Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Holiday Schedule


Happy Holidays Everyone.

The Tuscarora Landfill, Grantsboro Transfer Station, Newport Transfer Station and the Administrative Offices will be closed New Year's Day.

We hope you have a safe and happy Holiday Season.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tips for smart Christmas recycling


Don't throw everything into the blue bin: seven tips for smart Christmas recycling

After the gifts are unwrapped and the food is eaten, the holidays often leave us with a lot of trash. Here’s a guide to making sure it all ends up in the right place
Christmas presents
What will you do with all of your holiday wrapping and packaging? Photograph: RubberBall Selects/Alamy
Trash cans routinely overflow during the holiday season, when we generate over 25% more waste than usual. Happily, so do recycling bins: a higher percentage of waste ends up in the blue bins over the holidays than during the rest of the year, says Tom Carpenter, director of sustainability services at Waste Management, North America’s largest waste and recycling company.

Unfortunately, it’s also increasingly common for the wrong things to end up in those recycling bins, he says.
“Many people try to do the right thing,” he said. “More people are trying to put everything into the recycling bins. That’s increased the total volume of material we get, but we’re also seeing many bad mistakes – and more of that volume is actually [trash].”
These mistakes – such as bowling balls, for instance, and large plastic toys with metal parts, batteries and electronics – make recyclers’ jobs harder and more costly, which in turn increases municipal costs to taxpayers and ultimately reduces the amount of material that gets recycled.
Recyclable items attached to non-recyclable items often end up in the trash too, and – if a recycling bin is contaminated with enough items that can’t be recycled – the whole thing can end up in the landfill.
Many people think if recyclers can’t recycle an item, they can just remove it, Carpenter says, but recycling streams that require more sorting are less likely to be able to be recycled economically – and more likely to become waste. “It’s important to keep things clean,” he said.
Conversely, keeping a recycling stream pure – or uniform – makes it more likely for it to actually get recycled and reused.
The recycling rules vary in different locations, so it’s important to know the dos and don’ts in your specific neighborhood.
Want to avoid making common recycling mistakes? Here are a few tips to help you do the right thing by your recycling bin:

1. Avoid shiny wrapping

Wrapped presents
Most wrapping paper can’t be recycled. Photograph: D Hurst/Alamy
One of the most common mistakes recyclers find in the blue bins at this time of year is gift wrap, Carpenter says. Much of the glossy or laminated gift wrap that’s popular around Christmas can’t be recycled; neither can many of the ribbons, especially those with wire mesh.
Newsprint, paper grocery bags or other natural-fiber paper are a great alternative, as are gift bags that can be used several times – or, even better, reusable shopping bags or totes.
Some companies – such as Earth Presents, EcoPlum, BabyBox.com and Beeyond Paper – sell recyclable wrapping paper, and Green Field Paper Co makes recycled wrapping paper embedded with seeds, which can be planted after it’s used.
Amazon cardboard box
More presents are being bought online and shipped, and that means more cardboard boxes. Photograph: Alamy

2. Don’t forget about the box

As online shopping increases, so do the number of boxes being shipped. Most cardboard boxes are high-value recyclables, but the sheer volume of them means they often overflow the recycling bins and end up in the trash.
If you receive gifts by mail this year, break down the cardboard boxes to save space and make sure they end up in the recycling pile.
“It’s important to do your part and try to get it into the recycling bin, and deal with the hindrance [of keeping boxes] for a week or two to try to do the right thing,” Carpenter says.
But you don’t need to remove every piece of tape. “Boxes with tape are OK; it can generally be removed,” Carpenter says. “It’s not that big a deal if it has tape.”
Aside from cardboard boxes, milk jugs, soda cans and bottles also are valuable recyclables, so getting them into the right stream will make a difference.
Used paper plate
Don’t put disposable plates, utensils and napkins into the recycling bin.

3. Throw disposable plates, napkins and paper towels in the trash or compost

Soiled paper cups, plates and napkins aren’t recyclable. The same goes for most plastic food ware, which is usually made of mixed or low-grade plastics, with the exception of some plastic cups. (Look for the resin symbol and check it against your local guidelines to find out if yours are recyclable in your area).
Paper towels also aren’t recyclable – even if they are only used to dry clean, wet hands. The fibers are too loose, for one thing. But Waste Management is conducting tests with some paper towel manufacturers to try to come up with other options, such as composting, Carpenter says.
It’s best to skip the disposables in favor of reusables when possible. But if you are using disposable tableware, it should go in the trash – or the compost, if you compost at home or are lucky enough to live somewhere with municipal composting.
That said, other plastic food and cardboard containers often are recyclable. It’s a common myth that pizza boxes aren’t recyclable, for example, Carpenter says. But many pizzerias now put a sheet of waxed paper between the box and the pizza, leaving the box clean once that’s removed. All you have to do is remove that paper and the clean pizza box is now recyclable.
Similarly, plastic bottlecaps – which previously weren’t recyclable – now can be recycled in many places, so you can usually leave them on the bottles, Carpenter says.

4. Make sure jars are empty, but don’t go overboard

Containers need to be empty – you should remove the last of the peanut butter from the jar with a knife or spatula – but you don’t need to wash them clean, Carpenter says. “From an environmental standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to rinse and rinse them crystal clean,” he says.

5. Think beyond the kitchen

Kitchen sink
Consider placing recycling bins elsewhere around the house, not just in the kitchen. Photograph: Image Broker/REX
Many people only think of recycling in the kitchen, and relegate recyclable items used elsewhere in the house to the trash. If you’re having a party, consider placing a pop-up recycling bin elsewhere around the house, Carpenter suggests.
Christmas tree made of plastic bags
An illuminated Christmas tree constructed from recycled plastic shopping bags in Durham, England, in 2013. Photograph: Christopher Thomond

6. Keep plastic bags away from the recycling bin

Plastic bags or other films tend to clog up the recycling system. “There are these screens that spin, and if you’ve ever seen a vacuum cleaner when it picks up a string or hair that just gets wound up, it’s like that,” Carpenter says. “[Plastic bags] could shut down the entire recycling system for an hour or so just by getting bound up in the equipment.”
It’s become such a big problem that Waste Management asks people to pledge to keep plastic bags out of their recycling as part of its new “Recycle Often. Recycle Right” campaign launched last week.
That doesn’t mean perfectly good shopping bags need to go to the landfills. Many grocery and retail stores take them back. Or, of course, you can avoid using disposable plastic bags – which many places have either banned or taxed – by bringing your own reusable bag.

7. Don’t be fooled by the three-arrow triangle

Many people associate the three angles forming a triangle with the three tenets of the circular economy: reduce, reuse and recycle. But if that symbol appears on a plastic item, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s recyclable. It just indicates a resin code, or the type of plastic the item is made of.
Recycling Grunge Sign
 
This symbol doesn’t necessarily mean an item is recyclable.
“There’s a big confusion around those resins,” Carpenter says. “Many people think that symbol means it’s recyclable, but it’s just the resin code.”
Different municipalities can recycle different resins, but only number one and two plastics are recyclable in most places. So if you see a number three, four or seven, for example, the item probably isn’t recyclable at your curbside – but it’s worth checking your community’s recycling guidelines to make sure.
Objects made up of two types of plastics that can’t easily be separated also aren’t recyclable – even if it says “please recycle.” The same goes for items made of multiple materials besides plastics.

A large rideable toy car, for example, might have recyclable plastic in it, but if the plastic’s attached to metal parts, wires, batteries or other materials, it isn’t recyclable unless the car is disassembled.
If the materials can’t be separated easily, it’s better to donate the toy – if it’s working – or to throw it in the garbage than to toss it in the recycling bin as is.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What Do Recycled Cartons Become?

 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New 6-year study reveals the secret life of ocean plastic

Science journalist blogs about humans and other wildlife.

New 6-year study reveals the secret life of ocean plastic

More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are now drifting throughout every ocean on Earth, according to the most comprehensive survey of its kind, and they aren't just gathering neatly into garbage patches.
A researcher holds up a piece of plastic bitten by fish in the North Atlantic Ocean. (Photo: Stiv Wilson/5 Gyres Institute)
It can be hard to fathom, but Earth's oceans are teeming with plastic trash. From tiny specks to bottles, bags and fishing nets, this sea of debris is now common near shore and in remote, open waters, posing a variety of threats to wildlife. Scientists have been tracking the problem since the first garbage patch was found in 1997, but trying to quantify it is a tall order in 321 million cubic miles of ocean.
 
Yet a new study does just that, offering the most comprehensive picture of ocean plastic ever produced. Based on data from 24 trash-gathering voyages over six years, an international team of researchers used an oceanographic model to estimate how much plastic the planet's oceans really contain. Their answer is at least 5.25 trillion pieces, a motley trash blend that weighs about 269,000 tons in all.
 
That's an average of more than 15,000 pieces of plastic per cubic mile of ocean. The actual trash isn't so evenly spaced, but it is surprisingly cosmopolitan, enduring epic adventures after reaching the sea by river, beach or boat. Rather than being trapped in ocean gyres, garbage patches are more like garbage blenders, the new study suggests, churning plastic into smaller bits until it escapes or gets eaten.
 
