Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holiday Recycling

What to do with your holiday cards? Recycle them! St. Jude's Ranch for Children in Nevada takes all used greeting cards and turns them into "new" cards. Their Recycled Card Program has received over one million cards, and you can buy cards through their website. They are Christian and thus deal with such holidays, but they also collect and sell birthday and thank you cards.

The DC government is collecting trees, wreaths, and other greenery to compost. Residents should place the greenery in curbside tree boxes from Friday to Jan. 10th. Residents can also drop off trees at the Ford Totten Transfer Station from Saturday to January 9th.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yoga mat update

The Washington Humane Society also takes used yoga mats (see #14 in the General DC Recycling Info column to the right)!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Airport Recycling Competition

Let's just put it simply. In the DC area, the far-and-away leader in recycling is BWI Airport. BWI recycling went from less than 5% of waste in 2004 to 28% in 2006, which is extraordinary since only one or two US airports have over 25% and the percentage of total waste that is recycled in the United States is 32.5%. The BWI recycling program saves approximately $15,000 per year. According to GreenMiles in fall 2007, "Until recently, National didn't have any recycling at all." More info soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The House Office Buildings (and soon the Senate) compost

The House Office buildings have implemented some great practices that should be replicated in other government and commercial spaces in the DC area:
* Switching to primarily fresh, organic, locally grown food sources (within 150 miles of the Capitol, wherever possible), thereby reducing packaging waste and fuel burdens for delivery.
* Banning Plastics and Styrofoam from use in kitchen and cafeteria. All Styrofoam® and plastic food service items have been replaced with fully compostable, American-made plates, utensils, cups, water bottles and glasses.
* Sending all food waste and biodegradable food service containers to commercial composting facilities. The House Office buildings use Bates Trucking to haul the compostable materials to Recycled Green Industries, a composting facility in Maryland and within cost effective hauling range of Capitol Hill.
* Instituting a Pulping Practice to extract water from the food service waste stream, reducing the weight of the waste by up to 50% and thus the fuel used to transport it, and making the waste ready for composting.

Since initiation of this program, more than 660 tons of landfill waste has been diverted to regional composting companies in 2008. Do you know of a restaurant or other location that should compost? Let them know about Bates Trucking, Recycled Green Industries, and EnviRelation.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yoga mat recycling

Yoga charities all across the United States desperately need your donated yoga mat. Donate your gently used yoga mat to The Bolder Mat Company, and they will refurbish it and donate it to yoga charities. Your mat will then be used to teach at risk populations about the benefits of yoga. The Bolder Mat Company also sells yoga mats and eco-friendly yoga mat bags made from T-shirt scraps.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cork recycling clarified

Cathy gave over 10 pounds of corks to an artist in town last week. We usually ship our corks to Yemm and Hart, which now pays for corks and turns them into tiles. Terracycle (and the local artist) also collect plastic corks. So, there are many people that want your wine corks! Relatedly, World Wildlife Fund has asked everyone to buy wine with natural corks.

“Cork harvesting is an environmentally-friendly process during which not a single tree is cut down. Synthetic and screw top closures are more harmful to the environment because they use more energy in production and are oil-based products” World Wildlife Fund, May 15, 2006. Did you know that the Cork Montados, the cork oak savannahs, are the continuation of an ancient practice and multi-dimensional use of land around the Mediterranean Sea? The Cork Montados actually protect the biodiversity and certain wildlife that is endangered or on the brink of extinction and are a hedge against desertification caused by global warming as the Sahara creeps into Europe. Real cork is sustainable, synthetic and screw caps are not.

Andrew very intelligently asked, doesn't recycling corks undermine cork agriculture? My answer is that 1) recycling keeps cork and other materials out of landfills, 2) recycling cork through Yemm and Hart helps to build a new market with sustainable materials but does not infringe on the wine cork market, and 3) the amount of cork we are recycling is so small comparatively. So, buy wine with natural corks and recycle all corks. Don't toss your corks because many groups want them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Whole Foods on P St recycles Brita water filters and more

Whole Foods on P St recycles Brita water filters, batteries, cell phones, and clothing. They also compost! Thank you, Whole Foods!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Capitol Hill Radio Shack now recycles batteries!

Yes, the Radio Shack right next to the Eastern Market Metro (717 D St SE) is now collecting regular and rechargeable batteries for recycling. Just give your used batteries to the sales associates, and they will collect them. Of course, you can always recycle your batteries through DC government e-recycling, but this means driving to the Fort Totten Trash Transfer Station. Now you can just walk by our local Radio Shack. The DC Recycler will be regularly picking up the batteries for recycling. If you want your local Radio Shack or hardware store to collect batteries, just ask them! They may want to recycle them themselves or you can pick them up on a regular basis and recycle them yourself. It's an easy way to help keep batteries out of landfills. Thank you, Capitol Hill Radio Shack!