Tag Archives: recycling

Waste to Energy vs Recycling?


Some time ago we wrote about Sweden turning their trash into cash by incinerating their waste to turn it into heat and power.  They were (and still are) so successful that they need to import waste in order to feed these incinerators.

However in the past few years the debate has raged over whether WTE plants are a good thing for the environment or if in themselves they hinder the recycling process? The diagram at the top shows that Incineration/Waste to Energy are more preferable to simply dumping waste in landfill but falls behind recycling, reusing or reducing.  Those who oppose WTE have the view that once you have burnt the waste, that resource is then gone forever but we all know that not ALL waste can be recycled so the option of WTE must surely have a place in the process.

Europe has led the way politically by making the use of landfill sites uneconomical and aims to eliminate all landfill sites by 2050 – whereas in the United States, the public perception is that of a vast country with limitless availability of landfill space.  Coupled with the lower fuel costs this makes the transport of waste to landfill sites a cheap option for disposing of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).


In 2015 there were 87 WTE sites in the US in 20 states with 11 of those being in Florida.  In the same year the first WTE site built for 20 years opened its doors in Palm Beach County, Florida and is the largest in the United States.  This $672million facility is expected to decrease the use of landfill sites in the area by 90% and will extend the use of the landfill facility by 30 years, whilst at the same time generating electricity for 44,000 local households. Currently over 50% of US MSW goes straight to landfill.

The Palm County facility also has an educational center with exhibits and interactive touchscreen games which showcase the facility and educate people about recycling.

So how might WTE hinder the recycling process? For a start, building a WTE facility is a huge financial outlay.  In order for investors to get a return on their money, they need to tie the local municipalities into lengthy contracts to supply them with waste for incineration.  This obviously reduces the incentive to provide facilities to separate out waste for recycling as there is a commitment to provide waste for burning.

How might WTE help the recycling process? Many of these sites are seen as huge unwelcome facilities that nobody want at the end of their street.  They are disconnected from the local population who leave their waste out for collection and then think no more about it and what has happened to it.  In Denmark a brand new facility just outside Copenhagen called CopenHill (or Amager Bakke) is close to completion (expected in the summer of 2018) and will be the most efficient waste-burning and energy-generating facility in the world.

The plant will produce 25% more energy than the plant it will replace from the same amount of waste.  It will provide both heat and energy for 160,000 households across Copenhagen. The incineration process will also recover materials that are not otherwise able to be recycled.  Metal segregation from bottom ash will be sold for road construction thereby replacing other virgin material.

CopenHill facility, Copenhagen

However, where this place differs from other WTEs is that on its roof will be an artificial ski slope (although Denmark one of Europe’s flattest countries, skiing is a very popular pastime), a small grove of trees and the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall.  CopenHill expects to receive 57,000 visitors each year.

The facility will also strive to create a relationship between consumers and their waste. A huge smoke stack will puff out a steam ring across the city’s skyline with each ton of CO2 that is emitted from the plant. The aim is to educate the local population and make them aware that SOMETHING happens to their waste and to transform people’s perceptions about public utility buildings. If a facility becomes part of the local community, people are more likely to want to know what goes on inside and increases their awareness of the process as a whole, which must be a good thing?

So what side of the debate do you sit now? Denmark incinerates 50% of its waste materials but also has a high rate of recycling its food and organic materials, so incineration does not necessarily mean less recycling if the mindset of the population is geared toward this.

However, WTEs do produce an end waste product of ash (once any recoverable materials have been removed) and these will eventually end up in a landfill, so the process is not ultimately as efficient as recycling.  However you look at it also, burning waste is not a form of renewable energy – not like wind, tides or solar – and no scientist would support this statement. But Florida (and several other US states) do consider incineration as “recycling” and award credits accordingly.  See if your State awards credits for WTE.

So Waste To Energy offers a partial solution for waste management, particularly where there is no political or economic support for it but cannot truly be classed as contributing to renewable energy or recycling.  Is the Danish facility with a ski slope a smokescreen to deflect attention from the creation of another Waste to Energy plant – no matter how efficient it is?

Green Waste Enterprises has a Four Point Plan the 2nd of which includes the call to legislate to improve recycling laws.  Given that in the United States, responsibility for regulating recycling is devolved to State or Local Government this in turns leads to a disjointed approach.  Do you know what your local approach is to waste management?


Being Sustainable – in 10 easy steps



Environmental science is all about finding ways to live more sustainably, which means using resources today in a way that maintains their supplies for the future. Environmental sustainability doesn’t mean living without luxuries but rather being aware of your resource consumption and reducing unnecessary waste.

  1. Reduce household energy use

    Energy conservation is itself a source of energy. Here are several simple ways to reduce your household energy use:

    • Turn off appliances and lights that you’re not using.

    • Install energy-efficient appliances.

    • Use a programmable thermostat that lowers or raises the temperature when you’re not home.

    • Set your thermostat lower than usual in the winter and bundle up.

    • Open windows to allow a breeze instead of turning on the air conditioning.

    • Hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.

    • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).
      light bulb

  2. Eat locally

    A powerful way to live more sustainably is to eat locally. The convenience of supermarkets has changed how people think about food. You can stroll through aisles stocked with fruits, vegetables, and other products from all over the world any time of year. But these products consume huge amounts of fossil fuel energy to get from those global locations to your corner supermarket.

  3. Dispose with disposables

    Previous generations didn’t dream of single-use razors, forks, cups, bags, and food storage containers, but these days, you can find a plastic version of almost any object and then throw that object away after you use it.
    single use plastic

    Many of the environmental health issues today stem from toxins released into the environment by trash. Even trash that’s properly disposed of, such as that in a landfill, requires careful monitoring to ensure that dangerous chemicals don’t enter the surrounding environment.
    single plastic bag

    When you make a purchase, consider the item’s life expectancy: How long can the item be used? Will it have more than one use? When you’re done with it, will it end up in the trash? Start investing in reusable products for the items you most often throw away.

  4. Plant seeds

    Try growing your own food. Simply plant a few seeds in a corner of your yard or in a container on your porch or windowsill. You don’t need acres; a few square feet on a patio, along the driveway, or in a window box can provide enough space to grow edible herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
    kitchen garden

  5. Recycle

    Recycle as much as possible! If your neighborhood or apartment complex doesn’t offer recycling pickup, either find a drop-off location or request the curbside service. Buying products labeled post-consumer lets companies know that recycling is the way to go!

    For other items, such as CFLs, batteries, mobile/cellphones, and electronics, find an appropriate recycler. Many local stores accept used batteries over the counter, but be sure to ask where these materials go for recycling and avoid companies that ship electronic waste overseas for unregulated “recycling” and salvage operations.

  6. Resell and donate items

    Items that you no longer need can get an extended life through resale and donation. By extending the life of any product, you help reduce dependence on disposable or cheaply made single-use products that end up in landfills.

    Providing your items are in good condition and are compliant with safety standards there are many charity/thrift shops that you can donate to, so your items not only continue to be used but they benefit others by generating funds.

    You can try reselling on Ebay or similar and make yourself some extra cash.  There are also many reseller or goods-for-free pages on Facebook where you can get in touch with people in your own area and give your goods a new lease of life.

  7. Drink from the tap

    Dependence on bottled water has added more than a million tons of plastic to the waste stream every year. One reason people rely on bottled water is because they believe it’s safer and better tasting than tap water. But most municipal water supplies in the U.S. provide safe, clean, fresh water (and many bottled waters are just bottled from city water supplies anyway).
    tap water

    If you don’t like the flavor of your tap water, consider the one-time investment in a filtration system. If you like the convenience of bottled water, purchase refillable bottles and keep one in your fridge, one in your car, and one at the office. Encourage your employer to install filters and offer glasses or reusable bottles at work, too.

  8. Save water

    An easy way to live more sustainably is to conserve household water use. Consider installing water-efficient toilets or dual-flush toilets that let you choose whether to use a full flush (for solid waste) or half-flush (for liquid waste). Newer clothes washers can automatically sense the smallest level of water needed for each load.

    Smaller changes, such as switching to water-saving shower heads and adding aerators to your sink faucets, are also effective ways to significantly reduce household water use.

    To conserve water outdoors, use landscaping adapted to your local environment. When buying plants, look for drought-tolerant species and varieties and be sure to plant them in proper soil and sun conditions to reduce their need for excess watering. Set up sprinkler systems so they don’t water the sidewalk, the driveway, and other paved, impermeable surfaces.

  9. Rely less on your car

    Using fossil fuels to support one person in each car on the road is clearly no longer sustainable. Investigate public transit options in your town or city, such as a bus or train or find out if your company operate carpool service for staff. When traveling close to home, walk or ride your bike.
    cycle to work

    Many workers in the UK now benefit from the Government Green initiative “Cycle to Work Scheme”.  Cycles and safety equipment can be obtained through an employer as a salary sacrifice.  This means there are substantial savings on average of 32% on the cost of equipment.  So a cycle valued at £800 would actually only cost £544.

  10. Purchase fair-trade products

    When you purchase items that are imported from all over the world — particularly coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, chocolate, and fruit — look for the fair-trade certification. This designation tells you that these items were grown using sustainable methods of agriculture and that local people are receiving fair prices for the goods they produce.
    fairtrade logo

    Items that don’t have the fair-trade certification may have been produced unsustainably and may be the product of exploitative labor practices that don’t benefit the local people.

We hope this has given you a few pointers on how live more sustainably.  It doesn’t involve a major change to the way you do things and it most certainly

won’t cost you the Earth.


How Healthy Are We?

Earth Day 2017 is on Saturday April 22nd.

Diet and exercise define our body shape and can determine our future health.  To stay healthy, we think about what we eat or drink and take action on how much.  Likewise the health of the Earth is determined by how we treat it – whether we feed it properly or starve it of resrouces; whether we work out or let it go flabby?


We can damage our bodies by overeating and also by undereating.  We also damage the Earth if we strip it of the natural resources it needs to thrive – such as the Rainforests.  If we continue to strip away the Rainforests at the current rate of 32 million acres per year we will increase the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere by 20% (according to figures from WWF).

Oceans are under threat from us feeding it with our pollution which not only affects the sealife but also enters the food chain and ultimately affects us.  Global warming also affects the availability of fresh, clean water for human, animals and agriculture.

Coral reefs (the rainforests of the oceans) are critical marine habitats – but oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.

coral_58171_360124We exercise to keep our bodies functioning efficiently.  The Earth needs protection from the Sun’s harmful ultra violet rays to carry on functioning efficiently.  It is more than 20 years since scientists discovered a gaping hole in the ozone layer.  The efforts made to ban or reduce harmful chemicals have initiated a gradaul recovery of this hole; but like exercise, once you stop it’s so easy to fall back into bad habits.

Finally, we all need sleep to stay healthy as a lack of sleep leads to fatigue, lowers your immunity making you more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes and heart problems.   The Earth is increasingly fatigued as we drain it of resources without allowing it to replenish itself.


Overfishing of the oceans has a devastating impact not only on the supplies of food for us all but also on the economies of the coastal communities that depend upon this resource.  We cannot continue to take more fish out of the ocean than can be replaced.  We also cannot continue to ignore the Earth’s fatigue when we choose to use fossil fuels instead of exploring renewal energy sources.

pv panels
photovoltaic solar panels

We sustain our body by nurturing it and looking after it – and many of us take pride in doing so.  Does not the planet that we live on and depend upon for our very existence deserve the same consideration?


We all have a part to play in this endeavour – just like the choices we make in our everyday lives have an impact on our own health – other choices we make have an impact on the health of the planet.  You can choose to buy foods that have come from a sustainable source, or you can choose to reduce your use of plastic bottles and bags – simple steps and achievable.  Just like going to the gym, you start off slowly and gradually build yourself up until staying healthy is a way of life and you can’t imagine ever living any other way.

Without a healthy Earth there isn’t a healthy anything!

Happy #EarthDay2017



From Cars to Crocodiles

Driving along the A59 through Ormskirk, near Liverpool, UK the last thing you would expect to see a life size giraffe or elephant looking at you.  You would not believe that a few short weeks before these magnificent sculptures were just pieces of scrap metal discarded mainly from the car industry?


Pangea Sculptures was set up in 2014 after Ian Unsworth saw the sculptures being sold by the side of the road while he was on a trip to Africa. He became fascinated with the designs and met with the artist, Moses, in his community in Nairobi. Ian bought a couple of pieces for himself and made arrangements to ship a container of these beautiful animal sculptures over to the UK to see if other people had the same reaction to them as he did, and was delighted when the sculptures sold within weeks.

ian unsworth

The company name, Pangea, comes from the old name for the supercontinent that existed millions of years ago before geological changes split it in to the land masses that we are familiar today; an appropriate name for a company so closely connected with the long history of Africa and the people and animals that live there.

