Think Green When You Clean

We all want to do our part in ensuring our environment stays as safe and healthy as possible for our children and future generations to come. Many people don’t stop to think how their household cleaners can affect the environment, and how toxic they can make the immediate environment of your home. With some careful forethought, planning and effort, your home can be cleaned safely and effectively, sparing the environment, your home, family and pets from toxic chemicals and fumes.

Most people firmly believe that surfaces in their homes must be disinfected on a continual basis to prevent illness and the spread of disease. But the truth is most areas of your home don’t need to be disinfected to prevent the spread of germs. This includes your bathroom. Mild detergents, hot water, and some elbow grease can generally do the trick.

The exception to this rule is the kitchen. Anything involved in food preparation should be completely scrubbed down and disinfected with each use. This includes food preparation surfaces, utensils, cleaning clothes, and sponges.

When shopping for cleaning products, pay special attention to those with the words poison or danger on the label. These words indicate the highest level of hazard, under federal law. Products labeled with the words caution or warning can present a moderate hazard and should be regarded with care. Always read labels and follow the directions.

Never mix cleaning products, such as those containing chlorine with those containing ammonia.

Consider using products such as vinegar, baking soda, and mild detergent when cleaning your home. If you have questions about how to properly dispose of toxic household cleaning chemicals, contact your local health department or county sanitation office for advice and assistance. Most areas provide a household hazardous waste collection site for residents to properly dispose of such items.

Recycled Plastic Wall Cladding and Other Products in Construction Industry

Products such as plastic wall cladding have many advantages, such as hygiene, great looks, ease of installation, freedom from maintenance and tailor-made properties. Plastic wall claddings, soffits and fascias are also very popular and the construction industry is a major consumer of plastic.

However, plastic has a reputation as a non-recyclable and environment unfriendly material. It is in this context that the campaign to recycle plastic and produce construction products from recycled plastic assumes great significance.

Wall claddings, soffits and fascias can be made from recycled plastic. Other construction products being made from recycled plastic include damp proof membranes, water drainage, pipes and ducting, kerbstones, roofing materials, piling and ground stabilization, scaffolding planks, decking and flooring products and fencing.

Sources for Recycled Plastic Raw Materials

Post-consumer and post-industrial plastic waste is the main source of recycled plastic. Sometimes, this recycled plastic is blended with recycled wood to make a wood-polymer composite.

Plastic bottles, bags and wrapping film provide recyclable polyethylene. CD cases, vending cups and food packaging yield polystyrene for recycling. Recyclable PVC is obtained from windows and industrial products.

Why Use Recycled Plastic Products?

Definite business benefits can be obtained from using recycled plastic products.

COST: Recycled plastic products are durable and long-lived, do not need much maintenance and do not suffer from such problems as rot. Hence, the lifetime costs of recycled plastic products will be lower and they will be excellent value for money.

STRENGTH AND VERSATILITY: Plastic has high strength-to-weight ratio. Light products mean easier handling, often eliminating mechanical handling aids and still complying with Health & Safety regulations. Plastic is versatile with a wide range of construction products being made with recycled plastic. You could get much of your requirements in the form of recycled plastic construction products.

The products also typically meet standards specifications.

PREFERENCE IN TENDERS: Public sector contracts are easier to win if you can show that you are using environmentally sustainable products. Even private sector organizations are beginning to give preference to contractors with a reputation for using recycled products.

CONTRIBUTION TO ENVIRONMENT: By using recycled plastic products, you are telling the world that you care for the environment. This can go a long way in generating goodwill that can benefit your business.

Recycled plastic products require little maintenance and upkeep, are inert and do not pollute water bodies or soil, and can be fully recycled at the end of their lives.

By using recycled plastic products, you are creating a demand for more recycled plastic raw materials, removing them from polluting places.

Starting A School Recycling Program

Teachers, parents and students have found a way to say goodbye to homework (at least to old homework): They recycle it.

In fact, students have helped to contribute to a new record in paper recycling. In 2005, 51.5 percent of paper used in the U.S.-51.3 million tons-was recovered for recycling.

To start a school recycling program, try these tips from the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and Keep America Beautiful (KAB). The groups provide training and a variety of resources to help educators teach students about recycling. Together, they have helped to start school paper recycling programs across the U.S.

Recycling 101

• Determine the amount and types of recyclable material in your school, and how to collect and separate it. Enlist the support of school administrators and staff, and appoint a coordinator and support team. Make sure to involve a student leader.

• Hold a kickoff event to start your recycling program and involve as many students as possible. Use the event to educate teachers, students and staff about the importance of recycling. Hold contests and offer small incentives to keep students interested.

• Work with a recycling company to gather materials and collect monthly results for your program.

Students Making A Difference

School recycling programs can have big environmental and educational benefits. Programs such as the AF&PA Recycling Awards and KAB outreach efforts can help.

The AF&PA Recycling Awards recognize outstanding individual, school, business and community recycling efforts. KAB has raised awareness for the program, and also has tools and resources available to help implement school recycling programs.

Join both organizations in supporting increased paper recovery efforts in your school and community.