A fun Blog to share fun and easy ways to be green!

Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Resolutions Go Green

Start the New Year with Steps toward Helping the Environment
© Linda McDonnell

When you're making your New Years resolutions, try adding a few environment-friendly practices you can follow all year to help save the planet.

This New Year why not make a few resolutions to help keep the environment healthy. Simple changes in daily routines followed throughout the year can make a difference. Below are some suggestions that are easy to do and can set you on the road to sustainable living. Some may even save money as well as helping the environment.

Reuse shopping bags, or better yet, get a durable bag to carry with you to the grocery store and on all your shopping trips.

Buy locally made and grown products. They usually require less packaging and eliminate the environmental costs of long-distance transport. The added bonus is that local fruits and vegetables are often fresher, and locally produced goods help support your own community.

Buy fewer disposable items. Look for long-lasting goods that won’t have to be replaced as often. You’ll reduce waste and save landfill space.

Compost leaves and garden trimmings. The compost will improve your garden soil while reducing waste.

While you’re shopping with your reusable shopping bag, look for products with recycled content. Buying recycled closes the cycle by putting resources back into use.

If possible, find a carpool partner to share your daily commute. Carpooling helps reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. It could mean room for more trees if less land is needed for highways!

If one of your resolutions is to get more exercise, try doing your shopping and errands on foot as part of your exercise program. Walking will help keep automobile pollution down and, like carpooling, help ease traffic congestion.

If you have a ceiling fan that’s reversible, don't forget about it when summer ends. In winter, set it to rotate clockwise at low speed. As heated air rises, the fan will distribute it downward to keep you warmer without turning up the thermostat.

Switch to environmentally friendly commercial laundry soaps.

More exercise! In sunny weather, dry your laundry the old fashioned way: outdoors on a clothesline. You'll save energy by not using the dryer.

Try using natural, home-made cleansers instead of chemical ones. Here are a few simple recipes: For an all-purpose cleanser, mix ½ cup vinegar in one quart of water (reduce water for hard jobs). Use it in a spray bottle. Instead of commercial fabric softener, add ¼ cup (or less) borax to the laundry wash cycle. To deodorize and soften laundry, add one cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.

Starting the New Year with a few environmental resolutions can offer the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing something positive toward ecological sustainability.

Curb Your Plastic Bag Consumption

Check out the Chico bag! I got one for Christmas and LOVE it.

Fast facts about plastic bags:

The average American uses between 300 and 700 plastic bags per year.

If everyone in the United States tied their annual consumption of plastic bags together in a giant chain, the chain would reach around the Earth not once, but 760 times!

According to the American Forest and Paper Association, in 1999 the U.S. alone used 10 billion paper grocery bags, requiring 14 million trees to be cut down.

Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photo-degrade—breaking down into small toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food-chain when mistaken for zooplankton or jellyfish.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Recycle Your Wine and Champagne Corks!

Yemm & Hart is collecting wine cork stoppers with the goal of converting them into a useful self sustaining product - to extend the useful life of this natural resource for decades and to raise awareness of the cork oak tree and its eco-system.

Send your wine and Champagne cork stoppers prepaid (paid by sender) to Yemm & Hart via UPS or USPS:

Wine Cork Recycling
Yemm & Hart Ltd
610 South Chamber Dr
Fredericktown MO 63645

Please don't send plastic wine stoppers and other non-cork materials.

Click here for information about Yemm and Hart's program.

Seasons Greenings: Environmentally-Conscious Office Parties

Already thinking about your New Year's resolutions? How about getting ahead start by pledging to make your holiday parties and events more Earth-friendly? Now that's a resolution the whole world can celebrate.

If you're not sure where to start, visit GreenFeet.com or The Green Office Blog. Both offer concrete tips for cutting back on waste, from electronic invitations to menu choices to the most eco-friendly cleanup products.
The Newberg Garbage and Recycling Service also posted a list of of ideas for a "merry Christmas and a wasteless new year."

