Green Recycling Products Blog

Sacramento Kings Boast World's First LEED Platinum Indoor Sports Arena

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Sacramento Kings announced Thursday that the new $557 million Golden 1 Center is now the world's first LEED Platinum-certified indoor sports venue, as well as the first professional sports facility powered entirely by solar energy, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The arena features reused construction materials from the site's former structures, 36% recycled material, 90% locally sourced food and drinks for concessions, and recycled athletic shoes for court surfaces.

The Golden 1 Center's first scheduled events are two Paul McCartney concerts in October, but the main arena and practice facility will not be 100% complete until 2017.

LEED Platinum-certified projects must earn United States Green Building Council (USGBC) points in energy management, water efficiency, environmental quality, transportation and materials. The AECOM-designed Golden 1 Center earned the highest points total for any sports venue in the world, therefore putting it into the category of the top 3% of all certified buildings.

According to the Golden 1 Center, developers conducted a 13-month environmental study of the arena site and determined that choosing the downtown location would shorten travel times to events, thereby cutting air emissions by 24% and reducing travel-related greenhouse gas emissions per attendee by 36% by 2020. Arena officials estimate that the facility's site location choice will keep nearly 2,000 tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere.

The USGBC said that green sports venues teach fans and visitors about green building and drum up support for sustainability efforts. There have been an increasing number of LEED-certified sports facilities — now at least 30 — as teams and owners realize the environmental and economic benefits, according to the organization. Currently, the University of North Texas is chasing LEED Platinum status, as is the Atlanta Falcons organization for its new $1.5 billion Mercedes Benz stadium. The USGBC said the Falcons will have the first LEED Platinum NFL stadium ever once it's complete.

The Kings arena ended up costing approximately $80 million more than originally estimated, which the owners attributed to design changes and the addition of a $30 million practice facility. General contractor Turner Construction drew attention to the project last year through its use of weekly drone flights to monitor project progress, and Turner and the Kings also made the way they sourced labor a priority when hiring local low-income, homeless, veteran, ex-offender and former foster child employees as part of their Community Workforce Pipeline initiative.

Recommended Reading

Sacramento Bee: Golden 1 Center the ‘greenest’ arena in U.S.
USGBC: Sustainable Stadiums Sacramento Kings New Arena Is First Indoor Sports Venue to Earn LEED Platinum Designation

By Kim Slowey | Waste Dive|September 26, 2016

An Important Point About Product "Empties"

Joseph Coupal - Monday, September 19, 2016

Imagine this scenario: You're in the shower, squeezing out the last few drops of your shampoo. Without a thought, you toss the empty bottle into the tiny trash bin in your bathroom, mentally cheering yourself on for the slam dunk you just made. Maybe it didn't even cross your mind to save the bottle and stash it in your designated recycling bin. If this sounds familiar, you're not alone.

Only 14% of Americans recycle their bathroom empties, compared to a whopping 50% who recycle their kitchen empties, according to Unilever, the beauty conglomerate that owns brands like Dove, Simple, and Suave. This huge discrepancy has prompted the company to resurrect its "Rinse, Recycle, Reimagine" campaign to encourage consumers to take small steps toward preserving our planet. Who's the voice leading the charge? Candace Cameron Bure, of Full House and Fuller House fame.

"Only 14% of Americans actually recycle their bathroom empties and I wasn't one of them," admits Cameron Bure. "So, I thought this was a great campaign to help Americans like me rethink recycling and to not forget all those lotions, shampoos, body wash, and makeup containers...that we forget."

It's easier than you think. Many people believe that beauty products have to be cleaned thoroughly before you can recycle them, but that's actually not the case. "I never recycled bathroom products because you can't [always] get in to [clean] those containers," says Cameron Bure. "[But] all the containers go through a sanitation process [in the recycling plant] that cleans out everything." So, don't feel like you have to stress about that last drop of lotion in the bottle. "The process [breaks] down the material and they can become things like coats and other bottles," says Cameron Bure.

By partnering with Cameron Bure, Unilever hopes to spread awareness through social media (#RethinkRecycling). Although Unilever already uses recycled material in its brands' packaging, the company has also set an aggressive goal to dramatically increase recycled material content in the next four years.

So, before you upload a proud Insta or YouTube video of your product "empties," make sure you're taking steps to ensure those shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, and even makeup containers don't go to waste. Whether it's keeping a dedicated recycling bin in your bathroom or simply disposing of your recyclables in your kitchen's blue bin, the small steps you take make a big difference.

*Original By: Mi-Anne Chan

New ‘Waste Sharks’ will eat all the trash in Rotterdam’s waters

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The port of Rotterdam will soon feature a new marine resident. The "Waste Shark," a drone roughly the size of your average car, will float around the port’s waters keeping an eye out for trash which it can “eat” for processing.

The city of Rotterdam, Holland has been making a lot of effort in the past few years to lessen its environmental impact, and the port hasn’t been overlooked. Under the startup program PortXL, the city’s port authority has also been promoting new solutions to help make it more efficient, more sustainable, and overall just a better place. At the conclusion of the program’s first year, the port signed an agreement with South-African startup RanMarine to deploy a new drone on its waters — the Waste Shark.

