Recycling News for Jan. 28, 2009

January 28, 2009 at 10:07 pm 1 comment

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is the mantra for today for not only is it the right thing to do environmentally it makes dollars and cents!

The topic of recycling is especially important to those of us who manage buildings as it can make or break our budget as well as improve morale and the company image. The hardest process to undertake is that of green procurement due to the potential for green washing and actual increased cost as hard is that is for me to believe.   “Green” and recycled content product often command a premium in the market and although this is becoming less common it is still something to be careful of.

The Ecopreneurist  website ( has a good primer on the subject and it has convinced me to try again!

Another often wasteful but necessary event that could use some greening is the act of moving. You know all of that packing material and boxes that should be reused but aren’t? Well according to a New York Times article via Environmental Leader ( movers are cashing in on the our green desire. From websites listing eco-friendly movers to the use of reusable plastic crates instead of boxes it looks like the revolution has come to this industry, at least is some beginning ways.

Next we visit the dark side of recycling where the EPA has raided a company called Executive Recycling that has been accused of illegal e-wast dumping.  We have all heard the rash of news stories of how our e-waste here in the developed world is shipped to the third world where it is salvaged under horrific and dangerous conditions that not only hurt the folks employed but create new contaminated areas.  Not a very “green” process is it?  Well we have a story again via Environmental Leader about this particilar situation ( and I for one hope if they are guilty that they are made an example of to begin to end this shameful practice.

Now on the more practical side I know that I have wondered what recycling bins to purchase for my facilities from the wide array that are available.  Well we have the answer in the form of a study conducted by Sean Duffy, an associate professor of psychology at Rutgers.

He researched on what makes people recycle and accoding to him: (excerpt from

People fail to recycle for a number of reasons, including misinformation and forgetfulness; however, it is also a design problem. My coauthor Michelle Verges and I were talking over the phone about why everyone says they recycle, but if you look around, there is a lot of recyclable material in trash cans. We then went around looking through different kinds of recycling bins and trash cans, examining their contents. We began noticing a pattern: Regardless of the receptacle’s label, recycling bins with little holes in the lids contained recyclables and almost nothing else, while those that lacked those holes were basically used as trash cans. So we carried out a study having recycling bins in one building either with or without the hole, and found that the presence of the hole increased the recycling rate by 34%, which is an enormous increase.

Imagine that, we simply better design them to fit the function and viola!  I’m convinced.

Lastly we have a story on an amazing reuse of production by-products and manufacuring waste by tweaking the whiskey making process!  It doubly appropriate in the whiskey translates as “water of life” in gaelic and that the process is being used to also generate renewable energy!

Via Earth First (

Called GreenSwitch, the modular CHP unit will employ biomass made from byproducts of the distilling process and sustainably-harvested wood chips. Right next door, the GreenFields plant will turn a liquid byproduct [sic] called pot ale, into a concentrated organic fertilizer.This £34 million project will take 18-24 months to ferment, at which point the GreenSwitch plant will produce 7.2 megawatts of electricity [sic], enough to power 9,000 homes. Although still in the planning stages, the venture already won the Best Environmental Initiative Award from the Scottish Green Energy Awards last December.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to:

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Entry filed under: Recycling. Tags: , , .

Follow up to Compact Fluorescents – Making the right choice CFL’s dead in 2 years? Long live LED bulbs!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer Kaplan  |  January 29, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Thanks for including my post on green procurement. I’m in great company here. Thanks also for the Green Dictionary. It, too, is great.


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