Why it is important to Go Green!
Recyling prevents 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere
- Plastics are used to manufacture everyday products such as beverage containers, toys, and furniture
- Plastics make up almost 13 percent of the municipal solid waste stream, a dramatic increase from 1960, when plastics were less than one percent of the waste stream
- The largest amount of plastics is found in containers and packaging (e.g., soft drink bottles, lids, shampoo bottles), but they also are found in durable (e.g., appliances, furniture) and nondurable goods (e.g., diapers, trash bags, cups and utensils, medical devices)
- The recycling rate for different types of plastic varies greatly, resulting in an overall plastics recycling rate of only 9 percent, or 2.8 million tons in 2012. However, the recycling rate for some plastic products is much higher, for example in 2012, 28 percent of HDPE bottles and 31 percent of PET bottles and jars were recycled
- 32 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2012, representing 12.7 percent of total MSW
- In 2012, the United States generated almost 14 million tons of plastics as containers and packaging
- 11 million tons as durable goods such as appliances
- 7 million tons as nondurable goods, such as plates and cups
- Only 9 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2012 was recovered for recycling
- In 2012, the category of plastics which includes bags, sacks, and wraps was recycled at about 12 percent
- Plastics also are found in automobiles, but recycling of these materials is counted separately from the MSW recycling rate
How Plastics Are Made:
Plastics can be divided in to two major categories:
a. thermosets b. thermoplastics.
A thermoset solidifies or “sets” irreversibly when heated. They are useful for their durability and strength, and are therefore used primarily in automobiles and construction applications. Other uses are adhesives, inks, and coatings.
A thermoplastic softens when exposed to heat and returns to original condition at room temperature. Thermoplastics can easily be shaped and molded into products such as milk jugs, floor coverings, credit cards, and carpet fibers.
According to the American Chemistry Council, about 1,800 US businesses handle or reclaim post-consumer plastics. Plastics from MSW are usually collected from curbside recycling bins or drop-off sites. Then, they go to a material recovery facility, where the materials are sorted by plastic type, baled, and sent to a reclaiming facility. At the facility, any trash or dirt is sorted out, then the plastic is washed and ground into small flakes. A flotation tank may be used to further separate contaminants, based on their different densities. Flakes are then dried, melted, filtered, and formed into pellets. The pellets are shipped to product manufacturing plants, where they are made into new plastic products.
Resin Identification Code:
The resin identification coding (RIC) system for plastic, represented by the numbers on the bottom of plastic containers, was introduced by SPI, the plastics industry trade association, in 1988 and transferred to ASTM International in 2010. Consumers can then use this information to determine whether or not certain plastic types are collected for recycling in their area. Contrary to common belief, just because a plastic product has the resin number in a triangle, which looks very similar to the recycling symbol, it does not mean it is collected for recycling.
SPI Resin Identification Code
Type of Resin Content
- PET – Polyethylene Terephthalate
- HDPE – High-density Polyethylene
- LDPE – Low-density Polyethylene
- Vinyl – Poly Vinyl Chloride
- PP – Polypropylene
- PS – Polystyrene
- Other – Mixed Plastics
- In 2009, 3.4 million tons of aluminum were generated in the U.S. and .69 million tons were recovered
- In the United States, over 100,000 aluminum cans are recycled each minute
- That amounts to 53 billion cans recycled in 2010. However, over $1.1 billion in aluminum cans were wasted in 2010
- The aluminum cans recycled in 2010, stacked one on top of the other, would be 1,454 times taller than the Empire State Building
- If you laid all the aluminum cans recycled in 2010 end to end, they could circle the earth 169 times
- The U.S. recycling rate for aluminum beverage cans reached 58.1% in 2010- a rate that is more than double that of any other beverage container
Purchase products that are eco-friendly
Such as; Aveda, Starbucks, Free Trade.
Eliminate your Junk Mail:
- 4 million tons, 62,000,000 billion pieces of junk mail are printed yearly
- Each person receives over 560 pieces of junk mail each year, of which only 40% never gets opened
- 2.8 million cars consume less energy than it takes to produce and dispose of the junk mail
- Each year over 100 million trees are destroyed to produce junk mail
Please visit these sites to eliminate your junk mail!
Replace your current lights with compact fluorescent light bulbs (cfl’s). The CFL bulb needs 60% less energy than a normal light bulb. CO2 prevention: If all US households made this substitute, they would prevent over 90 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year.
Go to Energy Federation to purchase CFL’s online.
- Adjust your thermostat up 2 degrees in the summer and down 2 degrees in the winter
CO2 prevention: this would prevent 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
- Fact: Investing in a programmable thermostat most likely will pay for itself the first year. By lowering the air conditioning or heat before you go to bed and raising it when you wake up each night, this could save you $100.00 a year.
