Friday, September 30, 2011

Big Sweep 2011

From: Judi Lloyd  Please reply directly to:   NOT TO THIS EMAIL
 Big Sweep this Saturday!

Let’s Keep New Bern Clean

Everyone that I’ve met in the 2 ½ years of living in New Bern seems to love it here and is extremely proud of our fair little city in the “inner banks”.  We enjoy having family, friends and tourists visit New Bern and remark what a wonderful place it is.  So, we have to do something about the trash on the sides of our roadways!

Craven County Clean Sweep sponsors 3 annual clean up events, on the first Saturdays of February, May and October to help keep New Bern streets and waterways free of litter.  The upcoming one is for October 1st, but if that day is not convenient, you can choose another day that fits your schedule!

You can walk along the streets in your own neighborhood; use your boat to clean up the waterway of your choice; meet with others at Lawson Creek Park on that Saturday at 9AM to be assigned a spot or pick any other “trashy” area that’s been bothering you.  The amount of time you spend on this is totally up to you – it can be 15 minutes or a few hours.
The Craven County Extension Office will supply the bags, which when full, you just leave on the side of the road for them to pick up.  Call 633-1477.

And, YES, cigarette butts are trash; they are not biodegradable (unless unfiltered).  Really, Just look along the streets!  Please do not throw your butts out of the car window; that’s what your car ashtray is for. 

Also, the Coastal Environmental Partnership will sponsor a Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Event on Saturday, October 15th at Craven Community College in New Bern from 8:00AM to 1:00PM. There will be signs directing you to parking lot E near Orringer Auditorium.  Accepted materials are: all paints, used motor oil, fertilizers and pesticides, gasoline, cooking oil, batteries, paint thinners, drain openers, anti-freeze and household electronics ( cell phones, TVs, printers, computers, etc.).  In most cases, you won’t even have to get out of your vehicle to dispose of your items to be recycled.

If you need more info on this you can call Bobbi Waters at 633-1564 or e-mail her at
There is now a permanent electronics recycling place, sponsored through Craven County, at the Tuscarora (Cove City) solid waste facility.  Computers and TV’s are the main items that they want as they are now banned from the landfill.  The hours are 7:30 – 4:30 M-F and 7:30 – 2:00 Saturdays.  There is no charge for this service.  The POD is located across from the scale house.

So, there is no reason for New Bern to not keep a neat appearance with all this help from its loving citizens.  Let’s all make an effort to pitch in this month!

Monday, September 26, 2011

State Environmental Officials Seek Public Feedback on Customer Service

State Environmental Officials Seek Public Feedback on Customer Service

RALEIGH – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources wants to learn about its customers’ experiences with the agency and ways it can improve future interactions, through a series of statewide listening sessions that start this week and an online public survey.
Staff with the Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach have scheduled regional listening sessions to help the department identify the types of assistance citizens need and to generate ideas for better customer service. Listening sessions have been scheduled in each of the department’s seven regional office coverage areas and will consist of a roundtable discussion of about 40 invited guests who are DENR customers and stakeholders. These participants include members of the regulated community, local government, environmental advocacy groups, consultants and representatives of agriculture, small business and trade associations.
“We want to hear directly from the public during these sessions and focus on solutions,” said DENR Secretary Dee Freeman. “We are responding to Gov. Perdue’s call for an efficient and effective state government that will support job creation by looking for cost-effective ways to accomplish our mission of protecting and conserving the state’s environment and natural resources, while also meeting our customers’ needs.”
The schedule for the listening sessions is:
 Sept. 20 Wilmington
 Sept. 22 Washington
 Sept. 27 Fayetteville
 Sept. 29 Raleigh
 Oct. 4 Mooresville
 Oct. 6 Winston-Salem
 Oct. 11 Asheville
DENR has also developed an online survey to ensure that all customers have an opportunity to provide customer service-focused feedback. The survey has been designed to focus on customer experiences at DENR and ideas for improvement.The data will be used as baseline information to allow the department to measure improvement in the future. To complete the survey, please visit DENR’s website ( and click on the graphic on the top left of the page that says “How can we serve you better?”. 
DENR's Environmental Assistance Center, staffed by the Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach, provides a single point of contact for customers. This center focuses on the needs of those customers who are frequently affected by environmental rules but lack the expertise and money needed to hire someone to guide them through the regulatory, permitting and compliance process. More information about the center can be found online at You can learn more about the listening sessions by contacting Julie Woosley at (919) 715-6509.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grants available for environmental restoration projects in N.C., Va. estuary

