A How to Guide on Recycling After Home Renovations

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.

How to Guide on Recycling After Home Renovations

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 26, 2018 at 8:37 am

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Revealed: The Real Price of Litter

Many of us know the environmental issues of air travel, over-consumption and fast fashion. But what about the very real damage that litter can do? Money Guru, a financial advice website, has looked at the tangible cost litter has on individuals and the environment.

With 46,000 pieces of plastic for every square metre of ocean, and 38.5 million plastic bottles used in the UK every year, this is an ever-growing problem. Furthermore, the RSPCA receives over 7,000 calls a year about animals who have been injured by litter. Not only that, but littering attracts rodents who pass on disease, meaning that it’s not only animals who are being increasingly hurt by discarded rubbish.

As well as the physical cost, the UK spends £1bn each year cleaning up litter, this money comes from taxes which could otherwise fund 33,000 nurses and over 4,000 libraries. In recent years there has been a huge strain on the NHS and public spending, if litter was reduced then there would be more money available for the government to spend in these areas.

Luckily, there are deterrents in place to prevent littering, such as fines for littering and fly tipping. And we know that this is a relatively recent problem, littering has increased by 500% since the 1960s, meaning it is in direct correlation with our increasingly consumerist society.

As society has grown used to throwing away, rather than making do and mending, our tendency to throw rubbish onto the street and out of car windows. Therefore, despite the deterrents in place, there is still a very real need to reduce littering to improve the environment.

Read on for Money Guru’s full piece, filled with information on the cost of littering and the things that can be done to reduce that cost.

The Price of Litter

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 26, 2018 at 8:25 am

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Water Conservation in the Home

From cooking meals to practising basic hygiene and keeping the house clean, we use plenty of water at home every day. Most of the time, we simply proceed with these tasks without ever thinking about the volume of water being used, but perhaps it would be no harm to pause and consider this first.

This infographic from Nature’s Water looks at the different ways in which you can easily cut down on water consumption in your home. For example, wait until your washing machine or dishwasher is almost full before turning it on, as these use the same amount of water irrespective of being full or nearly empty. When brushing your teeth or shaving, don’t leave the tap flowing the whole time. For showering, buy a low-flow showerhead that will use far less water without compromising on performance.

Indeed, if you have the finances to do so, it may be worth upgrading some of your household appliances, as newer models are often far more efficient than old appliances. For instance, an old dishwasher would typically use 16 gallons of water in one cycle, whereas a modern, energy-efficient version might use no more than 5 or 6 gallons.

Find out more about saving water at home in the infographic below.

Water Conservation in the Home

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 26, 2018 at 8:09 am

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Sustainable Construction Trends That Will Rock 2018

Technology is continuously improving and setting new standards, including higher environmental sustainability. Winds of green change sweep across construction yards, propelling building projects to another exciting year. Yes, many trends come and go, but there are also those that become an integral part of the industry.

Green building falls into the latter category as something that is no longer considered optional or a passing fad. Forward-thinking designers and architects are leading the race introducing bold new solutions. Consequently, companies have to keep up the pace if they want to stay competitive.

So, here are some trends that are sparking attention on the world stage and are poised to dominate the construction sector this year.

Modular construction

Need for speed is a major factor in modern construction business. The prices of materials are still high, but modular construction projects are sprouting up everywhere and breaking new ground in terms of resource and energy-efficiency. They involve both pop-ups and permanent modular buildings built with latest technological solutions.

Environment protection is integrated into building processes and the result is something much more sustainable than a conventional building. Namely, modular construction aspires to provide maximum user comfort, minimize the environmental impact, and bring to life displaceable, “smart”, and 100% recyclable buildings.

Sustainable Construction

Prefabrication processes

One mainstay of this trend is effective prefabrication, an innovative method of construction that is gaining traction across the globe. Without compromising the quality, it cuts construction waste, decreases the time needed to set things up, and eliminates toxic substances from the assembly process. Everything plays out quietly and as clean as possible, using flexible components like high-grade steel frame solutions.

Prefabrication allows materials like steel to be recycled for sustainable resource management. Furthermore, once the buildings are constructed, the removal of thermal bridges and great insulation value ensure optimal energy efficiency. All in all, prefabrication is a win-win: Companies are able to achieve greater cost-effectiveness, and sustainability is taken to the next level.

 Green and sustainable building materials

The market for green materials is expanding at a rapid pace. It includes materials made from renewable resources, as well as those that are recyclable at the end of their lifespan, manufactured with the help of eco-friendly processes, or contain salvaged, waste, and recycled components.

Concrete and steel are two of the most common building materials of today, but innovations in manufacturing processes have led to a substantial reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. There is still a long way to go before these two can become truly sustainable, but in the meantime, we can rely on solutions such as mass timber (cross-laminated timber, for instance), which can be used even for large-scale projects like skyscrapers.

Sustainable Construction

Zero net buildings

Reducing the energy and water usage in buildings is one of the main frontiers of sustainable innovation. In the US, residential and commercial buildings account for 40% of the total energy consumption in the country. The good news is that things are changing fast. Take the example of local government projects that set zero net energy goals.

They aim to capitalize on the trend called zero net building (not to be confused with passive houses), a construction that is designed to generate as much energy as it uses throughout the year. How is this possible? Well, zero net buildings, although connected to the grid, use on-site renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic panels to cover all energy needs or even create a surplus of juice.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 25, 2018 at 7:47 am

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How to Promote Eco-Awareness

There are a lot of things businesses can do to help increase the awareness about global warming. They can donate money to worthy causes in this field or organise their corporate practices in a way that reduces their carbon footprint. Probably the most important things that can be done is raising awareness about ecology and promoting responsible environmental behaviour.

This is something that can be done alongside running your business, it won’t prevent you from making a profit and it will create a stronger bond with your customers.

A green blog

A corporate blog usually has a much larger following than a private one because it’s a useful promotional tool, and there’s often a sense of community among the clients. This could be used to promote an eco-friendly message and point out the efforts made by your company.

The message should be subtle, or it at least shouldn’t overwhelm the reader right away. It should be a part of your day-to-day marketing efforts. That way, the message will carry more weight because you’ll be leading by an example.

Go paperless

Go paperless

Going paperless is a bit difficult for a business that already has a set routine because everyone will need to adapt to the change. However, paper waste is probably the biggest type of waste a business can generate, so quitting it altogether will send a powerful message to both your customers and your employees.

In the long-run, going paperless will save you a significant amount of money because everything you used to do and store on paper can be stored and organized digitally for a fraction of the price. The change should be implemented gradually in order to prevent losing any valuable data and to make it more convenient for everyone involved.

Use promotional materials

Use promotional materials

Promotional material can be used rather effectively to hammer in the point you’re trying to make. It’s used every day, by almost everyone, and it’s usually always within reach. That makes it a great tool for raising awareness about your business.

The only way to do this right is to try and be clever. For instance, using a promotional USB that warns against printing its content could be more noticeable than a paper or a card with a lecture about the importance of recycling.

Carpooling

The biggest addition to the personal carbon footprint comes from driving. That’s how our cities are structured and there’s rarely something you can do about it. Asking someone to use a bicycle or another self-powered method of transportation isn’t enough, and most employees won’t listen because it’s too inconvenient.

The best solution for this is to organize a car pool to and from work. This way the employees will save money by paying for just a portion of the ride and will reduce their carbon footprint.

Gardening and food

Green Up Your Home On a Budget

Farming and gardening usually have a devastating effect on the environment and it can be expensive to buy food from organic gardens if they are far away from your company. Since providing healthy and eco-friendly food should be the company’s responsibility, you might take an extra step and buy a local garden and grow your own food.

This could also be a great move for office productivity and morale. Having a company garden is something that will attract employees and allow them to relax and recharge their batteries when the daily tasks become too overwhelming. If this step is too radical for you, you may start with supporting local farmers and creating long-term deals with them.

Promoting eco-awareness is equally important as trying not to endanger the environment. Leading by example and explaining the importance of green businesses is just as difficult as running such a business.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 21, 2018 at 8:20 am

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The Art of Recycling – How resourceful are you?

Packaging supplier Rajapack have commissioned a piece of artwork, and created a video documenting the work of cardboard artist and sculptor James Lake, along with a survey to raise questions on resourcefulness.

  • 94% of British adults say they care about the environment
  • Half of British residents admit they could recycle more
  • London regularly underperforms when compared to the rest of the country, with 1 in 6 residents admitting they don’t recycle most of their household waste
  • 18-24-year olds were the least likely of the age groups to agree that they recycle most of their household waste at 79%

The YouGov study of over 2,000 British adults shows that almost half of GB residents (47%) felt that they could recycle more of their household waste than they currently do, even though more than two-thirds of GB residents (74%) believe that their council makes it easy to do so.

