To make our kitchens a little more “green” this Earth day, Reynolds Consumer Products introduced their 100% Recycled Aluminum Wrap. It is essential that we recycling aluminum should be our top priority because of just how wasteful it is to produce virgin aluminum. That’s why Reynolds deciding to unveil a new line of aluminum wraps made exclusively out of recycled materials is a great step for our environment.
Just because this aluminum foil is made from recycled materials, doesn’t mean that the quality has degraded any. Reynolds has made this product just as strong and durable as their traditional foil. I was fortune enough to try some of this foil and can attest to the fact that is has the same quality as its non-recycled counterpart. To make this product even more environmentally friendly is that packaging is made from 100% recovered paper.
Normally when a company makes a more environmentally friendly version of their product by using recycled materials, there is usually a higher price tag to come along with it. Reynolds made sure to keep the cost down and charge approximately the same price you would pay for a normal aluminum foil: $2.99 for 50 sq. ft. box. Let’s hope that recycled aluminum becomes popular and will take over store shelves. Also be sure to check out a $.50 coupon they are offering.
“Go Silver, Live Green”
Reynolds is also hosting a contest called Go Silver, Live Green to help make our lives more “green” by giving away a variety of prizes including eco-friendly kitchen appliances, Grocery Cash certificates, Reynolds Foil from 100% Recycled Aluminum and more. You can enter once every week for a chance to win a variety of green gifts, including a $250 grocery gift certificate on a weekly basis. The contest ends at midnight on May 29, 2009. At that time, a grand prize winner will be selected that includes an energy efficient dishwasher and refrigerator as well as 6 months of free groceries. Be sure to sign up for the contest as it is ending soon.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about ways that you can save money and be eco-friendly when printing at home. When you want to more commercial quality printing or bulk printing, you can buy from environmentally friendly printing companies without sacrificing quality or price.
Green Printing History
Environmentally friendly printing techniques have been around for a number of years, but have only begun to really become mainstream in the last few years. Some of the main components of green printing include:
- Using recycled paper.
- Recycling any paper waste produced while printing.
- Switching to vegetable based inks that have low VOCs.
- Using new technologies such as digital printers.
Initially I thought that using recycled paper has only been used at most for 50 years in our country. After researching it a little, I realized that I was way off. There is a instance of a paper mill dating back to over 300 years ago that was using recycled linens to produce there paper. As time progressed, more and more recycled paper was being. Today, over half of our current paper use comes from recycled paper and that rate continues to grow.
Soy Based Inks
Just a decade ago, almost all of our ink used in America was produced using petroleum. In the mid to late 1980′s, the NAA or Newspaper Association of America researched many vegetable oil combinations to come up with soy oil to be used for ink. Since then, soy ink has taken off and really become popular over the past few years. What makes soy ink so great is that soybeans are much more environmentally friendly to grow that other vegetables and require little energy to actually produce the ink.
Even though soybean oil itself is edible, the ink that is made from it is not totally edible or biodegradable. This is caused by the fact that certain pigments used in traditional inks are still used in soy ink. Even though it is not 100% biodegradable, soy inks degrade much quicker than the petroleum counterparts and make it easier to remove from paper in the recycling process. Soy inks also have low levels of VOCs or volatile organic compounds that are dangerous toxic emissions. These low levels also make it much harder to use on coated types of paper like magazines and make it impossible to use in pens and personal printers.
New printing technologies have also helped contribute to the green printing movement. Digital computers are much cleaner than traditional printing presses since they do not run on petroleum based products and there are no byproducts or emissions. They also do not emit harmful VOCs just like soy inks. Also, they require less space since there is less equipment needed.
Why go Green Printing?
At this point it should be pretty obvious for the reasons for printing companies to switch to new eco friendly printing technologies. New digital printing equipment combined with soy based oils and recycled paper can make a huge different for the environment. Petroleum products are eliminated from this process therefore helping eliminate any harmful emissions. This includes VOCs that can cause serious problems when inhaled by humans as well as significant damage to the ozone. Recycling is also a huge factor when it comes to eco friendly printing as it really help save trees from being cut down. A major concern with using recycled paper is the quality of the paper. As it turns out, there is no longer a quality difference in normal paper as compared to recycled.
There are many companies that have started to use these environmentally friendly printing techniques without sacrificing quality or raising there prices.
PSPrint is a printing company that is providing environmentally friendly printing along with affordable prices. Not only do they use recycled paper on many of their products, but they also recycle any paper waste that is made during the process of printing. They also use soy based inks as described above on all of their printing products. Even though they are using eco friendly printing methods, PSPrint still carries all the normal products a printing company carries. They also have printing locations on both the East coast and West coast. This eliminates shipping costs for the company to help them reduce costs and helps reduce carbon emissions. They have really good prices too and have a Low Price Guarantee. This guarantees that if you find a lower price at another company, they will match that price.
Another company that is going the green route is BizCard. They are a Green Seal certified company and only buy from certified paper mills. Most of their products use recycled paper and they recycled all of their paper waste. The company uses low VOC solvents such as soy ink. Much of their equipment is Energy Star certified. They also use digital presses, which eliminate the chemicals used in making plates.
Carbon Rally and Gazelle have teamed up to form a new challenge called Ringtone Revival. The goal of this challenge is to reduce the amount of CO2 waste produced from recycling and disposing of cell phones. Individuals or teams can reduce 94lbs of CO2 for each cell phone that is sold, donated or given to a family member or friend. Now to go a little into what they companies are about and how you can get involved.
The main objective of Carbon Rally is to motivate individuals and groups to make small changes in personal behavior that can make an overall large impact on how much CO2 is reduced. They make it fun to fight back against climate change. The idea behind the site is to encourage people to make small steps that are more realistic and can have fun with. People can propose ideas to reduce carbon emissions and allow a community of people to get involved. The site will then track the progress your community has made to show your progress against other communities.
Gazelle provides a place for consumers to sell or recycle their unwanted electronics. What is nice about this company is that it allows you to search through a database of electronic devices and see based off of it’s condition what you would receive for that item. What is also nice is that they pay for you to ship them the item and ensure that all personal information is removed from them. It makes great sense to sell electronics that are just laying around your house or hidden away in the back of a drawer.
Why you should Sell/Donate?
The Ringtone Revival initiative is a great way for us to participate in making sure that more cell phones or electronic devices don’t end up in landfills. Currently, over 85% of old cell phones that are replaced are still in usable condition. Nothing is wrong with wanting the latest cell phone, but it seems like such a waste to just let that cell phone sit around or thrown away when it could be reused.
According to EPA estimates, if Americans had recycled all of the 100 million cell phones they stopped using in 2006, the energy saved would have been enough to power nearly 200,000 U.S. homes for one year.
What’s scary is that 1.5 and 1.9 tons of discarded electronics ended up in landfills in 2006. Why not just donate it or sell it if you are not going to be using it anymore. Gazelle makes it extremely easy for you by even paying for you shipping and handling charges. If it is too inconvenient to ship your old electronics , you could even take the cell phone to a donation box where they give them to wife’s who have been battered. There are even recycling facilities across America so at least they can be recycled. Anyway you choose to help, sign up for Ringtone Revival on Carbon Rally to show how much of an impact you have made.
One thing I hate to see at work are employees printing things out and never actually use them. We had a meeting the other day with a document provided to all participants in the meeting of over 20 pages of paper. The document was outdated and needed to be reprinted again the next day anyways. The document didn’t even need to be printed in the first place. That why I put together some ideas that could save you or you company money while being a little more environmentally friendly.
Wasting paper really makes me angry as it seems like nobody thinks before they print. The easiest way to save paper as to whether the item actually needs to be printed. As with my meeting example, if you think the document is going to be outdated soon or there are other ways to show the document without having to print one for everybody at the meeting then don’t print it. You can easily project the document at the meeting and either share the location as to where the file is at or send a copy of the document upon completion of the meeting.
Another way to save paper is to also print multiple pages onto a single sheet of paper. A co-worker in my office always prints everything on both the front and back of paper. This cuts the amount of paper used in half. Another option is to print several pages of a document on a single side of a piece of paper. This is especially useful with PowerPoint documents where the slides contain large amounts of text and you can sometimes fit up to 6 pages of the presentation onto a single side of the paper.
One option along with conserving paper is to use partially or fully recycled paper. Many offices including, my own company, are going this route and using recycled paper. Though it costs a little more than traditional paper, it can make a big difference in the amount of trees being cut down. I have used 100% recyclable office paper at my work and it prints great. I would say the quality is just as good as regular paper.
Paper is not the only concern when it comes to printing that is bad for the environment and wastes money. You can tons of energy by simply turning off your printer when you are not using it. This might be a hard thing to do at the office, but definitely something you can do at home. By turning off you will cut the amount of energy you are using from the printer dramatically. If you really want to eliminate any energy use by your printer, you can completely turn it off as you printer still sucks up electricity to keep that little red light on.
Recycle any paper after you printed on it. Pretty simple, but one of those things people often overlook. Companies often contain recycling bins next to most trash cans so that it makes it easy to recycle paper instead of throwing it in the trash can. If a recycling bin is not close to your desk, just save up the paper and take it to the recycling bin when you collect enough paper. If there aren’t many available at your work, try pursuing it with management.
The market for recycling printing cartridges is huge and you should take full advantage of it. Many companies including HP will provide envelopes with paid postage where you can send back your old cartridges to the company at no charge to you. Staples has a program in which you can recycle your cartridges to get reward cards back that you can use at their stores. You can take the cartridges to any Staples store for recycling. You can also go to http://www.earth911.org/ and find a local recycling center to not only recycle your old printer cartridges, but any electronics you no longer need.
The best way to really save money and the environment is to conserve. Thinking before you actually use the printer can save lots of money and prevent less trees from being cut down. It will also reduce the amount of ink you use and save you on cartridges. Recycling should only be an option after you have carefully chosen to print something.
All of brother printers conserve energy and paper that will help you save. You can choose from many brother laser printer products and more. We also have brother label printers to help organize your home office as well.