Why are Electronics Toxic to the Environment?

How many chemicals does your cell phone expose you to on a daily basis? A study by healthystuff.org found toxic chemicals in 36 of the most popular phones on the market, including all versions of Apple’s iPhone. Among the 12 different chemicals tested for, the cell phones tested positive for lead, cadmium, and mercury –some of the most harmful and carcinogenic to humans.

The problems begin when products are manufactured with combinations of many heavy metals and continue to inflict severe environmental damage long after they are discarded. According to Greenpeace International, these chemicals also pose risk to the workers who dismantle and dispose of these products.

Greenpeace has outlined some of the most harmful chemicals found in electronics and their effects all of which can and do bio-accumulate in the environment. These are not limited to, but include:

  • Lead- particularly harmful to e wastepregnant women and children, causing birth and developmental defects.
  • Cadmium- causes damage to the lungs and kidneys.
  • Mercury- Also specifically harmful to pregnant women and children, impairing neurological development and birth defects.
  • Polyvinyl Carbonate (PVC)- releases harmful and toxic chemicals especially when burned, as it would be in a disposal plant.
  • Bromated Flame Retardants- Disruptive to hormone systems and causes learning and memory impairment.

How can you protect your personal health along with the well-being of the planet? Proper disposal of electronic devices is essential. Even when electronics leave our homes and go into the garbage, they can get back into our bodies through water, food, and exposure to outdoor elements.

Learn more how to safely dispose of toxic electronics and keep chemicals out of the environment through our extensive recycling resources on our website.

Recycling non-Traditional Business Materials

When we think about recycling today, EPA Graphwe typically think about regular recyclable items such as plastic bottles, aluminum, glass and tin cans.  There are also now resources to recycle other office items such as Styrofoam, batteries, cell phones, CD’s and electronics. With our landfills becoming full, toxic and more expensive it is important for businesses to do their part to recycle as much as waste as possible. Here is a list of resources and office items that you can recycle. Don’t see an item listed? Visit our full list of recycling and donation resources for more recycling resources for businesses.

  • Styrofoam Packing Peanuts

Thanks to groups like the Plastic Loose Fill Council, the ways in which we recycle styrofoam are finally moving into the 21st century.  They have created a program in which used packing materials are repurposed for other business to use.  So, rather than adding those packing peanuts to the landfill, consider sending them a box full.

  • Batteries

The worst thing about batteries is how toxic and damaging they are when left to decompose in our environment. First, check with the battery manufacturer as many times they offer recycling programs for their products.  You can also contact Call2Recycle for locations that accept batteries for responsible recycling.

  • Cell Phones

You probably have see the cell phone recycling bins at your local big box electronics store or in the lobby of the cell phones stores but, did you know that there are other alternatives?  A cell phone can be a huge blessing to those in our third world countries so Collective Good can make that happen.  Domestic violence victims would also be very appreciative of your old phone so the NCADV will happily take it off your hands and put it to good use.

  • Bio-Plastics and Bio-degradable Materials

These are plastics made from lactic acid, soy protein or vegetable starches.  Through naturally occurring processes these plastics will break down over time, completely and without releasing toxins into our soil. If you need to find a recycler for these items contact FindAComposter.com and they will help put you in touch.  By making the effort to compost these products we will encourage the industry to continue to produce earth-friendly bio-plastics.

  • E-Waste (Computers, Printers, Monitors)

KOPEG (Keep Our Planet Earth Green) has an excellent recycling program that can also serve as a way to raise funds.  Encourage recycling of items like old cell phones or MP3 players, broken digital cameras, obsolete PDAs and more, and they will help you turn it into cash.

If you aren’t sure how to recycle a material, Contact us to find out more!

Recycling Resources- good for business and good for the environment

Recycling isn’t just good for the environment. It is good for business. Taking used materials and re-purposing them not only saves valuable resources, it can save money and create a much cleaner, more eco-friendly world.

You may not have thought of many of the underlying reasons why recycling is good. For one, recovering old materials for new uses helps to keep manufacturing jobs located in the United States, according to the EPA. That can help the nation maintain its competitive edge, even in tough economic times.

Recycling also lowers the need for landfills and incinerators that burn rubbish, which in turn helps to preserve space for other uses and decrease the amount of trash-related pollution released in the air we breathe. Along the same lines, recycling also prevents toxins linked to making new goods out of raw materials from entering the atmosphere because those products don’t have to be made in the first place. Moreover, recycling helps us conserve valuable natural resources, including the forests where wood is found as well as water supplies and raw minerals.

