How To Reuse Old Toilet Roll Tubes

I like posts and articles about reusing items, as not buying is first, reusing second and then recycling. Coupon Sherpa has a great article called 20 Uses for Cardboard Tubes Beyond the Bathroom.

For example:

11. Candle Storage
Place tall candles in paper-towel tubes and votive candles in toilet-paper rolls to keep them organized and intact. Empty tubes are the perfect width and height for both. Coincidence? Probably, but no less convenient.


Making Use Of Surplus Cardboard Boxes

As a person who always seems to have cardboard boxes around and no use for them except the recycling bin, it’s good to see people with better ideas than me.

Boxsmart is a company which offers a central place for companies to buy and sell used and surplus boxes.

Based in Arizona, Boxsmart has more than three million boxes in 800 different sizes (who knew there were that many?) and pays companies more than traditional recycling methods which bales the cardboard up and sends it abroad.

It’s also a socially responsible company. It provides work for more than 500 physically and mentally challenged people in its sorting, assembly and processing facilities.


Spotted via Springwise.

eBay Turns Green With Instant Sale

Well maybe not green as such, but eBay has promoted its new Instant Sale service as being green.

Selling your old gadgets has always been a good way of being green and the Instant Sale service is really just the same old eBay but easier.

eBay acts as the middle man, taking an active role. Finding you a buying, giving you free shipping labels, taking your gadget and wiping all of your personal data before sending it on to the buyer.

And if it doesn’t sell? eBay will recycle it for you – so green all round then.

Only available in the US for now, you can find out more here.


Eight Fresh Ways to Recycle Electronics

As “e-waste” becomes a bigger and bigger problem with every new iPhone model or higher definition TV off the line, the folks over at have put together a list. Given the breakneck pace at which technology is reinvented, multiple organizations across the country have taken it upon themselves to handle the e-waste problem. They provide the average consumer with multiple ways to recycle electronics sustainably, responsibly and, occasionally, at a profit.

Read more at 8 Fresh Ways to Recycle Electronics.

A couple of examples from the site:

1. e-Stewards
The e-Stewards initiative is leading the global charge to foster e-waste awareness and responsible electronics recycling programs. Started by the Seattle-based non-profit Basal Action Network, it borrows the fair trade mentality of global agriculture and applies it to hazardous materials.

2. Local Recycle Centers
The Environmental Protection Agency put together a comprehensive list of electronics recycling programs in all 50 states. The links lead directly to state-funded pages where you’ll find info on various sustainable programs.

Read more at 8 Fresh Ways to Recycle Electronics

Matching Business Waste with Someone Who Can Reuse It

Recycling is all well and good but it does take a lot of effort and energy and I’ve often wondered about something that was on Springwise recently – why aren’t companies more linked in together? One company’s waste is another’s raw product.

An American firm based in Houston is now doing just that – helping businesses get connected. RecycleMatch ains “to create an industrial ecosystem in which the use of energy and materials are optimized, waste is minimized, and there is an economically viable role for every product of a manufacturing process”. A noble goal.

Aimed at industrial-sized companies – fees are based on matching firms and then taking a cut of the cost per ton – it works more or less like a small ad in a newspaper or online. A company advertises its waste and someone else buys it. Simple.

According to the site three million pounds of waste materials have already been sold which would have otherwise ended up in landfill.


The Big Plastic Bag Debate

These days, stepping out with a plastic bag carries as much of a stigma as admitting that you kick kittens for pleasure or actively engage in the torture of insects for fun. Plastic is rapidly becoming the swear word of our green generation, and more and more manufacturers are becoming aware that they are no longer able to rely on this expensive and environmentally-harmful way of packaging goods and promoting their brands.

Despite the huge awareness about the dangers of using plastic bags for groceries and other uses, a study by National Geographic has revealed the following facts about the plastic bag trade, showing:
• To date the only large city to ban plastic bags is San Francisco
• Only Washington DC has elected to tax shoppers that receive plastic bags
• No state has banned plastic bags
• No state has taxed plastic bags.

So it seems that not much changes when it comes to reducing the manufacture and use of the commodity, despite the huge amount of publicity which the use of plastics for bags has generated over recent months.

Why are people so slow to ditch plastic in favour of other materials?
Plastic bags came in to use a quarter of a century ago, and have been immensely popular ever since. Sturdy, cheap to produce and durable, they are the bag of choice for grocery stores and the convenience market. Easy to carry and easy to store, they tend to be more practical than their paper counterparts, regardless of the environmental risks associated with their use.

Plastic bags

Why are plastic bags so awful?
Plastic bags have few redeeming features when it comes to the environment. They are not biodegradable, meaning that any which are discarded end up in landfill clogging up the eco system. They block drains, drift in the sea and get in to the stomachs of creatures such as turtles, killing them. The true cost of plastic bags on the environment is staggering. Data released by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2001 on US plastic bag, sack, and wrap consumption shows that somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. Of those, millions end up in the litter stream outside of landfills.

A spokesperson for the American Plastics Council has stated that the US is embarking upon a crusade against the use of plastic bags, even if this crusade isn‘t reflected by laws around their use: “We feel it is important to understand that plastic grocery bags are some of the most reused items around the house. Many, many bags are reused as book and lunch bags as kids head off to school, as trash can liners, and to pickup Fido’s droppings off the lawn.”

Once plastic bags are put in to the environment, it takes months to hundreds of years for them to break down. As they decompose, toxic chemicals seep into soils, lakes, rivers, and the oceans. Despite all the evidence against the use of plastic bags, the Society of the Plastics Industry based in Washington DC, states that they are still the right choice for consumers. Compared to paper grocery bags, plastic grocery bags consume forty percent less energy, generate eighty percent less solid waste, produce seventy percent fewer atmospheric emissions, and release up to ninety-four percent fewer waterborne wastes. While a plastic bag costs around one cent to produce, a paper equivalent costs around four.

Regardless of the arguments for and against the use of these items, there is no question but that using a cotton equivalent which can be used again and again will be less harmful to the environment than using plastic bags that are discarded after one use.

A Quick Guide To Eco Symbols

It can be confusing knowing which symbol means what when you are out shopping for green goods. As legislation is constantly changing, you need to make sure your product knowledge is up to date when it comes to knowing which symbol does what.

With a number of things to think about when you shop, including buying Fairtrade products, knowing what you can recycle and understanding what your goods are made of, we’ve decided to make things easy for you by providing a one-stop-shop guide to all the current eco symbols available on the market, and what they mean to you when you go out shopping for products…

Eco symbols guide

Knowing what your symbols and signs mean can lead you to a savvy shopping experience without being concerned about the impact your spending may be having on the environment around you. Print off the table and use it next time you step out for a spree, knowing that you are completely up to date with the latest rules and regulations surrounding your green shopping and eco awareness!