5 Terrible Things That Happen When You Don’t Recycle

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, America produces over 258 million tons of waste every year ― which is close to a ton of trash per American citizen. The EPA believes as much as 75 percent of that waste to be recyclable or reusable, but instead of properly disposing of unwanted goods, many Americans choose to carelessly toss anything and everything into the garbage can. The results of this behavior are quickly becoming disastrous, impacting not only natural environments but also urban areas and human livelihoods. Here are a few ways failing to recycle negatively impacts the world around us.

1. Landfill Growth
Nearly all of America’s trash goes into landfills, which are essentially gigantic midden heaps that are eventually covered with soil and potentially used for urban development. The positive idea behind landfills is that trash will eventually decompose and settle, turning into fertile land. The problem is that much of our waste is not biodegradable; plastics require between 10 and 1,000 years to begin breaking down, and even then, the chemicals used in them can leach into groundwater and destroy surrounding environments.

2. Marine Pollution

Not all garbage is safely tucked into a landfill. At least 10 percent of all plastics created have found their way into the oceans, creating enormous gyres where the non-biodegradable waste is more plentiful than plankton. Most of the pollution comes from poor waste management on land, but some is dumped by unscrupulous ocean liners. The plastics wreak havoc on marine environments, as animals ingest or become entangled in the waste.

3. Incineration

For many, burning trash seems a viable solution to land and water pollution. However, incineration might be even more disastrous than landfills. For one, many products and packaging materials are made using toxic chemicals that are released into the air during the burning process. For another, glass as well as many plastics do not burn except at exceedingly high temperatures, which requires excessive amounts of fuel ― which itself releases dangerous emissions. Studies have found that air pollution causes all sorts of terrible diseases, from chronic asthma and cancer to birth defects.

4. Resource Waste

It isn’t just the items or materials themselves that are wasted when you throw something away; all the effort and energy used to create those items are also squandered. Between 2.5 and 4 percent of U.S. energy consumption is devoted to the manufacturing of plastic and plastic products; what’s more, at least 24 gallons of water is used to create just one pound of plastic, and about 2.5 million plastic bottles are produced every hour. Those resources could be diverted to more beneficial endeavors if everyone recycled more.

5. Economic Trouble

Though it might seem an economic advantage to create disposable goods that must be repurchased, pollution actually hinders economic advancement in notable ways. For example, many beaches experience lower tourism because the sand and water is covered in trash; fishing and shipping industries have reportedly suffered losses of $365 million and $279 million thanks to debris-clogged waterways. Less trash is almost synonymous with more profit for much of the economy.

How to Reduce Trash the Right Way

Though some waste is inevitable, it is possible to drastically reduce the amount of trash you personally produce. For example, one woman committed to a minimal-plastic lifestyle and managed to produce less than 16 ounces of waste over a two-year period. Not everyone has the luxury of avoiding plastic and packaging so thoroughly, but there are a number of effective ways you can increase your recycling efforts.

• First, you should strive to reduce the amount of purchases you make. This doesn’t necessarily mean becoming minimalist; instead, you should merely consider investing in a few well-designed and manufactured products rather than many cheap and disposable ones.

• Next, you should research what objects around your home can be reused. In fact, most things can find new life, and many charities gladly pick up or take in items you don’t want to sell. Some of these items will directly improve the lives of the needy, but others, especially valuables like digital devices on up to larger items like broken-down cars or boats, can be refurbished and sold for funds to benefit charities.

• Finally, you should learn more about recycling services in your area. Not all cities have the resources to recycle all types of materials. Instead of tossing any paper, plastic, or glass good in the recycling bin, you might need to find facilities designed to recycle specific goods. Items that are improperly recycled are likely to end up as pollution.

The E-Waste Problem and How to Help created by Digital Doc

New approach for matching production and consumption of renewable electricity promotes large-scale integration of solar and wind power

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is coordinating the BALANCE project, which brings together leading European research institutes in the field of electrochemical conversion. The project aims to demonstrate a technology that enables flexible storage of large amount of renewable power. Such technologies are needed for the further integration of additional wind and solar power. The European Commission funds the project by 2.5 million euros.
As the investment costs of solar and wind installation are decreasing, the most significant obstacle for further integration of renewable electricity is the imbalance between their weather-dependant production and the general power consumption. It is this issue that the BALANCE project partners aim to solve by further developing an electrochemical conversion technology called ReSOC (Reversible Solid Oxide Cell).

A ReSOC device uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas by a high temperature electrolysis process, which is significantly more efficient than other electrolyser technologies today. What makes ReSOC particularly interesting, however, is the fact that the exactly same device can also be operated “in reverse” to produce power from the very same hydrogen gas it produced. Using the same device for converting power to a storable gas and for converting this gas back to power again enables very flexible usage of the device, thus increasing its operating hours as well as reducing it capital costs.  

Already today, the electricity market is being challenged when flooded by green electricity on a windy or sunny day. This causes the electricity prices to plunge or even go negative in some European countries. Because electricity cannot be stored as such and our current capacity to store it with hydropower or batteries is limited, the production of windmills and solar panels must at times be curtailed to avoid power grid failure. This issue will become more and more important as the production capacity of renewable electricity is growing rapidly.

With a flexible energy conversion technology, such as a ReSOC, it is possible to balance the power market. At peak production hours, power is converted into a chemical, which can be stored for later use or used as industrial feedstock. Similarly, during peak consumption hours or on a calm, cloudy day, the stored chemical is converted back to electricity at the same site. Therefore, a ReSOC unit supports the integration of wind and solar power with the current power system by providing a compact, affordable and flexible technology for the conversion and storage of renewable power.

The three-year project began in December 2016 and will receive EUR 2.5 million in EU Horizon 2020 funding (grant agreement 731224). It includes several leading European research institutes and universities in the field of electrochemical conversion, including VTT (FI), DTU (DK), CEA (FR), ENEA (IT), University of Birmingham (UK), TU Delft (NL), EPFL (CH) and IEn (PL).

Figure: Schematics of the ReSOC concept. It is the missing link between the power grid and the fuel or the chemical feedstock for the industry.
Figure: Schematics of the ReSOC concept. It is the missing link between the power grid and the fuel or the chemical feedstock for the industry.

Source: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, www.vtt.fi, Press release 6 March, 2017

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in 8 Different Ways

Climate change is an issue that is hanging like a sword above all of our heads. The planet is suffering due to the rising level of carbon pollution. We must try to reduce our carbon footprint to reduce some pressure on the environment. Let us look at 8 ways to do so. 

Reduce your Driving

Ditch your car and walk or ride a bike whenever possible. Carpool to work or school and choose public transport as much as you can. Simple steps like that help in cutting down CO2 emissions significantly by spreading them out over many riders.

Reduce Water Usage 

You can reduce your water consumption by washing your car less often, installing drip irrigation to ensure that the plants receive only the amount they need and using climate-appropriate plants at your home. You must make water-efficient choices when you purchase bathroom and kitchen fixtures such as shower heads, dishwashers, faucet heats, etc. I 

Reuse and Recycle

When you make any product from scratch, you have to use a lot of energy on extracting resources, manufacturing them, packaging and transporting them. You can help in reducing the carbon footprint by using recycled products and reusing goods such as plastic bottles and glass containers

Use Alternative Sources of Energy

You can reduce your consumption of fossil fuels by using alternative sources of energy. Use wind, hydro, solar and geothermal energy and try to advocate about the same.

Light Up Differently 

Switch your light bulbs at home with light emitting diodes (LED). One LED helps in reducing up to 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution during its lifetime. Therefore, by switching every light bulb with them you can drastically reduce the amount of electricity required to light up your house. Imagine what would happen if every house in the country did that!

Read the News Thoughtfully

There has been an ongoing debate of whether consuming news digitally is actually better than its print cousin. It has been said that reading the news digitally helps in saving trees as you no longer have to cut them to make paper, however, at the same time it has been argued that even surfing the web expends various amounts of energy depending on the device being used. The best way to go about it is to be mindful of how you choose to get your news. If you prefer print, recycle your papers instead of throwing them out. If you like the digital medium, opt for an unplugged laptop instead of a plugged-in device for the majority of your browsing time.

Telecommute and Teleconference 

Telecommuting is the practice of doing work remotely using the internet instead of fighting against the traffic to do the same work in an office. More and more companies are encouraging their employees to telecommute as it is quite effective. Long gone are the days when companies would send their employees to long distances via flights just to attend one meeting. It’s a waste of time and burdens the environment with huge amounts of CO2. Cut down a few trips and teleconference instead. You can’t completely reduce your CO2 footprint through these practices, but as they say — something is better than nothing.  

Plant a tree

Sounds obvious, but it is still one of the most efficient ways to slashing your carbon footprint. Trees not only provide shade and oxygen but also consume carbon dioxide. According to Urban Forestry Network, a single young tree is responsible for absorbing 13 pounds of carbon dioxide every year. As the tree grows, this amount adds up to 48 pounds. A 10 year old tree releases enough oxygen to support two human beings. So, go ahead and plant more trees!

By making smart and informed decisions such like recycling waste will go a long way in making the planet a little greener. 

Author Bio 
Erich Lawson is passionate about saving environment by effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on how modern recycling equipments can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visiting Northern California Compactors, Inc blog

5 Emerging Renewable Energy Sources to Watch Out For

In recent years, renewable energy has become more affordable. For this reason, most researchers have started looking for alternative sources to reduce the escalating costs of energy. The emergence of new sources of renewable energy is expected to result in a less polluted environment. Below are 5 renewable energy sources poised to make a difference.

1. Geothermal Energy

Geothermal power plants, unlike other energy sources, do not burn fuel. This significantly reduces the levels of pollutants emitted to the environment. Geothermal is drawn from the earth and can be used in many ways from large power stations to simple pumping systems. So far, various parts of the world are already tapping this energy. It is viewed as an affordable solution to reducing the dependence of fossil fuels. It has also been said to be a solution for health risks and global warming. In the future, geothermal power has the potential to be highly significant towards achieving a more sustainable and a cleaner energy system. Note that it is a means that has the capacity to supply a continuous baseload power. The future may also open avenues for the direct use of geothermal energy as a heating source for businesses and homes. http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm/data/index.cfm?page=geothermal_environment.

2. Solar

More than was the case in the 2000s, solar power is now a more cost-competitive power source. It is drawn from the sun without the emission of toxic pollution or global warming emissions. Today the solar industry is bigger than that of gas and oil construction. 

Solar This explosive growth has, in turn, created new jobs and offered employment in the renewable energy industry. Solar energy impacts the economy positively both directly and indirectly. People who have already started depending on this alternative have experienced a reduction in their use of traditional energy sources. This is what keeps natural ecosystems intact, reduces devastating oil spills, natural gas leaks, and taxpayer-funded cleanups. As it becomes more integrated with data analytics alongside other technologies, solar will become a major element in the next revolution. http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/environmental-impacts-solar-power.html#.WBxCIC197IU.

3. Wind Power

Wind turbines use wind power to generate electricity. It is, in fact, one of the most sustainable ways to generate power since it does this without emitting toxic pollution to the environment. Wind is also naturally affordable meaning it is inexhaustible and readily available making it a viable alternative to fossils. The most outstanding objections to future wind power technology are concerns about the long-term effects on wildlife, habitats, and human health. Despite these challenges, wind power is rapidly growing with high rates. There is a high potential for wind facilities being located offshore where there are stronger winds and high reliability. http://telosnet.com/wind/future.html.

4. Biofuels

Biomass comes from the production of first generation biofuels derived from plant matter. These fuels rely on crops to produce energy. The global production of these fuels has in the past few years experienced a surge, with its demand being particularly strong. In the future, biofuel may be largely used in existing engines to clear harmful vehicle emissions. Since waste residue will always be easily accessible, there will always be a continuous source of renewable energy. http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/1672/biofuels-in-the-future.

5. Hydro Electric Power

This form of energy needs turbines which have to be powered by high amounts of flowing water. So far, it has seen an increased dependence around the world. However, it comes with the concern of altering the comfort of the wildlife and the ecosystem since rivers have in the past needed a dam installed in them. However, new innovations are being put into place to allow water to be released gradually to generate electricity. This method is more dependable because unlike wind and solar power, tides and waves are predictable and don’t diminish with cloud cover. http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/future-of-hydropower.

While these may be the most pronounced renewable energy sources, there are others that may not have caught up. Body heat, for instance, may in the future be used to charge mobile devices. On a small scale, untested sources such as these could have some use in the renewable energy industries.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Econoheat., the world’s #1 leading waste oil heaters manufacturer.

3 Ways to Make Your Home a Little Greener

greenlivingguy.com3 Ways to Make Your Home a Little Greener

Climate change and going green are two of the hottest topics on everyone’s mind. Going green can mean quite a few things for different people. It can begin with transportation, diet, or changing the cleaning supplies you use. Today we want to discuss how we can make you’re a bit greener and change your impact on the planet.

Look to Your Roof

Green roofs are very popular amongst city dwellers. Land can be harder to come by, making growing a garden that much more difficult. And we need to have as much green space as possible to help create more oxygen, reduce urban heat issues, and provide affordable sustainable food sources for families in our communities. It’s important to pay attention to the weight of your green roof. Some soils, not to mention watering them, can create very heavy gardens on the roof. You also want to be aware of creating drainages to allow for safe run off. 

You also should decide if you wish to create a food garden or grass garden. Certain types of plants will be heavier than others and there are tons of different kinds of grass seed types available on the market. With so many options, we are confident you can find a green roof to fit your lifestyle!

Shorter Showers

This is one tip that bears repeating over and over, even though it’s one of the most popular tips out there. Baths take a lot of water and showers are a little more efficient in terms of water usage. But, you should still take the time to get in and out as fast as possible. An average shower runs around 8 minutes long, which is quite wasteful. Here are a few tips on how to cut down on shower time:

· Don’t turn on the shower until you are ready to get in

· Use a non toxic soap, shampoo and conditioner. So many toxins in typical brands

Meyer’s is a non toxic soap

· Save any shaving for the bathroom sink

· Wash and get out, no standing around under the water

· Swap out your shower head for a more efficient model

Change Your Lighting

Lighting is easily an area to go green in. Changing your lighting will reduce your electric bill and your impact on the planet. Additionally, changing out the materials can lessen the use of toxic materials to create them. Here are a few ways you can change the lighting in your home to reflect a greener lifestyle:

· Change your light bulbs to Light Emitting Diodes (LED) 

· Purchase lamps that are made from wood or recycled materials

· Unplug your power adaptors when your lighting fixture is not in use

· Install skylights designed to filter in sunlight to light your home

· Install dimmers to minimize electric usage for lighting

Lighting is easily an area to go green in. Changing your lighting will reduce your electric bill and your impact on the planet. Additionally, changing out the materials can lessen the use of toxic materials to create them. Here are a few ways you can change the lighting in your home to reflect a greener lifestyle:

Going green can sound like a daunting task, but really, it’s one of the more simplest moves we can make. And given our ecological state, it’s one thing we should do. Even if you only go green in one area of your life, it still makes all the difference. Do what you can, when you can!