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Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
We all have the power to make a positive impact on the planet. You can do your part in keeping it clean, safe, and green. Contact us to request a quote.
|Posted on June 18, 2019 at 1:25 AM||comments (3)|
TRADE CHALLENGES IMPACT ELECTRONIC RECYCLING AND REUSE
BY NEIL PETERS-MICHAUD
Owner/CEO of Cascade Asset Management
Tariffs and trade disputes are directly impacting the e-scrap industry, causing financial impacts and processing challenges throughout this sector.
Import restrictions on recyclable plastics started in China in 2017 as part of its "National Sword" initiative that was a response, in part, to the high volume of contaminated waste mixed into imports of recyclable materials. Since virtually 100% of all U.S. generated plastics from electronics recycling was sent to China for processing prior to 2017, many operators set up new processing facilities in other Asian countries to absorb the diverted plastic stream. The influx of material quickly created an immense burden on these countries, causing Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand to subsequently enact bans on e-scrap plastics and other waste materials.
Drone view of factory in Thailand processing e-scrap. Copyright Basel Action Network, February 2, 2018. Used by permission through e-Stewards license granted to Cascade Asset Management
CNBC reported in late May that Malaysia and the Philippines rejected more than 3,000 metric tons of non-recyclable plastic waste, including contaminated milk cartons, and bales of electronic and household waste from the U.S. and Canada. More than 60 containers of "smuggled" waste will be sent back to their countries of origin.
In addition, a recent change to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal will make the shipment and processing of mixed plastics more challenging among the 187 countries that signed onto the treaty.
Import tariffs are also increasing costs on the recycling industry by raising prices on processing materials and supplies often sourced abroad.
One of the potential positive outcomes of these trade policies is the development of a more robust domestic recycling infrastructure to manage these waste materials in order to avoid these trade barriers and costs. The federal government recently committed to investing up to $70 million in new research to reduce recycling costs and boost recycled content in manufacturing, with electronics recycling one of the targeted sectors. At the current time, there is no U.S. based plastics recycler that accepts and processes mixed electronic plastic scrap domestically so the process to create this domestic infrastructure will take some time.
Cascade Asset Management responded quickly to these global concerns by identifying a responsible market for our generated mixed plastics at Interecycling in Portugal. This company operates within the OECD and consistent with European electronics recycling schemes (WEEE). They use a mechanical process to sort out flame retardant plastics from more easily recyclable non-FR plastics. They perform these tasks at a higher cost than if exporting to Asia, but this solution provides a better assurance the plastic is safely and properly recycled in compliance with all international laws.
Given all these changes in trade programs, it is essential to know where your materials go and whether your processor complies with all international trade laws. Otherwise, the materials may end up in the wrong hands or be rejected and shipped back at a great cost to all involved.
|Posted on February 6, 2019 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
Recycle, Reuse, Reduce. When it come to your recycling and reusing needs you have us, Little Miss Recycle, but what about reducing? Some people’s solution is to go Zero waste!
It may sound intimidating; zero waste means to reduce the amount of your waste that goes into landfills by 90%. Or, possibly it seems attainable do you know how much waste you create daily.
Little Miss Recycle sat down with a local Austin woman, who is taking steps to get to zero waste. She gave us some great tips that everyone could implement easily that will help to reduce our waste!
There are probably a few ways you know about already, getting reusable metal/glass water bottle and taking a reusable tote for grocery shopping. Kristi enlightened us to other small reusable items we can add to our everyday.
As we sat for coffee Kristi had her own coffee tumbler with her. She told us about the power in refusing straws! Have you thought about that? All the plastic saved by just refusing straws at eateries. In her purse she had a cute little cloth case. It housed a reusable straw, and cutlery for anytime she dines out.
Around the house she has made mores small changes over time:
Plastic cling wrap for food storage / Biodegradable alternative in bees wax wrap.
Single use plastic zip lock bags/ Re-zip bags, small zip pouches made for long term use.
Paper towels / Cloth towels.
