Friday, December 18, 2009

Joined a CapriSun Brigade

I wrote about recycling CapriSun pouches last June and when I found out about it, I tried looking for a brigade to join. Luckily, my children's school decided to start one and I volunteered in helping them out.

They have asked me if I could assist in packing the pouches and sending them to Terracycle. The school will receive $0.02 per pouch and plan to use the money to refurbish the school's playground (similar to their Paper Recycling activity).

As you can see below, the school was able to gather several bags of CapriSun pouches. There were 10 bags of pouches and I went through each bag flattening each pouch and putting them in the shipping box.

Here is how the pouches looks like on the shipping box.
I am using a box that store 10 reams of office paper to package the pouches.
I tried to squeeze as much as I could on the 1st layer and adding a 2nd layer of pouches.
Here is a filled box. I believe I was able to finish 5 bags just for this one box. I packaged it up, added a shipping label and dropped it at a UPS store but didn't weigh the box.
Shipping to Terracycle is free if you are a member of a brigade and you have an account on their site. You can just login to your account and print out a pre-paid UPS shipping label. Then, drop off the package to any UPS store and you can also track the package on the UPS website.

I was able to fill two more boxes with the remaining 5 bags. All of the boxes have been shipped and confirmed that they were received on by Terracycle. The boxes are a bit heavy... maybe around 8 to 10 pounds each. I should have weighed each one of them before shipping them out.

Lastly, I hope the school earns a lot from this recycling activity so they can make their school playground safer.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Paper Recycling -

My kids school started a paper recycling drive during the start of the school year. They are trying to raise money to upgrade the school's playground. In order to do this, they obtained recycling bins from to be able to collect the used paper products.

The recycling bin looks like this and has a picture of a dog carrying a paper. This is the back of the bin and shows a large sign that says "Make Every Page Count. Recycle Paper Here."

This is the front of the bin that shows "Local Fund Raising." To drop paper, you don't need to open the front covers since there are slots on the sides where you can drop the paper items/products.
There are 3 bins at the back of the school and the last time I walked by, I saw 1 bin is already full and the other 2 are about half-full.
The following items are accepted on the bins: Newspapers, Magazines, Office and School Papers, Shopping Catalogs and Mail.
This is the side of the bin where you can drop the paper items. It also lists the type of papers that are accepted (Phonebooks are not accepted). On the side of the paper list, it also list items that should not be included: Plastic, Glass, Metals and Trash.
The are also signs that can be seen around the school campus that directs where you can drop your used paper.
The school had a paper drive week last month and asked each student to bring used paper for recycling. The total weight of collected paper amounted to 6836 pounds. That is about 3 1/2 (short) tons of paper from about 600 students.

We contributed about 80 pounds of paper and old magazines for that week. The drive helped me clear out old bills, statements and magazines stacked in my home office. Most of my bills are now electronic ever since I switch paperless. Here is a previous post about paperless billing and it has the sign-up links for banks, utilities, etc.

One note though. I did shred those bills with confidential information before sending them to school (shredding helps in protecting your identity).

The school's paper drive is still ongoing. All of our junk mail and other paper products are now going to this drive. My regular recycling bin is a little lighter now since I don't put any paper there anymore.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pathmark (recycling and reusable bags)

We dropped by a local Pathmark supermarket near our house and I found a plastic bag recycling bin in the store. Pathmark stores are in the Northeastern side of the United States and most of their stores are in the states of New York, New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Here is what the plastic bag recycling bin looks like. It's similar to what I found in Staples and Lowe's.
Pathmark also offers reusable bags for 99 cents each and they have several designs as shown below. I found their reusable bags sturdy as compared to other reusable bags. It also appeals to nature lovers since the designs have plants and animals on them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Anatomy of a Starbucks Coffee Cup

Around 8:30am at the office.

Zzzzzz..... head dozing off early in the morning. The cup of coffee I took before leaving home is not kicking in my system.

Coffee... I need COFFEE!!!!

So, I head down the cafeteria and grabbed a cup of Starbucks coffee. After a few sips, WOO HOO!!! I'm feeling the caffeine flowing through my veins and now I'm refreshed and energized.

I then noticed something on the coffee sleeve. It said "Starbucks is committed to reducing our environmental impact through increased use of post-consumer recycled materials. Help us help the planet." Also written are the following:

60% post-consumer fiber sleeve
First-ever 10% post-consumer fiber cup

I then looked at the cup and I found the information about the recycled part. Also, the lid that they are using are recyclable. Below are the pictures that I took to show the details of the recycled/recyclable parts.

Starbucks coffee sleeve.
Fiber cup (10% post-consumer shown at the bottom)
A closer look of the cup
(apologies... blurred picture. I took this using my cell phone)
Lid of the cup

This is a good thing and I hope the other coffee cup makers and coffee shops will follow Starbucks lead on this.

I just found information regarding the Cup Recycling program at Starbucks by Global Green USA at There are lot of very interesting information written by Cindy Tickle. Please visit this link for the full article.

But if you really want to help the environment, a better choice is to use a reusable mug (similar to the pictures shown below) to drink your coffee, tea or other beverage of your choice. You will not produce any waste and you can reuse the mug everytime you want a refreshing drink... just don't forget to clean it after each use. :)

Reusable Mug
Reusable Mug available at the office

Monday, September 7, 2009

CNN Video: Recycling, Energy Efficiency

The CNN video below shows information about recycling, energy saving and innovation here in the U.S. and in the Philippines.

The 1st part of the video is about billboards. One billboard uses the sun to show that the sea level is rising. Then it shows how the Philippines is recycling billboards to bags. I was in the Philippines last June 2008 and I saw a lot of billboards along EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) and C-5 (Circumferential Road 5). The billboards are huge and there are several of them on different roads around Metro Manila. From what I heard, the billboards are changed frequently and with the Philippine presidential election coming in 2010, there will be more billboards to be put up.

The video also shows Terracycle. A few months ago, I wrote that Terracycle is recycling Caprisun pouches into bags and other products. You can view my previous post using this link.

The next parts of the video are about energy efficiency and innovations. It features T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA. where they recycle rain water and shows that their school building have solar panels and energy efficient roof and windows.

The Empire State Building's plan for energy consumption is also featured. The plan is to install energy efficient lighting, upgrade the windows and install new heating and cooling systems. These activities will provide around 38% reduction in energy consumption for the one of the most known building in the world.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A.I. duPont Hospital for Children

We brought our son last month at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children for a follow-up on his eye checkup. I have noticed something different when we got there. I saw recycling bins around the hospital (see pictures below). The bins are big and green and has a sign at the top for cans and bottles. At the bottom part of the bin, there is a big art work that encourages recycling.

It is a great idea to put the big art work as it attracts attention. Also, the hospital's patients are children and the art work helps to instill the idea of recycling to the young minds.

We were there on the first week of June for the initial eye checkup and I did not see these bins back then. I'm pretty sure that they were not there because my eyes are really trained now for finding anything about recycling or recyclables.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

30% Recycled Paper

I have been to the Photocopy room at my office and I noticed something different. My company changed the brand of our copy paper to the Staples brand. I happened to notice that we are now using a 30% recycled paper (see below).

Several Staples copy papers stacked.
I checked the Staples package further and found the 30% recycled mentioned everywhere.

At the back of the packaging, there are several choices of papers and I found that there are 4 choices for recycled papers:
1. Copy Paper - 30% recycled PCW (Post-Consumer Waste)
2. Copy Paper - 100% recycled PCW
3. Multipurpose Paper - 50% recycled PCW
4. Multipurpose Paper - 100% recycled PCW

Another good thing that they mention is that the package that they use is recyclable (see bottom right below).
(back - types of paper)

Also at the back of the Staples brand paper are some recycling information. It mentions that "The average American uses more than 655 pounds of paper every year." It also has a table that shows how recycled papers help the environment.

(back - recycled content info)
Here's what the table above says:
30% recycled paper
- 30% fewer trees used
- 13% less energy used
- 11% fewer greenhouse gas emissions
- 14% less water used

50% recycled paper
- 50% fewer trees used
- 19% less energy used
- 19% fewer greenhouse gas emissions
- 23% less water used

100% recycled paper
- 100% fewer trees used
- 42% less energy used
- 37% fewer greenhouse gas emissions
- 46% less water used

I never knew that my office use recycled paper since I only go to the Photocopy room occasionally and I don't print out a lot of documents. I also haven't noticed that the previous brand (Hammermill) that we were using was also a recycled paper (see below).

As you can see, even though there is a big recycling sign at the middle of the packaging, the 30% PCW can only be found at the bottom right and the sign is also small. Unlike the Staples brand, 'recycled paper' is not mentioned anywhere on the packaging. Some people might interpret the big recycling sign on the Hammermill brand as 'it can be recycled' instead of 'recycled paper.'

The Hammermill brand also shows its environment friendly side by giving a tip at the back of its packaging. It says "Planting a tree on Arbor Day helps ensure trees will be around for generations."

Should you decide to go recycled on your paper, look up the PCW percentage on the packaging. Also, when printing or photocopying, use both sides of the paper. It minimize waste and will also save you some money.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eco-friendly DVD case

I got a copy of the Watchmen DVD last Friday and noticed something different with it's case when I removed the DVD (see below).
The DVD case is called an Eco-box because as you can see, the case is made with less plastic. The white area that you see on the recycle logo and the DVD holder is actually the back of the paper used for the DVD design/details.

I remember seeing this Eco-box before from my Incredible Hulk DVD. I was thinking of writing up something back then but I got busy and forgot all about it. Thanks to the Watchmen DVD and I remembered this Earth friendly DVD case.

The Incredible Hulk DVD Case
ECO-BOX name.
I just wish that the DVD manufacturers will start using eco-friendly case just like this Eco-box case.

Monday, August 10, 2009

IBM eco-friendly USB thumb drive

I got a gift from IBM a couple of weeks ago. It is an eco-friendly USB thumb drive. The casing is made from bamboo instead of the usual plastic case. The design is very simple but it's very well crafted.

I remember attending a virtual conference last February and the theme is about "Green IT". This might be one of the giveaways for that virtual conference or maybe I just got lucky.

Here's the USB thumb drive
Cap removed
The letter I got from IBM.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recycling at Staples

Last March, I wrote something about UPS Recycling and one place you can recycle it is at Staples. I received a comment from one of the readers that you need to bring a printout of the APC announcement to be able to avail the free UPS or battery recycling at Staples. They used to charge $10 per piece and the free recycling promotion ends on September 30, 2009.

I went to a local Staples store last week and found out that they also have recycling bins for cellphones, pager, handhelds and plastic bags.

Cellphone, pager or handheld recycling bin

Plastic bag recycling bin

While at Staples, you can also check out their reusable bags. Here's what it looks like.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

CapriSun Pouches

CapriSun has teamed up with TerraCycle to reuse the drink pouches into usable products. You can also generate money for your school by establishing a Drink Pouch Brigade. You can visit/sign-up at their website to start the brigade. According to the CapriSun box (as shown below), you can earn $0.02 per donated pouch.

Terracycle reuses the drink pouches to make them into pencil cases, bags, folders, etc. Below are the photos of what the drink pouches can be turned into.

Tote Bag

Visit the following Terracycle links to find more items made from CapriSun pouches, Oreo wrappers and other items that you might be using everyday.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Burger King uses recycled brown bags

We went to a Burger King drive-thru the other day and my kids wanted the kid's meal because they are giving away Pokemon cards. Upon reaching home, I noticed the side of Burger King's brown bags (see photo on the right). It says "Be Good To Mother Earth!" and has some tips on ways of saving energy. The bag is also made from 100% recycled paper.

As for the energy saving tips, it says:

  • Turn of lights, TV, and computer when not in use.
  • Help adults recycle cans, bottles, bags and newspapers.
  • Don't leave water running when brushing your teeth.
  • Walk or bike with your family instead of using the car.
It seems that the tips are directed for kids and it's a good thing because they can be trained early.

The bag also has an icon of a person throwing a trash in a trash bin. This promotes cleanliness and instills that trash should be properly disposed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Please Touch Museum Recycles

Last Sunday, we went to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, PA. This museum has a lot of activities for kids (and adults) to enjoy. My kids had fun during the visit and they keep on reminding me to go back there again.

During our visit, I noticed that they have recyclable bins available throughout the place. The bins look like this and can be easily found because of their big signs.

Here is one of the bins that I found at the Carousel area.

Upon entering the museum, you will see the Liberty Arm & Torch (as shown below) at the center of the museum. This is about 40 feet tall and was made from discarded playthings.
There was also a room behind the Liberty Arm and Torch that displays miniature buildings made from used styrofoam materials (items that came from TV and appliance boxes, etc.). I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it and I checked their website but they don't have any information about it. I'm guessing that it may be a temporary exhibit.

If you are in the Philadelphia area, check out the Please Touch Museum. The kids (and adults) will surely have fun during your visit.

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