The Port of Rotterdam has already announced one drone resident — the AquasmartXL, a small unmanned boat equipped with a camera that allows real-time inspection and surveillance of the water surface. But where the AquasmartXL is the eyes of Rotterdam, the Waste Shark will be its mouth. This drone is roughly the size of a car and can eat up to 500 kilograms (1102 pounds) of trash using a ‘mouth’ 35 cm under the water line. It will “fight ‘plastic soup’ at the source as 90% of all waste in the ocean starts in urban areas,” PortXL’s page reads.

Allard Castelein, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Rotterdam Authority said that the Rotterdam Port Authority is determined to explore all avenues of innovation, as stated in their operational philosophy.

“Innovation cannot be forced. However, you can create an environment in which innovation is likely to take place and be in line with the market,” he said.

“We support research in conjunction with universities, such as the Port Innovation Lab with the Delft University of Technology and of course our own Erasmus University in Rotterdam. And we collaborate with contests for students. In addition, we support Dutch start-ups that are relevant to the port, but we also scout worldwide via PortXL; the first accelerator that focuses on port start-ups on a global level.”

The contract requires four Waste Sharks to scour the waters for the next six months as part of a test run for the drones. They will operate in areas where it is too difficult, dangerous, or undesirable to use manned solutions. This includes under jetties, bridges and other structures.

Original by: Alexandru Micu -

Will paper recycling survive the evolution of the digital era?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, September 08, 2016

As the digital age continues to evolve, the paper industry is in an extended transitional period.

Paper recycling access is nearly universal, though not without challenges — like the inevitable decrease in the consumption of many paper products. In an effort to turn this around, manufacturers and recyclers have started getting creative to ensure this nearly 2,000-year-old material still has an important role to play in an increasingly digital world.

Stabilizing the industry is seen as such a priority that a federal check-off program — more commonly used for food commodities — was formed in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program, called the Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB),  is supported by a majority of large paper companies and funded by an assessment on domestic manufacturers and importers of paper goods. The four categories covered by the program are printing and writing papers, Kraft, containerboard and paperboard.

Maintaining the value of paper products

P+PB's estimated $25 million annual budget is used to raise awareness around paper products, starting with the "How Life Unfolds" campaign. Launched last year across a variety of platforms, the creative campaign highlights how playing, writing letters, reading books, writing and other daily activities are all intertwined with paper products.

"We see the resilience and reusability of paper and packaging products as a key source of their value to people," said Joan Sahlgren, P+PB's director of relations, in an email. "Paper and packaging products usually lead more than one life before they head to the recycling bin."

According to P+PB, consumption of packaging and paperboard has decreased by 56 pounds per person in the U.S. since 2000. National data and local waste characterization studies show a decline in tonnages for many paper products as well. And while paper still makes up more of the recyclable stream by weight than all other materials combined(except steel), these shifts have also affected the recycling industry.

"Recovery is a function of the marketplace," said Brian Hawkinson, executive director of recovered fiber for the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA).

Hawkinson said that newspapers accounted for only 5.2% of recovered fiber in 2015, as compared to about 15% in 2007. Yet, while the digital shift may have led more people to read news on their devices, it has also led them to order more items from online shopping. Hawkinson notes corrugated containers were up to 68.6% in 2015 from 59% in 2007.

According to AF&PA data, recovery rates for corrugated containers also reached a record high of 92.9% last year. Additionally, recovery rates for paper and paperboard were at a record high of 66.8% and moving upward toward AF&PA’s goal of 70% by 2020.

While that recovery rate has nearly doubled since 1990, its climb has been much more gradual in recent years and keeping up the trend could be challenging.

"Increasing recovery for recycling is a function of having the infrastructure in place and then having the people who have access to recovery participate," said Hawkinson, adding that it’s crucial for residents to "reduce contamination and put the best quality recyclable materials in the carts and bins in their communities."

Community participation

AF&PA has been working with organizations such as The Recycling Partnership to help make sure this infrastructure is strong and recovering the best quality material possible. An estimated 96% of people in the U.S. now have access to some form of paper recycling, but a large amount of the material is still being sent to landfills.

Keefe Harrison, the Recycling Partnership’s executive director, estimates there may be 46 million tons of recyclable paper and packaging in homes that isn't getting recovered. More than one-third of fiber used by manufacturers now comes from recycled sources and is a valuable commodity that needs to be captured.

"We work to serve the whole supply chain because we want to get more paper and other materials flowing through," said Harrison.

The Recycling Partnership sees cart collection, often in a single-stream system, as the best way to do this. Lidded carts help prevent paper from blowing away or getting wet and are often more convenient for residents and workers. The organization has helped improve recycling access for thousands of residents in more than a hundred communities across the country in an effort to recover larger amounts of paper and other items.

Harrison noted the composition of recyclables has changed greatly in the past decade and the growing amount of new materials such as cartons means it will likely continue to do so in the future.

