Does Banning Plastic Straws Really Help the Environment (Part I)?

Plastic straws are unnecessary toxins to our environment. 

You might have lately seen all the news articles about plastic straws. The small, harmless utensil that goes usually unnoticed in your everyday life has made it onto the most-wanted list.

If it’s surprising to learn that plastic straws are getting backlash, it might be even more surprising to learn that, according to a recent research study, over 90% of the plastic we use isn’t recycled and usually ends up in the ocean or landfills.

Due to statistics like that, some corporations and municipalities are beginning to make efforts to combat pollution. As part of that, they are planning to ban plastic straws.

Seattle was the 1st U.S. city to ban the use of plastic straws, plastic utensils, and stir sticks for vendors in the city. Straws made of compostable plastic or paper are still allowed. Also, the New York City Council recently presented legislation to cut out plastic straws by 2020. San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors also passed a proposal to ban stirrers and plastic straws in the city.

Among corporations coming on board, Starbucks is one of the first worldwide top brands to announce it will be moving away from using plastic straws. In addition to converting to compostable straws, it will be distributing a new straw-free drink lid crafted for its regular cold-drink cups.

McDonald’s in the United Kingdom has already started the process of eliminating plastic straws from its stores and has set a goal to have all its beverage and food packaging materials be from recycled or renewable sources by 2025.

So, realizing that most straws, recycled or not, are expected to end up in our oceans, and understanding the number of straws being used every day, people cutting back on use can make a huge difference.

 

Why Plastic Straws are Being Banned

The small size of straws makes it easy to forget about recycling.

You may have observed all the news articles about plastic straws lately. The small, apparently harmless utensil that goes practically unnoticed in your everyday life has made it onto a most-wanted list.

As of July 1, 2018, Seattle is the 1st American city to ban the use of plastic straws for vendors in the city, as well as plastic utensils and stir sticks.

Starbucks is one of the first globally-recognized brands to state it will be moving away from plastic straws. Besides changing to compostable straws, it will be offering a new strawless drink lid design on its regular cold-drink cups.

These large corporations and big cities are taking action to bring attention to the problem and begin a conversation about how harmful plastic is to the earth.

Moving away from plastic straws is good for the environment, but it may pose some challenges for business owners. Read on to find out why straws are being banned.

Why straws?

Based on the media attention plastic straws are getting, it may be shocking to learn they are not the principal type of plastic waste. That record goes to containers and food wrappers which account for over 30% percent of all plastic pollution. They are trailed by container caps and plastic bottles which are at over 15% percent, plastic bags at 11%, and lastly plastic straws and stirrers at 8%.

So why are straws a big target? The issue is its size. They are inconspicuous and small. So much so that folks often overlook they are plastic and don’t recycle them.

Straws that do get recycled frequently don’t make it through the mechanical recycling sorter since they are so lightweight and small. So, they get disposed of as garbage.

Knowing that most straws, recycled or not, will probably end up in our oceans, and knowing the number of straws being used every day, cutting back on the use or not using them at all, can make a big difference.

 

The Dangers of Flip Flops 

 

Flip-flops are okay for crossing the beach, but you should never make them your everyday summer shoes.

You could sprain your ankle

There are several reasons why flip flops aren’t the best choice for everyday use.

Those rubber flip-flops you got for a cheap price are fine for the beach. But you won’t want to wear them every day, all day. They have absolutely no arch support, meaning your feet will begin to turn toward the middle of your body instead of staying straight. When that occurs, you’re may possibly sprain your ankle

Your foot could get inflamed

Even if you’re really careful and don’t twist your foot, that absence of arch support can kill your feet. Without the right support, your plantar, the band of tissue in the arch of your foot, will begin to pull. That pulling aggravates the tissue, making your arch painful and red from a condition called plantar fasciitis. When you try to step down on your foot, you have agonizing pain in the arch.

Foot problems could go bone-deep

With too many attacks of plantar fasciitis, your body will begin making new bone to try to heal the pulling. With more bone than the body needs, a buildup known as a heel spur could come on the bottom or back of your heel.