"Our findings show that that the garbage patches in the middle of the five subtropical gyres are not final resting places for floating plastic trash," says lead author Marcus Eriksen, research director for the 5 Gyres Institute. "Unfortunately, the endgame for microplastic is dangerous interaction with entire ocean ecosystems. We should begin to see the garbage patches as shredders, not stagnant repositories."
 
microplastic
A sample from the South Atlantic gyre includes crabs and an array of microplastics. (Photo: Jody Lemmon/5 Gyres)
 
Previous research has shown that microplastics pervade the oceans, showing up not just in surface garbage patches but also in sea ice, coastal sediments, seafloor mud, zooplankton, lugworms and the circulatory systems of mussels, among other places. And while many earlier estimates of plastic pollution relied on either visual counting or trawling for debris, the new study used both methods, helping it count large items like buoys and nets as well as the microplastics caught more easily by trawling.
 
The researchers divided the plastic into four size classes: two for microplastics (one equivalent to a grain of sand and one to a grain of rice), one for mesoplastics (up to the size of a water bottle) and one for macroplastics (anything larger). They had expected to find mostly sand-sized particles, but were surprised to learn the smallest fragments are outnumbered by the next largest size, and that more tiny pieces exist outside the garbage patches. That suggests macroplastics are crumbling faster than microplastics, and hints at how the latter can seemingly vanish once they get small enough.
 
"What's new here is that looking at all sizes gives us a better picture of what's out there," Eriksen tells MNN. "It lets us look at the life cycle of ocean plastics — it starts with coastal generation, then migration to the gyres, shredding in the gyres, and consumption by marine organisms. Or microplastics might sink down and get caught in deeper currents. So the life cycle of plastic is a new way to look at the gyres."
 
ocean plastic map
The global density of ocean plastics, in pieces per square kilometer, from four size classes. (Image: Laurent Lebreton/5 Gyres)
 
Despite the vast travels of plastic debris, some garbage patches still have trademark trash. The North Pacific is the "fishing gear gyre," for example, while the North Atlantic is the "bottlecap gyre." The three Southern Hemisphere gyres are linked by the Southern Ocean, however, making them less distinct.
 
Any ocean plastic can endanger wildlife, including large items like fishing gear that entangles dolphins or plastic bags that clog sea turtles' stomachs. But microplastics are especially insidious, absorbing a cocktail of ocean pollutants and then passing them on to hungry seabirds, fish and other marine life. This can be a "frightfully efficient mechanism for corrupting our food chain," Eriksen says.
 
The wide dispersal of microplastics likely rules out any large-scale cleanup efforts, he adds, but there is a silver lining to these findings. Although it's not entirely clear what happens to microplastics when they disappear, oceans do have ways of cleaning themselves — but only if we let them.
 
"If we can focus on not adding more plastic, the oceans kind of take care of it over time," Eriksen says. "It may be a long time, but the oceans will deal with this trash. The sea surface isn't the final resting place for plastic. It starts to shred, and marine organisms take it in. The entire ocean is filtering through marine life, from microorganisms to whales taking huge gulps of water. And some of it is sinking. It could be that when it gets that small, it responds more to water temperature than its own material buoyancy."
 
Countless marine animals will die from eating plastic, of course, and since some experts believe garbage patches will continue growing for centuries, this clearly isn't an ideal solution. Eriksen isn't saying the oceans can bear all our waste, though; he's just suggesting time and resources would be better spent preventing new plastic from reaching the sea than trying to remove what's already there. And that's a job for everyone on Earth, including both the makers and the users of plastic products.
 
"For the average person, most plastic has no value after it leaves their hands," he says. "So one challenge for the consumer is to see if you can be plastic-free. But what really has to happen is an across-the-board design overhaul. There has to be a careful consideration of how plastic is used in all products. Not just recyclability but recovery. If you can't recover it, recycling becomes meaningless. And if you can't recycle it, go back to paper, metal or glass. Plastic becomes hazardous waste once it's out there, and it has to be looked at in that light when we design products in the first place."

Friday, December 26, 2014

269,000 tons of plastic litter choke world's oceans

Trash talk: 269,000 tons of plastic litter choke world's oceans

A beach in the Azores is pictured littered with plastic garbage, in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on December 9, 2014. REUTERS/Marcus Eriksen/Handout via Reuters
A beach in the Azores is pictured littered with plastic garbage, in this undated handout photo 
Credit: Reuters/Marcus Eriksen/Handout via Reuters

 
 
 
 
 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There are plastic shopping bags, bottles, toys, action figures, bottle caps, pacifiers, tooth brushes, boots, buckets, deodorant roller balls, umbrella handles, fishing gear, toilet seats and so much more. Plastic pollution is pervasive in Earth's oceans.

Researchers unveiled on Wednesday what they called the most scientifically rigorous estimate to date of the amount of plastic litter in the oceans - about 269,000 tons - based on data from 24 ship expeditions around the globe over six years.
"There's much more plastic pollution out there than recent estimates suggest," said Marcus Eriksen, research director for the Los Angeles-based 5 Gyres Institute, which studies this kind of pollution.
 
 
 
"It's everything you can imagine made of plastic," added Eriksen, who led the study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. "It's like Walmart or Target set afloat."
Ninety-two percent of the plastic comes in the form of "microplastic" - particles from larger items made brittle by sunlight and pounded to pieces by waves, bitten by sharks and other fish or otherwise torn apart, Eriksen said.
Experts have sounded the alarm in recent years over how plastic pollution is killing huge numbers of seabirds, marine mammals and other creatures while sullying ocean ecosystems.
Some plastic objects like discarded fishing nets kill by entangling dolphins, sea turtles and other animals. Plastic fragments also lodge in the throats and digestive tracts of marine animals.
The researchers said plastic litter enters the oceans from rivers and heavily populated coastal regions as well as from vessels navigating shipping lanes.
Larger plastic objects, abundant near coastlines, often float into the world's five subtropical gyres - big regions of spinning currents in the North and South Pacific, North and South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.
In the middle of these gyres, plastic trash has accumulated into huge "garbage patches" that act as "giant blenders - shredders that eviscerate plastic from large pieces to microplastics," Eriksen said.
The study, based on data from expeditions to all five subtropical gyres, coastal Australia, the Bay of Bengal and the Mediterranean Sea, estimated that there are 5.25 trillion particles of plastic litter. Tiny plastic particles, down to the size of a sand grain, have fanned out through the oceans and reach even remote polar regions.
The researchers said the particles readily absorb chemical pollutants like PCBs, DDT and others, and these toxins enter marine food webs when ingested by fish and other sea creatures.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holiday Schedule

Holiday Schedule
Happy Holidays Everyone.

The Tuscarora Landfill, the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station will be closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The Administrative offices will be closed  December 24, 25 and January 1.


We hope you have a safe and happy Holiday Season.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Schedule


Happy Holidays Everyone.

The Tuscarora Landfill, the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station will be closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The Administrative offices will be closed  December 24, 25 and January 1.


We hope you have a safe and happy Holiday Season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014


From the Eco Partners



It's that time of year when we are all thinking about that wonderful master of reuse, Frosty the Snowman! What, you've never considered Frosty as a model reuser? Think about it -- a corncob pipe, a button nose, two eyes made out of coal, and an old silk hat he found. He even turns a broomstick into a baton to lead the parade. In that found hat, he discovered magic, perhaps the magic of the three R's!

As you enter the new year, may you too find magic in reducing, reusing, and recycling!
 

Vow To Hold An Eco Friendly Wedding

 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

First Day Hikes to be offered at every North Carolina state park Jan. 1


RALEIGH – A North Carolina tradition continues on New Year’s Day with opportunities to exercise and reconnect with nature on First Day Hikes at every state park and recreation area, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.
In the past three years, hikers in North Carolina have joined rangers and volunteers to walk more than 10,000 miles on state park trails Jan. 1. There will be more than 40 scheduled hikes ranging from short “leg-stretchers” to six-mile treks, many of them offering interpretive programs along the way. All seasonal state park facilities will remain open on the holiday.
“The relatively new tradition of First Day Hikes has been embraced by people in North Carolina as an opportunity to begin the new year with a healthy activity, to shed the stress of the holidays and to reconnect with the outdoors and the rich natural resources that distinguish North Carolina,” said Mike Murphy, state parks director. “It also serves as a reminder that state parks are always available for exercise, family activities and education for more than 14 million visitors each year.”
Each state park and state recreation area puts its own stamp on its First Day Hike. At Haw River State Park in Guilford County, hikers will preview a new 3.2-mile trail that will open for general use in coming months. Crowders Mountain State Park will make use of a six-mile trail that links park lands in North Carolina and South Carolina. Hikers often see fresh snow at Elk Knob and Mount Mitchell state parks, while Pettigrew State Park is a seasonal home to flocks of wintering waterfowl. And, the Eno River Association will offer long and short hikes as part of a decades-old tradition at Eno River State Park.
Details about all First Day Hikes in North Carolina can be found under “Education” at www.ncparks.gov.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Corrugated Cardboard Proves It Can Hang Ten, Shred Serious Powder

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Friday, December 19, 2014

 
 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

10 Ways To Reuse And Repurpose Bed Sheets

Home Electronics Disposal

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