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Page Updated:
May 22, 2024

Recycling and Waste Reduction

You have just finished a fast food meal, and you throw your uneaten food, wrappers, cup, utensils and napkins into the trash. You don't think about that waste again. Ony our neighborhood trash day, you push your cans out to the curb, and workers dump the contents into a big truck and off it goes. You don't have to think about that waste again.
But have you ever wondered, as you watch the trash truck pull away, just where that garbage • ends up?

Does Your Locality Recycle Cartons?
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There's a way to see if your city or town recycles your cartons.

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Recycling News - In the Past Year (Latest Stories First)

  • • Dissolving Circuit Boards that Can Be Recycled Over and Over
    This New Method Separates The Components For Reuse


    May 2, 2024 -Inside the phone or computer you are reading this story on is a fiberglass board bearing all the circuit chips, wires and other electronic components that make the device work. And every year, hundreds of thousands of tons of these printed circuit boards (PCBs) get dumped in landfills as electronics become obsolete.

    There has been a lot of research on finding ways to extract valuable metals from electronic waste. But recycling the PCBs themselves, which are made of a type of tough plastic, is challenging.

  • • The Battle Against Electronic Waste
    We're Losing It


    Mar. 20, 2024 - The world is losing the battle against electronic waste, a U.N. expert said on Wednesday, after a report found 62 million metric tons of mobile phones and devices were dumped on the planet in just one year - and this is expected to increase by a third by 2030.

    Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, consists of any discarded items containing an electric plug or a battery. It can contain toxic additives and hazardous substances such as mercury, and represents an environmental and health hazard.

  • • Eyeing a Potential Win
    With New York Packaging Bill
    It Takes Aim At Single-Use Plastic, While Seeking to Remake Waste Management and Recycling in NYC


    Feb. 20, 2024 -New York lawmakers appear poised to pass a new packaging reduction and recycling bill that would fundamentally reshape how single-use plastic waste is managed in the state.

    It’s meant to take a big bite out of 20 million New Yorkers’ contributions to the global plight of pollution from single-use plastics, which constitute about 40 percent of all plastic waste.

  • • A Battle Over Plastic Recycling
    Claims Heats Up in California
    ‘Truth in Labeling’
    Law is the Problem


    Feb. 13, 2024 -Two environmental organizations are challenging a draft state report on California’s “Truth in Labeling” recycling law, saying the preliminary data it contains could allow companies to make broader plastics recycling claims than the 2021 law allows and reveals potentially illegal exports of plastics waste to Mexico.

    The report is based on data obtained from a survey of facilities that collect, sort and bale a variety of waste for potential recycling, including paper, metals and plastic.

  • • A New Way to Recycle Clothes
    There's No Longer
    a Need to Burn Them


    Jan. 16, 2024 -Clothes are mostly made by winding the main fibers, such as nylon or cotton, around elastane fibers, an elastic material that allows the fabric to stretch. However, it’s almost impossible to separate them once woven together, making recycling difficult. Most end up in landfills. Now, a team of researchers has created a new method that can remove elastane from other fibers and reduce waste.

    Click now learn more.

  • • From Blades to Benches
    Spirit of Giving is Central to Cleveland Area


    Dec. 25, 2023 -A Cleveland-area company hopes corporate and charitable sponsors will want to share a piece of the circular economy.

    Canvus is counting on a sponsorship model to grow the market for the benches, picnic tables, and other outdoor furniture it makes from recycled wind turbine blades. The company started shipping its products in August and has installed more than 200 pieces so far in one of the latest attempts to recycle a growing wind industry waste stream.

    Cumulative U.S. wind turbine blade waste is projected to exceed 2 million tons by mid-century — a relatively small amount compared to what’s churned out by fossil fuel industries. Still, several companies are working to reduce how much winds up in landfills.

  • • One Solution to the Plastic Crisis
    Bugs Bellies Could
    Be the Answer


    Nov. 16, 2023 - One way to help tackle the growing plastic pollution problem could be all around us: microscopic bacteria and fungi.

    A growing body of research has identified a host of microorganisms, some of which can be found in the bellies of certain larvae and other insects, that contain enzymes capable of breaking down common types of plastic.

  • • Dumped, Not Recycled?
    Electronic Tracking Raises Questions About Houston’s Drive to Repurpose a Full Range of Plastics


    Nov. 1, 2023 -The message on the signs at the recycling drop-off site here was clear, and warmly welcomed by area residents who visited on a recent autumn Saturday to stuff bags of plastic waste into large green metal containers.

    “All plastic, all numbers, all symbols,” proclaims one sign at the recycling site in Houston’s suburban Kingwood community, referring to the seven standard types of plastics, commonly identified on a plastic product by a number inside a “chasing arrows” icon. “Bag it and bring it,” reads another. But...

  • • New Class of Recyclable Polymer Materials
    Could One Day Help Reduce Single-Use Plastic Waste

    The Conversation

    Oct. 19, 2023 -Hundreds of millions of tons of single-use plastic ends up in landfills every year, and even the small percentage of plastic that gets recycled can’t last forever. But our group of materials scientists has developed a new method for creating and deconstructing polymers that could lead to more easily recycled plastics – ones that don’t require you to carefully sort out all your recycling on trash day.

    Click now for the story.

  • • A Challenge For Green Photovoltaics
    The Circluar Economy
    Could Provide a Solution


    Oct. 8, 2023 -Even for the most enthusiastic boosters of renewable energy, it’s hard to argue that solar panels provide truly clean electricity if, at the end of their lives, many of them end up in landfills.

    But keeping solar cells out of the dump requires a market for recycled solar materials that is much more robust than what currently exists and policies that incentivize companies to recycle their panels and use recycled materials when they’re building new ones. Still, for many experts, the first step in creating such a “circular economy” in which decommissioned solar components are repurposed in new ones, is to prohibit the disposal of solar panels in landfills at all.

  • • Making School Kits From Plastic Trash
    Ghana Is Doing Just That

    DW Logo

    Sep. 20, 2023 -In Northern Ghana, a social enterprise provides school kits and raincoats made from plastic waste. The all-women group is keeping children in school while helping the environment.

    Click now to watch the video.

  • • Are Tom’s of Maine and Colgate
    Toothpaste Tubes Really Recyclable?
    Recycling Promise Lies?


    Sep. 14, 2023 -Colgate-Palmolive touts the packaging for some of its Tom’s of Maine and Colgate-branded toothpastes as “a first-of-its kind recyclable tube.”

    These tubes are primarily made out of high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, the same kind of widely recycled plastic often used to make milk jugs or laundry detergent containers.

  • • Most Plastic Products Can't Be
    Recycled Back into Their Original Form
    Scientists Have Found a Solution


    Sep. 11, 2023 - That plastic bottle you just threw away in the recycling bin? By the most recent statistics, there is less than a one in three chance it will be recycled.

    If it does get recycled, there's only a one in five chance it will be turned into a fresh plastic bottle used for food or beverages. And if that bottle is lucky enough to see a second life, there won't be a third time because the recycling process damages the plastic's properties -- and this is something that is true for virtually all plastic-containing products.

  • • From Plastic Waste to Cleaning Power:
    Researchers Find Way to Upcycle
    Plastics into Soap


    Aug. 14, 2023 - Plastic pollution is a severe global problem. Between 19 and 23 million tons of plastic waste leak every year into aquatic ecosystems, according to the UN. They can alter habitats and natural processes and reduce the ecosystem’s ability to adapt to climate change — affecting millions of people’s livelihoods and food production capabilities.

    Plastics and soap don’t seem to have much in common, but there’s a surprising connection at the molecular level. The chemical structure of polyethylene, a type of plastic, is very similar to that of a fatty acid, used as a chemical precursor to soap. Both materials are made of long carbon chains, but fatty acids have an extra group of atoms.

  • • Indonesia's Message to the World:
    Stop Dumping Your Plastic on Us


    Aug. 12, 21, 2023 -In 2019, at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, delegates from 187 countries approved the first-ever global rules on cross-border shipments of plastic waste. No longer could countries export contaminated, mixed, or unrecyclable plastics without the recipient country’s informed consent. It was a landmark step aimed at reducing the flood of wealthy nations’ scrap that had been deluging poorer regions, particularly Southeast Asia, since China closed its doors to such imports the previous year.

