Archive for the ‘Recycling’ Category

Apple Drops Green Program

I’m not what most would consider a “gadget guru”. I enjoy the convenience of technology but I don’t have to have the latest and greatest. I replace the gadgets that get broken but I will not buy a new item simply because it’s a newer model. In today’s society I’m probably in the minority as lots of people sleep outside and wait in long lines to buy new products when they hit the stores.

I wonder what those folks think about Apple’s decision to no longer comply with environmental standards set by EPEAT. EPEAT is a certifier and global registry for environmentally conscious electronics and is backed by the EPA. In the past Apple has held a gold rating from the organization.

Although there are two sides to every story, rumor has it that since MacBook batteries can no longer be removed the machines are unable to be recycled. Because of this the computers don’t meet EPEAT standards.

This move comes as a shock since Apple has spent so much time and energy “greening” its head quarters. Apple fans…..what do you think about this?


Why we don’t recycle glass

Each week I am asked by a member of our community why we don’t recycle glass. I found a great letter by Debbie Brady (Sanitation Department) to the people of  Pocatello, Idaho. If I had to write a letter to the people of LIFE it would read much like this.

Not a day goes by that I don’t get asked why glass isn’t collected with the City of Pocatello ‘s recycling program. The City initially had a drop off glass recycling program in 1991. It was discontinued when the cost of collection and transportation to the markets exceeded the value. This is still true today. Our local recycle companies do not accept glass for recycling because 1) there isn’t a local market; and 2) it is too expensive to ship due to the weight. In addition with the co-mingled curbside recycling program, there is a concern that the glass will break during the collection process and contaminate the rest of the recycle materials collected.

I also want to share some additional insight into the issues of glass recycling. During the months of September through December last year, a feasibility study was conducted by the City’s Division of Science and Environment on the potential to develop a glass recycling program within the community. Ultimately, the study determined that no effort should be taken at this time until a more consistent and stable local market for the use of recycled glass cullet exists. Further, the study also revealed the need to conduct more extensive research on the possibility of developing a glass recycling program, complete with a thorough quantitative analysis to gain full perspective of the potential for such a program.

The thing about glass is that glass is made from sand so it is not going to hurt the air, the land, and the water. It takes up space – that’s it. So you have to calculate the cost and the environmental impact of making new glass versus the cost of recycling old glass to turn it into new. Many people argue that the carbon footprint of the trucks and equipment used to collect, store, handle, sort, ship and process glass into new bottles negates most, if not all, of the environmental benefits of recycling glass.

When comparing the environmental benefit of recycling, glass is dead last among all common recyclables. It takes 23 glass bottles with a total weight of 10 pounds to deliver the same environmental benefit as recycling 6 empty aluminum cans with a weight of 3 ounces, or a pound of newspaper, plastic or tin. This is due to the cost of processing/shipping and the carbon footprint associated with the collection and distribution. A community’s proximity to optical sorting and glass manufacturing facilities plays a key role in calculating the return on investment in managing glass.

The City’s Sanitation Department is concerned about the amount of trash that is disposed of in the landfill. As a result, we are always willing to look at cost effective, long term solutions to the disposal of glass. There may come a time when recycling glass is feasible for us and our local recycling companies, but it probably won’t be in the near future.

Recyclemania 2012


Once again Life University has joined millions of students across the country by making a difference and participating in the 2012 Recyclemania Tournament. Recyclemania is an 8-week recycling competition endorsed by the America College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment .

Life University will take part in the waste minimization portion of the contest, focusing on overall waste reduction. This will include an educational campaign teaching the campus community to cut waste by placing emphasis on reusing materials and source reduction.

 Stay tuned to the blog for tips on recycling and chances to win prizes as we learn new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Be among the first to receive new posts (and increase your chances to win) by subscribing to A Sustainable Life.

Feature Friday

A FREE clothing swap will be held on Wednesday February 1, 2012 from 9am to 9pm at the LIFE University Treehouse. Donations of clean and folded clothes (men’s, women’s and children’s) will be accepted at the Treehouse on Sundays after 12pm until January 29, 2012. The great thing about this event is that you can donate even if you can’t shop…and shop even if you don’t donate. All clothes that don’t find a good home will be donated to Goodwill after the event. What a win, win opportunity!

Please contact Carly Swift at for more details.

Did you know that the environmental footprint of our clothing is alarming. Americans throw away 68 pounds of clothes on average each year, and we only buy 10 pounds of recycled clothes annually.

Recycling (Infographic)

This infographic was sent to me by subscriber, Bre Matthews. I think it’s interesting how the greenest states are mainly clustered. I wonder if this is because resources are clustered or if bordering states are “pressured and or inspired” to be as green as their neighbors.   What do you think?

Recycling facts, statistics and information infographic

Sooooo this graphic has inspired me to post the first give away of the New Year. After all who doesn’t like trivia (and free stuff).  To enter, simply respond to the following question by leaving a comment.

When did LIFE University’s recycling program begin?

Everyone who responds with the correct answer will be entered in a drawing to win this ECO Bookbound Journal.Entries must be submitted by Friday, January 20, 2011.

Toner Recycling Program

The Office of Sustainability would like to thank the Center for Health and Optimum Performance (William Hatton, Camille West) Campus Center for Health and Optimum Performance (Charletta King) and the College of Chiropractic (Eileen Zebrowitz) for their participation in the toner recycling program. They have won a prize for the office to share.  Remember participating in the program is easy as 1, 2, 3….. 

  1. Remove the used cartridge from the printer and place it in the packaging that the new cartridge came in.
  2. Write “used” or “recycle” on the cartridge to be recycled.
  3. Contact the Office of Sustainability for pick-up  ( or 678-331-4339).

How do I dispose of the oil from our fried Thanksgiving turkey?

In my former life I worked in the Water Quality Division of a regulatory agency. My duties included finding sewer overflows and tracking down the source. The running joke in my family was that I spent 6 years in college (this includes a Masters program) to chase poo.  Its sounds funny but this was important work because sewer overflows are a major source of contamination in our waterways.

So what does me chasing poo have to do with a fried Turkey? Well, it takes 3 to 5 gallons of oil to fry a turkey and afterwards this oil must be disposed of. Most of the time our first instinct is to dump the oil, either outside or down the drain. Both of these options can have negative environmental effects. Dumping any amount of cooking oil outside exposes it to the elements, there it can harm wildlife and make its way into waterways. Pouring oil down the drain can cause grease to cling to pipes causing clogs and massive damage to pipes and sewers.

Recycling is the best option for disposing of leftover cooking oil. First drain the oil to remove food particles, then pour the oil into a sealed container. It can then be dropped off at your local recycler. If this is not available in your area, drop the sealed container into the trash can. Its not as “green” as recycling but still a much better option than the drain or backyard.

Source: Earth 911.c0m

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