Doubts about waste recycling? Here are the most common questions

Doubts about waste recycling? Here are the most common questions

Recycling is much more than a social commitment, it is the way in which each one of us can take care of the environment in an active and direct way. But how much do you actually know about recycling? We will give you the answers to the most common questions about recycling.

Where to dispose of contact lenses?

The first thing you have to know is that contact lenses are not biodegradable. This means that they cannot be flushed down the toilet, as you would be contributing to contaminating the water with microplastics.

So do we have to put them in the recycling container? Well neither, since it is doesn’t belong to any type of container. Contact lenses go directly to the residual waste container. The one with mixed waste that cannot be sorted out for recycling.

Where to put the pizza boxes?

The pizza boxes are made of cardboard but can they be thrown away with old newspapers? The answer to this question has caused some controversy.

According to environmental associations such as Greenpeace, Ecologists in Action and Friends of the Earth, no matter how much cardboard it contains, it should not be thrown into the paper container, since a stained cardboard box can no longer be recycled. Therefore it should go to the residual waste container. Importantly though, not the whole box tends to get dirty, so you can remove the clean part and throw it in the paper recycling container.

What belongs with organic waste?

The organic waste container is not yet present in all cities, but it is on its way. In some municipalities there are initiatives to create composting areas by neighborhoods or communities. In others it is decided to include one more container for organic waste.

Be that as it may be, in this container you have to put the remains of food (e.g. egg shells, infusion or tea bags, shellfish remains), used kitchen paper, potting soil or garden remains, authentic cork stoppers, grounds of coffee etc. In short, everything that has an untreated natural origin or is biodegradable.

What cannot be included in this container are pads or diapers. You cannot put droppings of any kind, wipes (even if they say they are biodegradable on the package), remains of the ashtray or coffee capsules, cat litter or textile remains with organic waste.

Where can you throw away used oil?

Used oil should not be thrown down the sink or the toilet, it is essential that you take this into account and act accordingly.

Recycling oil is the simplest thing there is. You can use it to turn it into homemade soap for example. You will be impressed by how easy it is and how few materials or ingredients you need. On the other hand, if you prefer to recycle, you simply have to store it at home in a plastic bottle (you can reuse the water or oil bottles) and fill them up.

All oils can be recycled but you cannot mix food oils with motor or industrial oils.

Where to throw away coffee capsules?

Many misunderstandings circulate on the internet regarding the recycling of these coffee capsules. The first thing you have to know is that these should not be put in the recycling container, regardless whether they are aluminium or plastic.

In some areas, there are collection points with a section for coffee capsules. Another option is to check with the brand of coffee capsules as they usually have collection areas themselves.

How to throw away tetra bricks?

It’s understandable that there is confusion among many people about tetra bricks, whether they are for milk, juice or any other product. In its composition, it has a high cardboard content, which is why the controversy arises. Does it belong with paper recycling?

Certainly not! Tetra bricks also contain plastic and aluminum, two compounds that make them suitable for recycling with other packaging materials.

Stores that take used clothing back to recycle it

Stores that take used clothing back to recycle it

Each of us has closets and drawers full of clothes that we don’t even get to wear but that we discard because they went out of style, or because we prefer to replace them with new clothes that fit us better or we like more. It’s time to clean up and take out all the clothes that don’t work for you. But don’t throw them away! There are a few stores where you can take used clothing for recycling. They will be happy to receive your old garments. Here are some of them.

Recycle used clothes

INTIMISSIMI
One of the most popular clothing brands, especially for lingerie, has sites where they collect used clothing so you can exchange them for discount vouchers to buy more clothes in their stores. Isn’t that fantastic? Every 5 pieces that you deliver, means a discount check to buy new clothes whenever you want.

H&M
As you can see, you don’t have to go far, because they can be found in any city. One of the most visited store where we spend most of our time looking at new models and for special sizes or the most exclusive gifts. H&M also offers a used clothes recycling service. You can get up to 15% discount on your purchases by delivering a few items back. In exchange, you can apply your discount to buy up to three clothes that you like.

MANGO
Mango’s discount for recycling garments goes even as far as 20%. A good discount for when we want new clothes. This store has declared its commitment to the environment on several occasions and the people who wear its clothes do so by doing their part to protect the environment.

Making clothes is a highly polluting activity that involves the depletion of essential natural resources such as water, as well as the release of harmful vapors into the atmosphere. These three stores facilitate the balance between the taste for fashion of modern generations, and the need to promote greater savings and support for sustainability.

Apart from these 3 stores where you can take used clothes to recycle, there are other stores that have joined our fight for a cleaner planet, as well.

How to recycle your mobile phone – the right way to dispose of it

How to recycle your mobile phone – the right way to dispose of it

Recycling a mobile phone is one of the things that has not yet become a common habit in our society. Almost yearly we replace our mobile phone for the newest model and the old one ends up in the drawer of oblivion. Today, we explain how to recycle your mobile phone and how to separate each part correctly.

Where it does NOT belong: the garbage can

The UN estimates that about 50 million electronic devices end up in the garbage can annually in our world. However, if treated correctly, this type of waste can be reused for 70% to 90%.

The increase in this type of garbage leads to the dispersion of polluting materials such as mercury, lithium and coltan that can seriously damage the environment. Some time ago we wrote an article about this kind of waste and its consequences for the cleanliness of our soil. Therefore, the best thing to do is to recycle it!

Donate it to NGOs

One of the options is to donate it. Several NGOs have recycling plans in which the money collected from the sale of these phones is donated to various good causes.

Some of the NGOs that work with mobile phone recycling are Amnesty International and Oxfam, which work in partnership with professional recycling companies. These companies evaluate if they can repair them and give them a new life or recycle them in parts.

Sell it to a recycling company

If we want to recover some of our investment in the device, there is also the possibility to sell it to a recycling company. There are several local and global companies that offer this type of service, even with different ecological options. The easiest way to find them is to use google to find a recycling company in your area. Often they also offer pick-up or mail service so you don’t even have to get out of your house for it.

One of the global players in mobile phone recycling is Envirofone. They offer their service in the entire UK and several other countries, as well. You can send your phone to them for free and save yourself the hassle to go to a recycling point. There are more recycling companies with the same service, though.

Always remember that the idea is to give your phone a second life. Therefore, never forget to delete any personal files and reset it to factory settings before donating or selling it!

Give it another function

There is also the option of giving our device another use, different from the functions of classic mobile phone. For example, turning it into a surveillance camera, reading eBooks on it, use it solely as a photo camera or as a music player.

Batteries and chargers

One of the most delicate and dangerous parts of mobile phones is the battery. Being made of lithium, they are usually very polluting and poisonous if they end up in the soil or waters. It is important to recycle them at recycling points or take them to specialized stores.

And what do we do with the chargers? They cannot be thrown in the trash or in the usual battery containers. The chargers are also very polluting because they are made of plastic, copper and aluminum. As with the batteries, you should also take your charger to a recycling point.

Take them for repair

There are stores that offer mobile phone repair services for a lower fee than replacing it. In addition, environmental impact is avoided by recycling and reusing it instead of discarding it.

These shops have skilled technicians with a wide range of replacement parts to get it running again without high costs.

Classification of plastics: what do the marks mean?

Classification of plastics: what do the marks mean?

Plastic is not just plastic. In order to differentiate between the different types, which is important for collection and recycling, there is a standardized plastics classification. This abbreviation designates the main plastic in the product. For example, PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate and PVC for polyvinyl chloride. There is also a number from 1 to 7 in a triangle of arrows. You will find the plastic classification consisting of code and abbreviation on the underside or the bottom of the packaging.

Plastic marking: What do the code and abbreviation mean

1 PET – polyethylene terephthalate
The contained acetaldehyde and antimony trioxide can be released into the liquid stored in it over time. At higher temperatures and exposure to sunlight, the proportion of substances that can get into the food (“chemical” taste) increases. It is best to protect the bottles from heat and do not fill them with hot liquids.

e.g. beverage bottles, packaging, polyester fibers etc.

2 PE-HD – high density polyethylene
Not considered hazardous to health, but pollutes the environment. Estrogenic chemicals may be present. HD stands for high density.

e.g. washing liquid, detergent or cleaning agent bottles, packaging, kitchen utensils

3 PVC – polyvinyl chloride
Plasticizers (phthalates) first make PVC flexible and supple, but are considered to be reproductively harmful (infertility, cancer) and are therefore a health hazard.

Rigid PVC: window profiles, drainpipes, etc.;
Soft PVC: floor coverings, children’s toys, hoses, artificial leather, swimming rings, seals, etc.

4 PE-LD – Low Density Polyethylene
Polyethylene is not considered a health hazard, but it is considered an environmental pollutant. LD stands for low density.

e.g. foils, plastic tubes, plastic bags and sacks

5 PP – Polypropylene
Not considered to be harmful to health, but polluting the environment.

e.g. cups, food packaging, plastic bags

6 PS – polystyrene
Better known by the trade name Styrofoam. It is basically recyclable, but the technology is not yet widespread enough and is therefore currently considered to be environmentally polluting. If styrofoam or polystyrene foam is heated, styrene can be released, which is considered carcinogenic.

e.g. foams, cups, bowls for food packaging, insulation

7 O – O (Other) stands for “other plastics”
This is where all other types of plastic fall in.

It’s a very heterogeneous group. Plastics belonging to this group are among others:

  • PC – polycarbonate e.g. CDs, DVDs, glass substitute for bottles as well as epoxy resins (internal coating of tins) contain bisphenol A (BPA), which affects the hormonal balance even in the smallest amounts. The substance is associated with disorders in sexual development, hyperactivity, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
  • PMMA – polymethyl methacrylate Plexiglas, acrylic glass – glass replacement, car headlights, optics, watch glasses, jewellery, etc.
  • ABS – Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Copolymer e.g. toys, electronics, etc. ABS is also used in 3D printers. 99% recyclable by type.
  • GRP – glass fiber reinforced plastic e.g. fiberglass – car, ship and aircraft construction, pipes, bathtubs, etc.
  • Biodegradable plastics are often marked with 07. Bio-plastics take a relatively long time to decompose. Therefore, bio-plastic is NOT completely degraded in large rapid composting plants and often sorted out. Bio-plastic has NO nutritional value for the microorganisms in the compost!

What is behind the term plastic?

The raw material for most plastics is petroleum. Carbon compounds are produced from this and mixed with various additives. This results in different properties of the end product. Many of our everyday objects are made of plastic or at least have parts made of it. Durability and malleability are a major reason for mass deployment. Polyethylene (PE) is the most commonly used plastic worldwide at around 38%. Unfortunately, plastic products are often thrown away after just one time use, such as plastic bags.

Microplastics in the human body

In a pilot study by the Environment Agency Austria and the Medical University of Vienna, microplastics were found in the human organism for the first time.
The results have been presented at the International UEG Gastroenterology Congress in Vienna. Nine different types of plastic ranging in size from 50 to 500 microns were detected, the most common being PP (polypropylene) and PET (polyethylene terephthalate).

Should you swap plastic straws for paper straws to reduce your environmental impact?

Should you swap plastic straws for paper straws to reduce your environmental impact?

390 million plastic straws are used every day in the US. That is a staggering amount. And once they’re done with those plastic straws, they are destined for landfill, where they will sit for ages without breaking down. Whether they end up as garbage in our open spaces or in the oceans, where they can easily become harmful to marine life – We have all seen the heartbreaking photos of a turtle having to have a plastic straw removed from its nostril by now. Since plastic pollution was catapulted into the collective consciousness of the public by Sir David Attenborough, countless petitions have been launched to end the plastic straw.

How does the food industry react?

Paper straws have turned the entire food industry upside down as is shown by market research of Data Bridge. In recent times, many restaurants have banned plastic straws due to its harmful effects on the environment and have switched to paper alternatives as paper straws are more environmentally friendly. McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks are all among the chains that have pledged to stop offering plastic straws to their customers. Some of those chains continue completely without straws, but a number of them opt for a paper alternative instead of plastic straws.

Advantages of using paper straw over plastic straw:

Paper straws are not as harmful as plastic straws. A paper straw offers several advantages, but the main advantage is that it is easy to biodegradable. It is also safe for human consumption and does not affect health. Currently, many countries are banning the use of plastic straws and are more focused on paper straws. Because plastic waste is increasing day by day in the sea and harming the environment.

  • Biodegradable and Compostable: Generally, Paper Straws is made from recycled paper, paper is made up of natural fibers that are considered biodegradable and compostable in the proper compostable environment. Most plastic straws are not recyclable and are simply dumped in landfills or the oceans.
  • Safety: Recycled paper made from a soft material that cannot chip or damage unlike plastic which is harder and sharper. It can also be served with both hot and cold drinks as it contains no harmful dyes or other chemical material.
  • Different Size, Pattern & Shape: Paper straws are available in different lengths and thicknesses for multiple drinks. These types of paper straws are perfect for events or parties. They are just as flexible as their plastic counterpart.

Our conclusion:

From all advantages and market indicators, it should be clear that the paper straw holds the future over plastic straws. Therefore we see it as the only right conclusion to put plastic straws aside and take paper straws the next time you visit a restaurant of grocery store.

The best ideas to recycle plastic bottles

The best ideas to recycle plastic bottles

Plastic is one of the most used materials for containers and packaging, but it is also the one that, if disposed of incorrectly, contributes the most to contaminating the planet. It’s not naturally degradable and plastic islands in the seas and oceans continue to increase. In this article we show you how to bring new creations to life with the best ideas for recycling plastic bottles by making the following great stuff:

  • vertical and horizontal garden
  • flower pots
  • butterflies
  • plastic cups
  • self-watering pots
  • galactic masks
  • piggy bank of animals
  • curtains
  • eyeglass cases
  • hourglass
  • stool

We all have, to a greater or lesser extent, plastic bottles at home. Big or small, and all of them lend themselves to different creative jobs with which to decorate the house or much better, to find a second use for the bottle that one day served us to drink water for example.

Bird feeders

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into bird feeders

A good and simple option is to use plastic bottles, especially the small ones, to feed the birds that live near us. It’s very simple, we just have to add some holes into which we insert spoons and some kinds of straws so that the food moves.

Another option is with a large bottle, where you cut out half of the top part so the bird can get inside the bottle to eat the food. In the photo that we show you below you can see very well what you should do.

Puff

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into a puff

A puff with plastic bottles? And very cool. Of course, you will need a few plastic bottles. Around 40 bottles that you will have to put together in the shape of a circle with packing tape. Once you have the shape of the pouffe, you must surround it by placing two circular cardboard tops and bottoms of the bottles.

The next step is to surround the element with foam and glue it on with white glue. In this case, you must leave 3 hours for it to dry well and be sealed. The last step will be to upholster the puff with the fabric that we have chosen. As simple as patterning and sewing it, much easier than it seems. When you have it, look for puff prices and be amazed with the money you will have saved.

Vertical and horizontal garden

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into a horizontal garden

Another of the ideas to recycle plastic bottles that will require dozens of them. Now, the result cannot be more spectacular. To create this vertical and horizontal garden, you will need as many bottles as you want and some wire to hold them together.

Just make a hole in each bottle, turning them into pots, plus two holes through which to pass the wire.

Plant what you deem appropriate and, in a few weeks, you will have a beautiful garden along the length and width of the wall you have chosen.

Basket

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into baskets

For clothespins, for kitchen utensils, for children’s toys… The basket is one of the ideas for recycling plastic bottles with the most uses available. And one of the easiest to do.

Just take a large plastic jug and cut off the top. Burn the edges to avoid peaks and glue, with white glue, a fabric edging of the color you want on the edge. To finish, make two holes facing each other and place two ropes as shown in the image, so you will have handles to carry it easily. Useful, simple, fast and very economical.

Pots

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into pots

Making plant pots is very simple using plastic bottles. We recommend that you make a small sketch with the shape we want (a cat, an owl, a dog, etc.), normally, animals that have some type of characteristic such as big ears, so it will be much more graceful.

Once we have cut the bottle with the shape we want, we paint it the desired color, we draw the details with an indelible marker and all we have to do is fill it with earth and plant our beautiful plants. If we also put some ropes or chains on it, we will have created a hanging planter.

ceiling light

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into ceiling lights

Incredible ceiling lamps made of plastic, ideal to put on an island in a kitchen. Just water drums, cut and painted, if we add a nice fabric, the effect is elegant, cheap and very practical. We can also personalize them with fun colors, written messages or even hanging them at different heights.

Umbrella stand

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into an umbrella stand

When we get home and don’t know where to put the umbrella, we can make this original umbrella stand ourselves using plastic bottles that we don’t use.

For this specific example, the bottles that would best fit an umbrella are small bleach bottles, since soda bottles are usually very wide. Attaching them to a piece of wood and it is attached to the wall and the result is a practical and original umbrella stand.

Butterflies

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into butterflies

Using a template with the shape and design of the butterfly, we can obtain these beautiful butterflies that we will decorate to our liking.

We simply remove the plastics by cutting them out of a soda bottle, once cut and painted, we can join them with fishing line to make a butterfly curtain or we can put a safety pin at the bottom and turn it into a brooch. Another way would be to stick a magnet on it and we will have a nice butterfly for the fridge.

Toys for our dog

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into toys for dogs

Our pets like to spend as much time as possible playing, but we don’t have the same energy as them. A great way to keep them entertained and develop their intelligence is this wonderful game that we can make ourselves with very few materials.

The trick is to drill holes in the bottles so that a stick can be inserted to serve as an axis with the idea that the bottles can rotate if the dog kicks them.

The interesting thing is to fill each bottle with different amounts of food, the bottle that has the most food will be the one that costs the most to move, but it will be the first one you want to eat, since since they are not covered when they rotate, they discharge different amounts of food. A very ingenious technique to keep your pet entertained if she suffers from separation anxiety, since you will have her entertained for a long time.

plastic cups

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into plastic cups

Original glasses created from plastic bottles, well, and a CD. In this case we can take advantage of both the neck of the bottle and its lower part.

Using a CD, as the base of the glass and painting it in elegant or fun ways and we will have some original glasses or containers to drink, as a jewelry box for rings or as in the image for plants.

Vertical garden

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into a vertical garden

A vertical garden at home, what a great idea! We can grow small vegetables or even aromatic herbs such as thyme, rosemary, mint, etc. The idea is very interesting, simply placing plastic bottles upside down, making holes in the base, so that they can fit into each other, and a hole in the cap, so that the excess water waters the next bottle. To finish we place one last bottle face up in order to collect all the excess water that we can use again. There is no excuse for not having a garden at home.

Curious and practical jewelry box

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into practical jewelry boxes

A funny and original jewelry box, it is a little more elaborate, but if we have time, it is an original and striking way to recycle plastic bottles that we no longer use. We can paint the bottles the color we want or even draw motifs or flowers with indelible markers.

Flowers to decorate your gifts

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into flowers to decorate your gifts

We can make these beautiful flowers to decorate a gift box, it is a very original and simple idea to do that will not take too much time and will be a knockout to surprise the honorees. The final result is spectacular, simply with pieces of plastic molded in the heat of a candle.

Self-watering pots

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into self-watering pots

The vacation season arrives and we have everything ready to go, but what to do with the plants. We present you a great idea to do with plastic bottles. One bottle acts as a water container and the other, using cotton strips, allows moisture to rise to the ground. An original and beautiful way to keep the soil of our plants hydrated, especially when it is very hot.

Food dispenser

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into food dispensers

There are times when we have the simplest solutions at home, objects such as plastic bottles that are going to go to the container and yet we are wasting a very versatile and interesting raw material. This wonderful bottle for so many children serves as an example, if our dog has had puppies and is not feeling well enough to feed them, this can be a very interesting solution.

Or what to say about this wonderful nest made with a bottle of soda and perfectly blended into the environment. A very original idea that the birds will know how to thank you with their morning songs. The effect of the paint used imitating bark is achieved if the paint is applied with a sponge.

Earrings with pearls

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into earrings with pearls

Any jewelry store would pay a huge amount of money to get these wonderful earrings. The truth is that it is a very original idea to give away. The modeling of the plastic can be done with a lighter as in this example or by passing the plastic over a candle. A simple and very original idea to combine this summer.

Galactic mask

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into a galactic mask

Just a bit of skill is what it takes to create this original and highly accomplished Star Wars Stormtroopers mask, decoration is 90% of this mask, but we cannot deny that it is a very ingenious idea. and worthy of taking to any carnival.

Toys

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into toys

We are preparing a costume party and we do not know how to finish the costume that we have made for the little one, it goes without saying, the costume will be of a superhero. In this case, we do need to manufacture state-of-the-art engines. Nothing better than two bottles of soda, perfectly painted in metallic gray and some eerie red felt flares and we already have our thrusters.

Snakes

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into snakes

A terrible “Pejilagarto”, a fierce animal from the depths of rivers whose skeleton is made of plastic and its eyes are made of terrible bottle caps.

Broom

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into a broom

The most original and striking broom you can find, a recycled broom in full color. Now plastic bottles not only litter and populate landfills, they also serve to leave your house like gold jets! Just cut a bottle in half and make some fringes in the part where you have cut. The fringes will serve to clean in the same way as the cells of the broom, and the opening of the bottle will serve to hook the stick.

Animal piggy bank

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into a piggy bank

You can make this second piggy bank with the top of several bottles. The caps are used to store the coins and everything is joined by screws. Thanks to reusing plastic bottles, no one will have access to your money anymore. Well, it is not that they are the most resistant and safe in the world, but to teach children the value of money and recycling, it works perfectly. As you can see in the first image, the limit to the design of the piggy bank is only set by you and your imagination, you can come up with any design.

Candle holders

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into candle holders

Have you ever considered getting such varied candle holders with a simple plastic bottle? Look how cool they are for a romantic evening. You will find few better ways to take advantage of and recycle those plastic objects that you no longer use and that would end up polluting the atmosphere in any landfill.

Coin purse

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into a purse for your coins

Very easy to do. It is made with two bottle bases. In the middle we place a zipper that we glue on the inside. The result is similar to those old granny purses. Ideal to put those loose change that we have scattered in the pockets of the pants or in the bag.

Curtains

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into curtains

The curtains do not always have to be made of fabric, you can make a flower-themed curtain with the bottoms of plastic bottles. Similar to this, you can also make one of those curtains that are used as a “door” in some hot areas. Or is that already too tacky? In any case, it is another interesting use to recycle plastic and contribute to sustainable development.

Pencil holders

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into pencil holders

Original and pretty, all you need is a plastic bottle, a rubber band that covers the top so it doesn’t scratch, and some pencils to keep. This is one of the simplest and most functional crafts that can be made with plastic bottles, ideal for teaching children, for example. Also, you can always decorate the boats however you want, adding decorative elements or painting them in the colors that you like best.

Bags dispenser

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into dispenser bags

An easy way to have everything you need in your bathroom, betting on recycling. It is undoubtedly an original device that you can also use in other areas of the house, for example in the kitchen or pantry, to store shopping bags. As you can see, plastic has many more uses than those for which it was created, and you can recycle the plastic from one utensil to make a totally different one.

Eyeglass cases

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into a case for your glasses

Have you ever considered that there could be a glasses holder made from a recycled bottle? Easier and original impossible. The way to do it is similar to the purse that we have shown you previously, although in this case it must have a more elongated shape so that the glasses fit inside.

Bag closure

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into a closure system for bags

Caps can become the ideal way to close your bags hermetically. Or, if you prefer, you can use the same plastic bottles to store what you were going to store in those bags.

Boxes

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into boxes

In the following photographs you can see some examples of how to make boxes with plastic bottles and the different uses to which you can put them. Undoubtedly, there are people who brim with imagination (and environmental awareness).
Ideas to recycle plastic bottles curved box

Hourglass

Ideas for recycling plastic bottles into an hourglass

This is for dreamers, for those who want to seize time, every minute. Be careful, don’t get stuck watching the sand fall over and over again. In this case, it is a decorative element, but it can be very interesting to give your living room or your room a little more “zen” touch.

Bracelet

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into bracelets

Yes of course! Even those who like to take care of their personal image can make their own bracelets with recycled materials. As you can see in the image above, they look quite nice and you can coat or paint them with whatever designs you want and even add other decorations to them.

Bird feeder

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into a bird feeder

For pet lovers, you already have another way to make a simple homemade feeder. With this “invention”, the birds will not eat from your hand, but they will eat and drink from your feeder. In addition, since it is made of plastic, you can place it both inside and outside the house or in a cage, since nothing will happen to it when it gets wet from the rain.

Stool

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into a stool

For this craft you are going to need more plastic bottles, but notice how easy it is to make a stool with them and how comfortable it seems. In this case, you will use the bottles as legs, to give the structure solidity. Place a flat surface on the seat and voila, you have it.

Decorative flowers

Ideas to recycle plastic bottles into flowers

Impressive flowers that you can make in all the colors and patterns you want, ideal to do with children. You never imagined that with a simple plastic bottle you could make such beautiful things in such a simple way. This is one of the most recommended crafts for children to do with plastic. And if, instead of flowers, you want to do something else, for example butterflies, moons or whatever, you can too.

Garden tools

Ideas for recycling plastic bottles into garden tools

Finally, you can also use the plastic bottles to build shovels, dustpans or garden tools. The ones up here are made, as you can see, based on the part of the handle of a plastic bottle. In this case you don’t have to do practically anything, it’s such a simple craft that you just have to look at the image above on how you have to cut the carafe to get your dustpan-shovel.

What do you think of the ideas we have given you? Some are very simple, others, on the other hand, require a little more work, although the truth is that all this implies that we are recycling, something essential for ecological well-being.

Soil Pollution: Causes, consequences and how to solve it

Soil Pollution: Causes, consequences and how to solve it

There are many types of contamination of the soil that can have severely affect the environment. Let’s find out more about soil contamination below: what is it, what causes it, what are the consequences, why does it occur and how can we solve it?

What is soil pollution

Soil is the layer of organic and inorganic material that covers the rocky ground surface. The organic portion, derived from the decomposition of animals and plants, is concentrated in the upper part of the soil. The inorganic part is composed of rock fragments. Other components of the soil are water and air, which vary according to rainfall. Soil contamination, also called soil pollution, is caused by the introduction of chemicals or changes in the environmental soil by human activities. These chemicals lead to soil contamination and, directly or indirectly, to water and air pollution. Among these chemicals, the most common types are petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals (such as lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, and arsenic), pesticides, and solvents.

Explained in other words, we can say that the soil is the unconsolidated loose material that is produced by the physical disintegration of the rocks, or the product of meteorological alterations in the environment.

The soil evolves until it can form a complex system, becoming a stratified structure and a specific composition, specifically under the influence of living beings.

But just like the atmosphere (air pollution), the soil can also be affected by pollution, something that – as you can imagine – is correctly called soil pollution.

Causes and consequences

The main causes of soil contamination are the use of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides, the incorrect disposal of solid waste and deforestation. These factors mean that the main consequences of soil contamination are reduced soil fertility, increased risk of erosion and loss of nutrients.

Below we explain more about the causes and consequences of soil contamination.

Use of fertilizers

Using them to correct soil deficiencies indiscriminately ends up contaminating the soil with impurities and/or nutrient overloading for plants, thus unbalancing the natural composition of the soil. Some heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, are also found in fertilizers, increasing the toxicity of the soil and posing a great danger to plantations. These contaminants are subsequently removed with rainwater or infiltrate into the ground, ending up in groundwater tables and springs, thus contaminating watercourses.

Use of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides

Pesticides are used to reduce the number of pests that act on plantations and damage agricultural activity, despite the fact that they cause irreversible damage to the environment. These substances are absorbed by the soil, ending up contaminating the plantations that grow there. The subsequent consumption of these contaminated vegetables can cause serious damage to human and animal health. Another problem is the reduction of the fertility of the contaminated soil.

Improper disposal of solid and plastic waste

In general, domestic, industrial and rural wastes have in their composition a variety of chemical products like plastics that are harmful to the environment. This waste degrades and results in the production of leachate, which is a highly toxic liquid resulting from the decomposition of organic waste. Garbage deposits, made in an unsanitary manner, end up filtering this leachate, which crosses the soil, contaminates it and reaches the groundwater. The number of open air dumps around the world is worrying, since much of the rubbish is not properly disposed of. There may also be soil contamination from dumping radioactive material or hospital waste.