    Pressured by outrage at home and abroad over images of that plastic piled in villages and swirling through waterways, Indonesia cracked down on dirty, unsorted imports, tightening its regulations and stepping up enforcement.

  • • Over-Emphasizing Recycling is a Problem
    'Reduce' and 'Reuse' Are
    Getting Short Shrift


    Aug. 1, 2023 -“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” goes the familiar sustainability slogan. But a new study suggests that people don’t really know what the slogan means or why it goes that way. In an online survey, nearly half of 473 participants were unable to put the 3Rs in the correct order from the most to least sustainable action.

    Members of the public tend to prioritize recycling, the study reveals, to the detriment of reducing and reusing.

  • • The Truth About Those Plastic Recycling Labels
    Those Arrows Sometimes
    Provide Incorrect Information


    July 15, 2023 -That little triangle symbol that you think means it’s recyclable… well, it doesn’t mean much. But now the federal government is looking into updating those symbols so that consumers aren’t duped.

    The Federal Trade Commission’s “Green Guides” date back to 1992 and they’re supposed to help companies avoid greenwashing when advertising their products.

  • • Indonesia to World: Stop Dumping Your Plastic on Us
    Outsourcing Toxic Waste to Poor Nations “is a New Type of Colonialism”


    July 14, 2023 -In 2019, at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, delegates from 187 countries approved the first-ever global rules on cross-border shipments of plastic waste. No longer could countries export contaminated, mixed, or unrecyclable plastics without the recipient country’s informed consent. It was a landmark step aimed at reducing the flood of wealthy nations’ scrap that had been deluging poorer regions, particularly Southeast Asia, since China closed its doors to such imports the previous year.

    Hopes were high that the agreement — enacted as a set of amendments to the Basel Convention, which sets rules for developed nations sending hazardous waste to less-developed ones—would help control abuses in the trade of discarded plastic

  • • What Can Be Recycled?
    15 Household Items are Listed


    July 3, 2023 -We all know that recycling is important, but it can be confusing to navigate which items can actually be recycled. While most of us are familiar with recycling paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum, there are many other common household items that don’t have to go to the dump.

    With the environment in mind and a wider perspective on recycling possibilities, we’re here to explore fifteen lesser-known recyclable household items that might surprise you.

  • • Lurking Inside Indiana’s
    ‘Advanced’ Plastics Recycling Plant:
    Dangerous Vapors, Oil Spills and Life-Threatening Fires


    June 16, 2023 -The Brightmark "plastics renewal” plant can’t get past the startup phase, as former employees raise environmental, health and safety concerns.

  • • Ørsted to Recycle Solar
    PV Modules With Solarcycle
    Solarcycle Opened its Recycling
    Facility in Odessa, Texas in 2022


    June 8, 2023 -Ørsted said it is partnering with solar recycling startup Solarcycle to process and recycle end-of-life solar crystalling silicon (c-Si) modules from its projects across the U.S.

    This agreement builds on an existing recycling contract for thin-film modules signed with First Solar in 2021. Ørsted said it has already recycled 4,000 panels.

  • • No, Not the Trail of Tears
    But the Trail of Tires

    AP Logo

    June 6, 2023 -Tennessee officials say one of the longest rubber-bearing trails in the U.S. have opened at T.O. Fuller State Park.

    According to a news release, Tennessee State Parks, the Department of Transportation and local leader cut the ribbon on the on the new 2.5 miles hard-surface walking biking trail.

    Volunteers and local contractors gathered more than 24,000 tires that had been illegally dumped in the park to make the trail. Patriot Tire Recycling in Bristol transformed the tires into crumbs, which were then returned to the park for trail construction.

  • • Curbside Recycling Turns Out to
    Be a Surprisingly Good Climate Investment
    Recycling is On Par With Investing in Electric Vehicles and Green Power


    May 30, 2023 - Many towns and cities in the U.S. have halted or scaled back their curbside recycling programs in an effort to reduce costs. But this is a misguided approach when it comes to fighting climate change, according to a new study.

    “Eliminating recycling squanders one of the easiest opportunities for communities and citizens to mitigate climate change and reduce natural resources demands,” the researchers write in the journal Nature Sustainability.

  • • The House That Diapers Built
    Recycled Diapers Did the Trick


    May 26, 2023 - Researchers have designed and erected a house that has shredded, disposable diapers mixed into its concrete and mortar. A single-story home of about 36 square meters can pack nearly 2 cubic meters of used diapers into its floors, columns and walls, the team reports May 18 in Scientific Reports.

    Using recycled diapers as composite building materials would not only shrink landfill waste but also could make such homes more affordable, the team says, a particular need in developing countries like Indonesia where the demand for low-cost housing far outstrips the supply.

  • • Recycled Plastic Can Be More
    Toxic and Is No Fix For Pollution
    This Warning Is From Greenpeace


    May 24, 2023 -Recycling plastic can make it more toxic and should not be considered a solution to the pollution crisis, Greenpeace has warned before the latest round of negotiations for an international plastics treaty.

    “Plastics are inherently incompatible with a circular economy,” the global environmental network said in a report that brings together research showing recycled plastics are more toxic than their virgin constituents.

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Of Interest

  • • One Man’s Trash . . .
    Mining Landfills
    For Metals and Energy


    Sep. 1, 2018 -In a village 60 miles east of Brussels, a Belgian company is fighting to launch an experiment with the future of rubbish disposal. Group Machiels, a waste-management company, wants to excavate millions of tons of decades-old waste buried in one of Europe’s largest landfills and turn it into renewable energy and building materials.

  • • How to Recycle Your Christmas Lights
    Wishing the Earth a
    Merry After Christmas


    Sep. 2, 2021, - It doesn't feel right to put Christmas lights in a trash can. Maybe they've stopped working, or maybe you're replacing incandescent lights with safer, more energy-efficient LEDs. In any case, after brightening so many holiday seasons over the years, it can seem a little cold and unceremonious to just throw them away.

    Fortunately, we now have several options for recycling old Christmas lights, helping our hard-working bulbs and diodes avoid the landfill while also sparing the environment from their toxic and non-biodegradable components.

  • • Don’t Just Recycle - TerraCycle
    Closed-Loop Solutions

    TERRACYCLE - TerraCycle's goal is to focus on hard-to-recycle materials, developing circular solutions for otherwise linear systems. Today they recycle millions of pounds of such material on a weekly basis, diverting it from our landfills and incinerators.

    When looking at a new waste stream we first focus on moving it from a linear disposal system to a circular one, and then over time to a platform that is as closed loop as technically possible.

  • • What We Can Recycle?
    13 Household Items You
    You Might Not Know You Could Recycle

    -The recycling basics are pretty easy: put paper, plastic, and glass in their appropriate containers so your local recycling center can process them correctly.

    But what do you with those odd (yet somehow everyday) household items filling up our drawers, closets, and garages? While we don’t want to throw them away in the trash, we’re not sure what to do with them. Thanks to this helpful little infographic, you can now take care of your toothbrushes, toilets, and tennis balls with ease!

    Click now for the Live Brighter blog.

  • • Recycling For Kids (1)
    Having Children Take
    Respnsibility for a Clean Planet

    Fun Presentation and Game about Recycling - Natural Resource Facts about Paper and Aluminum and How To Recycle for Kids - Green Living Strategies Presented by Children of the Earth United - Environmental Education for Kids of all Ages, Teachers and Families.

  • • Recycling For Kids (2)
    Children Learning About Recycling
    and Having Fun at the Same Time

    Nico is on a quest to help save the planet! He’s passionate about sharing his knowledge of recycling with everyone, so join Nico on his journey to reduce, reuse and recycle with tips and fun activities. Once you have the practices down, you can share your recycling knowledge with your family and friends too!

    Learn more about Nico by clicking now.
  • • Check Out This Recycled "Green" House
    Modern Recycled Container House in South
    Africa Operates 100% Off Grid

    Mar. 10, 2017- Sustainable design has taken longer to get off the ground in South Africa largely due to expensive construction methods.

