Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Paper Recycling

Paper

Paper, which includes everything from packaging to mail, makes up the largest percentage of the municipal solid waste stream at 33 percent. It’s also one of the most recovered materials, as recycling opportunities are often readily available.

Everything You Need to Know About Paper Recycling

In 2011, 66.8 percent of paper consumed in the United States was recycled. Every ton of paper recycled saves more than 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space, and if you measure by weight, more paper is recovered for recycling than plastic, aluminum and glass combined.

 

Advertisements

Earth Day – April 22, 2013

What do people do

The April 22 Earth Day is usually celebrated with outdoor performances, where individuals or groups perform acts of service to earth. Typical ways of observing Earth Day include planting trees, picking up roadside trash, conducting various programs for recycling and conservation, using recyclable containers for snacks and lunches. Some people are encouraged to sign petitions to governments, calling for stronger or immediate action to stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction.  Television stations frequently air programs dealing with environmental issues.

earthday

Public Life

Earth Day is not a public holiday and public life, with regard to transport schedules and opening hours for schools and businesses, is not affected.

Background

The April 22 Earth Day, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, was first organized in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution.

Some people prefer to observe Earth Day around the time of the March equinox. In 1978, American anthropologist Margaret Mead added her support for the equinox Earth Day, founded by John McConnell. She stated that the selection of the March Equinox for Earth Day made planetary observance of a shared event possible.

bag-banner

Symbols

Symbols used by people to describe Earth Day include: an image or drawing of planet earth; a tree, a flower or leaves depicting growth; or the recycling symbol. Colors used for Earth Day include natural colors such as green, brown or blue.

The “Earth Flag”, which was designed by John McConnell, has been described as a “flag for all people”. It features a two-sided dye printed image of the Earth from space on a dark blue field, made from recyclable, weather-resistant polyester. Margaret Mead believed that a flag that showed the earth as seen from space was appropriate.

 

 

What is Recyclable?

Reduce – Buy wisely and buy less. Reduce the amount of products you buy.
Reuse – Give your recyclable items a second chance. Reuse whatever you can and donate good used items to a church or favorite charity.
Recycle – Buy products that are recycled or that can be recycled. Recycle everything you can.

* All Paper
Including books, junk mail, envelopes, newspaper, inserts, telephone books, magazines, catalogs, flattened paper milk cartons, juice boxes, office paper including computer, copy & ledger paper, construction paper & manila folders, paper bags and packaging.

* All Cardboard

Including flattened cereal & other dry food boxes.
* All Plastic (except Styrofoam)
click here for more info on plastic
Including milk & juice containers, shrink & bubble wrap,
plastic grocery bags, & plastic toys.
“Please empty and remove caps”

* ALL Metal

Including aluminum cans, tin/steel cans,
empty paint & aerosol cans, lawn chair frames, metal frames, all steel items (remember all items must fit loosely in your cart).

* Small Appliances

Including transistor radios, blow-dryers, curling irons,
small microwave ovens, coffee pots, toaster ovens, small power tools (batteries removed).

* Glass (empty)
Including all container glass, jars, and bottles.
“No sheet glass, windows, ceramic glass, or mirrors.”

These items do not go in the recycling area.

* Trash, diapers, rubber hoses, carpets, clothing, styrofoam, soiled paper

* Yard clippings, fruit (place in your green cart)

* Motor oil / filters (please see the Used Motor Oil page for more information on Recycling)

* Tires (see Code Enforcement), auto and household batteries (See Household Hazardous Waste)

* Toxic materials (See Household Hazardous Waste above)

Please visit our 
Contamination page for more information.

 

Check Us Out in Cabin Life!

Whether you own a cabin, cottage, lakehome or lodge, or you just dream of owning one, Cabin Life magazine captures the essence of the vacation-home lifestyle – escape and reconnection.

CBNcoversA breath of fresh air, award-winning Cabin Life gives you great ideas, information and inspiration for enjoying your vacation home. And when you just can’t get to your special getaway, Cabin Life provides that mental escape to tide you over until your next trip.

