As consumer technology becomes more advanced with every passing year — whether it’s the latest smartphone model or an ultra-high-definition streaming media player — it’s easy to become fixated on having the latest gadget on the market every time something is released. Yet with so many people standing in line outside tech retailers to wait for a product release or camping out in front of a superstore for Black Friday, the question of what happens to the devices those gadgets replace looms large. It’s because of the accelerated nature of consumer technology that unwanted electronics — or e-waste — is one of the biggest environmental concerns society faces today, with nearly 50 million tons of unwanted electronics expected to be generated worldwide in 2018.
E-waste is a particularly thorny problem from an ecological standpoint because it doesn’t simply take space in landfills like other types of waste. The rare metals and hazardous materials used to manufacture many electronics can pollute the ground and water supplies if disposed of improperly. Although many of these materials can be recycled, that recycling frequently takes place in impoverished nations where safety standards often are non-existent. Using acid to dissolve circuit boards and reclaim metals, for example, can result in toxic mercury being released into the environment — in turn, potentially causing illness.
A big contributor to the e-waste problem, ironically, is one of the smallest components of any electronic device — the cords. Just about every new device we purchase comes with a charging cord or another type of connection cable or both. These often are made with the same hazardous materials as the devices to which they are connected. Nonetheless, because they’re not as large, they tend to be overlooked when recycling e-waste. Being more sustainable and responsible when it comes to e-waste means not forgetting about cords and cables.
The accompanying guide created by Cable Leader lists some of the best ideas for recycling cables and cords from your electronic devices. Pay attention to it, and this important element of sustainability won’t be lost in the rush for the next tech product.
While admittedly recycling rates are improving, and initiatives are being put in place to encourage adopters to be considerate with their rubbish, the world’s overall waste distribution remains a large problem. Each day we face new challenges with recycling such as the recent decision by China, the largest importer of recyclable materials, to ban foreign waste. Berkeley Build, a luxury construction company, decided to embark on a creative project to encourage more people to recycle and warn people of the consequences of their actions. They created three powerful images of famous cityscapes recreated out of recyclable waste. Scenes depict landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty holding a Starbucks cup and a needle, and the Eiffel Tower constructed out of a combination of drink cans, bottles and plastic forks. The images are designed to portray a dystopian outlook and create a shock factor. It has become the norm to see rubbish on the street, food wrappers, cigarette buds, chewing gum but these images take things a little further and show what could happen if we continue to normalise this behaviour and don’t act upon it. The creative works are extreme, but they certainly make a statement.
The landmarks in the images are constructed from waste, not only to make a cultural statement but to also highlight what materials can be recycled. There is much confusion around what you can put in what bins, and the complications and lack of understanding are partially responsible for people shying away from recycling. The images play on people’s favourite brands and act as a visual to educate people on the what type of waste is recyclable. The several page manuals you get are not appealing enough and can over-complicate things, but Berkeley Build thought a shocking visual was more likely to get noticed and draw attention.
Source: Berkeley Build
It is fair to say that if the entire world recycled absolutely everything, then the planet would be an entirely different place. But if our worldwide productive recycling strategies halted for a considerable amount of time this would be very damaging.
The most obvious difference we would see if everybody recycled in the world is how much cleaner the planet would be. With our minds set on recycling, nobody would litter plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, glass and more. Our roads, pavements and fields will be clear of recyclable waste and hopefully general waste as well.
Worldwide landfill sites would shrink considerably, which would not only create more room for non-recyclable waste but we would also see a noticeable drop in the release of harmful chemicals and gasses from landfill sites. Some plastics are particularly toxic, such as plastic shopping bags. After years of lying in landfill, harmful microscopic particles get released into the atmosphere, causing potential harm to animals and humans – this would end if all plastics were recycled.
It’s renowned that our oceans are currently littered with plastics which are simply dumped as an easy method of disposal – this is completely wrong. Marine animals are clearly open to harm and us humans that eat fish and other sea creatures are too if that particular animal has come into contact with waste plastic. Clear and clean oceans would be fantastic to see one day but for that to happen we need the world to recycle everything.
Plants and trees would also be positively affected if we all recycled. There would be less of a need for raw materials which would save trees and rainforests from being flattened. Recycling innovators, QCR point out that recycling a single glass bottle saves enough energy to power a 100-Watt light bulb, and that 28 billion glass bottles are sent to landfill every year. Imagine how much energy would be saved in the UK – and the potential worldwide – if all glass bottles were recycled. This is due to the fact that recycling requires a lot less energy than creating products from raw materials like trees. Cutting out processes like this would lower the world’s carbon footprint by an extraordinary amount.
The world is getting better at recycling but we are still decades from perfection. If our progress were to stall, then our oceans and landfill sites would continue to fill with poisonous plastics.
Three increases are happening worldwide which means we cannot afford to relax our attitude towards recycling.
Firstly the world’s population is increasing. High life expectancy levels means there are more people on Earth than ever before. More people results in more waste.
Secondly, the world is getting richer. More people can afford to buy products, which means an increase in packaging to house the products being purchased – most of which will be manufactured from or stored in plastic containers.
Lastly, in an increasingly fast paced world, workers and commuters are opting for the convenience and choosing to buy (packaged) food and drink on the go. Unfortunately, the side effect of the convenience culture is that more plastic is being produced and that this plastic is usually be disposed of in a curb side bin as opposed to being recycled. We currently don’t have enough bins dedicated to recycling in our towns and cities to solve this issue.
The problem of commuters dumping their waste packaging in ordinary bins can also be related to the majority of the world. Without the right processes and recycling education in place, we will continue to bin recyclables wherever is most convenient. Not many people at present will finish their food and carry empty packaging until they find a recycling bin. To solve this problem, our public bins need be more geared towards recycling with separate, well labelled sections.
In order to make serious progress with recycling, the world needs to understand the benefits if everybody did recycle and the damage that could be done if our progress falters.
Worldwide recycling may seem farfetched, but the potential should impact should not be dismissed. Plastic waste in particular is starting to be acknowledged by governments across the globe, with China banning waste plastic imports and the UK aiming to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042. It is slow progress but at least inroads are being made.
Moving away from your home is a difficult and stressful event, regardless of the reason behind the move. Apart from this, it causes a lot of air pollution (due to transportation), waste (due to an improper choice of packing supplies) and even debris. In other words, it can become a true ecological disaster, which is a proper nightmare for anyone who is green-minded. Fortunately, avoiding this problem may not be as difficult as it seems since there are a number of ways to make your relocation eco-friendly. With this in mind, here are five tips to help you do so.
Reusable moving supplies
When it comes to the move, you will need many boxes and bags, yet the choice of going with cardboard, plastic, paper or even wood is all yours. A lot of people underestimate the importance of sturdy wooden crates, and your ability to reuse them is quite a boon. According to one survey, about 11 percent of all Australians have moved five times or more in the past 15 years. That being said, it is quite clear that investing in reusable moving supplies is not a wasted investment.
Sell or donate
Apart from being the conscientious thing to do, tidying up the place you’re leaving behind is a great way to declutter the inventory you are about to relocate. Here, you will see just how many unnecessary items you’ve hoarded in the previous years or months, which is also a great opportunity to get rid of some of it. First of all, you might want to look for the items you might sell and offer them on eBay or even throw a garage sale. If there are some items you don’t believe will yield a great ROI, you might want to look for a cause to donate to and, therefore, at least do a good deed. Before you do so, however, it might be worth your while to research where you can donate the things you own.
As for the items you can’t sell or donate, you need to dispose of them for good. Still, you need to find the eco-friendliest way to do so. Nonetheless, this can take a lot of work, seeing as how recycling different materials means making a thorough selection of all the items that need to go. Both the research of proper ways to recycle each material and the effort to actually do so are a matter that takes a lot of effort. If you have a backyard, you might even want to try composting, in order to give at least some of it back to mother earth.
Don’t take absolutely everything
Next, when it comes to the transportation of the items from your former home to the next one, you will find that the most cost-effective and the greenest way to make the move is to prioritize. The reason behind this is quite simple. Let’s say for a minute that you’re moving from Sydney to Brisbane and are, therefore, looking for Ute hire Brisbane options. The number of trucks that you will have to hire, even the size of the truck you’re hiring, depends on the number of items you are carrying to your target location. In other words, the less you decide to bring, the lower the carbon footprint of your move and the less costly the move itself will be.
Eco-friendly farewell party
Finally, a lot of people like to throw a farewell party before they move. Needless to say, this party should also be eco-friendly. When it comes to invites, make sure they are in verbal or digital form, seeing as how this will help you cut down on paper. Next, hire a recycling unit that will make it easy for you to dispose of any party leftovers later on. Finally, make sure to explore eco-friendly and biodegradable dishware and serving ware for your party. Bowls, compartment trays, cups and cones can all be eco-friendly if you invest enough effort. Luckily, in the age of the internet, this is not nearly as difficult as it once was.
