Archive for Recycling

Plastic Beaches

Have you ever wondered where your trash goes after it leaves the dump? How much of it is actually sifted through to be recycled? Some cities spend more money and time into making the most out of our garbage, but the fact is that more of our waste is being treated as such and disposed in our oceans more than is being reused. One the main and most harmful materials that is polluting our oceans, trashing our beaches and killing our sea life is plastic. There are island-sized mounds of plastic all around the world. Some reports as many as 10. It would take an insurmountable amount of labor and equipment to clean up what we have accumulated over decades, but we can prevent making the problem worse and clean up what is within reach. Sea life that we could potentially find on our dinner plates and in our restaurants are  mistaking bits of plastic for food. Some of this plastic has traveled from all around the world for years. A lot of plastic has dissolved into a powder that covers some of our most beautiful beaches for miles.

Click HERE to learn more about the impact plastic is having on our beaches.


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Reduce Junk Mail

– Cindy Medrano

As Americans, we are all accustomed in receiving junk mail on a daily basis. Every time we check our mail we see junk mail at least once or twice a week. However, did you know that is you saved up all the unwanted junk for one year, it is equivalent to one and a half trees, which adds up to 100 million trees every year in just the United States! Just receiving junk in a single day alone can produce enough energy to heat a quarter of a million homes.

Fact: 44 percent of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but only half that much junk mail (22 percent) is recycled.

If you think receiving junk mail is a nuisance, there are many ways you can limit the amount of junk mail you receive.

One of the many options to reduce junk mail is by writing to different marketing associations, depending on where you reside, to be removed from the lists and stop unwanted mail. By doing so, junk mail intake decreases by 75%. There are various sites in which an individual can “opt-out” of receiving unwanted mail. All they have to do is type up an email s or write a letter stating to be removed from the mailing list. Websites such as:, or , can all be used to reduce unwanted mail and other intrusions, like spam in your email to telemarketing calls.

Most importantly, it is common sense that one should not forget to recycle junk mail! There are about 5.6 million tons of types of catalogs and direct mail advertisements that end up in the U. S landfills, NOT recycled!

It is a matter of everyone doing their part and recycling to reduce the tons of waste the builds up on landfills.

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Trader Joe’s New Bag Fee in September

The traditional paper bag and the reusable vinyl bag/Photo/C. Giraud

Your friendly neighborhood Trader Joe’s locations in the city of Los Angeles has jumped on the ‘charge for paper bags’ bandwagon in an effort to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable shopping bags.

Beginning September 2012, Trader Joe’s will charge 10 cents for each paper shopping bag.

In an effort to regulate bag use and minimize enviornmental waste, this move follows in the footsteps of the city of Santa Monica’s 2011 ordinance where retail customers are now charged 10 cents for each single-use paper shopping bag, which is part of the citywide ban on plastic shopping bags.

However, the Santa Monica Trader Joe’s has been charging for the bags since the ordinance went into effect in September 2011.

On the state level, says that San Francisco was the first city in California, and the nation to implement the ban on single-use plastic shopping bags, instead of charging a fee.

The ordinance, Californians Against Waste, is part of California AB 1998 that eliminates the distribution of an estimated 19 billion single-use plastic shopping bags a year in California, reducing plastic litter pollution.

Enviornmental groups argue the errant plastic bags are often not recycled, at only 5%, and end up floating in the ocean or littering the streets.

Currently, the Los Angeles City Council is considering an ordinance banning the use of both paper and plastic shopping bags at 7,500 stores, switching to reusable bags only.

According to the website, ‘Broken Secrets,’ Trader Joe’s was the first store to market reusable canvas shopping bags in their 1977 campaign, “Save a Tree.”

Do you think this will encourage people to buy reusable shopping bags or pay the 10 cents for each paper bag when shopping at Trader Joe’s?

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Man’s Best Friend’s Bed Goes Green

The Eco Nap dog mat comes in a variety of colors/Photo: West Paw Design website

Yes, Fido wants to get in on the eco-friendly trend too.

With the primary focus of reusing, recycling and reducing waste, the Eco Nap dog mat is made of IntelliLoft(tm) fiber fill, which is made from recycled 100% PETE plastic soda bottles.

Manufactured in the USA by West Paw Design in Bozeman, Montana, the non-toxic, earth-friendly organic dog mat is free of harsh chemicals and is enviornmentally safe.

Committed to recycling, West Paw Design estimates that each Eco Nap dog mat diverts 21 single-use plastic soda bottles, with a total of 544 tons to date, away from landfills.

With a goal of maintaining and creating a healthy planet for the next generation by minimizing their carbon trail by using less energy, West Paw Design reduces waste by cutting as much raw product as possible by reusing every piece of scrap material in the manufacturing process.

Placing values on pets and the enviornment, the lightweight, hypoallergenic Eco Nap dog mat is made from sustainable and natural resources and the super soft washable and removable cover is manufactured from 100% organic cotton.

With superior durable construction, the Eco Nap dog mat is a healthy alternative for both the comfort of your pet, while preserving the health of the planet.

For more information about the Eco Nap dog mat and their other planet friendly pet products, visit the West Paw Design website at:


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Eco-Friendly Ireland Hostel

Spaceship-looking hostel/Photo: Cheap-Hostels Website

Located in the North-West Irish countryside of Sligo County near Castlebaldwin, the eco-friendly Gyreum Ecolodge Hostel is designed to lower the carbon footprint by reducing the impact of human activities on the planet.

Derived from the Greek root ‘GYR’ that means ’round’ and ‘EUM’ implies ‘building,’ the innovative 100 ft. wide structure overlooks Lough Arrow and has a 360 degree view of Sligo’s cairned mountains and lakes spanning five counties.

On the cutting edge of energy saving technology, the iconic structure uses solar and wind power that aligns to dawn and dusk of the winter and summer solstices.

Renewable resources include solar panels that generate hot water, flagstone floors that are geothermally heated and wall insulation made of sheep’s wool. The water recycling system involves the collection of rain water in a 1500 litre tank that is pumped back for use in showers and toilets.

With its indoor-like camping features, the hostel-style accomodations include: capsule-tents, a glass domed library, a central hall with an open fireplace, a large movie screen and an organic vegetable garden.

The Gyreum Hostel is Ireland’s first ecolodge to be awarded the EU Flower for enviornmental and ecological standards and was one of four national finalists in 2007 for Best Ecological Building of the year.

For more information, visit the hostel’s website at:

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Steamboat Springs Ski Resort Green Initiatives

ResortQuest Green Initiative Program/Photo: ResortQuest Website

With the purpose and goal of promoting green, sustainable enviornmental practices, Steamboat Springs, Colorado ski resort has set new standards for its eco-friendly initiatives that protect the enviornment in which the ski resort resides.

The internationally known ski resort is located in the upper valley of the Yampa River, just west of the Continental Divide at Rabbit Ears Pass.

With the ultimate goal of a 100% waste-free community by 2014, ResortQuest Steamboat and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council have committed to developing and maintaining eco-friendly initiatives that include green hotel practices and the Zero Waste and Sustainability Initiative.

Resortquest green hotel practices include towel and linen re-use programs, trash recycling, using Cascades ‘North River’ bathroom paper products and Thymes Eucalyptus bath products in enviornmentally safe paper-bottle containers made of 75% paper, biodegradable Green-Key electronic keycards produced from paperboards instead of plastic, water conservation and post-departure thermostat control.

The Zero Waste and Sustainability Initiative is inspired to protect the community of Steamboat Springs by reducing the amout of waste that goes into landfills. The grassroots organization called the ‘Green Team’ aims to eliminate all waste from food and beverage outlets by using biodegradeble packaging, solid-waste recycling, reusing and composting programs.

Since 1993, the ski resort has won numerous awards in recognition of their enviornmental programs, such as: The Silver Eagle 2010 Award for Waste Reduction and Recycling, The U.S. Enviornmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership and the Green-e Renewable Energy Certification Program.

The National Ski Areas Association awarded Steamboat Springs Ski Resort as the best resort in Reduction and Recycling Program in North America for reducing landfill usage by 63%.

To learn more about the Steamboat Springs ski resort enviornmental initiatives, visit the Resortquest Steamboat and Yampa Valley Sustainability Council websites.

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Earth Day 2011

This year, Earth Day landed on April 22nd and provided people opportunities to take action and participate in helping to preserve the planet.

Earth Day Network gave people the opportunity to register and pledge an act of green for their “A Billion Acts of Green” campaign on their website. EDN is trying to prove that real change can occur if millions of people commit to their actions. So far, a little over a million people have made a pledge.

“Our family will use less water, plant a tree and grow a food garden,” “I pledge to use less styrofoam, as well as recycle all paper and plastic products…,” and “I will bring my own reusable shopping bags to the store,” are all examples of pledges people have proposed.

Pledges range by topic from advocacy, energy, transportation, and water. EDN’s reasoning behind this campaign helps raise awareness on the way we treat our planet. It is true, also, that if millions commit to their actions, then maybe a big difference can be made. What do you pledge?

Earth Day photo from space. Photo from National Geographic.

To learn more about Earth Day or how to make a contribution, visit Earth Day Network.

To view more photos of Earth Day, visit National Geographic.

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