Green Public Radio Sound Bites

Here are some great "green" sound bites from Public Radio for your listening pleasure:

Tess' Trash Tour: We take our trash to the curb, but where does it go after that? Tess Vigeland rides along with her neighborhood garbage man to find out.

Turning Trash into Cash: Landfills may be eyesores for residents, but they have money and jobs to offer communities. Amy Scott visits a Pennsylvania town stuck in the middle of the trash trade.

Garbage across the Pacific: One country's garbage is another country's gold. Scott Tong takes us across the Pacific to see how America's trash has spawned a whole industry in China.

Our E-waste Comes Back to Haunt Us: There's a thriving global industry recovering the precious metals in the millions of electronic devices we throw away each year. But the toxic by-products are showing up in cheap imported goods. Scott Tong reports from China.

Can Wal-Mart Save the World? Retail powerhouse Wal-Mart has been taking great pains to improve its image by adopting environmental standards across all of its stores. Kai Ryssdal talks to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott.

Making Waves of Green: All Wal-Mart has to do to have an impact on green products is place an order. Reporter Sarah Gardner caught up with some of its 60,000 suppliers at a conference that the retail giant held to talk about sustainability.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Clemson Researcher Makes Fuel from Rotten Peaches

CLEMSON, SC (AP) - Clemson University biosystems engineer Caye Drapcho's new research is just peachy.

Drapcho is using bacteria to generate hydrogen from rotting peaches.

Drapcho says peaches could work well as a biofuel because they have a high percentage of sugars that can be converted to hydrogen.

It could be an inexpensive way to produce power. The South Carolina Peach Council says more than 20 million pounds of peaches that are unfit for sale are thrown away every year .

Drapcho and her graduate assistants are being funded by a grant from the council.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

HGTV Plans Green Home Giveaway

Waste News, Dec. 21 -- Home and garden cable television channel, HGTV, will give away a custom green home in a beach resort community in Hilton Head, S.C., as part of an upcoming promotion.

"We are aware that many of our viewers are interested in hearing more about green lifestyles," said Jim Samples, president of HGTV. The giveaway will take place between March 21 and May 9.

The 2,000-square-foot home, located in the Tradition Hilton Head community, is part of a prize package worth about $850,000. It is registered to receive U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. "The HGTV Green Home is designed to demonstrate that you don´t have to be extreme to be green," said Jack Thomasson, HGTV Green Home house planner.

Ed. Note: I'll get more details on this! Who couldn't use a green home in Hilton Head?

Baby Boomers See Benefit of Buying Green

Waste News, Dec. 21 -- Baby boomers and older citizens are increasingly "socially conscious" consumers who consider the environmental impact of products they purchase, according to a recent study conducted by AARP and research firm Focalyst.

Seventy percent of the baby boomers and "mature consumers" surveyed said they felt a responsibility to make the world a better place. The study surveyed 30,000 people born in 1964 or earlier. The study´s authors concluded that more than 40 million boomers use their purchasing power to buy environmentally safe brands.

"The study confirms that boomers are taking a critical look at products to find brands that resonate with their growing commitment to an eco-friendly lifestyle," said Larry Renfro, president and CEO of AARP Services Inc., a subsidiary of AARP, the lobbying and advocacy group for Americans 50 and older. "Companies across industries have recognized this trend and are driving home messages of concern and conservation."

The tendency to buy environmentally safe brands correlates directly with age, with mature consumers more likely to be "green," said Heather Stern, of Focalyst.

"As consumers get older, they become more aware of their legacy and leaving a positive mark on the world, and this is particularly true of boomers," she said.

However, while "environmentally safe" and "organic" often are thought of as being closely related, many boomers don´t draw the same connection, according to the study´s findings. Less than a third of the boomer population is willing to pay more for organic foods, according to the study.

In addition, boomers with lower incomes are "greener" than their more affluent counterparts, according to the study. It found that 57 percent of those with incomes of less than $50,000 considered themselves green, while only 50 percent of those with income greater than $150,000 identified themselves that way.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Looking for Movies to Rent Over the Holidays

Check out this list of "Top Ten Green Movies That Didn't Set Out to Be."

