Green News

Radical Recycling

Posted by Environment Smart on 01/08 at 02:18 PM

I like to think of myself as a creative person. I make my own art and crafts. I teach fine arts and craft arts. As a result, I am a collector of stuff to use for creative projects. Much of this stuff would otherwise have headed for the recycling bin. My projects are, however, small in comparison to what I came across recently. Here are 10 of the World’s Most Radical Recycling Projects

  • A Buddhist temple made of beer bottles
  • A bridge made of recycled paper tubes
  • An outdoor recycled art gallery
  • Shipping containers as sleek, modern homes
  • A jumbo jet hostel
  • Giant ‘Trash People’
  • Designer dresses made of maps and coffee filters
  • A scrap metal park
  • Dirty diapers transformed into diesel
  • An industrial waste rock garden



About the author: Environment Smart

Trash filled water vortex is collecting our plastics

Posted by TheGreen on 01/07 at 02:17 PM

There are five major ocean gyres--areas of ocean where the currents swirl around in a large circle, some the size of Texas. The two most prominent ones are in the North Pacific. These gyres have been dubbed “the Asian Trash Trail” the “Trash Vortex” or the “Eastern Garbage Patch”. The most popular visitor to these trash vortex's in the ocean are plastics. A large quantity in the form of plastic bottles, which can break down into smaller parts and float around for ages. According to this Greenpeace article, "The plastics can act as a sort of 'chemical sponge'. They can concentrate many of the most damaging of the pollutants found in the worlds oceans: the persistent organic pollutants (POPs).  So any animal eating these pieces of plastic debris will also be taking in highly toxic pollutants."

The very thing that makes plastic items useful to consumers, their durability and stability, also makes them a problem in marine environments. Around 100 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year of which about 10 percent ends up in the sea. About 20 percent of this is from ships and platforms, the rest from land.

To help you visualize the vortex, Greenpeace has an animated picture showing how the current congregate all the plastics into a small area in the pacific ocean.


Click here for the full animated version of this map.

About the author: TheGreen

Stationary that blooms

Posted by Environment Smart on 10/03 at 11:21 AM

Blooming StationaryNow here is a creative way to recycle paper.

There are a number of stationary businesses that have embedded their wrapping paper and greeting cards with seeds that can be planted. WishBuds and  Botanical Paperworks are only two such businesses.

The paper that WishBuds uses is handmade and is manually embedded with wildflower seeds. The paper is made from linen or cotton and decomposes when placed in soil. The seeds found in the paper are a mixture of many varieties. Some of these are clarkia, corn poppy, bird’s eyes, snapdragon and catchfly. According to WishBuds, the seeds are randomly spread throughout the layers of the paper so that "one or many of the varieties may grow as the seeds are randomly spread throughout the layers of the paper". The Botanical Paperworks website shows how the process works. 

Just plant and water the paper and it will bloom.

If you are a DIY kind of person, then you can easily make your own blooming paper. Just follow the instructions for handmade paper and carefully embed the seeds when the paper is dry. There are also many paper-making kits available. Botanical Paperworks offers one, but you can also visit your local art and crafts store or hobby shop, or have a further look online.


About the author: Environment Smart

Green Business Makes Good Cents

Posted by Environment Smart on 09/26 at 11:25 AM

We are seeing more and more businesses turning green. Many companies are seeing past the expense of adapting equipment and business attitudes to a more eco-friendly approach. As consumers are taking a stronger stand in their purchasing choices, businesses are seeing the sense in providing more environmentally smart products. Automotive companies are starting to provide more fuel efficient vehicles, food companies are turning to sustainable agriculture, and manufacturers are using recycled materials in production. We are being offered some better choices and taking them. Green businesses are putting “green” back in their pockets.

Pentel, for example, attributes its successful back-to-school season to the newly-introduced Hyper-G pens (made from 57% recycled plastic) and the Recycology(TM) line of environmentally friendly products. There is also good press to be had with a green business approach. Pentel recently enjoyed spots on Good Morning America, and a feature on the cover of National Geographic’s Green Guide.

Pentel has been active in supporting the environment since 1974. In addition to using recycles materials in their products, Pentel modified their manufacturing process by removing substances that are harmful to the ozone layer. Pentel has also cooperated with the World Wide Fund for Nature since 1992.

“Going green has long been a philosophical platform for Pentel,” Pentel Director of Marketing De Verges B. Jones said, “The Recycology assortment line is an evolution of the Pentel of America commitment to the environment. The Recycology gel pens, pencils, highlighters and tape deliver superior performance and benefit the environment by utilizing recycled content. We are committed to protecting the global environment and controlling pollution—without compromising the high level of quality that is synonymous with Pentel.”

Hopefully, companies like Pentel will start to become the norm as we continue to work towards reducing our carbon footprint.

About the author: Environment Smart

Recycling Hair? Why Not!

Posted by Environment Smart on 09/24 at 12:00 PM

As far out as it may sound, there are some excellent and innovative uses for human hair cuttings. Phil McCrory, a hair stylist from Alabama, was washing a client’s hair while watching coverage on the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. He noticed the fur on the Alaskan otters completely soaked with oil, but the water around them was clean. He began testing how much oil he could collect with the hair clipping from his salon. He discovered that one pound of hair could soak up one quart of oil. Making a mat out of hair allowed the hair to be reused. Since then, Hair Mats have been employed to clean up various hazardous oil spills. Matter of Trust collects the hair from salons and uses it for their Oil Spill Hair Mats.

Visit Planet Green for a video clip about these innovative Hair Mats.

About the author: Environment Smart

RONA to offer Canada wide CFL Bulb recycling program

Posted by TheGreen on 05/30 at 03:56 PM

This is great news for all of us CFL (Compact Flourescent Light) users out there. RONA has officially announced that they will have a Canada-wide collection program for all your CFL bulbs. From the press release:

“RONA inc. has announced a new Canada-wide collection program for compact fluorescent light bulbs. Canadians will now be able to take their used compact fluorescents to participating RONA stores where the bulbs will be collected for safe recovery.”

About the author: TheGreen

Still getting junk mail

Posted by TheGreen on 05/30 at 11:53 AM

We first put our mailbox stickers on May 16th. It is not May 30th, a full 14 days later, and we are still getting junk mail. Canada post told us on the 26th they would take care of if, as did Publisac. Seemed to make little difference. We will call again on Monday if we keep getting junk mail then.

Do any of you readers out there have a similar or different experience in stopping junk mail delivery to your house. We would love to hear from you.

About the author: TheGreen

No junk mail please

Posted by TheGreen on 05/26 at 04:11 PM

A quick followup to my previous post on junk mail. Today I went to get my mail and not only did we have a publisac on the front stoop, we also had junk mail in our mail box from Canada Post! Not really all that shocking when you think of it. These folks are just trying to deliver their route as fast as possible, but they should still honour our request.

What was amazing about the publisac was that we got two publisacs that were identical. Furthermore their contents were spread out across the step, a bench in front of our house, our flower garden and up the walk way. Since it was raining a bit, this made a soggy mess.

A phone call to Canada Post at 1-866-607-6301 was met with a very friendly reception, and they promised to send the issue to the supervisor who would then get a message to the delivery dude or dudette. For publisac I found these two numbers—General Delivery 514-337-6920 and West Island/Lachine 514-636-5559—and got a very friendly reception there also, with a promise to have the matter sorted.

We will see if the matter improves now.

About the author: TheGreen