Posts Tagged ‘recycling’

Five Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Recycler

My sister lives in Oakland, CA, where plastic bags — the ones you get at the grocery store or shopping mall — have been banned and paper bags will cost you upwards of 25 cents each, which means residents have to become creative in finding ways to get their purchases from the store to their homes. So this holiday season, I decided to gift her a set of super strong and machine washable canvas bags to make the task a little easier. I was even able to have it monogrammed. Check out these other cool gift ideas for the recycler in your life.







Mint coral canvas bag from the Cute Kiwi












Composting starter kit from Drip Irrigation

















Step-n-Sort stainless steel recycle bin from Bed Bath & Beyond













Glass drinking straws from EcoStraw








shopping cart




Grocery Cart Helper from



What’s the Deal With Landfills?

On Saturday, August 29, Zerolandfill Nashville will host its annual harvest–an event that aims to divert thousands of pounds of design and construction materials from our landfills by donating those items to artists and community members.

So what’s the big deal about landfills? Check out these facts and stats.

An excavator crushes trash at the Anchorage Landfill, Aug. 21. The landfill provides the methane that powers the newly constructed Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Landfill Gas Plant. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson)
The United States has 3,091 active landfills and more than 10,000 old municipal landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. There are currently 34 landfills in Tennessee.

More than 50 percent of our trash is sent to landfills.

Each year, some 34 million tons of paper is thrown away and ends up in landfills.

Poorly managed landfills can leak and contaminate groundwater, and the methane gas emitted by the decaying matter is a hazardous greenhouse gas and has a negative impact on the atmosphere.

Plastic bags take 10-20 years to decompose in a landfill; plastic bottles can take 450 years.

Aluminum cans can take 200-250 years, Lumber- 10-15 years, and synthetic carpet can take thousands of years to fully decompose in a landfill.

A Glossary to Help You Go Green

TG blog

Are you ready to join the reuse revolution but still unsure about terminology? Do you know the difference between recycling and upcycling or reuse and refashioning? Never fear. Here is a quick glossary to help get you started on your earth-friendly journey.

Traditionally recycling means making or manufacturing new products from a product that has already served its purpose. For example, a recycled plastic soda bottle is chipped, melted and made into fiber, which then becomes sleeping bag stuffing.

Upcycling and reuse are interchangeable terms. It’s taking something old and worn like a used tire or plastic/glass bottles and refashioning it into something wonderfully useful like a garden planter or bird feeder. The goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials and keeping as much waste as possible out of our landfills.
Other examples of upcycling projects include:
• Creating jewelry from computer chips and parts
• Creating a table or foot stool from a wine crate or dresser drawer
• Creating shelves from outdated license plates
• Creating tote bags from outgrown T-shirts
• Creating a clock from a vinyl record

Downcycling, on the other hand, involves converting waste materials into new materials that have reduced functionality and often a lower quality over time. Some examples of downcycling include:
• Creating product packing from cardboard such as PCW
• Creating rags from clothing

Precycling is a relatively new term, although most of us already practice some form of precycling. When you opt to take your own reusable bags to the grocery store instead of choosing paper or plastic, you’re precycling. It’s being proactive about limiting the amount of waste you add to our landfills.
Other ways you can precycle:
• Buy products with the least amount of packaging.
• Opt for paper over Styrofoam, which contains polystyrene –the most difficult material to break down in landfills.

Take the Sting Out of Tax Season

shredded tax formAh spring. As Mother Nature knocks the chill out of the air,the sounds of the season – birds chirping, bees buzzing – begin to wake us from our winter hibernation. But then like a lawnmower on a Saturday morning, we’re jerked from our reverie by the shrill sounds of pencils tapping, hair pulling, calculator keys clicking and clacking and the inevitable whirr of the paper shredder. Ah tax season.

Check out these post-tax season projects that make use of all that shredded paper. Even if you don’t get a refund from Uncle Sam, your “green” conscious will be greatly rewarded.


• Use shredded paper as mulch in the garden. Mulch protects the soil underneath your plants, helps retain moisture and prevents weeds from cropping up. Best of all, paper mulch is biodegradable.
• Use shredded paper to line your pet cages or litter boxes. Paper is the safest — and cheapest — liner for bird cages.DSC_0402
• Use shredded paper instead of store bought “grass” to line Easter baskets or decorative flower vases.

• Use shredded paper as gift box/bag stuffing or as packing material when shipping small items. That’s a gift for your friend AND the environment.

paper-shredded-paper mache


• Use shredded paper to make paper mâché. You’ll need flour, table salt and watery and this simple recipe.

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