Fun E-Blog

I ran across this blog - How Can I Recycle This - and thought it was a fun one! It's a UK site, so there may be some slight variation as to what you can do in your community, but there are some great ideas. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

FAQ: The End of the Light Bulb as We Know It

U.S.News & World Report, Wednesday December 19, 11:01 am ET
By Marianne Lavelle

The incandescent light bulb, one of the most venerable inventions of its era but deemed too inefficient for our own, will be phased off the U.S. market beginning in 2012 under the new energy law just approved by Congress. Although this will reduce electricity costs and minimize new bulb purchases in every household in America, you may be feeling in the dark about the loss of your old, relatively reliable source of light. Here's a primer on the light bulb phase-out and what will mean to you:

Why are they taking my light bulbs away? Moving to more efficient lighting is one of the lowest-cost ways for the nation to reduce electricity use and greenhouse gases. In fact, it actually will save households money because of lower utility bills. Ninety percent of the energy that an incandescent light bulb burns is wasted as heat. And yet, sales of the most common high-efficiency bulb available--the compact fluorescent (CFL)--amount to only 5 percent of the light bulb market. Earlier this year, Australia became the first country to announce an outright ban by 2010 on incandescent bulbs. The changeover in the United States will be more gradual, not mandated to begin until 2012 and phased out through 2014. However, don't be surprised if some manufacturers phase out earlier.

How do I save money, when a CFL costs six times as much as an old-fashioned bulb? Each cone-shaped spiral CFL costs about $3, compared with 50 cents for a standard bulb. But a CFL uses about 75 percent less energy and lasts five years instead of a few months. A household that invested $90 in changing 30 fixtures to CFLs would save $440 to $1,500 over the five-year life of the bulbs, depending on your cost of electricity. Look at your utility bill and imagine a 12 percent discount to estimate the savings.

I've heard that CFLs don't really last as long as they say. Turning a CFL on and off frequently shortens its life, which is why the government's Energy Star program says to leave them on for at least 15 minutes at a time. Also, if you have dimmable light fixtures, make sure to buy CFLs labeled "dimmable." All CFLs that carry the government's Energy Star label are required to carry a two-year limited warranty, so contact the manufacturer if your bulb burns out prematurely. The Energy Star website has a good FAQ on CFLs.

I don't think that I like the color of the light from CFLs. When they first hit the market, CFLs had a limited range of tones. Now, manufacturers offer a wider variety, but there is not an agreed-upon labeling standard. The Energy Star program is working to change that. But for now, look for lower "Kelvin temperatures" like 2,700 to 3,000 for "redder" light, closer to old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, while bulbs with Kelvin temperatures of 5,000 and 6,500 provide more "blue" and intense light. A good photograph illustrating the difference is shown here.

I've heard that CFLs have mercury in them--isn't that bad? Consumers are rightly concerned about the toxic substance mercury that helps CFLs produce light. Even though the amount sealed in each bulb is small--one old-fashioned thermometer had about 100 times as much mercury--contact local trash collection for disposal instructions. Environmentalists agree that more work must be done on bulb recycling programs. Right now, you can return any CFL to any Ikea store for recycling, and the Environmental Protection Agency and Earth911 have sites you can search for other recycling programs near your home.

But if you break a CFL, you'll have a toxic spill in your home. Maine's Department of Environmental Protection has developed the best advice on the procedures to follow if a CFL breaks. Don't use a vacuum. Maine officials studied the issue because of a homeowner in that state who received a $2,000 light bulb clean-up bill from an environmental hazards company--a story that has circulated around the country and increased consumer concerns about CFLs. It turns out that the company's advice was overkill, and a subsequent analysis showed no hazard in the home. But the bulbs must be handled with caution. Using a drop cloth might be a good new routine to develop when screwing in a light bulb, to make the clean-up of any breaks easier.
By the way, don't think that incandescent bulbs are mercury free. In the United States, the chances are at least 50 percent that their light is generated by a coal-powered plant featuring mercury as well as other types of pollution. Popular Mechanics recently crunched the numbers to find that even if the mercury in a CFL was directly released into the atmosphere, an incandescent would still contribute almost double that amount of mercury into the environment over its lifetime.

Isn't there efficient lighting without mercury? Yes. By 2012, the chances are good that consumers will have many more options to replace incandescent bulbs. Manufacturers already are deploying advanced incandescent bulbs that are efficient enough to stay on the market after 2012, although they are not yet as efficient as CFLs. Even more exciting are the developments with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are jazzing up holiday lighting. The European electronics firm Philips this year acquired several pioneering small technology companies and plans a big push to make LEDs practical for ordinary lighting purposes. The lights on the New Year's Eve Times Square Ball could one day brighten your home. LEDs last even longer than CFLs and will make bulb buying more like an appliance purchase than a throw-away item.

Is Thomas Edison turning over in his grave? Perhaps, but the incandescent bulb has had a good run, with the technology little changed since 1879, when Edison produced light with a carbonized thread from his wife's sewing box. The breakthrough that ushered civilization out of the candle era was so revolutionary that the light bulb itself became the culture's iconic image to illustrate any thought, brainstorm, or idea. But energy-efficient bulbs are a better idea, says Andrew deLaski, director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. "It's hugely important," he says. "A 60 to 70 percent reduction in light bulb energy use will save as much energy annually as that used by all the homes in Texas last year." That's a big savings.

Recycle, Baby

Enjoy my version of Santa, Baby with a green twist!

Have a Green Christmas

This is REALLY late, but hopefully you can still incorporate some of these great tips from EarthEasy.

Do More Than Dream of a Green Holiday

By SHRM Online staff

Organizations can put the "green" in the red-and-green holiday color scheme by making environmentally friendly choices.

Turning off lights, computers and office equipment in empty cubicles, offices and low-traffic common areas, and avoiding Christmas decorations that use electricity are among simple ways organizations can lessen their carbon footprint, according to Genesys Conferencing, a global multimedia collaboration service leader.

Those are among favorite tips for a greener holiday workplace, according to a survey of 15,000 of Genesys's clients.

Other tips include closing the company cafeteria during the holidays when few people might be about and avoiding unnecessary travel by using virtual meetings. Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they more likely would work during the holidays if they could participate in meetings from home and through web conference calls. More than half, or 58 percent, of respondents say their organization has implemented policies to help preserve the environment.

"Companies are becoming increasingly committed to year-round green programs, but they haven't yet realized what additional opportunities exist when only half their employees are in the office during the holiday period," said Denise Persson, executive vice president of marketing for Genesys."Creating a greener workplace for the holidays can be a communal company effort," she said in a press release, "that instills pride and encourages teamwork."

Related Article: Going Green , HR Magazine, October 2006

Friday, December 14, 2007

Five Tips For Better Recycling

From Earth 911

Have you ever wondered if there’s a proper etiquette to recycle your products? If your recycling bin could talk, would it be providing suggestions for how to be more eco-efficient?

Earth 911 is here to offer five easy recycling tips that come directly from recycling centers. It may require a little more work on your end, but it could also mean the difference between your recyclables ending up as new products or lining the next landfill.

Know Before You Throw
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 75 percent of the contents you’ll find in a garbage can are recyclable, but that doesn’t mean all these products are recyclable through your curbside program. There are seven different types of plastic, and many curbside recycling programs only take in plastics #1 and #2.

These two points lead to the following reality: recycling bins shouldn’t be seen as a second trash can, with the thought that everything will be sorted once it arrives at a distribution center. If a material isn’t taken by that center, chances are it will end up in the trash instead of recycled elsewhere.

Remove The Accessories
Many of your plastic and glass bottles (even some metal cans) will come with a paper label to identify the product. Glass jars usually have metal lids, and the plastic caps on drink containers are made of a different plastic than the bottle.

Accessories should be removed so this process doesn’t have to be done at the recycling center. Labels can be placed in your paper recycling, and metal lids can be sorted with your aluminum and tin. Even if your curbside program is single-stream (commingled), it is still a good idea to remove these lids and labels before you place them in a recycling bin.

Rinse Your Containers
Unless your jar, can or bottle originally contained water, it will likely leave behind sticky or sugary remains even after you’ve finished every drop. Similar to how you wouldn’t leave these sticky substances on your kitchen counters, you don’t want them on your recyclables.

A quick rinsing in the sink should easily remove any sauce or leftover liquid. With the lids off your containers (see above), the water drops will evaporate leaving a clean container.

Sticky containers can lead to ants and other unwanted visitors, not to mention dirty up your recycling bin. Plus, if your containers are mixed with paper in one bin, the paper can get contaminated by non-water liquids and become unrecyclable.

Watch the Weather
This is especially true for paper recycling, or if your recycling is picked up in open air containers instead of sealed bins. If paper recycling is left out in the rain, it will become soggy and mutilated to the point that it can’t be recycled.

Similarly, it’s not a good idea to try and recycle paper that has gotten wet inside your house. If you use newspaper to stop roof leaks, it’s probably better to use this paper in your winter fires. Many locations dissuade recycling yellow newspaper, so your older newsprint can serve as a fire starter as well.

Save Some Space
Any cardboard boxes should be collapsed so that they can fit easier in your recycling bin. It’s not necessary to remove the tape, especially at the risk of tearing up your cardboard.

Also try and collapse other paper packaging, such as milk/juice containers. You’ll be able to pack more recycling into your bin, and there will be more room in the recycling trucks.

These five tips should take less than five minutes to implement, and will save countless time at the recycling center. To be on the safe side, though, check with your local recycling program to see if there are any additional special instructions for your neighborhood.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Now THIS Is a Trip I'd Like to Take

Chocolate-powered truck heads for Timbuktu

By Richard Savill

Two British adventurers are preparing to set off on an expedition to west Africa in a lorry powered by biodiesel made from waste chocolate.

Andrew Pag, 34, from Croydon, south London, and John Grimshaw, 39, from Poole, Dorset, will drive more than 4,500 miles across the Sahara to Timbuktu, in Mali, to raise awareness of green fuels.

Their lorry, called "the Bio-truck", runs on a fuel created by a Lancashire-based producer, Ecotec, which has developed a process to turn chocolate misshapes into biodiesel.

Most of the chocolate would otherwise end up in landfill.

Mr Pag, an engineer, and Mr Grimshaw, an electrician, are due to leave late tonight from Poole on a cross-channel ferry.

Their Ford Iveco Cargo lorry will carry two 4x4 land cruisers, which will be used for the last 150 miles of the journey because of the state of the road. All three vehicles will run on bio-diesel.

The Britons will drive through France and Spain and then catch another ferry to Morocco before crossing the desert to Timbuktu.

The journey is expected to take about three weeks.

Mr Pag said: "We have chosen Timbuktu as a destination partly because it is the back of beyond, so if we can make it there with bio-fuel there is no reason why motorists cannot use it on the school run or on their commute to work."

Timbuktu was also picked because it is being "eaten away" by the encroaching desert and is at the "sharp end" of climate change, Mr Pag added.

Mr Pag, who has been to Africa several times, said: "I have made many expeditions and visited these amazing landscapes but to get there I have contributed to their destruction by driving a guzzling diesel engine.

"I wanted to do something that's carbon neutral. What we have actually done is carbon negative."

The pair are taking 2,000 litres of bio-diesel made from 4,000kg of chocolate misshapes, the equivalent of 80,000 chocolate bars, to fuel their adventure.

But they will not be able to dip into their tank if they feel hungry as the biodiesel does not look or smell like chocolate.

The fuel is made from cocoa butter extracted from the waste chocolate.

The environmental benefits of biofuels is subject to increasing debate, as critics argue that producing biofuels wastes land and water and encourages the destruction of rain forests.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My eTree

I finally completed my office eTree (e is for environmental)! All of the ornaments are recycled-content or depict recycling/solid waste management. These are from my phone and aren't too good; I'll try to get some better ones soon!


