How to Recycle Anything

I found this article on and wanted to share it

I get updates from every day and they usually have one or two articles that I enjoy reading. This 2013 article was written by Sophia Breene, who is a regular contributor to the site.

I recycle, re-use or up-cycle probably 90% of the “waste”, “junk” or “trash” at our house. Diverting 50-75% of your “waste” is really quite easy. With a compost pile and a few of Sophia’s ideas you can get to 90% also!

How to Recycle Anything by Sophia Breene

Runners recycle,recycle anything

We know, we know! We should be reducing, reusing, and recycling at all times, but it’s just so time-consuming. Looking up plastic codes, sorting through sticky bottles (ick), and finding postage to send recyclables to the right place can be a serious pain in the neck. But going the extra mile is important — in 2010, the average American generated more than 1,500 pounds of waste over the course of the year (and only 551 pounds of that amount was recycled or composted). Over seven billion pounds of PVC plastic are chucked every year, while only one percent of that amount is recycled. Whether you’re an Earth Mama or a proud SUV owner, the truth is we’re throwing away too much stuff. And while ditching the clutter might make us happier, tossing it all into a landfill doesn’t make the planet smile.

In honor of America Recycles Day, here’s a guide to getting rid of junk in an environmentally friendly way. We’ve done the work for you — some items cannot be recycled easily, so we’ve included resources to upcycle, donate, or give away surplus stuff.

Note: If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with single-stream recycling (SSR), all recyclable items can be put out for collection together. Call the local department of sanitation or waste management organization to learn if your area has SSR.

Full article.

Let’s keep it clean out there!


Fit Planet

The 2014 New Bedford Half Marathon took the FitPlanet Pledge of Sustainability.

What is that you may ask? It is a pledge to run their race in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. A group called Athletes For a Fit Planet have put together a program to help race organizers achieve this goal.

Eco-Practices for Sustainability

FitPlanet groups eco-Practices into required and optional practices for sustainability. To achieve the Pledge of Sustainability, race organizers pledge to perform all four (4) of the required practices, and a minimum of six (6) elective practices.

fir planet, green running

Continue reading “Fit Planet”

Drinking on the run

going green, ecology
How do you fold a plastic cup?

Has anyone figured out how to fold a plastic cup?

I often run through water stops during a 5K or 10K race. In an effort to try and drink the water instead of wearing it I always pinch the top of the cup. This usually keeps most of the water from splashing out and I can get one or two good gulps.

When I get to a water stop and they are handing out plastic cups this becomes impossible. The rim of a plastic cup is rigid and can’t be bent without breaking the cup.

I’m not the most athletic or coordinated guy on the course, so maybe it’s just me who can’t run and drink from a plastic cup. Has anyone figured out a good way to do this?

Paper, Polystyrene or Plastic Cups?

I poked around the interweb to see if paper cups are any better for the environment than the plastic cups. I read several articles and was surprised to find that paper cups can cost 2.5 times more than plastic cups. The reason is that paper cups consume more resources to be made.

A study by Canadian scientist Martin Hocking shows that making a paper cup uses as much petroleum or natural gas as a polystyrene cup. Plus, the paper cup uses wood pulp. The Canadian study said, ‘The paper cup consumes 12 times as much steam, 36 times as much electricity, and twice as much cooling water as the plastic cup.’ And because the paper cup uses more raw materials and energy, it also costs 2.5 times more than the plastic cup.


So Styrofoam cups use as many resources as paper cups to make, and both use about 2.5 times as many resources to make as plastic cups. This blog post goes on to say that many paper cups cannot be recycled because they are lined with plastic or wax.

From an environmental point of view that seems to be an issue. If the goal is to use fewer resources and have less of an impact on the environment then plastic cups seem to be the best alternative.

From a runners point of view, plastic cups are less than optimal as they are difficult to drink from while running. In the winter when wearing gloves, plastic cups are slippery and difficult to hold onto.

So, what to do?

Here in the Greater Boston Area most of our trash goes to an incinerator. I’m no scientist but I think burning paper with wax is better than burning plastic cups or paper cups lined with plastic.

At home we should all be using glasses to drink from. Not disposable cups or, god forbid, bottles of water. Race directors can help by using un-lined paper cups, which can be recycled and are easier for a runner to drink from.

At a race, most cups only hold water for a very short period of time. There really isn’t an issue with the cup dissolving before a runner grabs it, takes a drink and un-ceremonially tosses it into the road.

drinking on the run, boston marathon
HP Water Stop at the 2006 Boston Marathon

At the Melrose Run for Women, we fill cups from gallon jugs of water. The cups get tossed but we recycle the plastic gallon jugs. At The Hartford Marathon they give each runner a Hartford Marathon water bottle at the end of the race. It is plastic, but because it is a water bottle, it can be used hundreds of times. I still use mine. Hartford also has a huge bubbler that dozens of runners can drink from at the same time.

We make choices every day. If we make better choices, each of us individually can make a difference.

Run well my friends,


Runners Turning Green

The Twin Lights Half Marathon In Gloucester had runners turning green, with the help of EcoMovement.

EcoMovement is a Portsmouth, NH based business that provides recycling, composting and trash services to businesses, schools and homes in the Greater Seacoast area of New Hampshire.

At Twin Lights, Rian Bedard of EcoMovement was there to help runners turn green. In the area where runners picked up their after race food and drink, he was there to help runners dispose of their waste in the proper container.

Runners turning green, recycle
Making the right choice with EcoMovement
EcoMovement, ZeroWastenow, runners turning green
Rian Bedard of EcoMovement assists runners dispose of their waste.

You will notice that the bucket for items going to the landfill is the smallest one.

For a race of this size, about 1,000 runners, Rian expected to have two bags of compostable material, probably six bags of recyclable materials and ONE bag of trash!

That’s right. With 1,000 runners and all of their “trash” only one bag would be non-recyclable, non-compostable trash. My neighbors put out more than that every week and there are only four of them!

An Eco Education

This is about as green as a runner and a race can get. All of the plates, utensils, napkins and un-eaten food went into the compost bucket. All plastics and cans went into the recycle bin. Items like PowerGel packets and containers with mixed plastic, foil and paper could not be recycled and had to go into the trash.

Rian said that about half of the people knew exactly what to do and the other half needed some assistance picking the right bucket. No one had any issue participating in the program.

Most people would not think that paper and plastic utensils can be composted. Paper is made of wood and some plastic utensils are now made out of corn starch or other compostable materials. You can buy these utensils in most grocery stores and compost them.

The organizers of Twin Lights gave runners the opportunity to go green and recycle or compost almost all of their waste. I am hopeful that other local race organizers will utilize this service so that runners in their races can go green as well.

EcoMovement offers their services to businesses, schools and residences in the Greater Seacoast area in New Hampshire. They also offer training programs for your company or school so that you can enhance your own recycling and composting programs.

We make choices every day. When a race organizer gives us the opportunity to have ZeroWaste we should take it. When a race organizer sets out barrels clearly marked “Recycles Only” we should be able to know what that means.

As consumers and runners we need to meet the businesses, municipalities and races half way and participate in the programs that they offer. In the grocery store and at the mall we can all make a difference by making better choices.

I salute Twin Lights and Pursuit Racing for providing this service to us runners, and the environment.

Let’s make better choices.

* The only compensation received from EcoMovement was a breath of fresh air!

© 2013 anagelin