Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Environment takes the pole at Daytona Speedway

From Waste and Recycling

Environment takes the pole at Daytona Speedway

During Monday´s Daytona 500, the green flag – not the checkered one – was the signal the day´s winner: the environment.

Every time the flag is waved, Daytona International Speedway will plant 10 trees in the surrounding area as part of the NASCAR Green Clean Air initiative that began in 2009.

The green flag indicates the start of the race for the drivers and 182,000 spectators at the famed track, but it also has symbolized a growing commitment to sustainability in recent years by NASCAR and speedways across the country.

"That´s a positive outcome coming out of the race weekend to promote the sport´s sustainability program," said Andrew Gurtis, vice president of operations for Daytona International Speedway. "[NASCAR] wanted to do something in the community that would help offset the impact of the racetrack."

In fall 2008, NASCAR Green was launched to lessen the motorsport´s environmental footprint through a number of methods, including partnering with tracks to plant trees and transitioning to ethanol-blended fuels that burn cleaner.

Mike Lynch, managing director of NASCAR Green Innovation, said the tree program has become a symbolic event for communities and will be a permanent fixture in the sport going forward.

Last year, Daytona International Speedway planted 110 trees across three locations at the Daytona Beach International Airport, while 100 trees were planted on the grounds of four Flagler County schools in 2010.

More than 1,000 trees have been raised nationwide since the program´s inception. Track participation grew to more than 20 in 2011 after starting with 11 tracks in 2009.

"That´s become something way beyond what we thought it would be. Each of these trees, because they´re so mature, you can expect most of them to survive," Lynch said. "It´s a very good neutralization of our carbon output."

NASCAR decided to push for sustainability in 2008 because they felt the country was "tilting in a green direction," but Lynch said there were critics who believed an environmental focus in a motorsport was an oxymoron.

NASCAR saw things differently and formed alliances with U.S.-based companies like Coca-Cola and Safety-Kleen, a Plano, Texas-based company that collects used oil from race tracks and refines it, to execute a strategy based on three guiding concepts: Conservation of the environment; American job creation; and strengthening American energy independence.

Last season, NASCAR´s three national touring series started using Sunoco E15, a racing fuel consisting of 15% ethanol that was formed from American-grown corn in U.S.-based refineries and production facilities.

The fuel not only cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, but teams also have reported horsepower increases of 6% to 8%.

Waste collection at Daytona´s speedway is a multi-pronged effort that encompasses everything from beverage containers to racing byproducts such as used motor oil, gasoline, brake fluids and antifreeze.

Last year 6.1 tons of aluminum, mostly beverage cans, was collected at the speedway along with 50 tons of cardboard from packaging materials and 20.8 tons of steel.

In addition, Gurtis said Safety-Kleen takes potentially hazardous fluids off-site to its facilities. The company re-refines more than 140 million gallons of used motor oil annually – with 180,000 gallons coming from 200 NASCAR-sanctioned races – and sells it.

Coca-Cola Recycling, a NASCAR Green partner since 2008, will place 600-700 bins at Daytona; roll out its Recycling Education Vehicle to educate consumers on the benefits of recycling; and showcase their Reimagine recycling center that processes bottles, said Mary Anne Biddiscombe, director of customer solutions and consumer education at Coca-Cola Recycling. Beer company Anheuser-Busch will provide bins as well.

Biddiscombe said the company coordinates with tracks to make sure the 10,000 bins they disperse each year are placed next to trash cans in popular congregation spots.

In 2011, Coca-Cola debuted its Portable Processing Center at Daytona as part of a pilot-program with NASCAR.

The processer, which is brought in on a tractor trailer, separates, sorts and crushes drink containers so they can be baled and reused.

"We were able to process material and collect almost 200,000 containers at Daytona last year – not all of them Coke, by the way," Biddiscombe said.

Contact Waste & Recycling News reporter Vince Bond at or 313-446-1653.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Textile Recycling Is Thriving in New York

Textile Recycling Is Thriving in New York

A bin for recycling clothing, flanked by two like-minded companions.
Re-fashioNYCA bin for recycling clothing, flanked by two like-minded companions.
Less than a year after introducing a textile recycling program in New York City, supporters have pronounced it a grand success.

