Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

5 Tips on How to Stay Waste-Free at Work

August 23rd, 2017

recycling and composting at work

Businesses are producing large amounts of unnecessary waste. Despite the fact that about 80% of office waste is recyclable or reusable, the vast majority of office items end up in a landfill due to the lack of proper systems.

However, more and more offices are striving to be more eco-friendly and push to “go green.” There are different ways to do so. For example, it may include recycling electronics and office supplies, use of low-watt bulbs, turning off printers when and/or computers when not in use, etc.

Here are a few tips on how to stay waste-free at your work.

1. Start with Preparing Your Office for Recycling

Before facing your office waste, you should prepare for recycling. This include:

  • Finding the best recycling program that addresses office recycling;
  • Searching for state or city incentives for eco-friendly offices;
  • Hire a professional to head up a waste reduction or recycling program;
  • Establish the general list of rules all employees have to abide.

2. Clean Up Your Office Thoroughly

Why is it important? While cleaning your office, you will be surprised how many things make the waste in your office. Thorough cleaning will help you determine what items you don’t need at your office. Your best choice is to hire an expert in office cleaning that offers personalized services. Check out these cleaning services in Mississauga as an example of how to make your workplace feel fresh.

3. Reuse Office Supplies

Most of the office supplies can be recycled or reused. What can you do? Create a special room where the employees will be able to shop or leave used office supplies such as paper clips, hanging folders, file folders, binders, rubber bands, pencils, and pens. Even better, do not allow employees to access new office supplies by keeping them under lock and key. That will make people start thinking how to reuse office supplies.

4. Cut Down On Paper

Think twice before posting or printing. Posting and/or printing something out that you will never use becomes a waste in your office. You can recycle most office paper, but it’s just an additional expense for you. Instead, try to reduce recycling program budget by cutting down on paper. Here’s what you can do:

  • Consider whether you really need a paperwork or not;
  • Email rather than posting/printing out;
  • Ask your employees to post and print only what is truly necessary;
  • Use the double-sided printing whenever possible;
  • Avoid using stapled and colored paper because it’s not recyclable.

Over the time, the paper will overcrowd your office and you will need to recycle it. That’s why you should put a lot of paper recycling bins or boxes throughout the workplace. Choose the convenient areas for this purpose. Make sure to position recycle bins next to the desks and put a few of them in non-office rooms such as the warehouse or kitchen. That will encourage the employees to chuck paper in the recycle bins.

5. Recycle Old Computers, Accessories, and Appliances

When buying a new computer, ask the seller to buy back or take back your old one. Many companies provide e-waste recycling programs that allow this. Others may charge you a small recycling fee. You may also donate the old computers that are still in good working condition to organizations which refurbish electronic devices. Aside from computers and computer accessories, you can also consider recycling old televisions and other appliances.

 

Be sure to follow these five tips and get rid of office waste!

Why You Need to be Composting (…and How to Do It Right)

August 14th, 2017

Compost is a valuable material that helps plants grow when added to soil. What many people don’t realize is that up to 30 percent of the materials for a compost blend come from yard waste and food scraps. Not only does composting aid in plant growth, it keeps a potent greenhouse gas called methane out of local landfills. Compositing is a simple process that anyone can do.

Basic Ingredients Needed for an Effective Composting Mixture

A compost pile needs to have equal amounts of brown and green materials. Branches, dead leaves, and twigs make up the brown portion while coffee grounds, fruit scraps, grass clippings, and vegetable waste make up the green portion. It also needs to include water to provide much-needed moisture. Some specific examples of items to include in a compost pile include:

  • Coffee filters and grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Tea bags
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Wood chips
  • Yard trimmings and grass clippings
  • Lint from the vacuum cleaner and dryer
  • Straw and hay
  • Sawdust

It’s also important to understand what not to put in a compost pile, including the following:

  • Pet waste
  • Any yard trimmings treated with chemical fertilizer
  • Fish and meat bones
  • Ash from charcoal or coal
  • Dairy products such as butter, eggs, and milk
  • Lard, oil, or other types of fats
  • Diseased plants
  • Twigs or leaves from black walnut trees

Several of the above items attract rodents and other pests while others contain harmful bacteria.

