Going Green Blog

Trex turns plastic into composite decking

The world’s biggest manufacturer of composite decking and railing has kept more than 2.5 billion pounds of wood and plastic from entering landfills during the past five years – that’s quite a few trees and plastic bags. Trex Company has been in the wood-alternative decking business for 20 years and its products are stocked at retailers nationwide. "Trex was literally built on the use of sustainable materials, and we were eco-friendly before the term became widely popular," said Ronald W. Kaplan, chairman, president and CEO of Trex.
Down in the Dumps sculptures and art

UK-based artist Mark Roberts (aka Markrobla) recently presented a public art series he called “Down in the Dumps.” According to My Modern Met, Markrobla used duct tape and clothing to create figures that resembled someone diving into a trashcan and getting stuck. What’s the point, you ask? Because it’s ART!!!
Dumpster prohibited items infographic

We've discussed before what can go into a dumpster and what can't, but this infographic will explain the do's and don'ts of filling a dumpster in more of a visual format. When renting a dumpster, it's important to inquire about which items are prohibited from being tossed in the bin. Some dumpster rental companies accept items that others don't. Additionally, it makes it easier for the load to be sorted in cases where it is to be recycled.
Bike Constructed of Junk Parts Generates Electricity

Some green-minded students in France managed to transform discarded junk into recumbent-style exercise bikes that generated enough electricity to power an entire film festival. The wooden bikes were constructed of waste debris taken from trash bins and were then retrofitted with small generators to produce 100% clean pedal power. The engineering students were from School of Mines in Saint-Étienne, and they worked alongside local designers as part of the Open Sources project aimed at finding a way to generate electricity from kinetic energy.
Beach litter

He’s not your average artist; in fact, he works with trash found littered along highways and on beaches across the country. Barry Rosenthal is a New York photographer who stumbled onto using trash as an artistic medium after years of shooting plants in nature and realizing there was so much garbage littering these areas. His interest in trash as a way to make art was sparked in 2010 while doing some plant-finding and photography work in Long Island. His trash collection has grown ever since.
Houses constructed from old airplanes

Ever wonder where old airplanes go when they retire?...It's not to a retirement community in Florida. Most actually end up in so-called “aircraft boneyards” located primarily in the deserts of the Southwestern United States. These boneyards are basically junkyards for aircraft of all types. While some may view these broken, rundown birds as piles of scrap metal, others see an opportunity to create some of the coolest looking homes on the planet. If you think about, transforming an old Boeing 747 fuselage into a cozy home isn’t all that bad of an idea:
old cell phone

1 million gadgets and counting… That’s how many outdated, broken or otherwise unwanted electronic gadgets ecoATM has helped keep out of landfills. ecoATM is a California-based e-waste recycling company which sets up small “ATM-like” automated kiosks at various locations around the United States giving you access to instant cash for feeding it cell phones, old tablets and MP3 players.
Cartoon showing fish swimming in a polluted ocean

The 2012 results of the annual International Coastal Cleanup were recently announced and the results show that yes, we are all slobs! Well, not all of us, but the findings were pretty astounding nonetheless. The Ocean Conservancy, an international group of eco-conscious volunteers helping to raise awareness about responsible waste removal, recycling and keeping the world’s waterways clean since 1972, organizes the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) each year and has been since 1986.
Map of top 10 cities with green homes in the U.S.

Does your city make the cut? A list of the top 10 cities with the greenest homes was released by online real estate broker Redfin, and these 10 cities are definitely heading in the right direction when it comes to green living. The criteria for making the list includes low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, energy-efficient features in the home, LEED certified building, Energy Star appliances/products and an overall focus on being green.

Americans are addicted to green -- no, we're not talking about the "green" that's legal in a handful of states for medicinal use. We're talking about living a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle. The Earth Day 2013 Consumer Recycling and Sustainability Survey took a look at the current state of recycling in America. The full survey describes how 86% of Americans recycle to some degree -- far higher than even a few years ago. It also points out that 92% of Americans weigh a product or manufacturer's sustainability and/or eco-friendliest before making a purchase.
Thermostats polluting landfills with mercury

The EPA estimates that two to three million thermostats come out of service every year in the U.S., yet less than 10 percent of them are recycled properly. This is according to a voluntary thermostat collection program called the Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) started by the Big 3 thermostat manufacturers – Honeywell, GE and White-Rodgers. This is a public health issue that may be around for the next two to three decades. Today’s thermostats contain little or no mercury due to 2010 legislation banning the use of it. However, the average thermostat can last up to 30 years, so there are still millions of mercury-filled thermostats still in use today.
Trash incineration process graphic

Trash incineration is a growing trend in the United States, and we’re not talking about trash barrel burning in your backyard. We’re talking about the large-scale waste-to-energy facilities located across the country. There are currently fewer than 100 of these waste-to-energy plants in the U.S., and while these facilities are able to generate a huge amount of electricity from burning trash, the U.S. still ranks well below other countries in terms of how much trash we burn for electricity.
e-Cycle takes old electronics for cash

Logo via e-Cycle.com One of the biggest cell phone and tablet buyback companies is now accepting devices from consumers. e-Cycle is one of the fastest growing environmental service companies in the U.S., and up until now, they only recycled e-waste from large businesses and corporations. Now they’ve opened the doors for consumers to cash in by sending in old cell phones or tablets for proper recycling.
Paving the street with recycled plastic mixed in asphalt

Photo source: Dvice.com It seems logical that keeping trash off the roadways is the eco-friendly thing to do, but not in this case. Vancouver B.C. is the first city in the world integrating a new plastic-to-asphalt technology to literally add trash into the asphalt mix. It’s all part of the city’s plan to become the world’s Greenest City by 2020. The process works like this: Recycled plastic is melted down into a waxy substance which is then added to the asphalt mix for repaving city streets.
Turning trash into construction materials for building

Photo Source: Gary Jackson Typically, the goal is to get garbage out of the house and carted off to the landfill. That’s not the case here. Some creative, eco-minded individuals are taking trash and using it to construct full-fledge, livable housing. These homes are built from scrap metal, reclaimed lumber, soda cans and bottles, plastic waste, shipping containers, and plain old trash. Living in a “dump” has never been so sweet!

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