    When Johannesburg-based Architecture For A Change (A4AC) took on the challenge of building a modern green home in the country, they aimed to make the house not only environmentally friendly but also affordable. They cut costs by using upcycled shipping containers and other repurposed materials to build Cliff House, a lifted flying container house with an economical, energy-efficient design.

  • • From Trash to Building Material
    What Is Poly Brick?

    It's a revolutionary building material made from 100% recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate Polymer. It is translucent, naturally insulated, and durable. The modular 3-D honeycomb self-interlocking structure makes it extremely strong without any chemical adhesives, while weights only 1/5 of the standard curtain wall systems.

  • • It’s Not Just Trash Anymore
    One Person’s Trash is
    Another's Renewable Energy

    The practical benefits of organic products don't necessarily end when it goes down the drain or into the trash. There is quite a bit of useful energy left in the items we discard.

  • • More About Plastic Waste
    (And What We Can Do About It)

    Plastic is literally at our fingertips all day long. Keyboards. framed computer monitor, mice. The amount of plastic we encounter daily doesn\’t end there. Chances are, you can relate. Plastic is an epidemic.

    But where does all this plastic go?

  • • Plastic Bottles Become Shoes and More
    Timberland Transforms Recycled Plastic
    Bottles Into Shoes and Bags

    Mar. 3, 2017- For its latest collection, Timberland is turning to the bottle—the plastic bottle, that is. The outdoor-wear maker has teamed up with Thread, a Pittsburgh, Penn.-based manufacturer of sustainable fabrics, to transform plastic bottles from the streets and canals of Haiti into a dapper collection of footwear, bags, and T-shirts.

  • • A State-by-State Guide to Landfill Bans
    What’s Banned in Landfills:
    A State-by-State Guide

    Earth91/ Nov. 27, 2017 - In some cases, it’s not about whether you should recycle an item, but instead whether you must.

    That’s because in the U.S., there are no federal laws regarding recycling. There wasn’t even a law regarding waste generation until the Solid Waste Disposal Act in 1965, which eventually became the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and set procedures for landfills and collection of household waste.

    This means any items banned from landfills are decided at the state (or, in some cases, city) level. Only one U.S. state, Montana, currently does not have any landfill bans.

  • • Beer Waste Into Clean Water+
    Microbes Turn Beer Waste
    Into Clean Water, Energy

    November 1, 2015 -Cambrian Innovation is extracting clean water and energy from waste streams at two California breweries with a secret set of microbes.

  • • Yes, Pizza Boxes Can Be Recycled After All
    An We Thought
    That We Couldn't

    SIERRA Magazine, July 28, 2020 -When Eric Nelson looks back on his years as a waste reduction manager at the University of Kansas, what stands out are the pizza boxes. "One year, there was a first-week event for all the clubs and organizations," he told me on a phone call from Lawrence. "I think Pizza Hut sent over like 500 medium one-topping pizzas." That was great for the hungry college students, not so much for Nelson, who spent the evening schlepping 500 pizza boxes to the dumpster "because we couldn't recycle pizza boxes."

    It's advice from the dawn of curbside recycling: Don't put your pizza box in the blue bin because the greasy cardboard and cheese scraps make it unrecyclable. For years, conscientious recyclers followed this advice, and tens of billions of pizza boxes were sent to landfills and incinerators. The intentions were good, but it turns out that the advice wasn't.

    New research reveals that, so long as you remove all the pizza, the cardboard container that held your Veggie Supreme can be readily recycled into something new.

  • • An New Role for Discarded Plastics
    Netherlands: Plastic Roads to
    Be Made From Recycled Ocean Waste

    Sept 16, 2016 - After the floating farm, Rotterdam will be the first city in the world that plans to build roads using plastic waste rescued from the oceans. These are polymer blocks, reminiscent of Lego pieces with which we played as a kid, and presented as the ecological alternative to stop pouring concrete.

  • • 3D Printing Our Way Out of Waste
    Is 3D Printing the
    Answer to Plastic Waste?