Since 2014 the company has gone from strength to strength, exhibiting the unique sculptures at large exhibitions and shows across the UK and trading from a purpose built showroom in Lancashire where visitors can see the sculptures in detail.  Although the life sized pieces are more suited to making in a statement in a corporate setting, Pangea Sculptures also sell their pieces in several smaller sizes right down to miniature that would not look out of place in your home. Businesses can also hire pieces on a daily basis for themed events, or even weddings!


Moses and his artistic team, The Ark Collective, create powerful and striking true-to-life metal sculptures that are cherished by art lovers all over the world.


Moses is head artist at the Collective in Nairobi and started producing the sculptures from recycled metal with the help of just two other designers. Every animal sculpture is created by hand with incredible skill and attention to detail using reclaimed materials discarded from the car industry and other sources, which would otherwise be wasted. Materials are bought by the pallet load and then painstakingly sorted, cut, shaped and welded to a unique armature to create these stunningly realistic and often life-size works of art.


Since Pangea Sculptures was set up the sculptures have come to the attention of a wider audience, creating a ripple effect of change in Moses’ community. As demand has increased, Moses has trained and guided more designers and the Collective now supports over thirty highly talented artists and craftsmen. This is now a sustainable business which Moses has been able to invest in, doubling the studio space, buying specialist equipment for his team and bringing employment opportunities and security to his community.

When Ian and Moses first met the sculptures were being produced in very basic conditions and with little safety equipment. Things have changed considerably in the last couple of years as the workforce has increased and now the designers have much better facilities, proper safety equipment to use when they are welding the sculptures and an improved range of tools to use.


There are plans to build a larger workshop near the original site so that the artists can expand the range of sculptures that they are able to safely create and house. The new workshop will be a real focus of village life, sustaining a community of over 400 people and having the potential to change the lives of many more.

Moses is committed to training his young artists and giving them a lifelong creative skill; each sculpture is worked by hand taking hundreds of hours to complete, and no two pieces will be exactly alike. The artists produce a wide collection of animals from tall and elegant giraffes and magnificent life-size elephants to gorillas, rhinos, hippos, a frog chorus and even a reindeer. The character of every animal is captured perfectly and the beautiful completed pieces are then shipped to the UK where they are hand finished and lacquered.

What a great example of one man’s vision bringing about a change in so many people’s lives whilst at the same time making scrap materials into something beautiful and unusual.  Another example of Making Waste Worthwhile!!


Ryan’s Recycling – Making Waste Worthwhile!

At Green Waste Enterprises, one of our core values is to promote recycling and to educate people about the benefits of it for the environment.  We have campaigned long and hard to reach this goal.

We were totally blown away, therefore to find out about 6-year-old Ryan Hickman from San Juan Capistrano, California.  If there is one thing he loves, it’s sorting. So when, at the tender age of 3, his parents, let him come along to return some water bottles at a recycling center, he was thrilled to help.

“He likes to sort pretty much anything, and he liked putting the bottles in the machine,” Damion, said in a recent interview with The Capistrano Dispatch. “He probably got two or three bucks, and he was so excited about it. And of course then he got to sort his change, so that meant more sorting.”

There was no stopping Ryan after this and as soon as they got home Ryan told his Dad that he wanted to collect everyone’s recyclables.  He even got his Mom and Dad to hand out garbage bags to all his neighbors.

ryans recycling 2

That was the beginning of Ryan’s Recycling Company, established in 2012 in the family’s backyard. In the past 4 years he has already earned more than $10,000 by collecting cans and bottles from about 40 “customers” in five different neighborhoods.

Of course, being only 6 years old Ryan has to rely on his parents, grandmother and aunt to drive him around to collect his recyclables.  Ryan’s sorting facility consists of eight large trash cans that he sorts containers into—bottles and cans, plastics and glass, they all have their place. Ryan has learnt the difference between the types of recyclables and why it is important to keep trash separated.   Then every few weeks they visit the recycling center to cash in his hoard.

ryans recycling3

Since starting his business, Ryan has recycled 49,000 pounds of waste, 200,000 cans and bottles and has donated over $1,600 to charity.  The rest of his earnings have gone straight into a college savings account.

In a YouTube video posted last July, Ryan’s Dad asks if other people should start recycling to help save the earth.  He knows how important it is to keep trash out of our oceans to protect the environment and also the creatures that live in and around the oceans.  He worries that the birds at the beach might eat the trash and get sick or die.

Ryan is an example to us all.  If just one little boy can have get this much done, just imagine what we could achieve if WE ALL did just a fraction of what Ryan does.

“He’s very passionate about it, and he likes to get everybody else passionate about it as well,” his Mom said. “I think he’s rubbed off on all of us now. You find yourself walking past a can on the ground and needing to pick it up instead of walking away and leaving it there.”

This is exactly what we are trying to promote at Green Waste Enterprises.  Ryan has shown that if you start young enough, then recycling just becomes a way of life.  He doesn’t recycle because his Dad told him to do it……….he does it because he knows it is the right thing to do……….and he understands the benefits of it.  Well done Ryan……….



with thanks to Allison Jarrell, Capistrano Dispatch


Let’s Make This The Year of Recycling

According to a recent Ipsos survey of over 1,000 US adults (one of the world’s largest market research organizations), nine in ten adults in the US  (87%) report that they recycle, though only half of adults (51%) recycle every day. Roughly a third (36%) tend to recycle less frequently, while13% admit that they never recycle.

Who Does Recycle?


It seems that willingness to recycle is linked to education, age and location.

Why Do We Recycle?

IMG_3946.JPGIt is good to see that most adults recycle as it is good for the planet – reducing landfills, saving trees and conserving energy. Many also believe that recycling has economic benefits, such as creating jobs (45%) and making money (33%). According to the EPA, for every 10,000 tons of solid waste going to landfill, 1 job is created.  If the same amount of waste is kept out of landfill it can create 10 recycling jobs or 75 materials reuse jobs.  If the US were to achieve a 75% recycling rate by 2030, this could create between 1.5 and 2.3 million NEW jobs.

Fortunately, very few are unsure of the benefits (3%) or do not see any of these as advantages.

Reasons NOT to Recycle?


Though many acknowledge the many benefits of recycling, the top reason given for not recycling is that it is not accessible or convenient to where they live (25%).  This should be seen as a failure of state and local government for not making recycling more available to them.

Some give the excuse that it takes too long or that they just forget, that they aren’t sure what is recyclable and what isn’t (8%).  This is also a failure to EDUCATE residents by providing them with simples accessible information you see below.

top 10 in the bin.jpg

A minority thing that recycling costs too much and very few report that ideological concerns prevent them from recycling more often, such as feeling their efforts wouldn’t make a difference (3%), not thinking it’s important (2%), or not understanding the environmental benefit (1%). At the same time, a majority (52%) reports that none of these barriers prevent them from recycling.


We need remove the uncertainly surrounding recycling to target those 50% who throw things away without making an effort to recycle.

How and What Do We Recycle?

Nearly three quarters (72%) report that they recycle to most at home, either through curbside recycling (46%) or by taking their recyclables to a local recycling center (26%). Just 6% say that they recycle most at work, though this proportion jumps to 11% among full-time workers. One in ten (10%) say that they recycle elsewhere and 12% report that they do not recycle at all.


The most commonly recycled items include plastics, such as water bottles and packaging (69%); metals, such as soda cans and soup cans (64%); newspapers (56%); other paper products such as cardboard boxes, magazines, junk mail, etc. (56%); and glass, such as jars and juice bottles (49%). Fewer report that they most recycle electronics, such as CDs or old computer parts (14%) or other items (4%).

While majorities say that they recycle plastics, metal and paper products, there does some to be some confusion about which items can be recycled and which cannot. While majorities understand that cell phones (78%) and motor oil (67%) can be recycled, many are unaware that other, less typical items can also be recycled, such as trophies (36%) and crayons (36%). Conversely, many may be trying to recycle items that are not actually recyclable, such as pizza boxes (77%) and juice boxes (73%). Waxed paper and cardboard that is contaminated by food cannot be recycled.

Similarly, many adults are unconscious of the fact that certain household items are often made from recycled paper. A third (34%) report that they would be most surprised to learn that cat litter can be made from recycled paper, followed by greeting cards (8%), egg cartons (6%), and phone books (5%). However, nearly half (48%) say that they would not be surprised to learn that any of these items are made from recycled materials.

Perhaps some of these misperceptions about what can be recycled and what can’t stems from a lack of information. Nearly half (47%) say that they haven’t learned anything about recycling in over six months and 12% report that they have NEVER learned anything about recycling. At the same time, some are exposed to this information more regularly, with 13% reporting that they are flooded with information about recycling and an additional 29% saying that they learned something about recycling in the month.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted May 2-5, 2011. For the survey, a national sample of 1,004 adults aged 18 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online. Weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been if the entire population adults aged 18 and older in the United States had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.A


Zero Waste Packaging – Be a Champion!

In a world full of single-use conveniences, it’s easy to overlook the impact packaging has on the environment. Though it would be nice, it doesn’t magically vanish once it disappears into a trash truck. Rather, it stays with us for generations, filling landfills and leaching toxins to the environment.

Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice convenience to protect the environment. Zero Waste Packaging is a commonsense solution growing in popularity quickly.

Consider this for a moment: Americans produce approximately 1.4 billion pounds of trash daily, with approximately 40% of that being packaging of one sort or another. We trash enough disposable cups and utensils every year to go around the equator 300 times.


What Does Zero Waste Packaging Mean?

Since the 70s, innovators have been working to produce eco friendly packaging that meets the demands of our to-go world, as well as eliminates negative environmental impact. Essentially, Zero Waste Packaging means that materials are either 100% reusable or decompose without harm. This philosophy applies to sourcing, production and disposal.

The most successful and idealistic Zero Waste Packaging production systems mimic natural cycles. The ultimate model is this: when plants in a forest die, they decompose and become topsoil that feeds the next generation of plants. Nothing is lost, and nothing is harmed. One life cycle’s end is the beginning of another.

Standard Packaging is Dirty Business

Plastic utensils, straws, single use coffee cups and plastic bags are examples of packaging that don’t decompose without harm, like plants. As these materials decompose, they damage the environment by leaching chemicals into groundwater and poisoning wildlife that mistake it as food.

Making matters worse, these types of wasteful packaging take generations to decompose. Take a standard plastic grocery bag as an example. It takes 10 to 20 years to break down under the best conditions. If that bag isn’t disposed of properly, it will eventually make its way to the ocean. After drifting for some time, the bag will join one of the many garbage patches floating in oceans around the world, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Trash Time Decomposition

Created by Be Green Packaging Store

Your Voice Matters

With economical eco friendly packaging and single use serveware available, there is no reason why anybody should use wasteful products. If every food service provider switched to Zero Waste Packaging, the positive results would be far-reaching and immediate.

You can help strengthen the future of Zero Waste Packaging by purchasing foods from companies that use 100% biodegradable, eco friendly packaging. Another way you can help is to ask companies and businesses you frequent to use Zero Waste Packaging. Send your comments through email and social media, as well as speaking to front-line employees. If owners and stakeholders hear from enough of their customers and staff, they will change their ways because they have to satisfy customers to stay in business.
Zero Waste Packaging is no longer a dream from the 70s. It’s reality. If enough people stand up and demand change, it will happen.
Zero Waste Packaging vs. Traditional Packaging (Infographic)

Created by Be Green Packaging Store


Recycle Week 2016



So you’ve got a recycling routine that works for you. You know it inside and out and there’s not one empty plastic milk bottle or food can in sight in the kitchen – they’re all patiently waiting to be collected for recycling. The job is done! But is it really?

A new survey from Recycle Now looked at why people recycle and what areas of the home we need to get better at recycling in. One of the rooms that has a lot of easily recyclable products in, is the bathroom.

Bathroom recycling

There are lots of items in the bathroom waiting to be recycled that can make a huge difference. For instance, if everyone in the UK recycled one toothpaste box, it would save enough energy to run a fridge in over 2,000 homes for a year. Here’s a handy list to remind you:

  • Toothpaste boxes
  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles
  • Shower gel containers
  • Liquid soap bottles
  • Bleach and bathroom cleaners

Just remember to remove the trigger spray and pump dispenser tops!

Recycling in the bedroom

If everyone in the UK recycled one aluminium deodorant aerosol, enough energy would be saved to run a TV in over 151,000 homes for a year. Amazing isn’t it? Items to look out for include:

  • Empty tissue boxes
  • Old magazines
  • Empty deodorant aerosols and hairspray

Moving on to the living room…

Did you know that it takes seven days for a recycled newspaper to come back as newspaper again? You could be reading your favourite newspaper on recycled paper in no time at all! In this room you can often find these items for recycling:

  • Envelopes
  • Newspapers
  • Cardboard packaging from online shopping





Even air fresheners can make a difference – if one aluminium air freshener aerosol is recycled by everyone in the UK; enough energy could be saved to vacuum over 876,000 homes for a year – that’s a lot of tidy homes!

Back to the kitchen

Along with the usual drinks bottles in the kitchen, remember to check the cupboard under the sink! Items often forgotten include:

  • Washing-up liquid bottles
  • Bleach and surface cleaner bottles – just remember to remove the trigger top!
  • Washing liquid and conditioner bottles
  • Aerosols tins of furniture polish and air fresheners
  • Empty dishwasher tablet boxes and kitchen wrap boxes


Top tips

  • Rinse then squash cans and bottles
  • Flatten cardboard boxes

Watch our video for more hints and tips

Media courtesy of Wrap



How Green is your Labor Day?

labor day fruit

We are now into September……the kids are back at school (sigh of relief) but there is still more to celebrate!!  Even though summer is still not officially over, the Labor Day weekend signals the beginning of the end of summer.  For many of you it will be the last chance for barbeques or beach parties with family or friends.  Remember that how you choose to spend this weekend will have an effect on the environment.

So why not make your Labor Day weekend as green as possible.  There are so many ways available to make your party successful but still be kind to the environment.

  1. Buy Keg Beer.  Why not get a few 1/4 or 1/2 kegs of beer instead of buying individual bottles or cans  Your guests can then use glasses for drinking out of instead of plastic cups.  A little more cleaning up after we know but much less waste.
  2. 2 liter soda bottles.  Buy your soda in 2 liter bottles rather than individual cans to reduce the amount of recycling needed.
  3. Washable dishware (or at very least recycled products).  If you can, use glasses, plates and real cutlery (we’re sure thid kids will help with the washing up after?)  If you can’t then be sure to buy eco-friendly alternatives that are biodegradable or recyclable.
  4. Provide Recycling Points around your garden.  Have CLEARLY marked buckets/containers so that any plastics, cans or bottles can be collected separately and therefore recycled properly.
  5. Natural Centerpieces.  Decorate your tables with fresh fruits or flowers – from your own garden perhaps?
  6. Choose Aluminum and Glass over Plastic.  If you do provide individual drinks, then go for aluminum cans or glass bottles over plastic.  Both these products can be recycled over and over again whereas plastics only have a limited number of re-uses due to its breakdown of chemical structure each time it is recycled.
  7. Solar Lighting. If your party is going on until late, why not get some solar lights for your garden instead of moving indoors and having all your house lights blazine away using energy?
  8. Buy Local Products.  Make use of what is on your doorstep, at your local stores.  Buy local seasonal goods instead of buying stuff that has been hauled half way across the country to get to you.

your carbon footprint

You can lead by example.  The more people who see how you can entertain without leaving huge carbon footprints everywhere, the more people will follow your GREEN example.



However, the most important message this weekend is ENJOY YOURSELVES!!!


If you are not planning on having a party this weekend, you can still take advantage of the break to get down in that basement and clear out all your unwanted items.  Bag up your old clothes and send them to a local charity.  If you have any obsolete computers or cellphones then contact us and we can take them away for you.




Cans Recycling – How to get started?

Setting up a recycling scheme at school is a stimulating way for students to get ‘hands-on’ experience of the benefits of recycling and learning about the environment.

Getting Started:

  1. First step……..you’ve already taken it by coming to this site to find out the best way to set up a scheme in your school.
  2. Announce the start of the scheme in school and at home. You can also ask pupils/students to collect cans at home and bring them into school for recycling.
  3. Set up collection points for recycling – place containers close to vending machines, in canteens, and group recycling containers together.
  4. Make it fun! Recycling can be a vibrant part of your school activities and daily life. Why not hold special assemblies, encourage staff to utilise our free teaching resources.
  5. Communicate regularly with teachers, pupils and their families to remind them about the recycling scheme. Use notice boards, newsletters, the school website, letters home and word of mouth – shout about how well the scheme is doing!


Handy Tips:

  1. Tell the cleaner or janitor! Make sure he/she is aware that the recycling bins should not be emptied into the general rubbish but saved for recycling.
  2. Find out where your local can recycling centre is and how what is the minimum weight they will accept.
  3. Keep track of how much you have collected so far………and circulate the good news. This will keep everyone motivated and encourage them to recycle more.
  4. Make sure you have enough bags or boxes to keep your recycling in.
  5. To save space, squash cans before saving them.
  6. Remember….if you’re not sure whether your can is made of aluminum…..get a magent.  Aluminum is not magnetic so the magnet won’t stick.
  7. Make sure you rinse out the cans before recycling them – food waste left inside cans contaminates the recycling process.

For information about aluminum and the recycling process click here.