Friday, July 27, 2012

Green of the Week: 4th Edition

           U-M Recycling is back this week, bringing to you the weekly installment of Green of the Week!  We hope that the news we have been spotlighting here is interesting and fun for our readers, and if you have any suggestions, definitely send us an email at!
          Our news this week comes from overseas, in Bali.  A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Caritas Switzerland, is working with Bali hotels and restaurants on a project collecting cooking oil and converting it into biodiesel fuel.
          From a survey starting in 2010 initiated by the NGO, it was found that cooking oil was not being disposed of in a sustainable manner, posing health risks to humans consuming overused cooking oil and other environmental concerns when dumped in soil and water.  Cooking oils disposed in landfills increases greenhouse gas emissions because decomposition of it produces methane.  The project's goals will address these environmental and health concerns, and the benefits look to be multifaceted in creating jobs and training to underprivileged individuals in the area.
          The project has currently found success in reaching a collection of a minimum 1000 liter daily of cooking oil from participating businesses and looks to expand the amount of hotels and restaurants in the program.  With the biodiesel converter at a processing plant, it is expected that anywhere from 1000-1500 liters of biodiesel fuel will be made daily through collections of cooking oil.

To read the full article, follow this link:

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Green of the Week: 3rd Edition

         We're back this week with our 3rd edition of U-M Recycling's Green of the Week blog installment to bring you interesting and innovative news from the recycling world.  Some very cool news caught our eye this week, about REUSE.
         Just outside of Portland Oregon, the Campbell family is renovating their home.  Their home has been around the world, and its retirement, the old Boeing 727 has become a residence.  Yes, that's correct, the Boeing 727 aircraft was flown for 32 years before its final landing in 1999, when Bruce Campbell bought it with the intention of remodeling it as a home.  
         The Campbells own about 10 acres of land, where their unique home has permanently landed - and Bruce says he paid about $100,000 for the retired craft (with an additional $12,500 moving fee from the airport to his acreage).  The remodeling options are not as limited as one would think - there's a working bathroom, a "modest" kitchen in the works, and decks with handrails on the wings.
         The Campbell family are not the only ones interested in turning old flying machines into homes, which is a refreshing thought considering the amount of materials used to make these aircraft.  Architect David Hertz, who was interested in finding old materials in building an airplane inspired home for a client, said "we began to realize that there are hundreds of airplanes that have been retired to sit in the deserts of California".  (Here's a link to what these "airplane graveyards" look like -

           Thus, the reuse of airplanes, which may normally seem like a colossal task, is actually quite plausible, as seen with the Campbell family.  If you are like Bruce Campbell, and consider yourself "a nerd...who adores aeronautics and abhors the waste of scrapped planes, then maybe a recycled airplane home is in the future for you.  It's unconventional, and maybe even a bit quirky, but don't count out trying new things with reuse like the Campbell family.

You can read the entire article at MSNBC:

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Green of the Week - Edition 2

           We're still getting into the swing of a weekly installment of our blog, "Green of the Week", but we soon enough, expect to see a new post every Friday to keep up to date with just a little bit of current recycling news!

       This week, we turn our attention to the East Coast, and to the Big Apple.  New York City is soon to be home to what online recycling news source, the Mother Nature Network, calls "the Rolls-Royce of recycling bins".  These pricey bins ($47,000 to be exact) feature both newspaper and bottle recycling, but their real identifiers are the LCD screens flashing local news, weather, advertisements, and more to passers-by.  You can check out more about the "Renew Recycle" bins here at:

       The major American city is following in the footsteps of London, who has installed the same high-tech bins around their city as they prepare for an influx of tourism for the 2012 Summer Olympics.  New York's motivation, though?  To boost an only 15% recycling rate in one of the most populated and diverse cities in the world, with the goal of a doubling of rates by 2017, according to the newly appointed Ron Gonan.  His position, "Deputy Commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability", has been created recently by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an effort to bolster more green practices in the city in light of the disappointing recycling rates of the past.

      The new bins, then, will hopefully attract attention to the effort both on the news, and for pedestrians in the street.  Some suggest otherwise, and feel that the potential of the high-tech bins and their screens will be lost amongst the already busy and flashy NYC streets.  Only the pilot-testing of the bins will tell.

The entire article on can be read here at MNN:

Also, see the entire story on the new NYC "recycling czar", Ron Gonan:  

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Green of the Week!

           Considering this blog has been a bit neglected in the past few weeks, we thought the best way to give it a little kick-start would be to start weekly themed pieces.  So, every Friday, make sure to check out our U-M Recycling's "Green of the Week" piece, where we pick out what we thought to be the major recycling news of the week, interesting and new green product development, innovative recycling ideas, and much more!  We would love for suggestions, commentary, and criticisms on what we at the Waste Reduction and Recycling Office are doing, so please let us know!  If you have any ideas for weekly installments that YOU want us to feature, either send us a tweet @UmichRecycling or an email at

          This week's Green of the Week comes from Resource Recycling in their coverage of the potential legislation to improve how the EPA collects recycling information - more specifically, "the types of materials recovered, how they're recovered and what end use they are directed to".  While some in Congress see this legislation as something that stands to "accomplish very little", other legislators and companies are optimistic that this will help recover data to ultimately keep the industry competitive internationally by what Charles Johnson highlights as "contributing to private-sector green jobs, energy efficiency, and industry waste-reduction goals.  Currently, recycling rates need to be improved to take into account contaminants that divert some, otherwise recyclable, materials to landfill, as well as, quantifying the re-use of materials into the rates.  Overall, the legislation is being pushed in what Rep. Henry Waxman of California calls "the most anti-environment House of Representatives in the nation's history".  Despite the challenges within Congress, the push for legislation is necessary and backed by multiple facets of corporations within the recycling industry.

For the full article, you can follow the link below: