Tag Archive | "recycling"

Eco-Friendly Printing Tips

Eco-Friendly Printing Tips

This was written by Veronica Pamoukaghlian of Print Ninja.

Some people claim that the greenest page of all is the page that never gets printed at all. However, there is a noble and comfortable quality to paper that makes us think that the future is more in print optimization than in abandoning printing altogether.

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Companies today need to strive for a sustainable printing environment. The first concern is reducing print volumes, naturally, but then, recycling paper, optimizing the use of the printed page and utilizing eco-friendly systems and paper for printing are none the less important.

Paper does not only consume trees. The paper industry is one of the largest consumers of water and energy worldwide, thus the environmental impact of printing is more dramatic than it may seem at first-hand.

Education

In the US, the average student is said to generate more than a hundred pounds of paper waste every year. The recycling of this waste is of the essence, but improving practices in order to generate less waste is equally important.

Schools and colleges rely heavily on printing, but they are also the places where kids and young people can learn good eco-printing practices, a paradox that the modern world needs to resolve, in order to achieve a more sustainable existence.

Best Practices

Double-sided printing is one of the simplest ways to conserve paper. Assessing the real impact and the environmental footprint of our printing activities is also key, especially in the case of companies and organizations.

The quality and kind of printing products and practices you use are important as well. For example, limiting in-house printing and hiring an eco-friendly printing company to take care of your essentials is a good idea, if you don´t have the infrastructure to ensure that all your practices and products are 100% green. Likewise, printing with soy ink on recycled paper is much less harmful for the environment than using oil-based inks. In fact, several printer manufacturers such as Samsung, are putting out eco-friendly printers more often every day.

On the one hand, you need to make sure that all of your equipment meets eco-label criteria, and on the other hand, you can always buy green recycled paper instead of white paper that requires thousands of trees to be cut off to achieve that perfect whiteness we have become so used to.

Prioritizing is one of the key aspects of going green when it comes to printing. For example, when you absolutely must print something, it is always a good idea to do so in a way that you know your printed paper will have another use next.

Last but not least, paper is so flexible and colourful sometimes that it can be used to create awesome crafts and decorations, mutating into all kinds of beautiful/useful objects. Check out cheapideas.com´s Recycled paper section for some fabulous paper craft ideas.

Adopting more eco-friendly printing practices is one of the simplest, most effective things you can do to contribute to the sustainability of our planet´s ecosystems.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers.

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What NOT to Recycle

What NOT to Recycle!

This guest post is by Felicia Baratz of Eat Breathe Blog

Recycling is no longer viewed as a service for the environment. It’s now a necessary practice to preserve the world for future generations. The items recycled by families around the world prevent millions of tons of garbage from being deposited into landfills each year. Items including clothing, paper goods and even unexpected appliances like water filters can be recycled for reuse and repurposing. But some items are better off not being recycled. Next time you’re heading to the recycling bin, check this list first to make sure you don’t include items that are dangerous, unacceptable or can be reused.

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Sometimes Recycling Isn’t the Best Idea

  • Aluminum Aerosol Cans. We’ve all been taught to recycle aluminum soda cans, but aluminum aerosol cans are a different story. Aerosol sprays contain harmful chemicals and contaminants that are dangerous for the soil and environment. Rather than dropping these in the recycling bin, they should be thrown away in the trash. Most city governments consider aerosol cans to be hazardous materials and many can be flammable.
  • Biohazardous Material. If anyone in your family uses needles or other medical supplies to treat health conditions, such as diabetes, these should be disposed of in appropriate biohazard bins. It’s not safe to recycle any items that come in contact with bodily fluids. Medical facilities must follow strict biohazard disposal procedures to ensure safety. Create your own biohazard disposal bin at home and then dispose of these items in the trash, not the recycling bin.
  • Chemical Containers. Paint containers and fluids for the car are items that shouldn’t go anywhere near a recycling bin. Many automotive stores can help you find an appropriate place to recycle or dispose of empty oil or antifreeze containers. Check with your local hardware store for eco-friendly options for paint can disposal.
  • Diapers. Dirty diapers are similar in nature to medical waste items. Placing them in the recycling container puts others at risk. Although diapers contain paper and plastic components, the cost of separating the recyclable parts from the parts that must be thrown away is too high. Since dirty diapers aren’t good for the environment, you can use cloth diapers if you want to be more environmentally friendly.
  • Batteries. The small batteries in your television remote, the car battery that keeps your car running and all batteries in between should not be placed in recycling bins. Car batteries can often be recycled at automotive stores or garages. Small batteries can typically be disposed of in the trash unless your city has a special place for disposal.
  • Greasy Food Containers. Paper and cardboard containers are recyclable until they become coated with grease from food. These items cause a lot of confusion because most people have learned to be conscientious about recycling paper goods. Unfortunately, greasy pizza or takeout containers often can’t be reused because the oils soak through the paper, rendering them useless.
  • Used Kitchen Paper Products. The same concepts are true for paper napkins and towels. Once they become covered with food stains, they’re no longer suitable for recycling. It’s simple to solve this recycling quandary – use washable products instead of paper ones. If you’re too busy to wash napkins and towels, cut down on your use by using paper towels that allow you to tear off half a towel instead of a whole one.


Image courtesy of Canton Public Library

Looking Toward the Future of the Environment

As you learn more about the items you should avoid recycling, you can be more mindful about not purchasing them. Replace paper napkins and towels with cloth napkins and towels. Use refillable drink bottles instead of buying water bottles at the store. Make the process of becoming greener at home an easy one for your family by creating a list of items that can be recycled and items that should not be put in the recycling bin. The small efforts made at home add up to become big, positive impacts on today’s environment.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..

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How Many Pounds of Trash Does the Average Person Make Per Day?

How Many Pounds of Trash Does the Average Person Make Per Day?

In America’s short two and a half century existence it has climbed to the number two spot in producing the most garbage per person. Americans currently produce 4.43 pounds of garbage per person, per day. In 2010, this equated to 250 million tons of trash being produced in America alone. Of all of this garbage, only 34.1 percent of it was actually recycled. Thirty-four percent may not seem like that bad of a number, especially considering the fact that in 1960 only 6.4 percent of garbage produced in America was recycled, but the amount of garbage produced has increased at a large amount.

The amount of trash produced by Americans has increased by around 160 million tons, but the amount of trash recycled has only increased by about 80 million tons, leaving the rest of the garbage lying around on the Earth. Most of the recycled garbage consists of paper and cardboard, but many other things are recyclable as well, including glass, wood, metal, plastic, rubber and yard waste. With nearly every item in people’s lives having the ability to be recycled, it should be possible for the amount of recycled garbage to keep pace with the amount of garbage produced in the nation.

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The computer recycling professionals at ROUND2 INC., an Avnet Company, brought you this infographic.

How Many Pounds of Trash Does the Average Person Make Per Day?

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Five Ways You Can Help Save the Planet

Five Ways You Can Help Save the Planet

This guest post is by Gary Stringer.

Harmful emissions are constantly threatening the state of our planet and saving the environment is everybody’s responsibility. Many people choose not to act because they feel that their efforts are unlikely to make a difference, yet there are many ways that you can reduce your harmful impacts on the environment. The top 5 ways that you can help save the planet are listed below.

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1 – Water usage: Water is a valuable resource and supplying your household with water consumes a great amount of energy, therefore it is important to be careful with your water consumption. Transporting and treating water uses a great amount of energy, whilst one fifth of household carbon emissions come from heating water for baths, showers and washing up and this is why it is important that we are not wasteful in our water consumption. However on average each person in the UK uses 150 litres of water each day and this could be greatly reduced in a few simple steps. Firstly taking a short shower instead of a bath could save up to 10 litres of water per minute, secondly turning off the tap when brushing your teeth can help reduce water consumption as can placing bottles of water in the fridge instead of waiting for the tap to run cold. A comprehensive list of ways to reduce water consumption is provided by the government and can be found here.

