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Posts Tagged ‘plastic’

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: , ,

3 Ways to Recycle Soda Bottles and Use Them in Your Garden

November 22nd, 2010 4 comments

Special guest post by Mike Lieberman.

Starting your own garden doesn’t require you to invest a lot of money on new containers. With a bit of creativity you can repurpose old items to grow in.

One item that I’ve been able to use in multiple ways is a soda bottle.

According to Earth911, “Less than 1 percent of all plastics is recycled. Therefore, almost all plastics are incinerated or end up in a landfill.”

So why not do your part and keep the soda bottles from the landfill.

Unfortunately soda bottles are a plenty and can be found nearly anywhere. During Keep America Beautiful’s 2009 Great American Cleanup, volunteers recovered and recycled 243,000,000 PET (plastic) bottles that littered highways, waterways and parks.

Here are three ways that I’ve successfully used soda bottles in my garden. Whether you have a backyard or a windowsill, you can utilize one of these low-cost ideas in your garden today.

Hanging Soda Bottle Planter

These are easy to make and hang well from railings and hand rails. I had about 10 of these lining the railing on my fire escape.

Self-Watering Container

If you have limited space and are lazy about watering, you can pack a lot of these in a small space to grow your veggies.

Herb Garden on a Shipping Pallet

For those of you that are bit more handy or would like a small challenge, you can double up on your recycling with this project by using a shipping pallet and soda bottles.

Help to give another life to a soda bottle and new life to a plant.

Thanks Mike!

Mike Lieberman started urban gardening and growing some of his own food in May 2009 on his fire escape in NYC. He inspires others to start growing their own food on his blog Urban Organic Gardener. Lieberman believes that growing just one herb or vegetable will make a difference. It will help to cut back the intensive resources that go into the production and transport of food to our plates. It will also help us to re-establish our connection with food that we’ve lost over the past few years. We are humans. We grow food. For more information on Lieberman, please visit CanarsieBK.com.

A Story of Machines

November 17th, 2010 1 comment

On ecycler‘s most recent trip through Michigan (a bottle bill state) we took the opportunity to document a typical grocery store redemption center. In four easy steps we went from having an empty soda bottle to being a dime richer…

A little background, first. A reverse vending machine is a device that accepts used beverage containers and returns money to you–the reverse of the typical vending cycle. Once a container is scanned, identified (i.e., matched in a database) and determined to be a valid container, it is processed and (usually) crushed to reduce its size.

Step 1 – Pick a Machine

Choose a machine based on the container material. In Michigan, for example, you have a choice between glass, plastic or aluminum cans.

Step 2 – Insert Containers

In this case, we have a plastic soda bottle. So, we begin by simply depositing the container in the large opening. The machine will “suck” each container into its bowels and increment the counter.

Step 3 – Review Value

Confirm the count as the machine iterates by one with each deposited container. Then press the big green button to finish the transaction.

Step 4 – Print Receipt and Get Cash

The machine will then print a receipt for you. Take this to the “Guest Services” counter or the attendant on hand for your cash!

Congratulations!

It’s that easy… Most of the bottle bill states give a redemption value of five cents, Michigan takes the exception with its ten cent deposit value.

And, we created a special photo set on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ecycler/sets/72157625326970436/

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: , , ,

Now that’s Serious Recycling

October 6th, 2010 2 comments

Some people are really serious about recycling. The photos of these men in China prove that you don’t need a car to redeem recyclables – a motorcycle, bicycle or rickshaw will do.

With ecycler, we hope to make redemption of recyclables easy for all collectors, regardless of whether they own a vehicle. In fact, if people don’t use cars or trucks to pick up recyclables, it will be even better for the environment. Our hats off to these men for keeping all of that plastic out of landfills.

Images may be found on Weird Asia News site.

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: ,

California Grocers Support Ban on Single-use Bags

June 3rd, 2010 1 comment

The California Grocers Association is expressing support for a proposed law in the state legislature that would introduce a state-wide standard for disposable shopping bags.

The California State Assembly passed legislation that would, if adopted by the Senate and signed by the Governor, begin a phase-out of all single-use plastic grocery bags at supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience and liquor stores in the state.

AB 1998 passed the assembly with 41 votes on 1 June 2010 and now goes to the State Senate. Governor Schwarzenegger’s office has signaled he is prepared to sign the bill.