Launched in 2001, Cabin Life enjoys rapid growth and strong reader loyalty. Cabin Life is unique because it is both a home and lifestyle publication, and also because it appeals to everyone — young and old, male and female, owners and dreamers.

Trash Knight is currently advertising in Cabin Life.

 

Protecting Wildlife from Trash

 

By Roberta C. Barbalace

Many solid waste companies and municipal landfills have the situation well in hand; do you?

Birds, mammals, and reptiles can be injured or killed by the trash we throw away. The magnitude of the problem is growing every day, especially because some types of litter do not readily disintegrate and therefore remain in the environment as a threat for decades. To help protect wildlife and natural habitats, local cleanup campaigns and recycling plans are now being implemented.

For more information about the Trash Knight system, please visit our website at www.trashknight.com.

The Litter Problem

The amount of litter that ends up spoiling the beauty of the natural environment is not surprising considering the amount of waste we produce. Glass bottles, plastic packaging, tin cans, newspaper, cardboard, and other types of garbage litter urban and rural landscapes everywhere. According to Wildlife Fact File, about 160 million tons of trash is thrown away every year in the U.S. or approximately three and a half pounds per person each day. Paper products alone account for over 40 percent of this garbage. Sometimes the wind blows trash from overloaded garbage cans and litters the environment. Naturally litter can last for a long time depending on the disintegration of the garbage. For example aluminum cans do not disintegrate, and some plastics take decades to break down.

How Litter Threatens Wildlife

Litter can be very harmful to wildlife. Discarded fishing lines can trap the legs, wings, or neck of waterfowl such as swans or moorhens. A fishhook may get stuck in a bird’s throat. Water birds suffer lead poisoning when they accidentally swallow small lead fishing weights. Broken glass can cut the feet of foxes, coyotes, or badgers, and unbroken bottles present a hazard to various small animals. Lizards often crawl inside bottles or cans to bask warm interior, to seek protection or search for food; but they may find it difficult to squeeze out again and can die of overheating. Small mammals in search of food often get their heads caught in the openings of jars. Replacing lids on bottles and jars before discarding can help prevent animals from becoming entrapped. Birds, fish, and mammals may be ensnared by plastic six-pack holders. This can be prevented this by cutting up the plastic rings so that they do not become traps.

Animals That Use Litter

Litter may appear to be helpful to wildlife. At night in some urban areas, foxes look for garbage on the streets. Often they feed on chicken bones, pieces of hamburger, and other leftovers from fast-food meals. During the day pigeons take over from foxes, these birds often flap around a food-laden garbage can of peck crumbs on the pavement. Gulls are well-known scavengers. These birds have greatly increased their number by feeding on thrown-away food. Inland, they gather in flocks over garbage dumps, where they eat even the filthiest scraps.

Human food is not necessarily good for wild animals. Deer, for instance, love bread and sweets. These purified grain products may form gummy masses in the stomachs of ruminants and interfere with digestion. Deer may actually die from ingesting too much food with a flour base. Discarded food can also become contaminated with microorganisms that cause food poisoning. More likely, however, the wild animals will become accustomed to free handouts and be unprepared to hunt for themselves if the source of human food is cut off.

How the Waste Industry is Protecting Animals

There was a time when many animals fell victims to discarded trash in municipal dumps. In addition to the waste itself, wildlife was threatened by heavy equipment workers who did not understand how their actions could threaten a fragile ecosystem. Animals were often struck by trucks or crushed by heavy machinery. Some became entrapped in trenches, open pits or pipes. While dumps still exist in some remote locations, most are being replaced by sanitary landfills.

The evolution of sanitary and secure landfills was accompanied by environmental planning that provided protection for wildlife and guaranteed that the land would be reclaimed for future wildlife inhabitants. Some methods of protection seem to be standard procedures at most landfills and many facilities have some pet project designed to provide for the safety and continued survival of some special creature.

Butterfield Station in Phoenix, Arizona serves as a good example of what precautions are normally taken at Waste Management Inc. (WMI) owned and operated landfills. The landfill is securely fenced to exclude many animals. Strict speed limits are enforced to protect animals from being hit. At the close of every day, all refuse is covered with a six inch covering of soil to keep animals from being injured by the debris. All truck beds and other such containers are covered with tarps to keep animals out. Domestic animals are not permitted in the landfill. Any escaped debris is collected from roadways and along the perimeter of the landfill on an on-going basis. Small waste containers are provided with animal proof lids to keep wild animals from getting to the waste. Many Waste Management facilities provide special roll-off containers for small towns and villages to use during community clean-up events.

It is common for landfills to have pet projects to protect individual species that are of particular concern. Kirby Canyon Recycling and Disposal Facility in Morgan Hill, CA with help from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, City of San Jose, researchers from Stanford University and consulting biologists have embarked upon a conservation plan to increase and maintain the population of the endangered Bay Checkerspot Butterfly. Approximately two hundred and fifty acres have been set aside for the checkerspot, which was nearing extinction in 1985. The Kirby Canyon Conservation Agreement, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 1996, provides for: the setting aside of land; establishment of a trust fund for studies of the butterfly; management of cattle grazing to ensure appropriate balance of plant resources; habitat restoration and enhancement; and ongoing scientific monitoring of the Bay Checkerspot population. In addition, Kirby Canyon has set aside marshland for the preservation of the endangered Red Legged Frog.

Altamont Landfill and Resource Recovery Facility in Livermore, CA has implemented a special program to protect the endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox. The protection program includes many projects to protect the San Joaquin Kit Fox. Exclusion zones are placed around dens. Limited disturbance of areas adjacent to construction and storage areas must be maintained. Escape ramps are constructed in all holes or trenches greater than 2 feet deep, and sides must have a slope no greater than 45 degrees. Pipes with a diameter of four inches or greater must be inspected for kit foxes before being buried, capped or moved. Vehicles observe a 20 M.P.H. speed limit except on county, state or federal roads. Staff and visitors are instructed not to harass any Kit Fox or other unidentified fox in the vicinity of the landfill. Feeding of wildlife is not permitted. Off road traffic is prohibited. General precautions that are followed at all landfills are observed at Altamont.

The Kettleman Hills Facility in Kettleman City, CA also has protection programs for the San Joaquin Kit Fox, Giant Kangaroo Rat, the Blunt Nosed Leopard Lizard, the San Joaquin Antelope Squirrel, and two state species of concern, the Burrowing Owls and badgers.

Landfills have made great strides in protecting wildlife. But everybody must become involved in protecting wildlife from household waste. Recycling reduces the litter problem. Improvements in package construction can reduce unnecessary waste and make them less harmful to wildlife. Proper disposal methods can help to keep litter that we accumulate from becoming a death trap to wild animals. If people learn to respect the environment and are aware of the threat trash poses to wildlife, they will be less likely to litter.

What You Can Do!

There are many things that your clubs, science classes and families can do to help protect animals from being injured by trash. Below are some ideas.

  1. Look at the products your family uses. Is there a lot of extra packaging that is not needed? Tell the company by letter, phone or e-mail. They have offices set up to handle such concerns. Don’t buy from companies who refuse to reduce unnecessary packaging.
  2. Check the trash that your family discards. Does your trash get placed in an animal proof container? That will help protect animals. It is still wise to check each item that you discard. What packages could injure animals? Cut up or tie plastic bags and six pack holders into knots to prevent injury to small animals. Remove can tops completely. Seal food in leak proof bags. Put lids on bottles and jars, or plug holes before disposing of them.
  3. Get involved with community cleanup projects such as Earth Day
  4. Better yet, make community clean up a routine. If you see trash in a field or along a road, pick it up (wear gloves or some other hand protection).
  5. Teach others about the need for protecting animals from trash.

