Recycling? There’s an App for that

USA Today reports that Americans are only recycling about a third of their 243 million tons of waste (per year).

Much of the problem is due to the different states and municipal recycling regulations, leaving the public confused and bewildered.

Read their full article here.

And we thought we had problems, here in the UK, where even within counties, the number of bins and bags and what you can recycle in them differs….

photo credit: rich jones

A new recycling bin – how exciting

Worth mentioning I thought (as we’re in a green vein here)…..

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I made the pilgrimage (3 and a quarter hours) down the road to visit my parents in Hertfordshire.

A complete surprise (I hadn’t told them I was going to visit and presents and cards had already been delivered by mail to add to the illusion).

Whilst there, I happened to comment that I’d noticed another new recycling bin on their driveway.

That led to a full tour and inspection.

What they’ve now got is a standard wheelie bin, another smaller wheelie bin for compostable stuff – waste food, garden trimmings etc and a new bin for plastic, metal, glass and card.

The clever bit is the new bin – it has a tray like insert that hangs inside the main bin and it’s for the card and paper. You have to drop the plastic, tin and glass down the side of it.

Previously, they had what we’re still using in Buxton – a small plastic crate that gets collected every fortnight along with the green ‘compostable’ bin.

Being a wheelie bin design, means it’s easier to handle when full, the lid means stuff doesn’t blow around the streets and being a wheelie bin design, it encourages a) the rubbish to be put outside and b) be put out for collection on the appropriate day.

And from a collection point of view, it’s got to be safer than picking up crates that sometimes may be overflowing…

photo credit: siftnz

Royal Mail’s £5million spend on rubber bands

Although this blog is about renewable energy and not environmental issues like littering, we couldn’t help but bring this BBC story to your attention.

The UK’s Royal Mail gets through 2 million rubber bands every day, and in the past 5 years has spent nearly £5 million on four billion rubber bands.

The bands, which are used to bundle letters together, are very often discarded.

In 2009, Keep Britain Tidy received 13,000 discarded rubber bands from a collection which they delivered back to the Royal Mail.

It’s a great story – the numbers and costs involved immense.

Interestingly, Royal Mail reckon they use a bio-degradeable elastic band and that most bands are re-used.

photo credit: mykl roventine

North Tyneside energy plant runs on rubbish

Taken from the Journal Live

A factory on an industrial estate on the north bank of the Tees is now the destination for thousands of tonnes of rubbish from homes in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

The Energy from Waste (EfW) plant is what used to be known as an incinerator. But bosses at Sita UK, which runs the plant, stress it is about more than burning rubbish.

Ian Haswell, regional manager for Sita Tees Valley said: “We’re not an incinerator – that is a very small part of the process. In effect we’re a power plant generating electricity for 36,000 households.”

Waste – we can’t get away from it, despite the best efforts of recycling centre’s and manufactures alike. At least this little lot isn’t going into landfill.

Read the full story (click here) on how Sita Tees Valley are taking the heat from the incineration process and water from the Tees to produce steam which powers turbines – the water is reclaimed from the steam and the ash is sent to be processed for aggregate use.

photo credit: nicholas smale

New mobile phone for Christmas? Recycle your old mobile phone

The Jolly Green Blogger has a great seasonal message about how recycling your old mobile phone can help the environment.

The UK has a love affair with mobile devices like no other and despite TV advert campaigns offering us cash for our old phones, it seems many still lurk in drawers, never to see daylight again.

So if you’ve had a new mobile device for Christmas, then think again about recycling.

As Jollly Green Blogger points out: “Recycling also means that materials that have already been taken from the environment via mining and so forth are reused, thereby cutting down on the drain on the earth’s resources, which are not, contrary to what some people seem to think judging by their throw-away attitude, infinite. Recycling hi-tech waste like old mobile phones also saves energy since raw materials don’t have to be refined, and refining is extremely energy intensive. It also means that the cost of electronics will decrease without the use of raw materials and their expensive extraction methods, plus recycling creates jobs.

He also has some suggestions for online recycling sites where you get paid for your old mobile. Well worth checking his full post out by clicking here.

photo credit: angelashupe

62 million tonnes a year goes to landfill

It’s just a truly shocking figure – 62 million tonnes of waste every year is being buried in holes in the ground in the UK.

One site in Bury receives 600,000 tonnes alone, which is bulldozed into an old sand quarry.

The BBC Science & Environment pages report on Environment Secretary Hilary Benn as she calls for a radical rethink on waste management and household waste recycling.

The “50 year bubble in which we though we could throw away things without regard to the consequences” is bursting.

Read the full, and very interesting piece, on the BBC website by clicking here.

photo credit: dnorman