Posts Tagged ‘what to recycle’
When people are trying to live green, there are a few things we should try never to do. Here are 10 things you should never buy when you are living green. There are great alternatives to everything.
1. Styrofoam cups – Styrofoam last forever and does not biodegrade.
Alternative: Buy recyclable and compostable paper cups. Even better, start buying reusable mugs or water bottles that you can take with you. Great option is the Klean Kanteen.
2. Paper towels – Paper towels waste forest resources, landfill space, and your money.
Alternative: When you do buy paper towels, look for recycled, non-bleached products. Sponges made from cellulose is another option (Here is a quick look) Even better, buy organic dishtowels to wash and reuse.
3. Bleached coffee filters – Dioxins, chemicals formed during the chlorine bleaching process, contaminate groundwater and air and are linked to cancer in humans and animals.
Alternative: Look for unbleached paper filters. Even better, use reusable filters.
4. Overpackaged foods and other products – Excess packaging wastes resources and costs you much more money. Around thirty three percent of trash in the average American household comes from packaging.
Alternative: Buy products with minimal or reusable packaging. Even better, buy in bulk and use your own containers when shopping.
5. Teak and mahogany – Every year, 27 million acres of tropical rainforest are destroyed. Rainforests cover 6% of Earth’s surface and are home to over half of the world’s wild plant, animal, and insect species. The Amazon rainforest produces 40 percent of the world’s oxygen.
Alternative: Look for Forest Stewardship Council certified wood. Even Better, reuse wood, and buy furniture and other products made from used or salvaged wood. At the Secondhand or antique stores you can find old pieces of furniture that you can prevent from entering the landfills.
6.Chemical pesticides and herbicides – American households use 80 million pounds of pesticides each year. The EPA found at least one pesticide in almost every water and fish sample from streams and in more than one-half of shallow wells sampled in agricultural and urban areas. These chemicals pose threats to animals and people, especially children. They contaminate our food supply.
Alternatives: Buy organic pest controllers. Even better, plant flowers and herbs that act as natural pesticides.
7. Conventional household cleaners – Household products can contain hazardous ingredients such as organic solvents and petroleum-based chemicals that can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your indoor environment, posting a particular danger for children. The average American household has three to ten of hazardous matter in the home.
Alternative: Look for nontoxic, vegetable-based, biodegradeable cleaners. (See recommendations) Even better, try making your own green cleaner using vinegar, water, and castile soap.
8. Higher octane gas than you need – Only one car in ten manufactured since 1982 requires high-octane gasoline. High-octane gas releases more hazardous pollutants into the air, and may be bad for your car.
Alternative: Buy the lowest-octane gas your car requires as listed in your owner’s manual. Even better, take public transportation, ride a bike, or walk.
9. Toys made with PVC plastic – 70% of PVC is used in construction, but it is also found in everyday plastics, including some children’s toys. Vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, is a known human carcinogen. Also, additives, such as lead and cadmium, are sometimes added to PVC to keep it from breaking down; these additives can be particularly dangerous in children’s toys. PVC is also the least recycled plastic.
Alternative: Avoid plastics that are labeled as “PVC” or “#3.” Look for toys that are labeled PVC free such as the Green Toys. Better yet, purchase toys like Plan Toys that are made from recycled rubberwood trees, have formadehyde free adhesives, use soy and water based ink, and packaged in recycled materials.
10. Plastic forks and spoons - Disposable plastic utensils are not biodegradeable and not recyclable in most areas.
Alternative: Use compostable food service items.
Let’s face it. Recycling can be ridiculously confusing to figure out. It can be overwhelming and we have seen people, including us, look at a piece of trash and wonder what to do with it. Here are some tips to help you out in the process….
Let’s start first with the positives of “Why” to recycle:
- Recycling an aluminum can uses only 5% of the energy required to make a new one
- Recycling glass uses 50% of the energy
- Every ton of paper recycled saves 60% of the energy, 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, 587 pounds of air pollution, 3.06 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,077 kilowatt hours of energy
- If every household in the U.S. replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins with 100 recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees
By not recycling here are the affects:
- A typical American throws away 4 pounds of garbage every day. In a year all of that trash adds up to nearly 3 quarters of a ton, which weighs almost as much as 8 refrigerators. Multiply that by nearly 275 million Americans and you can now start to see why this is a big issue. Sadly enough most of our trash could have been recycled.
