AuthorKarl Nguyen

5 Things You Normally Throw Out But Can Be Recycled


We all know recycling as the process of collecting and converting waste into reusable energy. But the key question here is why recycle? Why should you care? Well, an environmentalist will tell you that recycling helps preserve the natural environment. He will go ahead and explain to you the principle of ‘do no harm’. A business man on the other hand will define recycling as the process of developing new material from waste products that can then be sold for profit. All these explanations makes sense in their own way but business or environment aside, why should we really care? The world we live in, perfect or imperfect as it maybe was designed to support all the living creatures in it and our primary purpose as human beings is to ensure that we preserve it in the best way possible. One of the ways to do that is by recycling. Here we are going to highlight 5 things that we use or encounter in our day-to-day life that can be recycled.

Aluminum Cans

Did you know that on average. Americans take one beverage from an aluminum can every single day but only 49% of these cans are reused? Now imagine how many of these cans are used worldwide and how many of these are wasted every single day. Well, the good thing about these ‘aluminum cans’ is that they are recyclable. Recycling these can take as few as 50 days from the time it is placed in the recycling bin and the best thing about it is that the process takes 95% less energy as compared to producing a new can. So every time you take a soda, think about this statistics.

Magazines and Cardboard Boxes

It is interesting to note that; around 100 billion boxes are produced in the U.S every year and only 75% of them are recycled. Cardboard boxes are made of timber industry by-products (e.g. wood-chips and saw dust). These boxes can be recycled to produce items such as writing or printing papers, tissues, paper towels, paperboard and cereal boxes. Magazines on the other hand are made from coated and buffed papers and can be recycled to produce tissues, paperboard, writing paper and newspapers.


Did you know that the plastics generated in the U.S every year is enough to wrap up Texas? And that despite the fact that 2.4 billion pounds of them being recycled, this only contributes to approximately 27% of the total waste stream? This clearly shows that most plastics in our homes are recyclable. Items such as plastic jars, bottles and jugs should be placed in the recycling bin.


Car batteries are one of the most recyclable items in the U.S. The batteries as you probably know are made of 60% lead of which 90% of it is recyclable. The majority of these are used in the manufacture of new batteries. The battery also comprises of about 3 pounds of plastics, which can be utilized in the making of new batteries or other useful items. The sulfuric acid can be used in the making of new batteries as well as in the manufacture of dyes, fertilizers and other products. One thing to note though is that bulbs and batteries should never be placed together with other recyclable items.


Old, unwanted or non-functional electronics should not be placed with other recyclable items but they are 100% recyclable though through different processes. Electronics such as computers are made of glasses, plastics and metals which can be used in the production of other meaningful products.


The above mentioned items are only but a few of the items in our households that can be recycled. To establish what other items you can recycle you can check with your local recycle and waste management team. Always remember that, we are part of the ecosystem and therefore we should strive to ensure that we do more good than harm.

Please do your part in recycling. If you have any questions about what can be recycled or other questions about our post drop us a line.

On Disposable Shoe Covers

There are many manufacturers out there making shoe covers that are reusable and environmentally friendly.  How do all these companies stand out from the crowd, though?  Do they employ some innovative approaches to improving your disposable shoe covers?  Because the shoe covers are worn over the top of footwear to protect both the working environment from potential contamination and vice versa, disposable shoe cover need to be, both: strong and functional. There are any ways in which manufacturers can innovate to incorporate features into their shoe covers.

The Variety of Reusable Waterproof Shoe Covers

Uses for these types of shoe covers are many and varied. They are common equipment in a number of industries, notably those where you might have contact with chemicals and contaminants as they are an occupational hazard. They are also used in the medical profession, by carpet cleaners, in clean rooms, in areas where wet floors are commonplace and for many other purposes.  Interestingly, they are also starting to become popular for general household use too.

Rising Popularity for Disposable Shoe Covers

Environmentally-friendly shoe covers are generally made from plastic, which makes them water and liquid proof.  This assists in protecting the wearer from contaminants in the environment and vice versa.  A standard material is a non-woven polypropylene that has been spun bond.

However, polyethylene plastics, cast polyethylene, a product called Tyvek as well as latex are also popular.  Depending on the intended use, some shoe covers are made with several layers of plastic for improved strength and better protection. Once bonded together securely, these types of shoe covers provide economical and excellent protection for the wearer, or for an environment that needs to be contaminant free.

There are also disposable shoe covers with non-skid features built into the soles are ideal where there is a danger of slipping or better traction is required. These may be in the form of PVC or latex soles that are hard-wearing and durable as well as non-slip.  Another effective type of anti-skid feature is silicon strips or dots on the sole.

For superior protection, you can consider incorporating features like an elastic cuff at the top of the cover with an ankle tie for a more secure fit. These would ideally suit shoe covers intended to protect both the foot and the lower leg to the knee. The elastic cuff at the top prevents contaminants from getting in the top whilst also making the cover a one-size-fits-all. The ankle tie adds a further layer of protection whilst also allowing the wearer to adjust to suit.

Using a low linting fabric is also another way you may be able to improve the design of your disposable shoe covers. This type of fabric reduces the risk of lint sticking to the cover as this potentially risks contaminating a sterile environment or taking contaminated materials into the outside environment from a contaminated work site. Such fabrics would also ideally be given an anti-static treatment to further reduce their potential to contaminate.

Putting it All Together

To sum up, reusable shoe covers are designed for use in a myriad of purposes from the simple plastic slip on that protects a floor from dirt to heavy-duty knee length ones designed to protect the wearer from highly hazardous substances. There are non-slip disposable shoe covers with traction patterns that are excellent for use on slippery floors, tough durable ones that can be used over steel cap boots and everything in between.

Do you have some other, new ideas about creative ways to utilize shoe covers?  We”d love to hear your thoughts!  Contact us by using the contact page on your site to tell us more!

Here’s how to adopt a eco-friendly life

Harmful products in our food can cause diseases such as cancer. When you hear the term “eco-friendly, it is your precious life and that of the earth that is intertwined in it The term is generally used to refer to products or human activities that conserve our natural environment and do not harm us.

They are made of organic materials that decompose naturally. Organic fertilizers and agricultural chemicals play an important role in producing eco friendly food products. They also ensure the natural environment including soil and useful organisms are preserved.

There are a number of products that we use in our daily life that harm us and the environment as well. These include plastic bags, fossil fuels running your car engine, inorganic fertilizers, electrons, pesticides and paints just to name a few. Inorganic fertilizer residues in crops find its way into your food on the table. Early this year pieces of polythene were found in major brands of drinking water in many countries around the world that were surveyed. These are a result of careless disposal of plastic wastes. Very worrying indeed. Exhaust fumes from industries and vehicles using petroleum derived fuels contain harmful gases. These gases may cause respiratory problems. Some gases produced when plastics are burnt destroy the ozone layer that protect our skins from harmful rays of the sun.

Greenhouse gases from industries increase in the atmosphere leading to rising temperatures on earth. This results in what is called global warming. This in turn causes disastrous weather patterns like flooding or emergence of deserts.

Pesticides like DDT, used for controlling mosquitoes in many countries, has been found to get its way through fish to hawks. Such hawks lay eggs with weak eggshells that may not hatch. If continued the birds will be extinct. The United States banned the use of DOT to control mosquitoes. It is not late for us to act. There are many products that are eco friendly. These are alternative products that are safe to both life and the environment including animals and plants. There are biofuels that can run your car engine and provide harmless energy. Electric cars and trains have also been developed in an effort to cut down dangerous gas emissions. Planting of many trees is another smart eco friendly solution to a drying planet. Trees are known to purify the air we breath. They also conserve soil, preserve water catchment areas and give us a beautiful environment. Disposal of waste at home, work place, towns and hospitals should be done in an environmental friendly way.

Organic fertilizers or manure and organic agricultural chemicals should be used in crop production because they are eco-friendly. When shopping for eco friendly products check out on the label if they are certified as such. Electronic goods and light bulbs with a star on the label mean they consume less electric energy. Use of renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar safes the environment. It is evident that everyone of us can contribute towards conserving our natural environment by adopting an eco friendly lifestyle. It can be expensive at first but it saves a lot of money and lives in the long run.

The best way to create an organic compost pile at home

So you’re interested in gardening and don’t know about composting or perhaps you’ve been giving a thought to it but cant bring yourself to start the process. Yes there are misconceptions related to composting; its complex, messy, and it smells bad. All those things are true only if you go about composting the wrong way. However, do it right and it gives you wonderful results like a rich soil and a solid base for you to grow plants and vegetables. Below we list the best way you can go about creating a good organic compost pile at home.

Starting out

The first thing to remember about composting is that not all waste in your home can be converted into an organic compost pile. Below is a handy list of what and what not to compost.

DO – vegetable and fruit scraps from your refrigerator, eggshells, coffee grounds, dry leaves, straw.

DON’T – meat, dairy products, feces (dog or cat), animal carcass.

Fast and slow hot and cold

There are two types of composting: hot and cold.

In cold compost you can just dump all scraps mentioned above in a pile/bin in your back garden and wait for it to decompose. This process could take well over a year.

Hot compost however is a quicker process. During warm weather your scraps can turn into compost in as little as two or three months.

Choose a spot

Preferably your backyard is the perfect place for composting. If it gets a lot of sun that’s even better. Once you’ve chosen a spot you can place a bin there. You can even mark a roughly rectangular area and deposit your scraps there. If you want to enclose it inside a wooden construction that’s even better.

Keep in mind: the pile or the bin should be no more than 3 feet in height.

Layer it don’t dump it

Once you have the area decided you can proceed to the more fun part of the composting. Composting should be done in three layers: carbon, nitrogen, and topsoil. Be sure to have a heady mixture of these three and you’ll have a perfect compost. Below is a brief description.

Carbon – untreated sawdust, leaves, hay straw etc.

Nitrogen – vegetable and fruit wastes, manure, fertilizers.

Topsoil – avoid soils containing insecticides and you’re good to go.

Add twigs if you want. They guarantee proper air flow.


Bacteria love moisture. Without moisture your scrap will remain what it is in the beginning just scrap. Sprinkle some water into your bin so it becomes roughly soggy. Don’t overdo it however. Oxygen will make sure that your scraps don’t rot and smell. A good combination of moisture and oxygen would mean that your mixture would smell earthy and not give out stench like a waste-pile.

Once you have achieved the above steps it’s time to let your compost sit and do its own thing. Keep any eye on your compost and stir it, overturn it every two weeks or so.

Maintaining an at home compost is much better than buying soil from the store because it allows you to make use of waste you’d normally throw away. We hope this has given the gardener in you enough confidence to start composting.

Tips for A More Sustainable Lifestyle

I want to share with you a few practical eco-friendly tips for you to have a more sustainable lifestyle. I’m trying to do these in my own home so I thought that maybe you would like to know about them as well.

Did you know that the air inside our house is more polluted than the outside air? This is because the materials that our house is constructed from contains a lot of chemicals and sometimes those chemicals are really bad for your health. It’s very important to refresh the air and opening your window is a free thing that you can do to refresh your air and change it. There are of course other things you can do to improve your air quality but this is the easiest and most cost effective way. It can be difficult to do this in the winter because of the cold air, but I think it’s very important to maintain our health that we constantly refresh the air inside our homes, even in the winter.

The second thing is to reduce the heat in our homes and simply put on a sweater and socks. Of course it will depend on the season. In winter we can’t really do that, but if you drop the thermostat by a few degrees you won’t see a change in terms of comfort, but you’ll see the change on your utility bill. What is recommended is to have the temperature at 21 degree Celsius in the room you’re in and during the night lower the temperature to 18 degree Celsius. When you’re not home you can lower it even further to 15 degree Celsius. You will see a big difference on your utility bill because you’re using less energy. If you reduce the temperature for 3 degree Celsius for about eight hours you reduce the amount of energy uses by 4.5%. This may not seem like much but if you add that up over 12 months you’re saving a lot of money on your utility bill.

The third thing is to get rid of the junk mail you receive every week. A bunch of advertisements are mailed in newspapers for shops you don’t go to. It’s just a waste of paper and a waste of money. It cost a lot of money to produce so I think the best thing to do is to call the companies on the advertisements and tell them that you don’t want to receive these newspapers anymore. Tell them you’ll go online and find the promotions when you want to use them. If everyone were to do this it will make a big difference because we won’t waste so much paper anymore.

The fourth thing is to select LED light bulbs in your home. Of course, they will be a little bit more expensive to buy initially, but you’ll save money in the long term because they will use less energy and they will last longer. For the record a LED light bulb will consume 85% less energy than an incandescent light bulb and you’ll have to change 25 incandescent bulbs before you’ll have to change the LED. You’ll save a lot of money in the long term. You’ll also be reducing the energy that you use every day because of course the incandescent ones consume the most energy. Some houses have a lot of light bulbs and I think if we change all of them it can make a very big difference.

The final tip is to turn off the water when you brush your teeth or wash your face. I think it’s an obvious one. I think everybody should do that and it’s so simple and it’s free. The only expense that we have to use is our own energy to turn off the water. I see those people on the internet not doing and it concerns me. It’s so easy to do and you’ll save so much water when you think about the fact that millions of people don’t have access to drinkable water and we waste it for nothing.

So that’s it for today. These are some simple steps to live a more sustainable live. Please implement these today and tell me if you have other simple sustainable living tips.

Sustainability and Minimalism

I want to chat about how sustainability led me to minimalism and how I really think that they are connected. I really became interested in sustainability through studying fashion design and learning the impact of fast fashion and while researching how to produce clothing more sustainably I kept coming to the idea that the problem is not really using polyester over organic cotton although that does contribute to it. The root of the problem is just the amount of clothes that are being produced and also thrown away. According to “The True Cost” 80 billion new garments are purchased in one year and that’s up 400% from 20 years ago. So we’re buying more clothes than ever and this doesn’t just have to do with clothes people are buying bigger houses to fill with more stuff, constantly the newest technology, hundreds of beauty products, and filling fridges with food that doesn’t get eaten. All of these things require resources there’s pollution from manufacturing and transportation often environmental impact with the use and then a lot of them unfortunately just get thrown away and end up in the landfills where they don’t biodegrade.

Now I have a more simple living approach to minimalism I guess. I don’t see minimalism as trying to live with as little as you possibly can I think it’s about living with the things that you actually use and need and enjoy having around. That totally changes the way that you view stuff and it’s no longer about shopping for that excitement of buying something new because we all know that that fades away. Then you have to keep shopping to continuously have that feeling of owning something new but if all of your things have value and a function in your life you not only appreciate them more and you don’t need to buy new things all the time but, you also see when something that you might want to purchase doesn’t really have a function or value in your life. Then you know that you don’t need it.

In general buying less things means that you can often invest more in the things that you do choose to purchase and buy things that are higher quality and going to last a lot longer. Invest in manufactured products that use sustainable materials and are just generally much more responsible and care about their impact

It’s interesting because the stuff that I own has become both less important and more important. It’s become much less important in the sense of you know the way I see myself and define success because I think a lot of us sort of were fed the idea of that having a lot of stuff somehow means your more successful and happier and you know buying things and having new things we equate with happiness which is ridiculous. So they become much less important in that sense and then more important in the sense that the things I do choose to own I want to either support companies that I really believe in that I think are doing great things in terms of ethics and sustainability or things that are having much less of an impact than something new would, so buying second hand which I also really love. The things that I do own are so much more valuable to me than they were like with my clothes for example set of having closet just bursting with all kinds of pieces that I didn’t really care about I now I have pieces that I really like that I enjoy wearing and that I feel good in.

