Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Much Did We Toss in 2010?

How Much Did We Toss in 2010?

recology, san francisco
Americans generated about 250 million tons of trash last year and recycled or composted 34 percent of that material, according to a new report from the EPA. Photo: Alexis Petru, Earth911.
Last year, the average American produced 4.43 pounds of waste per day and recycled and composted 1.51 pounds of that material.

That’s according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency, which released “Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2010,” on Nov. 15, in conjunction with America Recycles Day. The report, which comes out every two years, has tracked the U.S.’s waste and recycling trends for the last three decades.

In 2010, Americans generated about 250 million tons of trash and recycled and composted nearly 85 million tons of this material, achieving a 34 percent national recy­cling rate. Approximately 29 million tons of waste – or 12 percent – was burned to generate energy, and around 136 million tons – 54 percent – ended up in the landfill.

READ: Is Burning Trash Bad?
Diverting 34 percent of our waste from the dump reduced more than 186 million metric tons of carbon emissions – the equivalent of the greenhouse gases emitted from over 36 million cars. It also saved more than 1.3 quadrillion Btu’s of energy, which is equal to over 229 million barrels of oil.

Trash from single- and multi-family homes made up 55-65 percent of the total waste produced in 2010, while 35-45 percent of the waste came from the commercial sector including businesses, schools and hospitals.

The EPA report also found that although Americans are producing a higher amount of waste than 30 years ago, we’re also recycling more. In 1980, the typical American generated 3.66 pounds of trash per day, as compared to 2010’s daily rate of 4.43 pounds.

But the national recycling rate has also climbed – from less than 10 percent in 1980 to 34 percent last year. The growing recycling rate means less waste is ending up in the landfill: While 89 percent of waste went to the landfill in 1980, about 54 percent of trash generated in 2010 was disposed of in the dump.

In fact, due to our waste diversion efforts, Americans are actually sending less waste to the landfill per person than we did in 1960, when virtually no formal recycling programs existed. Last year, 2.4 pounds of waste per person per day went to the dump, as compared with 1960’s per capita daily discard rate of 2.51 pounds.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Re-Green the Holidays

From Mecklenburg Solid Waste and Recycling.

Holiday Waste Reduction Tips:
  • Give home-baked goodies in reusable containers like baskets, tins, or jars.
  • Give non-materialistic "green" gifts that do not require wrapping, such as gift certificates/cards or massages, restaurants, coffee shops, or classes. "Rechargeable" cards are even better!
  • Theatre, sporting events, concert or movie tickets are always appreciated. Experiences are remembered long after other presents wear out.
  • When gift giving, think durable. Buy durable toys made from wood or metal so they can be passed down to others. Consider how long the item will last before you purchase.
  • Gift a gift of time or talent. Take someone to a play, concert or movie. Make gift certificates for a special dinner, pet sitting or house cleaning. Offer your talents at gardening, photography or financial planning-or better yet, teach somone a skill you possess.
  • When you go shopping, bring your own reusable bags.
  • Make a charitable donation in the recipient's name or give a membership to a museum, environmental or non-profit organization.
  • Gift two gifts in one by using baskets, fabric bags, scarves or pillowcases to wrap gifts.
  • Give fair trade coffee and teas or local and organic fruit and vegetable baskets.
  • Give a compost bin, can crusher, water timer, rain barrel, etc.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Paper Wine Bottles?

Paper Wine Bottle to Debut in the U.K.

Photo: Flickr/Claudio Matsuoka
The wine industry has toyed with many approaches to make their product’s packaging more eco-friendly – replacing natural corks with plastic alternatives to save trees, using wine boxes to cut down on transportation pollution and washing and refilling glass wine bottles.
Now British company GreenBottle has developed a paper wine bottle, which it says shrinks the bottle’s carbon footprint and is compostable at the end of its useful life, The Guardian reported.

While a typical glass wine bottle weighs about 1 pound, GreenBottle’s paper bottle weighs less than 2 ounces, so shipping this lightweight product will produce fewer carbon emissions than transporting heavy glass bottles.

The carbon footprint of the paper bottle is also 10 percent of a glass bottle’s, the paper said.

READ: What’s the Deal With Tree-Free Chardonnay?

Though the paper bottle is compostable and can decompose in a few weeks, it contains a plastic bag – like the kind found in a wine box – to keep the wine fresh.

But will wine aficionados embrace the new packaging? GreenBottle founder Martin Myerscough told The Guardian that he designed the bottle in the shape of a conventional wine bottle to help wine lovers transition to the new packaging more easily.

“We can be more radical, but we are inventing a concept here, and we don’t want people to be too scared about it,” he said. “If we are going to change consumer habits, we need to lead them along gently.”

United Kingdom supermarket chain Asda, owned by Wal-Mart, has agreed to carry the new paper wine bottles as early as next year.

GreenBottle also makes an eco-friendly milk bottle with a compostable paper outer shell and a plastic inner layer which is recyclable if local facilities are available. The milk bottle is currently being tested in Asda stores in southwestern England and is proving to be a hit with green-minded customers, The Guardian reported.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

125 Years of Curbside Recycling

INFOGRAPHIC: The History of Recycling

Recycling has been around in one form or another for centuries, but what do you really know about it?
Archaeologists have found evidence of recycling that took place around or perhaps earlier than 400 B.C. Recycling has developed in many ways since then, however, some of the most significant changes have taken place just in the past couple hundred years or so, due to some major historical events.

Industrial Revolution Era

Recycling was surprisingly routine prior to the Industrial Revolution. Mass production was far from the norm, which meant it was cheaper to reuse your materials than to buy new ones.
However, in the late 1800s and early 1900s recycling waned as the Industrial Revolution made its way across the globe. The introduction of machine-based manufacturing dropped production costs significantly, and allowed many companies to mass-produce their materials for the first time. As a consumer, it was suddenly cheaper and more convenient to buy new products from a flooded market than to reuse the old ones, so recycling took a back seat.

Pre- and During WWII

Pre and during WWII
Photo courtesy National Film Board of Canada Photo:
The next major comeback recycling made was due to some economic hardships, both nationally and globally, in the decades to follow. The stock market crash of 1929 devastated the global economy, creating the Great Depression which lasted in most countries until the ‘30s and ‘40s. With unemployment at a record high and poverty becoming common-place, recycling was put to use again in order to make materials last and dollars stretch.
The Great Depression eventually ended, but its end marks the beginning of World War II. While the war effort is generally credited with helping the U.S. dig its way out of economic peril, the theme of conservation still rang true. Financial constraints and material shortages while troops were overseas meant many households had to make due with less, and therefore continued to recycle.
Recycling at that point was practically patriotic!


Post-WWII landfill  
The end of World War II prompted an economic boom which dealt another drastic setback to the concept of recycling. A rebounding economy meant more money was being spent on new goods and fewer items were being recycled.
Landfills started gaining popularity in the U.S. as a convenient out of sight, out of mind option for waste disposal. As the historical pattern would predict, this prosperous time for the nation meant much less attention was paid to conservation and preservation compared to tougher times.

‘60s and ‘70s

It wasn’t until the ‘60s and ‘70s that recycling regained its momentum during the environmental movement. Decades of industry growth and improper waste disposal left unchecked caused enough public concern to give environmental protection a real platform.
By 1970, environmental issues had gained enough attention worldwide to prompt the first Earth Day, as well as the development of the now well-known universal symbol for recycling. 1970 also marks the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency – a U.S. government agency established to help protect the environment through research and regulation.
Rising energy costs in the ‘70s motivated recycling efforts as well. Both consumers and corporations were learning that energy and money could be saved, along with unsustainable resources.

‘80s and ‘90s and Beyond

'80s and '90s curbside programs  
In the decades to follow, recycling efforts were still better incorporated into everyday life, but have struggled to maintain the enthusiasm of the shift seen in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Curbside pickup of recyclables was introduced and became the norm, which helped establish recycling as a more convenient option.
Ozone depletion gained more substantial recognition as an environmental concern and was used to motivate recycling efforts on a wider scale. Production of plastic materials rose significantly, changing the scene for determining which materials were being submitted for recycling.
Modern day recycling efforts have come a long way. Recycled items are now often repurposed, not just reused. Scientific research about where the environment stands and the consequences of our actions has never been more available to the public, as well as information about how to recycle and repurpose different materials. Motivation is the remaining variable, as not everyone views recycling as a necessity.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Degradation is Myth in Lanfills

NC GreenPower
Degradation occurs slowly in landfills. Researchers have found readable newspapers that have been in landfills for 30+ years.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Go green on Black Friday

Go green on Black Friday

Black Friday, the frenzied day-after-Thanksgiving kick off of the Holiday shopping season in the US, is one of the busiest shopping days of the year. In 2007, it was estimated that 1 in 4 Americans—or more than 76 million people—would partake in the festivities.[1] All that shopping could have quite the eco-impact. But fear not, green shoppers: GY's list of green shopping tips can help you celebrate this unconventional American holiday in smooth eco-friendly style.

How to go green on Black Friday

  1. Know your green attributes: Whether you're shopping for electronics, clothing, or appliances, there is always a greener option out there. Read up on what certifications and credentials you should look for to minimize your environmental impact while maximizing your savings.
  2. Opt for recycled-content products: Recycled content products are the ultimate trash-to-treasure gift! Recycling cuts back on the demand for virgin materials and is a cleaner process than manufacturing new materials. In fact, recycling programs are estimated to have kept the equivalent of 39 million car's worth of carbon out of the atmosphere in 2006, saving the equivalent of 10 billion gallons of gasoline.
  3. Look for products made with eco-friendly materials: Look for products made from organic materials, which require fewer toxic chemicals to create; alternative fibers, such as hemp, bamboo, sea grass, and jute, which grow rapidly and require little, if any, chemical additives or petrochemicals for production; and sustainably sourced materials such as FSC-certified wood.
  4. Bring your own shopping bag: Each year, 30 billion plastic and 10 billion paper shopping bags are used in the United States, requiring about 14 million trees and 12 million barrels of oil to produce.[2] These bags take between 20 and 1,000 years to break down in landfills, or worse, in wild spaces and oceans, creating choking hazards for sea creatures and mammals alike. You can avoid taking a single disposable bag while you're out shopping by bringing your own bags from home.
  5. Use green credit cards: Make the money you're spending work for the environment! Banks offering green credit cards use a portion of what you spend to support green causes or take eco-friendly action, like buying carbon offsets. Big banks have often been criticized for funding environmentally questionable industries and political parties and causes that are anti-environment.
  6. Buy products with minimal packaging, or packaged in eco-friendly materials: No matter what you're buying, make sure to go with the option that uses the least amount of packaging, or those packaged in eco-friendly materials, such as recycled paper or plastic. You'll reduce the amount of landfill waste created and cut back on the amount of new materials, chemicals, and energy required for packaging.
  7. Shop locally: The average consumer product is shipped 1,500 miles in a diesel truck before coming to rest on a store shelf. Diesel exhaust contains over 450 chemicals, 40 of them believed to be toxic to humans and detrimental to the environment.[3] Carbon monoxide from vehicle emissions accounts for 56 percent of total carbon emissions across the US and, along with nitrogen oxide, contributes to air pollution.[3] Buying locally produced products cuts out this fuel-intensive, climate change-inducing transport and supports small businesses and your local economy.
  8. Shop in areas that are close enough to walk or bike to, or where you can walk from shop to shop: Whether it's a mall or a downtown area with concentrated retail outlets, the less you have to drive on Black Friday, the better for the environment. (And it's not a bad deal for you, either, avoiding all that searching for parking spots!) Americans use more than 100 billion gallons of gasoline each year; every gallon of gasoline burned releases 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, making the transportation sector responsible for about a quarter of overall US carbon dioxide emissions.[4] Saving a few gallons by not driving store-to-store will reduce your carbon footprint. If you must drive, consider buying carbon offsets.
  9. Ride the bus instead of driving: If walking or biking to your shopping destination is not an option, take the bus. Buses, which emit 80 percent less carbon monoxide and are 91 times safer than the average car, can carry the equivalent of 60 car-loads of people. (Which means they have lots of room for all those packages you'll be bringing home too.)
  10. Shop online: Perhaps the best way to avoid the transportation-related effects of a busy shopping day is to avoid transportation at all. Just be wary of how far the items you purchase will need to be shipped and what shipping method is employed.
  11. Buy nothing: Of course, some greenies argue that the best way to reduce your eco-impact on Black Friday is to buy nothing at all. Buy Nothing Day is an informal day of action, "celebrated" on Black Friday, to protest the consumerism and eco-unfriendliness of such a massive shopping spree. New products always come with an environmental price tag: from the procurement of materials, the production into a new product, transport from source to store, to their eventual disposal. Buying nothing at all is one way to avoid all the eco-impacts.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Schedule

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  The Tuscarora Landfill and Transfer Stations will be closed today.  The landfill and transfer stations will be open tomorrow, November 25th however, the administrative offices will be closed and reopen Monday, November 28th.

