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.
We enjoy upgrading our electronic devices when new brands and new models are released, but that leaves us with a pile of old devices that need to be given away or recycled. It can seem like a complicated process, but with a little research, electronics recycling is the safest way to dispose of your gadgets to make room for new ones.
Electronic waste has become an important topic of discussion with environmentalists because of our dependence on these products to work and live. Laptops, smartphones and tablets can all be recycled and you’ll be satisfied to know that you’re protecting the environment with these methods.
Why Recycle Your Devices?
There are several reasons you shouldn’t just throw your old devices in the trash, but the most significant is the presence of toxic chemicals in these products. Elements like lead, mercury and cadmium can be very dangerous when they’re absorbed through air, water and food, so it’s imperative that all your electronics, including televisions and PC’s are recycled safely and responsibly.
The toxins are created through chemical processes used to make your devices, and when they’re exposed to the environment, they will cause harm to the population in the surrounding area. When we don’t use electronics recycling and choose to dump our devices into a landfill, we leave ourselves open to birth defects, cancer and organ damage.
What Are Your Options?
High standard e-stewards are located in every U.S. state that will not only recycle your devices, they will also refurbish things that still work. You’ll need to make sure you delete any personal data you might have on your items, but this is one of the most beneficial and easiest ways to dispose of your gadgets. You can also donate functional devices to organizations that will redistribute them to areas of need like schools, non-profits and other parts of the world to help with job training and economic growth.
Recycling cell phones is probably the easiest thing to do, since there are several ways to mail out your phones free of charge. A quick web search will give you enough comfortable options to choose from.
Earn Money While Going Green
Electronic manufacturers will sometimes offer to take back your devices for responsible recycling, and depending on the company, you may get money back with the trade in. In most cases, you can contact the manufacturer directly to find out how they handle recycling their products. Apple especially has an extensive recycling program for all their products.
Locally, you can check your town or city’s calendar for a collection date for used electronics. If this isn’t an option, however, you can bring most of your old products to retailers like Best Buy and Staples. These stores are known to be responsible recyclers since they partner with the brands they sell.
If your devices are in good working shape, you can also try to sell them yourself. Again, make sure that all your personal data is wiped or deleted from the item. Websites like eBay and Green Buyback are great places to try and make some money back on the devices you’ve outgrown. There are plenty of people who will want your devices at a discount.
Electronics recycling doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated, but it is a very important part of being an environmentally responsible consumer. With a little research, you can donate, return, sell or simply find a reputable recycler to dispose of your gadgets without using landfills. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that someone else might be getting use out of your devices, and you’re also helping to avoid environmental illnesses from electronic waste. Being responsible will ensure you enjoy your upgrades even more.
Once a tyre is no longer fit for its primary purpose of moving your car along a road, what do you do with it? Do you simply toss it aside or jettison it in a landfill, or do you try to find a practical way in which it can be customised to give it a new lease of life?
This infographic from Titan Australia explores the alarming extent to which scrap tyres are wasted and suggests several different ways in which they can be repurposed. By finding a new use for scrap tyres rather than just dumping or burning them, you’ll be helping the environment and exercising your inner creator.
Next time you have a tyre that’s served its time propelling your vehicle, think about how it can be revamped into a solution for something in your home or garden instead of dumping it and creating another environmental problem in a world that’s full of them.
By now, just about everyone is familiar with the “unboxing” video, that video posted to social media of someone excitedly opening up a new piece of tech and marveling at how it works. What you won’t see, however, is the video where someone takes the old tech that’s being replaced by the shiny new model and throws it in the trash. Disposing of old electronics doesn’t get the same attention the unwrapping of new technology gets, but it deserves that much attention and more because of how important it is for the environment.
Unwanted electronics, or e-waste, is a growing concern around the world because of the severe consequences associated with its disposal. Because of the harsh chemicals used in their manufacture, electronics can cause pollution of groundwater and soil if thrown into landfills. The majority of e-waste ends up in developing countries, where they are broken down into their valuable raw materials using methods that are extremely hazardous. This creates significant levels of pollution in the process. Even though e-waste is a serious problem, there are plenty of ways we can work to reduce it. The following guide from Digital Doc Repair, illustrates just how serious a problem e-waste is, as well as some simple steps you can take to make it better.
Creating something new out of something old or unwanted, referred to as Creative Reuse or Upcyling continues to gain popularity as people become more aware of unnecessary waste and the impact the waste has on the environment.
