Posts tagged waste

Are All Plastics Dangerous?

With all the grim news about plastics and plastic products, with much of this information already presented in my posts here on this blog, it brings to mind the question of whether there are safe plastics or not. Are all plastics poison? Or are there some that we can handle without fear? This question interested me so I thought I’d investigate.

Looking around on the web, I found quite a few articles about the dangerous chemicals in plastic and why plastic is dangerous to the human body. It took a little more digging and research to pull together a list of plastics and plastic products that are more benign. Here is what I discovered about both, in a handy, easy to reference, list:

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How to Green Spring Cleaning 2009

It’s that time of year again! Time to crawl out of the heated house into the sunlight of the natural world and start tending the garden and cleaning up the home. I always loved spring cleaning when I lived alone because it was so easy! But now that I have a house full and I’m the “house spouse” of the crowd, it is a lot more work. So I have a method of working through it while thinking about the planet at the same time, a sort of “ritual” that makes it all happen faster. I thought I’d share that method along with some great ideas that can be modified to suit your individual situations. And hopefully this will help your spring cleaning go green.

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Toxic Plastic Solution: Eco Canteen

I have got to tell everybody about this great new item, Eco Canteen. It is a real life solution to a big environmental problem, the toxic plastic bottle. I have posted about plastic bottles in the past, at Toxic Plastics , but I have only begun to tap the subject. If you don’t get what all the fuss is about, then you need to read the posts I did previously after you read this one. I am sure you will be looking for an alternative as soon as you realize what a huge problem this has become.

Here are some real, scary and documented facts about plastic and plastic bottles.

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How to Green the Oil Change

Everybody knows that a regular oil change improves your cars performance, helps with gas consumption and lowers emissions but did you know that an improper oil change can negate all of these gains? According to the EPA, nearly 200 million gallons of used motor oil is improperly disposed of every year here in the USA. Horrible fact: The oil from just one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of water, which equates to a year’s supply for 50 people. Ouch.

But no one wants to discourage you from changing the oil and also not from doing it yourself. As I pointed out, oil changes improve your cars performance and doing it yourself saves a lot of money. But if you are a do-it-yourself oil changer, the EPA has provided the following guidelines to ensure the process is as clean as possible. You can read more about it at the EPA website HERE. Or you can just hang in with me, since you’re already here, for the basic guidelines.

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More Ways to Green the Kitchen

The prime object of greening the kitchen is a plan to reduce waste. This will make a significant contribution to saving this planet and reducing the carbon footprint of our industrial society. However, going green does take a commitment, it isn’t something that can be done will watching TV or taking a bath, although you can make those activities greener, too. But going green may take some research and planning. At the very least, it will take thought. And your thinking should be about changing up the kitchen first because it is the most waste producing room in your home.

The best way get started is to just do it slowly, making changes when they’re painless and making easy, budget friendly choices. The whole idea centers around sustainability which means you should only make changes you can sustain over a long period. If it’s too expensive or difficult to repeat, then don’t even go there. If you want to get started today, I have some easy, simple steps you can take to get the ball rolling.

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Green Can Be Simple

If you think about it, being stressed and overworked is directly related to our high tech, fast paced demanding society and that society has a HUGE carbon footprint and cannot be called anything like “green”. More, it’s suited to black and gray. Soot in the sky, sadness in the soul. Retreating to a simpler, easier lifestyle is looking more and more inviting to folk. Even those among us who cannot stop buying stuff and love to shop at China Mart. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just give yourself permission to SLOW DOWN?

Well, a first step in this direction is to go green. It gives you a valid reason for changing things. And in the process, you can simplify. This means slowing down and smelling the flowers. Literally. Ignoring the planet, racing around in carbon spewing vehicles, chasing the next big thing is part of the reason we are in this mess to begin with. So start thinking “s-i-m-p-l-e”. And in truth, this is green. The less you purchase, consume and dispose of, the better. In fact, the greenest thing you can do is make things last and find new uses for old items. We (and I mean myself, too) are taught to be consumers; advertising pounds us day and night and we measure success by the things we buy and own. This is a free market society at work and it is conducive to wealth creation. But it is also conducive to waste.

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Make Your Own Compost

Making your own compost helps get rid of household waste that might otherwise end up in the landfill, uses garden debris as a supercharged fertilizer for your garden plants and saves you a lot of money, too. It’s a no brainer when it comes to being eco friendly and penny wise. Everything from fallen leaves, grass cuttings, plant prunings to spoiled vegetables, canned fruit and bread can make fertilizer and mulch. I want to give you a guide you can both read for education and use on a daily basis as a sort of “how to”.

Generations of gardeners have consistently come up with the same idea: a fertile soil is the key to growing garden vegetables and compost is the key to a fertile soil. The first step in the four-season harvest is learning to make good compost. It’s not difficult. Compost wants to happen. It doesn’t take a lot of effort or creativity on your part to make this wonderful mush that your plants are eager to devour. Just think of how great your garden will be next year! Nature makes plants and when they die, they are feed for more new plants. It’s as simple as that.

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More Ideas To Reduce Waste At Home

Nobody likes taking out the trash, right? Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can reduce the amount of waste you make at home. The three Rs of waste management – reduce, reuse,recycle – outline not only the options but also order of importance. Recycling is last because it should be your last option. Reduce and reuse – avoid making waste in the first place and you will have less to recycle.

The key is to change your behavior. Think about ways you can create less waste. Waste reduction is an ideal solid waste solution.

Reduce your paper trail

At home, a big part of what you throw away is paper. Most of that paper is what you get in the mail everyday – unwanted and unwelcome advertising mail. Nearly 5.9 million tons of advertising mail was generated in 2006 according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). Of that amount, about 3.6 million tons was thrown away.

Do your part – reduce the amount of unwanted mail that you receive at home. To remove your name from mailing lists, simply send a postcard or letter that includes your name, home address and signature to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512-0643. There is no charge for the service. You can also sign a petition to support the new “do not mail” registry at “do not mail.org”, Here. For more information and other ways to register, visit Off Mailing List and sign up. You also can stop mailings of credit card offers by calling toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT. Your request will reach the major national credit card bureaus.

Not all companies use these national systems to purge their mailing lists. If you are still receiving unwanted mail, just contact individual senders and ask them to remove your name from their mailing list. Depending on the company, you can send your request by mail, e-mail or phone. Why bother? Why just not recycle the unwanted mail? Recycling unwanted mail is fine, but reducing the flow of unwanted mail will conserve natural resources, save landfill space as well as save you time and money.

Consider Composting

Americans generated about 31.3 million tons of food waste – uneaten portions of meals and trimmings from food preparation in kitchens, cafeterias and restaurants – in 2006 according to the U.S. EPA.

Admit it, you waste food at home, right? We buy too much. We prepare too much. We waste too much by letting fresh food go bad. Stop it. Plan meals and create a list of what you need before you go to the grocery store. Donate excess canned goods to a food bank. You also can reduce food waste by composting fruit, vegetable and other specific food scraps. Check out my other posts on the wasting of food and how to make compost.

Recycle your grass.

Yard trimmings make up the second largest segment of the nation’s waste stream – about 32.4 million tons in 2006 according to the U.S. EPA. You can help reduce that by recycling your grass. Say what? Grasscycling is simply leaving the clippings on your lawn instead of composting or disposing of them. Grasscycling saves time and money, is good for the environment and reduces waste. For more information, see the “FYI: Grasscycling” fact sheet Here.

Don’t spend cash for trash.

You don’t want to buy garbage, right? Well, depending on what products you buy, that may be what you are doing. Don’t buy stuff that is disposable, of poor quality or over packaged. Packaging waste, for example, makes up more than 30 percent of the nation’s waste stream – and you pay for it. Buy products in bulk containers such as dog food, cereal and paper products. Buy concentrates with less packaging such as detergents and cleaners. Buying in bulk and concentrates can save you money and reduce waste. You also won’t have to go to the store as often. Buy durable products that last. Buy recycled. Buy products made from recycled content materials. Buy products and packaging that can be recycled in your community. Bottom line? Buy only what you need. Use what you buy.

Saving On The Cost of Paint

You can reduce paint waste at home and perhaps save money if you take just a little time and do the math. Before you begin a painting project, measure the room. Calculate the area to be painted (height X width = total square feet). One gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet. To prevent paint from drying, cover the paint can (use the original container) with plastic wrap, replace the lid securely and store upside down.

Protect your paint from freezing. Use leftover paint for touch-up jobs, smaller projects or as a primer. If you absolutely have no other use for leftover paint, find someone who can use it, give it to a community group or contact your recycling coordinator.

Reduce by Reusing

Reusing items – by repairing them, finding new uses for them, donating them to a community group or selling them – reduces waste. Think before you throw. Use glass jars for storing food such as flour, nuts and dried fruit or for other items such as nails, buttons and office supplies. Reuse paper and plastic bags. Reuse boxes. Give magazines to office waiting rooms, schools or hospitals.

Save your packing peanuts and bubble wrap – use them or give them to someone who will.

Using Reusable Products

Consider not buying single-use items such as paper or plastic cups, plates and utensils – use the real stuff including cloth napkins instead. Use towels, rags and sponges for most cleaning. Just say no to paper or plastic bags at the grocery store.

Don’t take a bag if you don’t need one. Better yet, buy and use your own cloth or canvas bags – even more good news, they won’t tear. Buy rechargeable batteries and a battery charger – you can run almost anything from flashlights to digital cameras. In the long run, buying rechargeable batteries is less expensive and helps protect the environment.

Find New Life for Toss Outs

Instead of throwing away, consider selling or donating your unwanted stuff to groups and organizations that accept used goods. Consult your telephone directory to see what groups and organizations are in your community. Do your part. Reduce waste at home. If not you, who?

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Recycling Glass Is A Must

I read an interesting article by Glen the Green Guy. It is informative and, in my opinion, shocking. I had no idea so few people were recycling glass! Shame! I hope you’re not one of the slackers. Hey, it’s easy. And it’s such a great thing to do.

According to Glen the Green Guy, only 25% of the glass we use is recycled. The other 75% is ending up in the landfill! Why on earth is this happening? You can just toss your glass into a milk crate and put it out with the garbage. Heck, if you don’t want to buy the crate, just put the glass out in any cardboard box or paper bag and next week they will leave you a free crate! I mean, really, guys.

Every single piece of glass is recyclable. No matter what shape, size or color. And can you imagine our world without glass? It’s one of the most useful products around. It’s totally green to begin with! It’s made of all natural ingredients, such as sand, soda ash and limestone, and can be recycled eternally. I mean, you can recycle glass that is made into glass that is also recycled and made into more glass. It never loses it’s purity. It’s absolutely perfect.

It’s also extremely easy to recycle. Like I said, just put it out with the trash, separated from the trash, of course, and watch it go bye bye. And not only is glass used only in making bottles and containers but is also used to make fiberglass, matches, ammunition, watches, eye and sun glasses, TV and monitor screens and many other useful, indispensable items. They even make reflecting paint that they use on our highways by adding glass to the compounds.

And here are the motivating facts: one ton of recycled glass saves ONE TON of raw materials. And it takes less energy, as much as 40%, to use recycled glass instead of making new. Because of this, a large part, often as much as 70%, of EVERY glass container made is made from recycled glass. So, the need is there. The ability to use this stuff is in full on mode. All you have to do is do your part.

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Food Waste Should Be Compost

I was just discussing this the other night. We had some people over for a bbq and I was scooping up the leftovers and deciding what to do with them. Personally, I don’t mind leftovers because I can live on them for days afterwards. Everything except the meat stuff, of course. But I live with people who never touch a Tupperware container, are not curious about the bottom shelf and won’t eat anything that isn’t in a can, bag or box. I don’t know why, this is a mystery to me, that someone wouldn’t eat something because it’s “day old”. I have always prepared food in advance, kept it in Tupperware and heated it up until it was all gone. But there is a fetish, it seems, with a lot of Americans about eating anything that isn’t cooked “fresh”. And so food waste becomes a problem for a lot of us.

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