be on the chopping block when it comes to the web if these bills pass, as companies could shut down sites based on accusation alone.
  • Laws are not easily reverted. We should not be so quick to codify something this far-reaching.
  • The people writing these laws are not the people writing the independent web, and they are not out to protect it.

The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us $47 million tax dollars over the next few years — that’s for a fix that won’t work, disrupts the Internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices, and censors the Internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.

We’ve added the “Stop SOPA” ribbon to our blog and encourage all other blog owners to do the same.

For more information:

Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/18/1055849/-Confessions-Of-A-Hollywood-Professional:-Why-I-Cant-Support-the-Stop-Online-Piracy-Act-(UPDATED)
Mashable: http://mashable.com/2011/11/16/sopa-infographic/
TechDirt: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/why-hollywoods-idea-innovation-is-sopa.shtml
TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/15/sopa-brad-burnham/

Thanks! And, now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Categories: ecycler, legislation Tags:

A Clutter-free 2012

January 3rd, 2012 1 comment

The gifts are unwrapped and the holiday lights are off, so now what? Time to get organized! Many people resolve to exercise and diet, but the beginning of a new year is also a good time to purge those clothes you haven’t worn since college and organize the clutter that’s been collecting in your basement.

Some organizing experts suggest getting rid of one item for every new holiday gift received, as a way to neutralize the incoming stuff. It’s a good time to consider donating items to charitable organizations that normally get a flood of new things before the holidays but that are still in need of basics after the last ornament has been plucked off the tree or the last candle in the menorah has been blown out. People are in need all year long, so your old coats, toys, canned food and household items are welcome after the holidays.

Items that can’t be reused can usually be recycled, including the cardboard boxes in which your holiday gifts were shipped, the batteries that you replaced in your kids’ toys and the household appliances that are being swapped out for new ones. Even your Christmas tree can find new life as mulch. Many municipal recycling programs pick up trees at the curb and recycle them.

The new year also presents a good time to get the holiday decorations in order. Organizing ornaments and lights and labeling them helps prevent you from buying new decorations you don’t need the following year. Keeping perfectly nice gift bags, bows and ribbons also prevents you from having to buy new ones next year and keeps those items out of landfills. And don’t be afraid to re-gift – if you got something you just don’t need but don’t want to donate it, hold onto it for next year’s Secret Santa swap at the office or give it to a friend or relative that you know would like it.

What about all those holiday cards that have been piling up? Hold onto a few from close friends and family, especially the ones containing photos, and recycle the rest.

This is a good time to teach children to be generous to others. Now that they’ve gotten so many gifts, tell them that they are fortunate to have received presents and that there are a lot of kids who did not and encourage them to pick out some old toys that are safe and in good condition to donate to another child. There’s no reason the season of giving has to end after Christmas.

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.

Thanks to unvarnishedmom.com for the use of their image
Categories: ecycler, materials Tags: ,

Connect with Us on Pinterest!

December 31st, 2011 No comments

We are all about recycling and being green. Some may call it junk, but it can certainly be reused, recycled or upcycled! With so much upcycling inspiration around here, we thought Pinterest would be a great place to showcase some of our discoveries!

If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, think of it as a place to create virtual inspiration boards. If you see a craft project, a recipe, or anything else that inspires you, you can “pin it” on your Pinterest account to find later (and to show-off to the world!).

We use ecyler’s Pinterest board to bookmark and share awesome, eco-friendly, upcycled stuff that we stumble across. We want to create a pinboard that’s got green crafty inspiration for home decor, clothing and accessories and any other awesome upcycled or revamped craft projects we stumble upon in our travels. We also post some interesting images of recycling of materials from aluminum cans to wine bottle corks.

Want to keep up with the eco-friendly, upcycle action on Pinterest? Follow the ecycler Pinterest board! We’d also love to connect with other green pinners out there. Do you have a Pinterest account? Tell us who you are in the comments!

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: , ,