Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Recycling Dead Batteries

Christmas is right around the corner. Many will give and receive gifts to and from the ones they love. Some of these gifts may require battery power. Many of us have batteries on hand, but if not, they’re not very hard to find.
Batteries are everywhere. On average, each person in the U.S discards eight dry-cell batteries per year. Most batteries are made up of heavy metals. Some of these heavy metals are toxic and can threaten our environment if not properly discarded. 
Depending on what materials the batteries are made of, they may or may not be considered hazardous waste in your state. Most importantly, there are recycling programs in place for all of these materials, so batteries should be recycled whenever possible. 
Why is it important to recycle batteries? Well, improperly disposed batteries may produce potential problems or hazards. 
  • Batteries may pollute lakes and streams as the metals vaporize into the air when burned
  • Contribute to heavy metals that potentially may leach from solid waste landfills
  • Expose the environment and water to lead and acid
  • Contain strong corrosive acids
  • Cause burns or danger to eyes and skin 

So, this Christmas while you’re popping new batteries into your new gift, remember that when the batteries die to make sure they are recycled properly. 
Not sure where you can recycle batteries properly? Check out these links and find a recycling location near you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Recycling your Vehicle

Things die, it’s a way of life. What do we do when things die? Throw them away or bury them, but what happens when your car decides to call it quits? The answer to that question is very simple; we recycle the vehicle. 
Currently, about 75 percent of junked vehicles are shredded to recover iron and steel.  After the ferrous material is magnetically separated, the remaining 25 percent is comprised of other non-ferrous metals such as copper, aluminum, rubber and a mixture of plastics. The remaining 25 percent can also be recycled. We’re going to take a look at a few different items that fall within the 25 percentile. 
Today’s brake pads and shoes consist of a mixture of synthetic materials in addition to copper. Most brake pads contain about 15-30 percent copper. Recycling brake pads means less mining for virgin material, which can lead to dust and waste gases such as sulfur dioxide which have harmful effects on the environment. 
Windshields and other auto glass can pose a problem for recycling. Automobile shredder residue contains between 15 to 20 percent of glass originating from windshields, side windows and sunroofs, most of which is not normally recovered and ends up in landfills. The reason that most auto glass ends up in landfills is because most windshields have two layers of glass and few companies have the technology to remove the inner plastic layer. Even though it may be difficult, it is important to recycle auto glass. Recycling auto glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent. 
Finally, Oil filters are recyclable because they are made of steel. Recycling metal saves up to 74 percent energy and 40 percent water consumption. Recycling oil filters also reduces air pollution by about 86 percent and water pollution by 76 percent. One ton of recycled oil filters yields 1,700 pounds of steel, 30 gallons of used oil and saves 10 cubic yards of landfill space. The benefits to the land, air and soil is immense. 
Recycling vehicles and their parts saves and estimated 85 million barrels of oil a year. So next time you think recycling your vehicle is not that big of a deal remember how this simple step can save valuable natural resources and better the environment we live in. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Plastic, Plastic, Everywhere.

Many are aware that recycling is important. Many are also aware of what products can be recycled. Plastics are a common recyclable. Milk jugs, detergent containers, shopping bags and even pipes are made from plastic that can all be recycled. To know the best way to recycle these products, its best to learn more about their life cycles, including what types of plastics are used for different products. 
Were you aware that there are different types of plastic? There is, and the way you determine which type of plastic you have is to locate the little recycling symbol on the product and find the number inside the symbol. That number represents the type of resin made to produce the plastic and these numbers range from 1-7. Each resin is different, therefore, these numbers affect how and where you can recycle plastics. Although, as consumers we don’t have to worry about what number is placed on our plastic products, it is still interesting to realize that different plastics are recycled in different manners.
 Plastic is a frequently used product by many. According to the beverage Marketing Corp, the average American consumed 1.6 gallons of bottled water in 1976. In 2006, that number jumped to 28.3 gallons. Six years later we are probably consuming more than that. Recycling just 1 ton of plastic saves 7.4 cubic yards of much needed landfill space. 
Stop and think what things you have around you right now that are made of plastic. The deli meat container in the refrigerator, the water bottle sitting next to you, Fido’s cage in the corner. All of those things are made of plastic and can be recycled. Take the time today, our environment depends on it. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Think Outside the Blue Box. Once you do, you'll realize there is a lot more that can be recycled.

