Category: Environment

Recycling Materials With Food

Recycling Materials With Food Romeo DiBattista Jr.png

It is learned from a very young age that recycling is important to be sustainable. But many fail to realize that some materials cannot be recycled if they contain food waste. That is why the following list of reasons why food waste should not be recycled has been compiled. They are as follows:

  • Sanitary Concerns
  • Paper Contamination
  • Single Stream Recycling

Sanitary Concerns

Once the recycling bins leave a home or business, there is still a person dealing with those materials at a recycling facility. Food waste left on recyclable materials can create unsanitary working conditions for the plant workers. Although it can be burned off in the melting process of metals, glass, and plastic, mold and bacteria are still present for these employees before this process occurs. This is a common courtesy that should be afforded to the workers whose job it is to make the world a better and cleaner place.

Paper Contamination

The process by which paper is recycled is quite fascinating. The paper is broken down back into a pulp and mixed with other ingredients so that it can then be reused as other paper or paper products. The problem with food waste in recycling bins is that it contaminates this paper with things like grease and oil which are very difficult to remove in the paper recycling process. This issue is exclusive to paper however because other recyclable materials such as metals, glass, and plastics can be melted down at which point these oils and greases can be removed.

Single Stream Recycling

Similarly to the above issue, some recycling programs use what is known as single stream recycling. In these communities, ensuring food waste is kept out of the recycling bin is even more imperative. Again, oils and grease can contaminate paper to a point where it can no longer be recycled. It should be noted, however, that for the sanitary reasons listed above, communities that separate recycling should still steer clear of food waste in recycling bins.

Recycling is one of the major ways individuals can do their part to improve the world. Many people helping at a local level makes a huge impact over time. To best maximize the amount of recyclable material that can be turned back into a usable product, food waste should always be completely cleared away before being placed in recycling bins.

From RomeoDiBattistaJr.co

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Should You Compost?

Should You Compost_ Romeo DiBattista Jr.png

Thinking about adjusting your home to become a little bit greener? Composting is an easy way to start doing your part for the environment – did you know that about 40% of residential waste is compostable? You can easily start composting at home, reducing your family’s environmental impact, providing a free source of fertile nutrients for your garden’s soil, and improve plant growth better than chemical fertilizers.

Why you may want to start composting

Simply put, composting is a simple way to help keep waste out of landfills and improve the production of most plants in your garden simultaneously. Looking for a bit more information? Here is a more detailed list of reasons to compost:

  • Use fewer chemicals in your garden
  • Creates richer soil
  • Lowers your carbon footprint
  • Saves you money on fertilizer
  • Reduces the amount of food waste your household accumulates
  • Saves you trips to the store to buy fertilizer

How to start composting at home

To begin composting, you’ll need to know that you need three major components to compost successfully: Green materials, brown materials, and water. Green materials are the things you likely already have in your home – vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, and some expired leftovers. Brown materials can easily be gathered outside. These are things like twigs, dead leaves, bark, and branches. You’ll simply need to add the browns and greens equally into your compost pile and add some water to help break down the components. Do some quick research about what to add and what not to add to your compost heap.

You can start a compost heap outside by placing your compost bin or pile in a dry spot with shade and proximity to a water source. Just add your greens and browns as you collect them, but make sure to break up large chunks into smaller pieces and bury fruit and vegetable scraps about ten inches underneath the surface. You should also dampen any dry components before adding them to your heap. You can then cover your heap with a lid or a tarp to keep it moist. Your compost will be ready anywhere from a couple of months to a year or more, depending on what you add.

Composting can be done inside if you don’t have the outdoor space. While this may sound smelly, it doesn’t have to be. You can use a lidded ceramic or stainless steel container to compost indoors successfully without pests or major smells.

From RomeoDiBattistaJr.co

History of Ontario’s Recycling

History of Ontario's Recycling Romeo DiBattista Jr.png

Waste management is vital in ensuring our environment is clean and safe. The blue box program is a curbside recycling program that is adopted in over 100 countries. What is the history of this award-winning Ontario recycling program?

