Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cleaning Plastic Recyclables

Have you ever wondered just how important it is to clean the plastics you put in your recycling? There have been times where I spent a good ten minutes rinsing and scraping all the peanut butter residue out of the container, and found myself wondering: Maybe using all of this hot water is hurting the environment more than me recycling this container is helping! Well, the research on the subject indicates that there is a point when it becomes hazardous to use too much water, but there’s also a point where if something is too dirty, it may not get recycled at all. Every city and state has their own unique regulations, but according to Portland’s recycling professionals down at Portland Metro, the cleaner it is, the easier it is to recycle, which makes them more productive workers and the enterprise a more profitable endeavor, which means more money and resources towards making the world a cleaner place.
Here are a couple of tips from another recycling professional, Your’s Truly. First off, why’s there so much residue left in the container? I had this pointed out to me the last time I was doing my peanut butter cleaning ritual. There shouldn’t be much of a need for cleaning out containers if you are utilizing the product for all the nourishment that it’s worth. Spatulas work wonders when it comes to getting down to that last drop. And for the containers with wider openings that have little nooks and crannies that the spatula can’t get to, I simply take a piece of bread and soak it up (hummus, artichoke dip, etc). Then all it takes is a quick rinse and into the recycling bin it goes! And for those worst case scenarios where nothing seems to work, drop a dab of soap in the container, add some water and let it soak overnight. The folks down at your local recycling plant will appreciate it!
Below is the website for Portland Metro’s recycling standards. For those of you not in the area, I would encourage you to find out more about your local recycling facilities. There’s a world of helpful information out there that is literally right at our fingertips. Thanks for reading and happy recycling!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Plastic Water Bottles- More Expensive than we Think

We see plastic water bottles everywhere. They're sold for dollars at supermarkets, in bulk at Costco, and even given out free at some events. They conveniently carry beverages for us and are easy to toss (or recycle!). At what price do we pay for such a cheap commodity?

An article on reusable water bottles says that bottled water can cost anywhere from 240 to 10,000 times more per gallon than the price of tap water. Even more intriguing is that if you look at the price per gallon of water, you will pay more for single-use bottles than for gasoline! See the link below for the article.

Plastic water bottles are not only more expensive than tap water, they can be more dangerous too.
The Federal Government strictly regulates the tap water we drink. Bottled water, on the other hand, is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration with much less stringent rules, and only regulates 30-40% of bottled water sold across state lines.

By purchasing a reusable water bottle, you can save your hard-earned cash and protect your health. Having your own reusable water bottle can also be fun! Its a personal item that can be customized to your liking. I personally love Klean Kanteen water bottles. They're made with stainless steal and are incredibly durable. They are also a member of the 1% of the Planet, who pledge to contribute 1% of their annual sales to nonprofit organizations working to protect, preserve, and restore the natural environment. They can be purchased at

The following article makes some great points about how a reusable water bottle can benefit you and the planet, and can be read at:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Plastic Types and Classifications

After reading the above article on plastic types, it has become apparent that the issue of plastic causing destruction is not quite so simple. There are numerous types and variations, and each has its own unique characteristics.

1: Plastic labeled with this number can often take on the scent of what was stored inside of it, and is common to recycle. Some of your favorite household items may use this kind of plastic, such as a peanut butter jar or comb.

2: This type of plastic is considered to be very safe and very common. It may be used of soap bottles or even a water bottle, and can be recycled.

3: A plastic labeled with a 3 is often used for plumbing pipes and is not frequently recycled. It is considered very harmful if it is injected.

4: In some areas, this kind of plastic is recyclable. It is frequently used for products to store food such as a sandwich bag or plastic wrap, and is not known to release dangerous chemicals into the items inside of it.

5: This is a more durable kind of plastic, yeti so not as commonly accepted for recycling. It is commonly found in Tupperware or tools like ice scrapers that greatly vary in temperature.

6: It is highly innefient to recycle this kind of plastic. Items such as plastic cutlery and styrofoam are made using this plastic.

7: The plastic items that fall into this category differ greatly from the othe six types. They are difficult to recycle and make items such as baby bottles and large water bottles.

It is important to know the different types of plastic in order to consider the difficulty in how it is recycled. Each can be thought of when making simple purchases.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Economics of Mercury Toxicity

While the United States was one of the largest culprits when it came to global mercury pollution, up and coming industrial countries, China and India, are now the main antagonists. The U.S. has cut their mercury emissions down by 65 percent in the last decade or two by adhering to the Clean Air Act and other EPA recommendations, China and India have ramped up their production of the main sources for mercury pollution: coal fired power plants, boilers, incinerators, steel and cement production. It is booming business, baby, and developing countries are doing what they need to do to get skin in the global market. What better way then to mimic the practices used by the world economic powers during their Industrial Revolution. Coal productions is plenty and cheap. If we can get developing countries to mine mercury and produce all of the raw materials we in the “first” world need for our essential and non-necessary products…why wouldn’t we? How would we even began to chide or guide these nations when our hands are coated with many layers of blood?