Monday, October 29, 2007

Our Fall 2007 SORRT Newsletter is available

The Fall 2007 issue of our SORRT Network Newsletter is available on our website.

Our Non-Residential Recycling Program publishes this quarterly newsletter.

Interested in reading back issues? Visit our SORRT Network Newsletter Archive.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Food for thought on products and packaging

One of the first things about which I caution our Behind the Scenes course participants each year is that they may complete the course with more questions than when they began. No, that’s not a typo – not only might the number of questions increase, but the answers may vary depending on the angle of approach.

Revisiting the paper versus plastic question, for example… Going sans bag, or bringing your own reusable one, comes out on top. But, what if you accept a paper bag at the checkout, and then use that bag to bundle your paper recyclables for collection? Or, what if you need plastic bags to line your trash can, or to clean up after your pet? Could it actually be advisable to take a plastic bag at the store, knowing that you’ll reuse it?

What about single-serving containers? What if the multi-serving size of a product uses less packaging overall? Is that a better option? But, what if you were considering the single-serving package because you’d use it all while it was fresh, versus possibly having some of the product in the larger package spoil before you used it?

If you have a choice of plastic tubs or metal cans, which is better? The metal can would be accepted in our program, while the plastic tub would not. But, what if the product in the metal can is more expensive? Would you still purchase it?

Does one type of packaging weigh more than the other? How does that affect the transportation costs of the product?

What factors make up your personal criteria for making product and packaging decision - raw material sourcing? energy usage? water usage? transportation costs? disposal and/or recyclability? potential for reuse? others?

Just some food for thought…

(Posted as our contribution to Blog Action Day)

Monday, October 08, 2007

We're participating in Blog Action Day

Next Monday, October 15, 2007 is Blog Action Day.

Action for what? The environment! Watch for our blog entry next week.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

We now recycle televisions at the Transfer Station

Here's something I enjoyed doing on our website:
Montgomery County does not recycle televisions.

That's right - our recycling program has just expanded! Montgomery County has a brand-new television recycling program at our Solid Waste Transfer Station.

The television recycling containers are located next to the fenced computer recycling area:

photo: television recycling collection boxes at the Solid Waste Transfer Station

After just a few days of operation, many boxes have already been filled with televisions! The attendants at the Transfer Station are doing a great job of notifying residents of our new program when they spot televisions in the material those folks are unloading.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

What do you choose when the clerk asks "Paper or plastic?"

When you are at the store checkout, and the clerk asks whether you want a paper or a plastic bag for your purchase, what's the best answer?

The "More Than Meets the Eye" feature in today's Washington Post looks at this question in detail. For each material, it examines and compares consumption, production, pollution, recycling, and biodegradability.

As solutions, it suggests
  • going without a bag when feasible,
  • buying reusable bags and crates, and
  • creative ways to reuse paper and plastic bags.

To take waste prevention yet another step further, don't buy any new cloth bags until you have first checked at home. Chances are good that you -- or a friend or relative -- already have a bag (or two or three) that would be a great shopping bag.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Book reuse drop-off at our Solid Waste Transfer Station

photo: book reuse drop-off containers at the Transfer StationWhat's better than recycling books? Reusing them!

We accept books in our curbside recycling program, and in our mixed paper recycling container at our Solid Waste Transfer Station. The books we receive are recycled.

Now, we have two blue cans next to the Transfer Station's mixed paper recycling container. They are labeled "Books to Donate". When you put your paperback and hardback books into these cans, they are reused as books, rather than as paper fiber in our recycling program. The books are picked up by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. This is a pilot program for us.

For other local book reuse opportunities, check our Use It Again database.