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 user 2008-07-08 at 11:14:18 am Views: 66
  • #20114
    Five Environmental Questions Never Asked
    “green” living ideas are everywhere-from billboards to T-shirts-but
    there are less common, yet equally important, environmental issues.

    1. What is the impact of composting?
    the process of converting organic materials into soil, is a simple way
    to reduce garbage by one-third and preserve living organisms. According
    to Com posters.com, compostable waste makes up 30 percent of garbage in
    the United States. In 1999, the EPA recorded that 64 million tons of
    materials were saved from landfills by composting and recycling. Now,
    just think how much waste can be saved if composting becomes as common
    as recycling. Web sites such as Compost.org provide easy-to-use
    home-composting guides. Did you know tea bags, coffee grounds and corn
    husks can be composted?

    2. Can print cartridges be recycled?
    In fact, many manufacturers offer print cartridge recycling free of
    charge. For example, HP offers free recycling for its ink and toner
    cartridges through the HP Planet Partners program and makes sure all HP
    cartridges returned through Planet Partners are recycled and diverted
    from landfills. Many companies that refill or remanufacture print
    cartridges are private and not required to disclose end-of-life
    recycling processes. A Gartner Research study stated: “While the use of
    remanufactured supplies can reduce initial acquisition costs and
    prevent cartridges [from] going to landfills, organizations must
    understand that many remanufacturers do not have proper disposal
    practices, and their efforts may not be environmentally sound.” No
    matter where you buy print cartridges, be sure to research the
    company’s recycling policies and standards.

    3. Paper or Plastic?
    people know that plastic is harmful to the environment. Recently, the
    city of San Francisco implemented a ban on using non-recyclable plastic
    bags in grocery stores, saving nearly 5 million bags a month from
    landfills. Plastic bags are not the only villain; paper bags require
    more than double the amount of energy to manufacture and transport than
    plastic bags, according to the Environmental Literacy Council. The
    trend is catching on, and cities across the nation, such as Seattle,
    are working towards “green” fees for disposable bags and encouraging
    the use of reusable bags in grocery stores.

    4. Is it important to purchase organic cleaners?

    pollutants in cleaners put people at risk in their homes and negatively
    effect water and air quality. Organic cleaners have less toxicity, low
    volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are biodegradable. According to
    the EPA, cleaners with high VOC content contribute to smog formation.
    Ingredients containing phosphorus or nitrogen evaporate into the air
    and pollute bodies of water, affecting numerous wildlife species. It’s
    important to think about organic cleaners when cleaning a home but also
    when searching for professional cleaning services such as housekeepers,
    car detailing and dry cleaning.

    5. How do I know what can be recycled?

    what can and cannot be recycled is a significant step toward helping
    the environment. Many people spend 40 hours a week sitting at a desk,
    where throwing away paper becomes habitual. Sticky notes can be
    recycled; tissues cannot. Food wrappers or soiled products cannot be
    recycled. Magazines, soda cans, juice bottles (both plastic and glass)
    and even most lotion bottles can be recycled. You may be surprised what
    can be recycled, even things without a recycle symbol can sometimes be
    recycled, such as dry cleaning wire hangers and worn-out tennis shoes.
    Web sites such as World.org provide simple recycling-education tools.
    Keep a “recycle only” container at your desk for one month. You may be
    surprised at how many workplace items are recyclable.

    You can learn more online at EPA.gov and Compost.org.