- Junk mail costs $320 million of taxpayer’s money each year to dispose of.
- Junk mail wastes 28 billion gallons of water for paper processing each year.
- Every year, 100 million trees are chopped down for junk mail sent to American homes.
- One third of trash is paper products and grass clippings & yard waste come in second. Followed by metal, glass, plastics, food scrapes and other items such as clothing, wood & rubber.
- Americans are often known as the “ultimate” consumers. The US is the source of a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, with the average of the US household generating more than 80 tons of toxic carbon dioxide gases every year- that’s 22.5 tons of greenhouse gases per person, per year. In addition, the average American family uses 102,000 gallons of water and creates 3.3 tons of landfill waste every year. Can we just say……disgusting!!
Now let’s talk about “What” to recycle. Recycling is actually easier than it sounds, you just need to learn the basics. Here is what cannot be recycled in your Recycling Bin……
- Soiled/used napkins & tissues
- Ceramic Stickers
- Waxed paper
- Full Cans
- Milk & juice cartons
- Wet or food-stained paper/fast-food wraps
- Rubber bands
- Drink Boxes
- Laminated Paper
- Plastic with number 3,4,5,6 & 7 (see below for the website to check your local recycling programs)
Here is what can be recycled in your Recycling Bin…..
- #1 and #2 Plastic (look on the bottom of the plastic container/bottle and look at the chasing arrow for what number it is
- Aluminum (rinsed out cans)
- Brown Glass, Clear Glass & Green Glass
- Mixed Paper
- Telephone Books
- Computer Paper
** See below in the “How” section for directions to contact your local municipality. Every city varies in what can be recycled in the recycling bins.**
Now, let’s visit the “How” of recycling. This can take a little bit of work at the beginning but once you get it down, it becomes second nature. You first want to check with your local community to see what they say can be put in your recycling bins. It’s super easy. Just call 1-800-CLEANUP (253-2687) and follow the instructions with the recorded message .You plug in your zip code and they will let you know the rules of your local community.
You now know what to do with your recycling bins, so let’s take a look at all of those nasty hazardous waste products you have lying around. Here is a list from our local community of what we can dispose of/recycle. Again, you want to call the 1-800-CLEANUP and they will also give you detailed information about your local hazardous waste facilities. You can also visit http://www.earth911.org/ for this information.
Hazardous Waste Dispose/Recycle
- Hand motor oil
- Used filters
- Car batteries
- Transmission fluid
- Brake fluid
- Cell phone
- Rechargeable batteries
- Single use batteries
- Flourescent light bulbs
- Smoke detectors
- Fire extinguisher
- Household cleaners
There it is……all of the How, What and Why’s of Recycling. Make it fun and every week try and reduce the amount of waste you create and send to the landfills. You will be amazed at just the difference you alone can make!!
Fresh & Green Eco Must-Have #1: Purchase a Klean Kanteen, Sigg or some type of reusable bottle. Just make sure that it is not a #7. (In our next blog we will be discussing the good & bad plastics. What numbers to look for and what number’s to stay away from.)
Fresh & Green Eco Must-Have #2: Your second eco must-have to reduce waste….Purchase reusable shopping bags.
Here are our local drop-off recycling locations. Go to http://www.earth911.org/ to see where yours are!
- Bakersfield College ( At the university parking lot)
- CSUB (parking lot near gymnasium)
- Westchester Recycling Center (northwest corner of F & 30th streets)
- Valley Plaza Mall (behind rite aid drug store)
- Tevis Junior High School (on pin oak park boulevard-north of white lane, west of gosford road)
- Lowell Park (R & 4th streets, east of chester avenue)
- Fred L. Thompson Jr High School (northease corner of actis & planz roads-one block east of stine road)
- McKee School (opal street in greenfield park)
- Endeavor Elementary School (meacham road, east of calloway drive)
- Bakersfield Christian Life Center (olive drive and victor street, west of 99 freeway)
**Stastics were taken from the following books: Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano, True Green by Kim McKay & Jenny Bonnin & Recycling by Rhonda Donald. Also from the EPA Environmental Protection Agency.**