Deforestation

Natural soil erosion occurs when soil particles are carried by wind or water. Vegetation cover is removed during deforestation, removing protection from winds and eliminating water uptake by tree and plant roots. This excess water can cause soil instability and erosion.

Other causes of soil contamination are:

  • Contaminated water released by industries
  • Oil spill
  • Acid rain
  • Sewer discharged into rivers and land
  • Incorrect soil drilling
  • Cemeteries
  • Infiltration of septic tanks
  • Fires
  • Mining

Consequences of soil contamination

There are various damages caused by soil contamination. Among the main ones are:

  • Reduced soil fertility
  • Increased erodibility
  • loss of nutrients
  • ecological imbalance
  • Increased salinity
  • Reduction of vegetation
  • Public health problems
  • Release of polluting gases
  • Blockage of plumbing
  • Food contamination
  • desertification

Types of soil pollution

There are two types of contamination that can affect the structure and formation of the soil: natural contamination (which is frequently endogenous) and anthropogenic contamination (totally exogenous).

As we well know, and as we commented at the beginning, different natural phenomena can be important causes of soil contamination, as well.

To give just one example, an active volcano may be capable of contributing greater amounts of external substances and pollutants than several coal-fired power plants combined.

Soil contamination by human activities

Soil contamination can have a wide variety of causes. Some of the most frequent reasons are:

  • The use of pesticides in agriculture
  • Bursting underground storage tanks
  • Leaks from landfill or landfill areas leaking chemicals and plastics into the soil
  • Direct accumulation of waste from industrial products

The most common chemicals that are responsible for soil contamination are: petroleum derivatives (like plastics), pesticides, solvents, and other heavy metals. This phenomenon is a consequence of the high degree of industrialization, the increasing use of chemicals and the lack of management and control by both companies and the governments of the different countries.

When soil contamination reaches a critical level, the natural balance of these complex systems is affected, which translates into a change in soil behavior. What happens is that the harmful substances that accumulate become toxic to the organisms that live there. This chemical degradation can cause the partial or even total loss of soil productivity.

There are many negative consequences of soil contamination. Among them we can mention serious risks to human health, either directly or indirectly – caused by soil contaminants coming into contact with drinking water sources.

In order to carry out a good study of soil contamination, the maximum admissible levels of contaminants must be defined, and factors that may influence the response of the soil to these agents must be analyzed. Therefore, it is not enough to simply detect the presence of contaminated soil.

Once the contaminated areas have been defined, the area can be cleaned. But this does not constitute a true solution, since -of course- the effects of the contamination may have affected both the animals and plants of the place, as well as the health of the inhabitants and the productive quality of the soil. In addition, cleanup tasks take a lot of time and money, and usually cannot be afforded by the affected communities.

Negative effects of soil pollution

Soil contamination affects flora, plants and trees. Soil contamination causes a decrease in the variety of species, hinders their survival and, therefore, greatly affects the plant ecosystem of the contaminated area.

The same is true of wildlife. In nature, everything is closely related and, in the same way that soil contamination affects plants, it also affects animals. Herbivorous animal species may not have plants to feed on. Furthermore, contaminated soil greatly increases the risk for animals of falling victim to poisoning.

Soil contamination, like water pollution, causes a great impact on the landscape. Who likes to see an extension of natural land full of garbage, plastic bottles and bags and other polluting substances?

Soil contamination also causes a decrease in the quality of the surrounding soil, which makes it less useful for agricultural activities. Contaminated soil not only makes agricultural activities on that same land impossible, but also diminishes the quality of adjacent lands.

In the same way that soil contamination is detrimental to agriculture, it is also harmful to livestock, since the animals will not have quality pastures to feed on but eat microplastics instead. Soil pollution does not only affect the land we walk on. All these substances that contaminate the soil also contaminate the air, emitting polluting gases that affect the health of animals, plants and people, negatively affecting the ozone layer and accelerating the greenhouse effect.

On the other hand, this soil contamination not only contaminates the air, but is also likely to negatively affect nearby waters, both surface water and groundwater.

It should be noted that many of these consequences occur slowly, silently, but also inexorably. Soil contamination always leads to land that is unusable both for human activities and for hosting a healthy and varied ecosystem.

How to fight and prevent soil pollution

Some steps can be taken to control and reduce soil contamination. Reduce or eliminate the use of harmful fertilizers and pesticides (using biopesticides, for example), eliminate the use of disposable plastics, reforestation, control of the release of toxic waste from industries and, mainly, waste and plastic recycling, together with the correct disposal of waste and its treatment. However, these measures are not easily carried out and require considerable time to implement, in addition to investment in infrastructure.

In fact, and as in any case related to the contamination of the planet, man is up to his neck in it. In the same way that it is the human being that contaminates, it is also in our power to prevent and fight contamination of the soil, but also of water and air.

Regulatory laws

To all of the above, we can also add the approval of stricter laws and regulations regarding the emission of discharges by companies. The companies that produce energy and all kinds of products are the main culprits for soil contamination, especially due to the large number of discharges that end up in landfills. But if there are no laws promulgated by the government that harshly penalize this type of practice, they will continue to have a free hand.

In addition, it is necessary to invest in fighting pollution, invest in studies and professionals who know how to detect where the problem is and what the methods are to solve it. And, of course, invest in mechanisms and infrastructures that allow these solutions to be carried out. The problem is that, in many cases, the problem has been left to pass for so long that there are sources of soil contamination that nobody wants to deal with anymore, since cleaning up the area would require huge investments.

Ecological consciousness

Another of the key factors when it comes to preventing soil contamination is the awareness of human beings in their duty to respect the planet. We are constantly contaminating the soil with every little gesture. When we don’t recycle, when we throw things on the ground, they are small gestures that, multiplied by those same gestures in as many millions of people, give rise to an increasingly polluted planet. This also has a bit to do with people’s ignorance. Did you know that a plastic bag takes more than 100 years to disappear?

Often, helping to fight soil contamination is in your own hand. Help, collaborate, be part of cleaning or decontamination groups in affected areas. Do something that is in your power, contribute your grain of sand. Every gesture counts and the planet appreciates it.

Sustainable resources

The progress, the development of industrial activities and the exponential development of these, mining extractions, oil plants, nuclear energy, etc. Many of them are activities that are based on resources that, when discarded or stored, cause air and atmosphere pollution. Therefore, another of the solutions to soil contamination would be to finally take a step forward and look for other forms of production that are more sustainable and appropriate to the needs of the planet.

Clean and renewable energies are there, and they do not pollute, nor do biodegradable objects that could replace, for example, plastic bags.

Recycling: Ideas to decorate glass jars

Recycling: Ideas to decorate glass jars

Do you want to help reduce the level of waste production in the environment, which comes, as a consequence, with a high level of pollution? Well, today we bring you some tricks to encourage recycling. Neither more nor less than a series of ideas to decorate glass jars or glass containers. You will no longer have to throw away your glass packaging, but you will use it as modern decoration for your home. Do you want to know these recycling tricks with glass jars? Well, just keep reading.

Every time we open a container and use the product, our first impulse is to throw this glass away. Wrong! With the ideas for decorating glass jars and glass containers that we will give you today, you will be able to take advantage of all these products for many more purposes. Not only will you help to reduce waste, but you can be sure that the usefulness of this seemingly meaningless glass packaging will surprise you. Let’s start!

Piggy banks

Do you have a dream to fulfill, but you can’t save enough money to achieve it? Then it is very likely that you need your themed piggy bank to achieve all your dreams. To create this thematic piggy bank, we have two possible options that vary depending on the user’s preferences: the first one would consist of physically painting some decoration on the jar, such as a world map for those who want to take a long trip. The second option would be based on adding an ornament to the top of the lid, such as an Eiffel Tower in case your dream is to walk through the romantic streets of Paris.

We are convinced that if you visualize your dream with some object or decorative element, it will be much easier for you to achieve your dream.

Candle holders

Another common design in the decoration of glass jars is a candle holder. The fact that candle holders have been introduced as a vintage element in home decoration has made them one of the great ideas for decorating glass jars or glass containers. Depending on the season, we will choose a candle holder decoration design. For example, now that it’s autumn, we can glue a maple leaf to our candle holder, coat the surface in some autumn color (red, yellow, brown, etc.), and then remove this stencil so the stencil is visible.

If you are looking for candle holder designs for Christmas, you can choose a snowflake, snowman or even the shape of a candle. All this Christmas decoration is very easy to do and only requires what we have mentioned before: an original template, a little glue, paint and a lot of hope and creativity.

Original glasses

Another idea for decorating glass jars or glass containers is the latest innovation in using these jars as original glasses. This easy-to-do craft doesn’t need great gadgets to carry it out. We can use the jar as a simple glass or add a straw that is attached to the lid of the glass jar. In addition, among the designs we can incorporate stickers, paintings or some motivating phrase to give this product a touch of originality.

Stop worrying about the glasses at parties with friends, because if it breaks, it will not have cost anything to buy that glass and we can create it many more times.

Storage space

Why buy more glass jars if we already have the ones we have used to store our preserves? Well, thanks to this, we can continue using them to store our food, our sewing kits, etc. In addition, we can use very creative designs, since, with the help of a template, we can label our glass jars to know the product that we keep there, we just have to select the perfect glass jar for each moment, as you can see in the image below. Do not hesitate to take advantage of these ideas to decorate glass jars or glass jars, it is very useful and easy to do.

Photo frames

Yes, dear readers, you have read correctly, another idea for decorating glass jars or glass containers is making a beautiful photo frame. In addition, we can add “filters” like the best social networks today to obtain a much more creative impression. To do this, we will have to add a liquid to the glass jar, in the case of the photograph shown below it is oil. Put the image inside and as close as possible so that the liquid does not come out. Who said that the photographs could only go in the typical photo frames?

Flower pots

If you are a lover of plants and ecology, you may want to take advantage of glass jars to design beautiful pots for your plants. Pots as an idea to decorate glass jars or glass containers can be a very original solution, in addition to giving your home greater joy. Do not worry if you do not like the roots of the plant to be seen, since they can be covered simply by painting the jar in the color that we like best.

As you can see, there are many ideas for decorating glass jars or glass jars, so don’t hesitate any longer and get down to work to save the planet and reuse your resources.

Packaging: Appearances are deceptive!

Packaging: Appearances are deceptive!

Paper and glass are eco-friendly, plastic and metal cans pollute the environment – ​​this is how most of us intuitively judge food packaging. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. We could also say: That is wrong. In order to be able to assess the ecological footprint of packaging, you have to take a very close look. We did that at BOMAC Industries – with very exciting results.

The most important insight is that you cannot fundamentally say that a material is good or bad. It always depends on the case how it’s used. Take paper, for example: dry foods such as pasta, flour or oatmeal can be packed in paper without any problems. As long as the packaging does not tear open, they are adequately protected. With moist or greasy food, on the other hand, simple paper quickly reaches its limits. The industry then uses paper that has been coated or treated with waxes and chemicals, which may look eco-friendly, but can no longer be recycled and therefore have no place in waste paper. However, if the paper cannot be recycled, the environment does not benefit either. Because producing paper from fresh fibers and then disposing of it after a single use consumes a lot of energy and resources.

Cardboard: Not as eco as it seems

Cardboard boxes also have an unjustified good reputation in many cases. Especially if they only serve as outer packaging and a plastic bag is used inside as the actual packaging. This wastes resources and is simply unnecessary. In addition, cardboard is relatively heavy, so that a lot of energy is required not only for production but also for transport, and the pollutant emissions are high. In the case of pasta, for example, the carton comes off worst – worse than a plastic bag! But a plain paper bag without a coating is a bit better.

Disposable glass with a bad ecological balance

One finding that came as a surprise to many is that, in almost all cases, single-use glass packaging is ecologically miserable. The emphasis here is on “disposable”! Reusable bottles and glasses that are reused and not driven across the country do very well. Why is that? Although glass can be easily recycled and many people also dispose of glass separately, the problem is the extreme amount of energy required to manufacture and recycle glass. In addition, the heavy weight of glass packaging causes high emissions of pollutants during transport, which is detrimental to the environment and health.

In fact, disposable glass usually performs even worse than the old tin can. Light tubular packaging made of plastic, for example, is much better. It doesn’t look that eco, but it’s much more environmentally friendly. The same applies to composite cartons – for example for tomato passata.

As much as necessary and as little as possible

Even these few examples show that the devil is in the details. And even packaging that looks environmentally friendly at first glance can cause huge problems. It is all the more important to save on packaging overall – as far as this is possible. Of course, packaging is necessary in many cases to protect the food. After all, nothing would be gained ecologically if the food spoiled, for example during transport or storage, because the packaging did not provide sufficient protection. But one thing is clear: where possible, packaging should be drastically reduced.

Shopping tips

And what can we all consider when shopping? If you have an unpackaged shop nearby, you can shop there with your own reusable containers. This saves a lot of packaging waste. You should definitely buy drinks in reusable bottles – there is a wide range here. But watch out: Not every returnable bottle is a reusable bottle! Plastic bottles with a deposit of 25 cents are non-returnable. With reusable glass packaging, it makes sense to pay attention to regional foods in order to keep transport routes short.

In the case of disposable packaging, it is worth simply checking out which packaging is the most advantageous for some product groups. And the following applies to all disposable packaging: Good old waste separation is essential so at least it can be easily recycled. In this way, valuable raw materials do not end up irretrievably in waste incineration, but ideally serve as the basis for new products and packaging.

Efficient recycling needs innovative technology

Efficient recycling needs innovative technology

Aluminium can be recycled an unlimited number of times with a high level of quality, especially if scrap can be sorted according to type. If you take the entire recycling process into account, on average only 5% of the energy that was used for the previous primary production is required. The light metal is thus a core component of a resource-saving circular economy. Sorted material fractions that are already mixed with exactly the amounts of alloying metal required for the intended next application are ideal for quick and clean recycling.

Aluminum manufacturers can secure such pure fractions from the residues of their own production processes. Though, it becomes more difficult with scrap from manufacturers further up in the supply chain, be it manufacturers of facades, packaging materials or vehicles. They usually use different alloys or materials and cannot separate every residue by type. It is even more difficult to obtain pure fractions when separating collected products at the end of their use: cans from street collection containers are common in many countries. Their components are often connected to plastics. Car parts are often joined from different groups of materials.

Norwegian Hydro continues to develop processes for sorting and separating materials, right down to the separation of alloy groups. An important basis is a technology funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment and offered for further licensing. With it, Hydro separates used components with the highest precision in the industry. Hydro Research & Development has perfected this technology to become the best sorting process for used beverage cans: since June 2016, a state-of-the-art facility in Neuss (Germany) has been processing up to 50,000 tons or 3 billion beverage cans a year. The short life cycle in particular makes the environmental advantage obvious; a can handed in for recycling via the Green Dot is often produced and filled back on the shelf in just 60 days.

Thanks to more and more aluminum, lighter vehicles are emerging that use less fuel and therefore emit less CO2. The press shops in the automotive industry punch various sheet metal components mostly from 5xxx or 6xxx aluminum alloys. This requires separation of production scrap and makes recycling of this scrap complex.

This applies all the more to the recycling of vehicles at the end of their useful life. When shredding vehicles, components often made of different alloys, for example with a high silicon content, are mixed together with wrought alloys with lower and different alloys. Due to its higher silicon content, the alloy mixture obtained from this can usually only be used as a starting material for cast alloys.

Leap in development for improved automobile recycling

On the other hand, the most modern sorting technology makes it possible to maintain the quality of the automotive materials. The problems that still exist with a clean separation of 5xxx and 6xxx alloys for recycling should soon be solved thanks to Hydro’s cooperation with the US company Austin AI. Their technology is based on laser-induced emission spectroscopy (LIBS: Laser-induced-breakdown-spectroscopy) and shows advantages compared to other LIBS configurations. There are already good results in clean sorting and clear separation of these alloys. A pilot project sorting plant is currently being built at Hydro R&D in Bonn in order to bring the process to robust industrial maturity.

LIBS was studied by Metallgesellschaft AG as early as the 1980s and later by Huron Valley Steel Corporation. This automated sorting technology uses a laser pulse to vaporize part of the sample surface. The resulting plasma is analyzed with spectrometers in milliseconds and compared with the sorting task. Pulses of compressed air then separate the desired aluminum parts from the rest of the scrap stream.

With today’s developments, particular attention is paid to economic feasibility using the latest laser and spectrometer technologies. This means: With a required throughput of a few tons per hour, depending on the weight, several hundred pieces of scrap must be analyzed and sorted within a second. The process then closes a highly effective cycle for scrap and end-of-life vehicles, with significant savings in energy, resources and effort – another boost for sustainable lightweight construction with aluminum.

Research and development of new technologies play an important role in the future of all kinds of recycling. BOMAC Industries is committed to the development of these technologies, not only for the recycling of aluminium, copper and other metals but for all kinds of waste such as plastic waste recycling and paper recycling as well.