At the end of the day, if there’s one thing you need to keep in mind, it is that eco-friendly relocating doesn’t take a lot of money, it takes a lot of time. Because of this, you need to start planning your relocation on time. This will give you enough space to sell, research your donating options and properly dispose of all the items you can’t carry with you. Apart from this, it will ensure that you have enough time to plan everything to the letter and in this way, ensure that it’s all going according to plan.
By reducing the amount of natural resources you consume, reusing items that would otherwise go to waste, and recycling trash so it can be re-purposed, you’re helping ensure a brighter future for the children of today. However, planning for the future not only includes taking steps in the present day, but also preparing for tomorrow. By teaching children good conservation practices today, you’ll contribute to a cleaner future. Children who learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle now will gain the foundation they need to pass those practices on to their children and continue preserving natural resources.
Although you may live the principles of “reduce, reuse and recycle” every day in your life, it might be difficult for your children to see what you’re doing and understand why it’s important. Getting your kids involved in your efforts to reduce your family’s environmental footprint is a great way to inspire them to make eco-friendly choices later in life. There are numerous ways to teach your children how.
For example, you could help your kids learn the importance of reducing the amount of waste they generate during your regular trips to the grocery store. You can explain to them why you use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic or paper ones from the store. You can encourage them to help you find the products that use the least amount of packaging such as bulk breakfast cereals.
Helping your kids understand the importance of reusing can be as easy as encouraging them to donate their old, unwanted toys or books. You could use refillable soap dispensers and ditch paper napkins in favor of cloth. Attempting to repair damaged or broken toys before getting rid of them also helps teach kids that simply throwing items away is often extremely wasteful. Finally, asking your kids to help around the house by separating waste into recyclable and non-recyclable trash can teach them the principles of recycling and why it’s good for the environment.
There are so many ways to get your kids involved in good sustainability practices around the home. The following guide includes many of the best ideas. You reduce, reuse and recycle because you want to leave behind the best possible world for your children. It’s important to help kids understand that they need to take responsibility, too.
Checklist created by RMPUSA
Some manufacturers may claim a “green mattress”, but do those claims hold true when there are no set standards? In some ways they do, but consumers have to understand what those certifications really mean. Knowing how to read and discern which certifications are more important, you can make choices that support you and your family’s health as well as the health of the environment.
What Does “Green” Really Mean?
The term green, when applied to a mattress, doesn’t apply to a defined standard. Along with terms like natural, organic, or all-natural, green could mean that one component of the mattress is biodegradable or it may indicate that the cotton used to make the outer cover of the mattress was grown and harvested without pesticides. Mattresses are made of many components and materials, which makes it difficult to find one that’s entirely green.
Certifications give you a better idea of what’s in the mattress and the environmental footprint left behind, but not all certifications are equal. Try looking for certifications from organizations that focus on environmentally-friendly practices, social responsibility, human health issues. That may mean the mattress has several certifications because some organizations focus on human health issues while others monitor the use of pesticides and chemicals used in the manufacturing process.
A few worth watching for include:
- Eco-Institut: This German accreditation organization tests building products and textiles for harmful emissions and substances. When it comes to mattresses, they mostly monitor the latex industry, which also happens to produce some of the most environmentally-friendly mattresses on the market.
- GreenGuard: If you’re worried about harmful emissions from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), look for a GreenGuard certification.
- OEKO-TEX Standard 100: OEKO-TEX tests textiles for harmful substances and checks all aspects of the materials for potential health threats.
If environmental impact concerns you, look for one or more of these:
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): GOTS certification deals with organic fibers both of the raw materials and the completed textiles. They focus on the environment and social sustainability of products while also monitoring human health issues.
- Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS): GOLS works hand in hand with GOTS, but they specifically target latex. Latex can be either biodegradable, as in the case of natural latex, or not, as with synthetic latex made from petroleum products. They make sure that any latex labeled as “natural” meets certain benchmarks.
There are many other certifications used for mattresses. Be sure to research any with which you might be unfamiliar.