When looking at recycling and resourcefulness by region, London regularly underperforms when compared to the rest of England – with 1 in 6 Londoners admitting they don’t recycle most of their household waste, despite, 70% of Londoners thinking their local council makes it “very easy” or “fairly easy” to recycle through household collections. For the residents surveyed in the North East who said they could recycle more (54%), 37% said it was because they don’t always have recycling bins/bags available.

It was those aged 18-24 that revealed they were the least likely of the age groups to agree that they recycle most of their household waste (79%). Following that, 77% of full time-students think they should recycle more than they currently do, compared to 19% who think they can’t recycle more. A further 40% of students cited they could recycle more say they don’t because they don’t always have recycling bins/bags. Another 39% cited they don’t recycle because they simply forget.

The Earth is currently using its resources 1.7  times faster than they can be regenerated. This means we would need 1.7 planets to meet its resource demand,[i] emphasising the need for us to recycle more and be resourceful. James Lake visually represents this in his commission designing a large sphere on an axis to represent the Earth. At any one time, half the Earth is enclosed in a larger half sphere of an urban/industrial landscape to represent the overconsumption of ecological resources.

Using the naturally biodegradable material in his work, James Lake states that cardboard has always been his material of choice despite it being a cheap material that most people would throw away: “Using a material that can be recycled is ideal, because if it needs to be recycled to become something else – it can be”.

In the feature video, James Lake states, “cardboard became really the only material I wanted to work with” despite it not being a luxury material, which prompts the public to be more resourceful when disposing of used materials, especially cardboard. Whether that’s recycling, making art, throwing it in the compost pile or lining garden beds to use as mulch for weed control – with climate change, being resourceful is a necessity.

Andrew Wood from Rajapack, who promote sustainability through environmentally-responsible packaging, states:

With climate change, and hence the need to preserve the environment, its more important than ever that we become as resourceful as possible. From recycling to repurposing materials, we have to make more of a conscious effort

[i] Earth Overshoot Day Org – http://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/press-release-english-2017-calculator/

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 18, 2018 at 12:28 pm

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Alarming indoor CO2 levels

London’s alarming levels of pollution are always a big topic of conversation. However, though the city's outdoors gets plenty of flack in the news, new research has discover that indoor air pollution in London could be a much bigger concern. To get a understand the levels of air pollution better, Dyson asked four volunteers across London to conduct some studies. They asked them to measure dust particles – an important measure of pollution – as well as carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the places they visit on a daily basis.

The highest carbon dioxide (CO2) reading, 2284ppm, was recorded inside a packed train at Baker Street Station, almost five times the threshold for normal CO2 levels.

Bromley recorded a worryingly high at-home reading of 1172pm – the highest at-home reading throughout the course of the study.

Exposure to high levels of indoor air pollution can lead to health problems including asthma, respiratory irritation, heart disease, cancer and sick building syndrome.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 17, 2018 at 5:20 pm

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How to Travel Green

When we think about the impact that our life and habits have on the environment, transportation needs to be up there with the other most important aspects that need to be considered. It’s something we can’t live without, but we often don’t do enough to make it as environment-friendly as it could be.

Luckily, the situation is changing for the better. More and more people are actually becoming aware of the carbon footprint problems and are trying to do something to minimise the negative effect. Also, we are helped by numerous new inventions in the field that are making it possible for us to travel much greener than before. So, what are the most popular choices for such transportation nowadays?

Electric cars

If you haven’t already switched to an electric car, it might be the time for you to do so. Not only will you not create any poisonous gases, but you’ll also be able to reduce the amount of noise that traditional cars with internal combustion engines make.

Many governments are encouraging their citizens to purchase such cars by subsidising their purchase, allowing free parking and introducing more charging stations, so that you shouldn’t worry about running out of energy on the road. Even if you are driving a hybrid car, you’re helping the planet, but for even better results you should really think about an electric car.

Multiple occupant vehicles

If you can’t afford a hybrid or electric car for some reason, you could at least take carpools into consideration. The fewer cars on the street, the less polluted the environment, which is why multiple occupant vehicles are gaining popularity around the world.

Travelling to work with colleagues or sharing a car with friends for a night out is a great way of both reducing the transportation costs and preserving the environment. So, if you want to do your part in helping us keep our planet as clean as possible, you’ll definitely think about this option as well.

Bicycle

One of the traditional, yet highly beneficial ways of travelling is cycling. To begin with, you don’t create any toxic gases. Next, you keep your body in great shape, which means you’ll be able to stay healthy for much longer. Finally, in places where traffic jams are a common thing, using a bicycle often means that you can get to the destination faster than by car.