Increased environment pollution

In 1972, the amount of waste in the ecosystem was increasing leading to the creation of Ministry of Environment (MOE) whose major role was to reduce the waste. A large amount of the waste was as a result of non-refillable cans. A soft drink beverage industry was using the cans to save up on cleaning and collecting refillable cans.

The Ontario Provincial government started a waste material recovering and processing facility in Downsview. However, the quality of the recycled products was poor. Several grassroots organizations were establishing recycling programs in their localities. The Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) was mandated to promote the recycled products as recycling operators were struggling to market them. The RCO led discussions on recycling issues such as subsidies for recyclers. The operators started to cooperatively market their products.

The birth and the rise of the Blue Box Program

Following the release of MOE’s regulations and requirements for waste management, a pilot project was initiated in Kitchener. Households were given large blue box as they were deemed to be visible and able to withstand the ultraviolet light. The slogan “We Recycle” was applied to every blue box. The project was a success, and in 1984, the City of Kitchener issued a tender for waste haulers.

In 1987, Ontario appointed Halton Recycled Resources Limited to implement the multi-material recycling program. Ontario government was to launch later waste reduction initiatives where all municipalities with a minimum of 5,000 people were to operate a Blue Box program. The RCO in 1994 provided those in the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Sector with information and resources to handle their waste.

Major strides in the Millennium

In 2002, the Waste Diversion Act (WDA) came into effect, and it was to promote the 3Rs (reduction, reuse, and recycling of waste). The Waste Diversion Ontario was established to maintain and promote waste diversion programs by handling funding issues. The stewardship legislation now requires every brand owner to be physically and financially responsible for the management of their products.

The Blue Box handles glass containers, steel containers, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and newsprints among others making it a successful system. In a world full of waste materials, recycling is the way to go for every city and country.

Sources:

History of Blue Box Recycling

Blue Box Recycling on Wikipedia

The Meanings of Numbers on Plastic Bottles

The Meanings of Numbers on Plastic Bottles Romeo DiBattista Jr

There are a lot of different types of plastic in the world. Each one has different qualities, and some are easier to recycle or better for the environment than others. The number on the bottle indicates the type of plastic and how it should be treated.

1: PETE

This type of plastic is called polyethylene terephthalate. Most forms are clear, and it is the most common type for beverage containers. It can accumulate bacteria over time, but it is generally considered safe for most uses.

Most recycling programs will accept it, even the ones that pick up recycling bins from the curb. Those programs turn this plastic into polar fleece, carpeting, and other products that need strong fibers.

2: HDPE

HDPE is high density polyethylene, a common choice for making opaque containers of all kinds. It is one of the safest types of plastic, since the risk of leeching and contamination are minimal.

This is another type of plastic that most curbside recycling programs will collect. It gets converted into products that need hard plastic for structural reasons, such as benches, new bottles, and even pens.

3: V

Vinyl is used for plastic wrap and some packaging applications, but it is more often used for piping, medical equipment, and other long-term uses. That is because vinyl can contain phthalates and DEHA, which are linked to a variety of health problems.

Relatively few recycling programs accept vinyl, but specialized ones do exist. They use it to make flooring and other construction components.

4: LDPE

Low density polyethylene is a safe variety of plastic that is used for products that need flexibility. Bags and squeezable bottles are the most common, but it can show up in anything that needs to bend.

Some recycling programs will accept this, while others will not, so it is best to check with the individual program. Fortunately, acceptance is getting more common, so this plastic can be recycled into anything from envelopes to plastic bins.

5: PP

Polypropylene is safe, and serves as a midpoint between LDPE and HDPE. It can be used in any type of bottle and some other household products.

Many programs will accept it. They use polypropylene to make consumer products, such as brooms and bins, that need a balance of structure and flexibility.

