Recent Updates Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Garbology Admin 1:29 pm on October 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Powering Homes with Garbage 

    Powering homes with garbage

     
  • Garbology Admin 12:00 pm on October 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    America Is Throwing Out Way More Garbage Than We Thought 

    America Is Throwing Out Way More Garbage Than We Thought.

     
  • Garbology Admin 12:00 pm on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Yes, we have problems but we also have creative solutions 

    Romona Cody

     

    Rather than focus on all that is wrong happening in the realm of pollution and overcrowded landfills I would like to turn our attention to imagining the possibilities of what can be. What are the top two largest problems that we could help minimize and eventually eliminate? Wegreen-usa.org lists:

    • Air pollution – emissions into atmosphere

     

    • Groundwater pollution – emissions into water

     

    as the largest problems. Focusing on these two areas alone can yield some beautiful results with long term benefits.

     

    MIT suggests using more electricity to reduce fossil fuel dependencies. Pairing more electrical energy sources with stricter government policies can help push cleaner air by applying a carbon credit system to known atmospheric pollutants. Globally, all governments should unite in enacting as well as enforcing strict policies that require air scrubber usage.

     

    Research cited by MIT states that “Since the enactment of the Clean Air Act in 1977, only 44 percent of smokestacks emitting sulfur oxides have installed air scrubbers…”

    A friend in NASA…is a friend indeed. When NASA noticed that their rocket cleaning ways were contaminating the soil and groundwater, they (NASA environmental engineer Dr. Jacqueline Quinn and Dr. Kathleen Brooks Loftin, a NASA analytical chemist) partnered with local University scientists and researchers to create new technologies that would react and breakdown the toxic chemicals in environmentally friendly ways.

     

    Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron (EZVI) is one of the injectable technologies created to neutralize contaminants in soil. Later, NASA was able to leverage this new technology by adding another partner. GeoSyntec Inc, a Florida firm that handles small environmental remediation that would test the real-world effectiveness of EZVI.

     

     

    Innovative products like EZVI treatments clean contaminated areas over a span of 2 to 3 months instead of the traditional ground pump treatment systems that require time periods of over decades to clean and replenish an area. There are many other products that are becoming available and being used globally to help clean and detoxify areas such as Micro-Bac International Inc. microbial solutions which breaks down things like oil, wood and animal waste into non-toxic material.

     
  • Garbology Admin 12:00 pm on May 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Yes, we have problems but we also have creative solutions 

    Rather than focus on all that is wrong happening in the realm of pollution and overcrowded landfills I would like to turn our attention to imagining the possibilities of what can be. What are the top two largest problems that we could help minimize and eventually eliminate? Wegreen-usa.org lists:

    • Air pollution – emissions into atmosphere

     

    • Groundwater pollution – emissions into water

     

    as the largest problems. Focusing on these two areas alone can yield some beautiful results with long term benefits.

     

    MIT suggests using more electricity to reduce fossil fuel dependencies. Pairing more electrical energy sources with stricter government policies can help push cleaner air by applying a carbon credit system to known atmospheric pollutants. Globally, all governments should unite in enacting as well as enforcing strict policies that require air scrubber usage.

     

    Research cited by MIT states that “Since the enactment of the Clean Air Act in 1977, only 44 percent of smokestacks emitting sulfur oxides have installed air scrubbers…”

    A friend in NASA…is a friend indeed. When NASA noticed that their rocket cleaning ways were contaminating the soil and groundwater, they (NASA environmental engineer Dr. Jacqueline Quinn and Dr. Kathleen Brooks Loftin, a NASA analytical chemist) partnered with local University scientists and researchers to create new technologies that would react and breakdown the toxic chemicals in environmentally friendly ways.

     

    Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron (EZVI) is one of the injectable technologies created to neutralize contaminants in soil. Later, NASA was able to leverage this new technology by adding another partner. GeoSyntec Inc, a Florida firm that handles small environmental remediation that would test the real-world effectiveness of EZVI.

     

    Tersus Environmental

    Tersus Environmental

     

    Innovative products like EZVI treatments clean contaminated areas over a span of 2 to 3 months instead of the traditional ground pump treatment systems that require time periods of over decades to clean and replenish an area. There are many other products that are becoming available and being used globally to help clean and detoxify areas such as Micro-Bac International Inc. microbial solutions which breaks down things like oil, wood and animal waste into non-toxic material.

     

     

    Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/tersusenv/photos/pcb.568608213222861/568608169889532/?type=1

     
  • Garbology Admin 12:00 pm on May 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   

    Garbology – Please Recycle 

    By:

    I am a college student living with my boyfriend and three other roommates. For the most part, we try our best to recycle, whether it being glass/plastic bottles or cardboard boxes. Most of the bottles, either plastic or glass, can be turned in for cash value of five cents.  There are several locations located in Oregon where you can turn in these bottles.

    Over the past couple months, I have been collecting any bottle that can be turned in for cash value and sticking them into white garbage bags. I have collected a total of three full bags and I am on my fourth bag! In addition to collecting these bottles, I am also collecting the metal bottle caps from glass bottles, usually beer or hard cider. I found a great website about how you can recycle your metal bottle caps. It explains that instead of throwing them into your recycling bin, that is also filled with cardboard, metal cans and plastic products, you should put the bottle caps into a metal can then crimp it so they don’t fall out. Why? Well, because the bottle caps are so small that they usually get lost with the other materials when they get sorted by their sizes.

    I have asked my roommates if they could put any bottle that has that cash value in a bag so it makes a little more easier for me to collect the bottles, but really no one does that. Therefore, I have been garbage diving at least once a week before the trash man comes and takes all out garbage.

    The House Bill of 3145 states that water/flavored water, beer/malt beverages, soda water/mineral water, and carbonated soft drinks will be accepted in containers that are 3 liters or less in size. New beverages will be accepted if the bottle or cans are from 4 ounces to 1.5 liters in size. In addition to this, metal cans that require a can opener will not be accepted, along with wine, liquor, dairy or milk substitutes containers. All redeemable containers are labeled with the OR 5¢ refund value on the label.

    Oregon’s Bottle Bill was introduced in 1971 and was created to help address the growing litter problem along Oregon’s beaches, highways and other public areas. It was the very first bottle bill in the United States and was so successful that there are now ten other states that have similar programs.

    -UPDATE-

    March 7th 2015

    My boyfriend and I drive to the nearest BottleDrop A girl putting a glass bottle into the bottledrop centercenter and I turned six  full bags of cans/bottles.

    I would say the overall experience wasn’t terrible, but the machines they use to count/collect the bottles can be a little weird. Its possible it was just the machine I was using that was acting up, but every time I would put in a glass bottle, the little conveyor belts to take the bottle down, wouldn’t grab the bottle, almost like it was too heavy. Therefore, I would have to slightly push the bottle in to give the conveyor belt a little help. Sometimes I would push the bottle a little too much and the machine would tell me to not throw in the bottles.

    The other issue that happened was that the machine would would just stop, spit out a receipt of all the bottles I had collected, and would require a person to “fix” the machine. All the worker would have to do is open the machine, it would print out a receipt for them,  it looks fine, close it and it would start working again. This happened probably about four times.

    a girl holding up 11 dollarsI had turned in a total of 229 cans and bottles! The total amount I received was $11.45, which isn’t too bad for just collecting bottles over the course of 3 months.

    It felt really good to get money back just by collecting bottles and cans that you use everyday.

     
  • Garbology Admin 12:00 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    DOES THIS CAN MAKE MY WASTESTREAM LOOK BIG? 

    Lynne Rochelle

    English 170

    March 17, 2015

    Kate Scrivener

    DOES THIS CAN MAKE MY WASTESTREAM LOOK BIG?

    I believe I may have finally crossed the over-sharing line today when I post photos of my family’s garbage.  However, I hope you will forgive me when I explain that my final project in my Writing for the Web class is a post on our blogs related to Clark College’s Common Read of the book Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash by Edward Humes.

     

    I decided to begin with an honest look at how we are contributing to this global disaster by doing a waste-stream analysis of a week’s worth of garbage and recycling coming out of our home.  Yuck! Join me as we journey through the underbelly of my family’s refuse pile.

     

    The City of Camas has a mixed recycling program which means that we combine all our recycling except glass into a single container.  We did an excellent job of not including garbage in our recycling.  Everything was where it belonged. Our garbage however had some issues.  I found that we had quite a few items that we should have been composting. I knew those rotten limes should be composted, but what else could be? 100 Things You Can Compost is a great post on the Small Footprint Family website to give you some ideas about composting.  We also had some paper and yogurt containers that just didn’t get into the recycling bin.  Again, just an easy fix to remind everyone to be more aware.

     

    My biggest concern turned out to be the large amount of things that can be recycled but that our curbside recycling program won’t take.  This includes Styrofoam meat trays, plastic clamshells, to-go cups, and other film items (zip-top bags, bread bags, etc.).  Here’s the break down of what I found out (after just a quick internet search) about disposing of these items appropriately.

     

    Plastic lids and plastic clamshells #1 – 6. It seems I may be the last to know, but for at least 7 years, New Seasons has had a recycling area that collects all those plastic containers at every store.

    Household styrofoam.  There seems to be lots of places around Vancouver that will take packing styrofoam, but household styrofoam like meat trays, styrofoam cups, and egg-cartons are trickier.  Currently it seems that only Far West Recycling in Portland will take those items.  There are no Vancouver Area sites.

    Coffee to-go cups. Unfortunately it seems that they must just continue to go into the garbage.  Last year Oregon Live ran wrote a great article by Adam Minter about why these cups aren’t being recycled

    Plastic film (not grocery bags).  I’ve recycled my plastic garbage bags for years at my local grocery stores.  But everything else like zip-top bags, shrink-wrap around packages of toilet paper, bread bags, dry-cleaner bags, etc. has to be thrown away.  These were a fairly large part of that left-over recyclables pile in our waste-stream. Happily I found on-line a Plastic Film Recycling Organization that is making a push to help us get these items out of the landfills.  They list local stores who can accept mixed plastic film recycling and many stores in our area were listed. Hurray!  Another easy solution.  But wait, there is a small asterisk that indicates that I should verify with the store.  When I contacted my local stores, not one was currently able to take mixed film only plastic grocery bags.  The recycling company that hauls away those recycled items will only accept grocery bags.  And I was told over and over that “there was nothing that they can do.”  Well, for now, I can take those items over to Far West Recycling in Portland who will accept those items. But I’ll be following-up on this issue.

     

     

    That’s the breakdown of our garbage.  What is my take away from all this?  A mornings worth of wading through my trash and a few internet searches and telephone calls later and our garbage has reduced from three bags to two each week.  Our recycling has taken over a larger part of our garage with more bins and bags accumulating recyclables before making trips to New Seasons and across the bridge to Far West Recycling.  Quite a bit of change with very little effort on my part.  Now as I drive through my neighborhood and see all the trash cans out on Friday morning, I’m wondering how much of an impact would it be if everyone reduced their garbage by one-third and started recycling those additional items.  Maybe the City of Camas would start accepting household styrofoam and my local Safeway store would start accepting mixed plastic film.

     

    While I blithely trotted my recycling and garbage cans out to the curb each week without really understanding what was in those cans, I was a bigger part of the problem than I needed to be.  Garbage and what to do with it is going to be an issue for years to come.  I need to do my part.

     

    What about you?  My challenge to you — slip on those rubber gloves and dive into your own waste stream. Knowledge and awareness are the tools that we have at our disposal right now to try to reduce the growth of this problem for future generations and the whole world to deal with.  Ignorance is our downfall.

     

    A week’s worth of recycling.

    A week’s worth of garbage.

     

    Things in my waste stream that can be recycled but aren’t accepted in my curb-side recycling program.

     
  • Garbology Admin 12:00 pm on April 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Recycling: Past, Present & Future 

    Why recycle? Recycle is a process where you can reuse the material again. It’s like adding additional life to some materials. Some material can be recycled and some material can’t be. Without a recycle icon stamped is not recyclable, so therefore, it is trash.

    Past

    In the past, people bought, used, and threw items away. The amount of materials in landfills that got bigger and bigger. The cycle of buying, using, and throwing trash never stops. The amount in the landfill is so huge and it caught people’s attention and created concern for environment and its impact on other animals, air, and water.

    Present

    People are recycling aluminum cans, steel cans, newspapers, papers, cardboards, plastics, and magazines. People go online to find the latest news. Many companies urge people to sign up for paperless bills and online magazine subscriptions, but some people in the older generation buy newspaper to read, send bills via mail, and receive magazine via shipping. Kids use old cards and other recycled materials to create a recycled greeting card such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas card, and etc.

    Future

    Recycling will carry over into the future. People will have newer idea on how to improve recycling. After the older generation is gone, more people will be using online magazines, paperless bills, and paper money will be gone too. People will be carrying their own containers for water, coffee, or soda. Many art sculptures are made from recycled materials.

    Final Thought

    It is hard to believe how huge the landfill is. I think plastic is probably the biggest enemy trash in the sea, air, and the land. I think people should try to reuse a plastic container and refill with what have gone inside. This is better than throwing it away. It will eliminate recycling plastic. Keeping the landfills less is a toughest job.   Earth is your home, so keep it clean and beautiful.

     
    • ajweberman 2:56 am on April 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      garbology is the study of famous people’s trash. I invented the darn word so I should know.

  • Garbology Admin 12:00 pm on April 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    What on earth happens to all the unpurchased clothing? 

    By Louis J Ramirez III

     

    What happens to all the unpurchased clothing that is made, but never gets purchased? It must be some type of noble act of repurposing, or perhaps something very humanitarian indeed.

    I did a little digging around and to my surprise a very small amount is redistributed in a charitable manner. According to one source, http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/04/02/what-happens-to-all-of-those-clothes-retailers-cant-sell/ , “Major retailers have a couple of options when it comes to getting rid of unsellable clothes: They can either destroy them in industrial-sized shredders and/or dump them in a landfill.” The sheer bulk of garments that go to waste is astounding when you compare it to the amount of those that are purchased. The numbers are estimated at a whopping, “84% of the 11.9 million tons of unwanted clothing a year ending up in landfills,” according to the article at Dailyfinance.com. The thought is maddening, what a tremendous waste of resource! Why is this?

    Here is a link of usable clothing being shredded.

    The logic behind this is explained as a type of public relations. The designers of the garments just don’t want their clothing to appear on individuals who are deemed unworthy of owning certain designer labels. In addition to this absurd idea, it was said that if a homeless-person was seen wearing a posh label that it would detract from the appeal of the label and affect the desirable nature of the label. Why wouldn’t it be more desirable to see our homeless adorned in fabulous raiment? Is status really the driving force? I guess it is, sadly enough.

    Are logistics the cause of too much of a good thing? According to the article found here,   http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/ive-always-wondered/what-do-stores-do-unsold-merchandise-0 , it does have an effect on the nature of our wasteful handling of the goods we produce, especially with items that have expiration dates such as seasonable fashion. The garments don’t really expire the way food does, but the appeal of the fashion shifts and so the desirability of the garment does, too.

    I know that clothing is a necessity for most of us, and the allure of textures and patterns that create the need for style choices to be made by us, and will bring us to the retailers and the catalogues who can deliver those styles to us on demand. We must try to ride out this wave of wasteful fashion before we are dashed against the shores of reality by this tidal wave of textile overproduction.

     

     

     
  • Garbology Admin 12:00 pm on April 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    E-Books vs Print – Which is Greener? 

    Author: Chris Baldwin

     e-book vs print

     

    If you’re reading this, chances are good that you’re using one of those fancy computing devices we’ve grown so fond of. Our culture has become accustomed to the digital age in several ubiquitous ways: surfing the net on our laptops, listening to music on our phones, streaming movies through Netflix, and so on.

     

    However, one thing that hasn’t quite caught on yet is the digital consumption of books. While most of us are perfectly willing to convert our music libraries into bits and bytes, we’re still hesitant to switch to e-readers and tablets for our literary fix. Sales figures from 2014 tell a confident tale for fans of physical media, as e-books were outsold by both paperbacks and hardcovers, accounting for just 23% of all books sold in the first half of the year.

     

    But which is better for the environment: print, or digital?

     

    Even at first glance, that question can be difficult to answer. On the one hand, buying an e-book has a much smaller carbon footprint than a physical copy, which is typical for digital media. However, the e-readers themselves often have significantly larger environmental impacts, equal to several dozen print books. This is just one of many conundrums that can complicate this comparison – the differences in toxic chemical usage, water consumption, and so on, only add to the complexity of it all.

     

    However, while personal usage can make a significant difference, the “greenest” option ultimately seems to lean in favor of e-books. According to Slate, it takes roughly 18 digital book purchases to balance out the environmental cost of an e-reader, and they claim that at the time of writing, “the average user purchases three books per month” – making that goal easily attainable even with the relatively short lifespan of our modern electronics. The more you read, and the longer you hold off on replacing your tablet, the more favorable e-books become.

     

    So if you’re a voracious bookworm and hate the idea of literary art ending up in a landfill, it might be time to pick up that iPad you’ve had your eye on – and don’t let it go.

     
  • Garbology Admin 11:19 am on April 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    How The Price Of Oil Caused A Downturn In The Recycling Business 

    http://www.npr.org/2015/04/03/397213109/how-the-price-of-oil-caused-a-downturn-in-the-recycling-business

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel