Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How to Recycle Tennis Balls

By Sophia Bennett

Tennis players have the option to collect old tennis balls for mail-in recycling programs or take advantage of a bevy of reuse options.
Looking to green your tennis game? While you may not be able to put tennis balls in your recycling cart, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are several ways to recycle and reuse them.

What are tennis balls made of?

Tennis balls are essentially rubber balls covered in felt. The rubber ball is injected with pressurized air to ensure it will bounce correctly. Once the ball has been completely sealed, it is covered in a layer of wool or nylon felt, which helps the ball last longer. Tennis balls were traditional white, but in 1972 the International Tennis Federation started requiring players to use neon yellow balls because they showed up better on television.
When tennis was first invented in the 19th century, balls were made of leather or cloth and stuffed with fabric or horsehair. Rubber tennis balls were first developed in India and quickly became the standard all over the world.

When do tennis balls need to be recycled?

Over time, the pressurized air leaks out of tennis balls, making them unsuitable for play. There are a couple ways to tell if a tennis ball is too old to be used for your tennis game. Hold an old tennis ball at the same height as a new one and compare how high both of them bounce. If the new one bounces quite a bit higher, the old one should be retired. You can also squeeze an old ball and see how squishy it is. A good ball should not give very much in your hand.
Looking at the ball can be a good indicator of age as well. Tennis balls that are very faded or have felt falling off are probably unsuitable for play.

How to recycle tennis balls

Most curbside recycling programs will not accept tennis balls, although it is worth checking to see if they will take the plastic canisters that hold new tennis balls. Canisters made by Penn, a leading tennis ball manufacturer, are made of plastic #1 (also known as PET or PETE), which many curbside programs do in fact accept.
Project Green Ball is one of a limited number of companies that recycle tennis balls. The company grinds them up and turn them into flooring. So far a couple equestrian arenas have used the material to resurface their facilities, but Project Green Ball hopes the material can eventually be used for playgrounds as well.

Project Green Ball has collection bins at various locations up and down the East Coast. You can also mail tennis balls to the company. View the “Donate” page of their website for more details.

ReBounces is another company dedicated to tennis ball recycling. ReBounces requires that you send a minimum of 200 balls at a time, but if you send the company a message and tell them how much your box weighs it will send you a prepaid shipping label. ReBounces does not charge a recycling fee.

ReBounces also offers a Green Tennis Machine, which allows old tennis balls to be reused several times. It is available to schools, tennis clubs and other establishments that go through a lot of tennis balls. ReBounces’ website claims that the cost of the machine can quickly be offset by the savings of not purchasing new balls regularly.

Tennis balls for dogs, homes, craft projects

If you have a dog, chances are he or she will chase an old tennis ball no matter what kind of shape it is in. But use caution: Dogs can pull the yellow felt off tennis balls or chew them into pieces, and those small pieces are choking hazards. If you give tennis balls to your dog, watch the dog closely while he or she has it and do not allow your dog to chew on it for long periods of time.
Pinterest has some suggestions for attaching ropes to tennis balls or doing other things to make them into even better dog toys. They also have several fun ideas for craft projects:
  • Add a couple eyes, cut a slit for a month, and mount the tennis ball to a piece of wood. VoilĂ  – you have a cute critter to mount to your wall and hold pens, mail, keys or other small items.
  • Glue them together to make animals or other critters.
  • Use them for sports-themed holiday ornaments.
Here are a few ideas for recycling tennis balls around the home:
  • If the unwanted tennis balls are clean, put them in the dryer with your wet clothes. They will decrease the drying time — saving you both money and energy at the same time!
  • Put tennis balls in your toilet tank, which will decrease the amount of water used for every flush (again, you save green and do something green).
  • Cut a slit in an old ball and use it to store coins. This is a fun way to encourage kids to save for new tennis equipment.
  • Roll tennis balls over a loved one’s back to give him or her a massage.
- See more at: http://1800recycling.com/2014/08/recycle-tennis-balls#sthash.tcOoyQ3V.dpuf

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day everyone. Our Administrative offices will be closed today, September 1, but the Tuscarora Landfill, Newport Transfer Station and Grantsboro Transfer Station will operate on their regular schedules.

