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.
Recycling – It’s worth it
We simply don’t have the room on Earth to keep burying rubbish. Recycling is essential to our future.
It’s also faster and more cost effective than sourcing materials to make new products from. Reusing materials saves a huge amount of energy, which in turn benefits the planet and its ecosystems on the whole.
• Recycling 6 tea bags creates enough energy to make 1 cup of tea
• Up to 60% of discarded rubbish could be recycled
• 1 recycled tin can saves enough energy worth 3 hours of television
• A recycled aluminium can will be back on the shelves within 6 weeks
• Recycling every newspaper would save 250 million trees per year
Click here to find out what type of recycler you are.
American homes generate more than 250 million pounds of garbage each year. With the sheer volume of waste being produced, it’s unlikely that all of it is being disposed of properly.
We’ve become better at separating garbage into materials that can be recycled and those that go into landfills, but there’s still a lot of waste that ends up in the wrong places. Why? Because, in many instances, people aren’t aware of what they should do with it.
Waste that is improperly disposed of does more than take up space in landfills. It can create serious health and environmental problems by allowing hazardous materials to enter groundwater and soil.
The following guide from Junk-ITT, details the proper way to dispose of virtually any type of waste generated by the average American household. If you’re not sure whether something should go in the garbage can, the recycling bin or be hauled away by a reputable junk removal service, consult this chart for assistance.
This Waste Disposal Guide was provided by 1-866-JUNK-ITT
Disposing of an old mattress used to be free – just a case of phoning the council to come and take it away. However, from April 2012 when most local authorities introduced bulky item collection fees, the disposal of mattresses instantly became considerably more expensive.
As a result, and despite the fact that most local councils have tried to ensure that the majority of mattresses they collect as bulky item waste will be recycled, many households now go for the DIY approach and lug their mattresses to landfill.
Left in landfill
Despite the fact that households using landfill think they are disposing of their old mattresses responsibly, the truth is that many of the components of beds and mattresses will not biodegrade but take up space in landfill as a hazardous waste product. For example, sprung mattresses typically contain 300 to 600 steel coils which will not biodegrade, but will instead remain wasted in the ground, whilst the chemicals used to make mattresses fire retardant can readily leach into the soil and local water systems, jeopardising public safety in both the short and long term.
Of course, there are also those who create their own ‘landfill’ or fall foul of rogue waste disposal companies in their efforts to dispose of their mattresses.
The UK has seen a rise in rogue ‘waste disposal’ companies who claim to remove and recycle bulky waste at lower prices than local authorities (and always for cash of course), before dumping the items in out of the way areas.
As such, incidences of fly-tipping spiked in 2012/13 with a 20% increase (Source: DEFRA) following the introduction of those council collection costs, and have since averaged a rise of approximately 6% year on year. Fly-tipped mattresses can commonly be found on local streets and highways, not awaiting paid council collection, but just discarded. Another favoured spot for fly-tippers is out of the way country areas, which quickly become significant dumping grounds as once one item is discarded, other fly-tippers follow suit.
This rogue dumping has an extremely negative impact on local environments, not least because fly-tipping is…
● Ugly and distracting, causing unsightly problems in residential streets and rural beauty spots alike.
● Dangerous, as with any discarded rubbish and large items comes the risk of accidents, particularly to children who may particularly see items like mattresses as something to play on.
● Hazardous, as of course the fire-retardant chemicals which leach into landfill also affect the local areas where mattresses are fly-tipped and may even additionally compromise the health of any children who mistake fly-tipped mattresses as a fun zone or kill local wildlife – also a major concern as a significant amount of fly-tipping takes place on beauty spots and areas of natural interest.
Although fly-tipping is seen by the irresponsible as a free alternative to paying for council disposal or recycling costs, ultimately it is extremely costly to councils and to communities, as the cost of cleanups invariably passed back to the community in council tax fees, which have also seen a year on year rise in recent years.
So, as well as both being environmentally unfriendly, negative-impact disposal methods, what else do landfill and fly-tipping have in common? Essentially, the fact that they are both a waste of materials which can be extremely useful once recycled is another common factor which is also an extreme waste when you consider that it is actually possible to recycle 100% of all bed and mattress components.
Reasons to recycle
Recycling of beds and mattresses is a relatively straightforward process which involves the stripping down and recycling of bed bases and mattresses in order to collate component parts, such as:
● Steel – retrieved from box springs and mattress springs, steel can be recycled by combining with new steel to create many household and industrial items.
● Foam – retrieved from mattresses, much of the Polyurethane and Latex foam used in mattresses already contains plant oils from renewable sources such as castor beans and soy. Once the mattress is shredded, the foam can be retrieved and recycled into other types of padding and insulation, such as carpet backing and underlay.
● Wood – the wood used in bed base production, such as pine, spruce and fir, is sourced from renewable sources and is ideal for further recycling. Once retrieved from bed bases, the wood is generally chipped and recycled into pet litters, animal bedding, biomass fuel and garden products such as mulch and chippings.
● Fabrics – mattresses and bases include many textiles such as cotton, wool, rayon, sisal, coconut fibres and even silk, all of which can be retrieved and recycled back to the textiles industry for use in furniture upholstery, pillow stuffing and carpet making.
With all these reasons to recycle, it’s vital to ensure that households can access easy ways to recycle responsibly, through disposing of mattresses via recycling centres rather than landfill or by using professional collection and recycling services of reputable companies, such as Collect Your Old Bed, who are fully licensed and offer 100% assured recycling of all beds and mattresses.
We use a wealth of paper but the majority of people seem to understand that it’s important to do so in a sustainable way. This infographic from Colourfast takes you through the progress we are making with recycling paper but also highlights the work that still needs to be done. America and Europe have both made incredible progress on this front in recent years which is great to see.
One point of note is that while paper is being recycled more, we still struggle to recycle other important items. Why it is that more paper is recovered than the total amount of glass, metal, and plastic recycled? This really needs to be examined closely.
However, it is of course still encouraging to see the progress we are making with paper recycling. More types of paper can perhaps be recycled than you think and you can learn about what can and can’t be recycled in the infographic. Check it out now.