You could also consider electric bikes as a mode of transportation. They often have a speed limit set at 20 mph, but are extremely efficient and useful, especially in urban areas. Even if your battery runs out of power, you can peddle your way around other vehicles stuck in traffic.

Green public transportation

Green trains and hybrid buses are some of the cheapest eco-friendly transportation options. The former feature hybrid locomotives and use electrified third rail, overhead lines or devices that store energy like fuel cells and batteries. They are also quite fast and safe.

The latter boast lithium-ion batteries and electric motors. A diesel generation creates energy that is stored in the battery. This efficient form of transport is already present in many cities all over the world and you can hopefully use it where you live.

Walking

Probably the most obvious choice, walking is not only good for the environment, but for your health as well. Unless you live really far from school, work or shops, there’s no reason why you should walk to those places. Replacing a short drive with a walk is not only cheaper in terms of saving money you’d otherwise spend on petrol, but you’ll also get a good workout, which means you won’t need to spend additional time to go jogging, for example.

It’s clear that green transportation has many benefits and that they are not only related to the environment, but your health, too. It helps us preserve our planet, it saves you quite a lot of money and it can also have a great effect on your health. So, there’s no reason why you should go green when transportation is concerned.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 17, 2018 at 5:10 pm

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Cleaning the Mess: How Construction Clean-up Makes a Difference

Anyone who’s worked in construction will tell you that when you’re on the job, you’re always thinking about the finished product. Taking a concept from blueprints and transforming it into an actual, physical building is an amazing accomplishment. It’s an achievement that takes devotion and single-mindedness to achieve. Unfortunately, perfecting your project can lead to a whole lot of waste as well as an impressive building.  If not handled properly, that waste can hurt both the environment and the community around the construction site.

Here are a few details on how proper clean-up makes a difference, and why you should never be satisfied until you’ve done your duty in this area.

Community

You might think of your construction project as a gift to your community, and it probably is. Whatever you’re building, there will probably be people going in and out of the building on a regular basis. Leaving sharp bits of metal left in the grass, or dusts that could be harmful if inhaled is a bit like giving someone a cake and leaving rocks in the frosting. It stands to reason that your project will be better appreciated by those that use it if it’s hazard-free when it’s presented to them.

Debris

Leaving waste from a construction project is like exponential littering to the. Piles of debris aren’t usually left lying around after a building is finished, but even dust can be harmful in large quantities. In addition, there are often plenty of smaller scraps that don’t make it out with the rest of the trash. Bits of plastic, screws, and oil stains can not only look bad, but they can also have an effect on the plant and animal life living in the area. Animals can hurt themselves walking across the area, or can ingest something harmful by mistake. Construction dust mixing with topsoil can kill insects and worsen soil quality, making it harder for things to grow.

When handling your clean up, try to think like a boy scout. While it might not be possible to “leave no trace”, as their motto goes, you may find that taking an extra hour to set your employees working on picking up any leftovers they can see will make a big difference.

Toxins

There are all kinds of hazardous materials that can be involved in a construction project. These toxins and chemicals won’t go away by magic, but take a concerted effort to carefully remove. Obviously, as far as toxins go it’s easier to avoid contaminating the area with them than cleaning them up, but accidents happen. If there are any spills on the job, be sure that they are cleaned up as soon as possible. The longer you sit on this, the worse it can become. If you think you may have something more than an ordinary clean-up on your hands, consider contacting a professional like Alliance Demolition Services Inc. or someone similar for help handling it. Make sure that all involved with the removal have proper safety materials on as well.

Jobs

Your construction projects can bring in jobs for your community, but have you considered how construction clean-up can do the same? You can hire people who are well-equipped to handle such demanding jobs. To be involved in construction clean-up, you need to be as strong-willed as possible. Make sure anyone you hire is able to attack this task with absolute vigor.

We hope this has given you a great idea of how construction clean-up makes a difference. Taking the time to ensure that your cleanup is done correctly will make a huge difference in the health of the environment, as well as the community. Take it seriously.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 17, 2018 at 4:59 pm

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5 Ways of Upcycling Junk for Building Construction

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:

Newspaper Wood

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.

Bottle Bricks

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Plasphalt

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. 

Recycled Blocks

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.


Author Bio: 

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.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - January 13, 2018 at 8:37 am

Categories: Recycling   Tags:

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