Earth911 Quiz #27: Are You a Recycling Hero?

January 20, 2022 by  
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Here’s your chance to display your recycling knowledge about common household products. Are you a… The post Earth911 Quiz #27: Are You a Recycling Hero? appeared first on Earth911.

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Earth911 Quiz #27: Are You a Recycling Hero?

Recycling Mystery: Memory Foam

January 12, 2022 by  
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Few things can refresh your body like a good night’s sleep, and few products have… The post Recycling Mystery: Memory Foam appeared first on Earth911.

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Recycling Mystery: Memory Foam

Recycling Mystery: Dental Appliances

January 5, 2022 by  
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Braces, expanders, headgear, retainers, and eventually, dentures. Over a lifetime, that’s lots of metal, plastic,… The post Recycling Mystery: Dental Appliances appeared first on Earth911.

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Recycling Mystery: Dental Appliances

Check out these Christmas tree recycling options

December 29, 2021 by  
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As the holidays wind down and the cleanup begins, you may be wondering what to do with your Christmas tree. Whether your tree is live, recently cut, or fake, think about the greenest way to reuse or recycle your tree with consideration for the  environment .  Live trees The most environmentally-friendly tree is the one that is still living. Whether you dug one out of the ground or purchased a tree in a pot, a living tree has a long and prosperous life ahead. That’s good for the air we breathe, the soil, and our connection to nature.  Related: What are sustainable alternatives to a Christmas tree? What you do with your live tree depends on your future goals, as well as your landscape. If you have a smaller tree you would like to bring in to use again next Christmas , replant it in a larger pot and include a bit of compost for nourishment. You can leave it on the deck or place it in a flower bed.  If the tree is already large or you have no plans to bring it in next year, go ahead and  plant  it in the ground. Consider the full size your tree can reach when choosing a location, so you don’t find it rubbing up against fencing or buildings.  If your situation doesn’t support keeping the tree in a pot or planting it on your land, offer the tree up to someone who can give it a permanent home.  Cut trees At the end of the season, your tree likely gets pulled from the stand and moved as far as the side of the house somewhere. Make a decision now about what you’ll do with your tree, so you don’t find yourself dealing with it when you rediscover it in the spring .  Many citywide curbside recycling services will pick up trees in the weeks following Christmas. Typically they allow you to put your tree alongside the other waste,  recycling , and yard debris receptacles until the middle of January.  Extra trucks pick up the trees and deliver them to the local industrial yard debris processing center, where they are converted into bark chips or compost. This gives your tree a full life cycle as it is then sold back to the community for gardening. Who knows, your tree might even become the mulch for next year’s  food  or flower garden. If you miss the deadline or your community doesn’t offer a tree pick-up service, you can process your own tree by cutting the limbs into small pieces for the compost pile or yard debris bin. Then cut the trunk into sections for campfires or the backyard fire pit. Evergreens are high in sap content, so burn them outside rather than bringing them in to use in a fireplace or woodstove. Allow your rounds to sit for a season to cure before burning. Also, remember to incorporate your fire ash into your compost pile. In rural areas, you can allow your tree, or smaller sections of your tree, to break down naturally in the woods. The surrounding flora and fauna will thank you. You may also be able to sink your tree in a local lake or pond where fish and other  animals  can use it as a habitat. Check with your local land management organization to see if this is an option for you. Regardless of where the tree is headed, take it out to the garden and shake all the pine needles off. The plants and soil will use it as mulch to add nutrients and aid in temperature control. If you have a chipper, send your tree through and use the chips as mulch too.  Artificial trees Since fake trees are made of a combination of materials, they typically are not recyclable. This makes them the least eco-friendly option on the list. However, there is some value in using the same tree for many years. Consider the  water  consumption and emissions impact of cutting, transporting and disposing of cut trees during the same 10-year period you’re using an artificial tree, and you can see there’s a bit of a balancing there. But to be real, an artificial tree is a product of manufacturing and, likely, petroleum-based products. Regardless of how you end up with it, disposing of an artificial tree isn’t a win for the environment. The best thing you can do is keep it out of the landfill for as long as possible. Instead of putting it into the  waste  pile, donate it to a local thrift shop or offer it up to people in the community.  Crafts Your dead tree can also get new life when you use it to make other gifts and home decor. Your tree is a source of  wood , just like that at the home improvement store, so make use of it. Cut portions of the trunk into thick squares and cut a groove into the top to make a cell phone holder for your desk. Grab a saw and cut the base into rounds you can sand down and shape to use as coasters or ornaments for next year.  Via Arbor Day Foundation Images via Pixabay

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Check out these Christmas tree recycling options

Scientists develop biodegradable, antimicrobial food packaging

December 29, 2021 by  
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Scientists have developed biodegradable food packaging material that kills microbes that contaminate foods. The waterproof packaging uses a type of corn protein called zein, plus starch and other natural compounds. A team of scientists from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, U.S. developed the material. According to a study published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, the new packaging material could help increase fresh foods’ shelf life by days. Lab experiments with the packaging showed its resilience when exposed to increased humidity or enzymes from harmful bacteria . The packaging releases natural antimicrobial compounds that can kill common fungi and bacteria such as E. Coli. Related: Artist 3D-prints biodegradable agar floral lamps Professor Philip Demokritou, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health at Harvard Chan School, says that the new material could be instrumental in resolving the current food safety and waste problems. “Food safety and waste have become a major societal challenge of our times with immense public health and economic impact which compromises food security. One of the most efficient ways to enhance food safety and reduce spoilage and waste is to develop efficient biodegradable non-toxic food packaging materials,” said Demokritou. The material is designed to release the exact required amounts of antimicrobial to deal with any bacteria or humidity that may occur in the food. This ensures that the packaging can endure exposure to different environments . It also takes away the risk of the antimicrobials being ingested and affecting the normal digestion process. In one experiment conducted by the researchers, strawberries wrapped in the newly developed packaging stayed fresh for seven days before developing mold . On the other hand, fresh strawberries packaged in regular plastic boxes only lasted four days before developing mold. The researchers say that the material’s ability to extend shelf life can help prevent food waste. The material is also being championed as an alternative to plastic packaging, which is known to cause pollution issues. Professor Mary Chan, Director of NTU’s Centre of Antimicrobial Bioengineering and the lead author of the study, said, “This invention would serve as a better option for packaging in the food industry, as it has demonstrated superior antimicrobial qualities in combatting a myriad of food-related bacteria and fungi that could be harmful to humans.” + NTU Lead image via NTU and Harvard University

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Scientists develop biodegradable, antimicrobial food packaging

Feel good and look great with a Solios solar-powered watch

December 28, 2021 by  
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As the world moves toward slow fashion, even your accessories deserve to be chosen thoughtfully, including watches. If you’re looking for something timeless and eco-conscious, a solar -powered watch from Solios may be the perfect match. Founded by university friends Samuel Leroux and Alexandre Desabrais, Solios aims to make a positive impact on the world. A passion for watches and the environment inspired Desabrais and Leroux to research how they could combine elegant design and sustainability. The result? A line of gorgeous, minimalist watches that run on solar power. Related: The new Black Mini Solar from Solios is a minimalist, solar-powered watch “Opting for a solar-powered watch could prevent the production of one billion toxic batteries,” said Solios on its website. Instead of creating a watch that relies on a battery that will inevitably need to be replaced or maintained, Solios innovated. Using an “invisible” solar panel placed under the watch’s dial, Solios watches simply need to soak up some sunlight in order to run. Worried about keeping the watch in sunlight 24/7? Don’t sweat it. The solar cell will have six months of reserved power after only two hours of light exposure. But solar power isn’t the only thing that makes Solios so eco-friendly. As the first B Corp Certified watch company, the Solios team puts in the work to ensure they’re doing right by workers, the community and the environment. In addition to using sustainable materials such as certified recycled stainless steel and eco-friendly vegan leather, Solios also has a robust Giving Back Program. Part of this program includes an exclusive, limited-edition watch line benefiting the Make A Wish program. For each watch sold, Solios gives $50 to Make A Wish. The company aims to raise a total of $25,000. If you think that’s where the Giving Back Program ends, think again. Solios also has a watch line benefiting the rainforest. In partnership with the Rainforest Trust , Solios is giving back 10% of its revenue to the foundation. An estimate on the Solios website says that each watch sold could help restore approximately 10 acres of rainforest. “It is well known: rainforests are the lungs of the planet,” Solios said “We must not see deforestation as an action without consequences – causing harm to our rainforests means causing harm to every human on Earth. We must work hand in hand, for the well-being of humanity.” All of these great practices are just the beginning for Solios. In an effort to continuously improve, Solios is pledging to become net-zero from both internal and external emissions by 2025. Review Solios gifted me a watch from the Solar Black line. From the moment it arrived, it was clear that the company put genuine care into its product. The box the watch arrived in was small and precisely packaged to cut down on excess packaging waste . Inside, a minimalist green and white case protected a sleek black watch. The watch itself was wrapped around a piece of cork (an awesome renewable and biodegradable material) to cushion the case and support the band. Speaking of the band, the black vegan leather material looks and feels great. You can choose from black, silver or rose gold for the watch case, but I loved the classic look of the all-black watch framed with rose gold. Luxury items like watches can often be accompanied by guilt for indulging, but with a Solios watch, you can rest easy knowing that your timepiece isn’t costing the environment. These environmental considerations don’t impact the watch’s quality either. My Solar Black watch fits my wrist perfectly with the comfortable vegan leather strap. Seeing the solar-powered watch in action is both fascinating and impressive. Upon taking the watch out of the box, it was, understandably, not charged. After all, a solar-powered watch doesn’t thrive inside a dark box. To charge the watch, I simply sat at my desk by a window and let it soak up some sunlight while I worked. In only a minute or two, the watch started ticking. Ever since, the watch has been running smoothly, even after stowing it in a drawer over the weekend. That six-month energy reserve is no joke! Between the classic, minimalist design and hassle-free functionality, my Solios watch is absolutely my new favorite accessory. As for the broken, hand-me-down watch I previously wore, I plan to recycle it through the Solios Recycling Program . If you have an old watch laying around, simply visit the Solios website, fill out the recycling program form and follow the instructions to ship Solios your old watch. Not only will your old watch find new life, but you’ll also receive a $50 discount code for a Solios watch. It’s a win for you and the environment. + Solios Images via Solios and Grae Gleason / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Solios. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Feel good and look great with a Solios solar-powered watch

What should you do with all your holiday trash?

December 27, 2021 by  
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The holiday season is filled with social events with family, friends and co-workers. All that celebrating is not only hard on the waistline, but the environment too. So after all that sipping candy cane cocktails, wrapping gifts and dipping strawberries in the chocolate fountain, be sure to reduce, reuse and recycle along the way.  Conscientious purchasing Waste begins with purchasing. If you’re in charge of the event, or have any influence in the matter, start by finding party supplies that are low waste. Rent plates and glassware or use the real stuff in your home instead of single-use disposables. When it comes to food and drink, buy containers made from glass or metal whenever possible. Better yet, make your own juices with a power or manual juicer. Watch for the copious plastic wrapped around food, gifts and decorations and refuse to buy items stuffed with plastic foam (Styrofoam).  Related: Need eco-friendly holiday gifts for friends? We’ve got you covered. Compost unwanted leftovers With good planning, you can achieve minimal food waste , but there will always be some to dispose of. While you’re scraping plates after the big meal or when you’re disposing of the seeds from your peppers and skins from your onions, remember the compost pile loves all plant-based scraps. You can also toss in undyed toilet and paper towel rolls and brown paper bags. Recycle where you can Recycling is a tricky industry. There are some materials that are widely accepted in nearly every market. For example, glass, cardboard and metal can commonly be recycled curbside or at a drop-off facility. Plastic is more location specific. However, most recycling services accept large jugs. Others may take smaller containers like those used for yogurt, salsa and sour cream. Again though, since only about 10% of plastic is actually recycled, your most eco-friendly choice is to make those foods from scratch and make every effort to avoid plastic at the purchasing level.  Holiday wrap and bows are another sticking point. Most paper-only wrap can be recycled while anything with glitter and other finishes cannot. To minimize waste, use classic wrapping paper and real ribbon you can reuse for years to come. Bonus points for relying on jute or other natural materials . At the end of your gift-unwrapping frenzy, sort the ribbons and bows from the tissue paper and wrapping paper. Crush all boxes and recycle them with paper. Identifying items that can be recycled in your area is only a portion of the task. The next step involves ensuring you recycle correctly. For example, all items, including food containers, should be clean and dry before going into the bin. Food remnants can actually pollute the entire recycling line, meaning that perfectly good cardboard and paper might have to be pulled out and thrown away if soiled. Similarly, keep small items out of the recycling. Although caps might be technically the right materials for recycling, they can jamb machines and cause big problems during processing so make sure they’re attached to the container rather than left loose.  Items that cannot be recycled curbside include lights , ribbons, electronics, bubble wrap and cellophane, along with wrapping paper, cards and gift bags that are any material other than basic paper.  Other Materials If plastic foam makes its way on scene, check your community for places that recycle it. You may have to pay a few dollars for the service.  If your strand lights are garbage, check for community collection events rather than throwing them into the trash can. These events are commonplace at home improvement stores.  Electronics can be donated to a local recycling center or mailed in to an e-waste recycler. Some large stores recycle household batteries. Check with Lowe’s if you have one in your area. Other batteries are often accepted at the recycling center, such as car batteries. Plastic film like that used for Ziploc storage bags, shopping bags and as the shrink wrap around toilet paper and paper towels can be collected and dropped at select locations. Get online to see which stores in your area provide the service. Also watch when you enter grocery stores as there is often a drop box near the entrance. If you live in a state with a beverage bottle, make sure you keep them separate from other debris. Provide an easy deposit spot for your guests and return them for recycling after the party. If your state is one that still hasn’t adopted this practice, write your state representative asserting the idea and then be sure to properly recycle each glass, aluminum and plastic container.  Make a donation pile If you don’t plan to save used holiday bags and unused wrapping paper, put it in the donation pile. Also include any items in good working condition that you replaced during the holiday season. This might be cookware, clothing, tools, electronics or bedding, for example. What about your tree? If you have a live tree this year, you can keep it in a pot and move it outside to plant in the spring. If you’ve cut a tree for the season, be sure to responsibly recycle it. Most city yard waste recycling companies offer pickup of most trees in the weeks following Christmas. This is an easy fix. All you have to do is remove all ornaments and lights and drag it to the curb on pickup day. Be sure to remove every strand of tinsel too. Trees larger than eight feet tall may need to be cut down in size. Avoid placing trees in plastic bags. Note that flocked trees cannot be recycled in this way and will end up in the landfill.  Lead image via Pexels

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What should you do with all your holiday trash?

Earth911 Quiz #49: Bin It?

December 2, 2021 by  
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Every day, we’re presented with recycling questions. Does this bottle go in the recycling bin… The post Earth911 Quiz #49: Bin It? appeared first on Earth911.

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Earth911 Quiz #49: Bin It?

Earth911 Podcast: Obaggo’s Plastic #2 and #4 Recycling Appliance

November 10, 2021 by  
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Earth911 welcomes David New, founder of Obaggo, a countertop appliance that turns a variety of… The post Earth911 Podcast: Obaggo’s Plastic #2 and #4 Recycling Appliance appeared first on Earth911.

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Earth911 Podcast: Obaggo’s Plastic #2 and #4 Recycling Appliance

Quiz #89: Recycling Everyday Things Challenge

November 4, 2021 by  
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You’ll find unused stuff everywhere in the house, in drawers, closets, and the attic. What… The post Quiz #89: Recycling Everyday Things Challenge appeared first on Earth911.

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Quiz #89: Recycling Everyday Things Challenge

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