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Posts Tagged ‘recycle’

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: ,

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: ,

Electronic Waste – Reduce Reuse Recycle

February 23rd, 2011 1 comment

Millions of tons of electronic waste is generated every year in North America and the amount increases with every new gadget, computer and smartphone that hits the market. In our quest to improve our lives through technology we are creating electronic waste at an unprecedented rate. In response, we have seen more attention focused on methods to reduce, reuse and recycle electronic waste.

Reduce

In the pursuit for faster computers, more features on our smart phones and better picture quality, we are constantly replacing our electronics with newer and better performing models. But what if there was a way to get that improved performance, more features and better picture without increasing the amount of stuff we buy? Well, there already is a movement afoot to reduce the amount of computer hardware that needs to be purchased in order to stay on top of the tech race. The term is “cloud computing” and although it may sound like a weather forecasting computer it is actually a concept of sharing resources such as computer memory, processing power, and software over a network. For example you may need a fast computer to run software that you don’t currently own and perhaps will only need for a set amount of time. With cloud computing you would contract with a company that has the type of computer/software/memory you need and pay them a fee to access it on the Internet.

Why you may ask is this reducing the amount of electronic waste produced? Well instead of you having to purchase another computer and more memory you can use what you need, when you need it from the company providing the service. The company will have one very large computer that runs the software you and thousands of others are using. Essentially, their one computer replaces the thousands that would have needed to be purchased to complete the same task. Their one computer can be used more effectively because while you are sleeping someone in Europe can be using your portion of the big computer which likely wouldn’t be happening if it was sitting on your desk in low power sleep mode. An additional benefit is that the company providing the service is likely to be continuously upgrading and improving the software to retain and attract customers. This means that you aren’t going to get stuck with a piece of out-of-date software in a few years. And, if you’re a business you can add users by simply buying more access instead of having to buy more software and hardware to accommodate growth. Cloud computing is both lean and green.

Reuse

We know it’s easy to recycle cans and bottles but who wants your old computer that is far from high tech? The truth is that lots of people might want it including schools, low-income earners, and even those pesky computer geeks. While it may not suit your needs anymore there is such a wide spectrum of computer uses out there that your old clunker may be just the thing that Junior could use to practice his typing or learn basic programming. Sometimes the latest and greatest isn’t the best tool for the job especially if you are looking to do a little tinkering under the hood, which is what many computer hobby hackers do. They are looking for something that they can strip down, try some new tricks on or simply strip the good parts. Whatever the use, if you can find Junior or a hobbyist, your computer will extend its useful life before it meets a shredder in the next phase, which is recycling. If you’re having trouble finding a home for your electronic waste or have large volumes consider a waste consultant who can use their knowledge and experience to find a solution.

Recycle

OK, you’ve tried to donate your outdated electronic waste but it seems nobody wants your old clunker. Now it’s time to find a recycling facility that will take your old electronic device and safely recycle the materials contained within. But a word of caution on recycling of electronic waste because all may not be well. If you find someone that is willing to recycle your electronic, ask some questions like “Where does my computer go to be recycled?” or “Can you provide proof of recycling at an approved facility?” If the answer to the first question is another country such as China or India you may want to reconsider. Not that all recyclers in China and India are irresponsible but there is considerable evidence that much of the electronic waste sent to these countries is processed in ways that is extremely harmful to the both the environment and the workers that recycle the waste. You may think your old iPhone is being carefully disassembled for valuable materials when in fact it is being processed in an acid bath over an open fire, which is then dumped into a river. This brings me to my second rule of thumb, which is asking for proof of recycling at an approved facility. Ask the recycler where they send their materials. If they can’t or won’t tell you, it is a red flag. If they will tell you, do a quick Google search on the facility they provide and see what you find. Ideally you want to have your waste recycled locally by a government certified facility that is operating a safe and ethical recycling system. Most recyclers dealing with a certified electronic waste recycler will provide a record of recycling to certify that your electronic waste was recycled at an approved facility.

The solution to the ever-increasing electronic waste issue is to use computing resources more efficiently (Cloud Computing), reuse and extend the life of electronic waste (Schools and Hobbyists), and use a responsible recycler (Local and Accountable).

Cash for Cans, A Chicago Perspective

February 18th, 2011 1 comment

Did you know that it really does pay to recycle? The pop cans and old pipes laying around the house have value, and turning those items into cash is easy — if you know where to look.

The easiest items to cash in are those made from aluminum, such as beverage cans, foil and tins used for baking. Most buy-back centers in the area accept aluminum and pay an average of $0.50 per pound for it.

However, most places don’t list the prices they pay on their websites; you have to call for quotes. It pays to save up recyclables until you have a large amount to drop off. The more aluminum cans, for example, the more you’ll get for them.

A-1 Recycling, of Fox Lake, pays $0.55 per pound for aluminum cans, but for deposits of more than 25 pounds, they pay $0.57 per pound.

Many buy-back centers still don’t pay for plastic bottles and newspapers, but there are other household items people don’t typically set out in their recycling bins that can be redeemed for cash. Batteries and copper wire, for example, can be recycled for money. American Metals Company in Chicago pays $3 for car batteries while A-1 Recycling pays $2.25 for every pound of copper house wire.

For people who have batteries they wish to discard and just want to dispose of them properly but don’t care about making money from them, the city of Chicago has a battery collection program in which alkaline and rechargeable batteries — but not lead-acid car batteries — can be deposited at any Chicago Public Library or Walgreens Drug Store in the city.

When it comes to copper, different centers quote different prices, depending on the type of copper, be it wire or tubing, and whether it is soldered or not. Most places say they need to see the copper and won’t provide price quotes over the phone.

The easiest way to find drop-off centers in Chicago is to visit earth911.com, which requires people to input both their zip code and the type of recyclables they have in order to find the listing of buy-back centers. There is also a web page on the Chicago Recycling Coalition — http://www.chicagorecycling.org/sites.htm — which lists buy-back centers for all types of recyclables. The information isn’t obvious from the home page, but if you search for recyclables by type, you can find a link that lists the centers where the items can be taken. It also has an interactive map showing the locations of all of the city recycling centers.

Categories: ecycler, materials Tags:

ecycler Wins the Challenge

February 8th, 2011 No comments

Ecycler has won the Fairfield Inn & Suites Small Business Road to Success Challenge!

As one of ten small business finalists vying for the grand prize of $20,000, ecycler received 15 free nights at Fairfield Inn & Suites to be used between September 13 and December 9 to travel around the country for the sole purpose of growing its business.

Ecycler shared its journey with the public by blogging, tweeting and posting photos. Several videos were also produced and uploaded to YouTube accessible via ecycler.tv. During the Fairfield Challenge, ecycler exceeded its goals of improving the environment, enhancing the social value of recycling and supporting local communities.

Timothy Laurent, co-founder of ecycler, said, “This win is a real boost to ecycler!” Laurent goes on to say, “We set some difficult goals, but succeeded at each one.”

Craig Robertson, co-founder of ecycler, adds, “We are excited about being recognized and look forward to using this momentum to get the word about ecycler to more people, businesses and cities to use ecycler for their recycling service.”

Ecycler plans on using the $20k to create a mobile application for the iPhone / iPad and to host a recycling bin contest. The contest will encourage people from communities around the US to design and to build the most cost-effective, yet durable recycling bin using materials from the Home Depot or Lowe’s or their local building supply store. A high-quality recycling bin typically costs a couple of hundred dollars and it’s heavy to ship. The goal of the contest is to see if someone can come up with a creative way to build recycling bins locally without the need to ship to businesses.

During the 15 hotel stays, Fairfield Inn & Suites was used as home base; ecycler spread word to numerous businesses and individuals about how ecycler can help them recycle for free. Ecycler posters were posted at grocery stores, coffee shops and restaurants in all of the cities visited as a way to encourage discarders to join. Discarders are those who give away recyclables on ecycler.com.

For more information

http://news.marriott.com/

http://www.businesspundit.com/

http://www.prlog.org/

http://www.patch.com/

http://www.bizplancompetitions.com/

Categories: achievements, ecycler Tags: ,