Last May, the city formed a partnership with Housing Works, a group that helps homeless people who are H.I.V.-positive, to pick up donated clothing at apartment buildings in one of the first large-scale consumer textile recycling programs in the country. The goal is to capture most of the 200,000 tons of apparel and other textiles that New Yorkers throw away each year but that could be reused instead and thereby reduce the city’s garbage disposal costs.
At a City Council hearing on Friday, Department of Sanitation officials reported that over 50 tons of textiles were donated in the first six months of the program. That amount is expected to rise to more than 300 tons for the second half of the first year. Why? Buildings are clamoring for recycling bins.

While about 130 buildings are now taking part, the Department of Sanitation is still processing requests and more than 1,000 inquiries. Donations are tax-deductible, and the program, called Re-fashioNYC, is paying for itself through sales of donated items.

“When we set up this program, I had a feeling that New Yorkers would really respond, and they have,” said
Jessica Lappin, a city councilwoman who sponsored the legislation establishing the program. “We’re off to a great start.

Almost every clothing item, including shoes and accessories like handbags and belts, can be recycled. The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, a trade group, emphasizes that materials like stained or ripped clothing, buttons and zippers can be processed and reborn as wiping cloths, carpet padding and other products.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Will Mardi Gras Beads Be Recycled?

Will Mardi Gras Beads Be Recycled?

Community groups in New Orleans are working to collect and reuse the estimated 25 million pounds of plastic Mardi Gras beads that come through the city every year. Photo: Flickr/Mark Gstohl

An estimated 25 million pounds of plastic beads make their way through New Orleans every Mardi Gras, according to the Los Angeles Times. And because they can’t be processed by local recyclers, they often end up as litter in nearby waterways or dumped in landfills.  But several local community groups are working to collect this year’s Mardi Gras beads and reuse them at other events.

The Arc of Greater New Orleans, a nonprofit that provides jobs for individuals with mental disabilities, has introduced a “Catch and Release” float that encourages party-goers to toss back their baubles at the end of the parade, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Collected beads are bundled and resold at discounted prices for next year’s festivities or for other celebrations throughout the year, including St. Patrick’s Day.

The trailer was showered with 1,000 pounds of beads during its debut at a Feb. 5 parade in Metairie, La. – 1,000 pounds of plastic that will be kept out of the landfill, Margie Perez, Arc’s recycling coordinator, told the Times-Picayune. The float will follow two other parades this season.

VerdiGras, a nonprofit that aims to green Mardi Gras, also collaborated with Arc this year to pilot a parade-route recycling program, setting out bins for beads, paper, plastic and aluminum along a six-block stretch of Feb. 11’s Krewe of Pontchartrain parade.

Arc will also be collecting unwanted beads at four locations throughout New Orleans and the neighboring cities of Metairie and Westwego. Last year, Arc accumulated 100,000 pounds of beads through school bead drives, bead recycling bins stationed at grocery stores and donations from private citizens.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Business of Recycling and Garbage

A recycling bin overflows with water bottles on an unseasonably warm late-September day, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. - http:/

A recycling bin overflows with water bottles on an unseasonably warm late-September day, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The Business of Recycling and Garbage
Americans generate some two hundred and fifty million tons of waste every year. Our options are to bury, burn or recycle it. Over half of it is buried in landfills, often after being transported across states lines. This is in part why garbage is a seventy billion dollar industry. Recycling is about a third of that business. It’s been praised as a huge environmental success, in the U.S. more people recycle than vote.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I-BeamDesign pallet house

I-BeamDesign pallet house

Thank you I-BeamDesign

Prototype built for Prince Charles Royal Gardens in conjunction with IBM, The Financial Times, and The Earth Awards. – LONDON, UK. 2010

This shelter was designed for refugees in Kosovo, back in 2006. Now it is being developed by i-beam design for use as inexpensive and efficient low-cost housing not only for people displaced by natural disasters but also as a solution for affordable pre-fab housing. In most cases in a disaster relief effort, many of the pallets will arrive as part of the transportation of food and materials; so the basic materials are there already. The shelters can be built by hand at a rate of 500-600 pallets per day. One transitional shelter measuring 10’ x 20’ would take 80 pallets to build and cost approximately $500.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lego My Jewelry

Couture Jewelry Made From LEGOs

Inspired by haute couture and reclaimed materials, San Francisco-based artist and jewelry designer Emiko Oye has experimented with loads of unconventional mediums – including circuit boards, recycled plastics and scrap metals.