The bill is aimed at reducing the more than 19 billion single use grocery bags generated in California annually. Consumers will be encouraged to bring their own reusable bags. Paper bags with high levels (40% postconsumer) recycled content would also be available for their actual cost, which currently ranges between 5¢ – 8¢ a bag.

Californians Against Waste (CAW) joined Assemblymember Julia Brownley and a coalition of environmental groups, grocery stores, and labor groups to announce a growing wave of support for legislation to ban plastic bags in California.

“These so-called ‘free bags’ are an environmental and economic nightmare,” said CAW Executive Director Mark Murray. “Californians use and discard more than 2 million plastic bags every minute of every day and many of those end up as pollution in our parks, streams and ocean.”

  • Industry and Environmentalists agree that roughly 19 billion plastic bags are distributed in California annually.
  • In 2006, CAW joined with retailers and the plastics industry in enacting AB 2994 (Levine), legislation aimed at increasing the recycling of plastic bags. However, despite that effort, less than 5% are currently recycled.
  • Even when bags are initially properly disposed, they often blow out of trash cans, garbage trucks, and landfills and become litter.
  • Most California retailers currently subsidize the cost of plastic and paper bags. This cost is estimated at more than $400 million annually, and is undoubtedly passed on to consumers in the form of higher grocery costs.
  • In January, Washington, DC enacted a 5¢ ‘fee’ on grocery bags. That policy has been credited with reducing single-use bags by 65%.
  • 60–80% of marine debris pollution overall, and 90% of the floating marine debris, is plastic litter.
  • More then 1 million seabirds, 100,000 marine mammals, and countless fish die annually through ingestion of or entanglement in marine debris which includes plastic bags.
  • AB 1998 is supported by Retailers, Environmental Groups, Local Governments, Labor, and the nation’s largest paper bag manufacturer (Duro Bags).

Check out the Californians Against Waste website for more information.

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!

Virginia Legislature Rejects Tax on Paper or Plastic Bags

February 17th, 2010 No comments

A Virginia legislative panel has rejected a proposal to levy a tax on consumers who accept paper bags or plastic bags from retailers.

A House Finance subcommittee tabled HB1115, a bill that would have required shoppers to pay a five-cent tax for each carryout bag received from retail establishments, including grocers, pharmacies and department stores.

The move follows on the heels of a decision by state legislators to set aside a proposal to ban plastic retail bags.

“Most public officials have determined that a new tax is not the most effective approach to combat litter – and that recycling works,” says Shari Jackson of the American Chemistry Council’s Progressive Bag Affiliates, which represents domestic plastic bag manufacturers.

The ideal solution would be for consumers to utilize reusable bags as blogged about here: Which is Better… Paper or Plastic?

Naya Going to 100% Recycled Water Bottle

December 6th, 2009 No comments

Just five months after going to a 50 percent recycled plastic bottle, Naya Spring Waters is launching full-bore into recycled bottle territory.

The Canadian water bottler said it is the first to use a 100 percent recycled PolyEthylene Terephthalate (rPET) bottle. The bottle is made from plastic that previously was used as packaging, then recycled.

“We’re proud to be the first major spring water brand to introduce 100 percent recycled plastic bottles, which is a win for the environment as well as for consumers who enjoy bottled water and want to reduce their impact,” said Daniel Cotte, president of Laval-based Naya Waters. “This innovation is another demonstration of our commitment to put the environment at the heart of Naya’s company strategy.”

The first bottles are going on sale in New York City in December, and by early 2010 they will be rolled out to the rest of North America.

Naya estimates that if 10 percent of the U.S. beverage industry went to 100 percent rPET, the packaging industry would save 715,000 barrels of virgin plastic annually.

Other drink makers are upping their commitment to using recycled materials in their bottles.

Naked Juice, which is a subsidiary of PepsiCo, is using post-consumer recycled PET for its clear 32-ounce plastic bottles.

Coca-Cola has begun the global rollout of its PlantBottle and by the end of 2010 it expects to have sold more than two billion units. Depending on the place of manufacture, the PlantBottle contains up to 50 percent recycled materials, as well as plastic derived from plant-based materials.

In the UK, Danone’s bottles have been made with 25 percent recycled plastic, but the company wants to increase that to 50 percent or more within a few years. The company has also pledged to reclaim and recycle a bottle for every bottle sold in the UK.

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: ,

Which is better… Paper or Plastic?

November 18th, 2009 1 comment

Thanks to Earth911 for a great article. Excerpt is here:

Let’s admit it, if it came down to choosing paper versus plastic bags at the checkout line, most people would choose paper. After all, they’re made from a renewable resource and are typically pretty easy to recycle. But when you consider the overall life cycle impact of paper bags over plastic, paper doesn’t look quite as green:

Paper or Plastic, maybe I'll reuse...

Paper or Plastic, maybe I'll reuse...

  • Each year, Americans use about 10 billion paper bags, resulting in the cutting down of 14 million trees.
  • Using paper bags doubles the amount of CO2 produced versus using plastic bags.
  • Plastic grocery bags require 40-70 percent less energy to manufacture than paper bags.
  • It takes 91 percent less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper.
  • In the U.S. nearly 80 percent of polyethylene (the plastic used for bags) is produced from natural gas. This includes feedstock, process and transportation energy.

According to Keith Christman, senior director of market advocacy for the American Chemistry Council (ACC), plastic bags may actually be the better choice.

But why do bags have such a lower environmental footprint in manufacturing? According to Christman, one of the factors that accounts for this is the difference in weight between a typical paper and plastic bag, with paper bags weighing 10 times as much as their plastic counterparts on average.

“That goes along with the fundamental law of reducing – using much less material in the first place,” he said.

Full and original Earth911 article

Categories: materials, recycle Tags: , ,

Water Bottles Now Included in New York’s Container Deposit Law

October 30th, 2009 2 comments
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Water bottles will now be included in New York State’s 5-cent beverage container deposit law after Oct. 31, thanks to a ruling by a judge earlier this month.

U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Batts ruled after a court hearing last week that the expansion would be enacted; she went on to permanently enjoined a provision of the bill that would have required bottlers to have state-specific UPC labels on bottles.

New York becomes the third state this year and sixth overall to include water bottles in its deposit program. Oregon added water bottles Jan. 1 and Connecticut on Oct. 1.

Overall, 11 states have deposit laws that include carbonated soft drinks, beer and water bottles. California, Hawaii and Maine also include non-carbonated beverages such as teas and energy drinks.

“It seems to me that this is certainly a trend now,” Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group said. “We certainly hope that New York will be a trendsetter, and that more states will do this. The environmental benefits of recycling plastic include not only litter reduction, but energy savings and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. You can get a lot of bang for your buck from deposit laws.”

Eight other states, including Tennessee and Massachusetts, are currently considering bottle bills or extension of bottle bills to include water.

According to an analysis by the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) in Culver City, Calif., the deposit program should increase the number of water bottles recycled in New York from 487 million in 2006 to 2.5 billion in 2010, when the program is in effect for an entire year. Only 14 percent of water bottles in New York were recycled in 2006, compared to a 70 percent recycling rate for soft drinks, according to CRI.

CRI said the additional 2 billion water bottles that are expected to be recycled on an annual basis in New York will keep 163.7 million pounds out of material out of landfills and incinerators, and the energy saved by recycling these additional containers will be enough to provide power to 43,660 households for an entire year.

Water bottles account for 25 percent of all beverage sales in New York state. The expanded bottle bill applies to all water drinks as long as they don’t contain sugar — which means that vitamin drinks, iced teas, sports drink, juices and sugared water drinks are still excluded.

Deposits apply to all beverage containers under one gallon. Bottled water represents 69 percent of all non-carbonated beverages sold in New York.

The bottle bill had been challenged in court in May by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Nestle Waters North America and Polar Corp.

“Now that the deposit is in place, I think we are just about done in Albany,” said Tom Lauria, vice president of communications for IBWA. “We got rid of the New York state-specific UPC code and got our members a lot more time to get ready for this.

A spokeswoman for Nestle said the company “supports the bill, [but] we want to see it expanded further.” The company has said in the past that the exclusion of certain beverages puts bottled water at a price disadvantage, and that it would seek to get the bill amended in the next legislative session.

After a preliminary court hearing last August, Nestle Chairman and CEO Kim Jeffery issued a statement, saying that deposit laws “must apply to all beverages,” including the sports drinks, teas, juices and energy drinks that are excluded from the expanded bottle bill.

Other provisions of the New York law went into effect Aug. 13. The changes increased the handling fee that distributors pay to grocers, convenience stores and redemption centers for handling bottle returns from 2 cent to 3.5 cents — the first increase since 1997.

In addition, 80 percent of the unclaimed nickel deposits in New York — an estimated $115 million annually — will now go to the state, with distributors and bottlers keeping the rest. Previously, distributors and bottlers had kept all of the unclaimed deposits.

Find more information on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website