Wednesday, January 30, 2013

That's tough to recycle?

If you had to guess, what would you say is one of the toughest items to recycle? Would you guess it’s a relatively small item used daily? I’ll give you a few hints. You use in in the morning and before bed, it helps keep your mouth clean and the dentist gives it to you for free. You guessed it, it’s a toothbrush!
One might be surprised to hear that an item they use daily is difficult to recycle. Why is it that something so small can be so complicated to recycle? Well, toothbrushes are made up of three different components—nylon, metal and plastic. All three of these materials need to be separated before they can be processed, which is where the difficulty arises. 
It’s pretty easy to determine which component is what on the toothbrush. The bristles are nylon and they are attached to the plastic handle by a metal staple. So, all three of these elements need to be separated before they can be processed. 
Once these components are separated, metals are processed through standard recycling, nylon and plastics are shredded, cleaned and pelletized for use in new products, which include picnic tables, benches, playground equipment, bike racks, garden tools and much more. 
So next time you’re sitting on a park bench, eating at a picnic table or even raking the lawn think about how those items might possibly consist of your families previously used toothbrushes. 
**Don't be afraid to wash and reuse toothbrushes for other projects. Throw your old toothbrush in the dishwasher and use it to clean the grout on your kitchen floor. Be creative and you can find many ways to reuse items! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wait, You Can Recycle That?

Cigarette waste can be found on most roadways and is very common in public places such as the beach or park. We have become immune to seeing cigarette butts on the ground and most people probably haven’t thought about recycling as an option for them.
A new partnership with TerraCycle now makes recycling cigarette waste an option. TerraCycle collects discarded cigarettes that people mail to them through their Cigarette Waste Brigade and turns the filters into industrial products such as shipping pallets and plastic lumber. 
Some may question the safety of the products produced with recycled cigarette filters. There is no need to worry. To be on the safe side, TerraCycle never uses recycled cigarette filters in any consumer products that might come into contact with food or other consumables. All filters find their way into new industrial products. 
TerraCycle’s goal is to reduce the amount of cigarette waste we see every day. Recycling this material will make a significant impact when it comes to reducing waste. By creating new products, such as pallets, from cigarette filters reduces both the amount of waste in landfills and the quantity of virgin materials needed to make new products. 
Want to learn more about getting involved? Visit TerraCycle’s Cigarette Waste Brigade webpage