The recycling symbol is a triangle formed by three arrows chasing each other. It was created in 1970 for the first Earth Day as part of a contest sponsored by the Container Corporation of America. This symbol has become standardized for different types of material and there are slight variations depending on the type of material.
Any product that contains recycled material must identify the amount and type of recovered material. Post-consumer material is from products that have been used by consumers and reclaimed during the recycling process. Pre-consumer material is recovered during the manufacturing process prior to the product’s initial use. Any claim may not be misleading. For example, trash bags may not be labeled recyclable because of their purpose. Since they will end up in a landfill containing trash, the label would be misleading. Also, it also must be clear if the symbol is referring to the packaging or the product inside the packaging, i.e. aluminum foil or stretch wrap.
The symbol used for plastic has three thin arrows and a number in the middle. All containers over eight ounces are required to have this symbol molded into the bottom surface of the container. The numbers indicate what type of plastic the product is made of. This system is important because plastics may not be mixed during recycling. Even a small amount of a different type can make the entire batch unusable. Consumers generally only need to be concerned with 1 and 2 because these are the most commonly recycled types. These two make up 90% of the plastic bottle market. Because of this most communities have recycling facilities for them. Consumers should check with their individual communities to learn which plastics may be recycled.
1 – PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) Used for soda, liquor and juice bottles and peanut butter jars and some jars for oils. This plastic can be recycled into many things, including t-shirts and scouring pads.
2 – HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) Used for milk, juice, detergent, bleach, and motor oil containers which when recycled makes lumber substitutes and trash cans, among other products.
3 – V or PVC (Vinyl/Polyvinyl Chloride) Used for windows, doors, and shower curtains, etc. Recycled into fencing, sewer pipes and garden hoses.
4 – LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) Used for cellophane wrap, stretch wrap and squeeze bottles. Also recycled to make these products.
5 – PP (Polypropylene) Used for food containers and long underwear. Recycled into auto parts, furniture and carpet.
6 – PS (Polystyrene) Also known as Styrofoam. Recycled into office and desk accessories, packing peanuts, plastic wood and pens.
7 – Other Plastics this designation is for all other plastics, which are difficult to recycle.
The American Forest & Paper Association has standardized guidelines for using the recycling symbol to specify the content of recycled paper within a product. The symbol of three white arrows within a black circle is used only to designate product made solely of recovered paper fiber. Any less than 100% is designated by three black arrows within a white circle and must state the percentage of content next to or below the symbol. An example would be “This product contains 50% recycled content including 10% post-consumer waste”. Most paper can be recycled unless it has been tainted with food or coated with wax.
Glass, Steel, Aluminum
Glass products generally do not have the symbol. Consumers just need to be aware that bottles cannot be mixed with other types of glass, like mirrors and light bulbs. Aluminum and steel will usually have a black symbol and the words “Where facilities exist”. Aluminum and steel must be separated or the aluminum recycling plants can be damaged. Some steel cans have aluminum lids and may be recycled by the steel industry.
Recycling facilities vary for each community. Now that you know what the symbols mean, check with your local program to find out which materials can be recycled in your area.
How much waste do you think the average U.S. citizen produces each year?
According to the EPA, the average U.S. citizen produced 4.4 pounds of waste per day during 2000. This is the equivalent of over 1600 pounds of trash per year per person or more than 220 tons of waste being generated each year.
Trash comes from many sources, including bottles, boxes, cans, yard trimmings, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, newspapers, and much more. Americans also dispose of several million tons of tires, appliances, furniture, paper, clothing, and other durable and non-durable goods each year as well. Packaging waste, including glass, aluminum, plastics, metals, paper, and paperboard, also contributes significantly to our annual waste totals. Even yard trimmings, such as grass clippings and tree limbs, are a substantial part of what is thrown away.
According to the EPA, below is an estimate of the type and percentage of waste products generated by Americans today.
*(e.g., rubber, leather, textiles, wood, miscellaneous inorganic wastes)
71.6 million tons
31.6 million tons
15.3 million tons
14.4 million tons
13.2 million tons
12.5 million tons
20.8 million tons
The good news? Americans are embracing recycling programs in records numbers. The EPA estimates that over 30% of the waste produced by Americans during 2000 actually ended up in recycling programs. Commonly recycled items include certain plastics, paper, and cardboard.
Certain communities and businesses have also established recycling programs for some of the more toxic products produced by our society, including batteries, printer/toner cartridges, computers, and even used oil!
Many of the plastic products we use today are either recyclable or made of recycled materials. You have probably noticed that most products made from plastic have a code inside of a triangle on the bottom surface of the container. Have you ever wondered what those codes mean?
The Society of the Plastics Industry developed a numerical coding system in the late 1980s to help indicate which plastic material has been used for a given product. There are six different types of plastic resins that are commonly used to package household products. An explanation for each code is provided below:
"1" - PETE or Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
PET is used to produce soda and water containers as well as some waterproof packaging. The largest use for recycled PET is in textiles, such as carpets. PET is also spun to make fiber fillings for pillows, quilts, and jackets. PET can also be used in video and audio cassettes. In addition, a substantial quantity goes back into the bottle market. Many community recycling programs accept plastic products labeled with a "1."
"2" - HDPE or High-Density Polyethylene
HDPE is used to produce milk, detergent, and oil bottles, as well as toys and plastic bags. Recycled HDPE is used for plastic pipes, lumber, flower pots, trash cans, or formed into bottles for nonfood applications. Many community recycling programs accept plastic products labeled with a "2."
"3" - Vinyl/Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Used to produce food wrap, vegetable oil bottles, blister packages. Some community recycling programs do not take plastics labeled with a "3."
"4" - LDPE Low-Density Polyethylene
Used for plastic bags, shrink wrap, or garment bags. Some community recycling programs do not accept plastics labeled with a "4."
"5" - PP Polypropylene
Used to produce refrigerated containers, some bags, most bottle tops, some carpets, some food wrap. Some community recycling programs do not accept plastics labeled with a "5."
"6" - PS Polystyrene
Used for throwaway utensils, meat packing and protective packing. Some community recycling programs will accept plastics labeled with a "6."
"7" - Other
What You Can Do to Reduce Waste
There are many actions we can take to reduce the amount of waste we generate or that we send to the landfill. Challenge yourself (or even your family and friends) to see just how much waste you can reduce from your weekly curbside pickup. Can you reduce your weekly waste by 25%, 30%, or even 50%? Below are some tips to help you.
Reuse products. If you do not have a recycling program in your community, or if the material or product is not currently recyclable, try to find another use for the product rather than throwing it away.
Compost organic material. Composting yard trimmings, food scraps, and other organic wastes can dramatically reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills. To learn more about how to set up your own composting bin, the EPA has developed an online Composting is Easy guide.
Use paper bags rather than plastic. Ask your grocer to carry paper grocery bags instead of plastic.
Sell or donate products you can no longer use, such as clothing and furniture.
Recycle, recycle, recycle!!! Take advantage of your community's recycling program, if one is available. If your community does not have such a program, volunteer to start one. Some organizations estimate that the average family can reduce their weekly waste by 50% through recycling paper, cardboard, cans, plastic bottles, and other recyclable materials.
Use products made from recycled material whenever possible. Support recycling efforts by purchasing products made from recycled materials.
Use rechargeable batteries. Using rechargeable batteries not only helps to reduce waste, but it also helps keep the toxic metals found in some batteries out of landfills.
Donate or recycle your old computer. Computers contain many materials that are considered toxic and should not be disposed of in a landfill. Rather than throwing out that old computer, see if any local charities, schools, or senior citizen centers can use the computer system. Or, contact the manufacturer of your old computer (or the new one you just purchased) to see if they have a recycling program for older computers.
Recycling has become an intricate part of waste management for most parts of the country. Recycling by definition is the reuse of materials, either pre-consumer or post-consumer, that would ordinarily be considered waste. Recycling helps lessen the amount of waste that goes into landfills, helps reduce the amount of toxic chemicals absorbed into the earth and, in some cases, significantly reduces manufacturing costs and energy consumption. There are many misconceptions about what materials can and cannot be recycled. These misconceptions hinder the success and cost-efficiency of recycling programs nationwide. However, with a little consumer education, recycling can be a very important and environmentally sound solution to waste management. Commonly Recycled Materials Plastic is one of the more well known materials that can be recycled. However, most people do not know that plastic types cannot be mixed. All plastic is coded by number (usually on the bottom of the container), but not all numbers can be recycled. Plastic marked with a 1 or 2 are the most commonly recycled, while plastic marked with a 7 cannot be recycled. The only way to be sure of the plastics recycled in your area is to contact your local recycling agency. Aluminum recycling is considered the most profitable type of recycled material. Manufacturing processes using recycled aluminum cost significantly less and save up to 95%; more energy than a process using raw materials. Typical aluminum items that can be recycled are cans (soda and food), aluminum foil, disposable pie crust and frozen food trays and many household items such as aluminum siding. Paper is also a commonly recycled material with a high success rate. Virtually any paper that does not have a wax coating can be recycled. Junk mail, newspapers, cardboard and office paper can all be recycled. Buying recycled paper products can also help save natural resources and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. Glass can be recycled, but it is important to sort glass by color. Mixed glass has very little recycling potential. It's also important to stay away from ceramic dishware, glasses, light bulbs and mirrors. Broken glass is almost impossible to handle and sort as well. Not only does recycled glass save resources, it can also be profitable to manufacturers by extending the life of their plant equipment and saving energy. Other Recyclable Materials Many items that are just as important to recycle are not nearly as well known. These items include cell phones, batteries, tires, computers and consumer electronics. Many of these items contain toxic materials that can be released into the air, ground or water if not disposed of properly. As with all recyclables, it is important to contact your local recycling agency to find the appropriate places to recycle these potentially dangerous materials. Methods of Recycling If you have curbside recycling service, your recycling is regularly picked up in front of your home. Curbside recycling programs will be determined by your local government. This type of recycling is becoming more and more common in most parts of the country. Your city may also have one or more drop off recycling centers. Residents can drop of their recyclables at these centers. Drop off centers may have separation requirements to follow and may differ from center to center. Buy-back programs, community recycling events or drives and refundable deposit programs are also available in many cities. Check with your local recycling agency for dates, times or locations of these recycling opportunities.
Industry survey demonstrates economic importance of recycling
The recycling industry is an increasingly important component of our economy according to a new survey commissioned by King County's Solid Waste Division.
"The results of the survey are encouraging. The survey shows that recycling provides jobs while conserving resources and reducing waste," said King County Solid Waste Division Manager Rod Hansen.
The survey measured the 2001 levels of employment, capital investment and materials handling to assess trends, emerging markets and opportunities in the recycling industry for both King County and Washington State.
In addition to preserving resources, recycling contributes to economic growth with private-sector companies collecting, processing and re-manufacturing nearly all recyclable materials. Washington State's recycling industry employs about 3600 people and has invested over $850 million in capital assets. In King County 1470 people are employed by the industry.
The levels of employment in the recycling industry are the fourth largest of resource-producing industries -- surpassing cherry production, fishing and mining but trailing the aluminum industry, logging and apple production. The survey also found that the economic recession had little impact on the industry's employment rate.
The economic future of the recycling industry is strong. Since 1995, there has been heavy investment in recycling organic debris and waste from construction and demolition. Nearly half of the organic materials recycled in Washington State are done so in King County. However, companies investing in recycling building materials are mainly in Pierce County because established concrete recycling firms were already located in King County.
However, reductions were seen in the tire and rubber recycling industry statewide. In 1995, a state law mandating that retailers collect a fee dedicated to tire collection and handling expired.
Since the law expired, Washington companies that re-manufactured tires and rubber have gone out of business or scaled back their operations. However, large quantities of tires continue to be stockpiled or sent out of the state for re-manufacture.
The survey's data was collected with the help of the Washington State Recycling Association and the Washington State Refuse and Recycling Association. These organizations assisted with the design, testing and distribution of the survey to their membership. Thanks to their endorsement, 84% of the targeted companies participated.
The survey was distributed to companies that collect and haul; transport; process; or re-manufacture recyclable materials. Companies from every corner of Washington were asked to participate in the survey because recyclable materials commonly flow from King County to other areas of the state and vice versa
Recycling plays a valuable role in the waste management hierarchy.Recycling is an extremely important aspect of the waste management hierarchy:
Source Reduction Reducing the amount and/or toxicity of waste at its source.
Reuseusing materials in the same function for which they were originally produced. Examples: washing silverware instead of throwing away plastic utensils or donating clothes to charity.
Recyclingprocessing a material so that it may be used again as a raw material for a product, which neither may or may nor be similar to the original product. Example: recycling plastic bottles into new bottles or plastic lumber.
Incinerationburning waste creates energy and reduces the volume of waste. May produce harmful side effects such as air pollution and ash that must also be disposed of.
Land fillingSandwiching materials between layers of soil and other barriers to prevent contaminants from leaking into groundwater or being discharged into the air.
Source Reduction is the most preferred method of waste management, followed by Reuse. Recycling is third in the plan, but consumers may feel this is easier to accomplish than reducing or reusing, contributing to its widespread use and popularity.
Recycling programs, like those available from CVWMA, collect recyclable materials from area homes. After material is collected, it must be processed, marketed or otherwise made available for remanufacture. The final piece of the recycling loop is the purchase and use of products made from recycled materials.
Recycling helps to conserve valuable natural resources.We recycle to get the most out of our resources and to maintain a sustainable relationship between economics and stewardship for our environment. Besides deriving the maximum amount of value from a resource, recycling also reduces or prevents emissions to air and water, saves energy and natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from landfills.
While it is correct to assert that fossil fuels are used in the remanufacture of recycled items, research indicates that overall emissions are lower from recovered materials than from virgin materials. Recycling aluminum cans, for example, saves 95 percent of the energy needed to extract an equal amount of aluminum from bauxite, its virgin source.
A recent Executive Order directs all federal agencies to purchase copier paper with at least 30 percent recycled content. As a result, up to 500,000 fewer trees will be harvested annually for the production of paper, and the remaining trees will absorb 16,000 tons of carbon in a year. Energy used to produce the copier paper will be reduced by 12 percent, and an average reduction of 14 percent in air emissions and greenhouse gases will be achieved. Finally, a 13 percent reduction will occur in both water pollutants and the amount of solid waste requiring disposal.
Recycling creates jobs. A recent study on the Macroeconomics Importance of Recycling and Remanufacturing, conducted by Project Performance Corporation in McLean, Virginia, concluded that in northeast and southern states, activities associated with recycling employ over 2.5 percent of the manufacturing workforce. Projected nationally, then, this study suggests that about 1 million manufacturing jobs and over $100 billion in revenue are possible through recycling and remanufacturing activities.Industry has invested millions of dollars in developing technologies specifically focused on processing and manufacturing recovered materials instead of virgin materials. Retailers regularly recycle corrugated boxes into shipping containers. Newspapers collected in the central Virginia region are used to produce 100% recycled newsprint. One of the nation’s largest (and oldest) automobile manufacturers, Ford Motor Company, boasts an average of 35 percent recycled content in their automobiles. That is between 18 and 20 percent of the total vehicle weight.Many businesses are enticed to develop new technologies by the abundance of low-cost material available through local recycling programs. Plastic Lumber is one such recent development. Manufactured using wood waste from the furniture and cabinetry industry and recycled plastic grocery bags or milk jugs, plastic lumber can be used to construct recreational furniture, decks, and even bridges. It does not easily warp or rot, needs little annual maintenance and will give wood a run for its money on longevity.
Industry in this country has made a commitment in dollars to find ways to process and manufacture recycled materials, and the supply of recyclables placed at the curb or in drop-off containers by millions of American families each week support those, and ultimately a growing sector of our national economy.
The challenge facing industry and government in the coming decades is to continue to develop technologies and markets that take advantage of reclaimed resources, and to identify successful recycling policies and programs and duplicate those successes and increase the efficiency of recycling.
The role of the consumer, then, is to buy products made from recycled material, and to keep challenging industry and manufacturers to produce more consumer products made with those materials.
Remember the dinosaurs? They couldn’t survive the changes in the environment and now exist only as stuffed dolls in museums. The good news is that we, humans have survived. But the bad news is that, the way we are going, it may not be long before we join the dinosaurs too! And we have no one else but us to blame.
All the stuff we use - plastic, paper, aerosol cans – has in one way or other either polluted the environment or has suffocated it. The result – we have floods in some parts of the world and famines in the other. We are slowly losing our beautiful earth to destruction. But we still can stop this destruction, if we want. Here’s how:
1) Plant lots of trees. Trees no only preserve the earth but also help ‘de-pollute’ the air. We should also stop deforestation and start planting at least two trees for each tree that we cut.
2) Use renewable energy. Resources like coal and oil are non-renewable and the more we use them, the less we will have. We should, in fact, concentrate on other forms of energy like solar energy and natural gas for our use.
3) Recycle waste products. The more paper we use, the more we’ll need and so more trees will be cut. Instead, try to cut wastage of paper and use recycled paper.
4) Use less plastic. In our world, it's hard to live without plastic – almost everything we use from carry bags to containers are made of plastic and it’s true that they are convenient. What we forget is that they are not convenient to destroy – so, they just cling to the earth’s surface and suffocate it. Even if it’s not possible to stop using plastic fully, we can start using less of it.
These simple steps may look small, but remember, there are billions on this earth and if we all do our bit, we’ll be saving our earth for many more billions of years.
Acid rain's effect on plants and wildlife
This article contains the effect of acid rain on plants and wildlife.
Almost everybody has heard about acid rain and knows that it is something bad. But what exactly is it? What are its effects on plants, animals, human beings, and what can be done to solve this problem?
The term acid rain does not convey the true nature of the problem and therefore scientists use the term "acid depositions". This is because the acid which has formed due to pollution may return to the earth as a solid or a gas and not just as rain. Depending upon the climatic conditions it could also come down as rain, fog, or snow, and in the wet form it is known as "acid precipitation".
Certain industries, as well as emissions from vehicles give rise to increase of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in the air. These emissions change into sulphates and nitrates under the influence of sunlight and moisture, and get converted into sulphuric acid and nitric acid, which come down as acid rain.
Coal generally contains between 2 - 3 % sulphur, and when it is burned, this sulphur is released into the atmosphere. Electric companies and other industries which burn coal cause a lot of emission of sulphur dioxide. Other industries which process raw ore containing sulphides in order to obtain copper, zinc, or nickel also cause an increase in sulphur dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
The major source of emissions of nitrogen oxides into the air, is from vehicles and other places where fossil fuels are burned. Forest fires, often caused by man, either deliberately or accidentally, are another source of pollution.
Naturally occurring phenomena like volcanic activity, lightning, or organic decay, also gives rise to an increase in atmospheric pollutants but not much can be done about these causes. However over 90% of sulphur dioxide emissions and around 95% of nitrogen oxides released into the air are from man made sources.
The problem of acid rain is not new. It was first noticed during the 17th. century, when people observed the effects of industrialisation on plants and animals. As far back as in 1872, the Scottish chemist, Angus Robert Smith wrote a book "Air and Rain: The Beginnings of Chemical Climatology", in which he used the term "Acid Rain", and the name has stuck. The problem has become severe since the 1960s when fishermen noticed a sharp reduction in the quantity of fish in lakes of North America and Europe.
The havoc done by acid rain is not localised in the place where it is caused. The atmospheric emissions may travel for several days and over long distances depending upon wind and climatic conditions, before coming down as acid rain. The problem caused in an industrialized area may therefore result in acid rain in the surrounding forests or lakes, or even further away. It is believed that around 50% of the acid rain that occurs in Canada is due to pollution caused in the United States of America, and the effect of polluting industries in England can be felt in Norway.
If there were no pollution, the rain would still be acidic. Natural rainfall has a pH of around 6.0. This is because of the effect of Carbon dioxide in the air which combines with water to form carbonic acid. The effect of this is however negligible, as it is neutralized in the soil by alkaline material like limestone. However the other emissions cause the pH of the rain water to drop below 5.5 and at this level it is considered to be acid rain. The soil cannot now neutralize the acidity of the rain water. In some places the acidification is so severe that the pH drops to around 4.0. Rare cases have been reported of acid rain having pH of around 2 - 2.5.
Effects of acid rain on plant life.
Both natural vegetation and crops are affected by acid rain. The roots are damaged by acidic rainfall, causing the growth of the plant to be stunted, or even in its death. Nutrients present in the soil, are destroyed by the acidity. Useful micro organisms which release nutrients from decaying organic matter, into the soil are killed off, resulting in less nutrients being available for the plants. The acid rain, falling on the plants damages the waxy layer on the leaves and makes the plant vulnerable to diseases. The cumulative effect means that even if the plant survives it will be very weak and unable to survive climatic conditions like strong winds, heavy rainfall, or a short dry period. Plant germination and reproduction is also inhibited by the effects of acid rain.
Effects of acid rain on aquatic life
The action of acid rain causes harmful elements like mercury and aluminum to be leached from the soil and rocks and it is then carried into the lakes where aquatic life may be affected. Warning signs have been posted at several lakes, telling about the dangers of eating fish which may have been poisoned by mercury. Just as the soil has a natural ability to neutralize the acidity of rain water, within a certain limit, so also lakes and other water bodies can to a certain extent nullify the effects of acid rain. However as the acidity increases, the natural mechanisms are no longer able to cope. As the water gets more acidic its pH goes down. As the pH reaches 5.5, plankton, certain insects and crustaceans begin to die. At a pH of around 5.0, the fish population begins to die. When the pH drops below 5.0, all the fish have died, and the bottom of the lake lies covered with undecayed material. Every year during the spring thaw, there is a sudden increase in the acidity of the lakes as frozen acid is suddenly deposited in them. This "Acid Shock" prevents the reproduction of aquatic species, or results in the deaths of the hatchlings.
Effects on animals and birds.
All living organisms are interdependent on each other. If a lower life form is killed, other species that depended on it will also be affected. Every animal up the food chain will be affected. Animals and birds, like waterfowl or beavers, which depended on the water for food sources or as a habitat, also begin to die. Due to the effects of acid rain, animals which depended on plants for their food also begin to suffer. Tree dwelling birds and animals also begin to languish due to loss of habitat.
Effects on human beings
Mankind depends upon plants and animals for food. Due to acid rain the entire fish stocks in certain lakes have been wiped out. The economic livelihood of people who depended on fish and other aquatic life suffers as a result. Eating fish which may have been contaminated by mercury can cause serious health problems. In addition to loss of plant and animal life as food sources, acid rain gets into the food we eat, the water we drink, as well as the air we breathe. Due to this asthmatic people and children are directly affected. Urban drinking water supplies are generally treated to neutralize some of the effects of acid rain and therefore city dwellers may not directly suffer due to acidified drinking water. But out in the rural areas, those depending upon lakes, rivers, and wells will feel the effects of acid rain on their health. The acidic water moving through pipes causes harmful elements like lead and copper to be leached into the water. Aluminum which dissolves more easily in acid rain as compared to pure rainfall, has been linked to Alzheimerâ€™s disease. The treatment of urban water supplies may not include removal of elements like Aluminum, and so is a serious problem in cities too.
