Recycling Ink and Toner Cartridges

images_recycle3What do you do with your empty ink and toner cartridges?

Tossing them into the trash seems like the easiest way to dispose of the unnecessary cartridges, in fact, 60 – 80 percent of empty ink and toner cartridges used in laser printers, fax machines, and copiers end up in our landfills. In North America alone, 300 million cartridges end up in landfills each year!

Out of the 300 million cartridges thrown away we could circle the earth over 3 times. Not to mention that inkjet cartridges discarded in landfills leak into our soil, waterways and hard wild life. Especially carbon black toner, it has been classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

001It’s very easy to recycle your empty cartridges; whenever you  need to go to your local office supply store just remember to take your empty cartridges, some stores have recycling bins at the front of the store if you’re in a hurry and just need to drop them off. Dolphin Blue also offers an Inkjet & Toner Cartridge Recycling Program; we have free pre-paid shipping labels accepting all brands of empty printer cartridges, used cell phones and printer fusers.

So what’s the importance of recycling your cartridge?

Well you might not see the importance directly but the change will be there. A laser cartridge can take up to 450 years to decompose while others can take up to 1,000 years, that’s crazy! By recycling just one of your empty ink cartridges you’ll keep about 2 pounds of waste out of landfills.

Recycling cartridges helps us conserve our natural resources such as timber, water, oil/petroleum and minerals since we reduce the need to use raw materials. More than 3 quarts of oil is consumed to produce each new laser cartridge and for manufacturing a new inkjet cartridge, roughly about 3 ounces of oil is used. We can save an estimated of over 11 million gallons of oil by recycling our cartridges.

You’ll also help save energy and decrease greenhouse gases emissions that contribute to climate change.

Remember we can all help sustain our environment, not just for our own well being but for our kids and future generations to come.

 

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Can Post-Consumer Recycled Products Save the Songbirds?

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Many terms get thrown around in the field of sustainability, with some carrying more weight than others. Amid all the terminology floating about, “post-consumer recycled” is truly one worth knowing — and understanding.

In simple terms, post-consumer recycled (PCR) refers to the portion of reused material that might be part of a product’s total material composition. It’s the recycled portion of a product that’s derived from material collected by the consumer after the product from which the recovered material came was used for its intended purpose.

That’s a rather dry explanation, though — what it can even more succinctly be defined as is the key to saving life on earth as we know it. From the songbirds above our heads that croon a tune to the snails below our feet that inch along, the world’s creatures are relying on us to conserve resources.

Creating a Future

The percentage of PCR material used in the manufacturing of a new product generally determines the level of environmental responsibility awarded a product (or the manufacturer of the product) by consumers, a third-party certification organization, the manufacturing industry, or any of the numerous environmental groups that grant awards for the level of environmental responsibility of a product or process. The higher the percentage, the more eco-friendly the product.

All PCR content has a past — and, fortunately, a better future than what it could have been destined for. Instead of being hauled to a landfill in a socioeconomically depressed area (that’s where landfills are always located, after all) where it would burden the ground with yet more trash, it skips the waste stream. Instead of being burned in a waste-to-energy facility, where it would likely produce adverse effects on human health, such as noxious emissions, it escapes being released into the air in the form of something toxic.

Instead, it finds new life as everything from children’s toys to facial tissues — which is much more productive than being buried or burned, I’d say.

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How Does It Work?

Let’s say you buy a gallon of milk and drink it. You place the empty plastic jug (#2 HDPE, otherwise known as high-density polyethylene) into the blue bin. The jug gets picked up and returned to a recycling center. It goes from there, with thousands of other jugs, to a plastics processor that supplies post-consumer recycled plastic stock to manufacturers. The bales of #2 HDPE plastic, including your empty jug — along with all your neighbors’ empty jugs — re-enters the economic marketplace as feedstock to make a perfectly new, safe, nontoxic, and environmentally responsible children’s toy. How’s that for teamwork with the family down the street? And you didn’t even have to call a neighborhood meeting to do it.

