Tag Archives: recycling

Don’t Be An Environmental Honey Badger

Think for a moment that you’re at the drugstore picking up a few items. Some products you may be loyal to, others you may be trying for the first time. Would the packaging play a role in what you buy at the store? Would you consider buying something in a recyclable container before buying a product with packaging that will go into the garbage?

Maybe you don’t care where it ends up. Maybe you do. Did you know that even if you were to you choose the packaging that says it can be recycled, will most likely end up in a landfill anyway? Surprising, I know! Don’t feel bad, most people don’t know this.

In an effort to be “green” those consumers, conscious of the environment, tend to purchase items with recyclability. Even though you may choose a product based on the “green factor” of its packaging being recyclable, ninety-four percent of recyclable products will end up in a landfill.  Turns out your efforts to be “green” are mostly moot.

Recycling is a misnomer. I’m not suggesting that we stop putting items in our green recycling can on recycle day. Six percent of our recyclable items get recycled. I’m suggesting we take a closer look at where our products and its packaging are ending up.

What if you are the person who doesn’t care where the packaging goes? You throw it in the garbage and it magically disappears when that big truck stops in front of your house once a week and dumps all your problems.  Not your garbage anymore, but it’s still your problem.  How can it still be my problem you ask? Because you, along with me, along with billions of other people live on this earth. And what we do to our planet affects us all.

And for you do-gooders who buy “green” and recycle everything, nice effort! But, most recycling facilities are very picky about what they recycle. Do you know what happens to the material they don’t recycle? Yep, it ends up in a land fill.

Ultimately, a land fill seems to be the final resting place for most of our products’ packaging. Landfills that are quickly filling to capacity.  Landfills that are full of packaging that will sit under the dirt for hundreds of years. It won’t be our problem by then, but it’s a problem we’re causing for the future. It’s a good thing if you’re wondering if there are any solutions to this environmental issue.

Biodegradable plastic is the solution.  An additive added to the plastic manufacturing process that will allow the plastic to biodegrade when placed into a land fill. The plastic that is not recycled can now be discarded without worry that it will affect the environment.

Going “green”, as a consumer, is an end result not a purchasing result; unless what you’re purchasing will end “green”.  Don’t be an environmental honey badger. Care enough to know where your products and its packaging are ending up.

Innovative Approach has 5 Times the Success of Recycling

The other day I was throwing out the trash and it caught my attention how much plastic waste is not accepted in my recycle bin. Wrappers, blister packs, bags, saran wrap, plastic containers and more all destined for the landfill. Comparing that to my recycle where all I have is beverage bottles, aluminum cans and a cardboard box, the magnitude of the waste problem hit me over the head. With overall plastics recycling in the US averaging near 7%, it is clear that something must be done to address the remaining 93%. And although reports show some increase in recycle rates, these increases are not keeping up with the massive increase in global plastic consumption. Perhaps it is time to focus on the reality of plastic waste – over 30 million tons of it that went into US landfills in 2009. To paint the picture for you, by the time you read this paragraph, the room you are sitting in would have filled up several times over with landfilled plastic. Every year we landfill over 96 million cubic yards of plastic!!

There is a silver lining to this, with today’s landfill management we are converting our landfilled waste to inexpensive clean energy.  In fact, today 35% of all waste is placed in landfills that utilize this methane to energy (methane is produced during biodegradation in a landfill). If this plastic waste had  been biodegradable, it would have converted about 10 million tons to clean energy and freed up 70 million cubic yards of landfill space!!

With today’s biodegradable technology, we have the ability to convert 35% of all our plastic waste to an environmental value, with no need for additional infrastructure or legislative programs. That is 5 times the success of recycling!!

After 30 years of recycling and only reaching a 7% recycle rate, I wonder how long it will take to reach the same or higher 35% rate of landfills collecting and converting landfill gasses into clean energy?  Maybe its time we look at technologies that focus on solving the bigger part of the problem while also supporting the smaller aspect?

So as I finish, I can’t help but wonder, if in the future the power used to run my laptop will come from biodegradable plastics in the landfill…..

Click here to download our informational PDF on Landfills.

Community for Biodegradable Plastics

The “Green” movement is growing at a breakneck speed. Brands are positioning themselves around their environmental initiatives in many ways, but whatever they do, addressing their use of plastic seems to be the most prevalent step in having a greener footprint on the environment. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and confusion in the marketplace about this subject. It seems like every time you turn around there is a new ban or an extreme move to address the use of plastic and it’s as if nobody really knows what to do at this point. But it’s my understanding that the advancements in new technologies are what we should really be focusing on embracing and bringing to market. I appreciate groups like the Community for Biodegradable Plastics that allow an open forum to discuss this matter. If you find yourself looking for answers to questions about biodegradable plastics and technology then this is the place where you can find them.


ecoenthusiast Makes Valentine’s Day Green!

We all want to do our best to live green and make the world a cleaner place. When it comes to holidays though, I don’t always think about what is the greenest way to make the holidays environmentally friendly. Recently I have come across a great site that is focused on green products and living green. The site, www.ecoenthusiast.com , has great tips on different green topics and unique items of interest. Today I came across the article on how to make Valentine’s Day green. There are many great ideas there about how to make your Valentine’s green. Some of the great Valentine’s Day ideas that were in the post included sending e-cards, or saving a trip and having a romantic dinner at home. Or if you were going to buy gifts, it was suggested to buy from local craft fairs or better yet make it yourself! No matter what you do this Valentine’s Day, or any other holiday it is always great to find unique ideas on how to make it green. In this case with Valentine’s Day around the corner I would encourage you to see what the “ecoenthusiast” has in mind!

ecoenthusiast logo

Who is on your front line?

I am an avid recycler, I diligently sort my trash; separate out the paper, glass, aluminum and plastic bottles from the rest of the waste. I even take the recycling home from my office because our complex does not offer recycling. But just last week, my recycle loving world was turned upside down…

After the holidays, I had 3 large cardboard boxes ready for my curbside recycling pickup. I was able to fit one in the can and the other two I sat carefully next to the can on the roadside (check out the photo with this blog). When the recycle truck came by, I watched in awe as the driver first crushed my can; had to get out of his truck to pick up the can and pull the box out of it; then hop back in his truck and drive off. He never even touched the other two boxes! Why, I thought, could he take a box out of the can, but not pick up the same size box from next to the can?  Does it make sense to send another truck out to get the remaining boxes? What about the extra fuel consumption? How does this impact the environmental picture?

My entire mood for the day was dampened by this frustration and I even began to wonder why I should go through the effort of recycling when the collection crew obviously did not care to take it.

Earlier this week I had another experience, while boarding the city metro I was greeted by a cheerful smile and a driver asking how my day was going! This driver was amazing! A kind word to every passenger as they boarded; she made sure to know every stop each passenger needed; and even chased down another bus through several stops to make sure one of her passengers made their connection! The ride was so utterly enjoyable, that I began to search for additional routes that I may be able to take on future occasions. I began to calculate how much time and fuel I could possibly save by using the metro as opposed to driving; how much more productive my time could be; and the extra environmental impact I could make by doing so.

As I stepped off the metro, I reflected on these two events and realized the immense impact that such simple gestures could have. One causing me to question my desire to recycle and the other igniting a desire to find creative ways to add more public transportation in my life. Each of these people impacted my life, my views and my actions without even knowing it. These people are the ones on the front line in every company, interacting with your customers and leaving a message with them. They are often not the highest paid, or even the most recognized – but in many ways, they may be the most important and they are the front line of your company. Giving them inspiration, or desperation; loyalty to you or to your competition; saying we want your business, you are a valued customer and we appreciate you.

Or are they saying something different?

America Recycles Day

As the sun set on November 15th, 2011 the nation paused to reflect upon our struggles and achievements with recycling. This annual event, “America Recycles Day”  on November 15, comes at us every year as a chance to refocus our efforts with recycling and waste management. We have seen the percentage of plastics recycled when compared with the amount of plastics produced, continue to decline (less than 8% of all plastics produced today are recycled). With the concerns of global warming and effects of pollution, it is important to understand the impact we can have on our environment. At ENSO Plastics we encourage people to be mindful of what they can do to help, no matter how small or large. Recycling is just one of many ways in which we can help our environment and preserve nature.

Join us in taking a moment to think about what each of us can do to help our Earth. Whether it is supporting alternate energy resources like solar power, choosing biodegradable plastics, creating less waste, or considering hybrid vehicles – remember that recycling is the least we can do to sustain our future. With each of us doing what we can, America Recycles Day in 2012 will be a chance for the world to unite in celebration of success!

What did you do today to help?


Exclusive Podcast with ENSO Plastics


This past Sunday creator of Green News 4 U Mel Wylie interviewed our very own Teresa Clark, Co-founder of ENSO Plastics, LLC.

What is ENSO…How does ENSO work…& Why is the ENSO product different ?

These are just the surface questions that Teresa will be answering in the 14 th episode of Green News 4 U’s Podcasts. Listen to the podcast here!

With the array of misconceptions the “earth friendly” plastics industry current holds, Green News 4 U’s Mel Wylie was determined to get the facts. Being an avid environmental guru, Teresa was able to clearly educate listeners with the facts…no green-washing here. Mel also took the time to get Teresa’s views on some of the most controversial cultural plastic debates of the moment. Some of the topics covered in this podcast include the single use plastic bag debacle, chemicals leaching into water of plastic bottles, proper packaging labeling and much, much more.

Go ahead and check out the podcast here to see how Teresa answered all of green news 4 u’s questions! Let us know what you think of the podcast in the comment box below, and don’t forget to share this blog with your friends.

If you like this podcast be sure to keep up with Green News 4 U’s via facebook & twitter

Should Downcycling be considered Recycling?

When it comes to biodegradable plastics many people have something to say. Opinions range from appreciating the biodegradable technology, wanting all plastics to be banned, pushing for re-usable alternatives, being all for recycling, or having some other viewpoint. When it comes down to recycling, are plastics products even recycled?

sorting through plastic at recycling facility

One of the first steps at a recycling facility is the sorting of the items. At this point, plastic is sorted by type. (You can learn more about the different recycling numbers here.) Unfortunately, numerous facilities only process some of these types of plastic so the leftovers are either sold to another facility, or sadly thrown into a landfill. Note : Just because you place something in the recycling bin, don’t assume that it is going to be recycled.

The plastics that were kept by the facility will then be ground up into pieces and melted down. Once the plastic is melted, it is formed into pellets. These pellets, also known as nurdles, can be made into fibers used for  all sorts of clothing, wood products, carpeting, toy stuffing, floor mats and tiles and other similar items.


This process is referred to as  downcycling. When plastics are downcycled the plastic can only be used as something it was not originally used for, and once that life is over it typically ends in incineration or being thrown in a landfill.

recycling incinerator








Thanks for the info




Bio degradable Vs. Recycling

capitoll hill enso plastics



Capitol Hill

I recently had the pleasure of going back east to DC involving meetings on Capitol Hill where the discussion of biodegradable materials in the recycling stream was the main focus. After the representative from a recycling organization gave his presentation, I then gave mine. We were perceived to be in opposite corners, so we were asked to speak in the same meetings so as to address any clarifying questions that might have come up after our presentations. It dawned on me that this perception brought on by the recycling organizations (APR and NAPCOR) are in actuality NOT TRUE!


ENSO and the recycling community are very much in alignment with the goal of saving our natural resources as long as possible. When ENSO embarked on the overwhelming mission to eliminate plastic pollution from our planet, we had recyclers and their processes as the #1 consideration-everything we came up with had to pass the scrutiny of the question, “does this material have any adverse effect on the recycling stream.” Many years and engineering feats later, we did it!!! We have had dozens of recyclers (or reprocessors) test and actually run the ENSO material through their process to see if there are any issues with the ENSO plastic. With no exception, 100% of them have indicated that they would never know it was an ENSO bottle if we have not told them. Scientifically, that has to be true because our mix does not even chemically bond with the plastic it is being mixed with.

Recycling & Pollution

ENSO and the recycling community are very much in alignment, so much that we feel we are at stake with their success -the recyclers are in a tough market currently, as it seems they are being diminished on every turn. They are not allowed to participate in decisions regarding innovations to help the environment, but rather are left to deal with the new materials as they show up in their processing. Some of the reprocessors are worried about staying in business because of the issues arising from trying to sort out extremely incompatible materials like PLA (corn based plastic) from their PET bottle stream. They have indicated to us that they literally cheered because an environmental plastic was made that did not affect their bottom line by contaminating their recyclate material. Daily, companies using plastic are getting increased pressure to “stop polluting the environment”. For instance, almost daily I see news about plastic bags being banned around the world. And although the blame should not rest solely on manufacturing, something HAS to be done. We need to demand a new attitude towards the use of plastic. ENSO is a real and tangible solution to not only keep recycling intact, but also do much, much more. Globally, the human race is only recycling 5% of all plastics…think about that for a minute. Since when did you ever accept a 5% success rate as a viable solution under any circumstance? Could you imagine an oil spill clean-up effort saying, “Welp, we’ve cleaned up 5% of the spill, the rest well act as if there is no issue.” Yet it is happening right before our eyes when it comes to addressing the end of life issue of plastics. Why not make plastics biodegradable so when they are thrown into a landfill, they can contribute to the growing practice of creating clean energy from landfill natural gas? Renewable, green, clean, smart…intelligent -all describe this value proposition! Companies using it, and handling it will also add the description, “profitable” –but that’s their little secret.




Our message is clear, “recycle ENSO plastic wherever, and whenever you can. But if you fail, (and there is a 95% chance of that happening), know that you are still in harmony with our planet because this plastic will biodegrade naturally utilizing the earths microorganisms (microbes).” The environmental issues surrounding plastic use are rising, not decreasing. People that recycle, will always recycle-they will not change their values to all of a sudden become “litter bugs”, because something is recyclable and biodegradable. A national poll done on our behalf supports this, and also says that 61% of America believes it is more important to have plastic biodegradable than recyclable. Also, recycling will not rid the planet of plastic pollution, just delay the fact that inevitably everything plastic will end up in a landfill. ENSO says that we can have both, and if you are a consumer, you should demand both, and if you are a manufacture, you would do well offering both. What more can manufactures do? (They have already reduced our plastics down to where the next step for a bottle is a zip lock bag!) The answer? Companies and brands can get smart and innovative. Doing this now creates opportunity for growth in market share because they are seen as smart and innovative, and consumers like both to have that coveted loyalty. We can have recycling and ENSO’s solution to long term plastic pollution a complimentary package to bridge the battle between pro-environment vs. plastic use. My mom called that, “having your cake, and eating it too.” We each might be required to pay a penny or two extra per bottle for this added environmental value, but with the way things are going right now with all of the plastic building up on our lands and seas -“do the math” is another momism that is very appropriate. – Del Andrus

Do you have blue barrel anxiety?

‘m suffering from “Blue Barrel Anxiety,” and so are a lot of other people around the country. What is BBA you ask? Think of it like this. You are cleaning up after a family picnic, the table is covered with paper plates, an empty pickle jar, a plastic mustard container and lots of other things made from plastic and paper…lots of other things. If you have ever wondered, does this go in the trash or recycle bin, then you have experienced what millions of us have, the dreaded BBA, “Blue Barrel Anxiety.”

I was suffering so badly from BBA that I didn’t know what to toss into my blue bin…Blue Barrrel AnxietyI’d even gotten a letter from my trash collection company warning me that I was about to lose my Blue Barrel privileges. Don’t be disheartened, I’ve discovered the cure for BBA. It turns out that by educating oneself, BBA can be reduced and more importantly for me, no more letters.

I set up a tour to my local recycling center. WARNING and DISCLAIMER: Prepare yourself, seeing firsthand what becomes of the things you put into your recycle bin may shock you. Perhaps you might consider taking a friend or the entire family for moral support. You’re going to need it.

How did my tour go? Well it wasn’t what I expected. The facility I went to gave the tour from an enclosed area where we observed the process through glass windows. We didn’t hear much of the noise or enjoy the smells. The room we were in was equipped with a room deodorizer that periodically shot a mist on the air which covered up any noxious odors. I wondered what was in the deodorizer and why suddenly I was feeling a lot of love for all those recyclers working the picking line, hmmmmm.

Anyway… the thing that got most my attention was the amount of “recycled” items that aren’t recycled. A lot of the stuff…most of the stuff, we put into our recycle bins isn’t recycled, it is disposed of in the landfill. I was a little taken aback and somewhat hurt that all the plastic, cans, and containers that I had rinsed and carefully placed into my recycle bin were being treated like garbage and I was wondering why?

The tour guide must have seen the questions in my eyes…I heard the mister spray again and the love return. The tour guide went on to explain that recycling, while being good for the environment is in the final analysis a business activity. Items we toss that don’t have market value are stored or sent on to the landfill. Most of what I saw being saved was plastic containers and cardboard, so I assumed most of the unwanted material became garbage. The tour guide went on to say, “When something has value or there is a market for a recycled item it is captured, bundled and sold.” I pointed out a bin filled with glass bottles and I asked our tour guide why they weren’t recycled? His answer was that it’s cheaper to make new glass than recycle. I was becoming educated and my BBA was starting to ease. I learned that recycling is about money, at least here in the U.S. it is, and until there is a demand for recycled glass or the price of virgin glass goes up….it’s off to garbage land with used glass.

Reclycing BinsIt turns out that U.S. Recyclers are very picky about what they want and are only willing to spend the time, labor and money on items that can easily and quickly be captured from the recycle stream. In other countries recycling has taken on a whole new meaning. I recently read about another country where even a tennis shoe is dismantled for the metal, leather and rubber. Is that cost effective? Probably not, but those countries are coming closer to a sustainable life style than we are. The tour was an eye opener and it got me to questioning if there was any real value to recycling here in the U.S., or was it all just a way to make money, appearing to be environmental?

Organizations that promote and support recycling here in the U.S. need to do more toward developing new markets for the goods we now toss into our landfills. Most of their efforts are spent on maintaining the status quo of recycling and they don’t take kindly to anyone rocking the garbage boat.

Public awareness and acceptance for environmental programs continues to grow and recycling organizations need to embrace environmentalism and its potential benefits. The U.S. needs to follow the lead of countries that have successful recycling programs, programs that are reclaiming up to 75% of waste materials. Recyclers need to get away from the idea that recycling is just a for-profit business and begin to look at recycling as the anchor for all our environmental programs.

Use, reuse, recycle and reclaiming are all about sustainability; it should become the mantra of all businesses and consumers. We need to rethink how our products and packaging are designed, used and when the life of a product is over how the resource is reclaimed. Sustainability is important for our future and it’s the only way we will be able to ensure a healthy planet and that resources will be available for future generations.

Blue Barrel Anxiety
Max Clark