All living things, whether plants or animals, whether living on land or in the water or trees, are affected either directly or indirectly by acid rain. Even buildings, bridges and other structures are affected. In cities, paint from buildings has peeled off and colors of cars have faded due to the effects of acid rain. From the Taj Mahal in India to the Washington Monument great buildings all over the world have been affected by the acid rainfall which causes corrosion, fracturing, and discoloration in the structures. In Europe, structures like The Acropolis in Greece and Renaissance buildings in Italy, as well as several churches and cathedrals have suffered visible damage. In the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, and in places in South America, ancient Mayan Pyramids are being destroyed by the acid rain. Temples, murals, and ancient inscriptions which had previously survived for centuries are now showing severe signs of corrosion. Even books, manuscripts, paintings, and sculpture are being affected in museums and libraries, where the ventilation system cannot eliminate the acid particles from the air which circulates in the building. In some parts of Poland, trains are required to run slowly, as the tracks are badly damaged due to corrosion caused by acid rainfall.
The bottom line is that all things on earth are being affected by this problem and the good news is that something is being done to solve it. Pressure from the environmental groups and public has increased as the effects of the havoc caused by acid rain become more apparent. Governments all over the world have drawn up plans to tackle this problem.
Lakes that have become highly acidic can be treated by adding large quantities of alkaline substances like quicklime, in a process called liming. Although it has worked in several places, it has not been successful where the lake is very large, making this procedure economically unfeasible, or in other lakes where the flushing rate of the lake waters is too large resulting in the lake becoming acidic again.
The best approach seems to be in prevention. To this end environmental regulations have been enacted to limit the quantity of emissions released in the atmosphere. Several industries have added scrubbers to their smoke stacks to reduce the amount of sulphur dioxide dumped in the atmosphere. Specially designed catalytic converters are used to ensure that the gases coming out from exhaust pipes of automobiles are rendered harmless. Several industries which use coal as fuel have begun to wash the coal before using it thereby reducing the amount of Sulphur present in it, and consequently the amount of emissions. Usage of coal with a low Sulphur content also reduces the problem.
We as individuals can take several steps to alleviate the effects of this problem. A reduction in use of vehicles will reduce the amount of emission caused by our vehicles. So do not use the car unless it is absolutely required. For going short distances, walk or try to use a bicycle. This will not only protect the environment but also improve your health. If the distance is greater, try using public transportation. If you must use your vehicle try forming a car pool and share your vehicle with someone else. Ensure that your vehicle is properly tuned, and fitted with a catalytic converter, to reduce the emissions.
Reduce use of electric power. Switch off lights, and other electrical appliances when not required. Do not leave your Televisions, VCRs, Microwave Ovens or Music Systems on Stand-by when not required. Switch them off.
Reducing power consumption will reduce the amount of coal burnt to produce electricity, and thus reduce the amount of pollution. This is true even if your electricity company does not use coal for producing electricity, but some other more environmentally friendly way. This is because the electricity you have saved can now be used elsewhere, thus benefiting nature.
Speak to others about this problem. Increasing awareness is one way of ensuring that things are done to solve this global problem. Find out what fuel is being used by your electricity company to produce electricity. If they use coal, ask what methods they use to contain, if not eliminate, the problem of sulphur emissions. Washing the coal used, or using coal having a low sulphur content, is costly and therefore some companies try to avoid this. If you have the option, switch to a utility that shows more concern for the environment.
Write to your representative in Government. Pressure from people can make Governments enact suitable legislation, to ensure that industries keep their emissions within limits. Join some group which works to protect the environment. When people get together and speak with one voice they are more likely to be heard.
What, exactly, is a Re-use Recycling Program? Re-use is a part of recycling that may not be as well known as, say, turning in cans for money, or recycling metal, paper, etc. Re-use does not take articles, cut and melt them down, then turn them into brand new items. Instead, a Re-use program takes in any manner of discarded goods, and seeks to find new uses for the items.
For example, think through various items you may throw away in a month's time. Could anyone use any of those items and turn them into something new? Have you heard of making ties out of old tires? What about turning cans into carrying cases, bird feeders, or something else? Many items may have significance to an artisan or to someone just wanting to play around with the idea of "trash art."
In a Re-use program, someone, or a group of folks, may decide it's time to re-direct the flow going into the area landfills, and attempt to find alternate uses for what has traditionally been thrown away. It is then that they begin to sit down and brainstorm the possibilities.
For a Re-use program to work, you need lots of support. This means that, if you are simply one individual, chance are you may not be able to carry this off all by yourself. The more support you have, at all levels of business and government, the better your chances of success. If you have a great idea that you want to turn into a tangible reality, scope out some movers and shakers in your community. But don't stop there. Look as far and wide as possible, to influential members of your state, and even within the national sector. There may well be help from a wider array of sources than you first thought.
Once you have put together a "might be interested" list, start making contacts. Explain what you have in mind and how you think it might be accomplished. Of course, like any good business enterprise - and a Re-use program IS a business enterprise - you will need some kind of business plan. Search out people knowledgeable in the business world; including people from the Small Business Association (SBA) and SCORE (retired business folks providing business advice and support). Look at any business connections readily available to you, and then approach them with your ideas.
Your plan, and the discussions with your potential partners, should include these points:
· Location - you will need a suitable place in which to build your operation. A large warehouse or even a large area of land out in the country (like a farm or ranch) would be suitable. Even though you may start out small, once you get up and running, you may soon find yourself overflowing with discarded goods. And, not only will you need storage place, you will need working space and display space. Land, with several buildings, would be ideal.
· Areas to consider - You will need such areas as receiving, pick-up and delivery, lumber and building materials, crafts, thrift (or other) store, furniture, repair shop, metals, office, workshop. These are but possibilities, and the list very well could be endless.
· Volunteers - you will need a lot of willing hands to make this thing work. Someone has to pick up discarded items, transport them to the Re-use site, unload the trucks, sort the materials, place everything in its proper place, staff any stores and materials buildings, as well as serve in some type of administrative position for the enterprise. Who will be involved? You can involve entire communities in this undertaking, encouraging everyone to recycle in this new way.
· PR, Marketing - The very idea you are launching is novel, unique and of suitable wide appeal to pique the interest of many news journalists. If you don't have an experienced public relations or marketing person on board, check out as many books as possible from your local library. There are resources out there, for learning how to write your own press release to getting some free publicity for your new enterprise.
· And who will benefit from such a business? Everyone! Each and every member of your community, and even region, can benefit from this kind of operation. Everyday people can find things to reuse. Schools can plan field trips to your location, so the kids can learn a new kind of recycling. Artisans can find your new place a treasure trove of useful items to incorporate into their work. Use your imagination.
· Your store - You can operate a thrift store, whose proceeds benefit the business, itself, or some other nonprofit, or you can run a company store, for your own benefit, as well. It just depends on the angle of the business, and whether the business is a personal one, or a nonprofit for the benefit of the community.
· Services on site - Perhaps, you could solicit the business of a local repairperson. See if he or she would be interested in setting up shop on your site. This allows customers to bring in items to see if they are salvageable, and if so, the customer goes home happy. If the item can not be saved, then you have gained another article for your discards.
· Form workshops and work training programs - Help train the poor, the disabled, or anyone else who wishes to learn. Teach them the different aspects of your business then employ them in whatever part of the program they fit in and are most needed. You are both providing a needed and valuable service to the community, as well as ensuring your own quality of employees.
Finally, once you have everything up, running, and ready to go, throw a big grand opening and open house celebration. Invite everyone you know, plus the hundreds of thousands of community and regional folks you don't yet know. Make it a truly special grand opening, and offer tours of your facilities. You will ensure yourself a new batch of customers, supporters, and friends of your operation.
The possibilities of a Re-use Recycling Program are vast. You just need to figure out what you want to achieve, how you need to get there, and what steps to take next. But the possibilities are in your hands … every time you start to the trash to discard something.
With an ever increasing pace, the human population, of the so called civilized nations, has put material things above the beauty, magnificence and survival of the Earth. Why is money and power more important than, for example, the wonder of cool, fresh and clean spring water?
Water has been polluted and trees cut down in an endless quest for timber or new pasture land. Precious topsoil that took millennia to make, blows away in the wind and is replaced with poisons to which mankind should never have been exposed. The crisp, clean air has been filled with dirt, filth and danger. Plants and animals that have evolved in patient process have been subjected to genetic engineering often across the species simply in the name of profit. In short, mankind had sought total control over the environment and with potentially disastrous results.
Already there are many signs of the horrors that lie ahead if we do not do something soon to stop this destructive trend. Landslides and floods caused by dramatic changes in the topography of the land; awful viruses such as Ebola and AIDS emerge from the rain forests, where they had dwelt harmless to mankind for so long, as the forests are obliterated. Those that can stop this seem not to listen and nor to care because to do so would mean an end to the carefree, money-grubbing life they seem to like so much. The politicians and corporate executives would have to forego their wasteful and orgiastic lifestyles and they are not about to let that happen.
We are rapidly approaching the point of no return. Soon, there will be real danger of an oxygen deficit as the internal combustion engine uses more and more of the life sustaining gas and production falls as an increasing number of trees disappear. Water, vital for life, will be more and more polluted and undrinkable; new diseases will launch upon society and more people will be stricken with the horrific illness that come as a direct result of the over use of chemicals in agriculture, food production and in so many industrial processes.
Each and every one of us must take a degree of responsibility for the threat under which we now live. We are the consumer and it is to satisfy our insatiable appetites that many of these things occur. Of course, some of us do try to live a lifestyle that pays heed to the environment but, often thanks to the marketing men, too many take the easy way and help to exacerbate an already critical situation.
What can the individual do to stop and, ultimately reverse the trend? Surprisingly, you might think, quite a lot and without making too much additional effort. Most of the extra effort will go into stopping to think before making buying decisions or before throwing things away.
The ideas that follow are just a few of the easy-to-do things that, individually, are small but, collectively will have a major impact and make a big difference. Remember, this is not just an exercise in simple conservation. It is an attempt to save the world from extinction and render it safe and welcoming for our children, our children’s children and generations yet to come.
We have two simple alternatives. A world that is lush and green, air fresh and life bringing, water clean and sustaining. A land where children are born and grow without the fear of terrible disease or starvation, a place where Man works and lives in harmony with nature. Or a land incapable of sustaining life, mutated and grossly deformed plants, animals and humans and one that is about to drop over the edge to infinite extinction. Which do you want?
SOME WAYS TO HELP
Let’s consider the everyday things that you can do to ensure the former alternative is what we get.
1. Always think carefully before buying.
a) How is the product packaged? Wasteful, unnecessary and virtually indestructible packaging can be a major threat to your environment
b) What does it contain? Be wary of lots of additives. They could be harmful to you, your children and the environment.
c) Avoid, indeed refuse, products that are made with genetically modified organisms. Eventually, unless checked, the GMO will take dominance over everything else.
d) Do not buy disposable items that can be replaced with re-useable materials. Kitchen paper is a good example. Cloths (maybe old shirts etc.) and sponges are better. If you must use paper products then look for those made out of recycled material. It will say on them and carry the symbol.
2. Buy some strong bags made of durable material that can be used over and over again.
a) Do not pick up dozens of plastic bags. Plastic does not biodegrade easily and stays in landfills for decades AND releases toxins into the soil.
b) If you have to have bags then this is one time when paper is better. Paper can be more easily recycled than plastic.
3. Discourage a surfeit of flyers to your home or mailbox
a) Tell the post office that you do not want the flyers.
b) If necessary write to the respective manufacturers who send you junk mail and tell them to stop. If they do not stop then package up all their stuff and hold it until you have a lot and then mail it back to them without postage.
c) Find out the name of the organization, in your specific country, that handles the process of getting your name of mailing lists.
4. Avoid using toxic chemicals and discourage the use by others
a) Do not look for a perfect lawn through cans of poison. Your children will play on the grass; you may lie on it. The toxins are long lasting and can be absorbed through the skin.
b) Weed killers are toxic to many beneficial insects such as the dragon-fly which eats a lot of mosquitoes.
c) If you live in an agricultural area then watch for farmers spraying pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. These are all potentially toxic to you and can be carried long distances on the wind. If you see a farmer spraying when a strong wind is blowing is prepared to report him to your local government office. It is no coincidence that the levels of impotence in farmers and of breast cancer in farmers’ wives, is higher than the average.
5. Eat organically grown fruit and vegetables
a) Best of all grow your own. In some temperate climates it is possible to feed a family of four with organic vegetables throughout the year on a plot no bigger than 10’ x 10’.
b) If you can grow then make sure that you can and bottle as much as you are able for use at times when certain items will be unavailable. It’s possible to make delicious soups that are far more nutritional than those in the stores; you can dry fruit as leathers; freeze all kinds of fruit and vegetables and become totally self sufficient in that regard.
c) If you are unable to grow your own then seek out a local organic grower or organic store and buy from them. It will be fresh, free of chemical and be one less quantity for chemical farmers to grow! And please note that it does NOT have to be more expensive. Resist the pressure, of some less than scrupulous organic growers/sellers, to make you pay much more for such products. Research has shown that growing the organic way is not significantly more costly than other methods!
6. Think carefully about the things you can recycle or you can replace with re-useable items
a) Many computer printers have refillable cartridges. This is much cheaper and keeps empty cartridges out of the landfill
b) Think of using pencils or ink pens (fountain pens) rather than disposable ballpoint pens.
c) Do not use paper plates and cups for parties. There are lots of unbreakable and long lasting alternatives.
d) Save jars and plastic containers for canning and storage.
7. Look more to Nature for the prevention and cure of some of those common illnesses. There are lots of natural remedies on the market and your pharmacist will carry them and be happy to advise you on alternatives to medications, with bad side affects, and anti-biotic.
These are just a few ideas that, collectively, can make a big difference. There are many more I assure you. Get your children involved in thinking up ways to conserve and protect the environment. Make it into a game if necessary and reward them with some of that home grown, home made apple pie!
One major thing that needs to be done and in which everyone can play a part is to ensure that the representatives we elect do indeed represents us. At present, their priorities are their paymasters – the corporations or labor unions – their party and, finally, if there is time you the voter. That is not the right order of priority. Lobby and harass them if necessary to ensure that your fears, views and opinions are represented fairly. If they won’t listen or won’t act then throw them out next time around. In the end, we have given them authority to act on our behalf and protect our interests. Can there be anything more important than the survival of the planet upon which we live?
When you take a look outside, what do you see? Most of us take for granted the beautiful trees that supply us oxygen, and the air we breathe. Elements such as air, water and land are things that the average person thinks very little about, because they feel they are here for our use and consumption. But not for long, if we do not take steps to ensure their future vitality.
The simplest things you can do will have a great impact on our earth. Most people think they cannot help, but for every one person that changes their attitudes, the benefits for our earth quickly add up.
Here are some steps you can take to help!
1. Recycle, recycle, recycle. It sounds so simple, yet every time I pass a trash can there is a glass bottle in there. This simple act has helped reduce landfill volume dramatically, but so much more can be done.
2. Roll down your car window for air, only. Don't throw anything out of it. Although keeping that wrapper in your car for the duration of your trip may be a little annoying, it's something simple with many benefits. The road critters won't have the opportunity to gag on it, the roads will look cleaner, and you can avoid litter fines. Not too shabby, huh? This goes for anywhere you are. Wait until you get to a trash can to dispose of litter.
3. Dispose of oil properly. If you think you're saving money doing oil changes by yourself, think again. Put oil where it belongs, properly contained and disposed of. The earth has a much higher price to pay than you do for that oil.
4. Smash your trash. Instead of loosely filling up your garbage cans, compress the load down. You'll get more wear out of your garbage bags and the landfill will get more use, too!
5. Walk. This is the age-old recommendation. But it really works! Walk when you can. You'll use less gas, and get a workout as well. For those who can't easily walk to necessary places, organize your daily errands into one, multi-tasked trip.
6. Get involved. Your town has many opportunities for you to make a difference. There are also many national organizations with local branches that are in need of assistance. Getting involved with the community can be fun and environmentally friendly.
7. Vote. Many environmental issues take a political turn. Get educated and let your voice be heard. You don't have to be a politician to know what's right or wrong.
These few steps will make you a more environmentally conscious and happy person. You'll feel better about yourself because you've made a contribution, and you'll appreciate what you see more the next time you step outside, too.
What exactly is "waste"?
Simply speaking, waste is anything discarded, rejected, surplused, abandoned, or otherwise released into the environment in a manner (or quantity) that could have an impact on that environment.
How can you help?
You can help by learning about and PRACTICING the three R's of waste management: Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Practicing all three of these activities every day is not only important for a healthy environment, but it can also be fun too. So let's take a minute right now to learn more about waste and waste management, so you can become a key player in making our world a safe and healthy place.
Reduce/Reduction: to make something smaller or use less, resulting in a smaller amount of waste. "Source reduction" is reducing waste before you purchase it, or by purchasing products that are not wasteful in their packaging or use. A key part of waste "reduction" is "conservation" - using natural resources wisely, and using less than usual in order avoid waste.
You can practice reduction by selecting products that do not have to be added to landfills or the waste stream in general. This is really easy to do...
First and foremost, buy and use less! If all the other people on the Earth used as much "stuff" as we do in the United States, there would need to be three to five times more space just to hold and sustain everybody ... WOW! So buy only what you need and use all of what you buy. Or make sure that when you are through with something, you pass it along to other people who can continue to put it to good use. This is especially important when it comes to items where disposal is difficult or could be particularly dangerous to our environment, such as paint and chemicals (cleaners, strippers, pesticides, herbicides, etc.).
Start making wise "package" selections. Why is it important to consider how something is "packaged" when you consider what to buy? You can reduce waste by selecting products that are not wasteful in their "packaging". The package surrounding the product really only needs to be designed to protect the product from damage, keep it clean and sanitary, and present product information. Yet many manufacturers make the packaging far more elaborate (and expensive!) than necessary with the hope that it will attract your attention or give the appearance that the product inside is better than its competitors. So keep the following package-related tips in mind no matter what you are buying:
Precycle by purchasing products in materials/packaging that can be readily recycled. Flashy and fun packaging costs more, usually adds little or no value to the product, and (worst of all!) can do considerable harm to our environment by creating more waste or waste disposal difficulties. So whenever you have a choice, put plain and recyclable packages high on your list to reduce packaging waste in our environment.
Avoid single-serve containers whenever possible. You can buy juice or water in large recyclable bottles or cans and then divide it up into smaller portions in reusable, washable containers as you need it at home or to take with you. And if you want to take juice or water with you on your bike rides or to the gym, just take it along in your own reusable sports bottle. With regard to buying bottled water, first determine if you really even need to buy bottled (packaged) water. City water (and clean well water) is usually just as healthy, much cheaper, and may even be safer than bottled water products.
Think BIG! Buying in "bulk" (a large amount that is not divided into separate containers) gives you the best "product to package" ratio. Many stores allow shoppers to scoop out the amount they need of bulk goods like nuts or coffee. This considerably reduces waste and packaging materials. Or you can buy in bulk by selecting bigger quantities in a single box or package -- for example, buy the largest box of toothpaste, dishwasher detergent, or cereal, rather than a series of small boxes. This not only reduces the waste (from having to throw out the old containers) but it will also save you money. Packaging is expensive, so buying in larger volumes reduces the unit cost.
Buy concentrates rather than diluted products- the result is less waste for disposal when it is empty.
Refuse store bags! When you buy one or two items at a store, carry them out in your hands; or take a reusable bag with you to carry the items you buy. And don't forget to take your old plastic and paper bags back to the grocery store for reuse or recycling. Most grocery stores have convenient paper and plastic recycling bins located near the entrance.
Use durable goods longer. Durable goods are sturdy things like furniture or household appliances that can (and should) be used for many years. You can save money and reduce waste by keeping these items longer and repairing them when they break, rather than buying new ones.
Use durable items rather than disposable items whenever possible. For example, select reusable razors rather than the disposable one that you can only use a few times and then have to throw away.
Say NO to junk mail . Call toll-free numbers in unwanted catalogs and ask to be removed from mailing lists. Whenever possible, use the Internet to obtain (and pay) bills, news, catalogs, stock reports and other information that usually comes to your house in a paper format. Reducing paper reduces waste.
Start a garden. Food that you grow yourself does not have to be "processed" or "packaged", and no fossil fuels are needed to get it to the store and then to your house.
Start a compost or vermiculture to transform your household garbage (food wastes, coffee grounds, etc), into a rich earth-like material that can be added to a garden to help plants grow. Grass, leaves, paper, and some other types of food can naturally decay and turn into compost, and that compost can then be put to good use in your garden. You can also help your family replace lawns with mulched gardens that are just as pretty, but are better for our environment.
You can "reuse" materials in their original form instead of throwing them away, or pass those materials on to others who could use them too! Remember, one man's trash is another man's treasure! Here are some examples of reuse ...
Take along washable cups or travel mugs instead of disposables; a lot of restaurants and convenient stores will be glad to fill or refill your own mug.
When you do use disposables like plastic cups, plates, utensils, and plastic food storage bags, don't throw them away! Wash and reuse them -- most of them will last for a long time with many uses. They may not cost much to replace, but it doesn't make any more sense to throw away those things than it does to throw away your bicycle after one use.
And speaking of bicycles (or other durable goods like washers, dryers, etc.) -- why not repair them rather than replace them when they break? This is another form of "reuse". New is not always better, nor it is always necessary. You'll be helping your environment, but your pocketbook will thank you too!
When you do decide to replace something large and "reusable", be sure to donate the old one to charitable outlets like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Vietnam Veterans, and the many others that are probably in your area. Most of the time the item can be repaired by those groups, and then redistributed into other homes rather than landfills.
Hold a yard sale or give-away. And ask your neighbors to join in too -- this shares the work and increases the number of unused things that can find new homes and new uses. And your local recycling/solid waste office may run a "swap shop" at a recycling centers --
When you do need to purchase something, check those yard sales and charitable outlets first to see if they have what you need before selecting something new.
Use cloth gift bags and stop ripping the paper off gifts! If you remove the wrapping paper carefully, you can use it again, and there's nothing wrong with doing just that! And don't forget to use canvas or cloth bags when shopping so you don't need to make the choice between "paper or plastic."
Use washable table napkins instead of paper napkins -- cloth napkins are usually much larger and more absorbent than paper products, and they can dress up your dinner table too!
New baby? Buy washable cotton diapers (look for them at yard sales or charitable outlets). Check the yellow pages to see if there is a diaper service in your area. If you select those with velcro wraps, reusable diapers are just as convenient and may even be cheaper than disposable diapers.
Recycling occurs when you save and take reusable materials to places where they can be remade into either the same product or new products, rather than to just toss them in the trash. Making new items from recycled ones also takes fewer energy and other resources than making products from brand new materials.
Just about anything in your home (or office or school, etc.) that cannot be reused CAN be recycled into something else. You'd be amazed what can be done with a recycled product ...a recycled soda bottle, for example, can be made into T-shirts, combs, or hundreds of other plastic goods that can be used for many years. Even your brand new computer case might be made from ordinary recycled plastics. And paper products can take on different forms as well -- an old phone book or coloring book might become one of your school books or a composition notebook.
Your recycling mission is not impossible! In fact, it is very simple:
Don't throw away anything that can be recycled!
Here is a list of things you should always recycle (or reuse!) ...
Glass (particularly bottles and jars)
White Goods (Appliances)
Some of the items listed above will require special handling procedures and special recycling places or events. Just ask your local recycling office (city, county, or state) for assistance and information.
Now isn't that easy? There is so much that YOU can do with very little effort. And the best part is you will probably save yourself a lot of money while you are at it!
Why Should You Recycle?
You wouldn't throw away your printer just because it ran out of paper; you certainly wouldn't throw away your typewriter because it ran out of ribbon! Why throw away a perfectly good toner cartridge just because it runs out of toner? Most cartridge companies recharge your toner cartridge for a fraction of the cost of a new cartridge and they promise you clean, quality prints every time! You'll save up to 50% off the cost of a new cartridge, and savings like this add up fast. Recharging not only saves you money; it also saves 20 million cartridges from ending up in the landfills each month.
Printer toner cartridges contain very fine particulate powder, which, although the constituents may not be toxic, can present a minor hazard. Over two million non-biodegradable toner cartridges are thrown away each year in the UK, each weighing about 4lbs. A growing number of companies now sell remanufactured or refillable cartridges.
Recycling Print Cartridges...
In the last decade alone over 250 million print cartridges have ended up in landfill sites or incinerated.
Each laser cartridge contains over 1.5 kg of plastic, aluminium and assorted parts. For every laser cartridge that is dumped it takes 1.5 pints of oil to produce a new cartridge. This is a criminal waste of resources and important environmental issues aside, an enormous waste of money.
Our pioneering schemes and your recycling efforts, over the last two years alone, have helped save over 1.5 million litres of oil.
Printed circuit boards contain hazardous metals such as lead, chromium, cadmium and mercury, with significant variation depending on the board.
There are recycling friendly companies out there that makes good use of old printer cartridges. For example, they will change some of the compartments inside and send it to prisons for the inmates to use, to schools and to the unfortunate people for them to get to know the technological devices that we have.
Charging a small amount of money should not be a problem as we are partly responsible for taking care of the environment. We should not leave it for others to fix. We should no put aside our responsibilities.
Recycled Cartridges Good As New right here in Malaysia
The next time you have empty laser toner cartridges to discard, think of recycling instead of just dumping them in the bin.
You can send them to Eco Image Sdn Bhd in Shah Alam for a "make-over" and earn a bit of cash in the process.
Eco Image, whose core business is the remanufacturing of laser toner cartridges, inkjet cartridges and printer ribbons, takes back empty cartridges for between RM5 and RM20 each, depending on the model.
The company then remanufactures the cartridges and sells them for about half the price of a new cartridge. It is now associated with one of the largest remanufacturer in Malaysia and its products and services are supplied directly to major corporations and also distributed by a network of more than 70 distributors across Malaysia.
Empty cartridges are disassembled and parts, which can be reused, are cleaned and serviced for reassemble later. Components that cannot be re-used, such as aluminium, alloy and plastic, are separated and sold as scrap material. Empty cartridges, which can no longer be remanufactured, are also stripped apart and sold for recycling.
The remanufactured cartridges are tested for print quality and given a limited warranty that includes full refund or product replacement if customers are not totally satisfied. ECO is fully committed to maintaining the high quality standards that customers demand and will continually upgrade technology to improve quality & service. The environment factor is gaining importance in Malaysia, as it has in many parts of the world. For a better tomorrow, we must recycle whatever we can to conserve the environment. Approximately 1 million units of laser toner cartridges are sold each year in Malaysia and most are dumped after use. If we are able to recycle all of these cartridges 5 times, we can reduce wastage of plastic casings by 500%!
We have actively promoted recycling, be it paper, cans, bottles or plastic, and we will continue to do so until our mission is achieved. ECO is moving forward with its message on recycling by introducing the "Recycle & Save " Franchise as a business opportunity for entrepreneurs. This Franchise enables the franchisee to duplicate the methods & systems for operating this business in another State or location and therefore become the regional support centre for our customers. We plan to establish such Franchises around the country over the next 5 years.
People's perception of the quality of recycled goods is important to further encourage recycling, and is all a matter of education and awareness.
Recycling in commercial enterprises is important because commercial waste makes up about 40 percent of total solid waste. Business and industry operations generate recyclable materials in many areas, such as offices, cafeterias, supply stores, shipping or warehouse units, print shops, and production areas.
Collecting recyclables costs money, but it also reduces the volume of waste that must be disposed of. The sale of some recyclable materials can also generate revenues. Here is what you can do to help make recycling in the office a success.
Paper Most types of paper are recyclable. Office paper is usually collected in two grades: "high-grade" and "mixed" paper.
High-grade paper typically consists of white copier paper, white computer paper, white office stationery, and whitenote paper.
Mixed office paper includes nearly all paper generated in an office, including both white and colored paper, newspapers,file folders, manila envelopes, and paperback books. Because it is not usually sorted, mixed paper is considered to be low quality and generally gets low market prices.
Glossy paper, tape, and envelopes with plastic windows are usually not bought by buyers. The highest prices are paid for sorted paper with little contamination.
Corrugated Containers (Cardboard) The commercial sector generates more corrugated cardboard than any other single material. Cardboard is a very good for recycling because it is easily separated from other materials.
Collecting cardboard for recycling can involve removing contaminants, flattening boxes, and baling or tying them together for pickup.
Glass Many buyers require that collected glass be separated by color (clear, green, and brown) before pickup, although somewill accept mixed glass.
Typically, broken glass and paper labels are acceptable.Most buyers require, however, that glass be clean and free of contaminants such as bottle caps, ceramics, rocks, and light bulbs.
Metal Aluminum and tin/steel cans, aluminum foil, and other scrap metals are readily recyclable. Some metals, such as copper and aluminum, can yield high market prices. Collection requirements depend on the metal type and the local market situation.
Plastic While plastic recycling is a relatively young industry, it is expected to expand as processing technologies develop. To recycle recovered plastic materials into high-quality products, they must be separated by resin type.
The plastic resins most commonly recycled are used in soda bottles, and in milk jugs.
Quantity ConsiderationsObtaining sufficient quantities of recyclables is important because vendors cannot always afford to handle and transport small amounts of material. The marketing potential of your recyclables can beimproved if you cooperate with neighbouring businesses that generate the same types of materials.
Quality ConsiderationsThe second key to selling recyclable materials is meeting the quality requirements. Quality refers to the extent to which the materials are clean, consistent,and contaminant-free. Your programme should stress the importance of minimizing contamination and collecting high-quality recyclables.
We produce over 15,000 tons of rubbish everyday. It is only a matter of time before we run out of space to dispose of them. Recycling reduces waste, which in turn reduces the need for landfills and dumpsites.
Recycling reduces pollution and saves energy. Making products from virgin or raw materials results in pollution and uses more energy.
Recycling is cheaper in the long run compared to maintaining landfills and other systems. When recycling programmes become more efficient, there will be less rubbish to dispose of.
Recycling creates up to 5 times more jobs than waste disposal alone. It will create jobs for engineers, machine specialists, environmental personnel, general workers and many more.
Recycling improves cleanliness and quality of life.
Breakdown of solid waste created by Malaysians
Experts believe a landfill can last 10 years longer if Malaysians recycled 50% of their garbage The residents of Johor Bahru generate 1300 tons of waste every day.
It will take only 3 days to fill the entire length of the Johor Causeway with this amount of garbage.
ENVIRONMENTALISTS wave it like a red flag, warning of doom and gloom if it is not practiced. Academicians use it to explain how we can ensure the survival of the human race for generations to come. Politicians use it like a platitude to assure the people of their good intentions. Even corporations are getting in on the act, claiming that all their projects support the concept.
Their concern is sustainable development; a system that most people would agree is essential for the well-being of humankind.
On the simplest level, take the food you eat. Are you eating local food or does much of your diet consist of imported produce? Those who consume large amounts of imported foods should realise that the packing, storage and long-range transportation of every imported food item involves great expense and a depletion of the Earth's resources.
The campaign urging us to Beli barangan tempatan (buy locally-made goods) is not just about economics and foreign exchange - it is also an important move towards sustainable development within your community.
Consider your consumption patterns. Are you eating what you need, or are you yielding to greed - and putting on weight in the process? This may seem like a personal problem, but like most things in life, it directly affects your community and the whole issue of sustainable development as well. How is this so? First, the more you consume, the more you deplete the Earth's limited resources. Every extra slice of bread or bowl of rice means that much more land used up, fertilisers used, pesticides sprayed, water utilised and energy consumed. Multiply this by the thousands of days you live, and you will begin to see the impact that one person can have on the environment.
Assume that most people around you live as you do, then multiply the figure by the population of your local community. The total is staggering, isn't it? Factor in the costs and resources involved in the medical and social effects of widespread obesity, and you will realise that plain old overeating can affect sustainable development, not just in your community but also on a global scale.
Does your consumption patterns reflect a tendency to waste? Do you often cook or purchase more than you need? Do you discard leftovers regularly? This further depletes the Earth's limited resources and causes yet another significant problem: solid waste disposal.
Malaysia is running out of space to dispose of the urban waste generated daily by wasteful consumption. There simply aren't enough landfills. According to Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, 80% of the country's landfills will be full in two years. In fact, landfills themselves cause many serious environmental problems both for us and for future generations.
If every individual reduces the amount he or she wastes, we will make a major contribution towards sustainable development.
Thought, too, must be given to another important factor: the packaging of the food we consume. Do you really need that flimsy, pink plastic bag in which to carry the loaf of bread that is itself wrapped in plastic bag? If you take your own bag to the shop, you may end up reducing the use of hundreds of these messy little pieces of litter that are not biodegradable - that will still be around, littering the environment, hundreds of years from now.
The same principle applies to aluminium, glass, Styrofoam and other materials that are difficult or impossible to dispose of in an environmentally-sustainable way.
The use of tiffin carriers to ta pau (take away) food back to our homes and offices, for example, will dramatically reduce the amount of plastic and Styrofoam waste generated every day in our local community, and in the country as a whole.
There is, however, a minimum amount of food and other consumables that we need daily. Apart from food and drinks, we also use items like toothpaste, soap, newspapers, and various documents on a daily basis.
The government is desperately trying to inculcate the habit of waste separation among Malaysians to promote sustainable development and deal with all this waste. Recycling reduces pollution, cleans up the environment, saves energy, and generates employment. No matter what you have used, think before you throw! Can the object be re-used? Can it be recycled? Do you have to throw it away? By making simple, habitual decisions like this, you will be contributing in a very practical way to sustainable use of the earth's limited resources.
How do you treat water?
Malaysia is actually facing a major challenge to achieving sustainable development, caused by the indiscriminate use of water, and the equally indiscriminate damage of the natural water cycle. Malaysians tend to "switch off" mentally and emotionally when we are confronted with such dismal data, without realising that sustainable development is most effective when practised by ordinary individuals doing sensible things in their daily lives.
Just like with food, the way you use water in your daily life can have a significant effect on the sustainability of development in your local community.
If you leave the shower gushing while you step out to soap yourself, or if you keep the tap running when washing dishes, you could be wasting a few litres a day. Think of the costs and resources involved in the disposal of all this wasted water - assuming it does not need treatment to remove pollutants - and you will realise that "ordinary" wastage of water can significantly affect sustainable development not just in your community but on a global scale.
Many of us treat water as something too cheap to bother about - not realising that the campaign urging us to Jimatkan air (conserve water) is not just about ringgit and sen. It is also an important move towards sustainable development of communities in Malaysia and around the world. Prudent use of water by ordinary individuals will result in fewer water crisis scares similar to the one Klang Valley residents are facing at the moment.
Take a good look at your own regular consumption of water, and see if you can cut down wastage. Do you need to wash your car as frequently as you do now? Are you using more water than you need when you bathe? Is there any leaking tap in your home or office that needs immediate repair? Do you use a hose to water your garden, and in the process let the water run needlessly until it is turned off?
Water wastage brings us to another issue - that of water pollution by our waste. In Malaysia, over 70% of our potable drinking water comes from underground sources. When we contaminate the underground water table and forest springs, we are actually damaging the most important part of the natural water cycle that sustains us.
Again, a major social problem can be resolved if each of us does our part. Do you de-sludge your septic tank regularly? Or do you wait until it overflows and causes a nasty stench? Indah Water Konsortium tries to ensure that sewage and other semi-solid domestic waste is properly treated and disposed of, but its efforts are hampered by ignorant or irresponsible people who refuse to allow their septic tanks to be de-sludge regularly.
What happens when you wait until you can smell the effluent is that excess sewage has been overflowing into your drains without you knowing it? From there, it flows along with rainwater into ponds, rivers and streams - and, eventually, back into the underground water-table from where our drinking water comes. What you smell is the stuff that cannot even flow away but just sits there in your drain, fouling your immediate environment.
Another way that you may be innocently fouling the natural water cycle is by renovating your kitchen and in the process, diverting the kitchen sink outlet from the sewage system into the open drain around your house. Most people do not realize that the open drains in our neighborhood are designed and built solely to carry away rainwater, and should not be used to dispose of our garden refuse or leftover foodstuff. That cigarette butt or tissue paper should be thrown into a rubbish bin and not into the nearest drain. Leaves and twigs should not be swept into drains; rather, they should be buried or composted. Composting of garden waste is an excellent way of recycling organic matter into manure that's rich and effective.
But where to start on all this - saving water, recycling, composting - and how to get your neighbors involved? These are the very questions that are addressed by Local Agenda 21.
Local Agenda 21, or LA 21, is a means of linking local authorities with the people towards a common goal of sustainable development. Launched by the United Nations at the seminal Rio Earth Summit in 1992, it is aimed at empowering local communities in the 21st century - hence "Local Agenda 21".
LA 21 in Malaysia is jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programmed, the Housing and Local Government Ministry and various local authorities.
LA 21 will provide affirmation and encouragement to local authorities, and will at the same time provide growing opportunities for community participation in planning and development. It also increases social integration and promotes a self-help attitude among the people of a particular community.
For more information on how you can get involved in Local Agenda 21, contact the Local Agenda 21 Secretariat at the Housing and Local Government Ministry (Tel: 03-253 4736 / e-mail: Public Relations Department, Housing and Local Government Ministry
SEPARATE THEM...the government are desperately trying to inculcate the habit of waste separation among Malaysians to promote sustainable development and deal with all this waste. Recycling reduces pollution, cleans up the environment and saves energy.