6: PS

Polystyrene is just another word for Styrofoam. It is horribly toxic when mistreated, hard to recycle properly, and very common. It is difficult to find a program that will accept it, but those that do will turn it into new Styrofoam products.

7: Other

All other plastics get grouped into this category. Some are toxic, others are safe, and it’s generally best to avoid them because it is hard to tell the difference. The uses for these plastics are as variable as the plastics themselves. Many can be recycled, but some programs hesitate to take them because it is such a broad category.

5 Etsy Products Made From Recycled Materials

5 Etsy Products Made From Recycled Materials Romeo DiBattista Jr.png

The e-commerce website Etsy features a variety of unique products to buy made from recycled materials. The items are handsome, creative, quality-made and affordable.

5 Etsy Products Made From Recycled Materials:

Recycled Glass Suncatcher, Amber Sun Ornament

This beautiful piece is ideal for the garden or hung on a window to catch the glorious rays of the sun. A non-profit community recycling center created the elegant suncatcher from the variety of consumer glass bottles picked up curbside or brought to the center.

The suncatcher measures about 4 1/4 inches in diameter and is strung with a hemp cord.

Shot Glasses Cut From Recycled Bud Light Beer Glass Bottles

Recycled beer bottles from the iconic Budweiser brand are the inspiration for the collection of cool-looking shot glasses. The Bud Light label appears on the glass and comes with the beer’s bottlecap attached. The glasses each hold one ounce of liquid and measure about three inches in diameter.

The shot glasses are sold singly or two or four at a time.

Recycled Bike Chain Ornaments: Upcycled Chain 5 Point Star

When it comes to hanging holiday tree ornaments or adding to a personal collection for the home, a recycled beauty created from bike chains is an amazing “off the chain” item. The ornaments feature metallic red or blue paint topped off with a shiny finish.

The item comes packaged in an attractive recycled craft paper box with a compostable ribbon.

Guitar Wall Art-Made From Recycled Magazines

A little rock n’ roll wall art has been designed from the inspiration of an electric guitar. The great-looking, decorative piece has been created from using recycled magazines and medium density fiberboard (MDF) and stands about 15 inches tall with a width of about five inches.

There are five color scheme options to choose from.

Handmade Recycled Guitar String Bracelet/Bangle Bound

A silver colored guitar string bracelet bound with silver wire is ideal unisex jewelry for music lovers and those who enjoy the contributions made from the U.K.’s famous Manchester music scene. The silver bracelet is a stackable bangle.

The recycled materials include three guitar strings and silver plated wire.

The Impact of Recycling on the World’s Environment

The Impact of Recycling on the World's Environment Romeo DiBattista Jr.png

Recycling has a positive impact; that is a fact. Yet, many people are unsure of how exactly recycling helps. On the surface, you might think that recycling does very little to help our environment. Let’s look into the actual impact of recycling.

Landfills

If you have never seen a landfill, you cannot begin to imagine the incredible amount of waste human beings produce. Every time you throw away an object, it ends up in one of these piles, waiting for its day to be compressed into a cube with the rest of the world’s trash. However, recycling means fewer objects end up in the landfill.

There is a two-part reason why this is good. First, recycling bottles, cans, and paper means these products can be remade utilizing the same materials. This means that there can be a constant cycle where none of these products end up in the trash before they are too worn out to recycle. The impact this has on landfills is huge, because every day we get closer to running out of space to store our trash. Instead of expanding the amount of land consumed by trash, we can maintain our current area and avoid spillage.

Wildlife

Animals are notorious for getting caught up in our trash. How often do we find dead animals with pieces of plastic in their stomach? It’s far too often, and it can be avoided by recycling. Instead of polluting our land and waters with trash, we can easily stick our 6-pack holders in a green bin to be taken away. Although it is important to avoid pollution of any kind, recycling is one of the easiest ways to do so.