For more suggestions on how to save energy, go to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
Filter Cleaning and replacement on your air conditioner and furnace CO2 prevention: 350 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year
Invest in Appliances that are Energy Efficient. Choose appliances that have the Energy Star Labelthem
CO2 prevention: U.S. households would prevent 175 million tons or carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year.
Placing an insulation blanket around your water heater will prevent 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
CO2 prevention: If you place the setting to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you will prevent an additional 550 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
Visit American Water to find out ways to save water.
Turn off your lights, computer, TV, and stereo if you are not using them. Simply plug your devices into a power strip and turn that one switch off when you leave.
CO2 prevention: thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
Insulate your home:
CO2 prevention: 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. You also receive the added benefit of saving approximately 25% of your energy bill.
For great tips on how to insulate your home, visit Consumer Federation of America.
Tired of getting electric bills in the mail? Substitute your home’s current power source with renewable power source such as solar or wind.
To learn more, go to Green Power Network .
Eating organic local food helps the environment! Producing and transporting food consumes a lot of fuel and energy. Here are the facts:
- The average meal you eat has traveled 1,200 miles. If you buy local food, it will not have to travel as far. Visit the USDA website to find a local farmer’s market in your neighborhood.
- Farmers Markets in Mahoning County:
- Eat more vegetarian and less meat.
- The second most contributing greenhouse gas next to carbon dioxide is methane
- Cows exhale methane because of their grassy diets
- More importantly, however, is that most of the forests being destroyed are converted into grazing lands for the cows
- The average meat diet demands almost ten times more land than a vegetarian diet
- When the forests are destroyed, not only does natural habitat get wiped out, but it releases over a billion tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere each year
- Giving up just one meat meal each week and you would conserve 40,000 gallons of water, 70 tons of grain, and prevent 300 pounds of greenhouse gasses from entering the atmosphere each year
Plant Trees!!! Link to Become a Rainforest Maker
You don’t have to be a treehugger to love trees!
What you can do
The first 5 steps will save you money!!!
- Turn lights off – connect your electrical devices to a power strip and shut it off when you leave
- Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
- Use a glass or ceramic cup to drink, not a paper cup, plastic bottle or can
- Use email instead of paper to send mail, documents, reports, and records.
- Use the double sided feature on your copier whenever possible
- Purchase 100 percent post-consumer waste, non-chlorinated paper
- Recycle paper (see our clip on ‘how to’)
As reported by conservation..org
40 % of all solid waste is generated from a variety of paper products. Office paper comprises a quarter of that waste
- less than 20 % of office wastepaper in the U.S. is recovered for recycling
- Post-consumer content refers to products that have completed their lives as consumer items, and, if not recycled, would otherwise be disposed of as solid waste
- 100% of post-consumer waste paper stock is made completely from recycled products
- When buying paper, remember, the higher the percentage of post consumer waste, the larger the amount of recycled material in the paper stock
- The majority of paper is chlorinated or bleached to a bright white, creating a pollution by-product
- Many paper companies offer a selection of non-chlorinated paper
- Look for totally chlorine-free paper stocks (TCF); processed chlorine-free paper (PCF) that contains recycled content produced without chlorine or its derivatives; partially processed chlorine-free paper stock (%PCF); and elementally chlorine-free paper stock (ECF), virgin paper produced without chlorine but with chlorine derivatives
- Non-chlorinated paper is more natural in color, but is of the same high quality as the bleached variety.
- Plant trees when you travel! Here are some good guidelines:1 tree every 2,000 miles (3200 km) by car
1 tree every 1300 miles (2000 km) by plane
1 tree every 100 gallons (375 liters) of gasoline
1 tree every 1000 kilowatt-hours (one kwhr ~= 1.9 pounds CO2)
- Alternative Travel.Transportation vehicles are one of the biggest contributors of carbon dioxide
There are several options you can choose from when traveling, all of which would have a lesser impact on the Earth and your wallet.
For example, you can
Walk: Walk to work
Bike: Bike to work.
CO2 prevention: Twice a week will prevent 1,590 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere Visit erideshare.com which is a free service that connects commuters.
Carshare: These are great alternatives for people who want a car. You pay a reasonable membership fee and this covers your insurance, maintenance, and your gas!
Visit ZipCar to find out more.
Public Transportation: Visit the American Public Transportation Association
Telecommute: Ever consider working from home? You could save a considerable amount of money and be helping the environment at the same time. Visit for more information .
Hybrids: Choose a more fuel efficient vehicle. http://www.greenercars.org/ http://www.epa.gov/autoemissions
Inflate your tires
Your gas mileage will improve by at least 3%.
CO2 prevention: you will prevent 20 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere for each gallon of gas that you save.
Visit Car Care to learn tips on proper inflation.
CO2 prevention: Keeping your car regularly maintained will improve your gas mileage and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. If as little as 1% of automobile owners regularly maintain their car, they would prevent approximately one billion pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere