ecycler checks in!

June 17th, 2011 No comments

There are many great options to enable your business across facebook and twitter in what we, ecycler, call second tier social media channels. A couple of obvious examples are YouTube, TwitPic and Flickr. We would also include del.icio.us in this group. One way we’ve found to go beyond the standards is to engage our community with these great services.

One of our favorites is a site called foursquare.com––it is a geo-centric check-in service. It is a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so. Foursquare lets users “check in” to a place when they’re there, tell friends where they are and track the history of where they’ve been and who they’ve been there with…

In addition to monitoring the commodities market (aluminum, cardboard, paper) via special websites, we find going to (or calling) our local recycling center for “on-the-ground” reality an important aspect of ecycler.com. If you’re following ecycler on foursquare, you’ll see our occasional check-in to various recycling centers.

We also foursquare any of the green events ecycler attends. For example, in late May we attended an event at St. Pascal School in Chicago to show support of the rally’s mission of raising awareness among students about the importance of recycling. St. Pascal won PepsiCo’s Dream Machine Recycle Rally Dream Green School Makeover contest, a $100,000 prize that it will use to make green improvements at the school including a new energy efficient computer lab powered by solar energy.

Naturally, we check-in to ecycler HQ regularly to update our followers on upcoming site features or to send out random messages.

Follow us on foursquare! We are foursquare.com/ecycler

Shippable Recyclables

May 26th, 2011 1 comment

Almost every household item, from tennis balls to old cell phones, can be recycled —  if you know where to take them.

Many recycling centers only accept the usual suspects – newspapers, aluminum cans and plastic or glass bottles – but there is value and potential reuse in almost everything around your house.  And there are a lot of businesses that allow people to ship them items that the average recycling center or curbside program won’t accept. Some such services will send you a prepaid shipping label so that you don’t have to pay to recycle your item while others require you to pay the shipping cost.

With the advent of digital music and downloadable movies, many households have CDs and DVDs that they no longer use. Many homes and businesses also frequently upgrade their computers and components, leading to extra hard drives lying around.

CDs and DVDs are made of high value recyclable material such as polycarbonate plastic and precious metals.  It is estimated that it will take over a million years for a CD to completely decompose in a landfill.

Another common item found in homes and businesses is Styrofoam, which is one of the hardest materials to recycle because of food contamination. But there are places where you can mail your styrofoam dishes to be recycled.

There are even companies that recycle old tennis balls. Rebounces.com repressurizes dead balls, restoring them to their original bounce.

So next time you plan to toss out something that your city or local recycling facility won’t accept, do a quick search online to see if you can ship the item to a business that specializes in recycling it or go to ecycler and check out the shippable recyclable section where you can print shipping labels pre-populated with addresses to these specialized recyclers.

On ecycler, all you have to do is click on “start recycling” and scroll down to the list of shippable items. You can select from among discs, crayons, tennis balls, alkaline batteries, wine corks, VHS tapes, inkjet cartridges, eyeglasses and keys. Once you indicate how many of those items you have to recycle, you will be taken to your dashboard, where you can view the transaction and print out a customized printing label so that you can ship them off. Ecycler also will e-mail you the shipping label, along with shipping instructions for each type of item.

UPDATE

We officially launched our new landing pages on Nov 15, 2011 (America Recycles Day). 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

More materials will be added as demand increases!

Official Press Release: http://www.free-press-release.com/news-recycle-hard-to-recycle-materials-1321372327.html

Categories: ecycler, materials Tags: ,

Ecycler and Upcycling

May 16th, 2011 No comments

We have talked about how artists use ecycler.com to find materials that they use to create works of art. This process of taking something that was waste and turning it into something new is called “upcycling”. According to Wikipedia, upcycling…

is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.

This is opposed to “downcycling” where an item is turned into something deemed lesser value than the original item. We won’t get into the debate about what defines better quality or less value, that’s another blog post entirely!

We’ve been checking out some of the interesting things that are being upcycled around the world as of late. Check out these interesting uses for materials that were headed for the scrap heap.

Recycled Inner Tubes and Seatbelt Buckles: The folks at Alchemy Goods make some great products from old inter-tubes. Laptop cases, wallets, purses and even the sexy “Night Out Wallet”. I really like the idea of being able to freshen up my man bag with a quick squirt of Armor All before a big date! Seatbelt buckle bottle opener is pure genius.

Placemats from Old Billboards and Movie Posters: If you’re like me a good placemat saves your table from getting all the drips and drops from my less than stellar eating habits. I like an easy to clean, wipe able placemat that can take some abuse and is interesting to look at. The folks at ReMakes are making some nifty placemats from old billboards and movie posters that fit the bill. Why use virgin plastic for an item that really doesn’t need to be made of new material? And the coolest thing is that these placemats have a QR code so you use that fancy smartphone at the table!

Recycled Oil Drums, Records and Washing Machines: You could say the folks at Lockengeloet have a fertile imagination. Or they are just a bit loco. How would you like a clothes storage dresser or lamp made from a washing machine? Or, an über cool oil drum storage unit to hide your crude oil? This is the true spirit of upcycling where an item that was previously headed for the recycling bin or your garage and turn it into  something cooler, better and downright sexy!

In the spirit of upcycling ecycler has recently launched some new recycling categories such as tennis balls, CD’s, keys and crayons. We’ve found folks that can turn these items into something better. So don’t forget the three R’s and the U.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Upcycle!

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: , ,

Maine Bottle Bill in Dire Straits?

April 26th, 2011 No comments

Maine’s bottle bill is at risk of being vastly modified, if not totally dismantled.

Lawmakers in Maine have made various attempts to modify the state’s 33-year-old bottle bill, which mandates a refund for people who recycle beverage containers. Beverage distributors have lobbied for a repeal of the bill, citing concerns about fraud and inefficiency.

One lawmaker has proposed a bill that would study whether to replace the bottle bill with a  curbside recycling program. The Natural Resources Council of Maine has argued that replacing the deposit collection system could lead to job losses, reduced recycling rates and more litter.

The current law states that larger containers, such as wine and liquor bottles, have a 15-cent deposit. Another proposed bill would exempt all bottles over 28 ounces from deposits.

Yet another bill would reduce the number of pickups beverage distributors would have to make to a redemption center. Currently, distributors must pick up all empty containers from a retailer when making a delivery. The proposed bill would require pickup once a store has generated $750 worth of containers, or once a month.

Those concerned with the various proposals contend that they would undermine recycling efforts in the state by providing less incentive for individuals and distributors to recycle.

Information on the existing Maine Bottle Bill.

Categories: legislation, recycle Tags: ,

Invite Friends

April 22nd, 2011 No comments

Ecycler is rolling out a new feature that will make it easier for people to tell their friends, family and co-workers about our site.

Spreading the news of ecycler is a great way to be more green. You can simply tell your friends about our site, or you can send to them an e-mail introduction directly from ecycler.com.

The new feature will enable a message to be sent to the e-mail addresses of anyone you choose. A link will appear in your friends’ inboxes that will take them directly to the ecycler sign-up page where they can choose to register as discarders or collectors.

Or, you can enter your gmail or yahoo account information and choose who would want to invite. And, the site will automatically send an email to those contacts.

Lastly, you will be able to grab a customized link to post on your twitter stream or facebook wall.

From your ecycler dashboard, you will be able to track everyone who registers from your invitation(s). You will receive credit for every successful registration.

We developed this feature because sometimes word-of-mouth only goes so far. You might mention ecycler.com to your friends, but they might forget to go and register later. Having a tangible reminder in their inbox, while they’re right there at their computer or on a mobile device, might just nudge them to sign up right then and there.

Categories: ecycler Tags: ,

Making Plastic into Glass

April 18th, 2011 1 comment

Collectors come to ecycler not only to get recyclables to redeem for cash, but to turn refuse into art.

A Brooklyn-based artist whose glass pieces were featured in the New York Times inquired about collecting plastic bottles, especially Evian bottles, for her work. Her friends save their used plastic bottles for her so that she can repurpose them into beautiful vases and bowls, but she needs to collect items on a larger scale.

Ecycler has received queries from other artists seeking to fashion art out of recyclables, thus opening up a new user base we hadn’t even thought of when creating the site. Ecycler will be featuring an artist named Journi who recently acquired 100 bottles from ecycler’s Recycling Exchange in an upcoming blog posting.

Aluminum, bottles and newspapers (remember those papier-mâché projects from grade school?) are perfect for art projects. School kids and professional artists alike are possible consumers of ecycler.

It just goes to show that one man’s trash really is another’s treasure.

More on the Brooklyn Artist: Shari Mendelson

Thanks GreenWineBottles for use of their image
Categories: materials, recycle Tags: , ,

You can Save the World

April 13th, 2011 No comments

ecycler.com – A new way to recycle!

Make improvements to the environment through recycling–it all starts with one can or one bottle. Collect. Connect. Recycle.

Enjoy!

Ecycler provides an alternative to the many U.S. (and Canadian) households, institutions and businesses that are not offered curb-side recycling. It’s also an option for people who have to pay for curb-side recycling or who want to have their recyclables picked up when and where they desire.

Categories: ecycler, recycle Tags:

Alkaline Batteries – Just Throw them in the Garbage!

March 31st, 2011 30 comments

We used to think it was a shame to let any recyclable household item go into the waste bin, so we were surprised to learn that it’s not necessary to recycle alkaline batteries.

Batteries can be categorized as either single-use (primary cell) batteries or rechargeable (secondary cell) batteries. Each type requires special instructions to ensure it’s properly recycled (or discarded). The majority of consumer batteries for household use fall within these types:

  • Alkaline
  • Zinc-carbon
  • Button cell (lithium manganese or silver oxide)
  • Lithium (Li-ion)
  • Nickel-cadmium (NiCd)
  • Nickel metal hydride (NiMH)
  • Lead-based (automotive and non-automotive)

It turns out that some battery manufacturers, like Duracell and Energizer, have eliminated all of the added mercury from its alkaline batteries, so they can now be safely discarded along with normal household waste. The other components of the batteries — steel, zinc and manganese — don’t pose health or environmental risks in the solid waste stream, according to Duracell, and those metals are difficult to recover from batteries.

We learned this by reading a blog written by an environmentally minded person named Will Taft — willtaft.com — who did some research into the proper disposal of alkaline batteries. He even found this comment from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA):

“Alkaline batteries are not recyclable. They’ll just be thrown out in a landfill, or at the most a hazardous waste landfill.”

Rechargeable batteries are a different story, though — they can contain mercury, cadmium, lead, and lithium, and therefore should be recycled. Car batteries and other lead-based batteries should also be recycled.

Alkaline batteries have several advantages: they last for a long time, perform well at high and low temperatures and have a long storage life. They can be stored at room temperature for two years and retain 90 percent of their original capacities.

It’s important to handle them properly, however. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that if potassium hydroxide, which is contained within the cells of alkaline batteries, leaks out, it can cause chemical burns on skin or in your eyes.

And, Duracell warns people never to dispose of alkaline batteries by fire, because they could explode. Duracell also says not to dispose of large amounts of alkaline batteries together. Used batteries are often not completely “dead,” and grouping them can bring these “live” batteries into contact with one another, creating safety risks.

Most sources say that more than 150,000 tons of single-use batteries are tossed into landfills each year. Send your alkaline batteries to ecycler HQ and we’ll take action to properly dispose of the batteries.

Buy rechargeable batteries!

 

 

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: ,

ecycler Development Team

March 29th, 2011 No comments

A special guest post by our development team at Virtual Communications:

Established in 2005, Virtual Communications is an environmentally conscious IT consulting company. Their services include software and web development, Facebook and mobile apps, call center and BPO services, video conferencing, VoIP solutions, training and technical support for consumers and corporations.

With their goal set on providing a high standard of work, Virtual Communications focuses on world class coding standards and best practices. The skills pool covers all development platforms–they have experience working with Fortune 500 companies and multinationals and enjoy a high customer retention rate.

A recent project presented Virtual Communications with an opportunity to work with a green company. The successful launch of ecycler has helped promote a great service that puts collectors of recyclable materials in contact with those who have them to give away.

We love working with an organization whose goal is to redistribute recyclable materials in order to make good use of it and make sure it is used to the fullest of its ability to reduce waste worldwide.

To make the world a greener place as well as reduce their carbon footprint, Virtual Communications makes a conscious effort in their offices to reduce waste output. For example, the offices are illuminated entirely by energy efficient florescent bulbs, which reduces costs and is environmentally friendly. Backup generators are powered by natural gas which is far more efficient and expels fewer pollutants than gasoline or diesel. They use recycled paper, recycle all waste paper and ink cartridges. And, drinking water is provided in 19 liter (5 gallon) reusable plastic bottles which cuts down on waste from non-reusable sources.

By continuing their green initiatives they hope to make the community around their offices a safer, cleaner place and reflect these ideals across their worldwide client base, subsequently making the world greener. With all of these practices in place they are able to cut down on costs as well as the waste and pollutants associated with any business.

Virtual Communications’ work with ecycler has no doubt inspired and has reinforced the benefits of recycling. They encourage their partners and clients to maintain the environment to the best of their ability.

Check out Virtual Communications for more details!

Categories: friends of ecycler Tags: ,

Vote for ecycler!

March 12th, 2011 2 comments

We’ve entered the Green Giant “The Green Awards” contest.

Come Vote for ecycler!

On the ecycler contest page, click on the “Vote Now!” next to the video… It will most likely ask you to register which takes less than 120 seconds.

The registration process is easy, it will ask for a name, email address, password, birth date, city, ZIP code and where you grocery shop.

This is a spam-free site…

We really appreciate the vote! Please also tell your friends and family.

ELEVATOR PITCH:

At ecycler.com we bring together those who have recyclables to give away with those who want to collect those recyclables. Many US households, institutions and businesses are not offered curb-side recycling; we’re giving them that option.

The collectors—or community entrepreneurs—will redeem the recyclables they collect for cash.

We believe that the easiest way for individuals to make a difference in the improvement of the environment is to recycle, and our goal is to make it even easier by pairing discarders and collectors through our web site.

We currently are trying to reach people who would like to become ecycler discarders; we hope to get businesses apartments and groups of friends to start saving their recyclables for their local collector. Also we are looking for people to become a local ecycler collector and pick up recyclables from the discarders.

Don’t forget: Check out the contest and Vote for ecycler, we really appreciate it: http://voteforecycler.com/

Categories: achievements, ecycler Tags: ,