But in 2006, the reware artist stumbled upon an even more unconventional material for her creations – LEGO® building blocks. Since then, Oye has been using the colorful toys to craft couture jewelry inspired by everything from early 20th Century royalty to current designers like Vivianne Westwood.
jewelry, necklace, show piece, show necklace, show jewelry, Emiko Oye, The Duchess
"The Duchess," Emiko Oye. 2008. Photo: Christine Dhein
One of Oye’s first ventures into the world of LEGO® jewelry design was for her “My First Royal Jewels” exhibition collection in 2008 – which the artist called a modern-day interpretation of early 20th Century creations from the likes of Harry Winston and Cartier.

Although her LEGO® pieces reflect wealth and luxury, it is the personal connection viewers make with the unique material that keeps Oye interested. “People would see my work, and I could see them kind of go inside their memories and bring out happy moments,” Oye remembered. “People really connected with the material on a personal level…That’s what’s fun for me is the personal story.”

"Queen Margherita," Emiko Oye. 2007. Photo: Christine Dhein
Also included in Oye’s “My First Royal Jewels” collection, this show neckpiece – dubbed “Queen Margherita” – converts into three bracelets, two necklaces and one broach. Oye used coated copper wire, rubber cording, silver and steel in addition to LEGO® pieces to complete the neckpiece.

The initial Royal Jewels collection was created as an interactive installation at the San Francisco Museum of Craft+Design in 2008, where the public was invited to try on a repurposed piece as if it was their own.
jewelry, Emiko Oye, necklace, neckpiece, show jewelry, show necklace,
"Dawning," Emiko Oye. 2010. Photo: Emiko Oye
Many of Oye’s pieces are inspired by famous art, including this one modeled after Louise Nevelson’s “Dawn’s Wedding Feast,” a recycled wood installation that debuted in 1959. By expertly crafting LEGO® pieces into unique shapes, Oye transforms the children’s toys into chic and sophisticated statement jewelry fit for a queen.
necklace, show necklace, showpiece, Emiko Oye, Winter's Brush, jewelery
"Winter's Brush," Emiko Oye. 2011. Photo: Aura O'Brien Photography
This piece, called “Winter’s Brush,” is currently on display as part of The Art of Seduction exhibit at The Rouse Gallery in Columbia, Md. To evoke a sensual appeal, Oye combined recycled makeup brushes with LEGO® blocks for a look mimicking “The Russian Bride’s Attire,” an 1889 oil painting by Konstantin Makovsky.
jewelry, Emiko Oye, Dia de los Muertos de Westwood, necklace, neckpiece, showpiece, show jewelry
"Dia de los Muertos de Westwood," Emiko Oye. Photo: Christine Dhein
LEGO® blocks aren’t the only materials that inspire Oye. She also creates pieces from other reclaimed materials – like this one made from found jewelry and costume jewelry. This piece – entitled “Dia de las Muertos de Westwood” – was made as a donation for Ethical Metalsmith‘s Radical Jewelry Makeover exhibition in 2008.

In addition to creating showpieces, Oye also launched a ready-to-wear line called emiko-o reware – which includes versatile pieces priced as low as $15. “I really wanted to be accessible to the everyday person as well as making statement pieces in art-type settings,” Oye said of the collection. “These pieces are ready-to-wear for anyone.”
To check out more of Oye’s work and browse her reware collection, head to her online store or Etsy shop.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

NBA All-Star Game Goes Green

NBA All-Star Game Goes Green

All-Star Game events are expected to draw more than 100,000 fans to the Orlando area. Photo: Flickr/rondostar

The NBA is teaming up with Sprint, Keep Orlando Beautiful and the Natural Resources Defense Council to make sure the 2012 All-Star Game is their most sustainable event to date.
Sprint and the NBA will partner with the city of Orlando, Keep Orlando Beautiful and Creative Recycling to host the NBA All-Star E-Recycling Day at Orlando Festival Park on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Fans who drop off their old electronics will receive two tickets per car to the NBA All-Star Jam Session – a four-day interactive basketball event featuring 500,000 square feet of All-Star entertainment – on Feb. 23 or Feb. 24 while supplies last. If that’s not enough of a reason to show up and recycle, former NBA player Bo Outlaw will also be on hand to welcome participants.

A collection drive for mobile phones will also be held at an Orlando-area Sprint store on Feb. 17, and former All-Star Nick Anderson will be in attendance.
READ: Green Sports Alliance Quadruples in 4 Months

“All-Star E-Recycling Day underscores the NBA and Sprint’s shared commitment to raise environmental awareness and encourage fans to do their part,” said Todd Jacobson, NBA senior vice president of community relations. “Thanks to guidance from the NRDC, the NBA and its teams continue to take steps to reduce our energy consumption and waste and hopefully together with Sprint and our fans we can continue to make a difference.”

In partnership with NRDC, the NBA will also introduce additional greening efforts to make NBA All-Star 2012 environmentally friendly and sustainable. Eco efforts include expanding recycling in the arena and Jam Session, increasing environmental education programs, utilizing sustainable flatware and conserving energy, NBA representatives said.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

iPhone Case is Made from Trash

This iPhone Case is Made from Trash

Re-Case, Miniwiz, iPhone, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, case, carrier, protecter, recycled, made from trash, trash
Photo: Miniwiz

Looking for an eco-friendly case for your iPhone 4S? Check out the innovative Re-Case from Miniwiz, a carrier that uses trash and agricultural by-products to protect your phone in style.
The company combines by-products from the rice farming industry with post-consumer thermoplastics – including plastic bottles and bottle caps – to form its POLLIBER™ material, which is used for the Re-Case along with other products like the Re-Wine wine case and Polli-Brick™ building materials.

Reprocessed rice husks counteract the strength polypropylene loses as it is recycled – meaning a highly durable and recyclable material that is “able to be manufactured at an unbeatable minimum of CO2 emissions,” the company said.

Made from “100 percent trash” in accordance with the company’s slogan, the Re-Case not only holds your beloved iPhone but also credit cards for maximum functionality.

In addition to eco benefits, the ripple design of the Re-Case creates a tactile effect that is said to have stress-relieving properties, according to the company. So, checking those work emails may become surprisingly relaxing!

The Re-Case is available in six colors on Amazon and in the Miniwiz online store for $24.95

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Your Guide to Winter Composting

Your Guide to Winter Composting

Many people assume that chilly temperatures and snowy conditions rule out composting for the winter. But you can actually recycle your own organics year-round with a little extra maintenance. So, get out those shovels and empty those food scrap bins! Here is Earth911′s guide to winter composting.
Chilly temperatures and snowy conditions can make composting seem impossible. But recycling your own organics year-round is much easier than you'd think. All it takes is a little extra planning and maintenance. Photo: Flickr/andyarthur

1. Prepare for the slow-down

Composting is a biological process that decomposes organic material under aerobic conditions – meaning oxygen is required for bacteria to break materials down. The only trouble is – cold temperatures often slow or even stop decomposition, as aerobic bacteria often become more sluggish in the winter.

Even when the temperature drops, some microbes responsible for the breakdown of organic matter can remain active in the compost pile, according to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Since the digestion process generates heat, the center of your pile may still remain warm and actively composting.

However, the outer (visible) portion of your pile will cool to outdoor temperatures. So, you may notice increased decomposition time in these areas. Don’t worry about it. Once the temperature warms up, microbial activity will resume as normal as long as you maintain a healthy balance in your pile.
READ: How to Troubleshoot Your Compost Pile

2. Build a shelter

Constructing a shelter for your compost pile is the No. 1 way to help keep it active for the entire winter season. Start by building a protective barrier around your pile with cinderblocks, bricks, sand bags or plywood, suggest the University of Illinois Extension. A barrier between your compost pile and the frigid winter air will help keep internal heat from escaping, promoting active decomposition.

