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Greening Steps

Reuse in Action

The 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) are an increasingly common theme today. While all 3 work together to limit waste and promote sustainability, each category has its own unique skill set.

 

For example, when dealing with waste reduction, critical thinking is needed to plan stream-line processes that create the least amount of waste possible. When reusing material, creativity is a vital part of coming up with new purposes for common materials, and recycling takes on an economical and commercial role in waste reduction.

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Recycling Programs Revisited

As a new fiscal year begins for many businesses, reevaluation is in the air! Questions like how many programs are in place, what is the cost to benefit analysis of each program, how can we maximize efficiency, and you can probably complete the subsequent stream of questions that will flood the conference room on this topic.

 

The review and analysis of processes can be daunting, especially when markets are constantly changing, but it’s an important part of any business strategy.

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Getting the kids involved

Earth month generates a lot of activity in the world of recycling, and one of the things I like most about participating in community events is the opportunity to listen to people and hear first-hand what they think is convenient about recycling, what they find confusing, and the terrific ideas they have about keeping the recycling process efficient at home.

 

A couple moms that I spoke with shared wonderful ways that their kids get involved in the family recycling operation. They exclaimed that their children enjoy being in charge of something, and (whether they realize it or not) learn important information along the way.

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Spring Cleaning and Recycling

 

Spring Cleaning

 

As you and your family enjoy the last few days of spring break, are you in the process of the dreaded spring cleaning? Maybe you have a knack for organization, and tackling spring cleaning is easy with a fool proof strategy of unbridled efficiency, or perhaps you don’t let clutter happen in your home.

 

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2015 Year-End Totals

Record Year

 

We are pleased to announce that 2015 was another record year for recycling as businesses and communities throughout the Midwest reached new heights in green initiatives! In one year alone, 338,804,000 pounds of material was diverted from the landfill through Midwest Fiber’s wide range of recycling services.

 

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Book Recycling

Whether you’re sharing adventures with favorite characters, exploring places across time and distance, solving intriguing mysteries, or venturing into a temporary world that leaves you turning pages until late hours of the night, there’s nothing like the captivating world of literature!

 

No matter how much you enjoy reading, you’ll probably reach a point of needing to find a new home for your books, or a sustainable disposal option. Even favorite books with worn, yellow pages and broken binding from years of use reach a point of needing to be replaced. So the questions is, what are your options?

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Recycling after the big game

Did you invite friends over to watch the big game, or enjoy a night with the family? If the answer is yes, then there was probably food involved.

 

And if any of that culinary deliciousness came in cans or plastic containers, there’s a good chance the packages are recyclable! Touchdown!!

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Paper Recycling at the Office

If you work at an office, what is something that you probably use almost every day? Whether you need to write a quick reminder note, print a report, mail a letter, or construct a mini-airplane, sooner or later you’re going to need paper!

 

While it’s always best to reduce waste when we can through digital options, sooner or later a hard copy becomes necessary. And that’s when recycling comes in handy!

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Commonly Missed Recyclable Household Items

When a New Year begins, there’s always something compelling about making New Year’s resolutions. Maybe it’s because we want the New Year to be the best one yet, or maybe we need something to focus on during the remaining cold months of winter besides moving to a warmer climate. Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to make improvements.

 

We’ve received a few questions from enthusiastic residents aiming to increase the quantity and quality of their recycling at home. Impressed with this mentality, we're always happy to help where we can!

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Upcycled Materials to Christmas Decorations!

It’s always enjoyable to get out the box of Christmas ornaments and decorations during the holiday season, creating our own “winter wonderland” inside the house where it’s warm and cozy.

 

While it’s exciting to purchase new decorations, we can’t escape the reality that they’ll occupy our shelves, desktops, and countertops for a short period of time before they sit in storage for the rest of the year. And we may already have items around the house that would make perfect Christmas decorations with a few tweaks here and there!