Grants available for environmental restoration projects in N.C., Va. estuary

RALEIGH – The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program, or APNEP, is offering $150,000 in grant money for projects that restore the estuarine ecosystem that spans parts of North Carolina and Virginia.
The grant money can be used for a wide range of projects, including those that create new oyster reefs, remove invasive species such as hydrilla, restore wetland areas or improve river herring habitats. Project proposals are due by 5 p.m. Oct. 17.
“The estuary is a treasure for North Carolina and Virginia,” said Bill Crowell, director of APNEP. “We’re always pleased to provide restoration opportunities for an area so important to the livelihood of our coastal communities.” 
The full request for proposals can be found proposals can be submitted electronically or mailed to Jim Hawhee, 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1601. 
Estuaries are areas where river and ocean waters mix, supporting a rich array of terrestrial and aquatic life. The Albemarle-Pamlico estuary provides coastal storm protection, a key nursery area for many coastal fish and shellfish, and beauty and recreational opportunities for the region’s residents and visitors. The estuary also supports the region’s tourism and fishing industries.
APNEP supports ecosystem-based management of the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary and its watershed, an area that spans northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. APNEP staff members work with residents, scientists, universities, businesses, non-profit organizations and local and state government agencies. The program is a joint effort between the N. C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. 
For more information, please contact Jim Hawhee, APNEP’s community specialist, at (919) 733-0121
# # #

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Recycling Refrigerators For Cash

Recycling Refrigerators For Cash

Fridge & Freezer Farewell Program Starts Today

By WCTI Staff

September 23, 2011

Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative has kicked off their Refrigerator/Freezer Recycle program and are scheduled for the first pick-ups today. Members can receive $50 cash if they have their older, inefficient, refrigerators and freezers recycled. The Fridge & Freezer Farewell program focuses on working, secondary or spare refrigerators and freezers, such as those found in garages, outbuildings and basements, because these units are typically older and less efficient than newer models. By giving up old, inefficient appliances, members are not only saving money and getting cash back, they also are assuring that some 120 pounds of steel and other materials are properly recylced.

In addition to saving members' money, the program helps CCEC meet the state's Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. This mandate requires that a certain percentage of electric sales come from reductions in electricity usage through energy efficiency and from renewable energy sources.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

North American Association for Environmental Education Conference Field Experiences

Register Now for North American Association for Environmental Education Conference Field Experiences!

Please see the message below from Renee Strnad, President Elect of Environmental Educators of North Carolina about the upcoming North American Association for Environmental Education Conference, which will held in North Carolina for the first time, at the Raleigh Convention Center October 12-15.

In case you haven't heard, Environmental Educators of North Carolina is hosting the 40th Annual North American Association for Environmental Education Conference this October in Raleigh, NC. We are so excited to welcome 1500+ environmental educators to our fabulous state - - and we want as many North Carolinians as possible to be involved!

There is a great team working on putting together field experiences, and these experiences are open to anyone.... even if you cannot attend the entire conference! As a previous attendee at NAAEE conferences across the nation, I am proud to say that the team has put together a great list of very affordable day and overnight experiences.Participating in these events will allow you to mix and mingle with educators from across North American and around the world. Additionally, you will also be able to earn credit for Criteria II or III for the NC EE Certification Program.

Registration is currently open. Online registration can be found at You must use this system to sign-up/register for any of the field trips as well as Wednesday workshops. (

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vermicomposting. It's for the worms.