Here’s another example: This time, you buy a ream of paper and use it to make copies of garage sale flyers, while your partner prints a presentation for work and your kids create artwork masterpieces destined for the gallery of your kitchen fridge. Once the papers are no longer needed, you place them into a recycling bin. The paper gets picked up and returned to a recycling center. It goes from there, with millions of other sheets of previously printed paper, to a paper processor that supplies post-consumer recycled paper stock to paper products manufacturers. The bales of paper, including your paper — again, along with all your neighbors’ contributions — re-enters the economic marketplace as feedstock to make perfectly new, safe, nontoxic, and environmentally responsible copy and printer paper (and yes, it’s just as nice-looking as the non-recycled stuff — I bet you can’t even tell the difference).

confused-personPre vs. Post

PCR sounds pretty great, right? And it is. Keep in mind, though, that the process only works when consumers both recycle everything they can, and then buy the products with PCR content. If you reward manufacturers who institute earth-friendly practices, your loyalty — and your dollars — say a lot.

However, it can be confusing at times when you’re staring at products on the shelf and trying to decide which one is best. Pre-consumer recycled products are also labeled recycled, although it’s not quite the same thing. These products incorporate manufacturer waste, like the leftover scraps and by-products that never made it to market for whatever reason, as opposed to items that did find their way into the hands of consumers and went through the recycling process. Anything recycled is better than anything not recycled, mind you, but post-consumer recycled beats out pre-consumer recycled in positive earth impact — so look a little closer at labels to be sure that’s what you’re getting whenever possible.

There’s Much at Stake

Recycling saves massive amounts of energy, conserves huge volumes of water, eliminates the use of chemicals, and saves precious natural resources, like trees, air, and water. As I mentioned before, though, recycling isn’t enough — you have to go that extra step and purchase the recycled products to really make a difference.

We’re a very interconnected population of creatures who, without each other, cannot continue to exist. As we destroy our forests, we destroy the homes of beautiful songbirds. When the songbirds die off, we see an increase in the number of insects. Songbirds eat insects, and without songbirds, we’ll only use man’s way of dealing with insects — bringing out chemicals that are toxic to us and many other creatures. We then see a rise in the occurrence of disease, cancers, and numerous other health disorders.

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As we preserve our natural world by reducing, reusing, and buying products made from recycled materials, we allow the planet to regenerate itself. With 7 billion of us now inhabiting the earth, and that number projected to expand to 9-plus billion in the next 50 years, we’re over-burdening this world’s capacity to renew itself. We’re endangering the opportunity to live a bountiful and thriving existence — for us, for the songbirds, for everything else.

Buying PCR content products is only one small action we can all take, yet it is one big step in the right direction.

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Mother’s Day Fun Facts

Mothers_Day-1024x768With Mother’s Day being this Sunday, we wanted to give you some fun and interesting facts about Mother’s Day.

  • 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day!
  • About 85% of adult men and women celebrate Mother’s Day
  • Mother’s Day is always on the second Sunday in May.
  • Mother’s Day is the second most popular holiday for gift-giving, Christmas is the first.
  • In the vast majority of the world’s languages, the word for “mother” begins with the letter M.
  • Ancient Egyptians believed that ‘Bast’ was the mother of all cats on Earth, and that cats were sacred animals.
  • In the U.S., there are about 82.5 million mothers.
  • Mother’s Day is widely reported as the peak day for the year for long distance telephone calls.
  • Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for many restaurants.
  • In the Bible, Eve is credited with being the ‘Mother of All the Living.’

Not only should you give lots of love to your mom this Mother’s Day but give some love to our Mother Earth as well!

Check out the cool infographic SheKnows made when they asked moms for their little secrets and compiled “The 7 Secrets of Mom’s Heart,” (for moms and the kids that love them). 

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Meet Our Adopted Dolphin Tilly!

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Photo Credit: Dolphin Communication Project

We are happy to introduce to you all our newest member, Tilly!

She was first seen in 2006 in Bimini, The Bahamas, were she was un-officially added to the photo identification Dolphin Communication Project catalog based on a linear scar above her left pectoral fin and a notch in her tail.

Photo Credit to Dolphin Communication Project

Photo Credit to Dolphin Communication Project

Being spotted again in 2007, 2008 and 2009 she was officially added to the Dolphin Communication Project Catalog when she began to develop her first spots. Joanne Birchall named her Tilly in honor of her beautiful dog who sadly died in 2009.

When Tilly was younger she survived a shark attack and although her injuries have healed very well she is now missing a bulk of her dorsal fin. It’s okay though! She seems to be doing just fine without it!

She is an energetic juvenile dolphin often seen playing, swimming and leaping clear out of the water with other juvenile dolphins and young adult dolphins.

We will be updating everyone on Tilly from now on, giving you some facts and pictures about Tilly and her adventures!

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What is a Carbon Footprint?

