It’s that time of year again – Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over and it’s countdown to Christmas.
Recycling isn’t just something people do on planet Earth. Satellites orbiting the Earth are about to be recycled by the Department of Defense.
Shoe companies are wising up to the fact that shoe manufacturing is decidely un-green. Some of them are making athletic shoes made from recycled materials or lighter-weight materials that reduce waste.
New Balance has made a shoe called newSKY made almost entirely out of fabric from post-consumer plastic bottles. Other than foam, small rubber components on the outsole and some water-based glue, the only material is the recycled fabric.
Usually materials like plastic and leather provide shape and structure for shoes, according to New Balance’s web site, but in the case of newSKY shoes, the heel was reinforced with strategic stitching along the back seam and a thicker weight of fabric. “When we doubled-up the material you don’t need any reinforcement because the material is doing it itself,” one designer said on the web site. http://www.newbalance.com/wellness/newsky/newsky-an-innovative-approach-to-shoe-design/
Nike is also trying to make its running shoes more sustainable, with a new manufacturing process that weaves synthetic yarn together with a knitting machine. The line of shoes, called Flyknit, consists of fewer pieces than other shoes. The amount of material wasted making each pair weighs only as much as a sheet of paper, producing 66 percent less waste than its Air Pegasus+ 28 brand, the company says.
For people who don’t want to buy new shoes, another way to be green is to repair what you already have. You can take your worn out shoes to the local cobbler or, if you own a pair of Cole-Haan shoes, that company will repair them for you. The company has a restoration program in which people can send in their worn pairs (for a fee) and have the soles, heels, tassles, stitching and hardware replaced. Allen Edmonds offers a similar “recrafting” service for worn dress shoes, ranging from simple heel replacement to complete restoration.
Let’s face it, we all have to ship stuff from time to time, regardless of how un-green it can seem. Aunt Martha will be disappointed if you don’t send her a birthday gift, and what about all that old stuff you can sell on ebay so that someone else can re-use it? People who feel guilty about the carbon they’re expending by shipping stuff can rest assured now: UPS is trying to make its business more sustainable.
For example, UPS calculates the carbon footprint of all of its routes and has determined that more right-hand turns are more sustainable. By doing so, the company has saved 10 million gallons of gasoline since 2004 and last year reduced the amount of fuel consumed per package by 3.3 percent. They also buy carbon offsets to fund conservation projects for customers that request carbon-neutral shipments. They use something called “cube optimization” to ensure that packages are no larger than they need to be. And they use environmentally-friendly packaging materials, such as corrugated cardboard, which is both easy to recycle and also comprised of recycled materials.
Speaking of cardboard… there’s a 9 year old boy in East L.A. who has turned cardboard boxes from his dad’s auto parts store into arcade games. Caine Monroy cut and taped up old boxes and converted them into games using other re-purposed items like an old basketball hoop, with the idea of charging kids money to play. He created a claw game — that arcade game classic in which you try to retrieve a stuffed animal with a claw — using a hook and string. He also created a soccer game using old army men toys as goalies. And as prizes, he set aside his old Hotwheels cars. Talk about re-use!
Unfortunately for Caine, he didn’t have any customers for awhile. But when a documentary film maker came upon his cardboard arcade and decided to make a short film about the young entrepreneur, things changed. The film maker created a facebook page and a flash mob ensued. His project generated so much news coverage, it even made the front page of Reddit. Check out cainesarcade.com to see the film about this young recycler.
It’s one thing to leave a small footprint by shunning the McMansions of the 90s and early 2000s by occupying a smaller dwelling. But one Boulder couple took the small-house trend to the extreme.
Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller built a 125-square-foot home.
Not only is the size environmentally friendly, the couple built it using reclaimed windows, beetle-kill lumber, solar power and a composting toilet that contains peat moss and saw dust.
“You’d be surprised how well it works and how much it doesn’t smell,” Mr. Smith told Denver’s ABC 7 News.
So what can you fit in a space that 19-feet long, wall-to-wall? A sitting area, a kitchen, a bathroom and a sleeping loft that can accommodate a queen-size mattress.
The Boulder couple is part of a growing movement of small-home dwellers. The web site
features the tiny homes of other environmentally-conscious people like a man who built a 400-square-foot cabin for less than $2,000. Roof-top solar panels and a small wind turbine provide all the electricity, including the water pump, lights and computer. A propane tank that provides back-up energy for the furnace and stove saves money. His water comes from a well he drilled himself, while rainwater that he collects provides water for gardening. He raises chickens, rabbits and tends fruit trees. He has no house payments or utility bills.
A documentary called “Tiny: A Story About Living Small“, scheduled for release this spring, will feature the Boulder couple’s home and others like it.
Consumers in California are getting more of an incentive to recycle their beverage containers. The state has said it will raise the rates paid to people who turn in their used soda cans and water bottles.
The redemption rates will increase by 3¢ for plastic bottles and 3¢ for aluminum cans. The rate per container remains the same at 5¢ for containers under 24 ounces and 10¢ for containers 24 ounces and above.
RePLANET, a company that operates recycling centers in California, said previous reimbursement rates were insufficient to support its collection program, forcing it to temporarily deactivate its automated recycling machines last summer. Following complaints from customers, rePLANET reactivated the machines and the state of California began to recalculate the rates, according to Recycling Today
Now it makes more economic sense for customers to line up outside recycling centers to cash in their items. Often in California, lines are long and people have to wait a long time to redeem their recyclables.
“Recycling beverage containers makes more sense than ever before,” Matt Millhiser, rePLANET marketing director, told the magazine. “The state’s new redemption rates, combined with our innovations in automated technology, make recycling more financially rewarding and convenient than any time in California history.”
- Aluminum Cans – $1.57
- Glass Bottles – 10.5¢
- No. 1 PET Plastic Bottles – $1
- No. 2 HDPE Plastic Bottles – 57¢
- No. 3 PVC Plastic Bottles – $1.33
- No. 4 LDPE Plastic Bottles -$1.87
- No. 5 PP Plastic Bottles – 45¢
- No. 6 PS Plastic Bottles – $5.62
- No. 7 Others Plastic Bottles – 33¢
- Bimetal – 30¢
Thanks for Gem City Images for the use of their image
In Sacramento, Calif., artist Gioia Fonda has exhibiting her works of junk-turned-art at a gallery. Ms. Fonda specializes in drawing piles of junk that speak to our society’s mass consumerism as well as to larger societal problems like the housing crisis. She has documented piles of junk and trash that have piled up outside people’s homes due to evictions and foreclosures. She told the Sacramento Bee that her renditions of the junk piles represent “not only a reflection of the lending crisis but also a comment on our rampant consumerism and the utter disposability of what we produce and what we buy.”
In addition to her finished drawings, Ms. Fonda showcases the process of arriving at her finished work. She starts by taking color photos of junk piles, then draws specific objects and cuts them out. She then arranges the cut-outs into collages and makes copies.
A Dallas artist who goes by the name Vet has been working with a group of artists and community organizers called Art From Scrap. The group collected industrial surplus items and offered it to the community for use in art projects.
“A lot of recycled items are non-toxic overruns and surplus from businesses that would normally be discarded,” Vet told Pegasus News. “I like working with multiples of one item, like different bottle tops, melted crayons, beeswax, shola berry wood chips, fabric swatches, old books, pull down shades, gourds, and pear pods.”
She built a 30-foot “Book Berm” out of discarded books as well as a folded paper tree, miniature dolls and people crafted from Styrofoam.
“Working with recyclables expands my range of mediums by allowing me to combine craft and fine art,” Vet said.
We are making junk removal simple, problem free and without surprises. We are born out of the idea that we can enhance the social value of recycling. All junk collected is treated as an asset and not as trash with the appreciation toward sustainability and end-of-life concerns.
We make all efforts to reuse (i.e., donate), upcycle and recycle the materials before the landfill is considered.