Topic: recycling

10 Ways to Go Green

The Hamilton County Waste Management department has been working hard to help increase environmental awareness around the area.  Earlier this year they shared 10 Ways to Go Green, which are very much worth re-sharing.

From the Hamilton County Interchange Newsletter:

Top 10 Ways for Your Business to Go Green
Michelle Balz, Program Specialist, Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District

So, your business has decided to reduce its environmental footprint and become a good corporate citizen by going green. Generously, upper management has given you free reign to implement environmental policies…but where do you begin? Here are 10 simple ideas that can increase worker productivity, improve your company’s public image, and save your company money.

1. Start Recycling

Today recycling is a no-brainer. More than 40% of what we throw into the landfill is paper, yet over a dozen local companies crave paper as feedstock for their operation. Not wasting this valuable resource can also reduce your waste bill since the cost to haul recycling is lower than trash. Add in the environmental benefits of reduced pollution and conserved energy and it is easy to understand why recycling is often one of the first environmental policies a company adopts. For help with recycling, call the Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District at (513) 946-7734 or visit www.hamiltoncountyrecycles.org.

Environmental Benefit- Recycling office paper reduces air pollution by 95% and saves 24 trees for every ton of office paper recycled (National Recycling Coalition).

2. Switch Your Bulbs

While the lighting technology choices are endless, CFL, LED, T8, T5… the solution is clear: switching to energy efficient lights saves energy and money. The bulbs may cost more upfront, but energy efficient lights last much longer than traditional bulbs and use significantly less energy to reduce costs in the long run. To help you decide which technology is right for you, visit www.energystar.gov.

Environmental Benefit- Replacing a single standard bulb with a CFL reduces energy use by 75% and prevents 450 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions over the life of the bulb (Energy Star).

3. Build Green

Whether you start with a vacant lot or renovate your current space, integrating green building ideas can decrease energy and water use and increase worker productivity with a healthier work environment. The idea is simple: use sustainable materials and design to create a space that works with the local environment instead of against it. For ideas on green building and how to earn LEED certification, visit the US Green Building Council at www.usgbc.org or call the local Cincinnati chapter at (513) 388-0020.

Environmental Benefit- Green buildings on average use 30% less energy than conventional buildings, saving $60,000 per year for every 100,000 ft2 space (US Green Building Council).

4. Convert Your Fleet

Increase fuel efficiency, decrease pollution, and receive federal tax credits, need I say more? Integrating hybrid vehicles or biodiesel not only builds a green fleet but it also makes the public aware of your green commitment. To compare the latest alternative fuels and vehicles visit www.CleanFuelsOhio.org.

Environmental Benefit- The production and use of biodiesel, compared to petroleum diesel, results in a 78.5% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions (National Biodiesel Board).

5. Implement Storm Water Management

Everything the rain washes off your buildings and parking lots ends up in a stream nearby, likely with unnatural speed that damages a stream ecosystem. You can take steps to minimize this effect by installing green roofs, buffer zones, rain gardens, and porous pavement. These practices allow rainwater to slowly release into local streams improving the health of the stream for local wildlife. For more information, visit
www.hamilton-co.org/stormwater.

Environmental Benefit- Porous pavement can reduce storm water runoff six times better than traditional pavement during peak rainfall (Environmental Protection Agency).

6. Encourage Employees to Save Fuel

If gas prices continue to climb, employees will welcome ideas to reduce fuel consumption. Offer incentives to employees who take the bus, ride a bike, carpool, or drive fuel efficient vehicles. Or if practical, allow your employees to work from home and eliminate the commute altogether. These actions will reduce your company’s carbon footprint and likely save employees money.

Environmental Benefit- Switching a 20-mile round trip commute to existing public transportation can reduce one person’s annual CO2 emissions by 4,800 lbs per year, equal to a 10% reduction in all greenhouse gases produced by a typical two-adult, two-car household (American Public Transportation Association).

7. Adopt an Environmental Purchasing Policy

Your company purchases many products- why not make those purchases greener? Adopting an environmentally preferable purchasing policy will give your employees the green light to seek out products ranging from post-consumer recycled content paper to non-toxic cleaning products. For sample policies and environmental purchasing tools visit www.epa.gov/epp/.

Environmental Benefit- Purchasing one ton (40 cases) of 30% post consumer copy paper saves the equivalent of: 7.2 trees, 2,100 gallons of water, 1,230 KW hours of electricity, and 18 pounds of air pollution (Conservatree).

8. Reduce and Reuse

Reduce waste in your office by discouraging employees to print unnecessarily (e.g., keep emails electronic) and encourage double-sided printing when possible. A simple change in margin size to 0.75 inches fits more text onto a page and reduces paper usage over time. Reuse in your office by providing a water cooler instead of water bottles and giving employees a reusable mug instead of disposable cups.

Environmental Benefit- Save energy! You would have to use a foam cup 1,006 times to reduce the amount of energy equal to reusing a ceramic mug (Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment).

9. Make Energy Conservation an Office Habit

Want an option for going green that won’t cost you a dime? Encourage employees to conserve energy by turning off lights when they are not in use and shutting down computers before they go home. This small change in behavior can add up to a big conservation of energy. According to the US Department of Energy, to conserve the most energy turn off the monitor if you are not going to use your PC for more than 20 minutes and turn off both the CPU and the monitor if you’re not going to use your PC for more than 2 hours./

Environmental Benefit- Turning your computer off at night or on weekends can reduce energy use by two-thirds and save an average of $90 a year per computer (US Department of Energy).

10. Take the Go Green Challenge

By joining the Hamilton County Go Green Challenge, your business becomes part of a network of local companies implementing green practices. Go Green Challenge members also have access to experts in a variety of environmental fields and receive public recognition for their accomplishments. Visit www.hcdoes.org/gogreen.htm for more information.

And remember, the next Go Green Challenge event is Oct 7. Are you registered?

Can I recycle an overflowing bin? What about contamination?

Now that you’ve been learning what all you can put in your recycling bin it makes us wonder what happens when bins start to overflow.

Question: What if my recycling doesn’t fit in my bin?  Even if I crunch and break down the materials, my recycle bin is overflowing!  What can I do?
Answer: You can contact Rumpke for an additional bin or user another plastic container.  Mark any additional plastic containers with signage indicating that it is recycling and Rumpke will collect it.

You may not always get things absolutely perfect.  But what happens if you make a mistake?

Question: What happens to my recycling if I put the wrong things in the bin like plastic bags and pizza boxes?
Answer: Rumpke’s team will remove items placed in your bin by mistake at the recycling center.  This is one of the initial steps of the sorting process.

Thanks to Amanda Pratt of Rumpke for the facts!

Can I recycle credit cards or a bag of paper shreds?

Live Green Cincinnati readers are bringing on the recycling queries.  The latest stumper is a great question.  When you stop taking bags at the check-out counter, how do you control your paper shreds for recycling?

Question: I no longer have paper grocery bags.  How can I store my loose paper recyclables and shreds so they don’t blow away or make a mess?
Answer:
You can use a plastic garbage bag, but please label it as “recyclable paper shreds inside”.  This will help the Rumpke team identify the contents as recycling and ensure the paper shreds are removed.

Question: Can I recycle plastic gift cards and credit cards?
Answer: No.

Thanks to Amanda Pratt of Rumpke for the facts!

Post-storm yardwaste options

In light of yesterday’s storm and the mess of tree and yard debris left behind, Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati would like to remind you about your options for dealing with yardwaste.

From the release:

County and City Offer Options For Yardwaste
In response to Sunday’s storm, many communities are offering special collection programs for yardwaste. To learn more about what your community is offering, please visit your community website or call the administrative offices.

The Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District (District) and the City of Cincinnati offer options for residents who have storm debris. Listed below are options to assist residents with yardwaste clean-up.

Hamilton County Yardwaste Program
Hamilton County residents can participate in the District’s FREE Yardwaste Recycling Drop-Off sites on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through November 30, 2008. This program does not accept yardwaste from landscapers or businesses.

The yardwaste sites are located at:

  • East*: Turpin Farm, 3295 Turpin Ln. (off Rt. 32) in Anderson Township
  • West: Kuliga Park, 6717 Bridgetown Rd. in Green Township
  • North**: Rumpke Sanitary Landfill, Struble Rd. and Colerain Ave. in Colerain Township

* The Turpin Farm location is also open during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
** The Rumpke Sanitary Landfill location will also be open Wednesday through Friday, September 17th through September 19th from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Follow signs to designated drop-off area.

The drop-off sites accept materials such as leaves, grass clippings, brush, garden waste, tree trunks, and prunings from trees or shrubs. For more information about the yardwaste recycling drop-off program, please call the District at (513) 946-7755 or visit www.hamiltoncountyrecycles.org.

City of Cincinnati Yardwaste Program
The City of Cincinnati will accept all types of yardwaste, including grass clippings, leaves, branches and brush. City crews and contractors are out addressing downed trees and limbs in the following order:

  1. Major routes and thoroughfares
  2. Streets with only one access point
  3. Blocked driveways
  4. Houses

Residents are encouraged to follow the general guidelines for yardwaste collection, but some flexibility of these rules will be permitted during this time. The City will relax its procedures and pick up any tree limbs or branches brought to the curb.

  • The City cannot go onto private property to get tree limbs and branches.
  • The City will send crews as soon as possible; this may differ from your regular trash collection day.
  • Leaves, small brush and sticks should be put either in a biodegradable brown paper yard waste bags, or in trash cans clearly marked “YARD WASTE”.
  • Yardwaste in plastic bags cannot be collected.

The City can only address trees and limbs where Duke Energy has been able to clear downed lines.

If you need to report trees and limbs in the public streets and curbs, please the City of Cincinnati’s Customer Service Hotline at 591-6000 for more information.

If you live outside of the City of Cincinnati, please call Hamilton County’s Yardwaste Hotline at 946-7755.

Cary’s Corner: Young opinions on going green

My niece, Cary, has volunteered to provide some of her input on going green in a series of guest posts.  I hope you enjoy her young, refreshing, point of view.

The Introduction

Name:   Cary Blandford

Age:    11

Favorite Webkin:    Mannee (a manatee)

What I think I might want to be when I grow up:    Something involving animals.

How I found out about Live Green Cincinnati:   Aunt Brianne

Do you know green?

What are you learning about the environment, and from who?    I am learning to recycle and clean the environment.  I am learning at both school and home.

Is there anything you do at home to be green?     We recycle. It is a really funny sight to see the recycling.  Kat, my younger sister throws the pieces one-by-one into the giant recycling bin at our rec. center and they go flying.  It doesn’t have to be boring to help save the environment.

Is there anything you do at school to be green?    We recycle the papers we use during classes that don’t need to be turned in or graded.  We plant flower bulbs to make up for the flowers that are destroyed and picked each year.

Is there anything you wish you could do at home or school to be greener?  I wish that at school if it is sunny outside just turn of the lights and use the natural light.  At school I also wish we could recycle more than just paper.

Ale 8 One’s recycled bottlestop

Local Kentucky soft drink, Ale 8 One, is bringing a unique design to a Lexington bus shelter.  The new “Bottlestop” will be made out of recycled Ale 8 bottles.

In addition, the lighting in the bus shelter will be powered by solar energy.  Both useful and artistic, the Bottlestop shows a creative way to reuse local materials in order to provide a service or meet a function and need of the city.

How about some park benches or street signs for Cincinnati made out of reclaimed blue straws from Skyline Chili?!

Can I recycle photos, frozen food boxes, or OJ cartons?

Paper is paper, except when it comes to sorting your recycling.  Choose what you put in your bin carefully based on these tips.

Question: Can I recycle old photos?
Answer:No, photo paper is not recyclable.

Question: Can cereal boxes and frozen food boxes be recycled?
Answer: Yes!  They are considered paperboard.

Question: Can I recycle paperboard containers like OJ cartons or Pringles cans which appear to be lines with something shiny and silver?
Answer: No.  These items contain a wax-like coating that makes them non recyclable.

Thanks to Amanda Pratt of Rumpke for the facts!

Can I recycle aluminum foil or paper cups?

Ever wonder if that Aluminum foil or paper cup could go in the recycling bin?  Check out the latest responses.

Question: Can I recycle a paper drinking glass that has only been filled with water?
Answer: No. Currently paper cups, plates, and napkins are not recyclable because of food and liquid contaminates.

Question: Can recycle aluminum foil if it’s been rinsed off well?
Answer: No. Aluminum foil cannot be recycled.

Thanks to Amanda Pratt of Rumpke for the facts!

Clovernook compostable cups and politics

The Clovernook Center’s recyclable and biodegradable paper cups came into the spotlight again this week by being chosen for the Democratic National Convention.  The Clovernook Center is a local 105 year old non-profit organization dedicated to a high quality of life for people with visual impairments.  This Enquirer article mentions a few other customers that the Clovernook Center has landed with their inventive product.

This is great news because it shows that the cups are filling a need as companies, people, and events across the country work to be more environmentally conscious.  Need more proof that green business is good business?

Quote from the enquirer article:

New interest in green products will help propel Clovernook’s cup business from about $500,000 in sales last year to roughly $1 million this year, Usalis said, making the cups one of the highest-growth business segments for the center.

Keep this in mind when your business makes product development plans or your entrepreneurial spirit kicks in!

A colossal recycling effort in Mt. Healthy

The latest numbers are in for Hamilton County recycling, and the news is good.  Recycling in the first quarter of 2008 is up 10% from 1 year ago. Kudos to Mt. Healthy residents for increasing their recycling a massive 77% higher than in the first quarter of 2007!

The facts:
From an Enquirer article

A total of 17,274 tons of materials were recycled between Jan. 1 and June 30. That’s compared to 15,676 tons for that period last year and 16,380 tons in 2006. The most common item people recycle is paper, followed by cans and plastic bottles.

Outreach and advertising efforts from Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services have raised awareness, and participation is following.  Great work to everyone out there using their bins and passing on the message about recycling!