What is Recycle Bank?

Recycle Bank is a bit like the airmiles program, but for your trash instead of flying. The program gives you the chance to turn your recyclable items into rewards. These rewards can then be used to get discounts and merchandise at local stores and shops.

The scheme has been set up by a group of people who are passionate about helping to preserve the planet and its resources. The idea is that any recycling, however big or small will have a positive impact. And the more people who take part, the more the scheme will grow.

Whenever you recycle, Recycle Bank provides you with a reward. This might be in the form of a coupon, discounts or products at some of the most famous names on the high street. For example, Footlocker and Dunkin Donuts are both members of the Recycle Bank scheme.

How does Recycle Bank work?

It may well surprise you as to exactly how much of your trash can be recycled. From the obvious, such as plastic bottles and tin cans, right through to electronics and clothing. And each time you dispose of various pieces of trash in a responsible way by recycling, you collect points and codes and then attach these to your Recycle Bank account to be turned into rewards.

Once you sign up to the Recycle Bank scheme at the website www.recyclebank.com you can then begin to earn rewards. And you can even earn rewards for other ‘green’ actions, such as saving energy in the home.

When you have accrued some points you can begin to order your rewards. Simply browse the site and choose from the many partners who offer rewards and bonuses. Click through to the one you would like. You will receive your reward either as an email to print at home, or through the post. Then take the voucher to the retailer and exchange for your goodies!

The rewards change constantly, so if there isn’t a retailer or reward you fancy, just keep an eye on the website for when the rewards change. Then you can use your points for something you really want.

Who is a member of Recycle Bank?

The Recycle Bank scheme is growing on a daily basis. It now covers the whole of the USA and the UK as well. Many major retailers are involved, including Kmart, Sunglasses Hut, Coca-Cola, Yoplait and Cosmopolitan Magazine to name but a few.

You can also earn recycle points by getting friends, colleagues and neighbors to sign up as well. Just invite a person to join Recycle Bank via email, and for everyone who signs up from your recommendation, 10 Recycle Bank points will be added to your account.

How to Recycle E-Waste

E-waste is the general term used for broken, obsolete or surplus parts of electrical equipment. It’s also known as electronic waste. Because of the various toxic substances contained in many electronic items, over recent years it has become an enormous problem throughout the world. Here in the U.S., because of strict legislation which is now being brought in nationwide, the disposal of e-waste is reasonably under control. But in some other countries, such as those in the third world, there are major problems with contamination from substances such as lead and cadmium.

Can E-waste be recycled?

The recycling of electronic waste products is often referred to as e-cycling. Because of the cost and risks involved in breaking down e-waste to its component parts, it is best to see if there is another option available. This can include re-use, repair or refurbishing. However, if none of these are feasible, then recycling is the next best option.

Because e-waste contains many precious natural resources, it is definitely worth recycling them. Precious metals and engineered plastics are the main components and re-using them is preferable to using up more virgin resources or the cost of fabricating them.

All towns and cities offer recycling facilities for electronics. If you are unsure of the closest to where you live, visit www.earth911.com and enter your zip code.

What are the possibilities for recycling e-waste material?

If your e-waste is recycled, there are many things which it may be used for. Precious metals such as gold can be recovered, and used for a multitude of options. If you want to see what the current values of your gold and silver are, you can check prices online. Recycled plastics also have many uses. Often broken or obsolete e-waste can be used to produce new electronics, or to repair or refurbish other products.

But what about the resources used in the e-waste recycling process?

The biggest problem with e-waste is the hazard it poses to human health and to the environment. Dumping e-waste in landfill not only takes up room, but hazardous waste can leech into the surrounding soil resulting in contamination.

Even though it uses up resources to recycle e-waste, it is still worth doing because of the huge amount of valuable natural resources involved. Currently the U.S. produces over 50 million tons of e-waste every year, the most in the world, but only around 15-20% of this is recycled. The rest of it goes into landfill. The amount of e-waste is only set to rise over the coming years as the speed of technology advances, so it’s imperative that recycling, reusing and repairing is brought into action as much as possible. Because of this there are many government initiatives to raise awareness, and it is up to each and every one of us to be responsible in the way that we dispose of our e-waste.

How to Recycle Fabric

Recycling fabric is also known as textile recycling. All of the fabric we use, whether it is clothing, bed linen, curtains or anything else made from fabric, make up a huge amount of waste per year. There are different ways in which fabric can be reused, but although many options are available, a large amount still unnecessarily ends up in landfill.

Can fabric be recycled?

There are a multitude of ways in which to recycle fabric. And this includes all types, such as nylon, wool, fleece, flannel, cotton – all the products which make up items we use every day. The most important thing about recycling textiles is to keep them dry. Once they become damp, mildew soon sets in and then they are unsuitable to be reused. For this reason, always be sure to bag up your fabrics to keep them in the best condition possible.

What are the possibilities for the recycled fabric material?

The very best way to recycle fabric is to pass it onto someone else to use. This way no extra resources are used to turn it into something else, and it means someone else gets to use it. In fact, the uncertain economic climate has made more and more people realize the advantage of purchasing second hand clothes, and the demand has risen tenfold.

Charities accept all kinds of fabrics for donation. From trousers to pillowcases, they can all be put to good use. They may end up being distributed in the U.S. or are sometimes shipped off to other areas in the world; perhaps where a disaster has struck and things are in short supply. There are many drop off points in all the towns and cities of the U.S. where you can take your unwanted fabrics. If you are unsure of your nearest center, visit www.earth911.com and type in your zip code to find the closest one to you.

You might consider selling off your unwanted clothes. As long as they are in reasonable condition with no rips or stains then they have a resale value. Consider selling them via an online auction site or at a car boot sale. The dollars made are sure to come in handy as well. If your clothes have a designer label then you might be pleasantly surprised at the money they fetch.

Once fabrics become too badly worn or damaged, then it can be recycled. The components can then be reused by the textile industry. They might become cleaning cloths or stuffing for furniture. Some are processed down into fibers for use in upholstery or insulation.

But what about the resources used in the fabric recycling process?

Donating or selling your unwanted fabrics uses up no other resources, and this is the best way in which to get rid of them. But even if your fabrics have seen better days, they are still made from valuable resources, so take care not to just throw them in the trash.

How to Recycle Fluorescent Bulbs

The new energy saving fluorescent bulbs are definitely more environmentally friendly, but are you aware that they contain hazardous waste? Under the Resource Convention and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Universal Waste Rule (UWR), they contain category C hazardous waste which needs to be disposed of in a responsible and specialized manner. The bulbs contain mercury, which means they should not be tossed into the trash. You should find out how to recycle or dispose of them in your area.

Can fluorescent bulbs be recycled?

Pretty much every part of a florescent bulb can be recycled. In doing so, the glass, metals and various other materials which make up the bulb can be reused in one way or another. Although florescent bulbs contain mercury, there is no danger of any toxicity when the bulb is in one piece. However, when a bulb breaks, it can release small amounts of mercury into the atmosphere.

If a CFL bulb is thrown into the trash, dumpster or ends up in landfill, then it will more than likely break. Because of this, some states now require you to recycle florescent bulbs by law.

Virtually all towns and cities have recycling and waste centers. If you are unsure of the closest to where you live visit www.earth911.com and enter your zip code. Here you will also be able to find out if there are any curbside collections close to you that may be able to collect your florescent bulbs.

Many of the larger chain retailers also provide a collection point for CFL florescent bulbs. These include IKEA, Orchard Supply and Home Depot. However, it’s best to check directly with your local store to check before you make a special trip.

What are the possibilities for recycling fluorescent bulbs?

When florescent bulbs are recycled all the parts are separated. The metal components go for scrap metal, the glass can be turned into various other glass products and the mercury very often ends up in new florescent bulbs or other device which contain the substance.

But what about the resources used in the recycling process?

Because of the hazardous waste, the cost of recycling is a necessary evil. But the good thing is that virtually no part of a florescent bulb goes to waste, so the energy used in recycling is all put to use.

Thankfully, now that there are far more places to recycle it is not necessary to make a car journey to get rid of a single bulb! And the fact that the bulbs last for a long period of time means that less bulbs than the pre-florescent days are around to be recycled. You should also be very careful if a bulb gets smashed as this allows the mercury to escape. In this case you should ensure you wear gloves for the clean-up, place the debris in a sealed bag and dispose of at a recycling center.

How to Recycle Glass

Glass is used for a huge variety of items. From perfume bottles through to window panes, it’s so common that we don’t even give it a second thought. In 2009, the U.S. public generated 11.8 million tons of waste glass, and only around 25% of this was recycled.

Can glass be recycled?

A great amount of glass can be recycled. Pretty much all glass which is used as packaging can be recycled. This includes soda bottles, jelly jars and most food and drink containers. These food and beverage containers can be recycled many times over, and there is really no need at all for these to end up in landfill

All towns and cities offer recycling facilities for glass. If you are unsure of the closest to where you live, visit www.earth911.com and enter your zip code.

What are the possibilities for the recycled glass?

Most food and drink containers are recycled and once again turned into more containers. But it is possible for glass to be put to other use, such as wall and cavity insulation, kitchen tiles and even counter tops.

Glass is possibly one of the easiest items to recycle as many schemes have been put in place. Over the past 30 years, glass recycling in the U.S. has risen from 750,000 tons per year to over 3 million tons. And the amount is growing.

Recycled and crushed glass is known as ‘cullet.’ Most glass manufacturers now rely on cullet to supplement the virgin materials they use to produce new glass. Because of this the demand for recycled glass just keeps growing and the supply of cullet is less than the demand.

Cullet can also be used in the production of fiberglass, abrasives and the tips of matches. However, the cullet has to be free from any contaminates which will make it less useful in many areas of manufacturing.

But what about the resources used in the recycling process?

The main problem with recycling glass is the different qualities which are used. When glass is collected at the curbside or in recycling centers, it is usually collected altogether. However, it’s important to sort your glass into different colors as these all have different melting points. Glass which is sorted by color makes cullet of a higher standard, and therefore has a higher value. This is why on glass recycling banks you have separate areas for clear, green and brown glass.

Using cullet helps the environment by melting at a lower temperature than the raw materials needed to make glass. This means less greenhouse gas emissions and it also saves the necessity of using raw materials. It is also cheaper to recycle than to produce new glass.