Green Recycling Products Blog

Why Solar Energy is Good

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Face it, solar energy is definitely the future trend of energy. Nowadays, many households, business & public areas have converted to be powered solely by solar power, reaping all the advantages offered by the sun.

Here are some good reasons for using solar energy to power your home or workplace:

1. Cut-down electricity bill
The key reason that most households convert their power source to solar energy is to cut down their electrical bill because the electrical usage generated from the sun is free. By converting as many home appliances as possible to use solar energy, you can save a significant savings in your utilities expenses.

2. It is a renewable energy source
Typical electricity is generated from fossil fuel that will run out one day. Solar energy is a good alternative to replace fossil fuel as the major energy source because solar power is renewable at absolutely no cost to supply energy infinitely.

3. Environment friendly
The world pollution is getting worse. Any effort that can reduce the pollution to the environment helps to save the earth. Solar panels are able to harness the energy from the sun and convert it to electricity. Therefore, the use of solar panels is environment friendly. Therefore, solar energy that is harmless to the environment will be the major energy source for future - starting today.

4. Low / no maintenance needed
Once you have installed the solar power system, it can last twenty to thirty years without major maintenance needed. You may need to do system check once a year, just to make sure everything is performing as it should. Since it requires very minimum maintenance cost, your cost should be minimal.

*Originally published on

Notes from the NRC: What is zero waste?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 19, 2016

Over the past five years or so, leading solid waste and recycling organizations, communities and businesses across the country have increasingly embraced zero waste. Zero waste policies and programs establish practical ways to eliminate waste and safely reuse, recycle or compost discarded products and packaging. However, there has been confusion in the marketplace due to the many definitions of "zero" that are being used.

To address this confusion for its members and others, the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), identified the need to evaluate and come to consensus on a definition for zero waste. Earlier this year, the NRC Board adopted the definition offered up by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA). It reads as follows: Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.

The key measure of performance toward ZWIA’s zero waste definition is diverting 90 percent of all discarded materials from landfills, incinerators and the environment. While it's true that 90 percent diversion does not equate to zero landfilling, the goal is viewed – both by ZWIA and NRC – as the most reasonable and yet ambitious target the industry should be aiming for.

One compelling reason for NRC to adopt the ZWIA definition of zero waste is that it is the only peer-reviewed definition in existence today. It's also been accepted by environmental, recycling and zero waste leaders all around the world. To date, many organizations, businesses and communities have adopted and support the ZWIA definition. It has also been embraced by many members of NRC.

Another facet of the ZWIA definition that NRC finds especially useful is that it does not count waste-to-energy as diversion. While some companies and groups have endorsed a "zero landfill" practice, it is important to ensure that diverted material is not headed for incineration either.

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has acknowledged that it has members that support waste-to-energy while others support zero waste. SWANA wants to support both of those groups of members, so it has agreed to view waste-to-energy as a non-zero waste diversion tactic. The U.S. Conference of Mayors also adopted a resolution last year that highlighted that waste-based energy should be counted as disposal, not diversion.

NRC hopes that adopting ZWIA's clear sighted definition will help its members and the industry to continue to strive for the highest waste diversion and recycling goals and encourage them to divert as much as possible by supporting recycling and also considering how zero waste policies and programs can achieve even greater objectives.

Gary Liss is a current board member and secretary of the National Recycling Coalition. He was also a founding member and past president of NRC and is the president of Gary Liss & Associates.

Ford Using Captured Carbon to Make Plastic Car Parts

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ford is developing new foam and plastic car components made from carbon dioxide. It expects the new biomaterials, which is still undergoing testing, will be in Ford production vehicles within the next five years.

The foam, made with up to 50 percent CO2-based polyols, could be used in seating and underhood applications. This could reduce petroleum use by more than 600 million pounds annually, Ford says.

Ford began working with several companies, suppliers and universities in 2013 to find uses for captured CO2. Plastic manufacturing accounts for nearly 4 percent of the world’s oil use, according to British Plastic Federation. Ford says it hopes this new bioplastic will help achieve the long-term goals to reduce global warming set in the Paris climate agreement.

The automaker uses other sustainable materials in its products. In North America, soy foam is in every Ford vehicle. Coconut fiber backs trunk liners; recycled tires and soy are in mirror gaskets; recycled T-shirts and denim go into carpeting; and recycled plastic bottles become fabric used in the 2016 F-150.

Original by: Jessica Lyons Hardcastle

Paper recovery rate nears 67 percent

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Paper recycling hit new heights last year, according to the latest data from the American Forest & Paper Association. Approximately 52 million tons of paper were recovered in 2015, the AF&PA recently reported. The group estimates the overall paper recovery rate reached 66.8 percent, an all-time high. The 2014 recovery rate was 65.4 percent.

The recovery rate, which is released annually by AF&PA, reflects all recovered paper with the exception of paper waste known as mill broke, which is produced before the completion of the paper-making process. The AF&PA does not provide specific data on post-consumer paper recycling.

"Paper recycling is widespread, widely accessible, it's broadly successful and it's a great environmental success story," said Brian Hawkinson, the executive director of recovered fibers at AF&PA. He credited the higher numbers to growth in recycling infrastructure across the country and to paper mill demand for recovered material.

While overall paper generation fell slightly to just under 78 million tons in 2015 and is down about 25 percent since 1999, Hawkinson noted the shift toward more online commerce has helped drive the generation of more cardboard in the recycling stream. Since 1999, generation of old corrugated containers (OCC) has grown almost 50 percent.

Of the 33.7 million tons of OCC put on the marketplace in 2015, 31.3 million tons, or 92.9 percent, were recovered, AF&PA figures show.

One concern AF&PA has for the future of paper recovery is mixed-waste processing. Many in the recycling industry have opposed the approach on the grounds that it contaminates and devalues recyclables, including fiber.

"That's something that's certainly got the industry's attention," Hawkson said. "Our goal is to promote increased recovery of mill-quality fiber so anything that is a threat to recovery is something we're concerned about."

He noted the industry is within reach of its 2020 goal of hitting a 70 percent recovery rate. The key will be continued growth of markets for recovered paper. "The markets will dictate that," he said.

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling - May 10, 2016

International Compost Awareness Week 2016

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Yessi Budisari of West Indonesia has sensed growing concern for soil revitalization in the wake of a brush fire and smoke pollution disaster in her country, and designed the winning 2016 International Compost Awareness Week poster in response to the concerns.

The poster, which has been distributed nationally prior to the celebration of International Compost Awareness Week May 1-7, 2016, focuses on a water conservation theme of Compost: The Soil and Water Connection. The US Composting Council’s Annual Competition received nearly 125 entries from all ages and across the world.

“My poster symbolizes the connection between soil and water: The Yin and Yang…. the two elements that are completely different but cannot live without each other,” she said. “I described Yang with soil because soil is hard, dry and firm, and The Yin I described as water as water is fluid in motion. Together they can be a hero to our planet earth.”

The International Compost Awareness Committee, a group of USCC members, chose this year’s theme to bring attention to the role of compost in healthy soil to address growing drought and food insecurity issues across the world.

“Encouraging compost enthusiasts of all ages to think about compost in that context is an effective way to educate people about compost’s ability to strengthen and enrich degraded soils,” said Jeff Ziegenbein, chair of this year’s International Compost Awareness Week Committee and project manager for Inland Empire Regional Composting Authority in California.

International Compost Awareness Week is an annual multi-media publicity and education campaign that showcases composting and compost products, from backyards to large-scale composting facilities. Sponsors of this year’s campaign include: BioCycle Magazine, BioBag, Filtrexx International, Full Circle Organics, LLC, Rooflite, Natureworks, WeCare Organics, Reotemp Instruments, and Composting News.

The U.S. Composting Council is a national organization dedicated to the development, expansion and promotion of the composting industry. Established in 1990, the USCC achieves this mission by supporting and performing compost-related research, promoting best management practices, establishing standards, educating professionals and the public about the benefits of composting and using finished compost. USCC members include compost producers, marketers, equipment manufacturers, product suppliers, academic institutions, public agencies, nonprofit groups and consulting/engineering firms.

**Originally posted by