SCRAPPING THROUGH THE SEASONS: WHAT TO RECYCLE ALL YEAR LONG

Need a little extra cash after the holidays?  Have you resolved to lessen your environmental impact in the new year?  Look no further than a paid recycling center!

According to Nielsen insights, the top five New Year’s resolutions include staying fit, losing weight, enjoying life, spending less money and saving more, and spending more time with friends and family. Do you know what is not on the top five and should be?  Scrapping or recycling!

PAID RECYCLING CENTERS

In 2010, the scrap metal industry added $64 billion dollars into our economy and helped dampen the negative environmental impact. By recycling or scrapping metal, it diverts it from sitting in landfills, prevents drilling for raw material, and lowering our carbon footprint. Best of all, there are recycling centers that pay you based on your scrap value.

Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips on where to find scrap according to seasons!

WHAT CAN I RECYCLE IN THE WINTER?

Christmas Decor: When scrapping in the winter, look for Christmas lights and artificial trees, these can actually be recycled! Check out our Christmas blog for more information!

Pipes, Shovels, and Plows: Cold weather brings busted pipes and snow, so be on the lookout for old pipes, copper, HVAC, busted shovels and plows. Need a new pipe or snowplow? Bring the old ones in for cash to put towards your new ones.

Old Workout Equipment: Out with the old, and in with the new. Have old exercise equipment collecting dust? Bring it our way!

Aluminum Cans: Super Bowl 52 is in February and it is a great time to collect and recycle aluminum cans.

RECYCLING FOR CASH IN THE SPRING

Spring Cleaning: Once the weather gets nice, people start to clean out basements and their garages. Bring in your outdated household items and get paid.

Garage Sales: Do not be afraid to stop by a garage sale or two. You could purchase something that is worth more in scrap than what you purchased it for.

Old Appliances: We love old appliances, just bring them to us!

Wires: Extension cords, cables, and wires are all worth money. If you have a pile of cords and no idea what they belong to, bring them to us. We pay you to recycle them.

Lead Acid Batteries: These batteries are 80% recyclable. The plastic, lead and acid can all be recycled.

Brass: You can recycle old lamps, sink fixtures, brass collectibles, lighting fixtures and much more.

College Campus Finds: At the end of the semester, check your local college campus dumpster for old furniture, lamps, and appliances.

PAID RECYCLING IN THE SUMMER

A/C Units: Did your A/C unit go out, or is time for an upgrade? Recycle your old Air Conditioning unit at Metro Recycling, or a recycling facility near you. If you are not an HVAC Contracto make sure you have the correct paperwork. Visit our How to Recycle page for more info. Metro Recycling takes theft very seriously and it will not be tolerated.

Pool Equipment: Summer can sometimes come with unpleasant surprises. If your pool motor doesn’t work or the heater went out, the old above-ground pool finally gave out (aluminum walls), or even if the pool ladder is busted, bring all that recycling into Metro and we will pay you to recycle.

Grills: BBQ grills are usually made of recyclable stainless, aluminum, and/or cast iron. These can be worth the hassle of loading and unloading, just make sure that the propane tank is no longer attached.

Siding: Summer projects? Residing the house or garage? Most recycling centers will take your old aluminum. Metro Recycling will also take your vinyl siding. While the PVC doesn’t have much monetary value, there is great value is in decreasing the impact on our environment.

Aluminum Cans: Cracking cold ones during the warm weather? Save your aluminum cans and recycle them.

Lawn Furniture: A lot of lawn furniture gets damaged in storms. Check the trash after high winds and other storms and recycle the broken furniture.

FALL RECYCLING OPPORTUNITIES

Electric Motors: During fall clean up, equipment with small motors like chainsaws and leaf blowers tend to break. Motors like these have copper wiring. These can have a solid return value when recycled.

Tailgate Time: Cheer on your favorite team and save the environment at the same time by recycling your soda cans.

Lawn Furniture: Ready to put your patio furniture away for the winter? If you notice a broken chair or umbrella in the mix, bring it in for recycling.

 

Now you’re all set for an entire year of recycling resolutions! Metro Recycling hopes that you have a safe and happy New Year, and we hope to see you at a recycling center near you soon. Visit any of our locations today.

 

 

Christmas Recycling!

When Christmas is over, presents are all unwrapped, and family has come and gone what should you do with all the left over wrapping paper, boxes, packing essentials, and Christmas tree?  Here are some ideas on how to recycle and up-cycle these items!

WRAPPING PAPER

A common mistake is that people think wrapping paper is recyclable. Unfortunately, this shiny paper is not; wrapping paper is usually laminated. There are a few exceptions to this, if your wrapping paper does not have a shiny coating or any foil properties, then you are safe to recycle. In this case, you can always try to reuse your wrapping paper for next year.

BUBBLE WRAP

Bubble wrap and plastic bags are made from the same material, making them unable to go into your curbside recycling bin. You can drop off unwanted bubble wrap the same place you recycle plastic bags. You can always chose to reuse it for crafts, or for a stressful situation! Pop Pop Pop!!!

STYROFOAM – PACKING PEANUTS

Packing Peanuts are bothersome. They are messy and a pain to pick up. If you do not want to reuse them, here is a list of what to do with them.

  • You can check at Earth911.com for polystyrene recycling sites near you.
  • Bring them to a UPS or other packing facility
  • Call the Peanut Hot line!! 1-800-823-2214
  • Mail it back to Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers.

There is a brand called Puffy Stuff that is biodegradable and all natural. This is an environmentally safer alternative.

LIGHTS

Christmas light have a bulb out? Ready to toss them? A landfill is no place for tree lights. Tree lights have plastic and copper wiring that can be reused. Recycling facilities like Metro Recycling will take your old Christmas lights!  Can’t bring it to us?

Mail it to:

Christmas Light Source Recycling Program
4313 Elmwood Drive
Benbrook, TX 76116.

TREE – ARTIFICIAL

Fake or artificial Christmas trees can have two main advantages, one is cost and the other is convenience. You buy one tree and you’re set for years. The convenience of an artificial tree is to pull it out of the crawl space or attic each year. There is no going to cut one down, dragging it into the house, watering it, cleaning up the pine needles and deciding what do to with it when the season is over. Now at the end of their life, you can recycle or upcycle them.  Artificial Christmas trees are made from PVC plastic and steel. Turn in your old Christmas tree to recycling facilities and make a little money! Looking to upcycle your old Christmas tree? You can take the branches off and make a wreath or garland.

TREE – REAL

Roaming around the Christmas tree farm, cutting down the perfect tree, hanging lights and ornaments, the fresh aroma of pine needles, it is all part of Christmas. When Christmas is over what about the tree? Here are a few suggestions on how to recycle and upcycle your Christmas tree! According to the National Christmas Tree Association, between 25 million to 30 million trees are cut down every year.

  • Curbside pickup is usually available the two weeks after the holidays, just call to verify.
  • Home Depo has a recycling program after Christmas. Just call and ask!
  • Earth911.com  is a trusted resource, visit this website to learn more.

Porter County, Indiana

The Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction (http://www.portercountyrecycling.org) Centers encourage Porter County residents to bring their Christmas trees, Wreaths and other organic decorations to their compost sites.

  • Valparaiso Compost Site, 2150 W. Lincolnway (Hwy. 130 – 1 mile west of intersection with Joliet)
  • Boone Grove Compost Site, 546 South 400 West (Hwy. 8 to 400 West, head north to 550 South

Lake County, Indiana

Lake County Solid Waste Management District does not offer any tree recycling. Last year the city of Crown Point had a Christmas tree bon fire at Lake County Fairgrounds. Check to see if your local municipalities in the area offer a way to dispose of your tree!

Cook County, Il

Contact your local curbside collector or local municipalities for further information.

UPCYCLE

Instead of recycling your tree, there are a few ways to upcycle your tree right in your backyard!

Let’s start with using it as a bird feeder.

Prop your old tree outside and decorate it with the following edible ornaments: popcorn, citrus fruits, cranberries, bird feed, and peanut butter.  The National Wildlife Federation Blog has three easy crafts for this project.

Chip and Mulch it

Chip your old tree and place it around your plants. As the chips decompose it releases the nutrients back into the soil and will depress weeds from sprouting.

Mulch your old tree or use it as ground cover to keep plants insulated.

Sink it

If you have a pond, lake or river nearby or in your back yard, sink your tree (make sure its chemical free). Adding old Christmas trees provides a shelter for fish in the winter.

Give it to the Chickens

Throw your old tree to the chickens, they love to roost on it.

Wreath and Potpourri

Break off old branches to make a wreath or even make your own potpourri.

Recipe

Pine tree clippings, lemon rind, orange rind, cinnamon sticks, cloves, rosemary

Throw it all into a pot of boiling water for one hour.

It couldn’t be any simpler!

Happy Holidays

 

DIY Garden Ideas

Summer is in full swing and we’re all busy enjoying sunny days, cool breezy nights and fresh produce. You might be thinking you’d love to grow your own produce, but don’t have a yard to have a garden. Let’s talk about the different options you have, even if you’re city living.

An easy thing to do would be to start a container garden. These mini gardens can get utilized on decks, rooftops, patios or even the space just beyond your window. If you’re renting your living space, these little containers are also easy to move from place to place. You can get creative and repurpose old material, such as a broken wheelbarrow or bucket to house your plants. If your containers are mostly shaded, grow shade loving plants, or move them to catch some mid-day rays.

If you live in the city, check out if there are any community gardens in your area. Many cities now have arrangements for publicly owned land that you can plant your own fruits and veggies on. It’s a great opportunity to promote community involvement and build relationships with those who live around you.

Last, but not least, you can grow a windowsill herb garden. You may not know this, but a lot of herbs will grow indoors, especially if you have a sunny window that faces east, south or west. If your space is too shaded another option would be to install an energy efficient light to promote growth.

These are just a couple DIY options you have when it comes to growing fruits, veggies and herbs when space is limited. If you try it out drop us a line and let us know what tricks work for you and your small space. Happy planting!

DIY Tire Swing

We’ve been focusing on tires in the last few blog posts. To end our section on tire recycling, let’s talk about a DIY project you can do to repurpose an old tire.

Some of the items we use regularly can be reused into something completely different. Tires are one of these items that can be repurposed. We learned a little bit about that in our last blog post, but here is another way to repurpose them. Tires come in multiple sizes, but all can be reused into a staple at your local park or even in your backyard. Creating a tire swing out of an old tire is a great way to reuse it and will also give the kids hours of fun in your very own backyard.

What does it take to make one of these? It’s pretty simple actually. All you’ll need is a tire, eye-bolts, S-hook, 3 shorter chains and 1 long chain, clip hook, connector links, and a swivel piece. Now, if you’re not a handyman this may sound intimidating, but check out this website with step-by-step directions and you’ll soon realize that any man or woman is capable of making a do-it-yourself tire swing.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-tire-swing/?ALLSTEPS

After you create your very own personal tire swing you can feel proud of not only the work you have done, but also that you did a little part in helping the environment.

Although Metro Recycling does not accept tires we do accept a variety of other materials that you can’t necessarily fit inside your blue recycling bin. Check out our list of acceptable materials here.

Repurposing Used Tires

We’ve been talking a lot about tire recycling in the past few weeks. Facts about tires, why they’re bad for landfills and now we’re going to discuss what tires can be re-purposed into.

There are actually quite a few different options when it comes to re-purposing tires. Here is a basic list of the uses for tires.

  • Soil additives
  • Synthetic turf
  • Playground cover
  • Floor mats for gyms
  • Stall mats for horses
  • Running tracks
  • Ballistic backdrops for shooting ranges

When used for playground cover or stall mats in a stable the tires are made into rubber mulch. There are many benefits to using rubber mulch as opposed to wood mulch.

  1. Less tires in landfills. Old tires are given new life instead of taking up valuable space.
  2. Does not blow or float away. Since rubber mulch is much heavier than wood, it is less likely to blow or float away in severe weather.
  3. Lasts longer than wood mulch. Because it does not break down or fade, rubber mulch has a much longer lifespan than wood mulch. Rubber mulch won’t decompose like wood mulch and should hold its color for more than ten years.
  4. Similar in cost to wood mulch. While the upfront cost of rubber mulch is higher than wood mulch, its considerably longer lifespan makes it a cost effective option.
  5. Makes playgrounds safer. Rubber mulch has twice the fall height rating of wood mulch and will not compact over time. So when a child falls on the playground, the landing will be much softer.
  6. Easy on horses’ knees. When we use rubber mulch as stall and arena flooring, the softness of rubber mulch help to reduce wear and tear on horses bodies.

So as you can see, there are many different ways we can utilize old tires. Finding ways to re-purpose material instead of just throwing it away is great for our environment, saves landfill space, and helps create more efficient uses for materials.

Tires in Landfills

As we talked about a few weeks ago, recycling tires can be challenging. With over 290 million tires discarded every year we have a lot of tires with limited places for them to go.

Why isn’t the landfill a viable option? Let’s look at some of the facts.

The first issue is that tires break down very slowly. It takes approximately 50-80 years (or longer) for a tire to completely decompose in a landfill. So with 290 million being discarded every year, the landfill would quickly become overrun with old, unusable tires.

Another issue is space. Tires aren’t small and whole tires take up a lot of space in landfills. This landfill space if very valuable, especially when you consider that 75% of their space is void.

A big issue is soil and water contamination. Tires have the capability to damage landfill liners. Holes or damage in the liners can cause fluids and other harmful chemicals to escape into the soil and contaminate the water and soil surrounding the landfill.

Last, but certainly not least, when tires in landfills do damage the landfill liners they then tend to float to the surface. This then causes them to attract rodents. Making contamination more of a possibility.

So if we can’t discard tires in landfills then what can we do with them? Next time we’ll talk about different uses for tires and what we can do with them when we no longer have use for them.

The Life of a Recycled Tire

Let’s talk about tires. This is one material that is hard to get rid of. Many recycling centers won’t accept tires and many landfills won’t take them either. Let’s start with discussing some facts about tires before we get into the nitty gritty.

Tires are an essential part of our world. Tires get things and people from place to place. Without tires, the world would be a pretty stationary place. Here are a few interesting tire facts to get your mind going.

  • Each year, approximately 1 billion tires are produced throughout the world in over 450 factories. In the next few years that number is expected to reach 1.7 billion.
  • Around 200 different raw materials are used to make a new tire.
  • The 100 tire companies in the U.S. make around $15 billion a year
  • The four largest tire companies make more than 75% of the revenue
  • Passenger car tires generally need to be replaced every 50,000 miles. With the average American driving around 12,000 miles a year, a lot of old tires are produced.

Each year over 290 million tires are discarded in the U.S alone and disposing of old tires can be a challenge for a lot of reasons. We’ll talk more about the challenges in our next blog! Stay tuned!

Aluminum Can Recycling Facts

We talk a lot about recycling. The benefits to the environment, items you can recycle, items you can reuse and much more. Although this is important conversation, it’s shocking to hear the how long it takes these items to decompose when you don’t recycle.

It’s shocking when you hear how long aluminum can will sit in a landfill. It’s shocking to hear how much goes into landfills each year in the United States. There are items thrown into landfills every single day that could be recycled. Often times all it takes is for people to start thinking outside the blue box.

For the next few posts we’re going to discuss common recyclable items and how long it takes for them to break down when we decide to ditch the blue bin. We’ll start with a well-known item that most probably thinks of first when they hear the word recycle. The Aluminum can.

You may already know that if recycled, aluminum cans will be back on the shelf within 60 days. You may not know that if not recycled, aluminum cans will sit in a landfill for 500 years before it oxidizes. Imagine if that can had been recycled how many times it could have been used and the amount of virgin resources that could’ve been saved.

Fast Facts on Aluminum:

It is infinitely recyclable.

It can be back on the shelf within 60 days

Making new aluminum cans from used cans takes 95 percent less energy than using virgin materials

Twenty recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce one can using virgin ore

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours.

So next time you consider tossing that aluminum can into the trash, consider these facts and think of how much needed landfill space, energy and materials you’ll be saving by taking a few extra steps to recycle.

Metro Recycling is dedicated to providing quality service while helping maintain a sustainable environment. For more information on our locations, hours and other acceptable recyclables visit our website, http://www.wheredoirecycle.com.

Paper Towel Recycling

1,000,000,000. That’s a big number. What if I told you that’s how many pounds of paper towels are used in the U.S. every year. Would you believe me? No? Good, because the actual number is 13,000,000,000. 13 billion pounds of paper towels—every year! That, my friends, is a lot of trees.

So, why do we use so much? Well, there is an answer as to why. Paper towels don’t contain significant amounts of fiber for recycling when they’re dirty or wet. What happens is they degrade even further and in turn become completely non-recyclable.

You may be asking yourself what you can do to change that number. First off would be to cut down on the amount of paper towels you use per day. If all Americans used one less paper towel a day, 571,230,000 pounds of paper would be spared over the course of the year. Joe Smith, former District Attorney for Oregon’s Umatilla County and former chair of the Oregon Democratic Party believes there is a way to use only one paper towel at a given time.

His solution? Wash your hands, Shake excess water off your hands at least 12 times and fold the single sheet of paper towel in half. The one towel soaks up whatever leftover water hasn’t been shaken off and folding it in half makes it more absorbent.

Next time you need to use paper towels, remember the impact that using one less sheet of paper towel can do for the environment. Take the first step and others will follow your example.

Recycling your old mattress

It’s a new year which means out with the old, in with the new. I’ve at a few avid recyclers ask me what they should do when they trade in their old mattress for a new one. Are they recyclable and if so where can you recycle them? This is a great question. Since Metro is primarily a recycler of metals, we do not accept mattresses for recycling, but there has to be an organization or business that does right? With a little research we have some answers for you!
There are two options when it comes to your mattress. Reuse or recycle. Let’s discuss the reuse option first.
If your mattress is in good condition, it may be easy to find a new owner for you mattress. Start by asking friends and family members if they’re in need of a new mattress or know of anyone looking for one. Another option would be to check with local churches, homeless shelters and community centers within your neighborhood.
If you’re having trouble with those options, you may be able to give your mattress away on sites such asCraigslist or eBay. Check with the Salvation Army as well and they might even pick up the mattress to save you a trip.
 If your mattress isn’t in the best shape it’s probably best to opt for the recycling option. The wood, foam, cotton and metal springs that make up most mattresses are all recyclable. The challenging part is finding a place to recycle it.

 

When you purchase a new mattress, check to see if the store provides recycling. The manufacturer of your old mattress may offer a take-back recycling program. A quick call or web search should be able to provide you with that information. If you have no luck there check out Earth 911’s recycling directory to find out which recycling centers near you offer mattress recycling programs.
It’s a new year, lets start off on the right foot by reducing the materials we use, reusing as much as we can and of course, recycling materials that can be recycled.