By Rhonda Sherman, Extension Agricultural Engineering Specialist

Worms Can Recycle Your Garbage
North Carolina's estimated 420,000 tons of food waste are buried or burned each year at considerable financial and environmental cost. Instead of discarding your food scraps, you can recycle them with the help of worms. Vermicomposting (worm composting) turns many types of kitchen waste into a nutritious soil for plants. When worm compost is added to soil, it boosts the nutrients available to plants and enhances soil structure and drainage.
Using worms to decompose food waste offers several advantages:
  • It reduces household garbage disposal costs;
  • It produces less odor and attracts fewer pests than putting food wastes into a garbage container;
  • It saves the water and electricity that kitchen sink garbage disposal units consume;
  • It produces a free, high-quality soil amendment (compost);
  • It requires little space, labor, or maintenance;
  • It spawns free worms for fishing.
Equipment and Supplies
The materials needed to start a vermicomposting system are simple and inexpensive. All you will need are a worm bin, bedding, water, worms, and your food scraps.

Worm Bin. A suitable bin can be constructed of untreated, non aromatic wood, or plastic container to be purchased. A wooden box is better if you will keep the worms outdoors, because it will keep the worms cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. An outdoor wooden bin can even serve double-duty as a bench. If a plastic container is used, it should be thoroughly washed and rinsed before the worms and bedding are added. The bin size depends on the amount of food produced by your household. The general rule of thumb is one square foot of surface area for each pound of garbage generated per week.

For two people (producing approximately 31/2 pounds of food scraps per week), a box 2 feet wide, 2 feet long, and 8 inches deep should be adequate. A 2-foot-by-3- foot box is suitable for four to six people (about 6 pounds of waste per week). Redworms (the type used for vermicomposting) thrive in moist bedding in a bin with air holes on all sides. For aeration and drainage, drill nine l/2-inch holes in the bottom of the 2-foot-by-2- foot bin or 12 holes in the 2-foot-by-3-foot bin. Place a plastic tray under the worm bin to collect any moisture that may seep out. Drilling holes on the upper sides of your bin will also help your worms get needed oxygen and prevent odors in your worm bin. Keep a lid on the bin, as worms like to work in the dark. Store the worm bin where the temperature remains between 55° and 77°F.

Bedding. The worms need bedding material in which to burrow and to bury the garbage. It should be a non toxic, fluffy material that holds moisture and allows air to circulate. Suitable materials include shredded paper (such as black-and-white newspapers, paper bags, computer paper, or cardboard); composted animal manure (cow, horse, or rabbit); shredded, decaying leaves; peat moss (which increases moisture retention); or any combination of these. Do not use glossy paper or magazines. Add two handfuls of soil to supply roughage for the worms. Adding crushed eggshells provides not only roughage but also calcium for the worms, and it lowers acidity in the bin. About 4 to 6 pounds of bedding is needed for a 2- foot-by-2-foot bin (for two people), and 9 to 14 pounds of bedding should be used in a 2- foot-by-3-foot bin (for four to six people). Worms will eat the bedding, so you will need to add more within a few months.
Water. The bedding must be kept moist to enable the worms to breathe. To keep bedding moist, add 3 pints of water for each pound 7 of bedding. You will need about 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 gallons of water for 4 to 6 pounds of bedding. If the bedding dries out, use a plant mister to spritz some water on it.
Worms. It is important to get the type of worms that will thrive in a worm bin. Only redworms or "wigglers" (Eisenia foetida) should be used (do not use night crawlers or other types of worms). Worms can be obtained from bait shops, nurseries, or by mail from commercial worm growers; the commercial growers are the most reliable source. A directory of sources is available from the author. Add 1 pound of worms to the 2-foot- by-2-foot bin or 2 pounds of worms to the 2-foot-by-3- foot bin.

