Recycling News (7-27-2014)

From a waste point of view one of the biggest changes over the past fifteen years has been the huge expansion of the market for lithium-based batteries, with the most common type being rechargeable lithium ion cells. Until the mid-1990s the most common use for these was in specialist camera batteries but now they’re become ubiquitous. Cellphones, laptop and tablet computers, almost all modern MP3 and media players, and increasingly flashlights and similar devices – they’re all powered by lithium ion batteries.

Continue reading “Recycling News (7-27-2014)” »

Recycling News (7-22-2014)

Over half of the paper consumed in the United States is now recycled, a steady improvement on the situation during the 1990s, but progress is slower than it could be. Now a new building material has the potential to create a huge new demand for waste paper that could help push the rate up faster than before.

A team at the University of Nottingham in the UK has developed a new composite material based on shredded waste paper. Long, fine strands of paper are bonded together under high pressure using a sodium silicate gluing agent, resulting in a material that’s as strong as the particle board often used for interior walls, ceilings and other non-load bearing structural components. In other ways it’s superior to particle board. The use of sodium silicate makes the new material resistant to flame and moisture, which has obvious safety advantages for a construction material. Additionally it can be used in many environments where particle board is unsuitable. Particle board has a tendency to discolor when exposed to moisture; in extreme cases it can distort, swell or even disintegrate. The bonding process means it can also be molded into different shapes. One option is to mold it with a ribbed surface, giving much greater structural strength for the same weight of material. Most particle board comes as flat boards or strips, so the pressed paper alternative is more versatile and could well turn out to be more durable, too.

Continue reading “Recycling News (7-22-2014)” »

Recycling News (7-14-2014)

The USA is a great believer in free trade and while the tariff situation isn’t perfect – there are more obstacles to trade than there should be – it’s a lot more flexible than many other countries. Where there are tariffs they’re usually aimed at restricting certain imports to protect key US industries. There’s one field where other countries’ export tariffs are creating obstacles to some fast-growing US companies though, and that’s recycling. Now the International Trade Commission is leading a drive to lower regulatory barriers on shipments of high-value scrap.

An advanced economy like the USA produces a lot of waste that’s loaded with potentially valuable materials. Often it’s not economical to reprocess it here, but it has a substantial value to the right buyer. In 2013 the USA exported nearly 43 million tons of scrap, including old electronic devices, steel-rich scrap and plastics. As well as keeping it out of US landfills these exports earned $24 billion, but that sum could have been a lot more if companies didn’t face so many tariffs and over-zealous regulations.

The USA already has reciprocal agreements with many countries that ease the shipping of recycling, because it’s recognized that the trade in scrap has many economic and environmental advantages. It might seem counter-intuitive to use energy and shipping space hauling trash abroad, but if the alternative is it being buried or incinerated there’s a significant environmental gain. Recycling facilities aren’t evenly distributed either; there are specialist plants in the USA that import waste from abroad and process it into valuable materials, for example. At the same time much US scrap can be reclaimed more efficiently at foreign plants, such as consumer lamps and flat screens – although that’s changing as BLUBOX sites open in the USA.

Of course that’s another point – as well as waste, recycling equipment itself is a valuable component of international trade and it’s to everyone’s advantage to keep that trade as free as possible. After all if recycling technology becomes more widespread then more waste can be reprocessed. Trade agreements cover equipment including shredders, balers and magnetic separators. There are some serious gaps in the agreements, though.
Now the International Trade Commission is investigating the impact of tariffs and looking at ways to persuade other governments to ease or remove them. Last year US companies exported billions of dollars’ worth of scrap iron and plastic, plus millions of tons of paper and fiber destined for recycling. Out of the ferrous scrap $700 million was subjected to import duty, and for paper waste that figure was $300 million. The recycling industry is increasingly competitive and excessive tariffs can make it uneconomical to export; profit margins are often thin and faced with the extra charge many companies will just give up on the idea of operating internationally. The ITC sees a significant opportunity to improve the balance of trade and ease the US landfill situation at the same time; the solution is to persuade other countries to match the US policy of not charging tariffs on imported scrap. It’s a simple solution and if governments can be persuaded to sign up to it a valuable, environmentally friendly business sector could grow enormously.