Have a safe and happy Labor Day.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

North Carolina meets new national air standard for particle pollution


RALEIGH–All of North Carolina meets the new national air quality standard for fine particle pollution, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In an Aug. 19 letter, the EPA notified Gov. Pat McCrory that it intends to officially designate the entire state in December as attaining or meeting the new federal standard for fine particles, or PM 2.5, that it adopted in 2012.
Ozone and particle pollution are the most widespread air quality issues in North Carolina. Although high ozone levels primarily occur in the summer, particle pollution can reach unhealthy levels at any time during the year.
Particle pollution, which consists of small particles and liquid droplets in the air, can be harmful to breathe and contributes to haze and other air quality problems. Fine particles can penetrate deeply into the lungs and absorb into the bloodstream, causing or aggravating heart and lung diseases. Persons most susceptible to particle pollution include those with heart and respiratory conditions, older adults and young children.
The EPA lowered the annual standard from 15.0 micrograms to 12.0 micrograms per cubic meter in December 2012, but the state Division of Air Quality’s air monitoring has not shown any areas exceeding the new standard. The EPA previously had designated Catawba, Davidson and Guildford counties as non-attainment for the old PM 2.5 standard in 2005, but it reclassified the counties as attainment in December 2011.
North Carolina has taken a number of steps to reduce levels of ozone, fine particles and other air pollutants. The General Assembly enacted the Clean Smokestacks Act in 2002, which required power plants to reduce their nitrogen oxide, or NOx, and sulfur dioxide, or SO2, emissions by three-fourths during the following decade. Those emissions reductions have helped improve air quality across the state because NOx and SO2 contribute to a number of air quality problems, including ozone, haze, particle pollution and acid deposition.
The EPA’s letter to McCrory can be found on the state Division of Air Quality’s website at http://www.ncair.org/planning/pm2dot5/EPA_PM25_Resp_08192014.pdf. More information on air quality issues can be found at www.ncair.org.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Start School Sustainably

By Wendy Gabriel

green back to school
The author's daughter with her back-to-school supplies.
It’s that time of year again. The newspaper ads and TV commercials show perfectly dressed children with their new schools supplies dancing their way to school.
In reality, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2013 Back-to-School Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, families with school-age children will spend an average $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics. Total back-to-school spending is expected to reach $26.7 billion. If you add in college students, the back-to-school spending total reaches $72.5 billion.
Surprisingly, that total is down from last year, with parents saying they will reuse what they can from last year’s supplies.
Here are some ways to save money and the environment during the back-to-school spending spree:
  • As mentioned above, reusing last year’s usable school supplies is a great way to reduce clutter in your home, save money and save resources. Pencils, crayons, backpacks, reusable lunch bags and so on can be reused again and again.

  • Go through closets and drawers before you shop for back-to-school clothing. Make a list of clothes that are needed. That way, you won’t be buying things you do not need.

  • Armed with your list, visit your local resale or consignment shop. You can find great deals and give that designer denim another go around. If you are shopping for a college-bound child, a resale shop is the perfect place to find some furniture, an ironing board or anything else they may need for their college dorm room.

  • When you absolutely need to purchase new supplies, make sure you find products made with recycled content. Many retailers are carrying sustainable school supplies. Look on the labels/boxes to find the sustainably harvested or recycled-content labels.

It is also important to avoid products that may be harmful to your child’s health. Avoid polyvinyl chloride plastic school supplies. PVC is unique among plastics because it contains dangerous chemical additives. These harmful chemicals include phthalates, lead, cadmium and/or organotins, all of which can be toxic to your child’s health. Look for PVC-free lunch boxes, binders, backpacks and other school supplies. Download the Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ).
Do you have any other eco-friendly back-to-school tips? Be sure to share them below!
- See more at: http://1800recycling.com/2013/08/start-school-sustainably#sthash.t2vHrkYV.dpuf

Friday, August 29, 2014

John C. Evans named General Counsel for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources


RALEIGH – N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John E. Skvarla announced today he has named John Evans as general counsel for the state environmental agency. Evans, a 20-year state employee, will succeed Lacy Presnell, who will continue to work in the general counsel’s office during a transition period.
“I can’t thank Lacy enough for what he has done for me, for the department, and for the people of North Carolina,” Skvarla said. “He has been one of my closest advisors and a good friend as well. I am thankful he has agreed to stay on for a few months during this transition.”
Skvarla named Presnell as his first general counsel in January 2013. Prior to his work for DENR, Presnell was an attorney in private practice in Raleigh, including with the firm of Burns, Day & Presnell.
Evans has been with DENR since 2008. He served as a supervisor of senior environmental engineers responsible for the implementation of major air quality permitting programs in the Division of Air Quality. Previously he was an assistant attorney general in the N.C. Department of Justice from 2004 to 2007, and has worked as an engineer in the private sector.
“John has impressed me with his knowledge of environmental law and his strategic insight,” Skvarla said. “These qualities and a tireless work ethic will serve the department well as we continue our mission to protect the environment for all North Carolinians.”
Evans has published numerous papers on environmental topics. He was honored in 2013 by the UNC Chapel Hill School of Law’s Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation, and Resources (CLEAR) for his contributions to protecting North Carolinians’ right to clean and healthful air.
As general counsel, Evans will be the first point of contact in litigation, acting as the service agent for all contested cases, tort claims and other lawsuits involving the department. He will supervise the rulemaking coordination process and provide advice on various issues such as new policy initiatives, legislation, contracts, conflicts of interest, and dispute resolution.
Evans is an honors graduate of the North Carolina Central University School of Law and earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What Should I Do With All of My Unwanted Paper Receipts?

Some receipt paper is highly recyclable, while thermal paper in particular presents challenges at recycling facilities. Even in the digital age, paper receipts are still a part of the day to day. Following most purchases comes the little white piece of paper showing the evidence of fueling up at the pump, dining out, buying groceries or any other transaction. These little pieces of white paper pile up real fast in a landfill — start accounting for every transaction you make in a day, a week, a month or even a year and you get the idea. So, the big question stands: Are receipts recyclable? Well, it depends. Like many other gray areas in the recycling world, recycling paper receipts is no exception. The good news is recycling this tricky item can be broken down into two different types of paper: regular white paper and thermal paper. Nowadays, many merchants use thermal paper instead of regular white paper and ink because thermal paper requires no ink, making printing receipts quicker, quieter and ultimately more affordable. With this technique numbers and letters seem as though they magically appear on the paper because as the paper passes over a thermal print head, the chemical coating on the paper burns the areas of the receipt where it is heated, producing an image. If you’re still wondering what exactly thermal paper looks like, pay attention to your next transaction and search for the smooth, glossy receipts. That, my friends, is thermal paper. In general, most recycling facilities are able to take regular white paper-and-ink receipts, but thermal-paper receipts are a trickier subject. Because thermal receipts contain certain chemicals to produce the images they do, the paper is not able to be recycled at the plant with other paper, instead requiring a separate system. Make sure to clarify with a representative at your local recycling facility if thermal paper is an accepted item, and if not, it must unfortunately be trashed. So, in short, can we recycle our old receipts? The best practice for this is when in doubt, find out! Never be too shy to call up your local recycling facility and ask if it accepts items you are unsure about. Odds are good that the representative you speak to will appreciate that consumers care enough to even take the time to ask. It’s better to be sure than contaminate other recyclable paper in the bunch. As we’ve all come to know, every local recycling facility is different, so by taking that extra step you’re that much closer to living an efficient, environmentally friendly lifestyle. In addition, this will help you set the record straight on items that you’re not quite sure about but feel too guilty throwing away in the trash bin. Remember: When in doubt, just ask. - See more at: http://1800recycling.com/2014/08/what-should-i-do-unwanted-paper-receipts#sthash.pDq8I5eZ.dpuf

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