Archive for Recycling

Synthetic Turf; Safe or Unsafe?

There have been a number of concerns raised about synthetic turf on athletic fields as to its impact on the health of the user. As we are in football season, it seems timely that we should look at this again.

First, understand that there is no absolute proof based on any known studies that can link any dangerous health effects to playing on synthetic turf. Also, it is true that synthetic turf does allow us to use recycled tires in the form of crumb rubber in the cushioning of the fields. But, the lingering questions of health must trump recycling.

Synthetic Turf

Notwithstanding which facts are correct, I still cannot understand why we rip up natural grass to put down artificial turf in our colleges, high schools and playing fields. Oh, I understand the cost elements and the durability arguments…I just don’t agree with them.

Study after study shows that we can grow natural turf fields using compost and proper aeration programs that:

  1. Reduce water and pesticide use.
  2. Hold up to heavy traffic.
  3. Allow people to play on real grass.
  4. Offer the added benefits of using living plants and creating a drainage area for water that is natural and effective.

So, why should we risk anyone’s health on an unknown when we can use a natural and effective alternative?

Read the full article:
Link Between Synthetic Turf Fields and Student Athlete Illnesses Considered


Why doesn’t Dunkin Donuts use recycled paper coffee cups?

From the Dunkin Donuts Web Site:
Why doesn’t Dunkin’ Donuts use recycled paper coffee cups?
Dunkin’ Donuts is committed to selling fresh brewed coffee in containers that are safe for the consumer. Our foam cup is one of the strongest in the industry and it insulates better than paper cups we have tested. By using foam, we are reducing the added waste that occurs with double cupping, cup sleeves and/or extra napkins. In addition, foam cups are recyclable, paper cups are not, and we encourage you to check with your local/municipal-recycling program as to whether or not they will accept #6 plastic.

ARGH…Misinformation is such a nightmare.

I recently presented at my Alma Mater for a group of sustainability students and they asked what they could do on campus to make a difference in the solid waste generation on campus. I suggested that they try to get styrofoam cups removed from all food service, starting with Dunkin Donuts.

Well, I thought that I should look this up first…and the above misinformation is what Dunkin Donuts is espousing…

First, while it is true that paper cups cannot be recycled after they have been used, it is equally true that styrofoam cups cannot be recycled after they are used either. More importantly, very few programs exist to take styrofoam in any event.

Why? Well to answer the Dunkin Donuts people who are encouraging your community to subsidize their use of styrofoam by paying for a recycling program to take their product, which it can’t do in any event…the answer is…

It is not economical in any way to recycle styrofoam. Even if collected, it is so light that we would waste more energy moving this material than we could save.

Dunkin Donuts Styrofoam Cups

The Dunkin Donuts website is simply asking you and I to support corporate welfare by putting these programs in place.

I have a better idea…look at some of your more environmentally conscious competitors and learn.

As for us, why not forward this blog to 10 friends and start a petition to get DD to change?

Any takers?


Zero Waste…Two views

We read a good deal about zero waste initiatives. Two different articles show how confusing this can be. Some generators divert as much waste as possible to resource recovery plants, thus avoiding landfills. Others are moving to technologies that recover more materials through more aggressive source separation and recycling; then using anerobic digesters to make gas for fuel.

Some combination of the methods makes sense. There are simply some materials that cannot be source separated easily. However, it does make sense to capture all that we can for recovery, recycling and energy generation before relying on the arcane technology of the landfill.

Zero Waste Landfill

When reading the two articles, note the difference in those companies that are changing the nature of the materials that they use…Ah, thinking about what will leave before you use it…Now there’s a solution.

Read the full articles:


Separating Rubbish from Reality

NJSPOTLIGHT offered one of the more in depth articles on recycling that I have read in the past several months. There are several key elements raised in this article about New Jersey’s recycling program.

New Jersey Recycling Program Funds1. The Christie Administration must stop diverting money from New Jersey’s recycling program that we pay for in our solid waste disposal taxes. In just two years, this administration has diverted $41 million to the general fund.

This money should have been used for grants to municipalities, education funding and improved communication. Instead, due a SEVERE lack of leadership on the part of the Governor, it was raided to plug holes in the budget.

2. We need to educate, educate and educate more….Due to the complexity and variety of products on the market, and the myriad of recycling options and limitations on those products, the public needs to receive constant information about recycling. Studies on recycling behavior have shown that when people are either confused about recycling, or doubt what to do, they do nothing or the wrong thing with the material.

3. The legislature needs to stop proposing bottle bills and bag fees in order to add a hidden tax for some third party purpose. The last thing that recycling needs is to have more confusion and fees.

Oh, there is much more to do, but these are good starts.

Read the full article:
Explainer: Separating Rubbish from Reality for NJ’s Recycling