With so many places, such as Pinterest, available for inspirational ideas for upcycling here at The Rug Seller we delved into the minds of others, so to speak, and were amazed by the ingenuity of others. The infographic showcases some marvellous ideas for transforming old rugs into wonderful new things.
From fashion accessories to items for your pet and your home, there are so many options and ideas it makes no sense to simply discard an unwanted rug into the rubbish bin when you can make good use of it. Furthermore, reusing it means that it won't be taken to landfill sites which is a great way to do your bit to help save the planet.
So, if you're thinking of giving a rug a new lease of life take a look at the infographic below and be inspired to get creative. You've nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain. Who knows you may even be inspired to think of other items around your home that you can upcycle and re-purpose rather than throw away.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans produce roughly 254 million tons of waste every year, yet they only recycle about 34% of it. We’ve all heard about the benefits of recycling as well as the dangers of our rapidly growing landfills and the environmental effects of toxic waste. So, why aren’t we doing more to save our planet? Why aren’t more Americans recycling?
As it turns out, many people simply don’t understand the process of recycling. Without access to accurate information, a lot of Americans are making the same avoidable mistakes. These recycling blunders include thinking that plastic bottle caps are not recyclable, tossing dirty items into the recycling bin, failing to sort properly, trying to recycle the wrong kinds of glass and plastic, and several other minor errors. Unfortunately, even a minor error can contribute to the bigger problem.
Precious resources are wasted when Americans don’t recycle, costing us the health of our planet and a significant amount of money. In fact, research shows that if we were to properly dispose of all of the recyclable materials in our waste stream, the U.S. would generate over $7 billion. In order to clean up the waste disposal process, more people need to be educated about the best recycling practices. Residents and business owners can also hire a junk removal service to take care of the dirty work, separating recyclable materials and hauling them away for proper disposal.
Did you know that ink cartridges take about a thousand years to decompose? Millions of empty ink and toner cartridges end up as trash in landfills, spelling trouble for the environment. On a slightly positive note, other empty cartridges make their way to incinerators and used to generate energy.
Aside from using a voucher code to go and buy that next ink cartridge, you should be looking at other options that will not only work out cheaper in the long run but benefit the environment too.
If you have empty printer cartridges lying around, why not turn trash into cash and save the planet while you’re at it? Recycling cartridges doesn’t only reduce the amount of plastic in landfills, making it good for the environment; it’s also good for your wallet because you can get cash back for every cartridge you send in for recycling.
Recycling empty ink cartridges is easy, and here are some of the best ways to do it.
Check the box
If you still have the box the cartridge came in, check it for instructions on recycling. It may provide free postage if you want to send the cartridge back to the company for recycling. If you don’t have the box anymore, visit the manufacturer’s website for information. Some companies offer customers various options for recycling toner and ink cartridges, including a bulk return option, with return shipping already paid for.
There are many groups that accept empty cartridges in exchange for cash. Some sites accept all kinds of ink cartridges, while others have a list of the kinds that they can accept. You may either have your cartridges picked up or go for pre-paid free shipping. Some organizations offer up to $4 for each used cartridge.
Ask your local government for recycling programs
Some municipalities have their own recycling programs for old computers, printers, cables, and other electronics, including used ink cartridges. Your town may already have its own recycling project in place, with proceeds going to community projects such as the improvement of parks and playgrounds, or prizes for the town fair.
Do a fundraiser
If a school, charity, or church group you know is in need of funds, why not collect empty cartridges from the neighborhood as a fundraiser? Once you collect the cartridges, sell them in bulk online and donate the proceeds to the fund. It’s a great initiative and you kill two birds with the same stone: you help keep the planet green and you also help those that need the money most.
Visit an office supply store
This is something you can do online or in-store. Some office supply retailers have their own recycling programs that give coupons in exchange for cartridges you turn in for recycling. Loyalty program members may get more goodies, such as reward points you can use for future purchases or a discount on printer ink that you purchase. If you buy school and office supplies on a regular basis from a local store, it would be a good idea to sign up as a member.
Have your cartridges refilled
Reusing is technically not recycling, but consider this option if it’s the first time your cartridge runs out of ink. You can reuse empty inkjet cartridges by having them refilled. There are many companies that can refill cartridges for you, saving you the cost of buying a new one. You can also purchase DIY refill kits just be careful you don’t end up spilling the ink and damaging the cartridge’s components. When a cartridge reaches the end of its life—say, around up to a maximum of five refills—that’s when it’s time to recycle.