In short, there are many reasons to recycle, but the first step always begins with businesses taking the initiative to set up systems to make it successful in the workplace.

Click here for a comprehensive list of recycling resources especially for hard-to-recycle items not usually taken by waste management facilities.

If you’re interested in setting up recycling for your business don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Three P’s of Recycling in Your Workplace

According to the EPA, the average person generates about 4 1/2 pounds of trash every day. While much of this is household waste, a good portion is generated in workplaces as well. After all, many Americans spend a majority of their day at their jobs. Eco-conscious business owners have a responsibility to provide a means for managing and recycling waste responsibly.

The Three P’s of Workplace Recycling assists organizations in getting started:

People: People are the number one component of the success of your business. Recycling efforts are no different. Get your team on board by letting them know that waste reduction is a priority. They need to be involved, willing and able to participate. You can help make recycling more efficient through the other two P’s, but without your people doing their part, your efforts will fall flat.

Process: You need to put a process in place to collect and dispose of recyclables and compostables. Who’s going to be in charge of emptying the containers and taking items off-site? Where will the items ultimately end up? Will there be some kind of monitoring and accountability system? How will you recognize and reward participation and efforts that go beyond what is required? These are some of the questions you have to consider to make sure that recycling and composting enhances your business operations.
Place: The saying “A place for everything and everything in its place” is true for recycling as well. You’ll need clearly-labeled containers for different types of recyclables and compostables that your business generates. Here are some suggestions for what items may be recycled from different areas of your workplace:

Cafeteria, Kitchen or Lunch room. (Most of these type of materials are usually collectable from most community based recycling programs)

  • Metal – aluminum foil, beverage cans
  • Cartons – milk and juice tetra-pak containers
  • Glass bottles
  • Plastics – #1-7, plastic bags, shrink wrap
  • Paper bags

Office Equipment and Electronics (These type of items need to be recycled through certified e-waste recyclers)

  • Fax machines
  • Computer mice, monitors, keyboards; Laptops
  • Copiers and printers; toner cartridges
  • CDs, DVDs
  • Phones

Paper (Most of these materials can either be recycled or composted. Check your local recyclers guidelines)

  • Books, phonebooks, catalogs
  • Magazines
  • Mail, Manila envelopes
  • Cardboard
  • Packing boxes
  • Office paper, shredded documents

Miscellaneous (These materials are considered hard-to-recycle items and usually are not picked up recycling programs. Go to Earth911 or National Recycling Resources to find ways to recycle these type of items)

  • Packing peanuts
  • Styrofoam packaging
  • Light bulbs
  • Batteries

Contact us to learn more about how you can apply the Three P’s of Recycling in your workplace

Recycling Expired Credit Cards

Have you ever wondered what to do with your old credit cards, reward cards, gift cards and other plastic type cards in your wallet? With over 10 billion new cards place in circulation every year, most are thrown in the trash contributing more than 75 million pounds of PVC (plastic resin) in the landfill every year.  In addition, with credit card fraud an ongoing issue it is usually not safe to throw these cards away in the trash. Now there is a company that recycles this plastic and destroys these cards responsibly.

Earthworks System is a PVC recycling company that began accepting plastic type credit, gift and reward cards for recycling in 2008. They target retailers who hopefully will send in large quantities of cards but they now allow individuals to mail them in too, knowing that these cards often don’t get back to the company who distributed them.

Earthworks grinds up old cards (ensuring they are disposed of safely) and crafts them into PVC sheets used to make new plastic cards. Retailers can then purchase Earthworks 100% recycled PVC material to make new cards. You can tell if it is a Earthworks card on the back just above the magnetic strip.
Your old plastic cards (both individuals and businesses) can be mailed to:
Earthworks c/o Halprin Ind.
25840 Miles Rd. , Bedford, OH 44146.

Type of cards accepted; ID cards, credit cards, driver’s license, library card, rental cards, membership cards, reward cards, shopper discount cards, and retailer gift cards.

Collect Your Bottle Caps- Aveda is Recycling Them!

Aveda now has a cap program that will recycle bottle caps, a material that has been in the past un-recycleable. They will accept all screw caps that are hard plastic, usually the #5 in the recycle arrows located on the inside of the cap. This includes twist tops on bottles, flip tops from tube or food products and other screw like-type rigid lids. Please don’t send them any flexible or soft lids on tubs. For more details on the type of caps and where to send them, contact Aveda directly at capcollection@aveda.com.

One more material that we can keep out of the landfill!