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), 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.