Food Scraps. Feed your worms any non-meat organic waste such as vegetables, fruits, eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds, paper coffee filters, and shredded garden waste. Worms especially like cantaloupe, watermelon, and pumpkin. Limit the amount of citrus fruits that you add to the bin to prevent it from becoming too acidic. Break or cut food scraps into small pieces so they break down easier. Do not add meat scraps or bones, fish, greasy or oily foods, fat, tobacco, or pet or human manure. Be sure to cover the food scraps completely with the bedding to discourage fruit flies and molds. One pound of worms will eat about four pounds of food scraps a week. If you add more food than your worms can handle, anaerobic conditions will set in and cause odor. This should dissipate shortly if you stop adding food for a while.

Temperature. Redworms will tolerate temperatures from 50° to 84°F, but 55° to 77°F is ideal.

Starting the Process
To start your vermicomposting system, first select a location for your worm bin. Popular indoor spots are the kitchen, pantry, bathroom, mud room, laundry room, or basement. If you want to keep your worm bin outside, put it in the shade during the hot summer and shelter it from the cold in winter by placing it in a garage or carport, or putting hay bales around the bin to allow air to circulate around the bin, and keep it protected from flooding, because the worms can drown.
Next, prepare the bedding. If you want to use newspapers, fold a section in half and tear off long, half-inch to inch wide strips (go with the grain of the paper and it will tear neatly and easily). Soak the newspaper in water for a few minutes, then wring it out like a sponge and fluff it up as you add the newspaper to your worm bin. Aim for the bedding to be very damp, but not soaking wet (only two to three drops of water should come out when you squeeze the bedding material). Spread the bedding evenly until it fills about three-quarters of the bin. Sprinkle a couple of handfuls of soil (from outdoors or potting soil) into the bedding to introduce beneficial microorganisms and aid the worms' digestive process. Fluff up the bedding about once a week so the worms can get plenty of air and freedom of movement.
Gently place your worms on top of the bedding. Leave the bin lid off for a while so the worms will burrow into the bedding, away from the light. The worms will not try to crawl out of the bin if there is light overhead.
Once the worms have settled into their new home, add food scraps that you have been collecting in a leak-proof container. Dig a hole in the bedding (or pull the bedding aside), place the food scraps in the hole, and cover it with at least an inch of bedding. After this first feeding, wait a week before adding more food. Leave your worms alone during this time to allow them to get used to their new surroundings. Bury food scraps in a different area of the bin each time. Worms may be fed any time of the day. Do not worry if you must leave for a few days, as the worms can be fed as seldom as once a week. Note: Do not be surprised to see other creatures in your worm bin, as they help break down the organic material. Most of the organisms will be too small to see, but you may spot white worms, springtails, pill bugs, molds, and mites.
Harvesting the Worms and Compost
After about six weeks, you will begin to see worm castings (soil-like material that has moved through the worms' digestive tracts). The castings can be used to boost plant growth. In three or four months, it will be time to harvest the castings. Mixed in with the castings will be partially decomposed bedding and food scraps, in addition to worms; this is called vermicompost. You may harvest the vermicompost by one of two methods:
  • Method 1: Place food scraps on only one side of your worm bin for several weeks, and most of the worms will migrate to that side of the bin. Then you can remove the vermicompost from the other side of the bin where you have not been adding food scraps, and add fresh bedding. Repeat this process on the other side of the bin. After both sides are harvested, you can begin adding food scraps to both sides of the bin again.
  • Method 2: Empty the contents of your worm bin onto a plastic sheet or used shower curtain where there is strong sunlight or artificial light. Wait 20-30 minutes, then scrape off the top layer of vermicompost. The worms will keep moving away from the light, so you can scrape more compost off every 20 minutes or so. After several scrapings, you will find worms in clusters; just pick up the worms and gently return them to the bin in fresh bedding.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

HHW and Electronics this Saturday

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dell's Bamboo Packaging

From the Mother Nature Network

Dell protects products and environment with bamboo

By changing the materials used in its packaging and improving design efficiency, Dell estimates it will save approximately 70,000 trees this year alone.