"The whole industry changes because packaging changes, because print media changes, and we all have to be nimble and evolve," she said.

Will paper always have a place in the market?

As these changes persist, P+PB will be continuing its efforts to reframe the conversation around paper until at least 2021, when members will vote whether to continue the program.

The organization noted its commitment to "stewardship" of forests and paper resources, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive recycling education as part of that agenda.

"For decades there has been a lot of misinformation out there, leading to unnecessary guilt about using paper and paper-based packaging products," wrote Sahlgren. "Sometimes it gets lost that our products are some of the most recycled in the world, and that we’re continually setting new records for how much pulp we recover."

Some estimates have projected that global paper consumption will increase in the coming years and categories such as corrugated continue to be some of the most valuable in the waste stream. While items like phone books may be a thing of the past, it seems likely that paper will still be part of the future.

Original By WasteDive - September 8, 2016

GameDay Recycling Challenge 2016

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The GameDay Recycling Challenge is a nationwide competition among universities to reduce and recycle the waste generated at home football games. During each competition cycle, participating schools report recycling, compost and attendance data for at least one home football game. In 2015, 99 schools rallied fans to recycle an impressive 2.1 million pounds of bottles, cans, paper, cardboard and more, and compost 457,000 pounds of food organics from football stadiums and tailgating areas while also raising awareness and inspiring action around waste reduction.

The GameDay Recycling Challenge is administered by the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), RecycleMania, Keep America Beautiful and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise.

Officials from the US EPA, Keep America Beautiful, CURC and RecycleMania were on hand to recognize the national winners of the 2015 competition at the Green Sports Alliance Summit in Houston on June 29, 2015.Check out the full 2015 Results.

Diversion Rate Champion: Ohio University – 95% diversion
Total Recycling Champion: Louisiana State University – 86,000+ pounds recycled

Is “Going Green” Unmanly?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, September 01, 2016

The issue: Green labels that promise consumers their purchases are eco-friendly appear on all sorts of goods these days, from yogurts to urinals. The label can mean many things: The item has sustainable packaging. It’s organically grown. It’s locally made. Or it is just a little less damaging to the planet. With growing concern from government officials and others about pollution and climate change, going green is a hot marketing strategy.

But is the push to be more environmentally friendly working?

Scholars have found that men tend to litter more, recycle less, have a larger carbon footprint, and feel less responsible than women for environmentally destructive behavior. In general, environmental concerns are more associated with femininity than masculinity, according to a 2011 study by the public-relations firm Ogilvy & Mather that has been repeatedly cited in academic research.

So how can men be encouraged to recycle?

An academic study worth reading: “Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly? The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption,” published in the Journal of Consumer Research, August 2016.

Study summary: Aaron Brough, an assistant professor of marketing at Utah State University, and James E.B. Wilkie, an assistant professor of business at the University of Notre Dame, led a study that examines why men are less likely than women to engage in so-called green behaviors. Brough, Wilkie and their colleagues hypothesize that men are more likely to avoid green behavior “in order to safeguard their gender identity.” This group of scholars draws on previous research, which shows not only that concern for the environment is stereotypically associated with femininity, but that “men tend to be more concerned than women with gender-identity maintenance.”

Women’s greater concerns about the environment — an effect that has been documented across age groups and countries — may be because women have been associated with more concern with the future and health. Brough, Wilkie and colleagues sought to understand the underlying reasons for men’s un-green behavior. They designed seven experiments — including one carried out in China — to gauge whether male behaviors can be changed.


  • Men are more likely to donate to an environmental non-profit organization that has an overtly masculine logo or branding than to an organization that is perceived as being feminine. Such an effect was not recorded in women.
  • Men are less likely than women to buy products marketed as environmentally friendly, or “green.”
  • Both men and women perceive consumers who buy green products and make efforts to recycle as more feminine.
  • Both men and women view green products as less masculine than non-green versions of the same products.
  • Women are unlikely to be concerned if packaging looks masculine.
  • Men’s disinclination for green behavior “may be partially explained by an association between green behavior and femininity that threatens the gender identity of men.”
  • Men are more likely to avoid green products in public as well as in private, suggesting they are concerned both with managing judgments of themselves, as well as their own self-perception.

Other resources for journalists writing about this issue:

Activist groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund — which successfully lobbied McDonald’s to stop using polystyrene containers — Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council list detailed information on their websites about environmental threats and ways to help.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hosts resources dedicated to its Congressionally mandated mission: “to protect human health and the environment.”

There are a number of for-profit and non-profit organizations — including the U.S. Small Business Administration, a government agency — that offer guidance on how to utilize environmental concerns in marketing campaigns.

Other useful research:

The Pew Research Center regularly conducts polls on Americans’ attitudes toward the environment and sustainability. AnApril 2016 poll found Americans split by political party on how much the government should make environmental protection a priority. Ninety percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans say the United States should “do whatever it takes to protect the environment.” (In 1994, Pew found 85 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement.) Most Americans recycle at least sometimes, according to the 2016 poll, and 39 percent identify as environmentalists.

*Original by: David Trilling | August 24, 2016