Creating a Compost Pile for the First Time

After gathering the contents for a compost pile, the next step is to place them on a spot of bare earth. The pile will likely attract worms and other types of organisms that can help to aerate the compost pile. Next, place straw or twigs two to three inches deep to further aerate the pile and help with drainage. Now it’s time to start building the pile while alternating between dry and moist items. The compost pile now requires a nitrogen source. Manure is a common choice.

Compost piles need frequent watering, which people can do manually or allow it to become soaked by rain without getting drenched. It should have a cover on top of it at all other times. This keeps heat and moisture in, both essential elements for healthy compost. The last step involves turning the compost pile with a pitchfork or shovel every few weeks. This method also works for adding new materials.

The Many Benefits of Composting

While reduction of waste is the primary benefit of composting, it has several others as well. The process helps to conserve water because the compost pile soaks it up and releases it to the plants. This also prevents evaporation of water at the plant’s root level. Additionally, organic waste contains water that’s heavy and costly to transport. Composting the materials instead saves both energy and fuel.

There’s no question composting benefits the environment, but it also offers individual benefits. The less trash a homeowner throws away, the lower the cost of garbage pick-up. It also saves on the cost of purchasing similar materials from a local nursery. For those looking to cut household expenses, composting is a quick and easy way to do so.

How to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

July 25th, 2017

Everyone cares about the environment. We reduce, reuse, and recycle everything that comes into our houses, but what if our houses could do these things too? Here are some tips on how to make your home eco-friendly.

Energy Drainers

Go around your house and look for ‘energy drainers’. These are appliances that can either be upgraded to new energy-efficient models, or fixed to prevent energy leaks. Unplug appliances when they are not in use. Turn your computer or TV off or on stand-by.

Lights

Changing your lightbulbs to new energy-efficient bulbs can save you hundreds of dollars a year and benefit the environment. LED and CFL lightbulbs waste less energy than traditional bulbs as they do not give off as much heat. They can easily fit into your existing light fixtures, meaning you don’t have to spend anything to install them. Each of these new bulbs are more expensive, however, they last longer, will result in reduced bills, and are generally better for the environment.

Compost

You already put your paper products out for recycling, but you can do one better by composting your leftover kitchen scraps. By using a compost bin, you will be helping to keep this refuse out of landfills. Many hardware and retail stores – both rural and residential – sell compost bins.

Water

Get into a routine of turning the tap off while brushing your teeth, and limit your showers to three minutes.

Conservation can also be done with your toilet. If you are able to afford a replacement, consider ones that have a ‘low flow’ flush option.

Air Conditioner

Having an air conditioner during the harsh summer months can be a blessing, but there are times when it is best to leave it turned off. If the hot weather is starting to get to you, your first step should be to open a window. Let the stale air inside of your house out, and enjoy some fresh air. If it is still too hot, consider using a fan. You will be using electricity, but studies have proven running an air conditioner uses much more electricity than a simple fan.

It is also an idea to double-check your sleeping habits. A lot of people confess to having the air conditioner on while simultaneously sleeping under a blanket.

Furniture

There is nothing wrong with wanting to change your house’s decor, but what happens to your perfectly-good furniture? One option available to you is to keep your current furniture, but give it a face-lift. Thefurnitureconnoisseur.com have a wide range of polishes and waxes to give your pieces a whole new look.

If you really want something different, look to the freecycle initiative. This puts you in contact with second-hand stores and private sellers and traders.

There are many ways to make your home eco-friendly. Try one or try them all!

Tips for Cheaper and Greener Construction Waste Disposal

July 18th, 2017

Image courtesy of FEMA Photo Library

Construction waste disposal is not only expensive, but it’s also damaging to the environment when not approached strategically. Whether you are a contractor, building owner, or a homeowner doing renovations, you’ll find that your projects are going to create a massive amount of waste.

Sending everything straight to a landfill might be a logical first choice, but it’s probably not the best option for the environment. According to EPA figures, 534 million tons of construction debris was generated in 2014 alone. These include materials such things as concrete, tile, lumber, carpet, steel, plastic, and drywall.

Even if you wanted to send all of these items straight to the dump, this many not be an option for much longer.  Unfortunately, landfills are becoming so overcrowded with waste that their restrictions are becoming more rigid. Here are several tips for cheaper and greener construction waste disposal that you can begin applying to your next construction or renovation project.

1. Work Smarter

Better and cheaper waste disposal almost always comes down to having a superior plan in place. Some of the construction debris sent to landfills is actually unused materials, so one way to save money and reduce waste is to have better estimating programs in place.