Have a safe and happy holiday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Valvoline and Keep America Beautiful

Let's Do M.O.R.E.

We all can do more to help reduce the environmental impact of our actions. Motor oil recycling helps protect natural resources and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

That's why Valvoline developed Let's Do M.O.R.E. (Motor Oil Recycling Education), to raise awareness for the importance of recycling and demonstrate how using recycled oil can help reduce environmental impact.

Now is the perfect time to get started.

For each person who agrees to recycle used oil and use recycled oil, Valvoline will donate $1 to Keep America Beautiful up to $250,000*. Valvoline is proud to support Keep America Beautiful's efforts to engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community for future generations.
We will also give you a great offer on NextGen motor oil—so your next oil change can start protecting the environment as well as your engine.

How Do I Do M.O.R.E.?

This site explains why motor oil recycling is now more important than ever. The information and videos provided will show you:
  • Why it's important to properly dispose of used oil to keep it out of our ecosystems
  • How newer re-refining process and exclusive chemistry make NextGen the first recycled oil that's 50% recycled oil and 100% Valvoline protection
  • How recycled oil closes the loop to reduce environmental impact and save resources

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mound of Tires Can Be Seen From Space

Mound Of Tires In South Carolina Visible From Space, Could Result In Jail Time

Mound Of Tires
First Posted: 11/19/11 04:04 PM ET Updated: 11/21/11 11:01 AM ET
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The sprawling pile of hundreds of thousands of tires isn't easy to spot from the ground, sitting in a rural South Carolina clearing accessible by only a circuitous dirt path that winds through thick patches of trees. No one knows how all those tires got there, or when.

But, Calhoun County Council Chairman David Summers says of this giant rubber menace, "You can see it from space."

Authorities have charged one person in connection with the mess of roughly 250,000 tires, which covers more than 50 acres on satellite images. And now a Florida company is helping haul it all away.

Litter control officer Boyce Till said he contacted the local sheriff and state health department, which is investigating who had been dumping the tires. But the worst possible penalty that could be imposed locally? A single $475 ticket for littering.

Records show the property is owned by Michael Keitt Jr. of Far Rockaway, N.Y.
A phone number for Keitt could not be found, but local officials said the man was one of several heirs to the property, all of whom live out of state.

As part of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control's case, a state grand jury issued indictments against George Fontella Brown, 39, of Easley, on three charges of violating the state's solid waste act, according to DHEC spokesman Adam Myrick. Those state charges carry much heftier possible penalties, including thousands of dollars in fines and up to a year in jail.

Myrick would not discuss details of the case against Brown, and a spokesman for state Attorney General Alan Wilson did not respond to messages. No working phone listing could be found for Brown, who also faces similar charges in Greenville and Orangeburg counties, and court records did not list an attorney for him.

Tire dumping has historically been a problem in Calhoun County and other rural areas, said Summers, who recalled another giant tire pile in the 1990s that would dwarf the current monstrosity.

"This tire pile here is a baby compared to what that one was," said Summers, who previously worked for a company that ended up shredding those used tires.

South Carolina retailers charge motorists $2 for every new tire they buy, which helps pay for the cleanup and recycling of old tires. But Summers said many tires never make it to recycling plants, instead being discarded and growing into gargantuan piles.

For now, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based tire processing company is working to clear the pile.
Tricia Johnson, owner of Lee Tire Company, Inc., said a property owner whom she declined to name called her for help hauling off the material. So far, Johnson said between 10 and 15 tractor-trailer loads of tires have been shipped to her Florida facility. There, they will either have oil and steel extracted from them, or they will be shredded and made into tire-derived fuel, which Johnson said burns more cleanly than coal and is used by paper mills.

Johnson said she has waived her usual fee and is charging the property owner only for transportation costs. She hopes to have all 250,000 tires processed by early 2012.

"He had good intentions," Johnson said of the man who called and asked for her help. "He is trying to clean it up. He just got stuck. He tried all the resources to move the tires as quickly as he could."

Monday, November 21, 2011

State Study Shows Strong Momentum in Recycling

State Study Shows Strong Momentum in Recycling

RALEIGH –Recycling not only means less garbage, it means more jobs and a host of other benefits to the economy, according to a study that the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources released this week for America Recycles Day.

More than 15,000 North Carolinians are now employed in the recycling industry, part of Gov. Bev Perdue’s top priority of creating jobs. The recycling of materials such as construction waste and plastic bottles has risen sharply, and commercial composters are processing hundreds of thousands of tons. Carpet and shingles now can be recycled in locations across the state as manufacturers seek an increasing array of recycled goods for their raw materials.

More recyclable commodities are moving away from the waste stream and into the stream of commerce, according to the DENR study, released as Gov. Perdue declared America Recycles Day in North Carolina. 

Increased recycling is suppressing the amount of waste going to landfills, helping to reverse the growth in disposed tonnage over the last two decades and helping to sustain the drop in disposal that occurred with the 2008 recession.

A combination of effective policies, active recycling business growth, expansion of items that are recyclable, and momentum in local government recycling programs is helping both to reduce dependence on landfills and to provide much-needed commodities to North Carolina material processors and manufacturers.

“The opportunities continue to present themselves to make recycling both a core environmental and economic policy of the state,” said DENR Secretary Dee Freeman. “It is a proven green job and green business creator and it delivers a wide range of environmental benefits. We can expect more growth ahead in the recovery of key commodities.”
The study's major findings include:
  •  Local government recycling programs have built a solid track record of capturing recyclable commodities from the waste stream and have recently begun a new period of expansion. The number of households receiving curbside recycling service has reached a record high of 1.62 million.
  • Recent policy measures designed to divert recyclable commodities from landfills are showing strong signs of success. The state’s  plastic bottle recycling rate has increased by almost 50 percent since the disposal ban was passed in 2005.
  • Recycling is steadily contributing to job creation and business growth in North Carolina, while providing valuable materials to in-state processors and manufacturers. More than 15,000 North Carolinians are employed by the recycling industry across the state.
  • Even as the construction economy struggles in North Carolina, private construction and demolition facilities are increasing their recycling efforts. An all-time high of 112,315 tons of construction waste at private facilities was recycled in 2010.
  • Composting is an active area of recycling expansion and can be expected to contribute increasingly to the state’s waste reduction efforts.  Commercial composters processed more than 220,000 tons of organic materials in 2010.
  • Additional materials are becoming recyclable as collectors, processors and end-users boost their appetite for a wider range of recovered products and commodities. Materials such as shingles, carpet and non-bottle plastic containers are now recyclable in many parts of the state.
“North Carolinians should be proud of their efforts to increase recycling,” said Scott Mouw, recycling program supervisor in DENR's Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. “We are turning liabilities into assets as we divert more resources from landfills through community recycling programs, recycling businesses, and commodity end-users.”

Despite the momentum achieved in the past few years, some challenges lie ahead to increased recycling including expansion of recycling services to more work and away-from-home settings, improving the market value for materials such as construction wastes, and expanding the capture of organic materials for composting and energy generation.

A copy of the study can be found online under the “News” tab at Governor Perdue’s America Recycles Day Proclamation can be found at For more information, contact Scott Mouw at (919) 707-8114 or

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Six to a Green Thanksgiving

The Green Space: Tips to make your feast a very green Thanksgiving

Lynn Youngblood


Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks and I know my GREEN buddies are looking for ways to green-up this holiday, so here are seven tips to help you get there.

One: Pick a central location for your big feast. Whether its friends or family that are gathering, or a combination of both, find the most central location for everyone whether they’re traveling across the city, or across the country. Every carbon emission we can cut out reduces our entire carbon footprint. Don’t forget, if you are leaving home for the holiday turn down the thermostat and put your lights on timers rather than leaving them on to save energy.

Two: Plan! If you plan your meal in advance, writing your list and checking ads, not only will you minimize trips to the grocery store, but you will also save money, too.

Three: Buy local. Purchase as much of your feast from local buyers as possible. Look for squash and pumpkins especially this time of year. (Ever made a pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin? Unbelievable! There are special pie pumpkins that have thicker, more flavorful flesh although any will do.) There are several local grocery stores that sell many fruits and vegetables from local growers. Most will advertize these are locally grown – save those transportation dollars!