At a lab in Austin, Texas, Dell technicians routinely smash boxes of expensive computer products, simulating the turbulent trip these packages make from the Dell warehouses to a customer's front door. The goal? To make sure that packaging is strong enough to protect the product so it arrives in one working piece. But Dell knows that good packaging doesn't have to come at a high price to the environment.  
While protecting their products is a primary concern, Dell is also taking steps to protect the environment by replacing all of their hard-to-recycle packaging materials with bamboo.
Technically a grass, bamboo has long been used for a variety of purposes including construction, cooking and even medicine. As one of the fastest growing plants in the world, bamboo can grow up to 39 inches or more in one day. Unlike a tree, bamboo has the potential to grow to full height and girth in just 3 to 4 months, and it's typically ready for harvest and suitable for construction within 3 to 5 years. Plus, bamboo naturally regenerates making it an easily renewable raw material source.  
Additionally, the company has made efforts to ensure their bamboo procurement is as environmentally friendly as possible. Dell providers practice selective harvesting, not clear-cutting. And the forest from which they purchase the bamboo in China is removed from the panda environment by about 1000 miles.
Dell estimates that the decision to switch to bamboo will save about 70,000 trees this year alone. Because of this switch, Dell's packaging is now also easier to recycle and less expensive to produce.
Aside from this change in materials, the packaging has also been redesigned to be more efficient. In the past, each computer was shipped in a separate box with its own packing materials. Now, up to four computers can go in one box, a change that has cut packaging materials in half.   
Ultimately, Dell believes these packaging improvements are not only environmentally sustainable, but economically sustainable as well. And customers can rest assured that their products will arrive safely, nestled in an easily recyclable box

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rainy Day Activities

Follow this link to NCDENR's kid's page and find lot's of fun, green activities.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Burning Questions

If you’re still cleaning your yard and thinking about burning, consider the following from the Division of Air Quality:

If you choose to burn debris, you need to do at least two things to be sure that you are doing it legally:

• Make sure you have a valid permit. You can obtain a burning permit at any N.C. Division of Forest Resources office or permitting agent or online at
• Check on local open burning restrictions established by your county or city- outside burning may be prohibited, or may only be permitted during specified hours.

Limit open burning as much as possible because the smoke from outdoor fires can cause serious health problems.  It is wise to avoid burning materials that can be toxic such as: building materials; asphalt shingles; heavy oils; wire, plastics and other synthetic materials; tires and other rubber products; paints, and household and agricultural chemicals.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Shredding Event

From the De-Clutter Bug.

Shredding Event for Trent Woods Residents
Confidential Records Management, Inc. will hold a day of free document shredding services exclusively for the residents of Trent Woods on Saturday, September 24, 2011 from 9:00 A.M. until noon between the Fire House and Town Hall.  Please be considerate and bring reasonable quantities of documents. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cary's Trash Lady

From the News and Observer

With notebook and trash bags, Cary woman keeps park clean

Sue Buning fills another trash bag with items that will be logged in a litter collection journal she started Sept. 9, 2009.
- Staff Writer
CARY -- Sue Buning spots her mark through the foliage and the rain. Down the hill, she hustles, rain coat flashing between the trees, trash-picking claw in hand.

Many yards into the thick, she grabs a hidden plastic bottle with a practiced thrust.
Enough time hunting trash, Buning says, and instinct takes control.

"You get a sixth sense for it, the glint of the sun off the tiniest sliver of aluminum can," she explained as she walked through Cary's Bond Park.

She collected more than 3,000 pounds of trash in one year, keeping track in a handwritten journal.

Its pages note the regular - bottles, cardboard and insulation - and the odd - strollers, fake guns, printers and an air conditioner - all hauled away with the help of the claw, sturdy bags and occasionally her 21-year-old son.

'Trash walks'

Buning, an accountant by day, is Cary's unofficial Trash Lady.
She takes "trash walks" four times a week, always staying within walking distance of her home on the edge of Bond Park.

Her litter journal is an anthropological study, a register of what we deem junk and how we dispose of it.

The wooded buffers around commercial areas and apartments often hold the largest trash troves - such as abandoned appliances - while dark park corners are filled with evidence of parties, from beer cans to condoms.

"Lots of things go on in the woods," Buning said. "That's why you have the gripper."
The health-conscious aren't innocent, either. Many joggers' water bottles end up in Buning's bags.

The log helps her decide which area to attack next and provides a sense of satisfaction. Highlights of the trash walk often make her weekly emails to friends and family.

After each walk, she records the places she worked, the number and size of the bags she filled - "two plastic grocery bags, one large bag" - and a list of peculiar trash and wildlife sightings. "One deer. 1 box turtle," reads one entry.

The official record goes back nearly two years, but Buning has reverse-littered for as long as her husband, Dave Buning, can remember.

"We would go to the beach, and she'd be taking a bag with her," said her spouse of 33 years. "She's super-organized; I'm a little on the other side."

Tidy heritage

Husband and wife grew up in Michigan towns, 10 miles apart, that weren't so different from Cary, she said. Some of her anti-litter instinct may come from a tidy bloodline, Buning figures.
"I'm of Dutch heritage, and the Dutch have this frugal, thrifty, clean (gene)," she said.

A career in income-tax accounting probably reinforced those organizational tendencies.
She started her Cary trash walks in her own backyard, which backs up onto a swath of woods and trails.  "I walked 100 feet, and my bag was full," she said.
So she went out again and again. Her job leaves her free in late winter, when bare trees, a scarcity of poison ivy and fewer snakes make the work easier, she said. She works through the summer, too, and even the peak of tax season. The trash log marks frequent outings even in the midst of tax deadlines.
Sometimes the whole family joins her, though that's rarer with her two eldest children out of the house. Steven Buning, 18, comes out once a week or so to provide muscle and entertainment.
"Sorry, guys. Printers? Not biodegradable," the massage therapy student joked to his mother as they walked one day.

Even family vacations to the beach and Colorado Springs are logged in the book. "It's kind of a habit," Sue Buning said. "You miss a couple days, and you feel guilty - you can't stand it."
Plus, litter is a renewable resource. It piles up fast, but Buning and her helpers see progress in the places they hit time and time again.

She has managed to clear much of the trash she first found in the lowlands near Cary Parkway and High House Road. And when she strolls through Bond Park with trash gripper in hand, people often stop to thank her.

"I believe it's my God-given duty," said Buning, who worships at Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church in Cary.

It's infectious, too. Her son can't jog past a can without turning around to pick it up.

Big impact

Heather Morell, the town's conservation specialist, said Buning extends the reach of the town's litter collection crews.

"It ends up being something really big," Morell said.  She is the director of Spruce, a town program that has coordinated cleanup volunteers for more than two years.

Through the program, 1,300 volunteers have collected more than 10 tons of litter and planted hundreds of trees since early 2009.

The group guides volunteers' efforts and organizes events and projects, such as additions to the composting education center. Morell may point out a place that needs care or give volunteers safety training and supplies.

"Litter collection, in general, is extremely expensive," she said. "Clearly, we couldn't accomplish what we are able to accomplish without our community volunteers."

Vital volunteers

Volunteers like Buning often service areas that town and state workers don't regularly maintain. And it doesn't matter much if few notice their handiwork.

"You're out here to preserve creation," Buning said, as she and her son lugged a day's haul from Bond Park.

Moments later, her son bounded off to grab another piece of trash for their overflowing bags.
"Steven! Stop finding stuff!" she hollered.

Back at home, it was one more entry among hundreds in the trash log. And every now and then, a piece of litter finds a more permanent home - like Buning's front stoop.