The Brick Maker is the perfect way to recycle your newspaper for instant gratification.

Just fill the Brick Maker with damp paper and it creates the perfect, fireplace ready, briquette. The best part is, these stackable handy bricks do away with ugly paper piles!

The concept is pretty straightforward: the Brick Maker takes compressed wet newspaper and drives it into 8 1/2″ x 3 1/4″ bricks that burn at the rate of about 4 per hour.

Simply soak your newspaper in a bucket or tub (and mix in any assortment of sawdust, grass clippings, or aromatic chips if desired) and fill the brick maker, then press down on the handles to compact the lot. Once removed from the device just allow time for your brick to dry and use it as you would a log of wood in your stove or fireplace.

I'm ordering one today, even though I don't use my fireplace!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sonoco, Changing the Way Retailers Package Their Wares

By BEN WERNER - bwerner@thestate.com

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has a stated goal to cut the amount of packaging it uses by 5 percent by 2013.

Starting in 2008, Wal-Mart is pushing all its suppliers to operate greener, through its initiative dubbed Sustainability 360.

When announcing the program earlier in the year, chief executive Lee Scott explained what sounds like a slight decrease equals removing 213,000 trucks from the road, saving 324,000 tons of coal and 67 million gallons of diesel fuel each year.

The message was clear to manufacturing firms wanting to sell products in Wal-Mart stores — change packaging or look for other sales outlets.

“They gave a wake-up call to the consumer goods industry,” Jeff Schuetz, staff vice president of global technology for Sonoco Products Co., the Hartsville-based packaging giant.

Part of Schuetz’s job is to advise Sonoco’s customers — the companies making products sold in stores and the owners of those stores — how changing packaging can make a big difference to the environment and bottom line.

Officials from Sonoco have been helping Wal-Mart develop its Sustainability 360 initiative since 2004. Sonoco is also helping Target with its waste reduction initiative.

By stocking shelves with different packaging, companies can cut the amount of waste generated, fuel used and pollution created, Schuetz said.

“If you can make a 10 percent reduction in the amount of packaging of a very large consumer brand, that adds up,” Schuetz said.

Even traditional critics, such as The Sierra Club, which has helped communities fight the construction of new big box retailers, including Wal-Mart stores, says the Sustainability 360 initiative can make a difference.

“When Wal-Mart tells a supplier that it wants a change in packaging, that supplier will change all its packaging,” said David Willett, spokesman for The Sierra Club. “Wal-Mart has the potential to have a tremendous impact on America’s environmental footprint.”

Target’s plan includes reusing 385 million garment hangers along with recycling more than 153,000 pounds of metal from broken hangers, 2.1 million pounds of plastic, 4.3 million pounds of shrink wrap at distribution centers and 911.1 million pounds of cardboard.

Reducing packaging and recycling what packaging is used fits nicely into Sonoco’s work ethic.

“The backbone of Sonoco has been the use of old container packaging and cardboard to make cores (the tubes that hold wire, twine, tape and paper products) used around the world,” Schuetz said.

Cutting down on waste entails a lot more than just manufacturing packages out of recyclable materials — something Sonoco does a lot. The company collects Richland County's recyclables for use in its manufacturing.

Cutting waste includes creating packages that weigh less. A common problem, Schuetz said, is delivery trucks hit their weight limit before they are filled with packages.

The ability to put more packages in a truck means a retailer such as Wal-Mart needs fewer trucks to transport products.

After a year in place, Willett said Wal-Mart’s sustainability initiative is showing some signs of progress.

“Truck emissions is probably the place it has made the most gains,” Willett said.

But Sonoco offers retailers other ways to cut waste by manufacturing packages that can be stacked and act as their own display. This helps cut down on weight and waste by cutting the need to have additional paperboard displays. Packaging is still discarded, but by providing the stores with less packaging, they put less in the waste stream.