When you do need to dispose of materials on a worksite, create a packaging and disposal strategy ahead of time. For example, large hollow items such as sinks and bathtubs should lie open side up in a bin so they can also be filled with waste. Only spring for expensive contractor bags when there aren’t any other alternatives to hold waste.

2. Recycle Materials

One of your goals should be to set aside as much construction debris for recycling as possible. RecycleWorks reports that new construction sites in the U.S. produce an average of six pounds of waste per square foot of construction. Some construction debris items that you can set aside for recycling include asphalt, concrete, wood, metals, tile, porcelain, carpet, and dirt. When you create your construction debris plan, set aside separate areas to collect items that should be taken to a recycling facility.

3. Re-Use Construction Materials

Another option for your construction debris is to either reuse the materials yourself or sell them to a company that can integrate the waste into their own building plans. For example, old windows and doors are often reusable as-is or with some minor repairs. Fixtures such as sinks and bathtubs may also be re-used on other projects. Vegetation and trees that are removed from one construction site can be transplanted to help fill out the landscaping plan of another.

4. Outsource Materials Removal

Handling all of your construction debris in-house isn’t necessarily the cheapest or most efficient option. It’s a challenge in itself to haul hundreds if not thousands of pounds of debris away from a work site, and this is a task that you want to be completed on a regular basis. Many professional services will combine hauling away construction debris along with materials that are designated for recycling, which will save you money long-term.

Whether your current project is considered a sustainable or “green” building project or not, there are ways to tailor construction waste disposal so that it has less of an impact on both the environment and your project’s bottom line. The most effective means of waste disposal is to carefully plan and sort materials so that your materials recycling and re-use programs will have the greatest impact.

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Recycle

June 16th, 2017

In 2013, Americans generated 254.1 million tons of solid waste. That’s 4.4 pounds of trash per person, per day. While our rate of recycling has gone up from just 16% 20 years ago to 34.3% today, we can do better. Yes, we all know that plastic bottles, glass, cans, and newspaper are recyclable.  Yet, there are many things that can be recycled that still wind up in our local landfill. Here are just ten things that can be recycled that probably weren’t on your list.

1. Appliances. Whether your appliances are working or not, there is a better place for them than in a landfill. Goodwill takes working appliances. If your appliances aren’t in working order, contact the Steel Recycling Institute instead.

2. Batteries. Batteries not only shouldn’t be tossed in the trash, but they can also turn into hazardous materials over time.  Staples has a battery recycling program, and there is also a company called Battery Solutions that recycles batteries throughout North America.

3. Clothing. We might not think of it as recycling, but when you donate you wearable clothing to a worthy cause, those items are being reused. Drop of your clothing items at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. If you have women’s business attire, give it to Dress for Success so that low-income women can use them to find jobs.

4. Computers and Electronics. You can recycle almost any type of computer equipment or electronic device today. This includes desktop and laptop computers, printers, and tablets. You can also recycle televisions, game systems, cell phones, and iPods. One helpful tool for finding computer and electronics recyclers is called Earth911.

5. Eyeglasses. Believe it or not, there are people in need who would love to have your used eye glasses. Maybe your prescription has changed, or you’ve just decided to upgrade your style. One place to recycle eyeglasses is through your local Lions Club.

6. Carpet. Whether you are remodeling your home or just changing out the carpet in one room, that old carpet needs a final resting place. Fortunately, some carpet makers have recycling programs, or you can look for a carpet recycling center in your area.

7. Crayons. It might sound silly, but we could have a crayon disposal problem if we don’t recycle more. 120,000 pounds of crayons are produced daily in the U.S., and you can now recycle these colorful items through the National Crayon Recycle Program.

8. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs. The mercury contained in CFLs makes disposal more complicated than regular light bulbs. This is why both Home Depot and Ikea now provide CFL recycling programs. Some independent lighting stores may also accept CFLs for recycling.

9. Oil. When you change the oil in your car or lawn mower, that used oil can be refined into other lubricants and petroleum products.  Earth911 can help you find a local center to drop off your used oil.

10. Cosmetics. Most people simply toss old cosmetics in the garbage when they become stale or out of favor. Various brands, including Aveda and Origins, now have their own cosmetics recycling programs.

If you already have a recycling routine that works for you, now you can add some or all of these items to your list. Reusing and recycling as much as possible is just one more way that we can reduce the strain on our local landfills and work together to save the environment.

 
 
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