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Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds we produce as individuals, groups, etc., due to consumption of fossil fuels. The greater your carbon footprint is the more affect you have on our planet.

Carbon dioxide is released when we burn carbon based fuels such as:

  • Petrol and diesel- from our cars
  • Gas, oil and coal- from our homes and power plants
  • Jet fuel- from airplanes

How long is Carbon dioxides lifetime?

Carbon dioxide is not destroyed over time, instead it moves amount different parts of the ocean, atmosphere and land system. Some excess carbon dioxide will be absorbed by the ocean surface but some will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years because the process by which carbon is transferred to ocean sediments is very slow.

Watch this 2 minute video explaining carbon footprint.

Why is it important to be aware of your carbon footprint?

We all indirectly and directly impact our environment. A direct impact can be your day-to-day transportation and use of electricity in your home. While an indirect impact can be how far did the fruit you bought at the grocery store travel before it was consumed.

It’s great to know just how much a simple choice in your daily life can impact our planet. The more you know the more you can grow.

How can we reduce our personal carbon footprint?

  • Opt for riding your bike or walking when possible
  • Reduce the amount of trash you use
  • Recycle anything that can be recycled
  • Use renewable energy sources
  • Conserve electricity and heating
  • Use energy efficient appliances, Energy Star appliances
  • Conserve water; shorter showers!
  • Buy locally made products
  • Vacation closer to home
  • Proper insulation for your home
  • Plant trees!

Carbon Footprint Calculators

The Nature Conservancy’s -estimates how many tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases your choices create each year.

EPA Waste Reduction Model (WARM)- helps solid waste planners and organizations track and voluntarily report greenhouse gas emissions reductions and energy savings from several different waste management practices.

EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator-This calculator may be useful in communicating your greenhouse gas reduction strategy, reduction targets, or other initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

My Footprint-estimates the amount of land and ocean area required to sustain your consumption patterns and absorb your wastes on an annual basis.

Paper Calculator- premier tool for measuring the environmental impacts of paper and discovering the best paper choices

 

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B Corp Best for the Environment List 2014

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All BCorps strive to be best for the world. They set the bar for businesses seeking to have a positive and environmental impact. We join our fellow BCorps in working to create a healthier planet, not just a profit, year round.

In honor of Earth Day, we wish to congratulate 84 of our fellow Certified BCorps for being the best of the best! The BCorp Best For the Environment Honorees have earned an environmental score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, community, and the environment. Check out the full list and meet some companies that inspire us!

Thank you for helping us succeed where it truly matters and please join us in congratulating this year’s Best for the Environment Honorees.

Want to join the movement? Visit bthechange.com for more details.

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An Appreciation Note to Earth, from Just Another Earthling

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Thank you Mother.

Plain and simple, if not for you, we could not breathe. We could not eat, and, we could not receive quench for our thirst. It all comes because you’ve been so resilient, and so forgiving. You’ve taken care of our needs for millions of years, never asking for anything in return.

When we needed warmth, you gave us wood to burn, then coal, then other fuels, as we’ve exploited each and all, never blinking an eye at the damage and hurt we’ve caused you. If we needed clothes, you’ve let the providers of wool, cotton, silk, flax, hemp — and even man-made fibers — till your grasslands, destroy your forests for grazing and agriculture, and poison your fertile soils so we could produce ever more, whether we needed more or not.

In the beginnings of our human existence here, you smiled on us as we took what we needed, saving the rest to again reproduce for us and for our children and their children. We danced in harmony and in rhythm with the pulse of your giving.

Somewhere along the way, we began caring only about ourselves, not mindful and not considering the needs of those who would come behind us. We fished not for our table, we fished to sell fish to others, so they could choose to not fish for themselves. We harvested not for our hearth, we harvested to mass produce goods for others, so they could choose not to gather or build for themselves. It became more about money. Then more money, until we only think of all that you provide to us, still, as a means for creating more money, and more material wealth.

I believe that you were created, you came into existence because there truly is a Divine Plan for all of us. My Creator, My One God, the God of you, and the God of All That Is, had a magnificent plan when all this was breath-ed into existence. The Breath of God brought you into existence so we could all know our abundance.

You have provided us all we need, and all we and future generations will ever need. You are our Garden, generously and selflessly providing the bounty that keeps us connected to you. Without that connection, we will not endure.

We must begin replenishing for you, and, for us and our children’s children, so that you may continue providing for us all that we need.

Thank you Mother Earth. Happy your day! Happy Earth Day.

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