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Trash and Animals

Knowing the potential impact of trash on wildlife can save an animal’s life.  Did you know that …

Bird Paw  An animal can experience a fatal blockage if he swallows packaging material while attempting to eat the residue off of it?

  An animal’s head can get stuck inside certain plastic and glass containers causing suffocation or overheating?  In particular, certain yogurt containers that are narrower at the top and wider at the bottom are especially dangerous for animals.

Bird Paw  Six-pack beverage rings can get stuck around an animal’s nose, mouth and neck, blocking off her means of breathing, eating, drinking and self defense?

  Broken glass and sharp edges on cans can cut an animal’s paws and mouth as he attempts to eat food residue off of them?

To help keep animals safe, the MSPCA encourages you to use the following checklist when putting out trash:

checkmark  Rinse all of your recyclables to remove residue and odors.

checkmark  Put lids back on containers tightly. If the lids have been misplaced, crush the containers.

checkmark  Use a can opener that opens cans beneath the lip of the lids, leaving only smooth edges on the cans and lids.  Make sure to completely separate lids from cans.

checkmark  Cut up all six-pack beverage holders and other similar packaging so that there are no closed rings.

checkmark  Use critter-proof trash containers. Like Trash Knight.

checkmark  Recycle all plastic bags at your local grocery store. Don’t put plastic bags in the trash.

checkmark  Cut fishing line up into small pieces or tie it into a secure bundle so that it cannot be unwound.

checkmark  Switch to brands that have less packaging and buy food in bulk to avoid creating excess trash.

checkmark  Spread the word!  Teach your kids, friends, and family to do the same!

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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.

 

Information & Fun for Kids


Play the Fresno Recycles Game
from http://www.fresno.govClick on the images below to learn more about recycling.

 

Aluminum

Plastic

Glass

Bi-Metal

Paper

If you want to learn more about recycling, go to these kid friendly pages and play the numerous games available.

Kids Pages
Recycle Rex
Clean Sweep U.S.A
EPA Planet Protector’s Club
EPA Recycle City
Kids Recycle
How is Paper Recycled?
The Imagination Factory’s Trash Matcher– Ways to Reuse Garbage Before Throwing it Away
Eek! Recycling and Beyond
Waste No Words– Crossword Puzzle
Earth 911 Kids

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.

 

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.

 

Trash & Wildlife

Trash and Animals

Knowing the potential impact of trash on wildlife can save an animal’s life.  Did you know that …

Bird Paw  An animal can experience a fatal blockage if he swallows packaging material while attempting to eat the residue off of it?

  An animal’s head can get stuck inside certain plastic and glass containers causing suffocation or overheating?  In particular, certain yogurt containers that are narrower at the top and wider at the bottom are especially dangerous for animals.

Bird Paw  Six-pack beverage rings can get stuck around an animal’s nose, mouth and neck, blocking off her means of breathing, eating, drinking and self defense?

  Broken glass and sharp edges on cans can cut an animal’s paws and mouth as he attempts to eat food residue off of them?

To help keep animals safe, the MSPCA encourages you to use the following checklist when putting out trash:

checkmark  Rinse all of your recyclables to remove residue and odors.

checkmark  Put lids back on containers tightly. If the lids have been misplaced, crush the containers.

checkmark  Use a can opener that opens cans beneath the lip of the lids, leaving only smooth edges on the cans and lids.  Make sure to completely separate lids from cans.

checkmark  Cut up all six-pack beverage holders and other similar packaging so that there are no closed rings.

checkmark  Use critter-proof trash containers. Click here to be directed to our Trash Knight resources and links page for ordering information.

checkmark  Recycle all plastic bags at your local grocery store. Don’t put plastic bags in the trash.

checkmark  Cut fishing line up into small pieces or tie it into a secure bundle so that it cannot be unwound.

checkmark  Switch to brands that have less packaging and buy food in bulk to avoid creating excess trash.

checkmark  Spread the word!  Teach your kids, friends, and family to do the same!

How Plastic Bags Are Made

 

With many cities and even states beginning to ban plastic bags, we were wondering how they were made and what makes them so impervious to decay (other than the obvious – plastic!)  Here is a short video from Discovery Science Channel that shows the making of plastic bags starting from the nurdles stage.

How Plastic Bags are made…a video.

Various kinds of plastic shopping bags.

Various kinds of plastic shopping bags. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Looking for a new coffee table book?

Courtesy, The Collections of The Henry Ford

100 years of the garbage truck

The garbage truck. Durable, strong – sometimes loud – but always true. Much like the people that make up this industry, the trash truck has stood the test of time.

Join Waste & Recycling News as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of this mechanical marvel. “100 Years of the Garbage Truck” publishes Oct. 15, 2012. This coffee-table edition will journey from its start as a flatbed vehicle to the invention of the compactor to today’s automated sideloader.

We encourage you to submit your story idea or photo. You can also email them to editorial@wasterecyclingnews.com

Some of the stories include:

  • THE HELPER
    Hanging onto the back of a rear loader is what most people think of when they think of a garbage man. A look at the helper job and how it may be vanishing as more trucks are automated and semi-automated.
  • UNDER THE HOOD
    Veteran mechanics talk about the guts of trucks, how they’ve changed, how reliability has changed and what they do to keep this vehicles on the road.
  • CNG
    What’s the percentage of CNG trash trucks on the road today? What will it be in 25 years? What cities have the largest CNG trash truck fleets?
  • DEALERS
    Who are the largest trash truck dealers in the U.S.? What’s the secret to their success? What do their customers like and dislike about today’s trash trucks?
  • SAFETY
    A look at the safety innovations of the trash truck. What are the biggest dangers on the road?
  • WOMEN ON THE TRUCK
    Women on the trash truck are still a rarity, but they bring a different perspective and approach to the still-tough job. What’s it like to be a woman in a what is still essentially a man’s world?
  • THE INNOVATORS
    Interviews with the patent holders of trash trucks and the devices that made them what they are today.
  • WEDDING
    A trash truck route supervisor in Arizona loves garbage trucks so much that he got married on one.
  • MUSEUM
    Waste Pro plans to open a museum for trash trucks in 2013. A similar museum already exists in Germany.
  • THE MANUFACTURERS
    Profiles of today’s and yesterday’s truck makers.

Solar Powered Boat Made of Trash

The Polli-Boat

Image via YouTube video screengrab

As Reuters reports, the main flotation system of the Polli-Boat is constructed out of 804 of the bricks made of recycled plastic bottles and strengthened with PET (though Miniwiz states that number is 760). Old ad banners form the sails. And when there isn’t enough wind to travel, six 72-watt soft solar panels are busy harvesting enough energy to power the electric motor.

Miniwiz Biscuit

Miniwiz Biscuit (Photo credit: nan palmero)

Miniwiz states on its website, “POLLI BOAT is the world’s first trimaran inspired by the 3R practices-Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Designed and engineered by Miniwiz S.E.D., Polli-Boat is made of recycled materials including the revolutionary POLLI-BRICKS™ and a newly developed green material WPC (wood-plastic composite). The boat uses waste canvas as decking and its renewable energy systems powered by both solar and wind, can be interchangeable depending on weather conditions. Seven hundred and sixty POLLI-BRICKS™ are used as the major floating device in the main hull and outer tubes due to POLLI-BRICKS™ large air pockets. WPC is used as the top decking material to replace traditional FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastic); which is unrecyclable and toxic during the manufacturing process.”

Click the link below to see video.

23 Foot Boat Made of Trash Runs on Solar Power

See more projects using solar energy HERE.

What to Recycle

What to Recycle

The confusion over what we can and cannot recycle continues to confound consumers. Plastics are especially troublesome, as different types of plastic require different processing to be reformulated and re-used as raw material. Some municipalities accept all types of plastic for recycling, while others only accept jugs, containers and bottles with certain numbers stamped on their bottoms.

Remember to:

  • Empty and rinse all containers.
  • Flatten cartons and boxes, and place them inside your cart.
  • Secure shredded paper and textiles inside a clear plastic bag.
  • Sorting Your Waste: WHAT GOES WHERE?

 

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