2017 - Our Daily Green

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ink Waste: The Environmental Impact of Printer Cartridges

environmentally responsible ink Electronic waste is a worldwide crisis rapidly gaining momentum as businesses and individuals consume more disposable electronic devices than in any other time in history.

This form of pollution contributes to the majority of overall toxic waste produced in industrial and urban areas. This has created a need to come up with new and improved solutions to decrease the amount of electronic waste produced yearly.

These solutions may take different shapes, as they can be to change consumer consumption patterns, creating new technologies or coming up with new ways to recycle.

High numbers of printer cartridges are disposed of yearly, and they have become a major contributor to the electronic waste crisis. These cartridges contain carbon, plastic and toxic coloring agents that take decades or centuries to biodegrade.

Printer Cartridge Facts
To understand how the cartridge manufacturing process and improper disposal of these affects the environment, it's important to be aware of some facts:

Impacts on Natural Resources

When printer cartridges are not recycled, the manufacturer needs to purchase new materials instead of reusing old materials from recycled cartridges. Each cartridge is made up of metals and plastic that contains limited-supply natural resources. Plastic comes from oil, and metals such as aluminum or copper are mined. Having to purchase these new materials, it means that more limited resources are being used.

Pollution            

Throwing away a printer cartridge along with regular trash means that it will most likely end up in a landfill or incinerator. As mentioned previously, some components in printer cartridges take centuries to break down. As it starts to break down, the remaining ink leaks out, polluting its immediate surroundings. The smoke from incinerating the cartridges can be carcinogenic, as well as a pollutant and smog contributor. The metal parts leave a residue needing to be stored in landfills.

Greenhouse Gases

Printer cartridges not being recycled can contribute to global warming. By using a recycled cartridge, the manufacturer does not need to produce new materials, leading to a shorter manufacturing process producing fewer greenhouse gases. HP is a leader in recycling ink cartridges. They have been manufacturing their cartridges with recycled plastic, therefore reducing gas emissions. They believe that some of the plastic has been through their cycle ten times. This process has replaced plastic that would have needed to be refined from petroleum.

Energy

The more energy that is being used in manufacture and production, the more the earth is affected. More oil needs to be produced and burnt, additional power plants need to be built, and more solar panels and wind turbines need to be installed. When printer cartridges are not being recycled, manufacturing a new one uses a significant amount than using a recycled printer cartridge. This supplemental use of energy is harmful to the environment as all energy production sources use natural resources. Even wind turbines or solar panels, which do not need fossil fuel power to run, need to be transported to the site, and use mined metals.

Solutions for Printer Cartridge Waste

By recycling or safely disposing of electronic waste, it’s conceivable that the environmental impacts caused by printer cartridges can be significantly reduced. One efficient way to recycle is to send back printer cartridges to be remanufactured. These cartridges take a lot less energy to be produced and have the same performance as new toners when industry standard methods are used in their production.

Remanufacturing printer cartridges means that raw materials can be saved, as up to 97% of the original components can be reused when it is being remanufactured. At peak efficiency, a remanufactured cartridge will need only 1/9th of the raw materials needed when manufacturing a brand new printer cartridge.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Cleaning with The Amazing WhipIt

Sparkling Shower DoorsWe will begin today's post with a confession. I don't like cleaning. Not on a boat, not with a goat, not here nor there, not anywhere.

Yet, when Our Daily Green was invited to test a line of cleaning products? We jumped at the chance. Like it or not, you still must clean your home. And what better way to do it than by testing a product "As Seen On TV" ?

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for infomercials. They make everything seem so easy and doable. Convincing, too! I was sure that Whip It would make me think I had a personal butler.

Well, to go with truth in advertising, no, that didn't happen. I still had to scrub and wipe and scour my home. But that's okay, because it worked! Seriously, what is more frustrating than cleaning? Cleaning and finding out your product didn't work. As someone who regularly writes about "green" products, with natural ingredients, I must also confess that I typically put certain products (like those for glass) in the 20% bin. The part I am not going to get right. Because most glass cleaners that do not contain toxic ingredients like ammonia don't accomplish the goal.

I put Whip It to the test. My glass shower. This glass has to contend with soap scum on one side and hairspray on the other. I ask a lot of my glass shower doors and I did not anticipate that Whip It would prevail. (aside: that didn't stop me from singing a song from the 80s that copyrights prevent me from sharing, but imagine me with a red flower pot on my head as I sing about the product).

Whip It, Whip it good
I have spent this past week cleaning my home. I have tested laundry, surfaces, and the holy grail of cleaning, glass.

Whip It lives up to the hype. I propose this: Buy some. If you order online, please tell them you didn't see it on TV, but you did see it on Our Daily Green. Show us some love. Show them some love. They sent me a box of stuff to try and I liked everything! I did! My house smells pretty, my shower walls sparkle, and I didn't use toxic things to make that happen.

I don't even have the magic of really good photography, just a real person, with less than perfect photos to share. I took some before I cleaned, and after. And heck yeah, it's nice. And isn't toxic. And makes you sing songs from the 80s if you're a certain age.

In other words, Whip It, Whips it good.
Disclosure: Whip It sent me a box of their cleaning supplies to test. It inspired me to clean. I don't like cleaning, but I like the results. If you don't like to clean but you like seeing results, we strongly endorse this product.
Natural Cleaning Products






Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Five things you should never flush

One of the possibly most misleading labels on personal care products is the word flushable. To borrow from the Jurassic Park quote, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." The only thing that should go down a toilet is human waste, water and toilet paper. In fact, even the extra-soft toilet paper can pose a hazard to your plumbing because it takes longer to break down.

Because of the confusion surrounding such products, septic tank maintenance has become increasingly difficult. Most products labeled as flushable will certainly go down the drain, but once there, they will not properly break down and in older plumbing can eventually create a clog, prompting you to need septic tank pumping. If they make it past your property, you're still potentially causing your municipality an issue.

To save yourself from costly repairs, as well as potential community wide assessments to repair damaged infrastructure, Our Daily Green has a list of things you may have thought you could flush, but shouldn't.
  1. Feminine products of any sort, including tampons, liners, and pads
  2. Cleaning wipes or personal wipes
  3. Cotton balls or pads
  4. Cotton swabs
  5. Dental floss 
All of these common bathroom items can wreak havoc on your pipes and septic system. Because these sort of items also often have greasy residue on them, they create "superknots" that do not dissolve and clog entire sanitary systems. In London in 2013, a 15-ton fatberg, which was comprised of wipes and fat brought the city's sewers to a standstill.

Do yourself and your pipes a favor, if you're in doubt, don't flush it, but dispose of such items in your regular trash. 

We'd like to thank today's sponsor for encouraging us to take care of our pipes and septic systems. All opinions and advice are our own.