Not sure where to get started? Check out these detailed plans for a compost pile shelter from the Greater Vancouver Regional District – which include necessary materials and measurements as well as step-by-step instructions. If your’e feeling extra-ambitious, use metal sheeting or plywood pieces to add a roof overtop.
SEE: How to Start a Compost Pile

3. Keep it dry

Compost piles should always be kept moist to ensure proper decomposition. But loads of winter snow and spring rain can actually drench your pile, which will force air out of pore spaces – killing your bacterial buddies. So, try to keep your pile dry and protected during the winter to ensure a healthy balance.

If you haven’t installed a roof over your pile, the best way to keep it dry is to cover with a tarp. Securely fasten the tarp of your choice over your pile using stakes, and keep an eye on it to make sure the wind doesn’t knock it free. In addition to keeping out precipitation, a tarp will also help trap internal heat for a more active pile.
READ: 8 Things You Can Compost Today

4. Add the right stuff

A balanced compost pile requires carbon-rich (also called brown) materials to give bacteria energy and nitrogen-rich (also called green) materials to help them grow strong and reproduce. While equal quantities of both materials are your best bet during the spring and summer, your pile needs more “brown” matter during the winter season.
Brown materials, which include leaves, tree branches and other yard waste, give microbes the energy to continue decomposition despite chilly temperatures. So, add as much of these materials as you can when temperatures are low.

So, what about food scraps and other “green” materials? Frigid temperatures impede bacteria’s ability to process these materials. So, give them a helping hand by shredding your green materials to particles less than two inches in size, suggests the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Smaller particles allow your pile to heat uniformly and will insulate it from outdoor temperatures, the organization said.

Compost shredders (like this one from Improvements) are available in stores and online for less than $200. But if you don’t want to shell out the cash for a store-bought shredder, check out this tutorial from Mother Earth News – which will show you how to make your own shredder from a self-propelled rotary lawn mower.
READ: Get the Most Outta Compost

5. Dig a hole and bury it

If you’re wary of loads of non-decomposed waste sitting on top of your pile until spring, take a different approach to composting until temperatures warm up. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service suggests digging a trench in the garden or flowerbed and adding organic waste (like kitchen scraps) little by little, making sure to bury the waste after each addition.

Don’t have a garden at home? Just dig a one-foot hole anywhere in the yard and cover it with a board or bricks until it is full of organic waste. Once your hole is full, bury it with soil, and dig another one to keep composting all winter long.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Junk Mail Art

Amazing Junk Mail Art

junk mail art

Sandhi Schimmel Gold creates creates beautiful mosaic portraits out of junk mail. Gold starts with a painting, then collages tiny, hand-cut paper "tiles" to the pieces. Her work features celebrity portraits in vibrant colors.

The idea behind Gold's art is to make a statement about beauty and consumption. Here's her artist statement:Junk Mail Art
My work reflects our society's obsession with beauty through advertising - and the endless images that bombard us daily. It is a purposeful intermix of images derived from advertising and thousands of incongruent pieces - images and text - from advertising that arrives through my mailbox. Assembled like a mosaic; thesel paper tiles create an entirely new image - an eclectic and tactile portrait reworked in my imagination, utilizing materials that would otherwise go to waste.
Of course, reusing junk mail is nothing new, but these beautiful portraits definitely take the idea of repurposing in a different direction and send a strong message at the same time!
by Becky Striepe    GreenUpgrader

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Recycled Glass Countertops

Stunning Recycled Glass Countertops

Americans generated 11.5 million tons of glass in 2010 – about 27 percent of which was recycled, according to the EPA. Nearly 90 percent of recycled glass is used to make new containers. But creative greenies are finding some slightly more unconventional uses for the material – filtering water, crafting jewelry and even decorating casinos.

kitchen, kitchen island, kitchen counter, counter, countertop, countertops, kitchen counter
Photo: Glass Recycled
Whaley’s company Glass Recycled mixes crushed post-consumer and industrial glass with epoxy resin to form stunning terrazzo designs for countertops, flooring and landscaping.
“The art of traditional terrazzo is difficult, costly and not very friendly to the environment,” the company said on its Website. “But with our techniques, we’re ‘upcycling’ glass that’s headed to landfills. In other words, we’re turning ‘trash glass’ into useful products.”
fruit, bowl of fruit, counter, kitchen counter, apples, bowl, bowl of apples, apple
Photo: Glass Recycled
Most companies that use recycled glass for decor combine the material with cement to create their terrazzo. But Glass Recycled uses a unique epoxy resin, which increases color and design possibilities, the company said.
Take a close look at this sparkling terrazzo design, and you’ll notice different colors of recycled glass in varying shapes, providing a truly unique look. Each Glass Recycled product utilizes 80 percent recycled glass or porcelain, according to the company.
bathroom, bathroom sink, sink, bathroom counter, counter, duck, ducky, rubber duck
Photo: Glass Recycled
Glass Recycled offers more than 400 terrazzo designs to suit any room of the house, like this blue and silver pattern that’s perfect for the bathroom. The Texas-based company reuses all production waste, and all of its products can be pulverized and reutilized to make new designs.
Glass Recycled, counter, countertop, countertops, recycled glass, terrazzo, table, tabletop
Photo: Glass Recycled
In addition to creating materials for countertops, flooring and landscaping, Glass Recycled also helps companies turn their own glass into new products that they can sell.
“Our goal is to create a ‘closed loop’ of recycled glass, where glass continues to be reused and recycled without ever reaching a landfill,” the company said.
kitchen, kitchen counter, fruit, bowl of fruit, vase, apples, bowl, bowl of apples, counter, countertop, kitchen counter
Photo: Glass Recycled
If you just have to have these stunning countertops in your eco pad, check out Glass Recycled for price lists, color choices and specifications

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Yarn Made From Recycled Newspaper

Yarn Made From Recycled Newspaper

Ivano Vitali, newspaper yarn, newspaper, yarn, crochet, ball of yarn, knitting
Photo: Ivano Vitali/
The list of “trashy fashion” creations grows longer every day – shoes made from plastic bottles, underwear made from wood and even a gown made from Ford Focus parts. But when we saw Italian artist Ivano Vitali‘s crochet pieces made from recycled newspaper, we had to take a closer look.

Vitali tears recycled newsprint into strips and expertly twists into balls of yarn without adding glue, coloring or silicone, reports ecouterre. He then uses custom-made needles and hooks – some as long as 8 feet – to crochet the newspaper yarn into stylish and functional fashion pieces, the site reported.

The artist, who has been dappling in the use of recycled materials for more than three decades, calls his creations “zero-impact global art,” as it requires nothing but trash (and loads of man-hours).
poncho, yarn, crochet, knit, knitting, Ivano Vitali, newspaper, newspaper yarn
Photo: Ivano Vitali/
Vitali uses his innovative newspaper yarn to crochet everyday pieces like vests, socks and this stylish poncho, which was created using a giant crochet hook for a unique appearance. His work also includes tapestries, hats and even a wedding gown made from newsprint.
To get a closer look at Vitali’s crochet collection made from newspaper, head to the artist’s online portfolio – which includes current installations and exhibitions dating back to 1994.

Friday, February 17, 2012

EPA: Cruise Ship Sewage Discharge Banned

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal environmental regulators have given final approval to a rule that bans cruise ships and large cargo vessels from releasing sewage into the ocean within three miles of California's coast.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that the new rule will strengthen existing state law which bans cruise ships from releasing a host of toxic pollutants into coastal waters.
EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld said the rule bans all sewage discharges, treated or not, along California's 1,624-mile coast and around major islands.
Blumenfeld said the "no discharge zone" will prevent more than 20 million gallons of vessel sewage from entering the state's coastal waters.

The rules will cover cruise liners, which can hold 6,000 people at a time, and cargo vessels of 300 gross tons or more

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gifts Made from Recycled Materials

Gifts Made from Recycled Materials

Radical reuse at its coolest.

Bike Chain Bottle Opener

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

State Agencies Launch Program to Recognize Green Travel-Related Businesses

State Agencies Launch Program to Recognize Green Travel-Related Businesses

RALEIGH – The N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach, in partnership with the Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University, have launched the NC GreenTravel Initiative, a program that recognizes state travel-related businesses that employ healthy environmental practices. 

“This program is a way to spotlight North Carolina’s commitment to sustainable practices and recognize businesses that have integrated greener practices into their daily routine,” said Edythe McKinney, director of the Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. “Hopefully those who visit businesses recognized as NC GreenTravel sites will see how conservation and waste reduction can be integrated into their home or business.”

According to many business analysts, using sustainable practices in the tourism industry brings environmental benefits and can also help businesses save money through reduced energy and water use, and reduction of waste.  In addition, it can generate more income for those “green” businesses that cater to the growing sector of the public who are interested in purchasing environmentally friendly products and services.

While several other states have created programs to certify “green” hotels, North Carolina’s NC GreenTravel Initiative goes a step beyond by awarding special recognition to hotels, restaurants, museums, parks, attractions and other tourism-related businesses for their environmental sustainability accomplishments.
Businesses seeking recognition by the NC GreenTravel Initiative can submit an online application. The application features categories related to recycling, energy management, water conservation and other sustainable actions, along with an associated score. Once the points are tallied, the business is awarded recognition on one of three levels based on its overall score.

Applicants that are recognized by the NC GreenTravel Initiative will receive a wall certificate and door decal identifying them as members of the NC GreenTravel community. They will also be listed as a sustainable travel business on the NC GreenTravel website at

For information about the program, contact Tom Rhodes, NC GreenTravel program coordinator, at or 919-707-8140; or Alex Naar, director of sustainable tourism outreach at East Carolina University, at  or 252-737-1346.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love the Earth

Happy Valentine's Day

Monday, February 13, 2012

North Carolina's Disposal Rate Drops to Historic Low

North Carolina's Disposal Rate Drops to Historic Low Due to Economy, Increased Recycling

by N.C. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources on Thursday, 9 February 2012 at 10:41
North Carolinians threw away less per capita in 2010-2011 than at any time in nearly 20 years, according to the state’s latest report and analysis of solid waste management.

The 2010-2011 North Carolina Solid Waste and Materials Management Report indicates a historic drop in the state per capita disposal rate, which fell below one ton per person for the first time since fiscal year 1991-92. Continuing recycling efforts and decreased statewide construction contributed to this development. For 2010-11, the state per capita disposal rate was .99 tons; the previous rate, also historically low, was 1.07 tons per capita.

“Our data shows yet again that the state’s disposal rate is influenced heavily by the economy,” said Dexter Matthews, director of the state Division of Waste Management. “We are pleased to note that continually expanding state recycling efforts are also contributing to the reduction reflected in this report.”

More information can be found online at, including a link to the full report.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stick Your Neck Out

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Touchdown For Waste Management

Packers, Waste Management to recycle materials from disassembled scoreboards

As the Lambeau Field expansion project continues, the Green Bay Packers are working with recycling partner Waste Management to recycle the dismantled scoreboards.

Due to the rarity of scoreboards being recycled, the amount of what can be recovered is unknown. However, the materials that are hoped to be salvaged for recycling include steel, aluminum, vinyl, ad panels, wiring, circuit boards, LED display units, and all lighting fixtures.
The boards will be partially disassembled at Lambeau Field while the vinyl ad panels, steel and aluminum are taken to a local refinery, where they will be processed and supplied to steel mills, foundries and manufacturers as feedstock. The video panels will be dissembled to recover recyclable metals and plastic, which will be graded, processed and shipped for further processing. The lighting will be processed to remove mercury, gas and other elements of concern, in order to recover the glass and metal for recycling.

“As part of our green initiative that we focus on each year, we hope to get all of the components of the scoreboards to be recycled,” said Ted Eisenreich, Packers director of facility operations. “We started taking the scoreboard down a week and a half ago, and we thinking in the next couple of weeks it will be completely done.”

“Electronics are full of metals, glass and even plastic that we can readily recycle,” said Dan Roddan, Waste Management account manager. “Waste Management is thrilled to join the Packers in this innovative effort to save energy and natural resources.”

The installation of new Mitsubishi Diamond Vision video boards, which will measure 108 feet wide and 48 feet high, will begin this spring and the boards will be operational for the 2012 season.

The expansion of Lambeau Field will also include approximately 6,700 new seats in the south end zone, a new gate and rooftop viewing platform in the north end zone.

The Packers are financing the costs of the $143 million project with no involvement of public tax money, including general and sales taxes. Components include a traditional loan and proceeds from the stock sale. The team may also obtain funding from the NFL and the stadium district’s user fee program.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kraft Foods = Zero Waste

Kraft Foods achieves zero waste at 36 plants

FBR Staff Writer Published 03 February 2012
American food company Kraft Foods has announced that its 36 facilities have achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status, including 24 plants in Europe and 12 facilities in North America.
In addition, many plants have reduced manufacturing waste significantly through partnerships to put waste to work, the company said.

In 2007, Kraft Foods introduced a program with the global recycling company Sonoco Recycling, using its Sonoco Sustainability Solutions (S3) service offering to substantially lower waste in plants. The program is aimed at sending zero waste to landfills.
Global Sustainability vice president Christine McGrath said that Kraft Foods has 36 facilities in 13 countries that send zero waste to landfills, and the company has reduced its manufacturing waste by 50% since 2005.

"Our strategy is simple: generate less waste and find new uses for the waste we do produce," McGrath added.

Kraft Foods markets biscuits, confectionery, beverages, cheese, grocery products and convenient meals in approximately 170 countries. Its popular brands include - Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, LU, Maxwell House, Milka, Nabisco, Oreo, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Tang and Trident.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Furnish Your Home with Reclaimed Hardwoods

Sustainable Choice: Furnish Your Home with Reclaimed Hardwoods

February 8, 2012  1.800.recycling

Rich in character and region specific, repurposed wood planks are becoming a huge hit in green home-makeover projects.
When the calendar turns to a new year, it is almost inevitably chalk full of improvement projects. Many people target bettering themselves physically, while others focus on their surroundings by sprucing up the home. Renovations offer nearly limitless projects to undertake, and those with a sustainable slant might want to start from the ground up (literally) by concentrating on the booming usage of reclaimed wood flooring.

Fitting snuggly into the “reuse” column of the Three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), reclaimed wood offers the option of a beautiful and earth-friendly way to update a home while limiting dependence on environmental resources.

Aged Woods recycled oak Sustainable Choice: Furnish Your Home with Reclaimed Hardwoods
Aged Woods' Bunkhouse Plank reclaimed oak flooring
To many, an old barn is nothing more than an eyesore, but for those committed to sustainable building practices, old barn siding or dilapidated flooring in a century-old building is a gold mine of reusable resources.

Companies like Aged Woods, Inc. of York, PA, offer customers the chance to own antique planks that have been “carefully re-milled from recycled wood” salvaged from “old weathered and distressed barnwood.” The company promotes the environmental benefits and multitude of uses of reclaimed wood as “the sustainable choice to add unique and authentic rustic character to residences, retail stores, restaurants, casinos, country clubs, etc.”
Further, Aged Woods, Inc. distinguishes between various types of woods commonly used for flooring: antique oak, antique white pine, antique yellow pine and antique maple. Other, rarer species are also offered from the company, including antique American chestnut, antique hickory and antique heart pine. Amazingly, this wood is reclaimed from “agricultural out-buildings, i.e. barns, ranging in age from 75 years to as much as 200 years.”

It is not hard to see why reclaimed wood is the smarter, more eco-friendly choice. Utilizing wood that has previously been employed in another structure means that new trees are not cut down and milled for new construction. What’s more, reclaimed wood is commonly region specific, meaning the reclaimed wood utilized in a given remodel or new construction project most likely came from a nearby demolition.

Taking wooden planks from demolished buildings even provides something that no freshly cut timber can: a sense of history. Aged Woods, Inc. explains this further when mentioning that such old wood “retains the patina and character imparted by the signs of old-time craftsmen and decades of wind, rain and sun.”

Reclaimed wood can be used for furniture and decorative purposes as well. In fact, the uses of reclaimed wood (or other building materials) might only be as limited as one’s practicality.
In Seattle, homeowners now grasp this idea fully and can boast about the reclaimed wood in their homes. Many local homes have utilized reclaimed wood that was the flooring from Garfield High School for decades. It’s not a stretch to imagine that these homes now have a piece of history, as music legend Jimmy Hendrix, former NBA star Brandon Roy and record producer Quincy Jones all walked the floors of this school.

If you are thinking of tidying up your property with some home-makeover work in the coming months, be sure to consider reclaimed wood. Who knows what amazing stories you might discover with this environmentally sustainable option?

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