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Battery Recycling

If you’re someone who regularly recycles, I’m sure you’ve discovered that being a good steward of resources has its challenges! It can be difficult to know if an item is recyclable, and then how to recycle it is a whole new question.

 

Don’t get me wrong, the art of recycling has become significantly more convenient with single-stream (curbside) programs. The option to throw everything in one bin instead of separate it into different containers saves time and effort. And most recyclable material is accepted in curbside programs! This rings true for cardboard boxes to office paper, and plastic bottles to glass jars.

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Recycling at Thanksgiving

When Thanksgiving comes around, the excitement of holiday festivities floods the air as turkey cooks in the oven and friends and family spend time together.

 

And nothing compares to the excitement of hosting a Thanksgiving meal, whether at home or the office. However, with more people around, there's naturally more waste generated than usual.

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Celebrating America Recycles Day

Did you know that November 15th, 2015 marks the 18th anniversary of America Recycles Day?!

 

For a time dedicated to promoting the social and economic benefits of recycling, what are some fun and easy ways to celebrate? Let's start with a few ideas:

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How to Reuse Halloween Costumes

Whether ordered from a catalog, purchased at a store, or sewn by hand, kids enjoy one of the most popular dress-up days of the year when Halloween comes around.

 

From ladybugs and butterflies to superman, kiddos wear their costumes with pride, and enjoy puzzled expressions from people who don’t recognize them behind the wigs, goggles, face paint, and other apparatus masking their identity.

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Shred for the Cure!

Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month?

 

Whether you've had a friend or family member battle cancer, or gone through the difficult journey yourself, it's a good opportunity to think about the special warriors in our lives, and what we can do to help. 

Midwest Fiber's sister company, C.O.P.S. Paper Shredding is pleased to launch its 4th year of Shred for the Cure to fund cancer research and treatment through a donation to Susan G. Komen, a breast cancer organization that works globally in 30 countries!

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What Happens at a Recycling Facility?

Have you ever wondered what happens at a recycling facility? Let's take a sneak peak of the material separation process!

 

Every hour, 44,000 pounds of mixed recyclables, also known as single-stream, arrive at Midwest Fiber’s material processing facility to be sorted. In 2014 alone, 318,876,000 pounds of material came through our facility before undergoing the next phase of the recycling journey.

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Recycling Plastic Bags

The other day, I was privileged to meet with a group of young students investigating the recycling process. Like any good investigators, they came prepared with a list of questions. We talked about what goes in the recycle bin, and how the material is separated when it gets to a recycling facility. But, like our bodies battle bad bacteria to stay healthy, the recycling process faces contamination on a daily basis. This led the kids to an interesting question.

 

“What’s the most common contaminant that we see at our facility?”

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Labor Day is Coming!

How much do you know about the origin of Labor Day? Would this be you in the following scenario?

 

Some friends of yours decided to have a trivia night, and everyone is gathered around a table with soda and snacks. The scores are tied with two more questions to go, and it’s your team’s turn to answer. Finishing the last refreshing swig of soda, you throw the can into your friend’s recycle bin. With Labor Day quickly approaching, you can’t help but remember that recycling creates up to 1.1 million U.S. jobs.

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Back-to-School

For some it can’t come soon enough. For others, it encroaches like the outer wall of a storm front. Either way, a new school year is just around the corner!

 

Growing up, one of the most exciting parts of the back-to-school season was shopping for school supplies. Well, it was exciting for some of us. Not necessarily for the one scouring the store for every last item on the supply checklist, while avoiding near cart collisions in the store’s highest traffic area.

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Life Cycle of a Plastic Bottle

With the hot and humid weather this summer, plastic water and soda bottles are pretty popular!

 

In fact, did you know that Americans use approximately 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour?!

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Brutal wars over natural resources, including timber and minerals, have killed or displaced more than 20 million people and are raising at least $12 billion a year for rebels, warlords, and repressive governments. Recycling eases the demand for the resources.