Tag Archives: Recycling

What's that smell? Energy!

From Alaska Dispatch, Wednesday, March 31, 2010:

The methane gas produced by rotting trash smells awful and can even blow up, but Anchorage’s Solid Waste Services has a plan to put that gas to work.

SWS plans to take the gas emitted at the Anchorage Regional Landfill and use it as energy. Estimates say the landfill’s methane could produce about 3 megawatts of power, or enough to power 2,500 local homes. Right now the methane gas is burned off by flares.

Click here to read the full story.

Prevent heat loss with exterior insulation

By Cold Climate Housing Research Center Staff

The “Ask a Builder” series is dedicated to answering some of the many questions Fairbanks residents have about building, energy and the many other parts of home life.

These days, it is popular to put foam insulation on the outside of buildings.  How did all this come about? 

      A building loses heat through its framing, which is called “thermal bridging.”  Wood has less insulative value than any kind of insulation.  For instance, a wood stud has an R-value of 1.25 per inch.  If a building has a standard framed wall, whether it is 2×4 construction, or 2×6 construction, the studs span from the interior of the wall to the exterior of the wall. For a 2×6 wall, that would give you an R-value of about R-7 where the stud is located.  If you were to take all the studs in a wall and stack them side by side, you would have a wall that is 11-25% wood depending on how it is built.  Even if a wall is full of R-21 fiberglass insulation, the insulative value of the wall is dramatically worse when you average in the less insulative value in the wood.

      At least 20 years ago builders began experimenting with putting insulation on the outside of homes as a way to stop heat loss created by thermal bridging. Adding foam to the outside of a wall “wraps” your home in a continuous layer of insulation, thus preventing other building materials from conducting heat to the outside and cutting down on the air leaking out of your house.  This technique has been used in many cold climate regions.  The PERSIST (Pressure Equalized Rain Screen Insulated Structure Technique) is an exterior insulation technique that has been used in Canada for many years, while the REMOTE (Residential Exterior Membrane Outside Insulation Technique) Wall System is popular here in the Interior. 

Where can I recycle glass in the interior? 

      Recycling glass is a challenge because the material is heavy and difficult to ship out of Fairbanks and then out of Alaska.  Also, Anchorage recently ended their glass recycling program, in part because the market for glass is currently not very good. 

      Here in Fairbanks, there are a few small artisan-type businesses that are reusing glass, but they cannot handle large volumes and typically have more than they need already.  However, the Borough Recycling Commission is looking at ways to use glass here locally potentially as road fill and construction fill.  These plans will take time to develop, so if you have any input, contact the Recycling Commission through the Fairbanks North Star Borough at 459-1000. 

Alaska HomeWise articles promote home awareness for the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC).   If you have a question, e-mail us at akhomewise@cchrc.org.  You can also call the CCHRC at (907) 457-3454.

10 Steps to a Greener Office

From The Daily Green:

Enjoying an eco-lifestyle means living greener in all areas of your life. You may be taking environmentally friendly steps at home, but are you also doing it at work?

People spend almost 90% of their lives indoors, and for those people who work inside that equates to about 40 or more hours at your desk, office or cubicle. Whether you’re a student interning at a major corporation, a marketing associate making phone calls all day or an office assistant handling paperwork, you’re going to spend a majority of your time in one place all day.

So don’t you want your work space to be eco-friendly and energy efficient? It can be if you make these simple changes in your life.

Click here to read more.

One People, One Earth event to celebrate environmental stewardship

Event hosted by Alaska Interfaith Power & Light:

Join Alaska IPL at the Pioneer Park Civic Center on Saturday, January 30th, 2010 from 11 am to 3 pm, for an inspiring community event — One People, One Earth.

This free, family-friendly event will infuse fun, faith, education and charitable opportunities to learn about environmental stewardship and how you, your family, schools and congregations can save energy, resources and money.

Click here for more information.

From shingles and Sheetrock to mulch and more

From Alaska Dispatch, Saturday, January 16, 2010:

While glass recycling is a thing of the past in Anchorage, construction and demolition recycling is a new addition. In November Central Recycling Services opened a multimillion dollar plant to take scrap metal, rebar, contrete, shingles, scrap lumber, Sheetrock, carpet and other materials and turn them into concrete and landscape aggregate, pallets, shredded rubber, animal bedding, mulch and more.

A 2006 consultant report for the Municipality of Anchorage found that 32,000 tons of construction and demolition materials ended up in the city’s waste stream every year. (Compare that to glass recycling, which accounts for 1,500 tons of landfill waste annually.) With that in mind, city recycling coordinator Donna Mears calls the new service a huge leap forward.

Click here to read the full story.

McDonald's Makes Its Logo More 'Green' In Europe

From NPR, Tuesday, November 24, 2009:

McDonald’s logo is going green to promote a more eco-friendly image in Europe. It is swapping its traditional red backdrop for a deep green. The company says about 100 German McDonald’s will make the change by the end of the year. Some franchises in Great Britain and France already have started using the new color scheme.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Have a Slow Holiday

From Treehugger.com:

Let’s face it: With all that rushing, consuming, and bargain-hunting, the holidays can be darn stressful. So this year, following the best of the methodology pioneered by the revolutionary Slow Food Movement, TreeHugger is taking them back. We’re putting the brakes on stress and over consumption and making a return to those idyllic holidays of old with our Slow Gift Guide, consisting of 12 categories and over 100 gifts.

True luxury is taking the time to enjoy, the time to savor the moment. Each of these gifts–selected for thoughtfulness, longevity, and quality over quantity–have this goal in mind. Maybe it is as simple as a fresh, home-cooked meal whipped up with a pressure cooker, or the leisurely hours spent playing with a child with free downloaded paper gnomes. From delicate bracelets and sturdy fishing gear made of recycled material to donations to our favorite non-profits to bamboo keyboards, solar iPhone skins, and eco-friendly dollhouses, let’s take back the holidays together. And hey, till then, take it slow. -Mairi Beautyman

Click here for more.

Afloat in the Ocean, Expanding Islands of Trash

From The New York Times, Monday, November 9, 2009:

1,000 miles northeast of Hawaii — In this remote patch of the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from any national boundary, the detritus of human life is collecting in a swirling current so large that it defies precise measurement.

Light bulbs, bottle caps, toothbrushes, Popsicle sticks and tiny pieces of plastic, each the size of a grain of rice, inhabit the Pacific garbage patch, an area of widely dispersed trash that doubles in size every decade and is now believed to be roughly twice the size of Texas. But one research organization estimates that the garbage now actually pervades the Pacific, though most of it is caught in what oceanographers call a gyre like this one — an area of heavy currents and slack winds that keep the trash swirling in a giant whirlpool.

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Want to go green? There’s an iPhone app for that.

From The Christian Science Monitor, Thursday, October 28, 2009:

Along with all the other interesting things that an iPhone can do  – allow you to read free books,  listen to Elvis radio, and never be out of tweeting range, for instance – a few of its more than 50,000 apps can make an environmental impact on your life.

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Nudging Recycling From Less Waste to None

From The New York Times, October 19, 2009:

Across the nation, an antigarbage strategy known as “zero waste” is moving from the fringes to the mainstream, taking hold in school cafeterias, national parks, restaurants, stadiums and corporations.

The movement is simple in concept if not always in execution: Produce less waste. Shun polystyrene foam containers or any other packaging that is not biodegradable. Recycle or compost whatever you can.

Click here to read the full story.