Check Certifications and Find the Right Mattress
With an eye out for the right certifications and knowing what they mean, you can find a mattress that’s environmentally or socially friendly. Start by checking the list of materials used to make the mattress. Some materials like foam can be hard to find in any green form because most foams are made using petrochemicals. The steel found in innerspring mattresses goes through industrial processes that also involve chemicals. And, hybrids use elements of both foam and innerspring mattresses. With these types of mattresses, look for elements and components that are eco-friendly rather than an entire mattress.
However, latex mattresses overall have less exposure to chemicals and harmful manufacturing processes. You want to look for a high percentage of natural latex versus synthetic latex. Natural latex comes from a rubber tree, which makes it sustainable and biodegradable. Be aware that many mattresses use both kinds of latex, so look for the highest percentage of natural latex as possible.
With an eye out for the right certifications, you can find a mattress that won’t clog landfills and reduces the impact on future generations.
Most people think they’re pretty good about recycling. Plenty of people are, but the definition of proper recycling practices has become incredibly limited. It’s all wonderful that you toss your cans, bottles, and paper into the recycling bin, but what about the more substantial stuff that piles up unnoticed?
Home and building renovation/construction is responsible for a great deal of landfill bloat. In fact, one-third of the solid waste in the United State is building debris. You know those massive dumpsters filled to the brim outside of a place being built, remodeled, or worked on? Tons–literally and figuratively–of that waste can be recycled.
When people are renewing the interiors and exteriors of their homes, knowing what can be recycled is essential to responsible debris disposal. Unfortunately, this isn’t the type of recycling that comes to mind immediately upon hearing the word, but more can be recycled than you think. Some states require certain percentages of building debris to be recycled, but sustainable building, disposal, and recycling practices should stretch beyond legal requirement.
Doing the research before a renovation project will open your eyes to the recycling possibilities. Not only is it environmentally responsible, but can also gain you a sizeable tax write-off. As a country, we produce millions of tons of trash annually. Building materials, old appliances, furniture, whatever you’re thinking of getting rid of, fight the temptation to create more garbage. Remember the material “waste” from your project can help other ones be built! Let’s knock trash mountain down a few sizes and start taking recycling beyond paper, plastic, and glass.
View the infographic below for more information.
Humans produce 1.3bn tonnes of solid waste every year. The predominant cause of such an atrocious volume of wastage is not recycling the waste efficiently. Most of the waste is neither processed nor upcycled. Man-made depressions like landfills leak through the base causing extensive soil degradation, air pollution, seeps in and pollutes ground water and leads to visual and health impact. Construction sites contribute to a lot of air pollution that include land clearing, demolition, burning of toxic materials etc. Recycling construction waste not only conserves natural resource but also saves energy.
So here are 5 ways by which we can upcycle junk for construction purposes:
Start by hoarding your paper, paper towels and toilet paper rolls. The pages of old newspapers are wound up very tightly resembling a log of wood. A special water-soluble glue is used to keep the pieces together. The result is a material which has exactly the same features of a wood that can be cut, milled and sanded. Newspaper wood is very elegant and chic when it’s incorporated as a part of your interior.
Bottles, not only serve the purpose of storage containers in kitchens but can also be used to build structures. Companies these days have started making bottles in cuboid shapes to make them easier to transport. Converting plastic bottles into bricks has allowed so many houses to be built in the most cost-efficient way possible in developing countries. The plastic bottles are stuffed with trash to give it a brick-like compaction.
TDP (Tire-Derived Products)
Recycled or shredded tire obtained from tire shredding process where in tire chips are processed through tire shredders is fused into many products used for building construction both inside and outside. Most TDP sellers provide documentation on recycled content or other advantages that can help with the green building requirements.
- Accessibility Ramps – Recycled rubber ramps have no weight limits unlike other construction materials like aluminium, wood and plastic. Rubber ramps are solid, durable and slip-resistant. They can be installed in minutes and a do not require jack-hammering or concrete saw cutting.
- Flooring – Crumb rubber from tires is used extensively to make a variety of flooring products like anti-fatigue tiles, rolled flooring and rubber flooring underlayment. They can be fixed under tiles, wood or synthetic turf to improve padding or provide vapour protection.
- Sealants – Crumb rubber is added to a variety of sealants and fillings to enhance the functioning. Application includes sealing surfaces, repairing and reducing the erosion. The crumb is added to acrylic paint to make the perfect sealant.
It is one of the greatest inventions that could help save the modern world and reduce the negative impact. Plasphalt is made up of grains of plastic produces from plastic waste which substitutes for the sand and gravel. Asphalt mixture blends better with plastic than with gravel or sand. Plasphalt roads are at a far lower risk of wear and tear than regular asphalt.
Bricks made by recycling old plastic bags are known as Recycled blocks. Old plastic bags are difficult to recycle in any other way. The bags are heated and forced together to form the blocks. They are extremely light in weight to act as load bearing walls, so they can be used to divide walls and corridors.
There has been a huge effort to recycle and reuse for years. We need to take a stand responsibly rather than making the place we live in a mere dumping ground.. Developers and owners should consider building materials with recycled content. Resources with recycled content are available both for exterior and interior uses. Recycled wood products for cabinets and countertops made from glass and plastic are not just appealing but also add a lot of character to your apartment or condo. Reducing, reusing and recycling helps reduce carbon dioxide emission, limits the amount of landfill space created and lessens humanity's environmental footprint.
Erich Lawson is very passionate about the environment and is an advocate of effective recycling. He writes on a wide array of topics to inform readers on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly wastage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment saving techniques by visiting his blog Compactor Management Company.
If you have an unwanted car, truck or any other type of vehicle that’s outlived its usefulness, you have a few options. You could try to sell it yourself, but depending on the car’s condition, that could be easier said than done. You could have the car scrapped, like the nearly 12 million cars that are junked each year to be recycled — but you probably won’t receive much of a return on your investment that way, and it isn’t the most environmentally friendly choice. Donating your car to charity, however, can be a great way to rid yourself of an unwanted car no matter what condition it’s in, while also potentially getting something back in the form of a tax deduction. But before you consider donating your car, it’s important to know what will most likely happen to your vehicle once you turn it over to the nonprofit of your choice.
After the nonprofit takes the car, it is inspected to determine its condition. If the car is in too poor a condition, the nonprofit will have the vehicle sold for scrap, with the proceeds being used to further the nonprofit’s mission. If, however, the car is still in good enough shape, it can be sold at auction or donated to a needy family. No matter what, you’ll know that you have contributed directly to a worthy cause and potentially set yourself up to receive a tax deduction that could be of benefit to you. Donating a car also is a great way to make a positive contribution to the environment, because recycling a car rather than allowing it to sit in a junk yard helps preserve natural resources and reduces pollution that is created by the manufacturing process.
Donating a car to a nonprofit benefits people in need by helping support organizations that do good work right there in your local community. It also benefits you by getting rid of an unwanted burden as well as potentially providing you with a tax deduction. For more information about what could happen to your car after you donate it, check out the accompanying infographic by Goodwill Car Donation. You’ll learn about several potential roads your unwanted car could take after you donate it to a nonprofit.
Over the last quarter-century, recycling in the United States has evolved from something only a handful of people did with a small amount of waste to an everyday fact of life. A few decades ago, the most involvement many Americans had with recycling was returning bags of empty aluminum cans or glass bottles to a special recycling center for a few cents. Today, however, the recycling bin is as much a part of Americans’ daily routine as the trash can. Just about everyone has gotten into the habit of tossing their recyclable waste into the appropriate receptacle instead of grouping everything together in the same one. As a result, Americans recycle approximately one-third of municipal solid waste generated each year, compared to less than one-tenth in 1980. Although there remains a lot of work to be done before America solves all of its ecological problems, the acceptance of recycling is one of the American green movement’s most resounding successes.
Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that the environment doesn’t end at our borders. Protecting the environment is a global issue, and it’s one that most other nations have been working to solve at the same time as the United States. In some cases, these nations have made a much stronger commitment to recycling than Americans. While in other cases, nations are playing catch-up to America’s recycling efforts. For example, Switzerland leads the world in recycling, with more than 52 percent of that nation’s waste being recycled. That includes recycling more than 167 metric tons of paper per 1,000 people each year. On the other hand, Romania has the world’s worst recycling rate, recycling only 1 percent of all of the waste its people generate in a year. While Americans by and large have come to accept the recycling bin, we lag behind Germany, where the average home has at least five color-coded bins for recycling different types of waste.
For these and more interesting facts about recycling around the world, see the following infographic below. Saving the environment is more than an American problem, and this shows how nations across the globe are doing their part.
Author bio: Penny Klein, Owner of Perfect Rubber Mulch, has extensive experience in the industry and understands the best product fit for her clients’ needs. She works with customers to guarantee the right amount of product is purchased, and makes certain the delivery process is best in class.