Category Archives: recycle/repurposed

Shred papers, recycle tires & electronics at free event in Paramus on Sunday Aug 16

Spread The Word! Protect your identity at the free BCUA Recycling Event in Paramus: shred papers for free and also, safely recycle tires and electronics.

Sunday 16 August 16 2015
Bergen Community College
400 Paramus Road
Paramus, NJ

shred confidential papersPrivacy experts recommend that individuals shred files, tax documents, credit cards, bank statements and other items which could be used to steal their identities. Residents will be able to observe their confidential documents being shredded on-site.

Documents acceptable for shredding at this event are limited to confidential and sensitive materials only. Non-confidential materials such as books, magazines, newspapers, etc., should be recycled through your local municipal recycling program and will not be accepted at this event. It is not necessary to remove paper clips, staples or paperboard binder covers. To accommodate all those wishing to participate, there is a limit of 4 bags or boxes of documents weighing no more than 10 lbs. each.

recycle electronicsAcceptable electronic equipment includes computers, monitors, printers, circuit boards, speakers, modems, mother boards, power supplies, photocopiers, fax machines, televisions, VCRs and DVD players, stereo equipment and cellular phones.

recycle tiresResidents will be limited to the recycling of four tires per person. Tires will be accepted with or without metal rims.

These recycling services are free and are for Bergen County residents only. No materials from businesses will be accepted. For further information about BCUA programs and for a schedule of future events, please call the BCUA Environmental Programs Hotline at 201-807-5825 or visit the BCUA Web site.

Once a stable, stone country home features water and light

prior stab le now homeThis comfortable country home was rebuilt to resemble the original stone and mud composition of the stable it once was, but behind the mud bonding stones walls together is concrete to make them more solid. The home features water from two streams that is integrated throughout its design for the convenience of residents, the sound and beauty of nature and to water the landscape.

Energy is generated on site. Water flow powers turbines which supplement in winter months the solar energy captured by panels situated near the house at ground level. The house temperature is partially moderated by being built into the hillside at the rear. In the front, floor to ceiling glass doors slide to create huge openings which allow the moist air of the water collector in the central courtyard area of the house to waft through the building, cooling the air without need for electric powered air conditioning. On winter days, huge shutters on wheels which resemble wooden doors are pulled close to help the house retain heat produced by the sunlight that is collected via the south-facing glass doors.

The structure’s outside is rustic, but the inside is clean, white and stainless modern with bathrooms featuring natural stone sinks and shower enclosures. Who wouldn’t love to spend some time in this magical space?

Goat-Christmas tree tech & other upcycling strategies

Tree-eating goats are the newest firefighting tech

goats eat Christmas treesReno’s latest firefighting technology is a bit unusual: Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District feeds old Christmas trees to goats. They’ve partnered with Goat Grazer’s Vince Thomas and his flock of 40, giving them yummy pine trees to eat full of Vitamin C and potassium. The trees would otherwise hang about in illegal dumping areas and become a fire hazard.

Poet journalist praises create repurposing

Adam Cole of NPR penned a poem to praise the different ways people put to use some of the 30 million dead Christmas trees Americans burn through annually once they’re not decorating homes any longer. Bradley Beach, New Jersey made it into his verse:

In the East, Mitchell Mann and Dominic Esposito
Are two Jersey boys who live by one credo:
“To save the environment, pretty much, being green.”
So they drummed up a posse of like-minded teens.
They’ll grab all the trees — every one within reach
And they’ll bring them all down to nearby Bradley Beach.
“Once the trees are on the beach they’re laid down against a fence.”
Where they form the foundation of the town’s defense.
“And as the wind blows the trees capture the sand.”
And soon dunes will form — at least that’s the plan.
And in future years, “When a storm comes through
It protects all the houses,” and habitat too.

Mulch a tree!

Mulch Fest NYCAnother thing you can do with dead trees are mulch them. In NYC if you bring a tree to the city’s MulchFest, you will get back a bag of the mulch created from the noble pine!

Next year, buy a sustainably grown or re-plantable tree

If you plan ahead for next year, you can buy a sustainably grown tree or even a living tree with root ball intact, that gets replanted after Christmas.

One business’ trash can be somebody’s dinner

Rob Greenfield dives in the name of ending hunger – dumpster dives! 40% of US food goes uneaten so Rob travels around the country collecting food which he brings to parks and puts on display to show how much good food ends up being a waste problem instead of a hunger solution. After the media he invites have the chance to inspect his bounty, Rob gives it away:

“After leaving it out on display for a little while, if people want to take it home and eat it, they can.”

dumpster diver shares his bounty

Rob finds perfectly good fruits, vegetables – both whole and prepackaged/cut up, canned foods, blocks of cheese, pizzas, bags full of bread and bagels. He’s eaten from 3-500 dumpsters and has never gotten sick from the food he’s found in them.

Rob’s goal is to connect the many people who are food insecure – who lack regular access to food – with the stream of food items that are discarded by restaurants and grocery stores even though there is nothing wrong with them .. except for being past a sell by date, which Rob says, “means nothing.” In the future Rob imagines, no good food will ever end up in a dumpster.

According to non-profit Feeding America, “In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children.”

Wow Tips for repurposing & recycling

I have two pots I want to get rid of: first, a poor little sauce pot I burned to death. Burnt so bad the welded copper bottom fell right off the stainless steel body. Seems like I should have replaced it sooner because burnt pots can leech nickel and chromium, which are pretty nasty substances. Ah, well.

I didn’t know how to responsibly dispose of the burnt pot but in a couple of minutes, an internet search helped me learn that 1) my pot is considered scrap metal and 2) my town’s recycling center takes in scrap metal. In a quick call I learned that the DPW offers curbside pickup of even just one pot, or residents can drop off at the recycling yard. I’m going to drop off.

The other pot’s body is in perfect shape, except that its welded handle fell off. But because of the potential leeching issue when the pot’s stainless steel surface degrades, I’m going to scrap it rather than try to put it to a creative use.

While I was googling for a repurposing solution before I made that decision, I found these 41 fabulous tips for reusing and repurposing with some great ideas, and thought I’d share. This broken globe light is just one of them.
half globe lights

Give away instead of throw away with

FreecycleFreecycle is a fantastic resource for getting rid of items still in usable condition that you don’t want any more … and for getting free items that could be in great condition – or even new. It’s like a hand-me-down exchange you share with everyone in your community. You can use Freecycle just once or several times a day.

There are only a few rules in the overall Freecycle community, but individual groups may have extra rules of their own. Pay careful attention, as violations can lead to members being censored or even, banned. The most important rule is that everything exchanged on Freecycle must be free.

Use Freecycle to

  1. Post items you want to give away
  2. Ask for items you want or need – anything from a cars to a scarf
  3. Request an item someone else has posted (by sending a reply to the poster)

Get started by:

Visiting the website. Look for a group in your area and join it. You can view new messages and post them via email, or by visiting your group’s web page.

Good items get snatched up pretty quickly in active groups, so when you’re in receive mode it makes sense to sign up to for email notifications. The volume of posts might be heavy, but you’ll see them quicker. When you’re no longer actively looking to receive items, change your group preference to read new posts on-line instead of via email.

Respond ASAP directly to the poster when you see an item you want. Don’t feel shy about sharing a bit of information about why you want it, but send your reply quickly.

Answer with the information the poster requests

Also, be sure to honor the request of posters when they ask for specific information to be included with replies. The intent of Freecycle is simply to keep good items out of landfills, thereby cutting down on waste. But, posters are free to choose recipients for their items and some want them going to individuals who will make personal use of them.

That’s why some posters set up simple tests to distinguish replies intentionally sent by people from those sent by autoresponders – apps set up by people who request every item posted and sell the most valuable ones they receive. The test question might be your phone number, or it might ask for the sum of 2 numbers: simple information humans will have no trouble providing but autoresponders are not able to process.

Most posters will also want to know when you plan to pick up an item.

Freecycling is a community activity and helps the environment

I’ve been using Freecycle for several years and have given away a TV, two beds, curtains, a wheelbarrow, two Razor scooters, a moped (in need of repair), decorative pillows and many other items. I’ve received an almost-new computer tower, perfumes, clothing, DVDs, a bike, an awesome pair of Van sneakers that an older teen outgrew, a huge toy box we converted into a laundry holder and some other great stuff.

It’s excellent for the environment to gift items instead of throwing them out, and it’s nice to be part of a community of people who believe this is an important activity. I hope you’ll become a Freecycle convert too and if you do, maybe I’ll see you on the Bergen County, NJ Freecycle Group.

Happy Freecycling!

Bergen County Free 2014 Computer/Electronics Recycling, Tire Recycling & Paper Shredding dates

The 2014 Computer/Electronics Recycling, Tire Recycling and Paper Shredding program dates and locations are 9am-2pm rain or shine at:

Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bergen County Campgaw Mountain Reservation, 200 Campgaw Road, Mahwah
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Saturday, October 25, 2014

Responsible computer and e-waste disposal

e-waste-recycle binI was just about to give some old computers to someone who contacted me through Freecycle, claiming to be a recycler, when I learned at a seminar that a lot of electronic waste (e-waste) like computers and electronic gizmos contain highly toxic substances,

such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium and brominated flame retardants. When the latter are burned at low temperatures they create additional toxins, such as halogenated dioxins and furans – some of the most toxic substances known to humankind.

And, e-waste often ends up being shipped from the US to very poor countries where unskilled laborers – like pregnant women and little children – disassemble them and extract a few materials that are worth money to their employers, exposing themselves in the process to hazardous chemicals and the probability of shortened life expectancies. They are given neither danger warnings or protective gear.

70-80% of the e-waste that’s given to recyclers is exported to less developed countries. Once there, primitive technologies such as open air burning and riverside acid baths are used to extract a few materials. The rest of the toxic materials are usually dumped. Unlike other countries in the world, the U.S. sends a significant portion of its hazardous e-waste to U.S. prisons to process in less-regulated environments without the worker protections and rights afforded in the private sector. Moreover, such operations amount to government subsidies, undermining the development of responsible private-sector recycling infra-structure and distorting the economics of recycling.

The speaker at that seminar responsibly recycles e-waste, but only for big corporations. They’re not going to take just a few old, broken down laptops off my hands, so what should I do with them? Knowing the correct terminology is useful when searching: I googled “computer responsible recycling” and a few clicks later, learned that there is an e-waste steward right in my town. I’ve emailed that company and hope they’ll soon take those relics off my hands and dispose of them without destroying anyone or my family’s air and water supplies.

Responsible disposal resources

The moral of this story is: only give your old electronics to organizations or companies when you’re sure they will handle them responsibly, either by reconditioning them or breaking them down without poisoning anyone in the process. Use these resources to find a responsible disposal recipient:

You can give your computer away to be refurbished and shipped overseas if it’s reasonably new and works, or look over this guide to learn how to recycle your electronic item responsibly.

Green homes built with non-traditional materials

You can visit New Mexico and stay at a luxuriously furnished home built out of recycled and repurposed materials: the cost of a renting the home for a night is what you expect to pay for a room at a city hotel. You can also have one of these things built for you by their creator’s team.

Ever seen a movie where soldiers pile up bags of dirt as a barrier to enemy fire? Well, it turns out that if you pile up enough similar bags, also filled with dirt, in the right configuration you can end up with an Earthbag house, complete with windows and a door.