ANSWERS: 1
  • RECYCLABLE: ‘Recyclable’ products can be collected and reprocessed to produce new items. Common recyclable materials are: paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminum, and electronic waste. Recycling is very important in diverting waste from landfills. Check with your local recycling collector to check what materials in your area can be recycled. The types of items accepted can vary from location to location. Also, properly sort your recyclables into your household recycling bins. If your city does not collect recyclables, you can use http://earth911.org/ to find public and private recycling centers. BIODEGRADABLE: ‘Biodegradable’ simply means that a product will break down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass within a reasonable amount of time in the natural environment. The term ‘biodegradable’ however has no legal enforcement or definition. Therefore, the term has been used loosely by some manufacturers. One important thing to remember is that biodegradability is a desirable feature in products such as cleaning agents. Conventional cleaning agents will often release harmful phosphates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as they break down, but biodegradable versions will not. Products that are labeled as ‘biodegradable’ can be disposed of in your garbage. However it is important to remember that landfills lack the microorganisms and oxygen required for waste to biodegrade in a timely manner, so you should still try to minimize the amount of wasted material. Some companies will label their recyclable, biodegradable or compostable products. For example, http://www.TheGreenOffice.com has a Green Screen system that ranks products based on recyclability, compostability, reduced chemical content and third-party certifications. COMPOSTABLE: 'Compostable' products are biodegradable, but with an added benefit: when they break down, they release valuable nutrients into the soil, aiding the growth of trees and plants. These products degrade within several months in an industrial composting facility and produce no toxic residues. Compostability is a desirable feature in traditionally-disposable products such as plates, bowls, cups and cutlery. These products are commonly made out of PLA (Polylactic acid), bagasse (sugarcane fiber) or vegetable starch. It is environmentally-preferable to use disposable products that are labeled ‘compostable’ rather than just ‘biodegradable’. Products that are labeled ‘compostable’ must enter an industrial composting facility in order for it to fully degrade into organic matter. If your city has a composting facility, place these products in your compost bins to be picked up. Compostable products will typically degrade in 30-120 days in an industrial composter, depending on the product size and material used. If your city doesn’t provide industrial composting, you can dispose of compostable products in your backyard or home composter, but they will take longer to biodegrade. If you do not have access to a compost facility or a home composter, dispose of the compostables in the garbage. This option should be your last resort as waste does not easily biodegrade in landfills. Remember: do not put compostables into your recycling! They are not recyclable and will contaminate the recycling process. Source: The Green Office (http://www.TheGreenOffice.com)

Copyright 2018, Wired Ivy, LLC

Answerbag | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy