VAST Composite Pavers Turn Scrap Tires Into Recycled “Bricks”

Consumer demand for quality recycled materials has grown exponentially as the green building industry expands.  VAST Enterprises is meeting this demand with top quality composite pavers made from recycled materials.

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Plastic industry sues to keep plastic bags in place

There’s a growing movement to ban single use plastic bags. Countries are jumping on this environmental bandwagon. A number of states are in the process or have already banned them. Oregon is currently considering a state-wide ban, while Evanston, Illinois is debating whether to become the 22nd city to ban them .Other communities have imposed a tax on the bags, with Montgomery County, Maryland, passing a five-cent plastic-bag tax on May 3.

The plastics industry isn’t taking this lying down. Led by South Carolina-based bag manufacturer Hilex Poly, opponents in the plastic industry are waging an all-out campaign to deny that plastic bags pose a threat to the environment.

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The next sustainable source of rubber – dandelions?

 

Could a dandelion's milky liquid be a sustainable resource for rubber?

Ford Motor Company. has been working with researchers at Ohio State to create a new sustainable resource for rubber. Odd as it may seem, that source could well be the innocuous dandelion weed.

The sticky, milky white  liquid that seeps from the roots of the Russian dandelion (Taraxacum kok-haghyz) is currently being grown at OSU’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. If successful, Ford could use this substance as a method to improve the impact strength of plastics.

Russian dandelion could be the next sustainable source of rubber

It could then be used in things like  floor mats and interior trim if it meets Ford’s standards for durability,

Whoever thought that dandelions could prove durable, much less a potential enhancement and/or replacement for rubber? Sort of makes you think twice about pulling up those weeds.

Spa Baby makes bathing baby a pleasure

Even weeks' old infants can enjoy a safe bath in Spa Baby tubs

Even weeks' old infants can enjoy a safe bath in Spa Baby tubs

Parents of young babies know that giving them a bath is challenging, frustrating and rarely fun.

An amazingly innovative Canadian product called Spa Baby makes it pleasant a pleasant experience all around.

The Spa Baby is a European-style baby bath tub that lets you bathe your baby while it’s sitting up.

It goes back to the idea of bathing them in the kitchen sink, says Brandy Cameron, founder of Spa Baby Tubs, Inc.

After the birth of her baby six years ago, Cameron discovered how difficult it was to give newborns a bath and how much they disliked the process! Searching for a better alternative, she discovered that outside of North America, it was standard to bathe a baby upright.

An upright tub like the Spa Baby has a real advantage over traditional baby baths, Cameron says.

With traditional baby tubs, parents lay the baby flat on its back. Even though the water is warm, it cools quickly since it covers a large surface area. That leaves the baby’s chest and torso exposed to the air, while they lay in the water. No wonder they usually scream and fuss!

“We kind of forgot about the point of view of the baby,” said Cameron.

The Spa Baby – with its smaller surface area – uses less water than traditional baby baths – around 5 gallons. Fill it to the fill line, then carefully place the baby in it. The water comes up to around their chest. And the water stays warm for about 20 minutes, giving you time to give the baby a gentle warm bath.

“Babies relax so much they’re practically falling asleep,” she said.

You can check out a cute video of  this at http://3.ly/qJeo.

“Your baby stays in this really familiar position,” said Cameron. “like (how) they spend their first nine months. It’s comforting for your baby – and a nice experience for you.”

The Spa Baby contains no BPA, phthalates, and no vinyl, otherwise known as PVC. A lot of other baby tubs contain blends of plastics and foam materials in them.

Spa Baby is polypropylene plastic, said Cameron. “That’s as non-toxic as you can get!”

Spa Baby Eco is made of recycled plastic and no hamrful chemicals

Spa Baby Eco is made of recycled plastic with no hamrful chemicals

Cameron’s latest baby bath tub is the Spa Baby Eco, made of 100 percent recycled plastic. She got the idea for this after seeing all the new plastic being generated, especially for baby products.

“You’re kind of surprised at the amount of plastic that comes through your door when you’re about to have a baby,” Cameron said.

With the exception of toys, there’s very little baby gear made of recycled plastic, she said.

“I think,” Cameron said, “we have all the plastic we need already on the planet!”

The Spa Baby and Spa Baby Eco are both recyclable. But Cameron recommends instead of tossing them in recycling when you don’t need them anymore, why not give them to another mom to use?

That’s real recycling, she said – as in the second of the 3Rs, Reuse.

The Spa Baby and Spa Baby Eco are very reasonably priced . If you order from Spa Baby’s website, shipping’s included if you live in the continental US. These amazing baby bath tubs are  available at Spababytubs.com and on Amazon.

Recycling Plastics Breakthrough could be near

Water BottlesResearchers from IBM and Stanford University are working to create a new kind of plastic, one that can be recycled multiple times and that’s biodegradable.

Most plastics can only be recycled once as the metal catalysts they contain break down, contaminating and degrading it, affecting the material’s recyclability. Organic catalysts such as are being worked with at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, leave no residue, can break down the plastic’s polymers to their original state and are cheap to produce.

Also, organic catalysts break down plastic at room temperature – a much lover level than currently possible, where higher temperatures and greater energy are required.

This breakthrough could allow plastics to b recycled over and over in the future.

In Saudi Arabia, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology is working with IBM and Stanford to establish a pilot recycling program for PET (the common plastic used in drink bottles, identified as #1 plastic) using the organic catalysts.

This development, if realized, could have exciting new applications, including for healthcare, particularly in drug delivery devices and replacing synthetic computer materials with greener alternatives.

BPA lurks in cash register receipts

Cash register receipts shown to have BPA

Cash register receipts shown to have BPA

The news has been filled with stories and warnings about BPA (bisphenol-A). This commonly used chemical has been found in everything from baby bottles to a wide variety of food and beverage containers. Plastics leach this estrogen-mimicking chemical.

BPA is also found in perhaps a majority of cash register receipts. And it’s been that way for years, according to John C. Warner, an organic chemist, author, patent holder and member of the Board of Directors of the Green Chemistry Institute in Washington DC.

Warner first discovered the widespread use of BPA in credit card receipts back in the 90’s while working for Polaroid. Later, as a professor teaching green chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, he sent students out to get cash register receipts, bring them back to the lab and test them, looking for the presence of BPA.

Cash register.tape

BPA-contaminated or BPA-free receipts all look the same

They found it in most of them. And their levels of BPA weren’t small.

Thing is, the BPA-contaminated receipts looked the same as the BPA-free ones.

Warner’s conclusion about BPA in the urban envionment? 

“The biggest exposures will be these cash register receipts.” Once on the fingers, BPA can be transferred to foods. And, he adds, some hormones — like estrogen in certain birth-control formulations — are delivered through the skin by controlled-release patches. So, he argues, estrogen-mimics like BPA might similarly enter the skin.

So what to do? 

First, don’t panic. Pregnant women  should wash their hands after handling a BPA-laced receipt. And keep them  out of kids hands. Maybe also store receipts in some zipper-type plastic baggie, not your wallet. Most of all, be aware of the situation and act accordingly.