Friday, June 20, 2014

Make good,green choices

I've often explained that being kind to our planet goes much  further than recycling but also following through and buying recycled. We all must commit to supporting companies that have the correct environmental outlook and avoid those who do not. We need to make choices that are not only beneficial to us but also to our planet and generations to come. Navigating through greenwashing does make finding true answers exceedingly difficult but with a little practice it becomes easier to read between the lines.

Two of our family favorites are GUD (made by Burts Bees) and our absolute favorite is Original Sprout.Both are healthy natural choices without all the extra "stuff", both work very well and smell amazing, and both are contained inside of bottles made from recycled content. I am by no means suggesting you run out and buy these particular products (unless you want to) but am suggesting that you evaluate what you are buying; what it's made from/of, the product packaging (how its made/how it can be recycled), and the environmental outlook of the company.

Making our buying choices based on the above allows us to commend a company that is doing right and not providing business to those who aren't. This buying method will hopefully encourage other companies to get behind the planet (even if getting there is based on consumer demand). 

In my mind, the above products are a double positive, I'm not giving up anything (they are comparable in price and work as well if not better then "the other guys"). Why don't you give it a try on your next purchase? 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Insiders Glimpse

These are some photos that I collected a few days ago. We have a very talented staff that has the skill to assemble the upgrades to our single stream system. It has been quite a project, with extremely long hours .. but we are very grateful and the end is in sight! Take a look at some of their work in progress, it's pretty amazing. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Reader Question

There is nothing not a lot that is better (okay if you told me I won the lottery it might be better) than receiving a reader question. It provides proof that people are reading and interested in what we have to say. So, thank you Ben! Let's get right to it.

"I have read everywhere.. including your site and facebook page.. that plastic grocery bags are recyclable but my local drop off center will not accept them. My friend suggested that they just slip them in the bag with the rest of the plastic bottles (no one checks) but I'm not sure if we should be doing that. If they are recyclable why is the local collection center adamant that they don't want to take them and where can someone take them if they are in the same boat. I'm in PA, not far from Harrisburg. Thanks in advance for you help. Ben"

So Ben, this is where recycling gets tricky. Plastic bags are without a doubt completely recyclable. To add an even more positive fact about plastic bags, they are not only recyclable but they also have a resale market (manufacturers who have a need for the material as a feed stock). Unfortunately, that alone does not always make items a suitable material for collection.

The difficult part about the bags is that they are a processing nightmare. The bags become quite soiled and wet which doesn't help but the most damning issue is that they get wrapped around sorting equipment causing lost production, down time and the need for frequent "housekeeping" to clear the screens of these nuisance bags. So, while the bags are completely recyclable not many recyclers want you to throw them in the bins and due to soiling many of the bags that do not get wrapped in the screens will end up in the garbage bin.

Despite the urge to get them of your hair (and house) I would not recommend slyly slipping them into your standard recycling bag and ignore protests of the collection center because although they are no longer "your problem" a good percentage will end up in a landfill (which in the long run affects us all).

The positive side is that there are websites dedicated to helping residents  locate a drop off center that will accept clean grocery bags. At these drop off centers they are not mixed with other materials (especially not other materials that could contain solids or liquids that could contaminant the material and prohibit recycling). Many eco minded (or at least those who want to be known as eco minded) grocery and department stores have stood behind the efforts of collecting and recycling these bags. They feel responsibility for helping to put them in the households so they feel obligated to help collect them and keep them out of landfills or worse, littered on in our environment. <----- check out this website for bag collection for recycling. If unlike Ben you are not in PA or one of the other states they "service" I'd suggest doing a browser search for "grocery bag recycling or collection"

You could also choose the crafty reuse approach .. here is a link and there are a ton more like it that shows how people have made grocery bags into "yarn" and made some pretty neat items.

So, once again, thanks so much for the question Ben I hope I answered it to your satisfaction.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Take 5

We had no way to knowing exactly what the response would be when we decided (somewhat kicking and screaming) to accept single stream, you can put out feelers and do market research but that is still not a clear determination. We didn't "want" to do it but knew that it was the only way that we'd be winning a majority of the new bids. So we tentatively installed equipment (about 1 year ago.. give or take a few weeks) and we've had a huge influx of material. We do still mutter under our breath at times about the "better" way to handle material separation but we are happy with the problem that  currently we have.. too much material and not enough hours in the day to process it. So after approximately one year of processing single stream we are upgrading our sorting equipment which will allow us to increase our throughput.

We wanted to try and avoid a complete shutdown but due to the constant material pouring in we've decided it is absolutely  necessary. So, this Friday will be our "Take 5" while we get the new equipment in place. It's always troubling to stop the flow because you never want to inconvenience your customers but we needed it.. we were filled to the gills. Luckily, we have an amazing and experienced facility maintenance supervisor (did I mention he has been with CRI for 30 Years!@!) who has headed up a number of large equipment installs and he's got the whole process down, so we know it'll be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are excited.. and look forward to be up and running at a new, faster pace.