Solar recycling – a looming problem with a European solution

The price of solar panels continues to drop – down 86 percent since 2009! That means having solar is more affordable than ever and with solar leasing options growing and now California mandating all new construction must include solar, its use is set to explode.

But as I’ve noted before, every solution presents new problems which must be addressed. Solar panels have been rated for a 25-year lifespan. Although they will continue to function after that – many solar panels installed in the 1980’s still function close to their original levels – ultimately they will lose efficiency and at some point need to be replaced. The looming issue here is what to do with those solar panels?

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Online shopping is choking our landfills when we could recycle better

Last week’s news about Amazon purchasing Whole Foods has left consumers in a tizzy. On the one hand, it will make high quality food even more accessible. On the other hand, as is always the case, it presents new problems to be addressed.

One of these issues centers around the proliferation of shipping boxes. Americans love affair with online ordering has dramatically increased the amount of cardboard boxes making their way to our landfills.

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Recycle that old (unused) cell phone today on National Phone Recycling Day

old-cell-phonesLet’s face it. Almost everyone has at least one old cell phone stuck in a drawer or cabinet somewhere just gathering dust. A lot of us have a few of them – think small flip phones and other such analog devices. As of last 2015, there were roughly 426 million idle or inactive mobile devices in the U.S. Only 100 million would be recycled.

We hang onto them for no good reason other than we forget about them. But why not do something constructive and recycle them?

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November 15th is America Recycles Day

RecyclingFor a large percentage of Americans, recycling is fast becoming a way of life.

More households are participating in home recycling and businesses are slowly making the shift as well. Even so, there are still communities – including the one I recently moved to – that still don’t have curbside recycling.

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100 percent recycled asphalt to be used for bike lanes

Bike path pic

The Netherlands has one-upped the rest of the world yet again. Previously it was with their solar powered bike path, which opened in 2014 in a suburb outside of Amsterdam. In a country where there are admittedly more bikes than people, the government’s commitment to sustainability and innovation is inspiring.

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Dart tells New York City’s Mayor – Don’t landfill polystyrene, let’s recycle it!

Polystyrene

The nationwide movement to take the pressure off our landfills just got another ally. Dart Container Corp. – a leader in the polystyrene foodservice product industry that I’ve been writing about since 2009.

Dart’s President Jim Lammers recently released a video aimed at New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio, urging him to recycle, not landfill, the city’s styrofoam.

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States with the most Producer Responsibility laws

Extended Producer Responsibliity graphic

If you’re not familiar with the phrase Extended Producer Responsibility, it’s time to learn.

EPR is the larger picture of what’s necessary and what’s possible going well beyond recycling. It requires manufacturers to be accountable for the products they produce – its complete life cycle from beginning to its final and responsible disposal. It’s a way to dramatically reduce what goes into our landfills and increase the amount of waste that gets recycled and/or reused.

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