See that blue box sitting outside? Yeah, the one with the recycling symbol on it. Did you know that there are many additional items to be recycled that aren’t necessarily allowed inside that box. That’s right. That bike rusting in the garage, recyclable. Those copper wires pulled out of your 20 year old air conditioner, recyclable. The recycling possibilities are infinite when you simply think outside the blue box. 
Many people narrow their recycling focus to what the garbage man will take from that blue box plopped on the curb every Thursday. Yes, setting that box at the end of your driveway each week is a start, but it’s only a small start to a big movement. Recycling is taking the world by storm. Everyone wants to convert their minds to ‘think green.’ 
Recycling is a way to become green and begin to do your part to help the environment. Implementing an at home recycling program is one way to encourage your family to think before they throw something away. A great way to start is by getting children involved. Educate them on where to throw their aluminum cans as opposed to their banana peel. Show them that throwing away the old aluminum siding from the shed isn’t the way to go. 
Once you’ve accumulated enough material, take your children to the recycling yard and show them where their collected items go. It’s important to teach them the entire recycling process as well as the importance behind the process. Once inside the yard it is clear to see there is so much more to recycling than many people think. Piles of aluminum, rusty old vehicles and broken refrigerators are just a few items that dot the yard. All of these have the potential to be created into something new all while maintaining a healthy environment.   
Taking small steps at home will eventually lead to big steps. Even the small steps can change the environment. Realizing that so much can be recycled is an important small step in the big picture. So next time you go to throw that aluminum siding away because it won’t fit inside the blue box, remember there are alternatives that are better for the environment and profitable for you.
*If you are interested in continuing your recycling education with a recycling yard tour contact us at or visit our website,

Monday, September 17, 2012

Give it a Second Chance--Recycling your old vehicle.

Have you ever wondered what happens to old Betsy, your 1995 rusted, green escort wagon, when she has no more life to live? You're not alone. Many people are unaware of what happens to their old or totaled vehicles when they are no longer fit for life on the road. The answer to this question is simple; Old Betsy is recycled. 

Each year it is estimated that 95% of vehicles that have taken their last ride around the block are recycled. Recycling your old or totaled vehicle not only benefits your pocketbook, but it also benefits the environment. 

Recycling benefits the environment in a variety of ways. One benefit is the amount of energy that recycling saves. To put into perspective how much energy recycling saves us we look to the steel industry. Recycling steel saves enough energy to power about 18 million households a year. That’s enough energy to power households in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and part of Iowa for a year. 
Another benefit recycling provides is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases are emitted when we create new products with "virgin" resources. When we use recycled materials to create new products in place of virgin resources less greenhouse gases are emitted into the environment. 
Recycling also keeps valuable resources out of our landfills resulting in saved space, but it also prevents hazardous materials such as gasoline, oil, antifreeze, mercury, Freon, brake and transmission fluids from seeping into the ground. If an automobile were to be placed in a landfill these materials would eventually seep out into our soil, air and water, which would result in our environment being filled with these harmful toxins. When a vehicle is recycled these toxins are properly removed and disposed of in a way that protects the environment as well as us.  
These are just a few of the many benefits that recycling provides for our environment. Dropping an old or totaled vehicle off at your local recycling center is just the beginning of the recycling process. Although it may be hard to say goodbye to old Betsy, you can leave the recycling center with confidence that she will be put to good use and you never know what new products you might see old Betsy in in the future.