What waste is created, is then actively sought by Sonoco for reuse in the manufacture of new packaging, by collecting old packaging from recycling sites, transporting it to manufacturing plants where it is melted or shredded apart and reconstituted into new packaging.

The company collects used packaging to make either composite containers — which are formed out of a variety of materials, such as paper, metal and plastic — or cores — tubes that do everything from holding rolls of toilet paper to hold concrete forms in place at construction sites.

Not every package can be made from recycled products. Food packaging, for instance, often has requirements governing what can come in contact with food.

But such containers can usually be recycled into something else. For instance, a used plastic water bottle can be broken down and reformed into plastic used to hold nonedible products.
The difficulty, Schuetz said, comes in balancing the desire to be green with satisfying food safety requirements and consumer demands.

The Food and Drug Administration sets standards designed to prevent food coming into contact with packaging that was contaminated before being recycled. Companies such as Sonoco have to prove the recycled materials meet these standards.

“We’re not going to go back to the 1800s and wrap our meat in paper,” Schuetz said.

Still, when speaking of the packaging world’s future, Schuetz said it will only be more common for shoppers to find the products they’re buying are in recycled and recyclable containers.

“I think packaging companies are doing this because it’s the right thing to do, not because of Wal-Mart,” Schuetz said.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

21 Ways to Recycle Empty Prescription Bottles

By Gloria Campos in Daily Green Tips

Recent coughs and ear infections in my household have left me with a pile of empty unrecycable RX bottles sitting on my kitchen counter waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. I hate to throw them away, but Wednesday’s curbside recycling doesn’t recycle this kind of plastic here and my CVS pharmacy doesn’t recycle or reuse them either.

In an effort to find new uses for them I searched online and I have compiled a lists of these tips below.

Before reusing any empty prescription bottle in anyway take off the labels, so no one has access to your personal information and then clean and sanitize the bottles thoroughly.


1. Store seeds inside the bottles and then label the bottles according to the seeds they hold. Seeds that need to be kept cold can easily be placed inside the fridge in these bottles.

2. Glue several bottles next to each other and use the glued collection on your desk as a storage system for all your tiny things: rubber bands, paper clips, hair pins, needles, nails, bolts, screws, matches, etc. Or just place some fresh flowers inside to brighten up your office.

3. If you need a coin holder to place in your purse or your car, place your loose change in the prescription bottles. No more looking everywhere for change especially if you need to pay the toll.

4. Use these bottles to store Barbie’s high heels, jewelry etc.


5. Donate your empty prescription bottles to your local vet, animal shelters, Some places will take prescription bottles and reuse them to fill prescriptions for the animals.

6. Some free clinics also take empty prescription bottles and reuse them. Ask if you can donate yours to the free clinic in your area. Right now North Point needs large prescription bottles.

7. Homeless shelters sometimes take empty prescription bottles. Call your local homeless shelter to find out if they do.


8. Makes a nice rattle/toy for cats (not babies). Put some dried beans inside and close it tight. Then let them play.


9. If you like to paint decorative pieces and buy paint in large sizes to save money you can transfer some paint to these small containers to work on one or two projects at a time without using up all the paint or letting it dry up.


Note: I have read in several places that it is not wise to use prescription bottles for any kind of food storage due to the residue that some prescriptions leave behind so please use caution if you decide to use any of the food storage tips below.

10. Here is an early valentine gift idea that involves reusing brown prescription bottles. Susan from Houston, TX fills hers up with chocolate kisses, relabels them "Rx for a Happy Valentine's Day, lots of hugs and kisses!" and then gives them to the people she loves.

Caution: Putting candy in a prescription bottle can confuse a child. Please be careful about where you place these reused prescription bottles and your real ones. Children can’t tell the difference between one and the other.

11. Turn prescription bottles into saltshakers. Paint the bottles or leave as is. Poke tiny holes in the caps then fill them with salt or pepper and use them as saltshakers.

12. If you pack salad for lunch a prescription bottle is a tiny storage place to store some salad dressing.


13. You never know when your clothes will rip or you’ll loose a button. A Mini Sewing kits would come in handy in a case like this. Some prescription bottles are big enough to store some needles and thread and maybe more.

14. A tiny emergency kit for a cut or scrape can fit in a prescription bottle: band-aids, cotton balls, q-tips and some tiny alcohol wipes.

15. Use to neatly store plastic bags in your purse in case you suddenly need a plastic bag, say during a car ride with someone that tends to get motion sickness


16. As part of a quilting tip quilt designer Mark Lipinski suggest to store thread spools in prescription bottles to prevent it from tangling. See how here.

17. Melt them and make them into jewelry. This is supposed to be a fun kids craft. For instructions on how to melt certain types of prescriptions bottles go here.
Note: I do not know what kind of pollution this release in the air. For less air pollution maybe they can just be cut into pieces.

18. Make tiny maracas

19. Store buttons, beads and other small craft items in these bottles.

20. Make a Snowman Christmas Ornament out of a prescription bottle. For directions go here.

21. If you live in Canada you can contact PHARM-ECOLOGICAL ON-LINE!. They work with pharmacies to recycle plastics including prescription bottles.

Most pharmacies don’t recycle prescription bottles because in some cases pharmacies don’t have the equipment or manpower to do it. Prescription bottles have to be cleaned and sanitized before they are reused.

SYLVANIA Continues Commitment to Lamp Recycling Program

I receive calls about this weekly. A great option for just $15.

North American lighting leader OSRAM SYLVANIA is proud to announce that the RECYCLEPAK(R) Consumer CFL Recycling Kit, a convenient solution for CFL recycling available at www.sylvania.com/recycle, will now be shipped via the United States Postal Service (USPS). This means that consumers who purchase the pre-paid/pre- labeled recycling kit online can simply give the package to any letter carrier or bring it to any of the over 37,000 USPS postal facilities for return delivery, expanding the availability of this product to all 50 states and US territories.

SYLVANIA recognizes the public concerns over the effects of mercury in the environment and the need for proper CFL disposal. SYLVANIA CFLs use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. However, because they contain a small amount of mercury, it is important that CFLs be recycled.

That's why in November 2006 SYLVANIA designed the industry's first online recycling program with Veolia Environmental Services, the largest environmental services company North America. The collaborative effort has helped businesses as well as consumers throughout the country recycle their lighting products.

The RECYCLEPAK Consumer CFL Recycling Kit, as featured in leading publications such as Consumer Reports(R), makes recycling CFLs easy. The Recycling Kit holds up to 15 CFLs -perfect for homes and small offices using energy-efficient lighting. Simply purchase the kits online - one price includes the recycling container delivered to your door, protective poly liner, easy to follow instructions, the CFL recycling, and a return shipping label.

"We've worked very closely with SYLVANIA and the USPS to design a program that's safe and easy to use for residential customers," noted Rob Wlezien, Veolia vice president of sales and marketing. "Our RECYCLEPAK program can now be used by more than 300 million people in 146 million homes, businesses and PO Boxes in every state, city and town across the U.S.," continued Wlezien.

"The Consumer CFL Recycling Kit option allows consumers everywhere to recycle their spent lamps easily," Jennifer Dolin, environmental marketing manager, OSRAM SYLVANIA, said. "We're pleased to be working with Veolia and the USPS to continue providing more convenient, simple recycling solutions that help our customers responsibly dispose of their bulbs."

"We encourage everyone to safely recycle their used CFLs and are pleased to see this new opportunity," Matt Hale, director of EPA's Office of Solid Waste, said. "Any action that gives more Americans access to recycling options is an important step in the right direction."

Please visit www.sylvania.com/recycle for more information on the recycling program and how to begin using RECYCLEPAK today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Start Saying No to Plastic Bags This Holiday Season

Plastic bags, invented as a household convenience, have become an environmental menace. Billions of the ubiquitous bags are used and discarded every year, ending up as roadside and waterborne trash that kills thousands of birds and marine mammals annually. This holiday season is a good time to start saying "no" to plastic bags.