Goal For The Green

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Archive for the ‘Recycling’ Category

Recycling Benefits

Mar-6-2015 By Barbara Zak
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When you think about recycling, you might think about collecting cans or papers and taking them to a center so that they can be turned into something else. While this is what recycling involves, there are some other benefits to think about.

== Summary == Universal recycling symbol outli...
Image via Wikipedia

Recycling will help decrease the debris that is found in the oceans. When there are plastics and other items in the oceans, the animals that live in the water can get hurt or become entangled in the items. You will also play a part in sending less waste to landfills when you recycle.

Almost anything that can be used for something else can be recycled. You can even recycle food that isn’t consumed by making a compost. This compost can be used to fertilize a garden so that it will grow and give you healthy foods to eat.

Instead of using trees and other natural resources for paper and other items on a daily basis, recycled materials can be used to make these. This will help keep the beauty of the land as it is intended so that others can see it in the future. The emission of greenhouse gases is also reduced, making the atmosphere a little healthier to breathe.

 

 

 

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Benefits of the Recycling Industry

Jun-11-2014 By Barbara Zak
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In an age of environmental pollution, people feel the individual responsibility to somehow make a positive impact. Recycling is a great habit that can be very effective at improving the environment when there is a collective effort involved. Every household should recycle paper and plastic regularly. These materials are usually picked up by municipalities that also offer trash pickup.

 

U.S. Navy color chart. Ferrous and non-ferrous...

U.S. Navy color chart. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals – NARA – 535409 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, electronics should not be thrown away into garbage containers or recycling bins that contain plastic or aluminum. Consumer electronic products should ideally be recycled at local facilities that handle hazardous wastes. Batteries fall into the category of dangerous materials that should be disposed carefully. The acid inside some battery packs can be very harmful when allowed to leak out. Additionally, batteries also contain explosive hazards that could ignite fires. Small alkaline batteries and other types such as lithium ion should all be thrown away at municipal recycling centers.

There are plenty of other reasons for properly recycling electronics. For example, some equipment may emit signals that are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Such signals might interfere with a local telecommunication infrastructure. Antenna and other transmitters that send out electromagnetic waves should be properly disassembled and then recycled.

Metal recycling is another key issue in the modern fight for environmental conservation. All types of scrap metals can be easily sold to recycling companies that accept ferrous and non ferrous materials. Iron and some other metals are easily sorted by using large electromagnets. After all, iron is the most magnetic metal element on earth. Recycling companies easily sort ferrous and non ferrous metals with powerful magnets. After the sorting process, it is time to melt down metal alloys into their raw elements. Thermodynamic processes are applied in order to cast metallic elements into different shapes such as bars. These pieces could then be sold back to the industrial market for manufacturing. Sims metal redwood city and other businesses are examples of enterprises that offer jobs in the recycling industries of North America.

Vehicles and other large machines can be completely recycled. Such a practice is much better than storing loads of broken vehicles in junk yards or auto salvage lots. The average car or truck contains a significant amount of metals that could be recycled and put back into the market. It may be more profitable to sell certain used auto parts to recycling companies rather than to drivers seeking replacement parts.

 

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A Nation Choking On Styrofoam

Mar-21-2014 By Barbara Zak
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by Zeke Iddon

Styrofoam: The Pollutant People Forget About

It’s no surprise that our industrialized world has a problem with waste, but the scope of the issue can be mind-boggling to conceive. The U.S. alone is responsible for generating 200 billion tons of garbage every year, and an overwhelming amount of that is non-biodegradable waste that lingers in landfills or escapes into the world’s oceans. Plastic products are a major culprit, with Styrofoam leading the pack.

polystyrene pollination

An amazing 25 billion Styrofoam cups are thrown away each year in the U.S.; once you add in egg crates, packaging peanuts, take-out containers, meat trays and other products, the number of Styrofoam products in landfills climbs even more.

What exactly is Styrofoam?

Most people are familiar with Styrofoam, the most common brand name for polystyrene foam. This lightweight foam is made from long chains of hydrocarbons. These are obtained through the polymerization of petroleum, which converts the fossil fuel into foam. The end result is a lightweight product with a low melting point but excellent insulating qualities, which is why it’s so popular in food packaging.

Aside from the polystyrene products that are thrown away by consumers, the production of polystyrene generates a substantial amount of waste as well. Altogether, the process creates 57 different chemicals, including liquids and gases, and many of these byproducts can cause health concerns among those in direct contact with them.

The Polystyrene Menace

Aside from the chemical waste created by manufacturing Styrofoam, the greatest problem with polystyrene is that it lasts essentially forever. In 500 years, the discarded cups and take-out containers thrown out today will still be sitting in landfills, essentially unchanged. This is because the polymerized styrene is resistant to photolysis, or the natural breaking down of a substance subjected to protons from a light source. In other words, while some objects degrade in the sun, petroleum-based plastics and foams do not.

polystyrene pollination

Polystyrene is especially problematic because it’s lightweight. This increases its chances of blowing away from landfills or trash cans and finding its way into rivers, lakes and oceans. Once in the water, the polystyrene does indeed break down. In the process, it releases chemicals like bisphenol A into the water.

The Styrofoam itself also poses a threat to the environment. Marine wildlife often mistake plastic products for food, leading them to choke on bits of Styrofoam or die of starvation after obstructing their digestive tracts.

Taking Control of Waste

The risks of polystyrene production and disposal are becoming well-known, and many solutions have been offered to deal with the problem:

- An ingenious process perfected by the minds behind Poly2Petrol.com allows petroleum-based plastics, including polystyrene, to be broken down and converted back into oil. This oil can then be burned as fuel, reducing the overall demand for newly drilled oil while cutting down the amount of plastic waste. The project is still in its early stages, but as it catches on, this has the potentially to dramatically reduce the amount of petroleum waste entering the ecosystem.

- Some polystyrene products can be recycled. Recycling polystyrene is resource-intensive, however, and many community recycling initiatives are not equipped to handle these products. Only hard polystyrene, such as the kind used for packaging inserts, can be recycled. Any polystyrene that has been used to hold food cannot be recycled.

- Some polystyrene products can be reused. One example is packaging peanuts, which can generally be returned to a shipping company for additional uses. This is an imperfect solution as it can be inconvenient for the consumer, and it still does not solve the issue of food packaging and other polystyrene products, but it does offer slight relief to the overall problem.

- As more people become aware of the problems
caused by plastic waste, they’re demanding alternative packaging. This is great news for both landfills and the limited oil reserves throughout the world. New technologies are developing biodegradable food packaging, and more people are opting to buy in bulk or reduce waste by using reusable items instead of disposable ones.

Ultimately, the solution to the plastic waste problem will be a multi-pronged approach combining recycling, fresh technology and public awareness. Only by educating people on the dangers of Styrofoam and similar products can we hope to achieve relief from the choking presence of non-biodegradable waste in our landfills and oceans.

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