LEGO is Starting to Go Green

Day 194 – This past June, LEGO announced that they created a brick made entirely of recycled plastic. Though, it is not yet available in stores, it is a step in the right direction.

“The new prototype is made using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycled from bottles that have been thrown away. According to a statement from the company, scientists and engineers tested over 250 variations of PET materials, as well as hundreds of other plastic formulations, before nailing down the latest prototype.”CBS News

More testing is needed before the recycled plastic bricks make their way to stores. Until then LEGO is making a few other environmentally friendly changes. They plan to stop using plastic bags inside their boxed sets and replace them with paper packaging. LEGO has also started a Take Back Program.  LEGO® Replay will accept any and all previously used LEGO bricks and donate them to children’s non-profits in the United States. 

With over 36,000 LEGO pieces made a minute and 75 billion bricks sold annually in over 140 countries, it is an important step for LEGO and the environment to create a recycled plastic brick. Hopefully, more companies will start making changes to their own products that are more beneficial for the planet and still providing their customers with a well made, quality product.

Tomorrow, sleep soundly knowing you are helping the planet.

Does Infinitely Recyclable Plastic Exist?

Day 138 – Wouldn’t it be amazing if companies were responsible for the products they manufactured? We’re not just talking about in the beginning, at the moment of purchase, but at the end, as well. The consumer needs help to figure out how to responsibly dispose of their “stuff” and manufactures are nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, more times than not, the consumer is left to navigate the confusing world of recycling and for those that don’t have the time and patience, the landfill seems to be the only option.

It is cheaper for manufacturers to use virgin resin (new plastic) then it is to use recycled plastic. Add the fact that in many countries there are no rules or regulations in place to steer companies away from single use plastics. Combine that with zero infrastructure to deal with the absurd amount of plastics flooding waste management facilities and you have a recipe for disaster.

Thankfully, science is coming to the rescue.

“A multidisciplinary team from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has created a plastic that can be disassembled at a molecular level using an acidic solution. Then, it can be reassembled with a new color, texture, and shape, again and again. Unlike traditional plastic, which can only be recycled two or three times at most, this material, called poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, is infinitely recyclable.” – Earth911

Even though the initial creation of PDK is expensive to manufacture, it is significantly less expensive to recycle this type of plastic compared to the very popular, PET and HDPE plastics. Recycled PDK will even be less expensive than virgin plastic, making it very appealing to manufactures.

While it’s helpful to have plastics that are infinitely recyclable, we also need to hold companies accountable for the products they produce. The responsibility can longer be placed solely on the consumer. We need to start supporting companies with take back programs and trade in options. By supporting these companies we are making it very clear that we are tired for carrying the burden and need other companies to step up and create a plan to help the planet.

Tomorrow, products on Amazon that are environmentally friendly.

Inhalers: Recyclable or Trash

Day 125 – Today is World Asthma Day. This year’s theme is “Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions”. One of those misconceptions is that asthma is a childhood disease and that individuals will grow out of it as they age. Well, I am proof that this is untrue. I was recently diagnosed as being asthmatic at 48 years old. I had never experienced symptoms as a child or at anytime during my adulthood. It was only in the last couple years did I start having an issue. I was prescribed an inhaler and my first thought was, “How do I recycle this?”, better yet, “Can I recycle this?”

There are numerous reasons why you would want to properly dispose of your inhaler.

  1. Old inhalers can explode if punctured, compacted, or heated too much.
  2. When broken open inhalers can release greenhouse gases. According to recent studies, inhaler-related greenhouse gases are responsible for roughly 5 million tons of CO2 emissions.
  3. Many inhalers that are disposed still have medication left in them. If these inhalers end up in a landfill the leftover medication can leak out and as a result contaminate land and water.
  4. The plastic and metal that make up the inhaler are recyclable material.

In many cases you can contact your local pharmacy or recycling facility to see if there are any types of take-back programs for inhalers. With inhaler recycling programs patients are able to bring in their empty inhalers to their local pharmacies and exchange them for a new one. From there the old inhalers are collected by a partner recycling provider who then breaks down the inhaler plastics for remanufacturing and safely captures any remaining aerosol medication. 

Always make sure to responsibly dispose your inhalers.

Tomorrow, coffee that is fo the birds.