Check out these tips to keep things clean and green!
- Drive the Speed Limit
- Control Electrical Leakage
- Lawn Watering Is Restricted
- Bake a Cake in a Solar Oven
- Recycling Aluminum Saves Energy
- Are CNG Vehicles an Answer to High Gas Prices?
- Paper Recycling: More than Newspapers and Office Paper
- No Idling!
- Shop With Reusable Shopping Bags
- Sign up for Wind Power
- The Best Time to Plant is Fall
- Recycle in More Rooms Than Your Kitchen
- Never Flush Meds Down the Toilet
- Three Solar Energy Choices
- Is a Windmill Right for You?
- See ya later, refrigerator!
- Weatherize Your Home
- Your Holiday Shipping Needs
- Consider Green Gifts
- Rinsing, Crushing and Decapping
- Recycling in Summit County
- Recycling Holiday Lights
All those clocks, illuminated numbers and letters, little red lights, and stand-by modes use electricity.
Scientists estimate that small appliances continually use up to 50 watts of electric power, or 5 percent of an average home’s monthly electricity use. When multiplied by the billions of appliances in America, it's no wonder that we use so much electricity. It's even worse that we do it even when we don't mean to!
The average American family throws away 1500 plastic bags every year.Plastic bags, like all plastics, are petroleum-based (i.e. made of oil) and will take thousands of years to bio-degrade. Whether they end up in the landfill, along our roadsides, or in our rivers and oceans, they are a hazard to our health and the health of the environment.
Guess what? You get better gas mileage when you don't idle your car unnecessarily. It also saves you money that you are burning in the form of gasoline. Why waste money and gas while contributing more CO2 to our atmosphere? Just becuase you can is not a good reason when the health of the community is at stake.
When people think of recycling paper, they often think only of newspapers and white office paper, but there are many other kinds of paper that can be placed in your curbside bin or in Recycle Utah’s self-service bins.
Greeting cards, flash cards, index cards, and recipe cards are good to go.
Magazines, catalogs, brochures, and junkmail can always, and should always, be recycled. Remember: There's no need to shred these things!
To stop unwanted junk mail check out these tips and directions.
Natural gas is comprised of methane, the same gas generated by cows and landfills. Methane is the perfect bio-fuel because it is a natural byproduct of decay caused by “methanogenic bacteria,” of which there is an abundant supply in the world.
When natural gas is compressed, it can be used as a fuel in any engine. A vehicle becomes an economy car when compressed natural gas system is added to a truck or SUV.
For example, a truck that gets 18 mpg on gasoline can get 21 mpg on CNG, resulting in a fuel cost per mile of $0.03 cents. Compare that with a hybrid vehicle getting 50 mpg and burning toxic gasoline at $4 per gallon -- it costs almost $0.09 cents per mile to drive!
CNG is an inherently clean fuel -- so clean, in fact, that the exhaust can be cleaner than the ambient air. www.cleancities.com And you have the added convenience of filling up your tank at home!
For more information about CNG vehicles go to www.cngmotors.com. For a local contact, call Tai Robinson, Intergalactic Hydrogen, 801-201-7370 . To check out CNG prices nationwide go to www.CNGPrices.com.
Watering Your Lawn
We live in the high desert. Keyword: DESERT. Nature here never anticipated Kentucky Bluegrass, thousands of faucets, and miles of asphalt that raises the ambient temperature even more. That's why water restrictions, both legal and self-imposed, are critical to Summit County's water supply. Here are common sense things to do:
Water every THIRD day, not every other day. If you water more substantially less often, the roots will grow deeper, to where there's more moisture, and be less susceptible to dry temperatures on the surface. (Ordinance in Park City).
Water only between 8 pm and 8 am. Although you can't see it, evaporation happens very quickly and very reliably in the warm, dry air. Why let evaporation cost you money on your water bill? (Ordinance in Park City)
Inspect irrigation systems for leaks and proper spray patterns (i.e. not watering the sidwalks).
Consider replacing your sprinkler heads with an underground drip system. This reduces loss to evaporation and misplaced sprays.
Mulch around tree wells and flower beds to retain water there.
Turn sprinklers off when it rains. Consider a “smart” evaporative controller that detects humidity and “knows” when it rains.
Report malfunctioning and non-conforming water systems on public property to the water company.
Bake a Cake in a Solar Oven
With the kids out of school, are you tearing your hair out for something to do together? Why not create a solar oven? All you need are materials from Recycle Utah's ReStore and a few other items.Materials Needed:
- Simple plan: Cardboard box – Recycle Utah's ReStore has moving boxes or you can rescue a box from the cardboard compactor. More ambitious plan: The ReStorehas scrap wood to build a box.
- Window or old piece of glass
- Aluminum foil or old sheet of metal for reflection.
- Rocks or bricks to put under your baking pans so hot air can circulate.
- Extra cardboard for a reflector. The one in the picture is supported by a dowel and bungie cord.
- Oven thermometer (optional)
- Copy the solar oven in the picture by building a box out of cardboard or wood roughly 21'-30” by “21 – 30” and 10-12” deep. Line it with tin foil. Make a lid with glass and a reflector from an old piece of cardboard.
- Ask the kids what they want to bake -- banana muffins, zucchini bread, or carrot cake are all healthy choices, but warn them that baking in a solar oven may take all day!
- Bake simultaneously in a dark pan (cast iron) or a light pan (aluminum). Which bakes faster? Why?
- Document temperature readings with the oven thermometer -- How fast does the solar oven heat up? How high will the temperature go? Compare that with a conventional oven.
- Send the results of your experiments and pictures of your oven to Recycle Utah's Education Director at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll publish your culinary feats in our newsletter.
Did you know that every three months Americans bury enough aluminum cans in landfills to rebuild our nation’s entire commercial air fleet? In fact, recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours. Aluminum is made from bauxite, a mineral that is mined in other countries and transported to the U.S. Electricity “zaps” aluminum powder to remove the oxygen and to create molten metal. The refining process uses a lot of energy. Turning recycled aluminum cans into more aluminum cans consumes far less energy. That’s why recycling aluminum is so important!
Gardening in the high desert environment means xeriscaping. Choose water-wise perennials and shrubs that are native to this area. Yarrow, penstamon, serviceberry, and catmint grow beautiful flowers.
Wasatch maple and the Rocky Mountain sugar maple trees will delight you with their colorful leaves that glow brightly in the fall.
Your local nursery can help you with your selection, and teach you how to plant thirstier vegetation near your water source, and drought tolerant plants farther away from your faucet. You can learn about drip irrigation too.
For more information, stop by Recycle Utah at 1951 Woodbine Way in Park City to see our garden and xeriscaping library.
Whatever the reason, most people have used meds they want to discard. For example, prescription medicines go out of date. Pain pills don’t get all used up. Some medicines are partially consumed but replaced by a more effective prescription. Over the counter pills are unwanted.
Never flush prescription medications down the toilet or sink. The Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District reports that medicines are a primary cause for concern. The water scrubbing methods that take care of human waste, are not designed to eliminate chemicals or medicines.
On Saturday, October 4th take prescription medicines to Recycle Utah, 1951 Woodbine Way in Park City, where the Summit County Sheriff will be collecting them from 9 am to 11 am.
Place a recycling container in your bathroom for cardboard from toothpaste boxes, medications and toilet paper rolls.
In the office, blue bins for paper next to your computer or desk make for easy recycling of mail, office and school paper. If you shred paper, shred your documents into a brown paper bag for easy recycling. Remember that reuse is better than recycling, so cut some of that white office paper into quarters for scratch paper and art projects.
Play Areas & Bedrooms. Teach your children to recycle in the places where they like to spend time. If you need to sort at home, purchase small bins, or sectioned bins so kids learn to sort.
Solar PV systems convert sunlight directly to electricity when electrons are freed by the interaction of sunlight with semiconductor materials in photovoltaic cells and are captured in an electric current.
Solar water heating systems heat buildings and water for culinary use. The systems have two main parts -- a solar collector and a storage tank. A pump or gravity system moves the heated fluid between the collector and the storage tank.
Passive solar design takes advantage of direct or indirect sunlight to heat, light or cool a home. “Day lighting” is a passive solar design principle that uses sunlight to light the interior spaces of the building.
Systems related to residential solar PV, solar hot water or solar thermal may be entitled to federal and state tax credits as well as rebates from local utilities. A good summary of state incentives for renewables and efficiency can be found here. Also see this link.
- Your property has a good wind resource
- Your home or business is located on at least one acre of land in a rural area
- Your local zoning codes or covenants allow wind turbines
- Your average electricity bills are $150 per month or more
- Your property is in a remote location without easy access to utility lines
- You are comfortable with long-term investments
Homeowners and farmers should factor in federal or state tax incentives, as well as low-interest loans, grants or other financial assistance, including the sale of green tags, also known as renewable energy credits, or RECs.
To find out more about renewable energy systems, visit the Green Building Consumer Trade Show, Saturday, Nov. 8th from 10 am to 3 pm at The Canyons Grand Summit, sponsored by Recycle Utah and the Park City Board of Realtors Environmental Issues Committee. For more information call Laurie at 659-6990.
Many thanks to Julia Pettit for this tip.
What should you do? Call Rocky Mountain Power. They will pick up your old, working refrigerator and give you $30 to boot. You must be a Rocky Mountain Power customer and your refrigerator must be working.
They must be crazy – why would they do this?
Federal manufacturing codes were upgraded in 2001, so new models only use about 500 kilowatt-hours per year, or even less. Look for the EnergyStar® label. You can save about $150 a year on your electricity bill if you buy a new model.
To find out more about this program call 866-899- 5539 or go to rockymtnpower.net.
First inspect your home. Find gaps around windows and doors. Patrol your basement or foundation inside and out where wires and pipes enter the house. See if there are gaps and measure the width so you know how much material to buy. Most people can make their home weather-tight with only $50 worth of supplies and a little time.
Also inspect your electrical outlets, fan vents and fireplaces for leaks. You would be surprised how much you’ll save if you tighten up these areas.
Caulking and weather stripping are your two best friends. A caulking gun is easy to use. Check the label of the caulking tube to see if the product is for interior or exterior use. For larger gaps, you may want to purchase a foam sealant. This stuff is fun to watch as it expands into holes, but don’t get any on your clothes – it hardens fast!
Weather stripping is used to fill the gaps between doors and windows and their frames. Weather stripping comes in many shapes and materials. For example, rolled rubber is used at the top and bottom of a window frame and felt is used around a door jamb.
Recycle Utah’s packing peanuts program keeps these pesky, flyaway materials from blowing around the landfill. In general Styrofoam®-type materials are harmful to the environment. They disintegrate into little particles and can get into watershed and hurt fish and wildlife.
Your community recycling center also operates a moving box re-use program at the Park City location, 1951 Woodbine Way. You’ll find small, medium and large boxes, mirror and dish packs for your holiday shipping needs.
According to a survey by Deloitte LLC, 44 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra for green gifts. Half of these consumers said they would pay between 10 and 25 percent more. Why not buy a green gift from Recycle Utah and support your community recycling center at the same time?
Recycle Utah’s center in Park City stocks four different gift bags to fit every budget. Each package comes with a reusable shopping bag (or two), a houseplant moisture meter, and a special something for that special someone.
- Choose from a three-pack CFL for $15.00,
- a fragrant soy candle for $25.00,
- WaterGeeks stainless reusable water bottle for $35.00,
- or a metal drying rack for the laundry room for $45.00.
The Recycle Utah staff are often asked, “How clean do soup cans have to be?” and “Do we have to crush our soda cans?” and “Why do we have to take the caps off?” The short answers are “Pretty clean,” “Yes,” and “To separate one type of plastic from another.”
Long answers are another matter. It’s all about “product life cycle” or more colloquially, making lemonade out of lemons. When you recycle metal soup cans, they will become another product. For best results, the people who transform your soup cans would like to start with clean metal. So the more you rinse, the easier their job and the less material they discard due to contamination.
When you crush soda cans, Recycle Utah can send 75% more cans to recyclers in one shipment. That means fewer trucks using less fuel transporting more soda cans. It makes simple economic and environmental sense to crush aluminum cans.
When you take bottle caps off bottles, you’re doing an even bigger service. That’s because bottle caps are made from a totally different type of plastic than #1 PETE water bottles and #2 PETE milk bottles. New products cannot be made from contaminated plastic shipments. So sorting all plastic into the proper bins helps the environment.
Sometimes short answers need to be explained to help people make the extra effort.
- Insulate your hot water tank.
- Insulate the first six feet of hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
- Install heat traps on hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss.
- Drain a quart of water from your water tank every three months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your water heater.
- Replace water heaters more than seven years old with Energy Star models.
- Look into on-demand hot water heaters.
- Consider solar hot water heaters.
- Install aerating, low flow faucets and showerheads.
If you can’t afford Energy Star® replacement windows this winter, or you are renting an apartment, you can save money on your heating costs by following these inexpensive steps.
- Find a heavy-duty clear plastic sheet or film and tape it to your window frames to create a vapor barrier.
- Install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on windows that feel drafty after installing plastic sheeting.
- Close curtains and shades at night, open them during the day.
- Let winter sun in on the south side of your home or apartment.
- Install weather stripping around doors where there are air leaks.
- Don’t forget to check the areas around pipes and vents where they enter the dwelling and seal them with weather-stripping.
Take a minute to think about all the plastic foam in your life:
Out of all five items above, only two items can be recycled at Recycle Utah. Packing peanuts are part of our re-use program and are used by local galleries and potters. White block EPS packing foam is accepted at the Center on Woodbine Way in Park City and is completely recycled by Marko Foam in Salt Lake City.
So what happens to the other foam items?
When placed in the trash, these items end up in our municipal landfill where they disintegrate into millions of plastic beads. These disintegrated beads can get into our watersheds where they harm fish and wildlife.
The solution: Avoid buying hot cups – buy cardboard cups or reusable mugs instead. Avoid buying microwavable meals in foam containers. Tell your grocery meat department to stop packing your favorite cuts in foam meat trays. Don’t patronize restaurants that use foam clamshells for takeout. Advise them to use recyclable plastic or biodegradable clamshells instead.
When you see those pretty jet trails in Utah’s blue skies, you’re looking at tons of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and water vapor escaping into the atmosphere. These three gases contribute to the greenhouse effect, and you can do something about it the next time you make travel arrangements.
- Choose non-stop flights. The most jet fuel is consumed during takeoffs and landings, so the less you go up and down the less fuel you consume.
- Avoid short flights. In this day of hubs, that’s hard to do but the most fuel-efficient flight is 600 miles or more.
- Take daytime flights. According to one study, jet trails emitted at night have more of a negative effect.
- Pay attention to equipment when making reservations. Look for newer more fuel-efficient planes like the Boeing B787 and Airbus A340 or A380.
- After booking your flights, make it a habit to google “carbon offsets” and contribute money to a tree planting or renewable energy project.
Bamboo is a grass, not a tree and it grows like crazy. While trees take years to grow, bamboo can grow two or three feet in just one day!
Bamboo can be made into forks, knives, spoons, bowls, cutting boards, chopsticks and fabrics. So as a renewable resource, bamboo is a deal. These tips come “The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Book” which is available at the Summit County library and Recycle Utah.
January’s National Geographic magazine exposed gold for the exploitative metal it is. Impoverished people in many pockets around the world toil in appalling conditions to produce the metal.
Mercury used to extract gold from rock pollutes the earth. Large operations ravage the landscape. The high price of gold today is cause for concern as crime rises.
Jewelers will purchase old gold or give you advice for giving new life to old jewelry with new settings.
Recycle Utah is now accepting bicycle tires and inner tubes. In the landfill, inner tubes and tires don’t bio-degrade and they are a nuisance. Separate your old bicycle tires and tubes from their bike rims and take them to Recycle Utah at 1951 Woodbine Way in Park City.
- 130 million (44.7%) are used as fuel
- 56 million (19.4%) are recycled or used in civil engineering projects
- 18 million (7.8%) are converted into ground rubber and recycled into products
- 16.5 million are retreaded
- 12 million (4.3%) are converted into ground rubber and used in rubber-modified asphalt
- 9 million (3.1%) are exported*
- 6.5 million (2.0 %) are recycled into cut/stamped/punched products
- 3 million (1.7%) are used in agricultural and miscellaneous uses
The EPA says about 27 million scrap tires (9.3%) end up “buried” in landfills or illegally dumped. For responsible disposal, take car tires to the Summit County Landfill, Burt Brothers and Kamas Auto Service, and take bicycle tires and tubes to Recycle Utah.
Today there is a new invention on the market – a coffee maker that makes single cups of coffee. You put little plastic canisters with pre-measured coffee grounds into a chamber and press the top down.
- Single serving pouches of crackers and other snacks. The pouches are usually made of a shiny film and a plastic material sandwiched together. They cannot be recycled. Choose a box or bag of snacks instead. The box is made of cardboard and the plastic bag can be recycled.
- TetraPak juice boxes. This type of packaging is made of several layers of material included foil and plastic it cannot be recycled. A large glass or plastic bottle of juice can be recycled. Single serve aluminum cans of juice are also recyclable.
- Styrofoam Cup o’ Soups. The Styrofoam cup cannot be recycled. A metal can of soup can be recycled as long as it’s rinsed.
Ladies, have you ever stopped to think about what your feminine hygiene products are made of? According to Greg Horn, author of Living Green, tampons “are made from rayon, a petrochemical-based fiber or cotton, which can contain pesticide residues.”
So if this fact worries you, take a look at the ingredients of feminine hygiene products next time you shop. Tampons labeled “no superabsorbent fibers” are safer, Horn asserts. Also look for products that have not been bleached white with chlorine bleach.
He recommends Seventh Generation, a personal care company that specializes in organic and recycled content products. They offer a tampon that uses organically grown cotton, chlorine-free whitening, no rayon and recycled-content packaging.
And don't forget baby too - chlorine free diapers are also available.
People often wonder what happens to aluminum cans when they’re recycled. Sure, they know they’re melted down and the labels and contaminants are burned off by the heat, but there’s more to it than that.
The tops and bottoms of aluminum cans are made from an alloy of aluminum and magnesium that gives them strength and thickness. The sides of aluminum cans are much softer and thinner, so they have less magnesium.
But when recycled aluminum cans are all melted into one batch, the molten metal is no good for either the tops or the sides. So the batch is either “diluted” with new aluminum or “strengthened” with magnesium to make aluminum sheets which have the “right stuff.”
The sides are cut out of an aluminum sheet that is softer and pliable because it has less magnesium. The sides are stretched very thin and same anti-corrosive coating is added. A label is lacquered onto the outside of the can.
People often ask if the “energy content” of recycled cans is less than making an aluminum can from scratch.
After all, used cans must be collected, sorted, trucked to the sheet manufacturer, melted, made into new cans, and filled with new product.
But the mining and refining of bauxite is missing from this process and that step is loaded with “energy content.” That’s why the recycling of aluminum cans is so successful – it’s cheaper to recycle aluminum.
The EPA estimates that 75% of what Americans throw in the trash could actually be recycled.
The national recycling rate of 30 percent saves the equivalent of more than five billion gallons of gasoline, reducing dependence on foreign oil by 114 million barrels.
Recycle Utah is a comprehensive drop-off center in Park City for all Summit County residents. For more information about recycling in Summit County go to www.summitcounty.org. Recycling facts from begreenandsave.blogspot.com.