Common Household Items Containing Harmful Chemicals: What You Didn’t Know

Due to research and the increased efforts to reduce toxins and live more sustainably, many of our everyday products are a lot safer than they were 50 years ago. However, there are still some common products that contain substances that are toxic to the human body. Here are some common household items that you probably use every day but they may contain potentially harmful chemicals and some alternatives to those products.

Personal Care Products

1. Lotion

Some lotions may contain binders and preservatives derived from chemicals. Acrylamide is a binder thought to be a cause of breast cancer, while parabens (including propylparaben and methylparaben) are a type of preservative known to be a hormone disruptor. Avoid lotions and other personal care products with these ingredients as often as you can.

household items containing toxic chemicals

2. Sunscreen

Some sunscreens contain Ultraviolet (UV) filters such as benzophenone, homosalate, and octinoxate, which are also endocrine (hormone) disruptors. A safer alternative to these ingredients is mineral sunscreens that use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide in forms that aren’t inhaled. Mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin and reflect UV rays, while chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays.

Household Cleaners

1. Antibacterial Hand Soap

Studies have shown that antibacterial soaps don’t actually make us cleaner than non-antibacterial soaps. In fact, the main ingredient in antibacterial soap (triclosan) increases the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. It has also been found that triclosan has contributed to toxic algae in water sources.  Bottom line, soaps and other cleaners labeled “antibacterial” are potentially doing more harm than good.

2. Multipurpose Cleaners

Many household cleaners, including window cleaners, contain an ingredient called 2-butoxyethanol. The EPA has found that this toxin can contribute to liver and kidney damage. While companies are not required to list this ingredient on their labels, you can avoid this by sticking to simple cleaning compounds, such as baking soda. Not only is this better for your health, but it’s also better for the environment.

household-hazardous-wastes

Food Items

1. Sodium Nitrate

This is found in processed meats. While it prevents the growth of bacteria, it also has some potential health issues. When sodium nitrate is heated at high temperatures, it can increase the risk of stomach cancer. Of course, this is more probable when consumed at higher rates, so it’s best to limit the amount of red meat you eat.

2. Glyphosate

Glyphosate is the main ingredient found in most weed killers that have been linked to certain cancers. Unfortunately, this ingredient has been found in several foods as well. Oat-based breakfasts (including oatmeal, granola, and cereal) have been shown to have high levels of glyphosate. This is likely due to the use of pesticides and herbicides in food production.

Other Tips to Remember

Not all “natural” is good.

While we are looking for natural alternatives, remember that not everything labeled natural is good. Products can be labeled as being 100% natural, but harmful substances can be classified as natural. Also, not all synthetic ingredients are bad. Always read labels, and if you don’t recognize an ingredient, you can always look it up.

Fragrance

Who doesn’t love scented products? Companies are not required to list the ingredients that go into creating their fragrances, but they do have to list “fragrance” or “parfum” among the ingredients. Unfortunately, that “fragrance” can be a mixture of anything. Whenever you can, choose “fragrance-free” products. It sounds boring, but an alternative would be to purchase essential oils to add your own fragrance to products.

It’s important to note here that essential oils should always be used as directed. Though they are natural and generally harmless, they are not to be ingested unless stated otherwise. They should also be used in small amounts and diluted with water or a carrier oil.

Science doesn’t change, but as new studies and information come out, we may have a better understanding of certain ingredients. For now, it’s important to research questionable ingredients and learn if they are okay at lower levels, or if we should just avoid them altogether.

Top 5 Environmentally Friendly Construction Materials

Whether you are a custom home builder, or you are designing your own custom home, it’s worth your while to know about eco-friendly construction materials. Eco-friendly construction materials are becoming increasingly more important as more and more people are realizing the importance of creating a more sustainable world.

Eco-friendly construction materials are a great way to minimize the negative environmental impact that building a home may have. Additionally, homes that are constructed with sustainable building materials are increasing in popularity because of the vast amount of benefits that they have to offer.

An expert from a custom home builder in New Jersey pointed out, “There are a variety of benefits of using sustainable materials when building a home; the most notable is that green materials ultimately save the homeowner money down the line; in addition to the amount of waste that they [green materials] eliminate.”

Sustainable construction materials save homeowners money because they typically keep a house more insulated; cutting down on the use of heating and air conditioning systems, therefore using less electricity, gas, and oil. Below are some environmentally friendly construction materials to consider including in a custom home design.

Top Eco-Friendly Construction Materials

Eco-friendly construction materials should not only be sustainable, but they should also not cause any negative effects on the environment. Typical construction materials are detrimental to the environment because of the harsh chemicals they produce; directly causing air pollution. Or, they are detrimental because they use resources that are limited. Here are some safe alternatives to typical construction materials:

1. Hemp Concrete

Hemp concrete is a biocomposite material which is made up of hemp and a lime-based binder. Hemp concrete is a great alternative to regular concrete because it’s biodegradable and more sustainable.

Not only does hemp concrete act as an insulator and moisture regulator, but it is also extremely durable and will last just as long as regular concrete. Hemp concrete is a great sustainable material to include in your custom home design and will keep both cool and warm air, reducing the need to run heating and cooling systems, therefore also conserving energy.

2. Sheep’s Wool

Sheep’s wool is a great construction material because it can be regrown quickly and the sheep are not harmed in the process. Sheep’s wool can be used for its insulating benefits in ceilings, attics, and walls. In fact, sheep’s wool is a great insulator for both thermal and acoustic insulation purposes.

Though sheep’s wool is slightly more expensive than other insulation options, the longevity of this insulator is much longer and will reduce electricity bills significantly by keeping cool and warm air in.

3. Recycled Steel

Rather than using new steel during construction-which uses natural resources during production – consider using recycled steel. Recycled steel will produce less amount of waste in the environment, and will prevent the use of resources that are necessary to create steel.

Steel is relevant in the construction process, especially for beams that will hold up the house, therefore it’s practical to choose steel that is kind to the environment.

4. Bamboo

Bamboo is an eco-friendly building material that can be used for a number of different things. Some of the main benefits that bamboo has to offer include:

  • A durable surface
  • Strength to support other materials upon construction
  • It grows quickly, so is a very sustainable option

Bamboo can be used for both flooring and walls of a home and has a long lifespan, meaning, walls and floors that are designed with bamboo will not have to be replaced often, creating less waste in the environment.

5. Cork

Similar to bamboo, cork is a fast-growing material and is harvested from a living tree, so no trees need to be cut down in order to produce this material. Cork is most commonly used for flooring because of its resilience and durability. However, cork is another insulation option too because it is impermeable, meaning water will not make its way into it; it’s also soundproof.

Cork, if left uncoated, is naturally fire-resistant so it will not produce toxins if it is burned after replacing it with new cork later down the road.

Make Environmentally Informed Choices in Your Home

If you are a home builder or if you are simply a homeowner that wants to assist in the building process, it’s’ important to know how to make environmentally informed choices when it comes to custom home building. These eco-friendly building materials will not only benefit the environment, but they will also positively impact the homeowner. Keep these sustainable and green building materials in mind as you begin your custom home design.

Termite Infestation: Essential Steps on Eliminating Termites

Getting professional termite control services can be very expensive, as termites as well as fire ants are hard to control. Because of this, many people out there are beginning to wonder whether they can eliminate termites by themselves and whether choosing this route will be effective or not. If killing termites are something you’re considering then you happen to be exactly where you need to be right now.

Out of the numerous rodents, critters, insects and other pests, the termite is arguably among the most dangerous of them all. Getting professional termite control services can be very expensive, that goes without saying.

termite-infestation

Termite is a pest that has the ability to completely destroy the foundation of your house in just a couple of years or so. And that’s not even the worst part, which is for the first few years they’re basically unnoticeable. What this means is that they attack with no warning at all. Horrible no? Anyway, let’s take a look at a few ways you can get rid of termites and eliminate infestation.

1. Poisoned Bait

If you happen to be the type that’s a bit cautious of having large amounts of pesticides being sprayed all over your home then you might want to consider trying out this technique. With poison bait, you won’t have the need to use pesticides. The bait you set will attract termites that are foraging around and these termites will eventually carry this bait back to where the colony resides. You can place this bait in and around the whole house.

Some products go as far as having a detecting system as well aside from the bait itself. When installed, these types of bait systems will alert you when the bait is consumed. You can do this yourself or hire a professional. The costs of professional services vary and mytermitetreatmentcosts.com can help you determine the different costs available to you. Oh, and pest control professionals also employ the use of bait systems sometimes.

2. Liquid Termite Barrier

This method may not have the ability to kill the termites already infesting your home, however, it happens to be a fantastic way of preventing them from getting in. The idea behind this technique is to surround your home completely in a pesticide barrier that’ll poison any termites upon contact. While many commonly use it around the foundation of the house, you can also use it around certain wooden structures, tree stumps and wood piles.

Termidor happens to be one of the most effective of them all when it comes to products of this nature. Termites can’t detect it at all and it is very hard for them to avoid something they can not see nor smell.

3. Direct Chemical Treatment

While both poisoned bait and liquid barrier treatment are very effective when handling the outside of the house, there use isn’t really practical for the inside of the house itself. Yes, they can kill termites but they can’t be used directly within the house.

When you spot termites inside crevices found in your walls, rafters or attic, you’ll probably need something that can handle these annoying little critters right there and then. In such cases, direct chemicals will usually be your best bet. Most of these products come in a foam or spray, sprays being the ones that are most commonly used around the globe. With this method, all you need to do is locate the crevices and voids where the termites are and then spray the chemical or apply the foam.

4. Boric Acid

An ‘in-between’ solution that many people consider to be the best when it comes to the debate of natural solutions vs pesticides in pest control is boric acid. This method works on a number of insects, including the termite, It is theorized that this acid attacks the insect’s metabolic and digestive system. After the initial contact, it is known to take from around three to seven days before the exposed termite dies. And while it’s not exactly a natural solution, it happens to have much lower toxicity levels as compared to most of the other pesticides found on the market.

Borax, as it’s also commonly referred to, is widely available and is often found in powder form. However, you can also find it as a borate solution. When in powder form all you need is a good quality powder duster and then apply it by dusting the affected areas.

Your home is undoubtedly a very precious thing and pests should in no way be the cause for you to re-investment in it. They shouldn’t be the ones to decide for you whether you need to put in money into fixing it up again. Hopefully, these few methods highlighted in this article will help you ensure that this does not happen to you.

15 Simple Ways You and Your Family Can Save the Planet

Life, the miracle of the universe, appeared about 4 billion years ago, and we, humans – only 200,000 years ago. But we have already succeeded in destroying the balance that is so important for the life on Earth. What do we actually know about life on Earth? The tenth part? Or maybe the hundredth? Earth is a real miracle. Life remains a mystery.

Trees grow towards the sun, which feeds their foliage. Animals are adapted to their pastures, and their pastures are adapted to them. As a result, everyone wins. Animals satisfy hunger, and plants flourish again. In this great life journey on Earth, each species has a particular function and takes a certain place. There are no useless creatures. They are all balanced.

And Homo sapiens – a man of sense – enters the arena of history. He received a fabulous inheritance that the Earth has carefully preserved for 4 billion years. He is only 200,000 years old, but he has already changed the face of the world. Despite his vulnerability, he captured all the habitats and conquered the territory like no other species before him. Today, life – our life – is only a link in the chain of countless lives following one another on Earth for 4 billion years.

For a long time, the relationship between people and the planet were fairly balanced and resembled a natural and equal union. Now, we rarely think about global issues, being lost in everyday concerns. Meanwhile, we are on the verge of a disaster. Thanks to the achievements of science and technology, people learned to satisfy their needs, but some inventions brought us much more harm than good. We are killing our planet gradually but purposefully.

Planting more trees and vegetation will go a long way in reducing heat in urban settings.

Only by changing your habits quite a bit, you and your loved ones can make the world cleaner and safer. These 15 simple tips do not require you either time or extra effort, but can make a difference in saving the world:

  1. Make the most of natural ambient light. Turn off the light in the room or the computer monitor when you do not need it. And do not forget about the chargers in the appliance receptacle!
  2. Teach yourself to turn off the water at a time when you do not need it – for example, while brushing your teeth or rubbing the pan with a detergent. On average, according to statistics, 5-10 liters of water (depending on pressure) flows out of the tap per minute. Also, reduce the time spent in the shower for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Replace incandescent bulbs with LED lights: they save energy and last longer.
  4. Change to a bike. It is cool, fast, and comfortable. Having tried only once, you no longer want to get on the “hot bus” or spend time stuck in traffic jams. In addition, a bicycle is an excellent vehicle as it does not pollute the air with dangerous gases.
  5. Use phosphate-free detergents. On the Internet, there are many resources offering ecological household chemicals.
  6. Buy less plastic bags, go to the store with your eco-bag.
  7. Replace plastic with paper and glass. If you cannot do without disposable tableware – for example, when going on a picnic – use paper plates and cups rather than plastic ones.
  8. Choose cosmetics and chemicals especially carefully. You should give preference to products that have not been tested on animals and do not adversely affect the environment at different stages of production.
  9. Though it is as simple as ABC but very effective – try to bring plastic, glass, and paper for recycling.
  10. Bring batteries to special shops and institutions because this is a dangerous and very toxic type of waste.
  11. Refuse semi-finished products. Experts say that today, the manufacture of these products is fully controlled by monopoly companies that abuse antibiotics, overload the ecosystem, and apply the principles of intensive management for their own profit. Of course, in such conditions, quality suffers. Homemade food is much better. Do not know how to cook? A dating site may be helpful.
  12. Buy local food – the one that is made in your area. This food undergoes less chemical treatment which is sometimes used for long-term transportation.
  13. Use water filters. In this case, you do not need to spend money on bottled drinking water. Thus, you will not only save your family budget but also reduce the environmental impact caused by the production and transportation of plastic bottles.
  14. Plant flowers on window sills and trees in the courtyards. Do not let anyone cut down green spaces near your house.
  15. Support environmental organizations and encourage your family to do it.

“Orbiting Earth, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!”

– Yuri Gagarin

5 Easy Ways to be Greener in Your Marine Business

Do you run a marine-oriented business? If so, then you may have a unique opportunity to practice environmental conservation. Water, as you know, plays a major role in sustaining life on Earth. Anything you can do to preserve and protect water goes a long way in helping to combat climate change. Marine work covers a wide range of fields, but we found a few tips and tricks that may be applicable to most relevant businesses. Here are a few easy ways to make your marine business greener.

1. Use Less Chemicals in Pools

Here’s a tip for those who work in pool maintenance: use less chemicals. You can use fewer chemicals and also maintain a clean and healthy pool. This may take some strategic planning on your part, but it’s possible.

There are two main chemicals that are used to kill bacteria in pools: chlorine and bromine. Chlorine is more commonly used because it’s cheaper. But bromine is a longer-lasting chemical. Chlorine requires weekly doses because it’s neutralized quickly. You don’t need to dose the pull with bromine every week because bromine is more resilient. When you use bromine, you’re using less chemicals, which is better for the environment.

The downside to bromine is that it’s much more expensive than chlorine. If you have clients who are passionate about the environment, you could explain this to them and ask if they’d be willing to pay a slightly higher fee for bromine chemicals. Remember that you might be able to reduce the number of visits to that pool if you use bromine on it, which could reduce your operational costs.

2. Use Pool Covers

Water naturally evaporates from pools, and pool owners spend a lot of money having to top-off the pool with water every month. It’s a bigger problem in warmer areas, like in Nevada or Southern California. Water is a resource that’s taken for granted, and some of those aforementioned regions experience severe water shortages in times of drought. You should try and limit how often your clients’ pools are re-filled.

Convince your clients to use pool covers during months when they don’t use the pool as frequently. Covers reduce the amount of water that evaporates from the pool. You may be able to charge clients for having your employees cover and uncover the pool. You can use pathos to argue your case; pool covers also prevent young children and small animals from drowning.

3. Practice Eco-Friendly Boating

Do you run a business that involves boating? Be careful about which chemicals you use when you’re cleaning and maintaining your boat. Some chemicals contribute to harmful emissions, while others can pollute the ocean or lakes and kill marine life.

You should use marine foam and marine paint when you’re doing maintenance on the hull and exterior features. Those materials are eco-friendly. You should avoid using antifouling paint, which is very dangerous for marine life. You should also limit your use of household cleaners. You don’t want these chemicals spilling into the ocean. Try and use natural cleaners instead, like vinegar, lemon, and baking soda.

It’s illegal to dump sewage in any body of navigable water because sewage is bad for the ocean. Always properly dispose of sewage at a pumpout facility. Be proactive in fixing leaks, and always have absorbent towels on hand to clean oil off the bilge.

4. SCUBA Conservation

If you run a dive shop, be vigilant in protecting the reefs where you take divers. Educate divers—especially new divers—about not touching coral reefs, and about being careful where they kick their fins. Most scuba divers are respectful of the underwater ecosystems, but there’s a bad apple in every bunch. If you have to, threaten to end dives short if any diver knowingly disobeys your environmental rules.

5. Recycle

Last, but certainly not least, recycle! Recycling is one of the easiest and most simple ways to make your marine business more eco-friendly. Regardless of whether you’re a contractor or if you work on a boat, you should always have recycling bins where you can toss used plastics and glass. Take these materials to recycling facilities so that they can be properly re-made into new items. Some recycling facilities even pay you for bringing in materials.

If you run a marine-based business, you have the potential to protect the environment in a huge number of ways. Practice eco-friendly cleaning methods and sustainability, and educate your clients on how they can contribute.

Is Tire Recycling Dangerous?

Not too long ago, mountains of old tires were to be found in virtually every town and city’s landfill, and toxic tire fires that would sometimes take months to subside were a common occurrence. Today, these tire piles are a rarity, and thankfully, so are the fires that used to go with them.

scrap-tires-pyrolysis

We have largely to thank the combined initiatives of scientists, entrepreneurs, and legislators from banishing unsightly these unsightly tire piles from the landscape. Today you’re more likely to see old tires in your yoga mat or the asphalt you drive on than in ugly piles that you can see from the distance.

However, there have been questions about the widespread use of tire chips, especially in playgrounds, as mulch, and as repurposed water containers for agriculture and livestock.

These concerns are quite understandable, as we are in direct contact with tire chips when they are used in the first two applications. When used for agriculture and livestock, there seems to be a distinct and logical risk that any toxins that are released in those applications may eventually end up in our bodies.

Recycled tire products are safe for consumers

Provided that you are not the one processing the tires yourself (more on that later), there is an extremely low toxicity risk in tire chips. A typical tire chip is made from old tires, which means that they have already off-gassed much of their volatile organic compounds (VOC’s).  New tires emit a good amount of VOC’s, which you can readily detect because of the unique new tire smell.

Many of these compounds have been linked to cancer. However, decades of research and uncontrolled use of old tires in different applications through the 20th century seem to strongly indicate that unless you are actually involved in producing or processing tires, your risks are quite low due to the low dosage of chemicals a typical consumer can expect. It’s the doses that makes a chemical toxic, and in the case of old tires where most tire chips are derived, the risk is negligible.

However, working in an environment where you can actually smell the “new tire scent” constantly can be a significant risk. By analogy, a bartender will be fine if they have a drink with one customer. But if they drink with every single customer that comes by every night, they’re in serious trouble.

Recycling large volumes of tires can be problematic

Unless you constantly work with tires, the risk is quite minimal. You can and should feel free to recycle or repurpose any tires you have around your house or yard into furniture, tire swings, planters, or pet beds. However, if you’re thinking of recycling dozens of tires a week, you should reconsider, as the particulate dust from carving up or shredding old tires can also be a risk over time if you don’t have the right equipment or safety gear.

Improper tire recycling can also heighten your exposure to dangerous chemicals in the tires, especially when they are subjected to the heat of a grinder or shredder that is not specifically meant for tire recycling. This can expose you to high levels of carcinogenic VOCs without you realizing it.

If you need to safely dispose of a high volume of tires, or tires that are difficult to recycle, such as those on tractors and OTR vehicles, be sure to contact a professional recycler like Western Tire Recyclers.

Everything You Need to Know About Glow Sticks

You have probably come across glow sticks at some stage of your life, however other people refer to them as chemlights or light sticks. After you bend a glow stick, the glass inside shatters and it begins to glow.

After they begin to glow, you can expect them to be visible in the dark from 1 to 12 hours. The time of how long it glows for depends on the quality and the size of the glow stick. 

Remember, that once you have broken the glass inside and the light appears, you can’t turn it off. 

You can find glow sticks in all different types of shapes and sizes. Most are no longer than 10 inches, however some you can connect together to make longer ones. They are also available in lots of different colors, such as red, blue, yellow and orange. However, it seems both the orange and red don’t light up that well. 

disposal-of-glow-sticks

Glow sticks are very popular amongst kids and party goers, but what other purposes can you use glow sticks for?

Survival

If you are planning to go out in the wild, it is vital that you pack reliable lighting. For several years, it has been common for people to use glow sticks in a crisis situation. 

Unlike other sources of lighting, glow sticks don’t need batteries to work. Purchasing a quality glow stick will give you 12 hours of light, without having to worry about the batteries running out. 

Glow sticks are safe, so you don’t have to worry about them starting a fire nor will they electrocute somebody. They are even safe for children to play with.

Because they are small and lightweight, you will easily be able to find space when you are packing. 

Even the best quality glow sticks are cheap. If you are looking for value, purchasing glow sticks in bulk is your best option.

What Survival situations would a Glow Stick prove useful?

There are many reasons why you should pack a glow stick with your survival kit such as:

  • Helps you to read a topographic map in the dark. 
  • You can mark a trail directing others to your camp
  • Keeps large groups together: At night it is very hard to organize a lot of people, so a glow stick will prove to be a very helpful device
  • After a road accident, you can use a glow stick as a marker: Glow sticks are a great way to warn oncoming traffic that there is an accident on the roadside. If there is debris on the road or gas leaks, placing a glow stick nearby will alert others.
  • Avoid falling: If you frequently camp, you have probably tripped at some stage. Small holes, trees, and other obstacles that are not visible during the night can cause injuries. By putting a glow stick nearby will help warn others. You can also place glow sticks to mark a safe path. 
  • If it is raining or you are in the water, don’t worry as glow sticks are water-resistant and are perfect for wet environments. 

Glow sticks are used by militaries all over the globe as a survival tool. If you do decide to buy glow sticks in bulk and you pack a large amount in your survival kit, you can easily write SOS with them if you are stuck in a dangerous location.

How do you Dispose of Glow Sticks and are They Safe?

One of the disadvantages of using glow sticks is that there is no environmentally safe way that you can recycle them. As each one has chemicals inside, the plastic casing cannot be reused nor can it be repurposed. 

The reason why glow sticks produce light is that there are two main ingredients that cause a chemical reaction.

Although the casing is made of strong plastic, be careful of young children or pets chewing on the plastic. Although the chemicals are not that toxic, it is not advised to ingest them. If a child swallows some of the chemicals, make sure to rinse his or her mouth immediately. Speak to your doctor if the child has swallowed a lot. 

Click on the link for more details on how to properly disposing glow sticks.

Summary

Glow sticks have a shelf life of around 4 years, as long as it is kept in its original foil packaging. If it has been removed, you can expect it to last for 1 year. If you decide to buy in bulk, keep this in mind. If you have a large number of glow sticks and think they are out of date, test one before you throw them all away. 

Glow sticks are not just a great source of lighting, but children and families can play lots of games and have a fantastic time with them.

The Concept of Biorefinery

A biorefinery is a facility that integrates biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce fuels, power, and value-added chemicals from biomass. Biorefinery is analogous to today’s petroleum refinery, which produces multiple fuels and products from petroleum. By producing several products, a biorefinery takes advantage of the various components in biomass and their intermediates, therefore maximizing the value derived from the biomass feedstock.

A biorefinery could, for example, produce one or several low-volume, but high-value, chemical products and a low-value, but high-volume liquid transportation fuel such as biodiesel or bioethanol. At the same time, it can generate electricity and process heat, through CHP technology, for its own use and perhaps enough for sale of electricity to the local utility.

The high value products increase profitability, the high-volume fuel helps meet energy needs, and the power production helps to lower energy costs and reduce GHG emissions from traditional power plant facilities.

biorefinery-process

Biorefinery Platforms

There are several biorefinery platforms which can be employed in a biorefinery with the major ones being the sugar platform and the thermochemical platform (also known as syngas platform).

Sugar platform biorefineries breaks down biomass into different types of component sugars for fermentation or other biological processing into various fuels and chemicals. On the other hand, thermochemical biorefineries transform biomass into synthesis gas (hydrogen and carbon monoxide) or pyrolysis oil.

The thermochemical biomass conversion process is complex, and uses components, configurations, and operating conditions that are more typical of petroleum refining. Biomass is converted into syngas, and syngas is converted into an ethanol-rich mixture.

However, syngas created from biomass contains contaminants such as tar and sulphur that interfere with the conversion of the syngas into products. These contaminants can be removed by tar-reforming catalysts and catalytic reforming processes. This not only cleans the syngas, it also creates more of it, improving process economics and ultimately cutting the cost of the resulting ethanol.

Plus Points

Biorefineries can help in utilizing the optimum energy potential of organic wastes and may also resolve the problems of waste management and GHGs emissions. Biomass wastes can be converted, through appropriate enzymatic/chemical treatment, into either gaseous or liquid fuels.

The pre-treatment processes involved in biorefining generate products like paper-pulp, HFCS, solvents, acetate, resins, laminates, adhesives, flavour chemicals, activated carbon, fuel enhancers, undigested sugars etc. which generally remain untapped in the traditional processes. The suitability of this process is further enhanced from the fact that it can utilize a variety of biomass resources, whether plant-derived or animal-derived.

Future Perspectives

The concept of biomass-based refinery is still in early stages at most places in the world. Problems like raw material availability, feasibility in product supply chain, scalability of the model are hampering its development at commercial-scales. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of USA is leading the front in biorefinery research with path-breaking discoveries and inventions. 

Although the technology is still in nascent stages, but it holds the key to the optimum utilization of wastes and natural resources that humans have always tried to achieve. The onus now lies on governments and corporate sector to incentivize or finance the research and development in this highly promising field.

Is Your Commercial Cleaning Service Sustainable?

It’s becoming more evident with time that people who want to ensure any form of financial security in the future need to start their own businesses. You can’t rely on your day to day job anymore to give you that feeling of financial security, and many are starting to realize this. So, people invest their money in all sorts of ventures, but one in particular has much potential for it if you know what you’re doing: commercial cleaning services. It’s probably crossed your mind at one point or another to start one, but there’s a problem stopping you. Is it sustainable? It can be, if you do all the right things.

A huge industry

In case you didn’t know it, the cleaning services industry is a multi-billion dollar one that is growing every year, and it’s a great business to get into if you know what you’re doing. The first thing you should do is identify if you want to get into home cleaning service or commercial cleaning service. The latter naturally takes the bigger chunk of the industry as a whole since companies hire atlanta cleaning service for regularly maintaining their office spaces.

Residential cleaning is also relevant to millions of people calling services to keep their houses clean, but it definitely isn’t as big as its commercial counterpart, and that’s why you probably started your cleaning service in the commercial sector. If you are aiming to make your business sustainable, you need to do a couple of things.

Stick to your niche

So, you started a commercial cleaning service, and there’s a lot of money in it. But that doesn’t mean you should get greedy and try to get into residential services as well. Spreading yourself too thin could be the end of your business, and you don’t really need to do it because the commercial cleaning industry is more than capable of sustaining your company. Even if you hit a dry spell, don’t think about abandoning your specialty for the sake of another; instead, wait it out and things will get better for your company.

Cost VS quality balance

One of the most important things you need to do to keep your commercial cleaning service running is maintaining a balance between keeping the cost low and yet giving your customers excellent quality. You need to understand that there are dozens of others like you out there, so if your business sees a dip in quality, you’ll lose all your clients. Instead, you can cut costs by not having a large office space, for instance, or opting for older cleaning technologies, while still maintaining quality.

Invest in your people

For Wimbledon cleaning services, the most important asset is their personnel! All of the cleaning technicians are professionals who’ve gone through thorough training, allowing them to handle the great variety of cleaning solutions and to ensure the safety and satisfaction of the customers! They must always maintain professional conduct, so expect nothing but perfect results!

These are the most important points you need to tackle in order for your commercial cleaning service to be sustainable. If you can do that, the sky’s the limit for your business.

Biorefinery Prospects in India

India has a tremendous biomass potential which could easily be relied upon to fulfil most of our energy needs. An estimated 50 MMT (million metric tonnes) of liquid fuels are consumed annually in India, but with the actual biomass potential and its full utilization, India is capable of generating almost double that amount per annum. These biomass estimates only constitute the crop residues available in the country and essentially the second-generation fuels since the use of first-generation crop bases fuels in such food-starved nations is a criminal thought.

Biomass-India

Existing Technologies

Currently, there are various technologies available to process such crop residues and generate value products from them. However, essentially, they all revolve around two main kinds of processes, either biochemical or thermal.

The biochemical process involves application of aerobic/anaerobic digestion for the production of biogas; or fermentation, which results in the generation of ethanol. Both these products could be subsequently treated chemically and through trans-esterification process, leading to production of biodiesel.

Alternatively, the thermochemical processes involve either the combustion, gasification or pyrolysis techniques, which produces heat, energy-rich gas and liquid fuels respectively. These products can be used as such, or could be further processed to generate high quality biofuels or chemicals.

The Need

The estimated organized energy breakup for India is 40 percent each for domestic and transport sectors and 20 percent for the industrial sectors. The current share of crude oil and gases is nearly 90 percent for the primary and transport sectors and the remaining 10 percent for the generation of industrial chemicals.

The fluctuating prices of crude oil in the international market and the resulting concern over energy security, has lead developing nations to explore alternative and cheap sources of energy to meet the growing energy demand. One of the promising solution for agrarian economies is Biorefinery.

The Concept

Biorefinery is analogous to the traditional petroleum refineries employing fractional distillation process for obtaining different fractions or components from the same raw material, i.e. the crude oil. Biorefinery involve the integration of different biomass treatment and processing methods into one system, which results in the production of different components from the same biomass.  This makes the entire chain more viable economically and also reduces the waste generated.

Typical Model of a Biorefinery

The outcome ranges from high-volume, low-energy content liquid fuels, which could serve the transportation industry needs, to the low-volume but high-value chemicals, which could add to the feasibility of such a project.

Steam and heat generated in the process could be utilized for meeting process heat requirements. By-products like chemicals, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, polymers etc are also obtained which provide additional revenue streams.

Benefits

Biorefineries can help in utilizing the optimum energy potential of organic wastes and may also resolve the problems of waste management and GHGs emissions. Wastes can be converted, through appropriate enzymatic/chemical treatment, into either gaseous or liquid fuels.

The pre-treatment processes involved in biorefining generate products like paper-pulp, HFCS, solvents, acetate, resins, laminates, adhesives, flavour chemicals, activated carbon, fuel enhancers, undigested sugars etc. which generally remain untapped in the traditional processes. The suitability of this process is further enhanced from the fact that it can utilize a variety of biomass resources, whether plant-derived or animal-derived.

Applicability

The concept of biorefinery is still in early stages at most places in the world. Problems like raw material availability, feasibility in product supply chain, scalability of the model are hampering its development at commercial-scales. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of USA is leading the front in biorefinery research with path-breaking discoveries and inventions.

Although the technology is still in nascent stages, but it holds the key to the optimum utilization of wastes and natural resources that humans have always tried to achieve. The onus now lies on governments and corporate to incentivize or finance the research and development in this field.