recycling

Repurposing: It's Good for Business

Jan 27, 2015
Rebecca Harris / CWE Chatham

Repurposing refers to finding new uses for items. Some enterprising entrepreneurs have even turned this into a profitable moneymaking venture.

This week business contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of repurposing.

Harris emphasizes that repurposing doesn’t just change the use of old goods; it also changes their value.

'Cans for Pets' Boosts Recycling, Helps Shelters

Jan 12, 2015
Kara Holsopple / The Allegheny Front

Recycling just one aluminum can save enough energy to run a television for three hours. But some segments of the population—like pet owners—apparently haven’t heard that message. Aluminum pet food cans are one of the least recycled household items.

Margaret Corrado is an exception to that rule. At a pet store south of Pittsburgh, she dumps about 40 little empty cat food cans from a plastic grocery bag into a blue recycling bin.

What To Do With All That Christmas Packing Material?

Dec 25, 2014

Chances are, if you got that gigantic flat screen television this holiday season, there was polystyrene in the packaging. But now that the TV is on the wall, what are you going to do with all that stuff?

Instead of throwing away the white molded packaging material, the Pennsylvania Resources Council is encouraging you to recycle it at a designated drop-off spot.

Pittsburgh has battled the notion that the city is a dirty dusty polluted old steel mill town since the 1950’s, and finally it seems that the world is catching up with Pittsburgh’s environmental friendly initiatives. As a fighter in the battle to make Pittsburgh greener, Construction Junction in Point Breeze will turn 15 on November 12th, marking the changes that Pittsburgh has been making to respect the environment.

TV Dumping, A Growing Problem Throughout the Region

Jul 10, 2014
Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

In 2010 a statewide ban was passed as part of the Covered Device Recycling Act. It called for electronic waste, or E-Waste to be taken to approved recycling drop-off sites. However, discarded televisions have been showing up curbside throughout the city.

Justin Stockdale, western regional director of the PA Resources Council said the problem tends to be caused by a lack of knowledge of the proper methods of getting rid of old televisions. The largest problem is figuring out which facilities take them, a task even Stockdale admits can be difficult.

“Many of these processors, even Goodwill industries, in fact, was collecting TVs up until about the middle of last year and realized, again, they were confronted with the same problem: they don’t generate enough revenue as part of this OEM sponsored program, to cover the cost of management. And so they step away from it, and now we’re left with Best Buy stores, Construction Junction,  our PRC operated events, and that’s about it for western Pennsylvania.”

If a resident does leave a television to be picked up by collectors, Stockdale says the city will often place a sticker on the discarded television. These stickers do not issue fines for residents, but Stockdale says some provide information in the form of a website link, to where residents can take their old televisions to be recycled.

Green Workplace Challenge Winners Announced

Jul 7, 2014

The results are in for the 2013-2014 Green Workplace Challenge, and seven local organizations have been honored for their environmentally friendly facility improvements.

FedEX Ground, DMI Companies, Pashek Associates, Allegheny County, the University of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, and Conservation Consultants Inc. received the highest scores in their various categories of competition.

When it Comes to High-Tech Roofing...Plastic Bottles are Key

Jun 30, 2014
Reuse Everything Institute / Facebook

Reuse Everything Institute, a local non-profit, has created an innovative means of reusing wasted plastic bottles. The non-profit has developed a business solution that could help people in developing countries out of poverty.

Institute founders, David Saiia and Vananh Le hope to use plastic bottles to create high-tech thatch-style roofing. Le says the affordability for consumers is the main focus of REII.

“The roof is high in quality, and we want to make it affordable to the consumer. It requires much less energy than recycling in that we are automating our process. The machine that David created was hand cranked, now we are automating it so that we make it more cost effective for people, generally, pretty much to run mom and pop businesses. So, we actually don’t melt the plastic like recycling, we just cut it into continuous strips of ribbon and convert them into other products.”

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Stanley Benovitch said his dog Trixie has been killing rats since February.

He said that stems from an infestation in Hazelwood resulting from the sudden closure of the Pittsburgh Recycling Plant.

The plant went bankrupt in January, and the owners left the building – and all of its trash – behind.

Now the residents of Hazelwood are calling for someone to come clean it up.

Businesses Based on Recycling

Apr 29, 2014
Wikimedia

Now that Spring is here households and businesses are no doubt doing some Spring cleaning. But if you want to help the environment or earn some additional cash, where and how do you recycle some of the items you're discarding? This week contributor Rebecca Harris looked at the business of recycling. 

Recycling is now mandatory in residences, businesses, offices and institutions in Pittsburgh, so these companies have become more important in the city. The average American generates 4.6 pounds of garbage per day, and only recycle a pound and a half.

If the needles are falling and you're getting ready to take down the Christmas tree, city and county officials are hoping you'll recycle it and not just leave it at your curbside.

The city of Pittsburgh's Recycling Division and Allegheny County's Department of Parks are again offering  tree recycling programs this holiday season. The trees will be mulched and the county will use the mulch in its nine regional parks.

PA Resources Council / Flickr

How do you get rid of those dusty rusty paint cans, expired medications, old thermometers, batteries, cleaners, and other household chemicals? The PA Resources Council has accumulated 3.5 million pounds of waste and over the last 10 years. They're ready to hold their 69th collection of household chemicals.

Donna Mazza-PA Resource Council / Flickr

This January saw the implementation of a ban on curbside pickups of electronic waste such as television sets, computer monitors and laptops.

The statewide ban, passed in 2010 as part of the Covered Device Recycling Act, called for all E-Waste to be taken to approved recycling drop-off sites.The process was meant to be simple, but recent difficulties have proven that not to be the case.

With Earth Day approaching on April 22, the Pennsylvania Resources Council has announced its 2013 collection event schedule for electronics, pharmaceuticals, household chemicals and building materials.

On April 20 there will be a “Hard to Recycle” collection at the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills. There will be no charge for turning in e-waste like computers, TVs, cell phones, printer/toner cartridges and CFLs, and a nominal fee for paper shredding, alkaline batteries, fluorescent tubes, specialty lights and small Freon appliances.