Join in the Recycle Bowl

Are you interested in getting a school to promote recycling by competing in a recycling competition? Well the Recycle Bowl is a solution.

What this yearly competition is doing is getting students and schools to recycle and reduce waste to promote healthy habits.  Over 2.2 million students were reached ranging from kindergarteners to 12th graders, 25 million pounds of trash were recycled, and about 4,400 schools participated in it. This friendly competition gets students and teachers to take action and promote a healthy cause among themselves to Keep America Beautiful (the competition’s motto).

If you are interested in participating, registrations open up on August 1st. Talk with your school and have them participate to not only engage students to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but to also improve the amount they recycle.

Making backpacks out of plastic bottles

No, we are not making backpacks out of plastic bottles….yet.  However, we have found a company that is: Thread (and Timberland).

This article talks about how Timberland and Threads are working together to use recycled plastic bottles collected in Haiti to make their backpacks and shoes.


Article: Sweden has a weird but awesome problem: They’re running out of trash

Last December, Upworthy published the following article:

Can this really be the case? This article starts out with how much trash each American generates per day (4.3 pounds a day).  Evening though 66% of household trash can be composted, we don’t use close to that amount. The USA only composts 33%, whereas Sweden composts 50% of its trash.

Supposedly, Sweden wants that trash so they can compost more, and recycle more, to create energy.  This energy is used to provide heat and electricity to towns in Sweden. They have built 32 “waste-to-energy” plants which provide heat to 810,000 homes and electricity to 250,000.  To keep these “waste-to-energy” plants, Sweden is buying trash from other countries.

Note: The USA has 84 “waste-to-energy” plants (source: Energy Recovery Council), with Florida and New York having the most — 11 and 10 respectively.


This article triggered me to think about several questions and to search for answers to these questions:

How much trash do people make a day? In the USA, it ranges from 4.3 pounds a day (source: Duke’s Center for Sustainability & Commerce)  to 7.1 pounds a day (source: Edward Humes, “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash“.  Compare that to 1960, when Americans produced 2.7 pounds of trash per person per day (source: Duke’s Center for Sustainability & Commerce).  With a population of 319m, that is a lot of trash being generated per year, and over our individual lifetime (Humes calculates that is 102 tons of trash we individually generated over each of our lifetimes).

How many landfills are there in the USA, and what is their landmass? Currently, there are 3,500 active landfills in the USA.  That is 70 landfills per state on average.  However, some states are more populated than the other.  New York, Texas, and California have the most landfills.  With the USA population being 319m, that is ~91,000 persons per landfill.

The largest landfills are in California (Sunshine Canyon Landfill / Puente Hills Landfill), Indiana (Newton County Landfill), and Nevada (Apex Regional Waste Management Center).

And interesting history fact I found out when looking for answers to my questions: The city of Fresno was the first city with a municipal landfill: Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill.  The landfill opened in 1937, located 3 miles southwest of downtown Fresno, pioneering the use of trenching, compacting, and daily burial of trash.  In the Fresno case, it was to combat debris AND rodent problems.  The landfill was closed in 1987 (or 1989), after it had reached 145 acres. It became a National Historic Landmark in 2001 [ was debated to be included on the NHL list, the landfill is also a Superfund site, as it has leaked toxic materials ]

Charging Phones by Recylcing

What do teenagers have now-a-days? A cellphone. What is a common problem teens face? Constant charging. Solution: create a machine that provides free charging by recycling plastic bottles.

A group of students at a high school in Kentucky created a simple machine that charges phones for 15 minutes from recycling a plastic bottle. A way to encourage students to recycle for their high school.

What can you do that encourages recycling for those in high school?

Article: Man running 20,000 miles across America to inspire kids to exercise

Have you ever dedicate yourself to run an average of a marathon everyday to be an inspiration to a generation of children?

Jim “Gump” runs to inspire children and adults to exercise, even during a busy day. He runs through Colorado everyday on an average of 22 miles in order to carry the message across to schools, races, and homes. And to top it all, he is running 20,000 miles across America. It is not his first time doing something like this, for he started off in England when he had a full time job.

Interested for more of his story, click on this link.

Also, what he is doing is very very similar to what Daren Wendell, a runner from Kalamazoo, Michigan, is doing. He created a program called Run Daren Run in order to fundraise clean water to the people in Ethiopia, by running 100 marathons for 100 days. Check out more about him if you are also interested.

Running events that are environmentally sensitive

Over the past couple of years, we are starting to see events that are environmentally sensitive. For example, events by Ultra Adventures and Vacation Races.

Ultra Adventures holds running events in Zion National Park, Grand Canyon, and Bryce Canyon.  They have a sustainability mission statement with the following points:

  • Solar powered event
  • Supporting Local Businesses and artisans
  • Supporting local communities

Vacation Races holds half marathon races in various locations were there are national parks, including Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain National Parks, and more — which is similar to Ultra Adventures in terms of location, but are all half-marathons.  They have a “Cup Free” policy (for example, for the Yosemite Half Marathon).

The locations of these races are places where you “run where you play”m which is the tagline for Vacation Races.  [ BTW: Ultra Adventures tagline is “run elevated” ]

These events tend to be more expensive compared to road races and non-environmentally sensitive events, however, they are tend to be sold out quickly.

Article: Googly-Eyed Trash Eaters May Clean a Harbor Near You

While there is trash on land to pick-up, there is trash in our water ways that needs the attention. Plastic bottle, cigarette buds, and even tires flow along the water ways and into the ocean. Well in Baltimore, John Kellett decided to take action and clean up their ports and water ways by creating a water wheel at the end of Jones Falls River. It is solar- and hydro-powered, which promotes cleaner energy for a cleaner cause. Not only did it collect thousands of pounds of trash from the water way, but the public supports it to the point where John Kellett was able to create a second wheel.

For more of this story, click on this link:

I also found a video from NBC News about the water wheel that I suggest you should check it out.