 

A Timeline of Trash

An interesting perspective of trash, the disposal process and the future of trash. Trash Knight encourages you to dispose of trash, recyclables and compost items accordingly.

A Timeline of Trash
Date Location Notes
6,500 BC North America Archeological studies shows a clan of Native Americans in what is now Colorado produced an average of 5.3 pounds of waste a day.
500 BC Athens Greece First municipal dump in western world organized. Regulations required waste to be dumped at least a mile from the city limits.
New Testament of Bible Jerusalem Palestine The Valley of Gehenna also called Sheoal in the New Testament of the Bible “Though I descent into Sheol, thou art there.” Sheoal was apparently a dump outside of the city of that periodically burned. It became synonymous with “hell.”
1388 England English Parliament bars waste dispersal in public waterways and ditches.
1400 Paris France Garbage piles so high outside of Paris gates that it interferes with city defense.
1690 Philadelphia Rittenhouse Mill, Philadelphia makes paper from recycled fibers (waste paper and rags).
1842 England A report links disease to filthy environmental conditions – “age of sanitation” begins.
1874 Nottingham England A new technology called “the Destructor” provided the first systematic incineration of refuse in Nottingham, England. Until this time, much of the burning was accidental, a result of methane production.
1885 Governor’s Island NY The first garbage incinerator was built in USA (on Governor’s Island in NY)
1889 Washington DC Washington DC reported that we were running out of appropriate places for refuse (sound familiar?).
1896 United States Waste reduction plants arrive in US. (for compressing organic wastes). Later closed because of noxious emissions.
1898 New York NY has first rubbish sorting plant for recycling (are we reinventing the wheel?).
Turn of Century By the turn of the century the garbage problem was seen as one of the greatest problems for local authorities.
1900 “Piggeries” were developed to eat fresh or cooked garbage (In the mid-50’s an outbreak of vesicluar exenthama resulted in the destruction of 1,000s of pigs that had eaten raw garbage. Law passed requiring that garbage had to be cooked before it could be fed to swine).
1911 New York City NYC citizens were producing 4.6 pounds of refuse a day (remember the Native Americans from 6500 BC mentioned above?).
1914 United States there were about 300 incinerators in the US for burning trash.
1920’s Landfills were becoming a popular way of reclaiming swamp land while getting rid of trash.
1954 Olympia Washington Olympia Washington pays for return of aluminum cans.
1965 United States The first federal solid waste management laws were enacted.
1968 By 1968 companies began buy back recycling of containers.
1970 United States The first Earth Day was celebrated, the Environmental Protection Agency EPA created and the Resource Recovery Act enacted.
1976 United States In 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) was created emphasizing recycling and HW management. This was the result of two major events: the oil embargo and the discovery (or recognition) of Love Canal.
1979 United States The EPA issued criteria prohibiting open dumping.
Today The list goes on and on.

“Plant a Garden at School or Home”

A month of Earth Day inspired posts…visit http://act.earthday.org to make your pledge!

Planting a garden at a school or at home is recognized universally as one of the best ways to teach children of every age the life sciences, to inspire a greater desire for whole foods and generally to reconnect them with Nature.

Since 2007, Earth Day Network has helped green over 100 schools, including many school gardens.

How to start (Information from http://urbanext.illinois.edu/firstgarden/)

Part of gardening is making a list of what you will need. Are there tools you need to get? Will you borrow or buy them? What seeds and plants do you want? Make a list of the items you need. Check whether you have them or need to get them. Then you can figure how much money you will need to plant a garden. Click here for a printable PDF version.

Not everybody starts planting all on the same day. If you live in Northern California you might start planting some time in March or April. But if you live in Florida or Southern California you might be able to plant things all year round. So, what guides us in knowing when it’s safe to start planting certain plants? The clue is called climate zones and it is based on frost-free dates for the area of the country or state where you live.

