Archives For recycling

single stream recycling truckBy now, most of us know the drill for washing out glass and plastic containers and placing them the blue or green bins rather than bundling them with the rest of the trash. It has been decades since residents were first able to separate out recyclables from other waste for curbside pick-up. What started out as smaller local trends are now mature municipal services in some of the largest cities across the country. However, despite the millions of tons of waste that has been diverted from landfills for a life of reuse, we have certainly not reached the point where we are recycling everywhere in the U.S. and the places that do recycle are often still trashing considerable amounts of waste that could have more life to live. Continue Reading…

kid with bright ideasThe scale of our society’s deficiencies in regards to sustainability can be daunting, even to proponents, and with a problem so large there is a tendency to look for large scale solutions. Rightfully so. We have a lot of ground to cover, so if we can catch up with some big moves all the better, and there are plenty of them floating around: carbon pricing, national recycling programs, grid-scale renewable energy, power plant emissions. The danger here is the misconception that the only solutions are difficult solutions or that sustainability itself is overly complicated. Once these impressions set in it becomes very easy for us to distance ourselves from contributing. After all, aside from a letter to elected officials and signing some petitions, how much can one do to support the construction of offshore wind turbines or improve state energy codes? Difficult questions have a way of dissuading us.

The truth is that there are countless opportunities for sustainable improvement that are very simple and the fact that they remain underutilized is not because the solutions or difficult, let alone impossible, but because no one has spoken up yet. Sometimes all we have to do is ask. Continue Reading…

The Electronic Waste Race

trash stream from electronicsOver the past two decades the evolution of consumer electronics have cause massive amounts of information to migrate from the physical world of paper into the digital network of electrons. Throughout that time increases in efficiency and capability have shrunk the physical size of computers while expanded the capacity for information and exponentially increased speed to move it back and forth. The same progression, however, has led to a new, complex and rapidly growing waste stream that we know relatively little about. At the same time, the lifecycle of our paper products has not been idle. Steadily improving forestry practices, more efficient production methods and vast improvements in recycling make paper a much greener option than it was years ago. More and more, we need to consistently reevaluate which medium is offering us the most sustainable option. Continue Reading…

I make no secret about my love for recycling. When it comes to the measures necessary to achieve a more sustainable society, the recycling industry represents not only one of the greatest opportunities for positive change but also one of the most feasible to implement. Despite this, even in our cities, we lag far behind the opportunities that are possible, resulting in vastly more waste than is necessary. Having the access to a recycling program is still a factor, but moreover the populace may need an updated and more detailed refresher course on why recycling is so important. Continue Reading…

When sitting comfortably with popcorn and soda in hand, it is easy to be drawn into the world of plays and films with little thought spared to what was necessary to create them. Whether it’s a blockbuster movie or just a commercial the focus is on the finished product rather than things like efficiency or post-production waste management. Environmental consulting firm EcoSet estimates that commercials in the United States produce 18 million pounds of waste annually. Though historically not being known for trailblazing into the realm of sustainability, the different facets of the entertainment industry are evolving to embrace more opportunities for ecological stewardship. Continue Reading…

[tweetmeme source=”intercongreen”]Recycling + Digital Media + Demand for Sustainable products = Results

These three societal components make fast friends in the goal of reducing paper consumption. After peaking in 2000, disposal of paper products is finally showing the wear of a more conscious effort to curb the amount of paper that finds its way to landfills and reduce the amount of virgin trees harvested for new stock. Continue Reading…

[tweetmeme source=”intercongreen”]While factions squabble over such big ticket political items as health care, climate change and job creation, there is an answer that could help all fronts without ramming into core partisan issues: recycling. A federal course to mandate recycling and the use of recycled content would provide benefit to numerous areas on the administration’s agenda.

Many view the recent past as not being the federal government’s finest hour. The traffic jam of partisan politics has forced numerous efforts on Capitol Hill to progress at a crawl. Congress members continue to suggest drastic, sweeping changes to different areas of the economy while the country emerges from a recession. After hours are spent pitching changes that make such a big splash the inevitable occurs and efforts at compromise are discarded in deference to a defiant standoff—which accomplishes nothing.

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