Posts tagged ‘recycle’

How to Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

By Chad Upton | Editor

Every home has things that should NOT go in the trash. Yet, many people don’t know what to do with them or even what some of these items are.

Some examples are:

  • batteries
  • compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • paints and stains
  • pesticides and herbicides
  • fertilizers and poisons
  • cleaners and disinfectants
  • car fluids
  • medicines and prescription drugs

The main concern is that when many of these hazardous materials make it to landfills, they will eventually leech into our water supply and have potentially dangerous consequences.

Many large retailers such as Lowe’s, Radio Shack, Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Whole Foods and many others will accept certain types of batteries, Ni-Cad and Car Batteries being the most popular types accepted. Some retailers, like Home Depot and Lowe’s, will also accept compact fluorescent light bulbs.

For most other hazardous materials, you’ll likely need to go to your city’s drop off depot. Sometimes this service is paid for by your taxes, other cities charge a usage fee depending on what you’re dropping off.

A great site to help you find a nearby retailer or city depot to recycle or safely dispose of some of these items is earth911.com. You tell it what hazardous material you have and where you are, it will try to tell you the nearest place you can take it. I got really good results for everything I tried.

For medicines, check out this previous post: How to Dispose of Medicine.

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Sources: Oregon Live, Earth 911City of Toronto

January 3, 2011 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

The Purpose of Beer Bottle Bumps

Many people have noticed the small bumps on the side of beer bottles, near the base (the “heel”). They’re not just on beer bottles either, every glass bottle in my house has them, which are mostly beer bottles.

These are typically called “mold codes” or “heel codes” and there are many different ideas about what these are for, but I could only confirm one.

It is a popular notion that these bumps help the bottler know how many times the bottle has been reused. I couldn’t find any proof that they are used for this. In fact, I’m not sure how these dots would convey that information since they are made when the bottle is molded.

This rumor seems to confuse the heel code with bottle date codes, which are traditionally found on the neck of the bottle. On newer bottles, date codes are stamped with ink. On older bottles, they were part of the glass mold and were often beside an embossed logo from the glass producer or bottler. Dating on older bottles helped bottlers know how long they had been in circulation. (more…)

March 26, 2010 at 12:01 am 7 comments

The Vancouver Olympic Medals Contain Recycled Metal

I realize the Olympics ended yesterday, but I wanted to drop one final Vancouver Olympics secret. A week and a half ago, I did some research and crunched some numbers to get the value of an Olympic Gold Medal.

As our economy tightens its belt and the value of our natural resources strengthens, there is an increasing focus on reducing consumption while reusing and recycling where possible. The Vancouver games were no exception and they hold the title of the greenest Olympics to date.

The Vancouver medals range in weight from 500 to 576 grams. In a 30 part process that included 9 strikings, 1014 medals were created for the games. Part of the metal used was sourced from cathode ray tubes from old TVs and circuit boards from other discarded electronics. In fact, 6.8 metric tonnes of circuit boards were used.

The story behind the medals is almost as amazing as some of the athlete’s performances. If you’d like to see the story, you can watch it here.

Regardless of whether you believe in global warming or not, there is no doubt that our planet’s resources are endangered. That fact is one of the driving forces in the constantly increasing price of precious metals, oil, gas and other types of energy. Doing your part to reduce, reuse and recycle is good for the planet and will help your pocket book now and in the future.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

Follow @BrokenSecrets on Twitter

Sources: Teck Resources, Scientific American

Photo: Torben Bjørn Hansen

March 1, 2010 at 12:14 am Leave a comment

Some Rechargable Products Use Standard Batteries

I normally shave the old fashioned way, with shaving cream and a razor. Although, a couple times a week I use a rechargeable electric razor.

It doesn’t shave as close as a straight blade or cartridge razor, but it does shave time off my morning routine. It’s an easy way to catch up when I’m running behind or anxious to get working earlier.

I’ve had the same electric razor for about 10 years. I got it as a gift and it has worked really well, but its ability to hold a charge has degraded significantly since it was new. When it was new, I could travel for a week and not recharge it. Recently, it has required a charge after every use.

A couple weeks ago, it failed to run for more than a few seconds. I charged it again, and had the same result.

The internal rechargeable battery had finally failed. (more…)

February 16, 2010 at 12:27 am 1 comment

The Meaning of the Numbers Inside the Recycling Symbol

By: Chad Upton | Editor

I remember going to the grocery store as a small child. It seemed like we were there for hours before finally packing all of our purchases into large brown paper bags. A few years later they phased out paper bags over concern for the trees required to make the bags.  They were replaced with plastic bags and we have used them almost ever since. But, A few years ago, paper bags started appearing once again. Although they’re made from trees, those are pretty easy to grow compared to the raw materials of plastic.

It seems like everything is made from plastic now. I did a bit of dumpster diving tonight to find out how much. I went through my recycling bin looking for things with the recycling symbol on them — I guess that probably doesn’t really count as “dumpster diving.” These numbers only appear inside the recycling symbol on plastic products.

Plastic is a petroleum product, meaning the raw material used to create plastic is oil. It’s no secret that oil is one of the most in-demand natural resources and for a variety of reasons oil prices have sharply increased over the past 10 years. It’s not just the fuel companies who are affected by the increasing price of oil, but also plastic manufacturers. Both of these groups have to pass those increased costs on to their customers, and those businesses pass it on to their customers. Somewhere down the line, that customer is you and you’ve obviously noticed at the gas pump.

But, you may not have noticed the increase on plastic prices, at least not directly. Depending on where you live, you may have noticed a big or small push for you to use (or buy) reusable grocery bags. Of course these are great for the environment, but they also save the grocery store a lot of money on plastic bags, which have become significantly more expensive in the past few years. In some places, you even have to pay extra if you want plastic bags. (more…)

February 9, 2010 at 1:22 am 7 comments


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