There is a frost-free date in the spring that tells you when it’s safe to start planting tender vegetables or plants that do not like frost. There is also a first-frost date for fall that tells you when it’s going to get too cold for a lot of things to grow well. The number of days between these two is called the growing season.

Some plants really like the cold and do well. Other plants are real warm weather lovers and don’t even like a slight chill. With more experience, you’ll soon get to know which plants like it cold and which ones like it warm.

To find out the frost-free dates for your part of the country or state, visit a library, garden center or Extension office and look up or ask about the frost-free dates in your area. You may also see large maps with bright colors and numbers from 1 – 11 on them. These are hardiness zone maps. You’ll see that zone 1 is the coldest (shortest growing season) up to zone 11 (longest growing season).

Another thing to keep in mind is that a date on the calendar does not always give you the green light to start gardening. Don’t forget to always get to know your soil up close and personal by giving it the squeeze test. This will tell you when you can work your soil safely.

Non-Toxic Cleaning Remedies for the Home

A month of Earth Day inspired posts…visit http://act.earthday.org to make your pledge!

Basil will deter flies and mosquitoes. Feverfew attracts aphids away from roses, while garlic, coriander and nasturtiums deter them as well. Tomato worms don’t like borage or pot marigolds. By choosing the right companion herbs in your garden of flowers or vegetables, you can avoid the bad effects of spraying pesticides.

Simple, effective non-toxic cleaning solutions also can be made using vinegar and vegetable soaps.

Homemade Substitutions

There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives which can safely be used in place of commercial household products. Here is a list of common, environmentally safe products which can be used alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications.

  • Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
  • Soap – unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
  • Lemon – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
  • Borax – (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
  • White Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.
  • Washing Soda – or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol – is an excellent disinfectant. (It has been suggested to replace this with ethanol or 100 proof alcohol in solution with water. There is some indication that isopropyl alcohol buildup contributes to illness in the body. See http://drclark.ch/g)
  • Cornstarch – can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
  • Citrus Solvent – cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains. (Citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.)

Healthy Home Cleaning Habits
Exchange Indoor Air

Many modern homes are so tight there’s little new air coming in. Open the windows from time to time or run any installed exhaust fans. In cold weather, the most efficient way to exchange room air is to open the room wide – windows and doors, and let fresh air in quickly for about 5 minutes. The furnishings in the room, and the walls, act as ‘heat sinks’, and by exchanging air quickly, this heat is retained.
Minimize Dust
Remove clutter which collects dust, such as old newspapers and magazines. Try to initiate a ‘no-shoes-indoors’ policy. If you’re building or remodelling a home, consider a central vacuum system; this eliminates the fine dust which portable vacuum cleaners recirculate.

Use Cellulose Sponges
Most household sponges are made of polyester or plastic which are slow to break down in landfills, and many are treated with triclosan, a chemical that can produce chloroform (a suspected carcinogen) when it interacts with the chlorine found in tap water. Instead try cellulose sponges, available at natural foods stores, which are biodegradable and will soak up spills faster since they’re naturally more absorbent. For general household cleaning, try Skoy Eco-Cleaning Cloths. These cleaning cloths are non-toxic, extremely absorbent (15x paper towels), reusable, and biodegradable.
Keep Bedrooms Clean
Most time at home is spent in the bedrooms. Keep pets out of these rooms, especially if they spend time outdoors.
Use Gentle Cleaning Products
Of the various commercial home cleaning products, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners are the most toxic. Use the formulas described above or purchase ‘green’ commercial alternatives
. Avoid products containing ammonia or chlorine, or petroleum-based chemicals; these contribute to respiratory irritation, headaches and other complaints.
Clean from the Top Down:
When house cleaning, save the floor or carpet for last. Clean window blinds and shelves first and then work downwards. Allow time for the dust to settle before vacuuming.

Plan an Earth Day event in your town!

A month of Earth Day inspired posts…visit http://act.earthday.org to make your pledge!

From beach cleanups to recycling initiatives to meetings with local officials or school administrators about improving environmental policies, potential Earth Day events are limited only by your imagination.

Do neighborhoods in your area lack access to fresh vegetables and fruits?  Start a community garden on Earth Day.  Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, work with local growers and government to start a farmer’s market and launch it on Earth Day.

Does your office lack a recycling program or still use incandescent light bulbs?  Make Earth Day the occasion to launch a recycling program and install CFL lights.

Call your local Parks Department and offer to plan a park clean-up, invasive plant removal or tree planting.

Around the world, individuals and organizations craft Earth Day events every year that correspond to the environmental needs of their communities. In New Delhi last year, India, people organized a Save Water rally and cycling rallies, among many other events in 17 cities.  In 2010, Morocco held the first national celebration of Earth Day in an Islamic state that included school festivals, tree plantings, park openings, student art exhibits and competitions, meetings of architects and a huge concert with Seal and Senegalese music legend Doudou N’Diaye Rose.

If you are at a loss for how to even begin organizing an event, don’t worry.  We have been putting together grassroots environmental events for over 40 years, so we published our collective wisdom about how to organize a successful event in our Basic Organizer’s Guide and Campus Organizer’s Guide.

Celebrate Earth Month!

A month of Earth Day inspired posts…visit http://act.earthday.org to make your pledge!

Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.  Visit  http://act.earthday.org/ to contribute your pledge to A Billion Acts of Green.

Ideas

Happy Earth Day!

    1. Plant a tree in your back yard: Besides being a fun activity for your family, planting trees help to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and they provide a habitat for a variety of other plants and animals. Go to your local nursery, and pick out the perfect tree for your yard. Lifetime trailers make it easy to haul the tree home. More trees in your yard can actually lower your cooling bill by providing shade over your house.
    2. Make pine cone birdfeeders- Bring birds right to your yard and watch them as they enjoy a healthy snack. Making pine cone bird feeders is a fun and easy activity for children, click here for instructions.
    3. Visit a nearby recycling facility- Recycling processes are fascinating and fun to watch. If you save up recyclable materials to drop off during the visit, you’ll earn some extra change you can use to pick up ice cream cones afterward.
    4. Sit with the family and set specific goals to recycle and save energy- It’s often as easy as changing your light bulbs, adjusting the setting on your fridge, or making a routine trip to a nearby recycling bin.
    5. Plant or renew your vegetable garden– April is the perfect time to plan your garden. Section off an area of your yard or use a Lifetime Raised Garden Bed Kit, and decide what you’d like to grow this year. If you don’t have a yard, window boxes and large pots work just as well. Home grown vegetables are pesticide-free and help you save money. You can also nourish them with recycled kitchen scraps and grass clippings, using a Lifetime Composter. Let the children choose new types of fruits or vegetables to try out each year, and give them responsibilities in the garden.

Planting Flowers

  1. Plant flowers at a local non-profit organization or church- Contact the organization prior to planting. Most are thrilled when someone offers to beautify their grounds.
  2. Go on a nature hike- Nature hikes are a great way to appreciate the details of our beautiful earth. Pick a park or nearby trail, or visit a new place every year on Earth Day.
  3. Clean up litter at a local park- Parks provide places for everyone in the community to enjoy nature. Unfortunately, litter detracts from their beauty, and can be dangerous to people and animals. Bring some large bags or a Lifetime Yard Cart and gather up trash to revive your park. Use sticks to pick up the litter you don’t want to touch.
  4. Attend an Earth Day event- Earth Day events are held across the nation, and are full of fun activities for both you and the kids. Pick a place close to you, events can be seen at http://www.earthday.net.
  5. Cook a special Earth Day meal using all non-processed foods- Invite the friends and family over to share a healthy, home-cooked meal. If you have many guests, set up extra tables and chairs to accommodate them. Get creative and decorate in an ‘earth day’ theme using leaves or potted plants, and let each guest take a plant home to add to their garden. See table decorating tips at “Eco-Friendly Dinner Party”.
%d bloggers like this: