Biomethane from Food Waste: A Window of Opportunity

For most of the world, reusing our food waste is limited to a compost pile and a home garden. While this isn’t a bad thing – it can be a great way to provide natural fertilizer for our home-grown produce and flower beds – it is fairly limited in its execution. Biomethane from food waste is an interesting idea which can be implemented in communities notorious for generating food wastes on a massive scale. Infact, the European Union is looking for a new way to reuse the millions of tons of food waste that are produced ever year in its member countries – and biomethane could be the way to go.

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Bin2Grid

The Bin2Grid project is designed to make use of the 88 million tons of food waste that are produced in the European Union every year. For the past two years, the program has focused on collecting the food waste and unwanted or unsold produce, and converting it, first to biogas and then later to biomethane. This biomethane was used to supply fueling stations in the program’s pilot cities – Paris, Malaga, Zagreb and Skopje.

Biomethane could potentially replace fossil fuels, but how viable is it when so many people still have cars that run on gasoline?

The Benefits of Biomethane

Harvesting fossil fuels is naturally detrimental to the environment. The crude oil needs to be pulled from the earth, transported and processed before it can be used.  It is a finite resource and experts estimate that we will exhaust all of our oil, gas and coal deposits by 2088.

Biomethane, on the other hand, is a sustainable and renewable resource – there is a nearly endless supply of food waste across the globe and by converting it to biomethane, we could potentially eliminate our dependence on our ever-shrinking supply of fossil fuels. Some companies, like ABP Food Group, even have anaerobic digestion facilities to convert waste into heat, power and biomethane.

Neutral Waste

While it is true that biomethane still releases CO2 into the atmosphere while burned, it is a neutral kind of waste. Just hear us out. The biggest difference between burning fossil fuels and burning biomethane is that the CO2 that was trapped in fossil fuels was trapped there millions of years ago.  The CO2 in biomethane is just the CO2 that was trapped while the plants that make up the fuel were alive.

Biofuel in all its forms has a bit of a negative reputation – namely, farmers deforesting areas and removing trees that store and convert CO2 in favor of planting crops specifically for conversion into biofuel or biomethane. This is one way that anti-biofuel and pro-fossil fuel lobbyists argue against the implementation of these sort of biomethane projects – but they couldn’t be more wrong, especially with the use of food waste for conversion into useful and clean energy.

Using biogas is a great way to reduce your fuel costs as well as reuse materials that would otherwise be wasted or introduced into the environment. Upgrading biogas into biomethane isn’t possible at home at this point, but it could be in the future.

If the test cities in the European Union prove successful, biomethane made from food wastes could potentially change the way we think of fuel sources.  It could also provide alternative fuel sources for areas where fossil fuels are too expensive or unavailable. We’ve got our fingers crossed that it works out well – if for no other reason that it could help us get away from our dependence on finite fossil fuel resources.

What is a Nitrogen Generator and Why Should You Buy One?

For many businesses, nitrogen gas is deeply integrated into the workday. Industries ranging from food processing to mining use this resource regularly, and the supply of it is essential to the core of operations. Unfortunately, traditional nitrogen gas acquisition requires the rental, delivery, installation, and removal of high-pressure cylinders. Canisters are inefficient, causing a lapse in production if delivery is late or supply is low. This process is not only more expensive than it needs to be, but it also creates more opportunities for workplace injuries.

Nitrogen generators, on the other hand, offer a better option. If your company is a regular user of nitrogen systems, consider installing your own nitrogen generator to enjoy the extensive benefits they provide.

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What is a Nitrogen Generator?

Before exploring the many advantages of on-site nitrogen generation, it’s imperative to know what a nitrogen generator is and how it works. These machines perform processes called Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) and Membrane Technology, which extract nitrogen from the air and compress it.

Nitrogen generators offer a continuous flow of pure nitrogen right to your production floor and eliminate any need to wait for canister deliveries or remain at the mercy of supplier prices. While the resource provided is essentially the same, the generator produces the nitrogen rather than having it transported in cylinders.

Uses of a Nitrogen Generator

There are many applications for nitrogen gas across a variety of industries. Any industry that currently uses nitrogen canister, cylinder, dewar, or liquid deliveries can benefit from an in-house nitrogen generation system. Depending on what line of business you’re in, a nitrogen gas generator can work seamlessly into your manufacturing process in different ways.

One of the most common industries for nitrogen gas is food and beverage production. Nitrogen helps to preserve food inside its packaging and extend its shelf life. This is doubly important for bulk food products that might be stored for longer periods, as well as foods that don’t include preservatives in their ingredient lists.

The wine industry also benefits from nitrogen, as it helps keep the wine from going bad. In a non-consumable sense, nitrogen also extends the shelf life of things like paint and household solvents and prevents moisture and condensation in electronic part production. Additionally, nitrogen plays an integral role in quality assurance and consistency. On-site generators allow you to perform all of these tasks and more without a third-party supplier.

Why Make the Switch?

While disrupting and changing your current process can seem daunting, owning a nitrogen generator has numerous benefits that far outweigh any reservations you may have. The advantages of a nitrogen generator are widespread and touch on nearly every aspect of your business.

nitrogen-applications

Below are the primary benefits of switching to an in-house nitrogen generator:

1. Improved Safety

Replacing and transporting nitrogen cylinders presents a safety hazard to your team. Nitrogen generators stabilize the gas, so you don’t have to worry about explosions or injuries. In fact, they’re so safe that they can be installed right on the floor of your production room where they’re needed most. There is no risk to your employees’ wellbeing.

2. Unparalleled Reliability

Unlike canisters, cylinders, dewars, and liquid methods, nitrogen generators produce an infinite supply of gas, so you never have to worry about pausing production to wait for a delivery. While local nitrogen deliveries can run out or run late, a generator system keeps up with your demand and works on your schedule.

3. Fewer Wasted Resources

Approximately 10 to 20 percent of a canister’s, cylinder’s, dewar’s or liquid method’s nitrogen gas is left unused. This can lead to higher costs and waste production levels. Generators do not have this issue, so you can rest assured that all of your reserves are being used efficiently.

4. Increased Savings

While canisters, cylinders, dewars, and liquid methods come with expensive rental and delivery fees and restrictive contracts, generators require very little beyond their initial cost. In fact, most companies see a return on investment in under two years.

After the initial investment is recouped, generators cost about one-tenth of the price of canisters, cylinders, dewars, and liquid methods per year. That’s a 90 percent difference in operating costs, which creates a significant surplus for most companies.

5. Customization Options

Canister, cylinders, dewars, and liquid methods are one-size-fits-all, but generators can be tailored to meet your exact requirements. This means that your machine will work at maximum efficiency, producing the precise amount of gas you need to maintain operations.

Bottom Line

Nitrogen generators can revolutionize your company’s production process, lowering your utility costs and improving your efficiency. Without dealing with the hassles of nitrogen cylinder delivery, you can grow your business to new heights.

6 Tips to Help You Design an Eco-Friendly Bedroom

After you’ve tackled some of the major infrastructure projects that will make your home greener, you’re going to want to start working through individual rooms as well. Small, simple changes throughout your house can help make your home more eco-friendly.

Right now, harmful toxins and chemicals are probably lurking all over your bedroom. With a few changes, you can turn your bedroom into a healthy, sustainable space that you can enjoy for years to come. Here are 6 tips to help you create a sustainable bedroom:

1. Consume fewer materials with recycled furniture

Instead of buying new furniture for your bedroom, extend the life of an existing piece of furniture! Head to a thrift store. You’ll likely be able to find a few high-quality pieces that have lots of life left in them.

By buying used furniture, fewer materials will be consumed to build new furniture. Another positive of buying used is that any toxic paint or stain will have already had time to off-gas.

When buying used furniture for your bedroom, don’t settle for the first piece you see. Shop around and find furniture that is built to last. Many prefer antique wood furniture because it was built to higher standards than today’s furniture.

2. Eco-friendly mattresses are easy to find

Most mattresses are filled with toxic chemicals, including flame retardants and formaldehyde. These toxic chemicals are released into the air, which could lead to you breathing them in for hours while you’re sleeping.

Non-organic mattresses are known to lead to health problems such as chest tightness and trouble breathing.

Luckily, several companies are starting to produce organic mattresses for side sleepers, hot sleepers, and everything in between. These types of mattresses are eco-friendly and free from toxins.

Look for mattresses that are composed of organic wool, organic cotton, and natural latex. If you’re unable to afford a new eco-friendly mattress, air out your current one outside to help with off-gassing and use a dehumidifier within your room.

3. Plants improve air quality

Plants are a great addition to any room. They look pleasant, add natural odors to the room, and can also improve your air quality.

Certain types of plants can help purify your air. They reduce CO2 and increase humidity. Adding a plant to your room can get rid of that stale, toxic air and improve your health.

Plants that you might want to consider for your bedroom include peace lilies, Boston ferns, snake plants, and aloe veras. All of these plants can purify your air and are easy to take care of.

4. Go green with natural bedding materials

With such a wide choice of materials available for your bedding, you might wonder what the most eco-friendly option is. You’re going to want to look for sheets and comforters that are made of organically grown materials that are free from chemical dyes.

Hemp is a popular choice for sheets. Hemp sheets are breathable and can also help protect against dust mites.

For comforters, consider organic cotton or wool. Cotton comforters are great for the summer, because they’re lightweight and breathable. Wool is a popular choice for the winter because it holds in heat.

5. Stay away from toxic paint

Painting your room is a good way to quickly freshen up your space. Unfortunately, most paints emit harmful VOCs into the air.

Now that we have a better understanding of how toxic paint is, many companies are producing eco-friendly paint options. Look for paint that uses natural pigments and that is low in VOCs and biocides.

Many assume that eco-friendly paint only comes in natural shades, but this isn’t true. You can get paint in most colors. If you’re struggling to pick a color, most stores will provide several smaller cans of paints so you can test it on your walls.

6. Hemp rugs are stylish and natural

While there are carpets made of renewable materials available, not everyone wants wall-to-wall carpeting. Rugs are a great way to quickly make hardwood or laminate floor cozier.

The fibers of the fast-growing hemp plant are used in a variety of items, including in rugs. Hemp rugs are durable, come in a variety of natural colors, and are mildew-resistant. They’re also very easy to maintain—they just need to be vacuumed regularly.

Some people find hemp rugs to be stiff, but the material does soften over time. Other natural-fibers used in rugs include jute, seagrass, and sisal.

Final thoughts

It’s time to get rid of those toxic chemicals in your bedroom! Being mindful of what materials you’re using in your bedroom and focusing on improving your air quality are among the steps you should take to create an eco-friendly bedroom.

5 Top Ways to Reduce the Impact of Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution is one of the greatest environmental dangers of the 21st century. According to the World Health Organization, more than 7 million people die each year due to the adverse impacts of air pollution on respiratory, cardiovascular and neurovascular systems. Recent studies have also found that the indoor air pollution can also have devastating impacts on mental well-being, ranging from mood disorders to neurodegenerative diseases. Let us explore how we can reduce our exposure to indoor air pollution, thus avoiding physical health and mental well-being issues:

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1. Natural Ventilation

It is the best way to allow fresh air into indoor living spaces. Natural ventilation allows replacement of stale air with fresh air, thus helping to control room temperature, replenish oxygen, remove maldors and harmful airborne pollutants, and expelling carbon dioxide.

Short-term indoor activities, like painting, welding, soldering or sanding, have the potential to generate high levels of toxic pollutants which may persist in the air over a long period of time unless ventilation systems are used. Harmful indoor pollutants, such as formaldehyde and radon, can contribute to building-related illnesses commonly known as the sick building syndrome. It is essential to have a proper design of the ventilation system in order to provide indoor air free from pollutants.

2. Air Cleaners

An air cleaner improves the indoor air quality by removing pollutants from the air in a confined space, especially particle pollution. Air purifiers can effectively remove the common indoor air pollutants such as malodors, smoke, dirt and pet dander. The filter in the clean air captures the pollutants while the clean air is introduced into the room using the in-built fan. The filters are made up of paper, fiberglass or mesh, and require periodic cleaning and replacement.

3. Dehumidifiers

Humidity has a major influence on indoor air quality. High levels of humidity encourage the growth of mold, dust mites, pollen and bacteria, besides increasing the concentration of VOCs. The purpose of a dehumidifier is to reduce the moisture level (between 35 to 50%), thus improving indoor air quality.

Using a fan, the dehumidifier draws warm air currents into its coils which contracts as it is fed through the refrigerated. The condensation is left inside the dehumidifier and falls into the storage tank while the dried air is released back into the room.

dehumidifier-for-indoor-air-quality

4. Houseplants

Plants have effective air cleaning qualities and absorbs air pollutants, thus acting as a natural air purifier that is both cost-effective and therapeutic.  Houseplants trap harmful toxins and remove common chemical compounds, such as formaldehyde, benzene and Trichlorothylene. Some of the popular air-purifying indoor plants include are rubber tree, spider plant, snake plant, weeping fig and peace lily.

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5. Therapeutic Methods

The mental health issues associated with indoor air pollution can be tackled by therapeutic tools. Environmental therapy aims to treat environment-related health problems by strengthening the connection between the environment and its elements. The popular nature-based therapy activities are nature meditation, horticultural therapy, animal-assisted therapy and nature conservation tasks.

Light therapy is an emerging therapy which involves the use of an artificial source of light to treat depressive disorders with seasonal patterns, sleep issues and other types of depression. The patient sits near a device called light therapy box which gives off bright light that mimics the natural light. It is believed that light therapy has a positive impact on brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, thus easing depressive disorders. Light therapy is also known as phytotherapy.

Bottom Line

Indoor air pollution is responsible for a wide range of physical and mental health issues. To mitigate the harmful impacts of air pollution, you can improve natural ventilation, use air purifiers, dehumidifiers and houseplants in your premises, and opt for therapeutic treatment tools.

Energy Value of Agricultural Wastes

Large quantities of agricultural wastes, resulting from crop cultivation activities, are a promising source of energy supply for production, processing and domestic activities in the rural areas. The available agricultural residues are either being used inefficiently or burnt in the open to clear the fields for subsequent crop cultivation.

agricultural-wastes

On an average 1.5 tons of crop residue are generated for processing 1 ton of the main product. In addition, substantial quantities of secondary residues are produced in agro-industries processing farm produce such as paddy, sugarcane, coconut, fruits and vegetables.

Agricultural crop residues often have a disposal cost associated with them. Therefore, the “waste-to-energy” conversion processes for heat and power generation, and even in some cases for transport fuel production, can have good economic and market potential. They have value particularly in rural community applications, and are used widely in countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, USA, Canada, Austria and Finland.

The energy density and physical properties of agricultural biomass wastes are critical factors for feedstock considerations and need to be understood in order to match a feedstock and processing technology.

There are six generic biomass processing technologies based on direct combustion (for power), anaerobic digestion (for methane-rich biogas), fermentation (of sugars for alcohols), oil exaction (for biodiesel), pyrolysis (for biochar, gas and oils) and gasification (for carbon monoxide and hydrogen-rich syngas). These technologies can then be followed by an array of secondary treatments (stabilization, dewatering, upgrading, refining) depending on specific final products.

It is well-known that power plants based on baled agricultural residues are efficient and cost-effective energy generators. Residues such as Rice Husks, Wheat Straw and Maize Cobs are already concentrated at a point where it is an easily exploitable source of energy, particularly if it can be utilized on-site to provide combined heat and power.

The selection of processing technologies needs to be aligned to the nature and structure of the biomass feedstock and the desired project outputs. It can be seen that direct combustion or gasification of biomass are appropriate when heat and power are required.

Anaerobic digestion, fermentation and oil extraction are suitable when specific biomass wastes are available that have easily extractable oils and sugars or high water contents. On the other hand, only thermal processing of biomass by pyrolysis can provide the platform for all of the above forms of product.

Many thermal processing technologies for agricultural wastes require the water content of biomass to be low (<15 per cent) for proper operation. For these technologies the energy cost of drying can represent a significant reduction in process efficiency.

Moisture content is of important interest since it corresponds to one of the main criteria for the selection of energy conversion process technology. Thermal conversion technology requires biomass fuels with low moisture content, while those with high moisture content are more appropriate for biological-based process such as fermentation or anaerobic digestion.

The ash content of biomass influences the expenses related to handling and processing to be included in the overall conversion cost. On the other hand, the chemical composition of ash is a determinant parameter in the consideration of a thermal conversion unit, since it gives rise to problems of slagging, fouling, sintering and corrosion.

Water Saving Tips for Schools and Colleges

Like all large organizations, schools and colleges need to examine their environmental impact. In addition to energy usage and waste management, water use is another critical area of environmental health for schools and colleges.

With regards to the climate crisis, children and young adults are amongst the loudest voices. Many grassroots campaigns have resulted in the successful lobbying of institutions to change damaging practices. These include divesting from fossil fuel companies and halting research that supports the oil and gas industry. Here are some of our best water saving tips in an educational setting:

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For an essay writer, the climate crisis is a subject rich in content. Opening up the debate around school or college policy to students is an excellent way to generate ideas. They’ll outnumber those suggested in this article by 10-to-1. Make sure to tap the young minds at your disposal.

When it comes to your institution’s infrastructure, there are many different kinds of alterations and fixes. Retrofitting aspects of the building’s plumbing is a far easier task than a complete overhaul. These fixes use both high- and low-tech solutions.

Some of the most effective technological fixes are incredibly simple. One of many ingenious toilet water saving tips is the flush bag, a plastic bag that absorbs water. The bag goes into the toilet cistern, which’s the sizable boxy bit at the back of a toilet. When the toilet is flushed, the bag expands and takes up space that would have previously been occupied by water. This space displacement will save roughly one-liter of water per flush, other size bags can reduce  more space, but it is a matter of balancing function and environmental favor.

Flush bags illustrate a pertinent point;  when dealing with large numbers of individuals, incremental changes add up to a large percentage. If you can save 1,000 liters of water per day, the reduction becomes significant over an academic year. Little and often should be the water-saving motto of your school.

Other excellent marginal gains devices include sensor-activated taps; to prevent accidental (or intentional) tap-running. The tap flow rate in the US is generally very high. Adaptors exist, which will reduce the flow rate and thus save gallons of water.  Another thing to note is that our existing infrastructure has always put human needs first; there is a lot of slack in the system.

‘The system’ leads us to the next tip. Think for the future when planning your school’s re-development. Ideas to make a school carbon neutral, or even carbon positive, must include water usage, not just energy usage. Water does not miraculously flow. Some sort of connection to the energy grid is essential.

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Schools and colleges can look for renewable energy providers who service their area. Swapping energy providers may be simple, or there could be legal obstacles; it depends on the type of school or college.

For those with a hefty endowment, taking energy generation in-house is one option. Generating a self-reliant water source is hard and not on the list of priorities for most institutions. Who has a natural spring sitting on the grounds these days? However, in the years to come, water desalination plants could become much more affordable and offer locally available water to the area, not just the institution.

One place that needs water saving tips is California. The state has suffered dramatic and devastating wildfires evermore frequently in recent years, making news the world over. In areas that are prone to wildfires like this, water is of deep concern. They’re running out. Schools, colleges, and the entire state have to reduce their demand. Reducing this demand will only become more critical, familiar, and necessary in the coming years.

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Schools and universities can lead the way on this front. They’re able to set their own rules and develop sound practices in their students while they’re at it. Education is just as important as technological fixes; ensuring water doesn’t get wasted is as much about bringing together the team as it is stuffing bags in toilets.

Embodied carbon is the amount of carbon it took for an object to be made or to function. Embodied water is not just the fact that you’re 90% h2o; it’s the amount of freshwater affected or used to create a material or maintenance of services.

It is easy to think about embodied water in food; wheat grown in the USA contains approximately 849 cubic meters of water per tonne. Understanding metrics such as these can help with long term planning. If your institution provides food, a thorough audit of your water use could suggest ways to alter the kitchen and the menu to reduce water consumption.

Saving water in schools and colleges is literally and metaphorically plugging a leaky pipe. The task is never really over as it is so complex and prone to faults and issues. That said, every institution can save water tomorrow if they implement some of the fixes covered in this article.

An Introduction to Biomass Energy

Biomass is the material derived from plants that use sunlight to grow which include plant and animal material such as wood from forests, material left over from agricultural and forestry processes, and organic industrial, human and animal wastes. Biomass energy is a type of renewable energy generated from biological (such as, anaerobic digestion) or thermal conversion (for example, combustion) of biomass resources.

Biomass comes from a variety of sources which include:

  • Wood from natural forests and woodlands
  • Forestry plantations
  • Forestry residues
  • Agricultural residues such as straw, stover, cane trash and green agricultural wastes
  • Agro-industrial wastes, such as sugarcane bagasse and rice husk
  • Animal wastes
  • Industrial wastes, such as black liquor from paper manufacturing
  • Sewage
  • Municipal solid wastes (MSW)
  • Food processing wastes

In nature, if biomass is left lying around on the ground it will break down over a long period of time, releasing carbon dioxide and its store of energy slowly. By burning biomass its store of energy is released quickly and often in a useful way. So converting biomass into useful energy imitates the natural processes but at a faster rate.

Biomass can be transformed into clean energy and/or fuels by a variety of technologies, ranging from conventional combustion process to advanced biofuels technology. Besides recovery of substantial energy, these technologies can lead to a substantial reduction in the overall biomass waste quantities requiring final disposal, which can be better managed for safe disposal in a controlled manner while meeting the pollution control standards.

Biomass conversion systems reduces greenhouse gas emissions in two ways.  Heat and electrical energy is generated which reduces the dependence on power plants based on fossil fuels.  The greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced by preventing methane emissions from decaying biomass. Moreover, biomass energy plants are highly efficient in harnessing the untapped sources of energy from biomass resources and helpful in development of rural areas.

5 Benefits of Biodegradable Packaging for Businesses

Consumers want companies to reflect their values. They’re far more likely to purchase from a business with an identity, whether it manifests in charitable efforts or eco-friendly practices. As a greater number of people show interest in green living, biodegradable packaging presents an opportunity for growth.

That said, the virtues of biodegradable packaging extend beyond an improved public image. While business owners enjoy the superficial advantages of this transition, they often find it’s only a fraction of what the shift entails. Through switching to biodegradable plastics, they see considerable changes elsewhere.

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In this article, we’ll detail five of those changes, exploring the subject to lend business owners a better understanding of biodegradable packaging within their operation. As we touch on the benefits, it’ll become clear that eco-friendly materials aren’t only better for the environment, but better for a company’s bottom line.

1. Free of Toxins & Allergens

Biodegradable packaging options are still somewhat limited, but most of the available materials are non-toxic and allergy-free. This is an essential consideration to consumers who care about the products they’re purchasing and the composition of their packaging. If either is potentially harmful, it hurts a business.

As often as businesses must send packages, forms, and other important information through the mail, packaging with the planet in mind and protecting your items is key. For example, your car accident lawyer in Queens may need to send you important documents through the mail. Getting your mail in safe, low-waste packaging can protect your health from harmful chemicals, aid the planet, and provide their clients with all they need to know.

An informed consumer will almost invariably choose products packaged with bioplastic over traditional alternatives, aware of the implications of their purchase. Considering the negative health effects of phthalates — a common chemical in plastic packaging — business owners should be aware of the implications as well.

2. Require Fewer Resources

Biodegradable packaging has the potential to reduce water usage, solid waste, electricity and emissions. This is beneficial for the environment, of course, but it also lowers expenses associated with the packaging process. Over time, the accumulated savings prove well worth the cost of the transition.

If a company were to replace their standard packaging materials with bioplastic, they would enjoy weight savings on par with regular plastic. Research shows plastic packaging enables weight savings of over 78 percent compared to alternative materials, a notable statistic for business owners looking to convert.

3. Lower Production Costs

Most biodegradable materials follow the three basic R’s of sustainability.

  1. A business can reduce them, using fewer resources to create thinner and tougher materials which do the same job.
  2. A business can reuse them, taking advantage of materials with special coating which improves their durability.
  3. A business can recycle them, diverting refuse from landfills as they minimize the costs of new materials.

A business owner who invests in biodegradable packaging can cut costs by a significant margin, using fewer resources, reusing their inventory and purchasing inexpensive recycled materials. In doing so, they’ll see reduced packaging expenses over time, and more freely allocate their money elsewhere.

biodegradeable-packaging

Reusing packaging is proving to be not only environmentally friendly, but an excellent marketing advantage. From Pinterest to Instagram, users are finding a way to re-purpose packaging. Business owners who are vocal in encouraging their customers to prioritize environmentally friendly choices can earn more goodwill and local business as a result. ToolTally is a good example of a blog that focuses on helping DIYers reuse products, and is growing an organic following as a result.

4. Reduced Footprint

A business owner has financial goals they have to meet, but they have environmental goals as well. Every professional in an upper-management position has a responsibility to ensure their company meets high standards of environmental compliance, and biodegradable packaging can help — outside a legal context.

To reinforce an earlier point, 70 percent of consumers between the ages of 15 and 20 want to buy goods from companies committed to sustainability, and biodegradable plastics affect the appeal of businesses which would otherwise see less attention. To reduce emissions and increase interest, change is necessary.

5. Convenient Disposal

Recyclable, compostable and biodegradable packaging simplifies disposal for the consumer. It affords them more options in discarding these materials, and companies should always seek to make their products convenient, from start to finish. Biodegradable materials exemplify this mindset.

For example, consumers who prefer to compost their refuse won’t have to make exceptions for packaging. They can add biodegradable packaging to their compost in much the same way they would with any other compost-friendly material, contributing to the product’s value beyond its primary utility.

Looking Toward the Future

When reviewing the benefits listed above, business owners should feel confident in their decision to adopt biodegradable packaging. More than superficial benefits, they’ll enjoy reduced costs and carbon emissions while increasing consumer convenience and reducing plastic pollution. The advantages are clear.

Looking toward the future, it’s safe to speculate more companies will transition toward eco-friendly practices. With this in mind, taking action now is the best option, and though biodegradable packaging is a small step, it’s an important one.

11 Ideas for Easier Recycling at Home

Going green isn’t just meant for Earth Day. Going green is a way of life. However, Earth Day is a day we pause and commemorate, acknowledge and support environmental programs and Earth-saving strategies. It is also a great day to commit or recommit to employ earth-friendly practices in your life, at home and in the office. There are countless things you can do to “go green.” Most of these things are ease to incorporate into your life. Recycling is one of the easiest ways to go green. Recycling is the process of obtaining or retaining waste and converting it into usable, new materials. Some things that can be used to recycle are:

Recycling is actually a great way to conserve raw resources and save energy. Recycling at least one ton of paper can save 7,000 gallons of water and 17 trees, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Hiring a skip would help recycle that amount of paper and you can click here for ideas for ideas on the size of the skip you could employ.

As you see, recycling is an effective and simple way to help the environment. It is something the entire family can do too. Before recycling, call your local waste management services. Determine how to you need to sort and pack items for recycling. In addition, you want to know what day or days the waste management services collects recycling. Check with them to find out where you safely dispose of light bulbs, hazardous materials and batteries. These cannot be recycled or put in the trash.

Your local waste management service has different rules about how items must be sorted, cleaned and packaged. Metal, cardboard, plastics, aluminum, glass and paper can be recycled.

It can be tricky to recycle plastics because some can break down easier than other plastics. The number located on the plastic item will determine if it can be recycled. It will also determine if the plastic can be picked up for recycling.

Source: Fix.com

Although plastics are trickier to sort and recycle, it’s important to dispose of them properly. One important factor to establishing a recycling a program at work, school or home is to create a system that works for everyone. Here are a few favorites we like:

Source: DIY Swank

Recycling is about convenience, convenience, and more convenience! When incorporating a successful program about which you can read in the essay about recycling, make bins easily accessible. They should be in an area that is easily visible and used like the utility room or kitchen where they can be seen and used

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Now, if you need a simple recycling system everyone can follow (even kids), use caster and baskets. These are easy to access and use. They slide out of site when not in use.

Source: Family Handyman

Use space by going vertical. You can hook bins on walls to utilize space. It will be easy to sort and store.

Source: Sweet Haute

Another way to make a successful recycling program is to make it fun. Use stylish bins and trash cans to recycle items.

Source: Sweet Haute

Another way to make a successful recycling program is to make it fun. Use stylish bins and trash cans to recycle items.

You may not have time to personally decorate trash cans by spray painting them. How about using printable labels. These labels can go generic bins to help separate recyclables.

Source: Lil Blue Boo

Batteries are not to be recycled. They cannot be put into a trash can for non-recycling either. Instead, they should be properly thrown away at a collection center or a participating auto part store. The same thing should be done with light bulbs.

Source: Sawdust Girl

Make a special area of your home or office to use as a personal sorting center. This is where you can sort and clean recyclables. You may want to look at some personal recycling centers to get an understand of what you need.

Source: I Should Be Mopping the Floor

Many people do not have an area they can keep bulky recycling or trash in the home or office. If this is the case for you, create a dedicated spot in the garage or other area. It won’t take long before your family or co-workers are pitching in to recycle.

Recycling is full of great ideas to help the environment. Find the ones you like. Used them in your successful recycling program.

Environmental Benefits of Polyurethane

Stated by urethane manufacturers, today’s manufacturing community is becoming increasingly mindful of environmental impacts that arise during industrial processes. Industrial recycling, waste to energy systems, and emissions improvements are just part of a wide-ranging effort to minimize the impact of manufacturing on the environment.

Plastics have become a lightning rod for environmental commentators, as pictures go viral of various waste being found in far-flung areas of our planet.

Something that is not discussed in these discourses is the wide variety of plastics currently available, and how not all plastics degrade in the same fashion. Polyurethane has been unduly spotlighted in these negative conversations.

With limited resources available to the public on the matter, there is plenty of misinformation which we hope to clarify in this article.

Plastic Waste & A Start to Policy Changes

There have been some extremely shocking photos and stories that have come out in recent years with regard to plastic waste. Photos of all sizes of plastic waste being found in rivers, oceans, and forests have been circulated millions of times.

Some cities and countries have started enacting policy changes in a reactionary fashion after seeing the widespread outpouring of anger on social media.

Most plastics that have been illustrated in these campaigns are thermoplastics, which amount to well over 95% of all plastic found during ocean studies. Polyurethanes, however, account for less than 2% of all waste detected during ocean surveys.

Damaging Thermoplastics

In thermoplastics, no molecular bonds are holding the individual strands of polymer together. It’s held together by weak ionic forces, called Van Der Waal forces.

Think of these bonds as a ball of yarn, essentially being held together by the tangled ends of molecular chains. Simply put, the plastic will break down until the last thing left is individual strands. These are the “micro-plastics” which are commonly talked about in the news.

Finer than a human hair, sometimes even microscopic, this is the smallest the material will degrade to. Individual atoms will not separate from the polymer strand and will continue to linger in the environment for decades.

Eco-Friendly Polyurethane

If you aren’t familiar with cast polyurethane it is considered a thermoset plastic. Do not confuse these with the thermoplastic we just discussed.

Polyurethane differs in that once the polymer has been reacted, the individual strands change on an atomic level and crosslink between each other. At these crosslinks, a new molecule is formed, entirely changing the properties of the material.

This molecular cross-linking is what makes polyurethane much more resilient in heavy-duty applications. Once the material has reached the end of its life, it can not be melted down and reformed.

Don’t think of this as a disadvantage since polyurethane materials will generally last longer than any thermoplastic equivalent. This minimizes the amount of polyurethane entering the waste stream right at the initial source.

Recycling Polyurethanes

There are multiple avenues that can be pursued when it comes to the recycling of polyurethane. Parts may be chemically reacted to turn back into their prepolymer state, however, the cost involved in this process can be quite steep.

When polyurethane breaks down in the environment, it will not break down into its individual polymer strands. Instead, individual bonds are broken down between molecules, releasing individual molecules into the environment.

These molecules are almost exclusively inert compounds that will not react or accumulate toxicity in natural environments.

Microbial degradation has become increasingly prevalent, especially in the area of fungi. Scientists have been able to find microorganisms that are well-suited for breaking downcast urethane products ecologically.

Polyurethane For the Win

The chemical makeup of polyurethane, combined with the increased lifetime of individual parts, means you can lower your commercial ecological footprint. Polyurethanes are non-toxic to the environment as they break down, and do not contain BPA’s or other chemicals which can interfere with endocrine systems.

The minimal effects on the environment will make this polymer even more desirable as we become increasingly environmentally conscious.