Body wash and gels in plastic bottles / Natural Bar Soaps
Plastic Disposable Razor / Stainless Steel Safety Razor
Tampons / Reusable Menstrual Cups
Going zero waste takes time! We have slowly been conditioned to our current way of life, we are used to single use and disposable everything. So, changing overnight is not advised!
First things first, would be to educate yourself, there are many easy alternatives to our environmentally toxic way of life. We may just not know about them yet. Learn if there are options that you and your family could try. Then little by little try them out and see what sticks.
If you need help then follow Kristi @msatx.livesgreen on Instagram for even more waste reducing ideas and motivation.
|Posted on December 10, 2018 at 3:05 AM||comments (0)|
This time of year, End-Of-The-Year bonuses are being doled out, holidays are observed, families are together, and people are expecting their tax returns soon! People are feeling more generous! No matter the time of year if you are going to give, the City of Austin's has come up with fun ideas and memorable gifts that have the added bonus of being Zero-Waste friendly! Look at the creative suggestions from Austin Resource Recovery's "Give a Great Story for a Waste-Free Holiday" by Thomas Nguyen!
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “GIVE A GREAT STORY?”
Giving a great story means thinking beyond brand-new items and finding gifts that create new memories with your family and friends. You can gift an experience, gift your time or knowledge, get a beloved item repaired, or find a vintage item that has its own story to tell. All of these gifts create lasting memories without creating waste—and they give the recipient a story to tell for years to come!
WHAT ZERO WASTE GIFTS CAN I GIVE?
Find businesses to support your Zero-Waste shopping efforts in our Shop Zero Waste directory. Here are some of our gift ideas:
Give the gift of experiences.
Give memberships to museums, zoos or galleries.
Purchase online skill-development classes.
Buy DNA ancestry testing.
Buy an annual pass to state or national parks.
Be tourists in your own city—see Austin in a new way by doing a bike tour.
Buy tickets to a sporting event.
Give a kayak or canoe rental gift certificate.
Enjoy your favorite band or artist in concert.
Visit the theatre or ballet.
Volunteer together for a cause you care about.
Give the gift of repair.
Repair a family heirloom.
Have a favorite pair of shoes repaired.
Restore photos that are damaged or faded.
Have a favorite outfit that no longer fits altered.
Fix the broken down bicycle in the garage.
Give the gift of reuse.
Buy a pre-loved book.
Find a vintage piece of jewelry with history and style.
Turn a teacup into a planter.
Add a new coat of paint to an old piece of furniture.
Make a quilt out of favorite old t-shirts.
Find thrift-store frames for treasured family photos.
WHY SHOULD I “GIVE A STORY?”
25% more waste is created during the holiday season. By choosing to shop for recycled, upcycled or pre-loved items, repairing already loved items or buying experiences, you are supporting local businesses and helping Austin to reach it’s Zero Waste Goal.
Reducing waste isn’t the only reason you should consider Zero Waste gifts; it’s also a great way to make a unique, lasting impression on your loved ones. Whether it’s the anticipation of the experiences you will share together, the thoughtfulness of having a beloved item repaired, or the excitement of receiving an item that has lived a life before getting to you, giving a great story means showing you care.
So, instead of buying something that’s likely to end up in the landfill in a few months, give the gift of a great story—and put a lasting smile on your loved ones’ faces.
|Posted on November 30, 2018 at 3:40 AM||comments (0)|
Texas is home to the largest supply of one of our countries natural resources and it is a cash cow! Did oil come to mind, think again, Sun is our most abundant natural resource. We get more sun than any other state and now is the time to take advantage of that with Solar power.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) held a luncheon the month to discuss the Texas Solar Market. Charlie Hemmeline, an Executive Director with Texas Solar Power Association, explained how we will see Solar Power grow not only in Texas but across the United States.
Over 1 million installations of solar power are in the U.S. now, in fact 30% of new electricity last year was solar! The cost of installing solar power has decreased 88% in the last 9 years, and with it becoming more cost effective more people are adopting this sustainable energy.
The effects are trickling down to us in Texas. We have the greatest electrical need because of our size and industrial industry. With the amount of sun that shines over our great state we could support much of our energy needs through solar power, however natural gas, coal, and wind make up the majority of our energy sources.