    January 29, 2015,  -You’ve probably heard a lot about 3D printing in the last few years. "Printing" is sort of a misnomer. Also referred to as "additive manufacturing," it’s the process of creating an object from a digital file by layering filaments to form the finished product. It’s been hyped as a revolution that will make conventional manufacturing obsolete, allowing people to create the products and tools they need in their own homes.

  • • Canon™ Cartridge Recycling
    Canon Environmental Technologies, Inc.

    In 1990, Canon introduced a cartridge recycling program for all-in-one laser beam printer toner cartridges through its Clean Earth Campaign Program. The goal of the program is to achieve zero landfill waste by reusing parts, recycling materials, and employing energy recovery. Canon’s all-in-one cartridges have components that can be recycled and reused by Canon.

  • • Electronics Recycling
    Recycling Electronic Waste
    Responsibly: Excuses Dwindle

    Maybe you replaced old electronics over the holidays or you’re just sweeping out the old and ushering in the New Year. Either way, you’ll need to do something with your old devices. For everyone’s sake, including Mother Nature’s, try to get rid of your old technology the right way.

    Click now to read how
    and watch the video.

  • • Light From Discarded Batteries
    Discarded Laptop Batteries Keep the Lights On

    Millions of discarded batteries have more than enough life to power home lighting for one year, researchers in India say.

    Many of the estimated 50 million lithium-ion laptop batteries discarded every year could provide electricity storage sufficient to light homes in poor countries, researchers at IBM say.

  • • The LandfillHarmonic
    There's No Such Thing As Waste

    Click now to watch this entertaining video and see what we mean.

  • • Self-Destructing Plastics & Recycling Awareness
    Self-Destructing Plastics and Recycling?

    CleanTecnica , Aug. 15, 2018  - Evian says it will produce all its plastic bottles from 100% recycled plastic by 2025. Starbucks made headlines this summer with its pledge to eliminate plastic straws by 2020. British supermarket Morrisons said it would bring back “traditional” brown paper bags for loose fruit and vegetables, which means that 150 million small plastic bags will be removed from circulation. But is any of this foot-stomping about plastics really enough? Isn’t it time for to ask the world’s scientists to research and develop polymers or plastics with built-in self-destruct mechanisms?

    Interested? Click now for whole story.

  • • The Last Straw
    Make the Last Straw You Got From
    a Restaurant Your Last One

    A disposable plastic straw is used on average for a whopping 20 minutes. It’s longer than the four-second lifespan of the plastic stirrer you may use to swizzle your coffee or tea, but 20 minutes is still just a tiny fraction of the several hundred years it could spend in a landfill.

    One straw may seem insignificant, but consider this: someone who uses one straw a day for the next decade will toss 3,650 pieces of plastic into the landfill—and there’s a chance that plastic may get lost along the way and end up in the ocean.

  • • Using Bugs to Clean Up Waste
    Dong Energy Funds
    First Power Plant Using
    Bugs to Clean Up Waste

    July 1, 2016- Dong Energy A/S’s REnescience plant in northern England will use enzyme technology to “wash”; organic matter from unsorted waste, creating a slurry that can be turned into a gas for use in power generation or motor fuels, said their VP of commercial bioenergy at Novozymes.

  • • CO2 As a Refrigerant
    A Good Use for CO2

    Volkswagen, Daimler, Audi, BMW and Porsche have announced plans to develop CO2 technology as a more climate-friendly refrigerant for air conditioning systems.

    VW says CO2 as a refrigerant — also known as R744 — has lower greenhouse gas effects than conventional refrigerants, with a GWP (Global Warming Potential) value of 1, or 99.3 percent below the European Union-specified GWP limit of 150.

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Products That Can Be Recycled

13 Household Items You
Might Not Know You Could Recycle
This List Might Suprise You

They Incluide:

1. Eyeglasses, 2. Carpet, 3. Christmas Lights,
4. Tights & Stockings,  5. Toothbrushes,
6. Prosthetic Limbs, 7. Pet Fur, 8. Bras, 9. Brita Water Products,
10. Motor Oil. 11. Tennis Balls, 12. Keys, 13. Toilets

Does Your Locality Recycle Cartons?
Check Out Your Town/City
There's a way to see if your city or town recycles your cartons.

Click here to find out.

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