Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

Recycling CD’s & DVD’s: What to Do

October 21st, 2014

With the steady decline in CD and DVD use, brought on by services like Netflix, Hulu and Steam, the US is looking at an ever-growing influx of obsolete and soon to be obsoletes discs. Most people think that since they are made from plastic, discs can be mixed in with the rest of the recyclables. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

cdsIn 1988, the Society of Plastics Industry (SPI) developed a classification system to help consumers and recyclers better understand the different types of plastic, as well as how to recycle them. Compact discs are categorized as a type 7 plastic, the most toxic kind of plastic available. Type 7 plastics basically comprise of a combination of other kinds of plastics not identified in the other six categories of the rating system. Most type 7 plastics contain Polylactides and Polycarbonates; especially the particularly toxic compound Bisphenol A (BPA). These compounds make for difficult recycling conditions that most centers are not prepared for.

You might be asking yourself “well, what can I do with my stack of old CD’s?” Your best option is to send them in to the CD Recycling Center of America. Not only can you send them CD’s, but cell phones, MP3 players, jewel cases, floppy discs, and computer cables as well. They do not charge for these services, although they do ask that all discs are mailed already disassembled as a courtesy (i.e. discs out of the cases, paper inserts removed from cases, etc.). Due to sponsorships from several CD/DVD manufacturers, they are able to keep their services free of charge, although they do ask for donations from the public to help (as little as 2 – 5 cents per disc makes a difference).

Recycling compact discs responsibly is just one more step towards limiting harmful waste and achieving sustainability.  For more information on the CD recycling process, check out the video below:

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Tips for a Waste Free School Year

October 7th, 2014

school-kidsThe beginning of autumn means the start of a new school year, marking a joyous occasion for parents and a tearful end to summer vacation for kids. In honor of this occasion, we decided to share a few tips that can make this school year your most eco-friendly to date:

-  Before shopping for new school supplies, take inventory of what supplies you already have and can use again this year. Should you have to get new materials, look for things you can get the most use out of (i.e., reloadable mechanical pencils).

- Aim for packing “waste-free” lunches. This includes implementing reusable containers and utensils and minimizing use of plastic snack bags. Remember to mark all reusable items with your child’s name and contact info should it be misplaced at school so they can be returned. For more info on how to pack waste-free lunches, check out http://www.wastefreelunches.org/.

-  Encourage your child to use 3 ring binders instead of spiral bound notebooks for note taking in class. Not only can binders be reused for different classes, but the binder paper can be easily removed for sorting and recycling as well.

-  Use grocery bags to maker covers for textbooks. Chances are that the school reuses textbooks, and covers help keep them in good condition for years to come.

-  Biking or walking to school helps keep air pollution from cars down, but gives kids a nice bit of exercise as well.  Should you live far enough away from the school to walk, coordinate with other parents in the area to start carpooling.

-  Work with your child’s school to promote eco-friendly activities, like starting a recycling program or a community compost bin. Programs like theses not only benefit the environment, but present learning opportunities for the children as well.

Amid legal strife, Oakland will return garbage contract to Waste Management

September 29th, 2014

84905_1280x720In a surprising turn of events, The City of Oakland has decided to bow out of the legal battle brought on by Waste Management and give back the contract that will keep the company in control of a majority of the waste collection services.

While the council’s unanimous vote allows California Waste Solutions (CWS) to still be in charge for collecting recyclables, garbage and compost collection duties will be the responsibility of Waste Management. This means that the hundred plus year relationship between Waste management and Oakland will continue.

Some city officials are meeting the decision with a sigh of relief. Under the previous contract, CWS would have had to drastically expand their operations in the city in a very short amount of time. This would include building new facilitates, acquiring 150 new trucks, and 300,000 new trash bins. Some officials whose advice fell on deaf ears suggested that the small East Bay company could not meet the lofty challenge.

On the other hand, a faction of officials who help get the contract in the hands of CWS in the first place are less than enthused. Councilwoman Desley Brooks offered her take on the situation, saying, “We have set a precedent here tonight that when people don’t get their way and they have enough money, they just do whatever they want to, say whatever they want to and there are no ramifications for what they do”.

As part of the new deal, Waste Management has agreed to drop the lawsuit, end the petition drive they started, and reimburse the city around $800,000 to cover their Oakland’s court costs.

(Source: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-OKs-waste-contract-compromise-5774321.php)

Waste Management taking Oakland to Court over Lost Contract

September 15th, 2014

In the wake of the recent controversy over the city of Oakland offering a 10-year contract to a rival company, Houston-based Waste waste_management_logo-320x220Management has decided to take their grievances to court.

Waste Management, the nations largest trash and recycling hauler, claims that the Oakland City Council hindered the bidding process in order to stack the odds in favor of the West Oakland-based California Waste Solutions (CWS). Citing the fact that CWS has never held a garbage hauling contract, submitted proposals past the agreed-upon due date, and failed to comply with Oakland’s contracting rules, Waste Management feels that the only reason Oakland awarded the valuable contract to CWS was due to “personal and political connections”.

Waste Management also adds that after they reviewed and rejected their proposal in May, City Council decided to re-open the bidding process and allow CWS to look at Waste Managements proposal in order to alter and re-submit a new proposal of their own (originally, CWS only wanted part of the contract, but was able to re-submit for the entire contract).

Not shockingly, the City Council is claiming no wrongdoing, as they feel they picked awarded the contract to the company that could provide the residents of Oakland the best value. Waste Managements proposal estimated that the city would have to endure no less then a 50 percent fee hike. City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan defended the choice saying, “It is completely normal to pick the one with the lowest price. We picked the one with the lowest price for the public. We saved the public $200 million.”

 

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Waste-Management-sues-Oakland-over-1-billion-5695911.php#photo-1922607

Leaky Pipes Not Helping California’s Drought

August 19th, 2014

droughtIt’s no secret that the Bay Area, as well as the rest of California, has been hit hard by this summer’s record-breaking drought. Unfortunately for Bay Area residents, newly released data on the condition of water pipes is showing us just how much of the water we have is wasted.

State records have reflected that the Bay Area loses a whopping 23 billion gallons of water a year, enough water to serve 71,000 families annually. The water loss can be attributed to failing, underground water pipes. These leaks not only waste the increasingly scares resource, but cause revenue losses and property damage as well. These figures are especially disparaging to residents, who are being asked to cut water use by as much as 20 percent.

The estimations of lost water for Bay Area cities and counties have varied between 3 and 16 percent annually. On the low end, cities like Antioch and Santa Clara have fared relatively well (3.5 and 5.2 percent, respectively), but some cities like Livermore (14.2 percent) and Hayward (15.75 percent) are losing a significant amount.

One of the major factors leading to pipe leaks and failures is age. Most pipes are made of one of two materials: cast iron and asbestos cement. Both materials are very close to the end of their functional lifespans. Adding the state’s penchant for earthquakes and landslides, California is faced with a landscape that does not bode well for underground piping.

Although agencies like the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) have utilized new technology to better detect leaks, the American Water Works Association still feel that the nation is fast facing “the dawn of the replacement era”. They predict that replacing and expanding water systems will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years. While these figures seems especially daunting, it will be worth it in the long run if California or any other state is faced with a severe water shortage.

(Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/drought/ci_26350962/california-drought-bay-area-loses-billions-gallons-leaky)

 

By Ethan Malone

 
 
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