Category: Environment

Best Reusable Grocery Bags

Best Reusable Grocery Bags Romeo DiBattista Jr.png

Reducing the use of plastic grocery bags is imperative to improving the environment. Plastic grocery bags find their way into animals’ habitats and end up killing many animals every year. Reusable grocery bags are an excellent way to reduce the use of plastic bags, and they are cute accessories as well! Let’s look at the best reusable grocery bags.

 

BAGGU Bags

BAGGU bags are a great reusable bag option. They are sturdy, with wide carrying straps for comfortable carrying. The bag is foldable and comes with its own storage pouch, which makes it easy to throw into a purse or your car when not in use. It can hold up to 50 pounds of groceries. It is made from ripstop nylon, comes in multiple colors, and is sewn very well.

 

BeeGreen Reusable Grocery Bags

BeeGreen reusable grocery bags come in sets of five at a time. For these sets, you have the option of choosing one color or different colors for the bags. Multiple colors make it easy for you to organize your groceries put them away when you get home. They come with an integrated square pouch that the bags can fold into, making storage a breeze. They are sturdy and rip resistant. They also come with a one-year warranty! These can also hold up to 50 pounds of groceries.

 

Flip & Tumble 24/7

The Flip & Tumble 24/7 features wide straps that are triple stitched to ensure they hold. They also have a felt pouch that holds them onto your shoulder. The bags fit into a stretchy pouch when not in use, which forms a ball shape, to make storage compact and convenient. These bags can hold up to 35 pounds.

 

Tandi Zippered Shoulder Tote Bag

The Tandi Zippered Shoulder Tote Bag is not only great for carrying groceries, but it is also very stylish. The interior is made of nylon and has a PVC cover, which makes the bag easy to clean. The cover comes in many fun designs. It has two compartments, one large section to hold groceries and a smaller zippered section on the front. The bag folds down to wallet size.

 

Reusable grocery bags are becoming more popular as efforts to limit the use of plastic bags increase. Being environmentally conscious doesn’t have to be boring; choose a design and style that suits your needs and aesthetic, and you can be stylish and eco-friendly when you shop.

 

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Sustainable Alternatives to Plastic Straws

Sustainable Alternatives to Plastic Straws Romeo DiBattista Jr

Straws allow us to more easily consume beverages, but the ones made of plastic are not sustainable; when disposed of, they can harm and destroy the environment. Nevertheless, there are many alternatives to using plastic straws that are better for the environment.

 

Silicone

The most innovative, alternative straw available is the Koffie Straw; it is designed from soft silicone that gives it durability and flexibility. The Koffie straws are available in two sizes and come with a tool for easy cleaning. They are also one hundred percent biodegradable. When someone is ready to dispose of their straws, they can burn them without worrying about their carbon footprint. Koffie straws are great for any beverage, hot or cold. They are also perfect for those who may be absent chewers, and they are safe for children.

 

Stainless Steel

The most durable alternative straws available are made of stainless steel; Green Steel offers a four-pack straw set. They are lead and toxin free, BPA free, and rustproof. Stainless steel straws are a great household accessory, but they can cause burns when used improperly. These straws should not be used with hot drinks and parents should be cautious when allowing their children to use them. Nevertheless, there are stainless steel straws with silicone tips for those who enjoy hot beverages or have children. The straw is durable and safe, and the soft tip design helps protect people from injuring themselves.

 

Glass

Another great alternative to a plastic straw is the glass straw; they are elegant and sophisticated. These straws are very delicate and must be handled with great care. Glass straws are not appropriate to tote around and may not be suitable for young children. Still, they are a great alternative to plastic at home or when attending a private party.

 

Bamboo

The cheapest and most easily disposable alternative straw available is made out of bamboo. They are a sustainable option to plastic since they can biodegrade. They are safe for cold or hot drinks and come in many sizes. The organic tool is versatile for those who need a straw that can be taken anywhere.

 

Paper

Paper straws are inexpensive and great for those interested in straws that have a one time use; they can be used in hot or cold drinks and are safe for children. Once an individual is ready to dispose of their paper straws, they can throw them away and the paper will disintegrate without causing harm to the environment.

 

There are many sustainable alternatives to the plastic straws we commonly use. Depending on your drinking preferences and habits, you can select the material that works best for you.

Ways We Can Reuse Aluminum Cans

Ways We Can Reuse Aluminum Cans Romeo DiBattista Jr.png

Most of the cans that pack food and other products such as soda are made of aluminum. Most families improperly dispose of their cans once they use the product contained within the aluminum cans. Failure to recycle or reuse aluminum cans results in unnecessary waste. This can be minimized or eliminated by reusing aluminum cans in creative and functional ways. Here are some of the simple strategies that can be used in recycling these cans.

 

Making Bird Feeding Troughs

Many people who are caring for birds spend a lot of money buying feeding troughs and water pots. Aluminum can easily be used as feeding troughs by removing either the top or the bottom and cutting across the mid-section. This will provide a cheaper and more eco-friendly alternative to store-bought troughs.

 

Housing Indoor Plants

A great method of decorating a kitchen or living space is by placing a few plants by windows and on sturdy pieces of furniture; doing so creates a natural environment that provides clear air and an environmental ambience. Aluminum cans will offer a better alternative to buying planting pots as they are readily available, recycled, and more affordable. Using an aluminum can to plant flowers or herbs is a smart application because aluminum containers hold water well to prevent leakages and can serve as a rustic addition to your decor.

 

Garden Markers

For gardeners, labeling plants tends to be important for organizational purposes. Rather than buy markers for this purpose, you can instead use aluminum cans to make your own. You can use a metal stamp or a dull writing utensil to emboss a permanent mark, or for short-term projects, you can use stickers.

 

Making Bracelets

Crafty individuals may be pleased to know that jewelry made from aluminum cans can be cheap, environmentally-conscious, and attractive. By cutting the can into thick strips, attaching them with glue, and wrapping ribbon around the bands, you can make a simple bracelet to give away. These bracelets are easily customizable, as well; just add additional ribbon, charms, or fabric scraps to personalize them.

 

Making Cookie Cutters

Finding a cookie cutter that suits your needs can be difficult. Manufactured cutters may not be the right shape, size, or dimensions that you want. With aluminum cans, you have the freedom to make cookie cutters in any form you’d like! By cutting the cans into strips and attaching them to make an appropriate length, you can then bend the connected strips to form a shape of your choosing!

 

Recycling aluminum cans takes many forms, many of them both functional and fun. By repurposing the empty cans for projects like those listed above, you can help prevent unnecessary waste while also saving money.

 

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

Should You Compost?

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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.