Objects could poke through to your foot

It doesn’t take long for a pair of cheap flip-flops to get worn down. Once the heel and toe start to go, it’s easy for glass, dangerous objects, and nails on the ground to poke through. But the flip-flops themselves are a bigger issue because a tetanus shot won’t protect against them. Part of the shoe can get embedded in their foot and create a foreign body.

You’ll twist your toes in—and they’ll stay there

Flip-flops are, okay, floppy, so you possibly need to curl your toes down to keep them from coming off while you walk. But wear them enough and they may not straighten out once your shoes are off. The toes can bend up and stay in that fixed position that looks like a little hammer.

 

Donating, Repair and Recycling: What to Do with Your Old Glasses (Part II)

 

Repair them

Instead of tossing your broken glasses you can always fix them.

Wear and tear on your glasses is going to happen after wearing them for a while. They may have loose hinges, bent arms, or missing nose pads. Your eye doctor might be able to repair your glasses for you or tell you where to get them fixed. If you know how to, you can attempt to repair them yourself. You’ll need certain tools to work with the little hinges and screws. However, it’s a skill that’s easy to learn.

Donate them

While some reuse eyeglass programs do have their flaws, some initiatives are doing good work to get the most out of used eyeglasses. New Eyes takes old glasses in the US, recycles and distributes them to vision-impaired individuals who can’t afford their own eyeglasses. The program distributes over 70% of their donations. Lions Club also has a reuse initiative in countries including South Africa, Australia, Canada, Spain, and Italy. This organization is said to recycle around 35% of all donations. If you’re in Australia, you can drop off your old glasses to Specsavers stores where they will be passed on for reuse.

Recycle them

Glasses are made up of many different materials. The lenses are typically made from plastic and the frames might be made from plastic, aluminum, steel, or gold. This makes it hard to recycle them. That said, some organizations have programs that can break down glasses and recycle the bare materials.

If your frames are made from aluminum, they can be recycled substantially. In order to recycle them, you’ll have to break apart your glasses into bare materials. You might be able to throw the aluminum part in with your curbside recycling if it is put in a bigger aluminum container.

Imagine if we all kept our glasses out of a landfill. Now, that’s a vision!

Donating and Recycling: What to Do with Your Old Glasses (Part I) 

Your old glasses can be recycled.

Maybe you’ve recently gone for an eye test and your prescription has changed. Perhaps your frames or lenses have cracked or bent out of shape, or you just want a different style. Regardless of the reason, you now have an old pair of glasses on your hands. So, what can you do to avoid sending them to a landfill?

In the US, over 60% of adults wear vision corrective glasses. And in East Asia, this percentage is greater. Between 75 and 85 percent of 18-year-olds in Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea have myopia, a condition causing complicatedness with long-distance vision.

Considering that many of us upgrade our glasses once every two years at least, the amount of unused eyeglasses ending up in landfill is increasing in record numbers.

Before Buying Your Glasses

The first and most critical way to diminish waste from eyewear is to pick the right glasses from the start and make them last. While we can’t do anything if our prescription changes or if our glasses have been killed by accidental crushing, there are a couple of things we can do to increase their lifespan.

Pick quality glasses that will last. They may cost a little more, but if you can make them last longer than you would a cheap pair, you will most likely get your money’s worth in the long run.

Get second-hand frames from a vintage store or thrift shop. Instead of getting into the idea of having the latest frames, why not pick frames that already exist?

Avoid trends. Select glasses that fit your personal style and that you’ll love for a long time instead of buying “what’s hot.”

Use a protective case always to avoid dents, cracks, and scratches.

Pick frames made from a recyclable material such as aluminum or steel.

 

 

Could Reusable Bottles Making a Comeback?

Reusable glass bottles used to be a thing in the United States.

In the US, we’re used to recycling our plastic bottles and glasses, getting 5 to 10 cents back in return. But returning big reusable bottles emptied of beer for a refund at convenience, liquor and grocery stores is the norm in Mexico.  If you buy a liter of Tecate at a small liquor store, you’re told that the price is more than on the label because you’ll get a refund if you return the beer bottle. Some of the bottles have noticeably been cleaned before with a clear line of wear across the brown glass.

The practice of returnable bottles is common in Madagascar too, where you get a beer at roadside stands where they sell Gold or THB (Three Horses Beer) in returnable bottles.

You can also return a bottle of beer in Ecuador where there is only one choice in bottled beer, a large one or a small one.  Returnable beer bottles are common enough in Germany, as well. According to The Atlantic, in Norway, over 90% of all beverage containers sold are returned for recycling.

Why Not in the US?  

The practice of reusing bottles is good sense and it has always made American folks who are into recycling wonder, why don’t we do this in the US?  Of course, reusing bottles was typical in the US once upon a time. According to the Container Recycling Institute, the disposable can appeared in ‘38 and within 10 years encompassed 11% of the beer market in America. Reusable bottles fell to 86% of the market in that same time while non-reusable bottles increased to 3%.

Over time, the use of refillable bottles for both beer and soda dropped off dramatically.  Soft drink bottles were 100% refillable in ‘47, stated by GrassRoots Recycling Network. By 2000, under 1% of soft drinks were bottled in refillable containers.

Why Plastic Teethers Are a No-No for Your Baby  

Plastic teethers are out

You’ll absolutely want to avoid any plastic teethers that contain PVC, phthalates, or BPA.

Wooden and cloth teething toys are the best options for your little one.

BPA or bisphenol-A is a plastics chemical that imitates estrogen and disrupts the body’s hormonal systems. It’s really harmful to babies, young kids, and pregnant women. Though most regulatory bodies, like the FDA, will tell you BPA is safe in the tiny quantities that are in plastic products, several companies have decided to produce and market BPA-free plastics.

Great! Except for one little detail: Numerous companies just replace BPA with BPS, bisphenol-S, which is just as toxic, if not more toxic, than BPA. The bottom line is just because a product is stated as BPA-free doesn’t mean it’s safe.

PVC or polyvinyl chloride is the third most common plastic in the world. It is also the most toxic. It’s bad stuff and you don’t want it in something your babies will put in their mouths.

Phthalates are chemicals put into plastics to make them supple and soft. PVC is brittle and hard so to make something like a squeezy toy necessitates adding phthalates. Phthalates don’t stick to plastic, though, so they leach out over time. Babies who suck on teethers with phthalates will be intaking a known carcinogen. Several online websites have great lists of phthalate names so you can check labels.

Wooden teethers and natural fabrics are in

If you’re truly concerned about plastics or your baby’s reactions to rubber, wood and fabric teething toys are the ones for you. There is a huge variety of healthy teethers to pick from.

Ringley is a Canadian company that makes teethers from organic cotton and maple wood.

Little Alouette teethers are made in Ohio from locally sourced hardwoods. A number of them are unfinished and some come with a finish of organic flaxseed oil. The teething toys come in an assortment of fun shapes, like a hippo and a fish.

 

Does Recycling Glass Really Help the Environment? (Part II) 

 

Recycling glass is a money saver.

Collect end product of various stages
To display your project, make a chart displaying the recycling process and show the end product afterward in each stage. Get old bottles that can be recycled to make new bottles. It would be better if the bottles are from the neighborhood bins.

Collect bottles of different colors and shapes. Clean them with hot water and soap, removing paper labels. Take their caps and metal strips off. Put the bottles in a line. Sort them by color- clear, green, and amber. This is the 1st stage of recycling.

After the glass bottles are washed out they are cut into little pieces called cullets. With adult supervision, and with gloves, you can collect the cullets or break the glass from the local recycling plant.

For the melting of the mixture of cullets and raw materials, you should not try to make a furnace since such high temperatures can be gotten only at a recycling plant. Never try this at home.

Glass Recycling Pays
Some countries have benefited from the financial gains that can be achieved from recycling glass. In the US for instance, some states have recycling programs that give cash incentives for most recycled glass products.

Recycling of Glass Conserves the Landscape
The aesthetic value of the earth is greatly improved with glass recycling. Many folks tend to litter parking lots and parks with glass and other packaging. Due to the mineral nature of glass, it will never decay. Recycling glass is very easy, and you can begin the process by dropping the glass you have into recycling bins.

Glass is an amazing substance. It can be recycled over and over again. The good thing about glass recycling is that the glass keeps its quality. Cullet is the most common glass. Imagine how many bottles of juice or soda are used daily. If we were to just throw them away, the earth would suffer greatly. It is therefore crucial that glass recycling is kept alive.

 

Does Recycling Glass Really Help the Environment? (Part I)

Recycling glass is one of many ways that we can take care of our planet,

Recycling glass is one of the numerous ways we can help eliminate waste and pollution. Each day we throw away masses of rubbish and glass is a huge part of it. Instead of letting landfills get filled with glass objects that are a threat to the environment and safety, we can reuse it.

Glass can be melted down and made into various other forms from glass fiber to drinking glasses. When the glass is taken to a recycling plant or manufacturing, it is smashed into littler pieces called cullet.

The broken pieces are crushed, sorted, cleaned, and prepared to be mixed with other raw materials such as sand and soda ash. The glass pieces and raw materials are melted in a furnace and then shaped into molds to make new bottles of different sizes and colors. New recycled jars and bottles are made in this way.

In countries like the USA, there are curbside recycling schemes that are specially-made boxes to collect glass that can be recycled. Some supermarkets, car parks and other public areas have glass bottle banks, where you can take your recyclable bottles and jars.

Advantages

The cost savings of recycling is in energy usage. Compared to making glass from raw materials for the first time, the cullet melts at a lower temperature. So, we can reduce the amount of energy necessary for melting the glass.

Glass produced from recycled glass lessens related air pollution by 25% and related water pollution by 55%.

Recycling glass lessens the space in landfills that would otherwise be taken up by used jars and bottles.

Using glass for recycling means there are fewer glass objects sitting around in bins or landfills.

Benefits of recycling in your neighborhood
To find out the benefits of recycling glass, seek out what percentage is really recycled. You can speak with local authorities or visit the local recycling plant to find out the numbers.

 

How to Clean Broken Glass Out of Your Carpet (You Can Buy Everything You Need at a Carpet Store in Fort Worth)

When broken glass falls on your carpeting, try to get the pieces out rapidly quickly to eliminate spreading the bits over the other areas. With assistance from a few tools, as well as a durable vacuum cleaner (you can get at a carpet store in Fort Worth), you can eliminate the risk of scrapes and cuts to your pets and loved ones. If you have small children, you don’t want them picking up slivers of glass and putting them in his or her mouth.

Begin the job with your vacuum cleaner purchased from a carpet store in Fort Worth

A strong vacuum cleaner can suck up the shards you see, as well as take out the ones you can’t. To get rid of broken fluorescent light bulbs (which have mercury) in your carpet, you’ll need to pick up the pieces by hand and put the fragments in a lidded container.

carpet store in Fort Worth has the tools for broken glass

Tips on how to handle broken glass in your carpet

Make sure you’re wearing the right protection for your feet and hands. Wear gloves and close-toed shoes.

Cautiously remove big visible chunks of glass. Just because you can’t see any glass in your carpeting, doesn’t mean it’s all gone. Throw the glass away in your outdoor garage can so no one is hurt by it.

Vacuum and vacuum again

Vacuum the area completely, going over it many times to make sure you get rid of as much of the glass as you can. After vacuuming, scour the area with a brush, bringing any glass to the surface that could be deeper in the carpet. You can also use a piece of bread or duct tape to help pick up any chunks.

Vacuum once more, this time aiming for the bigger area around the spot where the accident occurred. You want to make sure that any abandoned pieces are retrieved, so no one accidentally steps on them later. Even if your carpeting appears clean and glass-free, glass very well could be still there. Therefore, a thorough vacuuming is necessary.

It is an excellent idea to vacuum the area each day for a week after you clean up. You want to be sure that all the glass is gone.