Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Disposal of Medication and Prescription Bottles

The FDA has a set of guidelines on what to do with expired or unused medicine:
https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm

As part of the guidelines, there are 15 drugs on the list that are recommended to be flushed down the toilet in case a take-back program is not readily available. To avoid polluting our waters with those chemicals, disposing of those drugs through proper disposal channels should be preferred and they should never be flushed or poured down the drain.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has a list of places where anyone can take medicine back (see link on the page https://nabp.pharmacy/initiatives/awarxe/dispose-safely/ to find a list of local places) and also there are "take back" events organized every now and then by the sheriff.

In Brevard County, Walgreens offers free medication disposal service (no liquid, syringes or inhalers) available to the public year-round. The two locations listed as offering that service are on Wickham and Eau Gallie and in Cocoa Beach

The sheriff’s office also takes medication back at certain locations. You can get a list of locations and what they accept at http://www.brevardsheriff.com/home/how-do-i/get-help/unwanted-expired-drug-turn-in/

Walmart has available a pouch, called Deterra pouch (https://deterrasystem.com/products/), for disposal in the regular trash. At Walmart that pouch is currently sold for $3.98. You can also find them in a 3-pack option on Amazon.com - small, medium, and large.

If those are not an option, one should follow the mix/seal/dispose rule described in the guidelines and on the Walgreens spring cleaning your medicine cabinet page.


Prescription Bottles

For prescription bottles, remove label with personal info. Check if you local pharmacy will take them back OR take them directly to SPCA Brevard (for reuse with medicine for adopted animals) or a clinic or animal rescue place OR ship them directly to rescue missions like Matthew 25: Ministries or World Medical Mission.

You may also drop them off at Recycle Brevard - we will make them available in our Reuse Room for projects and take them to SPCA/animal shelter when we have volume.

The DRS Community Center in Satellite Beach has now a bucket to collect empty prescription bottles and they are an alternative drop-off location for Recycle Brevard. If you live in that area, you may drop off your empty prescription bottles at their facility and we will be collecting from them.


Other types of medicine bottles, like vitamins, we can have in our Reuse Room or collect for TerraCycle. For TerraCycle, we can only accept the check the specific brands of vitamins and supplements in their recycling programs.

Another option to avoid sending those bottles to the landfill is to reuse them at home in fun and useful ways. You can find dozens of different ways to repurpose those bottles - some quite ingenious!


Monday, June 25, 2018

New Personal Care Waste Drop-Off Location



The David R Schechter (DRS) Community Center in Satellite Beach has partnered with Recycle Brevard to collect empty personal care items.

Accepted items include mouth wash bottles & caps, deodorant containers & caps, toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, floss containers, hair care packaging, skin care packing, makeup packaging and more!

Check the list of accepted items so you can participate and help with this recycling program.


Items collected will be sent to TerraCycle for recycling.

Thank you, DRS Community Center and City of Satellite Beach, for partnering with us to divert more waste from our landfills!




Thursday, June 21, 2018

Non-Plastic Alternatives to Pet Waste Bags

Eliminating plastics from our lives is a very big challenge. Plastic is everywhere and we use it in most everything we do, including when picking up after our pets.

The most common material used by pet owners to clean up after their pets is reused plastic packaging, grocery or bread bags, newspaper sleeves, and other similar bags - and those are all plastic! 

One could choose more "eco-friendly" bags that are compostable or biodegradable to use instead but, even though their production may be better (which is a great plus!), they will still be going to the landfill the same way all the other trash goes and, since landfills are designed NOT to have much decomposition happen to anything that is buried in there, the bags will not disappear; they will be spending their time buried in the landfill together with all the other trash. 

Other alternatives are products made of paper (like ScoopEasy medium or large), or reusable dog waste bag (like Poof),  and also flushable bags* (like FlushPuppies). 

Choosing one of these products over regular plastic depends on your preference, routine, and how much money you would like to spend on such solution. 

I wonder how this job was done before plastic bags came along. That would be an interesting research to be done for a future article. 


*IMPORTANT information obtained from Brevard County Utility Services Department and South Central Treatment Plant (http://www.brevardfl.gov/UtilityServices/ContactInfo): In Brevard Conty, you can flush pet waste but flushable bags are not 100% guaranteed to work - it depends on the composition of the bags and their requirements for biodegrading. So FLUSH THE WASTE but NOT THE BAG.




Sources:
http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/eco-friendly-way-to-dispose-dog-poop/ 



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sustainable Options for Restaurant To-Go Containers

Restaurants provide to-go or take-out containers as part of their business. Most of them currently offer polystyrene (commonly known as styrofoam) containers because it is the type that is lowest in price - not the least expensive if we take into account negative externalities, but that will have to be the topic of another article.

Some restaurants are starting to look for more sustainable options to those disposable containers that are normally used once and then sent to the landfill - or worse, they end up as litter in our streets and oceans.

An easy first step for those restaurants would be to purchase to-go containers made of sustainable materials. I would recommend staying away from plastic, though - even the "renewable source" kind. Even though the production process of those containers should be better than conventional plastic containers, their fate would be similar to their conventional counterparts - unless customers have access to composting services that would be able to process those kinds of material,  which for us in Brevard is not much of an option right now.

So, a better option would be recycled paper/cardboard or aluminum. Those are non-petroleum base materials and, when not soiled, they can be recycled.

Eco-friendly alternatives cost a bit more for the restaurants, but are a better option for the health of their customers and the environment.

Now, if restaurants are open to take a step further, they could implement an even better solution: give incentives for customers who bring their own container - a coupon or a nominal discount - and offer their own branded (preferably non-plastic) reusable containers for a price. This could eliminate the need for purchasing disposable to-go containers all together, reduce waste, and increase loyalty. A total win!
For the latter solution, it may be worth considering not to sell those as an optional, separate item; maybe trying to make it work like a deposit would be a better option, i.e. add the container cost into the price of the take-out order and if the container is brought back to be used with their next order, no charge for the container would be applied, and a loyalty discount would be offered instead as a reward for customer loyalty and eco-consciousness.

Perhaps a combination of the above options would be a great compromise, but, we believe, moving towards implementing a "reusable containers only" policy should be the goal.

And this is already a reality in some colleges and universities around the world!

We were pleased to find out that some colleges and universities have already incorporated reuse to-go containers into their business model.

Some offer discounts, others make the price of reusable containers lower than disposable ones to get students to buy in. They take back containers to sanitize them and put back to use. They also offer replacement for broken ones.

This shows that if we want to change, there are viable alternatives that will not compromise our convenience or safety but will have a significant positive impact on the environment.

Why not give existing solutions a try or even start a new trend that makes more sense to your business?

We hope you do.



Sources:
The Green Doggy Bag: Eco-Friendly Restaurant Take-Out Containers
https://www.rewardsnetwork.com/blog/green-doggy-bag-eco-friendly-restaurant-take-containers/

From Campus to Community: Systems for Reusable To-Go Coffee Cups
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/circular-design/ideas/from-campus-to-community-systems-for-reusable-to-go-containers

A Guide to Setting Up To-Go Container Programs on Your Campus
http://www.postlandfill.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/togoguide.pdf

OZZI "Changing the world from disposable to reuseable one meal at a time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=86&v=qK7eGdffiaM

GO Box saves 50,000 disposable to-go containers!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bON3lX9Bvqk





Monday, June 11, 2018

Alternatives to Shredded Paper


According to Earth911, in the U.S., paper recycling accounts for half of the recyclables collected per year, and our paper recycling rate is 63 percent.

Recycling paper reuses paper fibers and the longer the fibers, the better the quality of the paper it can produce. Once shredded, paper fibers are short and can only be recycled into lesser-quality paper products like coffee filters, egg cartons and paper towels.


In Brevard, shredded paper is no longer recycled. So if shredded paper cannot be recycled, what can we do with it?



Brevard County Solid Waste Management Dept.’s Recyclopedia lists Brevard County Public Libraries as a place where shredded paper is accepted for recycling.

Other alternatives are to compost the paper or reuse it for shipping, or pets (guinea pigs and such), or for the bottom of a gift basket, for example.

Maybe checking with local crafters, artists (who would need to ship their items) or shipping companies or animal shops/shelters will provide another option as they might like to have some for their own use.

An alternative to shredding paper posted by Earth911 that should be considered for at least some of the paper being shredded is to "use a permanent marker to remove the personal information without shredding the document. This ink is easily removed in the recycling process." Which means that if you can avoid shredding, that will be the best option if you want to recycle your paper.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Why can't I Recycle my Greasy Pizza Box?

This is a snippet from an explanation found on a blog post at RecycleCoach.com:


“Because paper doesn’t get heated during its recycling process, grease and oil combine with the pulp, which can ruin the batch.
[...]
That’s where the grease from your pizza box gunks up the works. Even though it’s been through a soapy bath, if you’ve ever washed something full of grease or oil, you know that it takes a quite bit of effort — and more than your average amount of soap — to remove it completely.
[...]
Grease and oil are two of the worst contaminants in paper recycling.
[...]
When in doubt, just cut off the greasy parts, throw them in the trash and recycle the rest.”




The video below is worth watching as it shows the process used in paper recycling. Did you know, for example, that pulp is naturally gray and it gets a coat of white ink applied to it at the end of the process to give paper its traditional color?

How it works: Paper Recycling
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c8YxMb0tlk

Monday, April 2, 2018

Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting

Join us on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 from 3-6pm to celebrate our first anniversary at our facility located at  1535 Cogswell St. unit C-15 - Rockledge.

Bring reusable items, TerraCycle hard-to-recycle items, and unwanted electronics to recycle at our facility.

We plan on having music, light refreshments, and plenty of information to share.

The City of Rockledge will be doing a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5pm.

No RSVP necessary, but mark your calendar and come to visit us. We would be honored to share this day with you!



Saturday, March 3, 2018

Is more Plastic being recycled or buried in Landfills?

In the recycling world we know there is a market for aluminum but glass is not wanted. What about plastic? Is there a market for plastic or does it mostly end up in the landfills?

This was basically the question we received the other day via email.

The short answer to that question, unfortunately, is that most of the plastic produced ends up in the landfills or in the environment.

The long answer...

The main thing with recycling is that all that is collected needs to have a market, i.e. demand, to be a good commodity that haulers want. The better price they get paid for a commodity, the more willing to collect they will be.

Like any market, prices vary. Aluminum is always wanted; glass never wanted. Last we heard, cardboard was very much wanted.


With plastics, it depends on the price of oil - if that price is low, the market tends to buy new products and not resort to buying recyclables. And we have so much plastic that it is hard to find use for all of it! Most of it will end up in landfills or in the environment - iow, the oceans.

Besides that, plastic recycling is very confusing because the numbers printed in the middle of chasing arrows do not mean much and nobody knows exactly what is really accepted or not in the recycle bin. That ends up causing a lot of contamination (i.e. wrong things in the pile) and is not good for the market either.

The amount of plastic recycled in the US is about 9% - way low when compared against the amount that is produced... The EPA reported that only 3.5% of plastic was recycled in 2014.

Production of plastic keeps increasing and where are we putting most of that? In landfills.

Here are some links that you can refer to for more information on those numbers:

These reports and numbers in them show that most plastic is not recycled and will be buried or pollute our communities.

It's time to stop and think about how we are doing things and do better.

It's time to realize the damage we are causing and REDUCE the amount of plastic we accept, use, or buy.

Reduce is definitely the most important of the 3Rs - not only for plastic but for everything! If we reduce, we don't need to worry as much about the other 2 Rs because there is nothing to throw away.

After Reduce, then we should choose to reuse and then recycle - recycling is the last resort before landfilling. That has been our focus at Recycle Brevard from the beginning and it is a constant in our projects and educational programs.

To learn more about Recycle Brevard and what we do, contact us or come for a visit at our new facility in Rockledge.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sharing Tables in Brevard Schools

Good news from Brevard Public Schools (BPS): The office of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is encouraging schools to establish sharing tables as a means to minimize food waste generated in school cafeterias.

In a memo sent to principals in November 2017, BPS Food and Nutrition Services Director Kevin Thornton lays out the guidelines schools must follow in order to establish sharing tables for "unopened, pre-packaged, whole food or beverage items that [children] choose not to consume" so students may share those items with other children who would like additional servings.

By adhering to the guidelines, schools should be able to reduce food waste while still maintaining the level of safety necessary in school cafeterias.

Sharing table items not consumed by students may be donated to non-profit organizations, thus making a positive impact in our communities as well.

Sharing tables seem to be a win-win way to deal with leftovers from school cafeterias -- instead of heading to the landfill, leftovers will help fill up extra tummies!

If your school would like to establish a sharing table, the first step is to review the official guidelines and then contact FNS at 321-633-1000 ext. 690

More Information:


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Reusable Items you may Donate or Find in our Facility

Here are some reusable items you can FIND in our facility. Use this list as an example of items you may DONATE for reuse:

  •  artificial flowers,
  •  bags/purses,
  •  baskets,
  •  binders,
  •  bottle caps,
  •  bows,
  •  buckets,
  •  button,
  •  calendars,
  •  CDs/DVDs,
  •  children's books,
  •  corks,
  •  corner protectors,
  •  costumes,
  •  craft books,
  •  craft material,
  •  cups,
  •  egg cartons,
  •  envelopes,
  •  fabric,
  •  felt,
  •  glass jars,
  •  glass/plastic bottles,
  •  glue,
  •  greeting cards,
  •  hangers,
  •  hanging folders,
  •  Ink cartridges,
  •  keys,
  •  labels,
  •  light bulbs,
  •  magazines,
  •  manila folders,
  •  metal/plastic containers,
  •  milk/water/juice jugs,
  •  newspapers,
  •  office organizers,
  •  paper tubes,
  •  picture frames,
  •  pine cones,
  •  postcards,
  •  potpourri,
  •  printable cards,
  •  ribbons,
  •  scrapbooking albums/pages/paper,
  •  shells,
  •  shoeboxes,
  •  stencils,
  •  stickers,
  •  toilet paper core,
  •  Toner,
  •  toys/games,
  •  transparency paper,
  •  variety of plastics,
  •  wooden/paper/metal boxes,
  •  yarn,
 and MORE!


Our space is limited so we CANNOT TAKE LARGE ITEMS like sofas, tables, TVs, desks, etc. You may choose to donate those to A+ Thrift Shop for Education, Brevard Restore, Sharing Center of Central Brevard, South Brevard Sharing Center, Sharing Center Merritt Island Thrift Store, and North Brevard Charities Sharing Center and the Women's Center in Brevard.

We are a drop-off location for ELECTRONICS through a partnership with local organizations that recycle them FREE of charge. For more information, visit our page on Electronics.

Through one of our partners, we also accept RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES but those can also be taken to Lowe's Home Improvement or Batteries Plus Bulbs.


We also accept specific types of HARD-TO-RECYCLE MATERIALS for recycling though TerraCycle​ to help divert as much as possible from the landfills. The list of what we currently collect is on our  TerraCycle page.

If you would like to donate FULL INK cartridges, our printer model is HP OfficeJet Pro 6970 (Black or color). Printer paper for our office is always welcome as well.

Contact us if you would like to donate an item that you are not sure if would fit in the categories listed here. We will be happy to let you know if we can accept it. THANK YOU for your support!

Recycle Brevard!