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Month: June 2012 (page 1 of 2)

Dry Cleaning and Our Environment

First of all let me state some well known facts about dry cleaning.  Each piece is hung on a nice hanger. These usually end up in the garbage, not to mention the plastic that is used to cover the clothes.  Both of these wind up in landfills.

Dry cleaning also is a producer of toxins.  The primary chemical used in more than 90% of dry cleaners in the United States is perchloroethylene.  Perc is a petroleum byproduct, it is toxic the environment.  Dry cleaners also use other chemicals for cleaning stains and other dry cleaning processes which also end up as contaminates in our soil and waterways.  The chemicals used in dry cleaning also are a health hazard in many ways as well.

Recently I took my fiance's pants to the cleaners, as I was walking out the door he told me that they were already washed and he only needed them pressed. I asked him why, and he  stated the he did not like the smell of the chemicals from the dry cleaners.  This reminded me of an incident years ago when I dropped of a pretty cotton summer dress at the cleaners.  I placed it in my closet after retrieving it back, and after winter was over decided to wear it again. I noticed that it did not smell fresh at all.  I asked at the cleaners why this was and she simply stated that the chemicals from dry cleaning do not remove human oils which we release when we perspire even just a bit.  The chemicals to me thereby are simply a cover up to make the clothes look nice and fresh.

I don't deny that the dry cleaners are a convenience and many times we have certain clothing that we are afraid to launder at home.  There are options, we can use dry cleaners that us wet cleaning and CO2 solvents which are much friendlier to our environment.  A little extra time and investigation will certainly be a contribution to saving our environment and perhaps cleaner fresher clothes as an  added bonus.  I guess my fiance had the right idea all  along, wash at home and simply have the dry cleaners press for perfection.

Electronics and Recycling

Electronics of all forms can be recycled, T. V' S, cell phones, digital cameras, monitors and laptops, printer ink cartridges as well.

With the release of new technology everyday, we have to be strategic with what we do with our old devices. They contains toxic materials that leak into our ground water contaminating it with lead, mercury, cadmium, flame retardants just to name a few. It is completely absurd to knowingly discard items that have toxic materials where they can be absorbed by  human beings, our precious children, animal, aquatic life and plants so necessary for our existence.

There are endless resources available these days for facilitating the recycling of electronics. There are buy backs and trade ins, donation programs for schools and overseas for underprivileged. Places like Staples and Best Buy have the collection kiosks where they ship in mass to recycling companies.

Printer ink cartridges

Despite our goals to have "PAPERLESS" the reality is that many of us still frequently print everyday. From boarding passes to driving directions. Printer cartridges are quite an expense for us. Hewlett-Packard is leading when it comes recycling. They are an industry giant. Their recycling plant in Tennessee will receives countless boxes of discarded cartridges, many form places like Staples and Best Buy. H.P.will disassemble, sort, drain remaining ink, melt and separate the gold from palladium. Finally the plastic is shredded, processed into pellets mixed with bottle flake to create new cartridges. The resulting numbers are impressive, H. P. estimates that since they established their recycling company in 2001 it has kept 511,000,000 objects out of landfills, over 39,000,000 cartridges have been recycled.

Thank you H. P. for your contribution in helping keep our environment healthy.

The Lungs of Our Planet

Trees are like the lungs of the planet. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Additionally, they provide habitat and food for wildlife such as birds ,squirrels and bugs. Groves of trees provide food and cover for larger mammals, such as racoons and deer.

C02 is one of the major contributing elements to the greenhouse effect.Trees trap carbohydrates that are used for plant growth. They give us oxygen in return. About 800 million tons of carbon are stored in trees that make urban forests of the U.S. This translates to a savings of $22 billion in control costs. Mature trees can absorb about 48 pounds of C02 a year. The tree in turn releases enough oxygen in one year to keep  a family of four breathing. By planting 20 million trees the earth and its people will be provided with 260 million more tons of oxygen. Those same trees will remove 10 million tons of C02.
Trees also help reduce ozone levels in urban areas. In New York City, a 10 percent increase in urban canopy translated to a reduction of peak ozone levels by around 4 parts per billion.
Trees reduce urban runoff and erosion by storing water and breaking the force of rain as it falls.The USDA reports that 100 mature trees can reduce runoff caused by rainfall by up to 100,000 gallons!
Let's look at some more statistics:
  • A tree planted in the right place around buildings can cut air-conditioning cost up to 50 percent.
  • Trees increase the value of property. Houses surrounded by trees sell for 18-25 percent higher.
  • Trees are renewable biodegradable and recyclable.
  • Trees make people feel good, workers are more productive and hospital patients heal faster when they have a view of trees.
  • Trees in our atmosphere relax us, lower our heart rate, and reduce stress.
  • Trees also absorb noise pollution, in some cases,  a well planted group of trees can reduce noise by up to 10 decibels.

Squeaky Clean

I recently found a new passion one day while shopping at local Marshalls Store. Pretty boxes filled with large bars of delicately scented soaps. Upon buying the first one, I realized how soft it left my skin and how impressed I was with the magnificent scent.  I decided to treat several of my friends to one as well and all of us were immediately hooked.

One friend even keeps all the pretty boxes in an open waste basket, making a neat looking decoration in her bathroom.  Another friend simply collects them all just for fun.  What nice ideas they have come up with, think about how little waste is produced.

That leads me to the question:

 What is the main advantage of using bar soap verses liquid soap?  

Liquid soaps main ingredient is water.   Liquid soaps add up to more than two million pounds of plastic trash a year.   Larger bottles also create  more weight and volume using more energy in the transportation process.  Many more bar soaps can fit in a truck than bottles of  body wash.  Also most bar soaps are packaged in biodegradable cardboard containers, kinder to the environment as well.

Bottom Line... Body wash creates more pollution.

The choice is still a personal one.  Some people believe that bar soaps harbor more bacteria.  Yes this can be true, but if is not shared with others and allowed to dry properly, this poses little risk.  The poufers used with body wash also create bacteria, perhaps just as much if not more than a bar of soap.  Bar soaps also last longer, so the cost is less as well.  These are just some points to think about the next time we take our so loved long hot shower.

Smooth Sailing….

Cruise lines emit nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as airplanes. That is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to Eco problems on luxury liners. A one-week voyage on a large ship is estimated to generate more than 200,00 gallons of human sewage and 1 million gallons of gray water from sinks, showers, laundry and galleys. It also creates 25,000 gallons of oily bilge. According to research, ships can discharge untreated raw sewage as close as 3 miles from shore as well as gray water anywhere along the coast, with negative effects on reefs and all sea life , especially in Florida.
It's no secret that oil spills in recent years have brought the cruise industries responsibility to the forefront. It's important to know that all cruise lines follow their own set of environmental policies: major components of these include:
  • Solid waste management
  • Sorting and separating procedures
  • Recycling
  • Plastic minimization
  • Solid waste disposal
  • Air quality
  • Oil pollution prevention
Even newer and more innovative initiatives go beyond these efforts. Celebrity cruise lines has begun installing solar panels on it's newest ships for powering on board components such as led lights. Royal Caribbean has launched a ground breaking scrubber technology. A product called CSNOX will be installed, which not only reduces Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide but also carbon dioxide. Norwegian cruise lines donates used cooking oil to an organic farmer in Miami and has been doing the same in Hawaii. Carnival cruise lines is testing cooking oil conversion for environmentally friendly bio diesel. Ports are pitching in too! San Diego instituted a voluntary reduction of speed coming into ports to cut down on air pollution.
In the last ten years cruise ships have cut their waste and garbage in half while sustaining growth in cruise capacity.
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