Recycling Trees for Profit

When the Christmas festivity is over, the Christmas tree standing in a corner looks like its taking it up too much space and we all want to take it out of the house as soon as possible. While most of us do not really care about what is going to happen to that tree, there are some who just dump it in the waste bin without a single thought. This is why, in the next few weeks following the Christmas season, you can see the dump trucks carrying hundreds of trees in a single day. But is it the best way to dispose off of your Christmas tree? Actually, there is a smarter way – you can recycle the Christmas tree and help it turn into something useful like mulch, fish or bird feeder. And if your tree still has its roots intact, then you can even plant it back into the ground.

Thuja-Green-GiantIf you are living in the US, then you can always help the nature a little by recycling your trees – not only the Christmas tree but other popular US trees as well. There are many such trees which can give you wood for furniture, fire wood, mulch for your garden, herbs and more. All trees have their different uses and consequently their recycling is also different. For example, an oak tree can be recycled into a nice piece of furniture while a eucalyptus tree can be used for its herbal therapeutic use. This is why you should consider calling your local tree care organization before chopping a tree into firewood. A tree in an “as is” state has more value in the market, than when it is sold for fire wood. Before you pick up your chain saw or ax to work on a fallen tree, you should read more about how different popular US trees can be used.

Hardwood trees: The hardwood trees constitute a large number of tree species. In general, hardwood trees are the botanical group of trees that have large, broad leaves, produce some sort of nuts and they go dormant in the winters. In the US, there are hundreds of different hardwood tree species in the forest area as well as in the human inhabited zones. The oak, maple and cherry trees are some fine examples of hardwood trees. The great fact about hardwood trees is that they produce lumber quality wood. In other words, these trees can easily be recycled into wood needed for building material and construction. Some of the hardwood trees, if they are in very good quality, can also be used to make furniture.

Herbal and therapeutic trees: It is a common misconception that all the herbal trees are small shrubs or bushes. But on the contrary, many of the herbals trees are fully grown, tall, mature trees that you can climb upon and make a tree house. Cedar trees, for example, are used to produce cedar tea from its wood – making it very easy to recycle them into high quality tea. Cedar wood can also be used as incense. Eucalyptus trees are also used for their therapeutic benefits and are full of eucalyptus oil that is sold at high price in the market. If you have a eucalyptus tree to be recycled, then you might want to contact your local herbal medicine manufacturer first.

Persimmon trees: The persimmon trees give delicious persimmon fruits in their bearing years. As soon as they grow to the age of three years, they start producing persimmons which you can relish almost everyday. But when their bearing days are over and they are no longer giving any fruits, you may want to plant new trees in their place. Good news is that wood from the persimmon trees is highly valuable as it is used to make high quality wooden golf clubs. This is why in Tennessee, where the golf clubs are manufactured, the persimmon trees are sold at very high prices. You can certainly have your old persimmon tree recycled into golf clubs and make some profit out of it.

Christmas trees: Christmas trees are usually either fir trees or pine trees. Both of these trees have little or no value for the sawmill, furniture or in lumber. But if you have a wood chipper, then you can easily turn it into mulch for your garden. This mulch is biodegradable and acts as a very good natural nourishment for your garden soil. In addition, this mulch can also prevent soil erosion during heavy rains. These trees can also be used as fish feeders when sunk into private fish ponds. If you have large garden or backyard, then you can also use these trees as bird feeders for some time.

Trees for sawmill: Before you turn a fallen or otherwise unwanted tree into firewood, you should contact your local sawmill and see if they have any requirements for the type of popular US trees that you have. In general, they accept all types of trees – even the ones that you cannot identify and are growing in the streets. The sawmills have high demands for trees like walnut, butternut, ash, oaks, cherry, maples, elms, cedar, sycamore and cherry. But the gum trees are generally not wanted.

Every tree that you recycle from the urban area guarantees that one less tree is going to be cut down from the forests. You should strive hard to prevent good quality wood from being turned into firewood or mulch, and instead put it to a much better use. If you do not know where to contact the saw-millers, carpenter or wood crafts person, then you can always ask around or contact your municipality. Some tree care organizations and ecology activists can also help you find the right person. Besides the commercial buyers, many hobbyists and crafts-persons are also willing to take a look at your tree and see if it can be turned into a piece of art. You will be amazed to see that some of the spalted logs (having random black lines because of fungal decay) are highly desired and are sold at handsome prices when turned into a finished art project.

Photo Credit:

Recycling News (7-7-2014)

There’s good news this week for electronic scrap disposal, with recycling specialist 3S International announcing the opening of the USA’s first BLUBOX processing facility at Mount Pleasant, Michigan. This innovative plant will handle up to 7,000 tons of e-scrap every year and it’s just the first step in what 3S are planning.

The rapid growth in consumer electronics shows no sign of slowing down, but it’s proven to be a real headache for waste disposal. Many devices, including cellphones and media players, have a fairly short life cycle before obsolescence claims them and that means millions are disposed of every year. Computers, monitors, TVs and other devices are lower in numbers but much greater in bulk, and a distressing percentage of them end up in landfills. That’s both a waste of the valuable materials they contain and a serious environmental hazard. Almost anything with a screen – especially LCD or backlit models – contains mercury, for example, and it only takes small quantities to cause serious contamination. As households move from conventional light bulbs to compact fluorescents that particular problem is liable to get worse; modern lamps, including CFTs and halogen bulbs, contain a worrying assortment of toxic chemicals and other pollutants.

Continue reading “Recycling News (7-7-2014)” »

Recycling News (6-30-2014)

The key to recycling is effectively separating waste into categories of materials that can be efficiently reused. The current trend is for most of this sorting to be done by householders and local recycling centers – more and more cities and communities provide multiple bins for different categories of waste, and dumps sort through garbage to extract anything that has residual value. The problem is the process isn’t all that efficient and a large amount of waste still goes to landfill. That doesn’t just take up landfill space – pollution can leak out of buried waste for years, damaging the soil and contaminating ground water.

Continue reading “Recycling News (6-30-2014)” »

Recycling Gold, Silver & Other Precious Metals

For centuries, man has had an undying relationship with precious metals. These metals like gold and silver are prized not only for their beauty but also value. This is the only logical explanation for the high number of gold and other precious metals that can be found sitting in central bank vaults and jewelry boxes. According to U.S Geological Survey, there is roughly 171,300 tons of gold that have been mined in history. This is rising at a high rate of 3000 tons every year.


While nothing is wrong with gold, its mining is very bad for our environment. For every ring of gold, there are roughly 20 tons of toxic wastes being generated. And the toxic substances used in the process of mining the gold like mercury and cyanide pollutes both the air we breathe and the water we drink. In fact, gold mining is the number one source of mercury pollution. It is even ahead of coal-fired power stations.

Therefore, we cannot possible continue enjoying these precious metals when they wreak havoc on our planet. Options include using mining methods that are more eco-friendly. This might mean stopping dumping the toxic wastes into oceans and rivers or stop using things like mercury and cyanide. However, the best solution is recycling of the gold that we have already.

Silver recycling

Silver is normally found in electronic and electric scrap, photographic wastes, coinage and jewelry. Given that silver is used for several different things, recycling it is very important. The demand for silver increases as the population grows. Many ways exist to enable reusing and recycling of silver. They include the following.

Scrap Silver


The simplest way to recycle silver and turn it into silver bars.  Your local coin & bullion shop can assist you with this.  To view the types of silver bars that can be made with your unused silver, check out the photos & resources at

Selling or donating

If you have a silver jewelry, consider selling it to any jewelry store or even donating it to an organization. This way, the silver will be reused. Alternatively, the jewelry store could melt and recast it to form new jewelry.

Continue reading “Recycling Gold, Silver & Other Precious Metals” »

Recycling Industrial Waste Products

Industrial wastes if left unattended to can cause a lot of damage. Recycling industrial waste products makes a great impact in the world. It helps preserve the natural environment for ourselves and our future generations. It is apparent that the more years go by, the more the need for better management of waste products. This is because as the wealth increases, people buy more products and create waste. When the population increases, it means there are more people to create more waste.

Lifestyle changes such as fast food and new packaging and technological products are developed, meaning more products are more biodegradable. There are regulations that are in place to demand that industrial companies are recycling their wastes rather than disposing them off and damaging the environment.


The practice of recycling is no recent phenomenon. There are claims of the practice dating back to Plato in 400 BC. At this time household wastes such as broken pottery and tools were recycled because resources were limited. They were thus reused when new material was unavailable.

Before the industrial period, scrap bronze and other metals were collected and melted for reuse. Dust and ash from coal and wood were recycled as a base for brick making. In these times, recycling offered and economic advantage.

Industrialization catapulted the need for affordable materials. This is why scrap metals were sought after more than virgin ore. The railroads from the 19th Century to the automobile industry of the 20th Century, there was a need for the utilization of scrap metal. Peddlers made a living collecting pots, pans, machinery and sources of metal from dumps, city street and even door to door. This especially became more rampant during World War I.

Continue reading “Recycling Industrial Waste Products” »

Go Green & Recycle Glass


Most of the inorganic waste in our homes can be recycled which is good news for the environment and all of us in return. The worrying trends of global warming, depleted ozone levels and air pollution are making the scenes of the After Earth movie appear more and more realistic. Recycling glass is pretty easy as it can be recycled an infinite number of times without it losing its quality, purity or strength. It is one of the most widely recycled materials with some countries like Belgium, Finland and Switzerland recycling over 90% of their glass and the UK recycling more than 50% of their container glass. In the US 5% of the garbage is made up of glass.



Recycling is not a new concept but rather one that has been around since the BC era. Archeological evidence uncovered over time shows that in the imperial Byzantine times, glass was recycled in the Sagalassos, the ancient city that is present day Turkey. Recycling of other materials like bronze coins and metals and using them to create other items like statues or weapons was a common practice in those periods. Even before the industrial revolution which made recycling a trend, recycling was still being practiced because it made economical sense to recycle some materials instead of using virgin material. Recyclable materials like aluminum and glass were used until they became too worn to be of any further use. In Britain, bricks were made using dust and ash as their base materials and scrap bronze as well as other metals in Europe were melted down and recycled in a perpetual cycle.

After the establishment of the environmental movement which was established in the 1960s, recycling became popular resulting in the establishment of drop-off recycling centers. A major milestone in the journey of recycling was covered when a universal symbol for recycling was introduced. The symbol was a Mobius strip which was designed in the later half of the 1960s by Gary Anderson. This was after a recycled-container company which was based in Chicago sponsored an art contest that was aimed at raising environmental awareness. The triangle has been used as a representation of the hierarchy of recycling that encourages people to reduce, reuse and recycle. The interest in recycling was also increased because of the rising energy costs that were being witnessed in the 1970s.

Continue reading “Go Green & Recycle Glass” »

Recycling wood for furniture

Wooden furniture has a tendency to be the best alternative for the individuals who are looking to enhance a piece. This is for the most part due to the flexibility of wooden furniture. Nonetheless, with enough diligent work and ability, any sort of furniture might be transformed from a junkyard item, into a showstopper.

Most importantly, you have to know where to get some great furniture with a lot of potential.

Where to find used furniture

There are numerous spots where you can discover modest and utilized – yet quality – furniture in your neighborhood. Firstly, you have to get your involved some grouped ads. These are the most widely recognized and mainstream path for individuals to dispose of their old furniture. This incorporates paper ordered ads and on the web, so there is something for everybody.

You can discover anything in the classifieds including, tables, seats, couches, wardrobes, and all different sorts of furniture. It’s exhorted, on the off chance that you are purchasing from a notice, to ask to see it first. It is never a great thought to purchase anything without having the capacity to provide for it a trial run.

There are a few sites that offer you an allowed to gatherer’ choice. These are extraordinary as you should simply turn up and take the furniture off their hands. These sites are extraordinary and for a large portion of them you need to give something first before you can gather something for nothing yourself; which is reasonable enough.

Other great spots to buy second hand furniture might be auto boot deals and philanthropy shops. Never forget that regardless of how shabby, old and worn the furniture may look; with a bit of sanding, a lick of paint and some decent varnishing, you can make it look just out of the plastic new.

Continue reading “Recycling wood for furniture” »