Organizations Like Texas Solar Power Association are working to change that. Innovations in architecture are allowing many spaces to be dual purpose! Car ports for example are being designed with covering that is made from solar panels. Major retailers are including Solar panels in their design. Apple, Target, and Walmart stores are using their rooftops to house solar panels for their energy needs.
Competitive net metering allows credits to be given to customers for their solar power. Facilitation on installation is available as well to help make the transition easier. Making Solar power an affordable, easy transition for residential use and innovation allowing large structures to build with solar in mind. We are sure to see sun energy rise!
|Posted on July 17, 2018 at 3:35 PM||comments (0)|
Did you attend Earth day this year? Yes? No? No matter. We will fill you in on all the exciting events, how you can celebrate on your own, and how to get ready for next year!
April 29th, 2018* Earth Day was celebrated. In Austin, the Huston-Tillotson University hosted the event. The focus was Explore-Discover-Engage. From 12pm to 7pm the schedule was jam packed with a new film series, workshops, and local activists. The goal was to entertain and inspire us to make a difference in our day-to-day life. Our favorites were the bicycle adventure course, the modern vehicle zone, and of course the electronic recycling!
The bicycle adventure was a blast. It was a fun ride put on by Bicycle Sport Shop, Austin’s Yellow Bike Project, and the Ghisallo Cycling initiative. They partnered up and worked to repair and redistribute bikes for youths at the event.
Modern Vehicle Zone was sponsored by Z-bikez, Happy Hyrid, Tim Ziegner, and Dan Vogler. Thanks to their help they were able to feature a variety of electric and hybrid vehicles. Those in attendance were informed about the technology that goes in these cars and were shown the power behind such vehicles like the Toyota RAV4-EV.
Recycling was a major part of Earth Day, as the event was a zero-waste event itself! There also were collections take old electronics and textiles to have them disposed of properly. Little Miss Recycle help multiple recycling drives in connection with several local Austin companies throughout the month of April. We had rousing success as we collected TONS of electronic waste!
For certain Earth Day was a success! But you can turn Earth Day into a year long celebration with 5 simple changes in your everyday life. How so? Austin Blogger Sierra Camelia has some great tips!**
1. Eat more Plants!
We know you are good hearted Texan and BBQ runs through your veins, but you don’t have to cut out meat entirely to make a difference. Just by eating more vegetables you increase plant production and reduce meat production which is much harsher on our environment.
2. Stop single-use plastics
Single-use plastics really are everywhere, from your water bottle to your grocery bag. But investing in a glass water bottle and re-useable bag will save tons of plastic waste per year.
Cars are common in Texas, if you see a friend walking you would probably pull over and ask them if they are okay! It may be hard to ditch your car, so why not share instead. Drive together more often. We have shorter trips to the mailbox, park, and nearby stores for example, take a stroll or a ride on your bike!
4. Reduce your use of Electricity and Water
This is a win, win because you save yourself money as well. Put your lights and electronics on timers. Set your AC to higher temps/off when you are out of the house. Or try going al fresco, with open windows on a milder breezy day. Don’t let the water run. Do laundry less often. Only run dishwasher once it is full.
5. Forget the Fast-Fashion & Shop Secondhand
Our last blog post touched on the harmful effects production in the fashion industry can cause. Especially the cheaper, rapidly produced materials. So, ditch them. Buy better quality, wear long, repurpose, recycle and try shopping second hand.
*Date was changed due to weather
|Posted on May 23, 2018 at 5:05 PM||comments (2)|
The 19th century was like no other. Expansion happened rapidly, population, industry, and technology multiplied many times over. Seemingly improving upon themselves with each growth. We realize now, that expansion was cancerous, and those growths were more like mutations. Little, if any regard for our Earth was taken into consideration. We created a linear economy.
A linear economy has a process that ends in waste. The fashion industry is no different, in fact it is one of biggest culprits. We rarely think of our clothing when it come to our carbon foot print, but we should! The fashion industry generates more greenhouse admissions annually than international flights and shipping combined. The Farming of Cotton uses one quarter of the world’s pesticides. These pesticides seep into our water systems. Not only pesticides but also the many different chemicals used to dye and bleach fabrics, to soften materials and create different finishes.
For these reasons and more Fashion is working on becoming more sustainable. Austin had the annual Sustainable Fashion Week! The theme was “The Future of Fashion is Circular”. We realized a linear economy isn’t fit for the long term, but a circular economy can help preserve our valuable resources. A circular economy minimizes waste.
The City of Austin joined the Bard MBA Net Impact Chapter in hosting Sustainable Fashion Week, to shine on a light on reusable, reclaimed and remanufactured fashion. Austin’s Recycling Economic Development Program Manager Natalie Betts on their excitement for this inaugural fashion week: “We’re proud to showcase national leaders and local innovators who are paving the way for a more sustainable fashion industry, Austin’s fashion sector is an important contributor to our local economic vitality and is critical for moving toward a more circular economy.”
Trailblazing women were at the forefront, speaking about the future of sustainable fashion and how they are making an impact themselves with sustainable fashion lines. Turning electronics into jewelry, recycled gold into electronics, and t-shirts into bags were just a few of the eco-friendly fashion forward ideas featured. There is an exciting future for fashion on the horizon and we look forward to next years sustainable fashion week!
|Posted on April 17, 2018 at 2:05 PM|
We took a visit to our fellow environmental crusaders at Save the Creek. Every second Monday of the Creek Crew has a happy hour at Baker Street Pub. There you can eat and mingle while a speaker covers topics related to creeks here in Austin and SBCA’s mission.
We visited for the State of Barton Creek Address and learned about the updates planned for Austin’s Violet Crown Trail, a trail near the Barton Creek Greenbelt. The SBAC is helping to bring the vision for this out door space to fulfillment. The goal is to provide public access to nature and to historic, publicly owned ranch lands.
Ultimately the Trail will span 30 miles, passing through Barton Creek Wilderness Park, Sunset Valley, and into Hays County. The trail will lead those upon it not only to scenic natural areas but also to shopping centers, public parks, a library, and more!
At the Creek Crew happy hour, we saw the digital plans for meadowed areas with classroom spaces, so that people can take the classroom outdoors. The trail is home to an old, towering pecan tree, around this tree they plan to build an overlook, allowing visitors a beautiful shaded area to sit or snap pictures.
All that we learned about these upcoming changes for the trail were so exciting! It is easy to see why Violet Crown Trail is called The Crown Jewel of Central Texas.
Proposed design for an entrance
Design for outdoor classroom space
|Posted on February 14, 2018 at 8:45 PM||comments (0)|
Our latest stop on our delicious tour of environmentally friendly Austin eateries is Paperboy! If you haven’t been, you probably have heard about it. Yelp reviews, features on “Austin’s best” list after list, and Critics Pick awards consistently gush about Paperboy. As we all know, however, long lines and over zealous tourist do not a stellar restaurant make. You may have run into an overrated restaurant or two. Fear not! In this case we are here to tell you, you can believe the hype!
A Little Background:
Austin’s repertoire of restaurants is unique not only for it variety but also their histories. Many restauranteurs are small business owners not large commercial chains, and with each owner there is unique story behind their journey. Paperboy’s cult following is the result of the dream of an innovative chef, Zechariah Perez and life long foodie, owner Ryan Harms. The two teamed up to put extra in the otherwise ordinary meal of breakfast. They went a step above and beyond with the atmosphere as well. Instead of your average few tables on gravel, Paperboy created a welcoming outdoor eating area with the feel of an open air restaurant more so than a food truck. With a team, a venue, and Farm fresh ingredients curated seasonally as the backbone for their menu Paperboy came into existence in the fall of 2015. And they saw that it was good.
