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Category Archives:

Recycling

Demystifying Plastics Recycling

Hard, soft, colored, clear, film, food safe, medical and on and on- the variety of plastic products in our lives is extensive to the point of being overwhelming. Plastic particles have been found in the middle of the Pacific ocean, in the stomachs of animals, fish and birds, and even in human lungs and bloodstreams. And as oil companies look toward a future with much less dependence on their products as fuel for heat, electricity and transportation, it’s expected that the production of plastics is going to increase over time, at least in the short term.

Even though plastics recycling has been mandatory in NYC since 1989, it can be difficult to understand the rules. Overall, less than 50% of recyclable materials are recovered. Plastic dishware, including cups, plates and utensils, which can be recycled as rigid plastics in NYC, have only a 5% capture rate.

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Books for Kids that Teach About the Environment

“Reading is fundamental” is a phrase most people are familiar with, and instilling a love of books and reading in their children is some thing that many, if not most, parents strive for. Some books carry messages even more profound, though. Stories are such a compelling way of passing on information that human cultures have stories that have survived thousands of years.

When it comes to environmentalism, stories can play an important role in teaching kids to take care of the animals, plants and other features of a healthy natural environment.

Here are five suggestions from Earth911.com that are sure to please budding environmentalists and eco-parents:

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Teachers! Check Out the New Green Design Lab Website

gdl_blogThe Solar One Education team is excited to launch our new, enhanced website, thegreendesignlab.org!

The new website is easy to navigate and offers new features for registering for our Professional Development Workshops, the Green Design Lab Energy Challenge, and a host of resources for our Sustainable Schools Network members!

Since its inception 6 years ago, the Green Design Lab has grown to reach teachers and students in over 400 schools. During this time, Solar One Educators have provided professional development training for teachers on our hands-on curriculum, in-class programming for students, and support for energy reduction and school sustainability projects. With the development and growth of the Green Design Lab Sustainable Schools Network (SSN), Solar One Educators have reached teachers across the United States.

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Goodbye, Expanded Polystyrene Foam, We Will Not Miss You

plasticfoamThis is a picture of a piece of expanded polystyrene foam- the ubiquitous squishy plastic foam that takeout food containers, hot coffee cups, hospital and school meal trays and packing peanuts are all commonly made from- under an electron microscope. Plastic foam (often referred to by the brand name Styrofoam) is lightweight and well insulating; it’s also unrecyclable and pretty damn near indestructible when put into a landfill.

There’s been talk of a NYC ban on plastic foam products for years, and a ban was actually approved under Mayor Bloomberg in 2013, but the city decided to do a study to see whether there might be an effective and efficient way to recycle it. That study concluded that trying to recycle the foam wouldn’t be feasible, so now it’s out. 

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E-Waste Recycling Law Is Now in Effect; Here’s What You Need to Know

ewastelawHappy new year! We hope your holidays were filled with love, friendship, joy, delicious food and of course, new stuff. And if that new stuff is electronic and replaces some of your old stuff, you’ll need to be a little more careful about how you get rid of that old stuff.

As of New Year’s Day, 2015, it is illegal to leave old electronics out on the curb for regular garbage pickup. And that’s a really good thing, because computers, TVs and lots of other electronics have reusable components like rare earth, and recyclable materials such as rigid plastic, metal and glass.

There are several ways to get old electronics where they need to be to be in compliance with the new law:

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Holiday E-Waste Recycling Is Going On Now

This holiday season, lots of people will be getting shiny new toys to play with: game consoles, TVs, computers, tablets, phones and smartwatches. Some people will even get new appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and other appliances. Even though holiday shopping is down this year, rest assured that  the holidays still add up to a lot of trash and waste.

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