Air

Depending on where you live, your local landfill may have a plant that burns trash to produce energy which powers buildings. If you live in a more rural area, you may burn trash yourself. Either way, many people are concerned about the safety of burning trash (specifically plastics). Plastics can produce toxic gases when burned, which can cause havoc on our bodies. Consider that many plastics can be recycled. If you take a few minutes to collect your bottles in a bin, or drive to a recycling facility if there is no recycling pick-up, you could be saving many people from breathing in toxic chemicals, all while keeping our air clean.

Recycling is not a fun game, where it doesn’t matter if you win or lose. The consequences of not recycling are very real and will soon result in serious issues for humans all over the world. If you are concerned about our environment, I encourage you to begin recycling today.

Originally posted on RomeoDiBattistaJr.co

What Is Carbon Neutrality?

What Is Carbon Neutrality_ Romeo DiBattista Jr

The Earth is struggling. Our global climate is changing rapidly, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. Most people have heard of their carbon footprint, but did you know that it increases every time you buy a factory-made product or eat a steak dinner? It can seem nearly impossible to reduce our emissions to controllable levels, although many countries are striving to do so. Some countries have pledged a goal of net neutral carbon emissions. Here is what they are doing to achieve their goals.

British Columbia, Canada

Many people can understand why this Canadian province would pledge such a lofty goal. The country is very nature-friendly, and there are tons of forests that can be expanded to help combat their citizens’ emissions. Beyond that, the province is also looking to control its electricity and fossil fuel use to help combat the problem. In the official plan set by the Carbon Neutral Government, there are also plans in place to roll out BC-made products that will offset carbon emissions.

Costa Rica

This small Central-American country is looking to go carbon neutral within the next 3-4 years. They plan to charge a carbon tax on tourists and businesses, which will promote forest growth within the nation. Like British Columbia, Costa Rica is also looking to control its electricity and fossil fuel use, and much of the country runs on hydroelectric power and other natural sources of electricity. It is also important to note that Costa Rica is still a developing country, so this is a great goal to have implemented now before they grow.

Jeju Island, South Korea

Detached from the mainland, Jeju Island is taking matters into its own hands when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. South Korea is far from being a top contributor, but its carbon footprint has had a significant impact nonetheless. Starting with Jeju Island’s energy use is a good way to test what works. The country receives significant sunlight and wind, which are both ideal for producing natural energy. There are also moves toward increasing electric vehicles and infrastructural improvements. Jeju Island hopes to be carbon-neutral by 2030.

Case Study: Bhutan

Bhutan has been recognized as the only carbon-negative country in the world. It sits in the Himalayan mountains, between China and India, and receives the impacts of their emissions. Emissions in Bhutan were recently cited as 2.2 million tons of carbon, while they were able to displace 6 million tons. The biggest factor to their success: forestation. However, the country also provides free electricity, subsidizes environmentally-friendly products, and regulates certain protected areas of forest. Bhutan’s lifestyle may be different from the rest of the world, as they measure their success regarding happiness, but there is a great deal we can learn from this little country.

Every year, there is more pressure on countries to reduce carbon emissions, and many strive toward reaching the carbon-neutral (or negative) title. In the coming years, I predict that more counties will create initiatives and set goals to offset their emissions, even if it is only in part of the country.

Sustainable Product Spotlight: Un-Paper Towels

This month, I’m starting a series where I highlight some interesting sustainable products. These products are either made from recycled or eco-friendly materials, or they are reusable products meant to replace wasteful products. Today, I’m highlighting Un-Paper Towels from Remiusables.

Paper towels are a huge source of waste in many households. People use them as napkins, to wipe up spills, or even to clean their home. Rather than wasting trees (and money) by constantly buying more rolls of paper towels, you can buy a “roll” of un-paper towels for as cheap as $29 USD, if you want no snaps, or $37 USD for rolls with snaps.

Just as you’d use traditional paper towels for wiping up spills, cleaning your kids, and any number of other things, you can use un-paper towels the same way. You can also use them as a bib, a placemat, or to line dishes or baskets.

