Sunday, July 27, 2008

A few years ago I found this company called terracycle that reused soda bottles (both large and small) to package their fertilizers (worm poop). Now you all know how excited I get about worm poop so imagine how excited I was to find this company. Well I have bought their products (since I have not yet built my worm composter) and it worked great and of course is all natural. So yesterday I was at Home Depot and guess what? They sell their product! In recycled bottles and all!!!! They were on a shelf right at the checkout counter. I was so excited I decided to check out their website and I was shocked to see how many more things they are collecting and recycling now from juice pouches to yogurt containers. Please check out their website!

Biodegradable Peatpots

So I was shopping at Home Depot for some vegetable plants and saw that they are now using Bonnie Biodegradable Peatpots. I have read about these before but was not sure how readily available they were going to be and I am thrilled to see that Home Depot is selling their products with them. These pots are biodegradable and can be put right into the ground when you are planting your plant (sounds funny). No more unnecessary garbage and most importantly no more unnecessary resources being wasted to make that plastic pot. Be sure and look for them the next time you are shopping for something for your garden. You can also visit www.bonnieplants. com to learn more about them.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

recycling electronics

In 2005, used or unwanted electronics amounted to approximately 1.9 to 2.2 million tons. Of that, a whopping 1.5 to 1.9 million tons were chucked into landfills, meaning that only 345,000 to 379,000 tons were recycled, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But it doesn't have to be that way.

Opportunities and resources for electronics recycling are often closer than you think. Most big box stores, for example, where many of us get our electronics in the first place, have some recycling initiatives, and several are even quite extensive. Here's the scoop on five of the biggest.

Your cellphones can be donated at most City facilities including City Hall, Utility and the Community Center.


Apple's iPod recycling program offers free recycling of any iPod or cell phone. After filling out an online form, you'll get a prepaid mailing label to attach to your package, or you can request a free mailer. For U.S. customers, Apple also offers free recycling of old computers, displays, and peripheralscables, mice, keyboards, speakers, printers, scanners, hard drives, etc.when you purchase a new Mac or monitor. Whether you buy a computer or monitor online or at an Apple store, the company will send you an e-mail with a shipping code. Pack up your old gear and drop it off at any FedEx location and a-recycling it goes.

Best Buy

Best Buy has a pretty comprehensive recycling program that covers everything from TVs to refrigerators. You can drop off old cellphones, rechargeable batteries, and printer cartridges at no cost at the handy kiosks inside all of its U.S. stores. When you buy a cellphone at Best Buy, the company gives you a free, postage-paid envelope to mail old phones to ReCellular, their partner for reuse and/or recycling. If your electronics still have some good use left in them, you can trade 'em in and get some money back; just go to the online trade-in estimator, fill out the details and condition of your device, and it'll give you an instant quote; about a week after your gadget arrives at the trade-in center, you'll get a Best Buy gift card for your trade. And, if you buy a large appliance or TV, Best Buy will deliver it and haul away your existing unit, then evaluate it (and its parts) for recycling or reuse. The company also offers grants to help increase the recycling opportunities available in communities across the country. Ranging from $500 to $1,500 per event, the grants depend on the size of and scope of the program, which can be hosted by nonprofit organizations, cities, counties, or public-private partnerships.

Circuit City

Circuit City also uses a trade-in program as an incentive to recycle your aging (but still functioning) tech devices. The company uses as a hub for this service, taking all kinds of home and portable electronics in exchange for a Circuit City gift card (when your electronics are still worth something); it's similar to the process at Best Buy, where you give the details to their trade-in calculator, it gives you a quote and then a gift card when your gadget arrives at their trade-in facility. Circuit City is also a partner in the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation's (RBRC's) Call2Recycle program, which recycles rechargeable batteries and old cell phones; Circuit City also offer collection bags for their online customers to make it easier to recycle the phone when you're done with it. One caveat: if you still have a boxy CRT computer monitor, Circuit City won't take them because of their weight.

Office Depot

Office Depot's recycling program is perhaps the simplest and easiest of all the big boxes. The company offers boxes of three different sizes that you can load up with a variety of tech gadgets and drop off at any Office Depot store; the small, medium and large boxes go for $5, $10 and $15, respectively. The devices are then sent off to a recycling plant, where they are separated, sorted and recycled. Office Depot also provides free in-store recycling for cell phones, rechargeable batteries and ink & toner cartridges. And, as a nice bonus, Office Depot will open its first green store in Austin, Texas this summer, featuring energy-efficient lighting and water fixtures, and recycled and other green building materials.


No matter the brand or where the equipment was purchased, Staples' recycling program covers everything from desktops, laptops and printers to peripherals like keyboards, mice and speakers; each piece of large equipment (e.g. computer, monitor, printer) will cost you $10. You can take equipment to a Staples customer-service desk, and the company sends it to a recycler that disassembles the equipment into its component parts. For personal electronics such as cellphones, PDAs, pagers, digital cameras, chargers, and batteries, Staples has recycling partners, including RBRC's Call2Recycle. The company will also give you prepaid shipping materials to send in old printer cartridges. And, in the do-gooding category, Staples is also a member of the EPA's WasteWise program, which helps companies implement solid and industrial waste reduction measures.

None of these are perfect solutions, of course, and e-waste and electronics recycling itself is often dangerous for those who physically take the electronics apart, and potentially very dangerous to the planet. Still, between them, these programs offer the opportunity to insure that just about all of your old electronics don't end up in the landfill where they don't belong.

forgot to mention...

I always talk about buying used clothing and things like that so I thought I would share this with you... did you know it takes 1/3 lb of chemicals including pesticides and fertilizers to grow enough cotton for 1 t-shirt? Think about that... kind of scary isnt it?

host a swap party!

Ever heard of a swap party? I heard about it today on Get Fresh with Sara Snow and think it is such a great idea. You invite a group of friends over and ask them to bring some old things they want to get rid of. Every one rummages through everything and takes home things brought by others. You feel like you just went shopping only you dont spend a thing. If you and your friends are similar sizes you can just have a clothes swap otherwise leave it open and recommend your friends bring any items they'd like. For example, books, cd's, movies, clothes, kitchen gadgets or even holiday decorations. Remind your friends to bring a couple of bags to take home their items and if you'd like, donate anything left over to a charity or your guests can take their own things back home if they'd like. Think of how much fun it would be do this. I am seriously thinking about trying it out. If you have friends with kids close in age to your own you could even swap "kid things" like clothes and toys. Be sure and share your guest list with everyone so that they'll have a better idea what to bring based on the like and dislikes of the others who will be attending. If anyone has tried this let me know. I'd love to hear details about how it went. There are other kinds of swap parties too that involve food, especially cookies, around the holidays. Each person makes a specific amount of 1 type of cookie but divides it and packages it by the # of guests. Each guests leaves the party with all different types of cookies from each other guest attending. I have thought about doing this too but am not really a baking guru. I guess we'll see what happens!