Four: The turkey. Buy a free range, hormone-free, pesticide and antibiotic-free, natural fed bird. If you have not ever had one, you would not believe the difference between a “natural, free-range” bird and the typical ones found. There is also a big difference between fresh and frozen. Pay attention to what you are buying. Sure, they may cost a little more, but believe me they are worth it!
If you want to go bird-free try a Thanksgiving dinner with sautéed tofu and gravy with mushrooms, shallots, or cashews. These options can be just as delicious, and often, more healthy. There are lots of recipes on the internet.

Five: Decorate simply. Use natural beeswax or soy candles, and use natural items to decorate your Thanksgiving table; after all, that’s what the Pilgrims used. Spread an assortment of small pumpkins, gourds, apples, pinecones, acorns, and dry fall leaves down the center of the table. A bowl or basket with fall fruits, Indian corn, interspersed with colored candles is festive and inexpensive. The colors and unfussiness will be a simple reminder of what Thanksgiving is really all about – a celebration and thankfulness for the freedoms and bounty we share in this country.

Six: Here is one of my favorites – do not forget to bring your own containers! After the feasting has finished and the clean-up has begun, do not throw out all of those leftovers – everyone should pull out all of the containers they brought from home, so they can share in the spoils; hopefully, even the pot luck dishes. This is how we do it in our family. I do not want to come home with some fruit casserole and a bit of leftover pie that I brought (we usually have about five or six pies!); but, I am happy to share all of my leftovers so that I can come home with more of a complete mini-meal for the next day. Talk about recycling!

Seven: Sharing. Share your time, your day, and your heart. Perhaps this is the year that you and your family will gather at a local soup kitchen and serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless, or deliver Thanksgiving dinner to a less fortunate family. It may be the best Thanksgiving you have ever experienced and may lead to a lifelong tradition, a life of giving and a more sincere sense of thanksgiving you have ever felt before.
Thanksgiving does not have to be complicated or stressful to be enjoyable. With just a little preplanning and a commitment to ꞌsimpleꞌ you can make this one of your most memorable Thanksgiving’s yet.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Recycling is a Trip

Mom recycles her way to Italy

To teach her children a lesson about recycling, a California mom paid for a "trip of a lifetime" to Italy for her and her husband using only money she made from recycling cans and plastic. KNBC-TV's Jennifer Bjorklund reports.
After Cheryl Davidson's two teenage kids scoffed at her longtime recycling habit, she decided to prove that every nickel counts.
In an interview with Los Angeles NBC affiliate KNBC, Davidson recounted the challenge she gave herself: "I said, 'OK, you know that trip Dad and I are going to take to Italy the fall before my 50th birthday? I said, 'What if I could pay for it with recycles?' "
That was three-and-a-half years ago. Davidson quickly started the "Tuscany fund" and saved over over $7,000, which she recently spent on a two-week trip to Italy.
Davidson, who is an interior decorator in Sherman Oaks, Calif., told that her obsession with recycling began decades ago. "I just hate litter," she said
Davidson collects glass, tin and plastic recyclables everywhere and anywhere, from the gyms frequented by her sports-playing children to her neighborhood's streets. If she's at dinner with friends and a bottle of wine is ordered, Davidson will take the empty bottle with her. "There's not a day that goes by where I don't find something," she said.
Her haul has gotten so big that she no longer recycles piece by piece. Instead, she takes it to a center where it is weighed by the pound. Davidson couldn't estimate how many pounds got her to Italy.
The trip had been in the works since Davidson's early 30s when she and a best friend swore they'd visit Italy just before their 50th birthdays. Davidson and her husband used airplane miles to get to Italy. The "Tuscany fund" was spent on 4-star hotels, a rental car, a train ride from Florence to Rome and even a villa rental in Tuscany. "Leather and shoes were not included," she jokingly said.
Davidson acknowledged that some might see her habit as a bit odd. When she snatches a stray bottle or can in public, friends and family members have been known to occasionally ask, "Really, Cheryl, do you have to do this?"
Her response? "I'm doing this because I believe in it."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reusable Bags

Highlight this story
North Carolina Big Sweep
When shopping retail or at the grocery store, reusable grocery bags are an alternative to plastic bags. According to S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, plastic bags take up to 20 years to degrade depending on environmental conditions and the composition of the bag. Thousands of whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine mammals die every year after eating discarded plastic bags they mistake for food. Shop smart and do your part! Megan Henderson, N.C. Big Sweep Board member

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tours and Presentations

This week has been quite busy with tours and presentations.  The audience includes the Surfside Garden Club, two Craven Community College classes, the ECA Homemakers and Leadership Craven.

If your clubs, organizations or classes would like a program or a tour just me a call at 252-633-1564.  I promise you will have a great time and learn all about the destination of your trash.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Swat-A- Litter Bug

‎#14 The Swat-A-Litterbug Program provides every citizen an opportunity to be an active participant in ensuring the roadways of North Carolina are kept clean, beautiful, and safe. To obtain Swat-A-Litterbug cards, call 1-800-331-5864. Erin Oliverio, N.C. Big Sweep Board member

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

America Recycles Day

Since 1997, communities across the country have come together on November 15 to celebrate America Recycles Day. More than a celebration, America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling in the United States. One day to educate and motivate. One day to get our neighbors, friends and community leaders excited about what can be accomplished when we all work together. One day to make recycling bigger and better 365 days a year.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Welcome Bobby

Today we welcome Bobby Darden to our team.  He will be leading our team as he begins his role as our Executive Director.

Welcome Bobby!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rugs Made From Cigarettes

PHOTOS: Rug Made From Cigarettes

Xu Bing, Honor and Splendor, 2004, Tobacco Project, tiger skin rug, cigarettes, tobacco, rug
"First Class," 2011. Photo: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Chinese contemporary artist Xu Bing has been fascinated by the tobacco industry for more than 10 years. Bing, who was born in the Zhejiang province in 1955, first began adding cigarette pieces to his Tobacco Project series in 2000. And he just added three new eye-catching exhibits to the collection, including this awe-inspiring “tiger skin” rug made from 500,000 cigarettes.
While using cigarettes to craft a home decor piece may sound a little unconventional, it isn’t the first time Bing has given it a try. He assembled his first cigarette rug exhibit, entitled “Honor and Splendor,” in 2004 from 660,000 “Wealth” brand cigarettes. His second rug installation, called “First Class,” was just completed this year and makes a stunning addition to the cigarette collection.
Xu Bing, Honor and Splendor, 2004, building, tiger skin rug, rug, cigarettes, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Tobacco Project
It took dozens of assistants to help craft "Honor and Splendor" in Shanghai in 2004. Photo: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
You may be tempted to curl up on these rugs in front of a fireplace. But that may not be such a good idea. The hundreds of thousands of “Wealth” brand cigarettes will likely be less than comfortable. Dozens of assistants collaborated to execute Bing’s vision for the monstrous exhibits.
Xu Bing, First Class, 2011, tiger skin rug, cigarettes, tobacco, Tobacco Project, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia
"First Class," 2011. Photo: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Bing’s “First Class” piece is comprised of 500,000 cigarettes, adhesive and carpeting. The enormous rug weighs in at about 440 pounds and gets its tiger-like stripes from the tan and white color variations in the butts Bing chose.
Xu Bing, First Class, 2011, Tobacco Project, tiger skin rug, cigarettes, tobacco, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
"First Class," 2011. Photo: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Bing’s most recent “First Class” rug, along with another new piece and two classics from the Tobacco Project collection, will be on display at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts until Dec. 4. The collection will be moved to the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Conn. in January of next year. So, if you’re planning a road trip to the East Coast, this collection is definitely a must-see

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Recycling Soap

Hotel Soap Recycling Benefits Children in Need

Derreck Kayongo, Global Soap Project, Hilton Worldwide, Hilton hotels, hotel soap, soap, Africa
Derreck Kayongo, Global Soap Project founder, examines a stack of freshly-made soaps before distributing them to at-risk children. Photo: Global Soap Project/Business Wire
Unlimited access to tiny individually-wrapped soaps is one of the many perks of a hotel stay. But what happens to soaps that aren’t used (or pilfered) during your visit? The answer may surprise you.
More than two million partially used bars of soap are discarded at North American hotels each day, according to the Global Soap Project. Even if hotel soaps haven’t been used, quality control standards usually prohibit cleaning staff from reusing the same soaps for multiple guests – especially if the paper wrapping is wet or opened. So, unused and partially used soaps are often destined for the landfill.
But Hilton Worldwide is planning to change all that at its 3,750 hotels by partnering with the Global Soap Project to recycle old soaps for a cause, the company announced on Tuesday. The Atlanta-based nonprofit will collect partially used soaps from Hilton and its subsidiaries, sanitize them and reprocess them into new bars – which are then distributed in developing countries.
Recycling soap eliminates a common hotel waste product and provides free sanitation options for people who are at risk of hygiene-related diseases, said Derreck Kayongo, founder of the Global Soap Project.
“When living as a refugee in Kenya, I realized soap was hard to come by, even completely nonexistent sometimes,” Kayongo remembered. “Even when available, those living on less than a dollar a day had to choose between buying food or soap. People were suffering from illness simply because they couldn’t wash their hands.”
Hand washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for more than 3.5 million child deaths each year, the nonprofit said.
The hotel giant expects their donations to yield 1 million new four-ounce bars of soap in the partnership’s first year. In addition to donating soap, Hilton is investing $1.3 million over the next three years to help expand the nonprofit’s processing capabilities. The company said it hopes to help the Global Soap Project recycle the high volumes of soap generated by the sector, at zero cost to hotel properties.
The nonprofit is “thrilled” with the partnership and hopes it will empower other hotel companies to recycle their soap to support those in need, Kayongo said. Since its inception in 2009, the Global Soap Project has distributed more than 25 tons of soap in 20 countries across four continents.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

Thank you Veterans!

In observance of Veterans Day, our Administrative Offices will be closed today.  The landfill and transfer stations will operate on their regular scedule.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Saving Trees

‎#9 If we recycled all of the newspapers printed in the U.S. on a typical Sunday, we would save 550,000 trees--or about 26 million trees per year. Rick Prather, N.C. Big Sweep Board member

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Groovy Green Glass

From Urban Mining

Groovy Green Glasses
Groovy Green Glass creates unique, handmade, eco-friendly products from bottles used in the local restaurants of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Since there is no recycling program in place for these restaurants, Groovy Green Glass partners with them and collects their used wine, liquor and beer bottles. Once collected, the glass bottles are turned into useful products such as drink-ware, bowls, pendant lights, lamps, and even jewelry.

Monday, November 7, 2011

UNC Solid Waste Composition

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hey Hey, EC, You Look Clean to Me

Recycle Bins

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Volunteer and Tailgate

Friday, November 4, 2011

The 3 R's of Your Closet

From NC Green Power:

Apply the 3 R’s to your closet: Reduce by removing clothes you no longer wear, Reuse and Recycle by donating to a local clothing thrift store.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Earth 911; From Car Parts to Spider Man

PHOTOS: Spiderman Table Made From Car Parts

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Photo: Etsy/Kreatworks
Recycled materials are finding their way into some pretty crazy stuff these days. But this one deserves a closer look. This handmade Spiderman end table is a comic-lover’s dream, and it’s all made from recycled car parts.

In their studio in Bangkok, Thailand, the artists behind the Etsy shop Kreatworks transformed scraps collected from cars, motorcycles and other machinery into a metal version of the Marvel hero. The end result is a massive 110-pound giant that’s sure to scare off any bad guys who may try to take over your living room.
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Photo: Etsy/Kreatworks
This unique table walks the line between art and functionality. The design is surely sculpture-like, but Spidey’s web holds a standard glass tabletop for a dramatic decor statement. The eye-catching table stands about 1 1/2 feet tall and 3 1/2 feet wide, and it’s carefully lacquered to prevent scratches and rust.
Spiderman, Spiderman table, Marvel, comic, table, decor, Kreatworks, Etsy
Photo: Etsy/Kreatworks
In addition to the comic book legend, the scrap geniuses at Kreatworks craft nearly-life-size sculptures of just about anything – ranging from a horse to a pirate captain to a creepy alien. Each piece is carefully assembled from scrap metal, car parts and end-of-life machinery – showing creative skill and green prowess.
Spiderman, Spiderman table, Marvel, comic, table, decor, Kreatworks, Etsy
Photo: Etsy/Kreatworks
If the comic-loving kid inside of you just has to add this Spiderman table to your family room, you’re in luck. You can actually purchase it online at the Kreatworks Etsy shop (just try not to be overwhelmed by the $2,200 price tag). It may be a bit of a splurge, but the piece takes loads of man hours to craft – making the price seem a little more reasonable. Want a closer look? Check out Kreatworks on Etsy or Facebook to catch a glimpse of every detail.

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