If you’re skeptical about how clean they can really be, or whether they can do as good of a job as paper towels, let me explain how they work. The towels are made out of flannel, which does a great job absorbing messes. You can rinse the towels, of course, or empty any large food bits into the trash. Then, you wash them just as you would any other towel. Reviews have said they are easy to clean and even the white towels don’t show stains after multiple uses. Furthermore, the towels with the snaps have a plastic tube that they attach to, which means you can still utilize your paper towel holder.

When cutting down on eco-unfriendly products, it can be hard to find an equivalent replacement. Un-paper towels can definitely be the replacement for your home. If you want to help the environment, head to Etsy and order a roll today.

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Energy Consumption

Reducing your energy consumption helps the environment and saves you money. Even if you’re not eco-conscious, your wallet will thank you for applying green habits into your life. Here’s a list of three easy ways you can reduce your energy consumption today.

  1. Dress for the weather.

If it’s freezing outside, there’s no reason you should be walking around your house in shorts and a tank top. Bundle up for the cold weather and take off some layers when it’s hot. This way, you won’t need to waste so much energy fueling your heat or A/C.

  1. Wash your clothes in cold water.

Washing clothes in cold water prevent colors from running and can save hundreds of dollars per year on your electric bill. You can also reduce energy by washing larger loads or reducing the amount of time the washing machine runs.

  1. Install a programmable thermostat.

If you lower your temperature for a few hours a day, you can save $10 or more each month. In less than a year, you could easily make back the money you spent on the thermostat in savings alone.

If your electric bill is higher than you’d hoped, try utilizing these strategies. You’ll be sure to reduce your energy consumption.

What Happens When You Recycle Cardboard?

Since the new Millennium, there has been a push toward environmental consciousness, including recycling. With land dumps reaching impossible capacity and pollutions levels reaching all-time highs, it’s no wonder there is concern for our safety. In fact, one of the scariest garbage dumps lies in the Pacific Ocean: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a collection of debris that has accumulated in the most massive oceanic garbage patch in the world. What makes this even more terrifying is other garbage patches across the globe resemble this one.

However, people have been doing their part to recycle and avoid catastrophes like the one above. Canadians have done their part to correctly recycle more products each year, and it has a profound impact on the environment. But one question many people have is: What happens after my recyclables are picked up? In this series, we’ll discuss what happens to each recycled material, and today we’ll start with cardboard.

Step One: Pick Up or Drop Off

The step people are most familiar with is pick up/drop off. There are a few ways this can happen, from recycling companies picking up business’ loads, to collection facilities where the average person can take their boxes. Either way, this is, of course, the most crucial step.

Step Two: Sorting

Recycling plants have to sort all of their recyclables, to catch any non-substance materials. It’s common that non-cardboard materials are mixed in with cardboard, so these facilities make sure they set apart only what can be recycled. To sort product more efficiently, plants utilize automated sorting machines that easily separate un-recyclable materials.

Step Three: Shredding and Pulping

Once the cardboard is separated, it runs through a machine that shreds it into miniscule pieces and is then mixed with water and wood pulp to create a slush. A filter runs through this slush to catch any extra materials, such as glue or tape. Then, the slush is ready for rebuilding.

Step Four: Rebuilding, Part 1

The cardboard slush goes into a machine that strains the water out of the slush, creating sheets of paper. The paper is then squeezed through a roller to remove any excess water. After that, it is heat dried and wound on a spool of paper to be sent to manufacturers.

Step Five: Rebuilding, Part 2

Manufacturers receive the spools and decide what type of cardboard they need. Then, they build the paper into various kinds of cardboard. The process is complete!

Although recycling cardboard is not flashy, it is a necessary process and learning about what happens after you recycle is an interesting way to show you care about the environment. Next time someone asks if recycling does anything, show them this process and explain how important it is that they recycle correctly.

Originally posted on RomeoDiBattistaJr.co