They break up the monotony of our breakfast staples by ramping up the flavor with unexpected touches. Pimento cheese, flank Steak, chimichurri mayonnaise, and brioche buns for example are some ingredients that make their breakfast sandwiches stand out among the rest. The sweet potato hash was delectable as the sweet and savory crispy potatoes were smothered with braised pork belly and topped with a poached egg. The yogurt parfait? Well it ain’t cha mama’s yogurt parfait! Thick, cool, creamy yogurt has tangy flavor that is then topped with sweet fruit and rosemary whey syrup. Combinations you may have never thought of yourself but will be unable to live without after. Visit their website!
|Posted on January 31, 2018 at 9:10 PM||comments (0)|
Las Vegas was a buzz last week as the annual Consumer Electronics Show was in town! Hundreds of
thousands of people poured over thousands of exhibits to see the latest wave of new technology in the
seemingly unending flood of updated gadgets and new releases. To put it simply: We heart technology
weather it be out of necessity or necessity be out of addiction. We have to have it!
This year was no different in that regard but one major difference this year was size! The floor space was increased
significantly to make room for self-driving cars! As a matter of fact Artificial Intelligence was on display
at many exhibits as digital assistants continue to become more advanced in their functionality.
The IQs of cars and homes are on the rise as “smart” everything is in demand. Washing machines,
refrigerators, nearly all home appliances are all now being made to allow internet access. The long term
vision is greater however. Smart cities are on the horizon. Augmented and virtual reality and new cell
phone network technology were also some the many exciting new features we may start to see in our
The technology is coming faster than we can adapt or afford with no signs of slowing down. But how can
we keep up?! How does the influx of electronics effect us?
29.4 million computers are were disposed of in 2009 but only 18 million were recycled properly. For
every computer that is thrown away you can imagine the other equipment with it. Printers, Faxes,
External hard drives. 50% of e-waste is from the disposal of televisions and computer monitors,
however, only 17% of televisions are recycled safely. Little Miss Recycle collects all these things and
more then disposes of it safely! That means millions less tons of lead, mercury, and cadmium
polluting our groundwater and soil. Moreover, according the EPA, recycling just one
million laptop computers can save the amount of energy used by nearly 4,000 U.S.
homes annually! See how big an impact recycling our electronics can have?!
Call us at Little Miss Recycle to safely remove your unwanted electronics and dispose
of them in a way that helps our environment.
|Posted on December 26, 2017 at 2:50 PM||comments (6)|
We are starting a new series here Michelle’s Blog! Miss Recycle’s Munchies. As we are a company born and bread in Austin Texas. We love our growing city and the growing community of people and businesses that help to make it more environmentally friendly and healthy. Many restaurants are changing their menu. They are adopting fresh, organic foods picked and peak ripeness, expertly prepared and served right to your table. We come across so many we will continue to feature them on the blog!
Jack Allen’s Kitchen has been here since 2009. They center their menu on a Southern-inspired flavors infused with the spice of Southwestern cuisine. Their menu boasts delectable entrees like Grilled Ruby Trout topped with a sun-dried tomato walnut pesto, apple-pecan relish, over veggie studded rice and wilted spinach.
When we dined we were sat a long large table. We found our not only their food is local! The very table we dined at was made by a local Austinite. We began our meal with crispy chips made from fresh tortillas that we lightly salted . Perfect to pair with their Smashed Guacamole, a smooth avocado spread with layered with avocado cubes for texture, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds, and cotija cheese. Also their Carl Miller’s Layered Chunky Queso, a cheese dip with green Chile pork, and a dollop of guacamole.
For our Entree we choose the veggie option for The South Texas Tacos. A generous plate with grilled farm fresh vegetable. Portabella mushrooms, corn tortillas, black beans, veggie studded rice, pico de gallo and guacamole. It was delicious, a beautiful blend of flavors.
Dessert was highlight. Our choice was the blondie, normally not a favorite dessert of ours. Wow was our opinion changed! The blondie on its own is a soft, sweet pastry with a little crisp on the top layer. A texture that was a meld of cake and brownie. They didn’t stop there it is topped with a scoop of ice cream and caramel sauce. When you take a bite of the blondie with a scoop of ice cream a whole new phenomenal taste livens up your mouth. It was certainly the star of our show.
Jack Allen’s has four locations in the Austin area. Visit their website jackallenskitchen.com to find the closest to you and visit!