Municipal Solid Waste

The term “municipal solid waste” may not be familiar to you, however what it is most certainly will be. MSW is simply the term used to describe trash/garbage/junk – the stuff you throw away in the kitchen, in your bathroom, in the garage, etc. MSW encompasses product packaging, consumable goods (egg cartons, juice containers, grass clippings, old furniture, ruined clothes, bottles, moldy food and so on) as well as things like old batteries, kitchen appliances, paint cans and more. On average, the United States of America produces around 250,000,000 tons, or 502,000,000,000 pounds, of garbage every year. Of this massive amount of garbage, roughly 90 million tons are composted (when it comes to organic materials like old fruit and grass) or recycled (plastics, rubbers, metals etc) – or about 35% of our waste is used for something other than going straight to landfill.

The EPA website on Non-Hazardous Waste suggests a number of household practices that reduces the amount of waste your household generates, whether that’s through waste prevention, your own composting, or standard recycling (toss your bottles in the recycle instead of garbage!). The primary waste reduction methods are broken into three main categories:

  • Source Reduction: create less waste in the first place. Buy used items such as clothing, furniture and electronics. This saves money and reduces the amount of materials required to produce new things. Buy products that minimize their packaging. Buy reusable items vs. disposable (batteries, tupperware vs sandwich bags, silverware vs plastic utensils, etc). Maintain your belongings – fixing a leaky tire vs replacing it reduces the amount of rubber in our recycling plants. Borrow items that you won’t need constantly such as birthday decorations or automotive tools.
  • Recycle: very simple and extremely effective. Simply sort your trash while you’re throwing it away. Get a separate container for waste vs recyclables like plastic or glass bottles. Recycle everything you possible can such as old egg cartons, milk crates, juice bottles, almost all plastic packaging, paper and plastic grocery bags, etc. Recyclable items are sent to special facilities where a large portion of the materials used in the production are able to be re-used for future uses. Recycling alone is one of the biggest ways to help reduce the amount of garbage you alone generate. If everyone on Earth took the effort to recycle instead of throw away, we would see a massive boost in renewable resources.
  • Composting: Organic waste like yard trimmings, fruit peels and rinds take up a large volume of waste that gets sent to landfill. By starting up your own home compost pile you’re reducing the amount of junk you’re hauling off to the landfill as well as creating your own natural fertilizer which is great for your yard. You’ll save money on fertilizer, help your plants grow, and reduce the amount of compost friendly garbage our waste management facilities have to deal with.

For more news and information regarding waste management and the environmental impacts of proper garbage disposal, visit EagleDumpsterRental.com.

What You Need to Know About Pennsylvania’s Covered Device Recycling Act

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania passed a law requiring certain electronics manufacturers to finance a collection and recycling system. That law is called the Covered Device Recycling Act, and it affects all of us.

Today, we’re explaining the most relevant parts of PA’s Covered Device Recycling Act and how it affects you.

You Can No Longer Throw “Covered Electronics” in the Landfill

Prior to the Covered Device Recycling Act, TVs and similar devices could be brought to the landfill. Now, you can’t do that. The law makes it illegal to throw certain “covered electronics” into landfills.

Covered electronics include:

Covered Computer Devices: Desktops, laptops, computer monitors, peripherals, and other items “marketed and intended for use by a consumer”

Covered Television Device: The vast majority of TVs are covered under this law.

Peripheral: Keyboards, printers, and other devices sold exclusively for external use with a computer “that provides input into or output from the computer”

Failure to abide by this law can lead to a fine.

Electronics Recycling Facilities Are Available Across the State

If you can’t throw your covered electronics into landfills, then where can you throw them? Well, since the Covered Device Recycling Act was established, a wide variety of recycling centers have been setup across the state.

Typically, you can find these facilities at a local Best Buy, Staples, or secondhand store (like a Salvation Army). If you live near a Best Buy or other electronics retailer, then that is likely your best option.

Some municipalities even have a home pickup option. You call your local township recycling organization, and they will pick up the unwanted electronics from your home. You can even leave the electronics at your door for easy disposal. Someone will come by to pick it up.

The Government of Pennsylvania maintains a list of electronics drop-off centers across the state. You can view that list here. Overall, there are hundreds of drop-off locations and options across the state.

Alternatively, you can view more information about Best Buy’s electronics recycling program here. Best Buy is the nation’s largest retail recycler of used electronics and appliances. Visit their recycling page to see what types of things you can recycle.

Recycling

Best Buy also have a trade-in program: you might go to recycle something, only to find it has some trade-in value.

The Pennsylvania Resources Council Hosts “Hard to Recycle Collection Events” Across the State Where You Can Recycle Electronics

If you don’t have an electronics drop-off center near you, then you have another way to safely dispose of your unwanted electronics: the Pennsylvania Resource Council (PRC), a private environmental organization, hosts regular “Hard to Recycle Collection Events” throughout the year.

During these events, the PRC will collect things that are, understandably, “hard to recycle”. You will have to pay a fee of $1 per each pound of material. However, this can be the easiest and safest way to recycle certain items. Popular items at PRC events include:

  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • VHS tapes
  • Floppy disks
  • Cassette tapes
  • Media cases

Call Eagle Dumpster Rental for Complete Waste Management Solutions

If you’re struggling to effectively remove waste around your home or business, then call Eagle Dumpster Rental. We’re available throughout Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania.

Our experienced teams can safely and responsibly dispose of your unwanted waste. Whether you’re dealing with electronic waste, organic waste, old appliances, or any other hard-to-remove materials, Eagle Dumpster Rental can solve your waste problem at a competitive price.

As the World Drowns in Plastic Trash, One Woman Wants to Save Us

The world’s plastic trash problem continues to get worse. Fortunately, people worldwide are beginning to recognize the problem and attempt to solve it. One of those people is waste engineer Jemma Jambeck of the University of Georgia, who was recently profiled by NPR.

Plastic waste has been in the news throughout the year. With municipalities around the world banning plastic straws, a growing number of people are becoming aware of the severity of the issue.

You’ve probably heard about the huge floating gyre of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean. That gyre, understandably, has only become worse over the years. As NPR explains:

“When a huge floating gyre of plastic waste was discovered in the Pacific in the late 1980s, people were shocked. When whales died and washed ashore with stomachs full of plastic, people were horrified. When photographs of beaches under knee-deep carpets of plastic trash were published, people were disgusted.”

One of the craziest things about the plastic trash gyre in the Pacific is that for a long time, nobody really knew where it was coming from.

Many assumed some of the trash had come from ships crossing the Pacific. Others assumed at least some of the trash had drifted over from the land.

It wasn’t until 2015, however, when one environmental engineer started doing the math. In 2015, University of Georgia environmental engineer Jenna Jambeck completed a groundbreaking study suggesting there were hundreds – even thousands – of times as much plastic washing into the sea compared to what we saw in the ocean gyres.

In other words, the ocean gyres were just the tip of the iceberg. The gyres were the most visible sign that plastic waste was becoming a serious problem for the world’s oceans. It wasn’t until recently that we discovered the true extent of that problem.

In her NPR interview, Jambeck recommended listeners go through a unique challenge:

“So what we’re going to do fort he next 24 hours is to record everything that you touch that is plastic,” said Jambeck in the interview.

Plastic Trash

A surprising number of things we interact with on a daily basis are made of plastic – from the plastic grip on a microphone to the plastic ID card around your neck. From plastic keyboards to plastic coffee makers to plastic water bottles, it doesn’t take long to realize that much of your world revolves around plastic.

Jambeck Began Her Career as a Solid Waste Management Engineer

To tackle the plastic waste problem, Jambeck is using her experience as a solid waste management engineer. Described as “a connoisseur of trash” in the NPR writeup, Jambeck has always had a passion for studying waste and watste management solutions:

“Her interest in trash started when she was growing up in rural Minnesota, Jambeck says. There was no garbage collection in her area, so she’d borrow a truck to take her family’s trash to the dump every week. ‘I was always pretty fascinated by going there and just seeing what I would see,” she remembers. “I fell in love with studying waste.’” Trash Removal

Plastic Doesn’t Break Down

Landfills are powered by more science than many people realize. A landfill is like a living, breathing thing.

The landfill is an ecosystem where microbes break down organic garbage into its constituent chemicals. Metal corrodes and dissolves. The materials we use everyday eventually return to the earth.

Plastic, unfortunately, is the one exception. As we’ve realized, that’s quickly becoming a huge problem.

Over time, plastic will break down into smaller pieces. Those smaller pieces, however, will survive in the environment for an indeterminate length of time.

How Do We Solve the Plastic Problem in the World’s Oceans?

When the plastic gyres in the Pacific Ocean were first discovered, most people had a natural response to it: they wanted to clean it up as quickly as possible.

Lambeck, however, realized the gyres were a symptom of a bigger problem. She realized that we needed to find out where the plastic was coming from, then take steps to stop that plastic at its source.

In a paper published in Science in 2015, Lambeck revealed crucial findings about plastic management. The study showed that China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam are the leading sources of plastic waste in oceans (based on waste management by coastal populations). China accounts for 27.7% of global mismanaged plastic waste, for example, while the Philippines accounts for 5.95% of mismanaged plastic waste.

The United States, meanwhile, produces much more plastic waste per person than these other countries, but a comparatively small amount is mismanaged. Coastal populations in the United States – a population totaling 112.9 million – generated just 0.9% of global mismanaged plastic waste.

The next step, of course, is to emphasize better plastic waste management among coastal populations worldwide – particularly in China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

For effective waste management in southeastern Pennsylvania, order a roll-away dumpster from Eagle Dumpster Rental today. Our environmentally-responsible waste management teams ensure your waste is responsibly disposed of. Dumpster Rental Northampton County

How to Get Rid of Your Fridge: FAQs About Safe Disposal of Refrigerated Household Appliances

Certain appliances can be hazardous to the environment. Refrigerated appliances – like fridges, freezers, and air conditioners – can be particularly problematic. That’s why you need to practice safe disposal techniques when getting rid of your fridge.

We get a lot of questions about safely disposing of appliances – including why appliances can be dangerous and how you can safely get rid of your unwanted appliances.

What Are the Environmental Concerns?

There are a number of reasons why we don’t throw out old appliances. We’ve listed some of the most important reasons below:

Refrigerants like CFCs and HCFCs

Refrigerated appliances made before 1995 typically contain chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant. This refrigerant was commonly used in old fridges and freezers but is no longer used due to environmental concerns.

Meanwhile, many modern window air-conditioning units and dehumidifiers contain hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerant.

Both CFCs and HCFCs are ozone-depleting substances, or ODS. If released into the environment, these substances will destroy the ozone layer. The ozone layer of the planet is what protects us from the harmful radiation of the sun – so it’s pretty important.

Safe Disposal of Refrigerated Household Appliances

Making things worse, CFCs and HCFCs are potent greenhouse gases. When they’re released into the air, they contribute to global climate change.

You may think that your fridge is new and doesn’t need special disposal techniques. That’s not true!

Most fridges and freezers made after 1995 use hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, as do most A/C units made since 2010. However, HFCs still need to be disposed of in a special way: they no longer harm the ozone layer, but they still contribute to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Foam

Many fridges and freezers made before 2005 are insulated with foam containing ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Like CFCs and HCFCs, these contribute to ozone depletion and climate change.

Most fridges and freezers manufactured since 2005 contain foam blowing agents that are friendly to the ozone and climate. Meanwhile, air conditioners and dehumidifiers have no foam.

Other Hazardous Components

Foam and CFCs are just two of the problematic components within refrigerated appliances. These appliances can contain a number of other problematic materials, including used oil, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and mercury. Some fridges and freezers made before 2000 contain mercury, and appliances made before 1979 contain PCB capacitators.

When improperly disposed, these materials can leech into groundwater from the landfill. Anyone exposed to these materials can also experience severe medical problems, including skin, eye, or respiratory irritation. Mercury, meanwhile, accumulates in the tissues of plants and animals and can eventually lead to neurological damage.

For all of these reasons, it’s crucial that you dispose of appliances in a safe way at an approved facility.

How to Safely Dispose of An Appliance

Now that you’ve learned the dangers of throwing out an appliance, it’s time to learn how to safely dispose of that appliance. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Check for Local Bounty or Return Programs

Some utility companies or government recycling organizations operate bounty programs. These bounty programs will pay appliance owners to drop off old appliances. If you have an old or dangerous appliance, then you might get $20 for it from a local utility company. Check for local bounty or return programs in your area. Not only will you avoid landfill fees or recycling fees – but you’ll actually get paid to get rid of your appliance.

Check with Local Retailers About Appliance Pickup and Disposal Services

If you’re getting rid of an old fridge or freezer, then you may be replacing it with a newer model. Some appliance retailers will offer pickup and disposal services. When technicians arrive with your new appliance, they’ll take away your old appliance free of charge.

Look for Recycling Services with your Local Municipality

If you can’t find bounty programs, then check with your municipality for any recycling services. Many municipalities operate special electronic recycling centers where you can dispose of old appliances.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as visiting a special section at your local landfill. In other cases, you might need to make an appointment for city waste management officials to pick up your appliances.

Some municipalities are particularly annoying about appliance collection: they’ll require you to hire an appliance specialist who can remove the refrigerant before the unit is disposed. Then, you’ll be able to take the appliance to the landfill.

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Look for Local Recycling Organizations

If you’re having trouble finding a city program that gets rid of appliances, then consider looking for other organizations. The EPA runs the Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program, for example, which connects you with local organizations that provide small discounts on appliance removal services.

Contact a Waste Management Company

Many waste management companies will get rid of your old appliance for a fee. If not, they’ll know where you can take your old appliance when you no longer need it.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Rid of an Old Refrigerated Appliance?

Getting rid of an old refrigerated appliance doesn’t have to be expensive.

In some cities, it’s totally free. Cities want to encourage citizens to safely dispose of their dangerous appliances, so they offer the service for free.

In other cities, you’ll need to pay a small recycling fee of $10 or $50 to dispose of the old appliance.

Some regions are starting to charge recycling fees when you buy electronics or appliances. You might see a recycling fee of $10 added to your new TV purchase, for example. This goes towards safe recycling of your TV, and it means you won’t have to pay a recycling fee when you – or the final owner of the TV – needs to dispose of it. Philadelphia County Dumpster Rental

Conclusion

Ultimately, safe disposal of refrigerated appliances is crucial for the environment. Appliances – whether they’re old or new – contain dangerous ingredients that can leech into the soil, deplete the ozone layer, and contribute to climate change. For all of these reasons and more, it’s crucial you contact an appliance recycling or removal organization in your area.