"See that angel?" she asked, pointing to a metal decoration as she arrived home. "Trash walk." or 919-460-2608

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Uniforms You Can Count On

From the Mother Nature Network

Recycled plastic bottles to become casino uniforms

Cintas uses technology that converts plastics into a fiber that can then be woven into fabric. About 5 plastic bottles are needed to create one shirt.

piles of plastic bottles PLASTIC: U.S. consumers throw away an estimated 2.5 million plastic bottles per hour. (Photo: ZUMA Press)
NEW YORK - U.S. uniform company Cintas Corp is betting on green for its new line of shirts for casino workers.
The company has introduced shirts for the gaming industry that are partly made from recycled plastic bottles.
Cintas uses technology that converts plastics into a fiber that can then be woven into fabric. About five plastic bottles are needed to create one shirt, most of which is still manufactured from traditional polyester.
The Jacquard striped shirt for both men and women comes in six colors, including "paprika" and "curry." Cintas pitches the shirt as a way for the gaming industry to shore up its environmental credentials. Shirts can be washed in regular laundry, reducing dry-cleaning costs.
U.S. consumers throw away an estimated 2.5 million plastic bottles per hour, according to Cintas, which also provides floor mats and first-aid and safety products.
The clothing is part of a sustainable apparel line that includes scrubs for hospital staff and polo shirts made from recycled materials. The company also lays claim to the hotel industry's first machine-washable tuxedo.
Some shirts can themselves be recycled, said Mark Newell, Cintas' gaming global account manager.
The Cincinnati-based company, which also provides document management services, has recycled shredded documents into paper towels as well.
(Reporting by Nick Zieminski, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

From the Mother Nature Network

Recycled plastic cups

If you must go with disposable choices, recycled plastic cups can help cut some unnecessary waste. And, they're better than cups made with virgin plastics.

By Stephanie RogersWed, Aug 03 2011 at 3:09 PM EST

Plastic cup on an airplane Photo: russelljsmith/Flickr
Plastic cups are sold by the millions at restaurants and cafes, doled out at parties and events and all too often tossed in the trash after a single use only to languish in landfills indefinitely. Though reusable cups are the most environmentally-friendly choice, disposables are still in high demand, so other options are needed. Recycled plastic cups are an important part of the solution to unnecessary waste, and more of them are being offered as an alternative to cups made of virgin plastics.
The problem with plastic
A disposable plastic cup can take up to 80 years to decompose; an astonishing 1 million of them are used every six hours just on airline flights within the United States. Plastic cups are typically made from domestic natural gas, a finite fossil fuel, in an energy-intensive manufacturing process that results in the emission of toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases into the air. In 2009, it was discovered that chemical emissions were changing the DNA of cattle located on a farm downwind of a plastic manufacturing facility. Cutting back production on new plastics could help diminish such unfortunate effects.
If Americans choose to recycle more of their plastic waste, including beverage bottles, plastic bags and product packaging, producing single-use plastic cups from virgin plastics could become a thing of the past. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States generated 13 million tons of plastic waste in 2009 but only 7 percent of that was recovered for recycling. The good news is, the rate of recycling rises each year, and as the market for recycled plastics has expanded, the number of businesses handling or reclaiming post-consumer plastics has increased. Easy access to recycling facilities, in conjunction with education campaigns, helps ensure higher recycling rates.
Options for recycled plastic cups
Recycled plastic cups are not only popping up on store shelves, they're increasingly available at restaurants, hotels, festivals and other places where beverages are sold in disposable cups. PepsiCo recently rolled out a new line of cups that are not only recyclable, but also contain 20 percent post-consumer recycled content. These fountain cups are now available at restaurants, stadiums, theme parks, colleges and universities.
Bare Solo cupsSolo, one of the world's largest manufacturers of disposable plastic tableware, now offers a line of products called Bare - Bringing Alternative Resources for the Environment. In addition to offering cups that are recyclable and made from compostable or renewable materials, Bare includes plastic cups made from 20 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. Solo reports that these clear recycled cups can be recycled in most communities that accept plastic water bottles.
And what about those plastic lids that are provided along with paper or styrofoam coffee cups? The world's first hot cup lid with recycled content debuted in early 2011. The 'EcoLid 25' by Eco-Products is made from 25 percent post-consumer recycled content, made in the U.S. from recycled materials discarded by large retailers.
How to recycle plastic cups
The number '6' or '7' in a triangle seen on the bottom of most plastic cups, including those iconic red party cups from Solo, indicates that it's rather difficult to recycle. Facilities accepting these cups aren't available in every community. Check to find out whether these plastics can be recycled in your area.
Unfortunately, used plastic cups can't be recycled into new plastic cups, so it's best to avoid using non-recycled and hard-to-recycle plastic cups when possible. When you do find yourself stuck with a few, try to re-use them instead of immediately tossing them in the trash. Use them to start seeds indoors, as organizers for small loose objects, or as scoops for pet food. You can also cut them in half and use them as cups for dips and sauces.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Recycle Glass Month

From the Mother Nature Network


First in glass: 10 homegoods for Recycle Glass Month

Celebrate Recycle Glass Month by, umm, recycling glass and sprucing up your home with a few eye-catching recycled glass products ranging from hydroponic herb gardens to stemless wine glasses.

Thu, Sep 08 2011 at 1:19 PM EST

Glass for recycling Image: Arenamontanus/Flickr
As you may have heard, we're currently in the midst of Recycle Glass Month (FYI, it's also National Chicken Month and National Blueberry Popsicle Month and today is National Date Nut Bread Day). So there's that. If you don't already recycle your glass empties, make September the month that you start to divert your bottles, jars, and what have you from landfills by properly recycling them or reusing them around the house. This especially applies to you, Labor Day party-throwers with 30-plus Corona empty bottles on your hands.
To mark this most joyous occasion, here's a look at 10 exceptional products made from recycled glass for around the house (not included is the big stuff like recycled glass insulation and countertops). Sure, Recycle Glass Month is more about doing the deed itself than buying recycled-content homegoods, but if you're in need of a green wedding or housewarming gift or just fancy a new set of wine glasses, look no further. 
For more on everything and anything glass recycling related, head on over to Earth911 or, of course, the Recycle Glass Month homepage sponsored by the Glass Packaging Institute
Recycled Glass Container w/ Cork Lid @ West Elm ($12 - $24)
Recycled Glass Shade Lantern @ Pottery Barn ($59.99)
Roost Recycled Glass Bubble Terrariums  @ Velocity Art & Design ($180 - $238)
Sol Recycled Glass Bowls @ VivaTerra ($49/set of 4)
Maiaia Bowls by Silvia Garcia @ MoMA Store ($9.95 - $24.95)
Mason Jar Soap Dispenser @ Terrain ($24)
Pilsen Hurricane @ CB2 ($39.95)
Recycled Wine Glasses @ UncommonGoods ($28)
GrowBottle Upcycled Hydrogarden @ Branch ($35)

Harrison Glass Lamp @ Stray Dog Designs ($375)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Plastic Word Search

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I've Got Garbage By The Numbers...

From Mother Nature Network.

Wasting away: Our garbage by the numbers

In today's culture of mass consumption, the things we throw away often vanish from our minds, but all that trash has to go somewhere. Look at the numbers on garbage and you'll see it's more than just trashy — it's appalling. Luckily, there's plenty we can do about it.

By Laura MossWed, Sep 07 2011 at 8:59 AM EST

landfill WASTEFUL WAYS: Americans produced about 243 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2009, according to the EPA. (Photo: D'Arcy Norman/Flickr)
4.4 pounds
Trash the average American produces daily (EPA)
1,600 pounds
Trash the average American produces annually. With the garbage produced in America alone, you could form a line of filled-up garbage trucks that reach the moon. (EPA)
72 million tons
Amount of containers and packaging in 2009 in the U.S. municipal solid waste stream or MSW. Packaging makes up 30 percent of the America's trash — the largest portion of MSW generated. (EPA)
60 percent
Amount of MSW that can be recycled (Clean Air Council)
13 percent
Amount of MSW that's actually recycled (Clean Air Council)
50 percent
Amount of MSW that can be composted (Clean Air Council)

Home Electronics Disposal