2 – Transport: Transport accounts for around 25% of global carbon dioxide emissions and world energy consumption and therefore reducing our reliance on harmful modes of transport should be a priority. Cars are by far the most convenient but they are also the most harmful for the environment, therefore trains and buses are much greener forms of travel. However the most environmentally friendly ways to travel are on foot or by bike as they produce no carbon dioxide emissions, not to mention the fact that they can help improve fitness and save money.

3 – Recycling: One of the most effective ways that you can help the environment is through recycling, as this means that your waste and unwanted goods are re-used as opposed to being sent to landfill sites. The key reason that recycling is helpful for the environment is that it means that less energy and natural resources are used, this is because parts of your unwanted items can be used in the development of new products. So next time that you conduct a house clearance, take your unwanted items to be recycled as opposed to taking them to the dump.

4 – Modify your home: Another way to reduce harmful impacts on the environment is to modify your home to become more environmentally friendly. This can be done on either a small or large scale, one of the most effective and expensive ideas is to install solar panels in the home in order to reduce your reliance on electricity. But you can also make simple changes that can be extremely effective, these include ensuring that your insulation is effective in retaining heat and installing a water saving toilet.

5 – Electricity usage: Reducing your electricity usage will not only help save the planet, it will also lower your energy bills. The biggest problem in most households is that residents fail to switch off lights and unplug appliances when they are not in use, which increases your energy usage. A common rule for appliances is that if you won’t be using it for another 36 hours then it should be unplugged. Other ways to lower your electricity consumption include washing your clothes at a lower temperature and switching to energy saving light bulbs.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..

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Recycling Rates on the Rise in the U.S.

Recycling Rates on the Rise in the U.S.

Since 1960, the amount of trash generated annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled. EPA data shows that in 2010, Americans created about 250 tons of trash. They produced just 88 tons 50 years earlier. Part of this increase is due to a growth in population. However, the average amount of trash that each American creates has not kept pace with the expansion of the heap at large.

In 1960, each American’s share of the year’s trash total was 2.68 pounds. In 2010, that amount had risen to 4.43 pounds per person. This is not even double the numbers 50 years earlier. This could be due to the recycling, reuse and repurposing habits that are far more commonplace in the 21st century. Due to high-profile recycling campaigns, Americans today are far more environmentally conscious than their 1960 counterparts.

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In 1960, the U.S. recycled only 5.4 percent of the garbage it created; in 2010, the nation recycled fully 34.1 percent. In terms of tonnage, the 85.1 tons of trash recycled in 2010 is more than 15 times the 5.6 tons recycled in the earlier era.

With a continued national effort to recycle as much trash as possible, Americans can keep more garbage out of already overtaxed landfills. As technology finds new and more cost effective ways to recycle all sorts of trash, the U.S. can lead the world toward a significant reduction in resource consumption.

The computer recycling professionals at ROUND2 INC., an Avnet Company, brought you this infographic.

Recycling Rates on the Rise in the U.S.

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Teach kids to recycle with trivia

Teach Kids to Recycle with Trivia

This guest post is by John Fisher of www.triviaquestions.net.

Kids love to learn; their brains are like sponges just waiting to soak up any information we provide. One of the best ways to teach children is to make a game of the lesson. Young children learn best if they are having fun doing it. If you want to teach your kids, be them your own or children in your classroom, how to recycle, make a game of it. Use these fun recycling facts to create a trivia game for the children in your life.

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With a recipe box, a package of colored note cards and a few rewards, you can easily create a recycling trivia game. Write a fact on each card, come up with a question for the opposite side of the card and keep them all tidy in your recipe box. When it’s time to play, simply pull out your recipe box, ask the child to choose a color, pull one out and read the question; it couldn’t be easier!

Recycling bins
Image courtesy of  epSos.de on Flickr.

Here are several fun recycling facts that you can use for your new trivia game:

  • Recycling is the process of collecting, sorting and processing discarded materials with the intent of creating new products.
  • The most commonly recycled materials are aluminum, glass, paper and plastic.
  • Up to one million creatures in the ocean are killed each year by discarded plastic garbage.
  • Plastic takes about 500 years to decompose.
  • Aluminum can be recycled over and over; there is no limit. Glass can also be recycled forever.
  • Recycled newspapers are used to make newsprint, tissue, insulation and paperboard.
  • Recycled office and school paper is used to make insulation, paperboard, tissue and writing paper.
  • In America, so much aluminum is thrown away every month that we could rebuild every airplane in the sky.
  • If we took all of the plastic produced in America each year, we could shrink wrap the entire state of Texas.
  • If all of the plastic bottles were removed from landfills across the nation, and laid end-to-end, they would circle the plant four times.
  • In America, we throw away enough steel, every year, to remake every new car that has been produced.
  • Making paper from recycled materials, instead of new fiber, requires 70 percent less energy.
  • Americans recycle only one out of every four plastic bottles they use, and we use about four million bottles each hour.
  • Almost every glass bottle and jar produced today is made of at least 25 percent recycled glass.
  • Making aluminum cans from recycled materials requires 95 percent less energy than making the same cans from bauxite ore.
  • By recycling just a single glass bottle, we could save enough energy to keep a 100-watt light bulb lit for four hours.
  • About ten million tons of newspaper are thrown away, instead of recycled, every year.
  • Every person in America uses two trees worth of paper products every year.
  • If people recycled as many steel cans as they threw away, it would be equal to the amount of energy needed to keep a 60-watt light bulb lit for two days.

These facts should be known by everyone, but they are especially good to use for recycling trivia games. Teaching children in a fun manner will ensure that they absorb, and retain, the majority of the information you are providing. By turning these facts into a trivia game, you will create a new generation of recycling Americans.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..

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Create a Seed-Starting Pot from Recycled Newspaper

Learn how to make your own seed starting pots from recycling your newspaper. It's quick, easy and even if you forget to remove the newspaper pot when you plant the seedling the newspaper is biodegradeable. Each video shows different ways to start seeds for your garden in an Earth friendly way.

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How to Create Seed-Starting Pots from Recycling Newspapers

Before you shell out your money to purchase those expensive peat pods, these planting pots are made by rolling recycled newspaper.

  1. Take one full sheet of newspaper, leaving it folded in half lengthwise flat on the table.
  2. Fold it in half once lengthwise. Repeat.
  3. Take a straight sided glass and place it on your newspaper strip. You'll want the top of the glass to be positioned at the center point of the thin side of newspaper.
  4. Roll the glass and newspaper tightly so the newspaper overlaps the glass.
  5. Take the overlapping newspaper and push it into the glass.
  6. Remove the newspaper, you might need to wiggle it.
  7. Place the newspaper pot in your hand, place it on the table. Push the inside overlap back down to form the bottom. You can use the bottom of the glass to make it more secure.

This method it's recommended to remove the newspaper pot before planting because the newspaper layers are thick and will require more time to biodegrade in the soil. You can then simply toss the newspaper cup into your compost pile.

Creative Seed Starting by Garden Girl

Recycle Newspapers and a Beverage Holder from Your Local Fast Food Restaurant

  1. Using the cardboard drink holder you get from the local fast food drive through, take about 4 small square pieces of newspaper and shove them into the holders.
  2. Mist with a spray bottle to make it easier to work with and continue shaping your new seed starter pot.

This method uses less layers of newspaper and will have a faster time biodegrading than the method above. It might not be as necessary to remove the newspaper before planting. Try both methods and test what works bets in your area and your garden.

Halved Egg Shells Make Tiny Seed Starter Pots

You'll need a cardboard egg carton and 12 halved eggshells. There isn't much space for plants, so you'll want to use this method for smaller plant varieties.

  1. Place potting soil in each egg shell, being sure not to press it tightly so roots have room.
  2. Replace the egg shell in the egg carton and cover with plastic wrap to keep moisture levels high. This will help the seeds germinate faster.
  3. When ready to plant, simply crush the eggshell gently and plant the entire thing. As the egg shell biodegrades it will add nutrients to the soil.

Create a Mini-Greenhouse with a Recycled Cupcake Plastic Container

When you purchase cupcakes from the local grocery store or bakery, the plastic container can be recycled in this project building a mini-greenhouse.

  1. Poke holes in each section of the plastic container to help keep oxygen inside the container as well keeping the soil from sitting in stagnant water.
  2. Place small square pieces of newspaper to create small seed starter pots in each section.
  3. Fill the newspaper cups with soil and plant your seed.

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Have Fun with Creative Crafts that Teach Your Kids to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

There are many ways to turn something you once considered trash into a new toy or game with your children. Below you'll find some simple ideas to transform ordinary brown paper lunch bags and Styrofoam into fun activities. The best part is your child can help and add their creativity. Have fun!

Brown Paper Lunch Bags

Homemade Hand Puppets
This is quite simple. Flip the paper bag upside down, decorate, and you're done. You can create anything your imagination can come up with.

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Example: Paper Monkey Brown Bag Puppet


 

Lightweight Blocks Perfect for Stacking
Stuff your brown paper bag with plastic shopping bags, Styrofoam, or anything lightweight. Seal it shut with tape and a piece of cardboard and you can build castles, forts, or play houses.

Packing Styrofoam Can be So Much Fun Before Hitting the Trash

Create a Masterpiece Sculpture
You'll need a large piece to start the base, or foundation. From there it's a matter of toothpicks and smaller pieces of Styrofoam. Paint and you can have a town, battlefield, ocean, and so much more.

Packing Peanuts and Yarn Make Beautiful Bracelets and Necklaces
Using yarn you can string packing peanuts to create necklaces and bracelets. You'll probably want to paint them to make them colorful.

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Teach Your Students to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Teaching your students about reducing, reusing and recycling is a great way to get them prepared for learning about protecting our environment. Here are five great lessons, all thanks to Education World. So take some time and help your students learn about trash and recycling.

Lesson 1: Catalog Necklace (Grades K to 12)
Why not recycle those old magazines and catalogs (or wrapping paper and junk mail)? Transform them into a colorful necklace – just in time for Mother's Day!

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Lesson 2: The Recycle Games (Grades Pre-K to 12)
You've heard of the Olmpic Games. How about the Recycle Games? The Recycle Games provide great exercise as they teach about the importance of recycling.

Lesson 3: Composting with Worms (Grades Pre-K to 12)
A classroom composting experiment demonstrates why worms are known as "nature's recyclers."

Lesson 4: How Long Does Trash Last? (Grades 3 to 7)
Learn how long trash lasts in landfills in this small-group cooperative activity.

Lesson 5: Copy-Paper Scrap Projects (Grades Pre-K to 12)
Two practical classroom activities for reusing scrap copy paper.

Looking for more great ideas? Click here for a complete list of Earth Day related teaching aids.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Copy-Paper Scrap Projects

Transform that old scrap copy paper with printing on one side into practical classroom tools!

Objectives: Students will follow directions, learn why recycling is important to Earth, and learn about multiple uses for used copy paper.

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Materials Needed: scrap copy paper with printing on one side

Activity:

1. Make Your Own Envelopes: It's simple. Take apart one of the envelopes your school uses for mailing and trace the outline of the envelope onto a sheet of cardboard. Use that template to create envelopes. Trace the outline of the envelope on the printed side of the paper. Then fold (so the printed side is inside the envelope) and glue the appropriate edges. Voila! You might even get a rubber stamp and stamp the inside flap or the back of the envelope "WE RECYCLE!"

2. Make Your Own Drinking Cups: For complete instructions click here.

Source: Education World

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