There are two aspects though that are often talks about or related to minimalism that I don’t think fit so well with the sustainable benefits and those are the idea that you should just have a massive declutter and get rid of everything and not really care about where it goes and buying new stuff to fit maybe a more minimalist aesthetic and I do think sometimes content focuses a bit too much on the decluttering aspect and not enough on the actual purchasing and accumulating stuff aspect. That to me is really where the sustainability component comes in. Some people talk about you know just get it out of your life get rid of it and I don’t think that’s such a good approach I think it is really important to make sure that the things that you’re getting rid of are either being donated to an organization or a company that can use them or given to other people. We have a responsibility for the stuff that we’ve bought and accumulated to try and get rid of it in as a responsible way as we possibly can so it’s not just going into the landfill.

I’ve also seen people asking questions about a capsule wardrobe, for example, if you should get rid of all your clothes and then by a capsule wardrobe and that’s definitely not a sustainable approach. For sure use whatever you have. When I started my capsule wardrobe I actually decided I didn’t want to buy anything new for quite awhile until I really got a sense of what I needed in my capsule wardrobe and what I wanted to purchase so that I could purchase things that I knew would work really well. The second thing is a lot of people follow the one in one out rule which I totally understand it’s a great way to make sure that you don’t just re-accumulate stuff it’s also a good way to assess the stuff that you buy to make sure that you know you’re buying something that you actually want and you want it enough to get rid of something else but I think sometimes it’s sold as sort of a well you can buy something new as long as you get rid of something so that you have this continuous rotation of stuff with a closet for example so that you kind of are able to constantly rotate clothes and have new clothes that’s obviously not a great sustainable approach either. The idea of having things and using them as long as you possibly can and taking care of them so that you can use them a long time that’s kind of the root of where sustainability and minimalism really work together. If you don’t take on the minimalist label or adopt a fully minimalistic lifestyle there are still so many great things to take away from the idea of just assessing what our connection is to the stuff that we buy and why we buy what we buy and I think really the way to combat mindless mass consumption is just to think a bit more about the things that we purchase.

So I hope you have enjoyed this article. I love to hear your thoughts and remember think about what you buy before you buy it, you most likely don’t need it.

How to Build A Fertile Soil With Free and Local Products to Mulch and Compost Your Garden

During the fall when the summer crops have come and gone and the garden beds are now empty and they’re not growing anything. Just because they’re empty doesn’t mean you can’t build the soil fertility over the winter. I’m going to tell you how to use free and local resources to do just that. Mulching garden beds is a great practice to help build your soil fertility. Probably the best thing to mulch it with is finished compost. The nutrients are immediately available for the nutrient cycle and it usually comes with a high concentration of beneficial bacteria and organisms like earthworms that will help break down other mulch materials.

I simply lay the finished compost on top in a one inch layer. I make sure to pull back any under-composted or mulch materials. I do not mix it in so that I don’t damage any of the beneficial organisms like fungi that are in the soil. Autumn leaves are great resource that quite literally fall from the sky. They have a wide variety of trace elements and carbon. In fact, of the fifteen commonly essential elements, autumn leaves have eleven of the fifteen. When broken down they add these nutrients to the nutrient cycle and the carbon material adds humus that retains water and provide habitat for soil borne bacterial organisms.

I usually add a thick layer to the garden as it will help insulate the soil from the harshest winter temperatures. By spring the volume will have decreased and decomposed. One thing that autumn leaves don’t have a lot of is nitrogen. For this we’re going to turn to a resource you generate in your kitchen. Used coffee grounds and tea leaves are often tossed in the trash, but they’re a valuable resource to add to the garden. They have a lot of the elements that your plants need. Tea leaves also have twelve of the fifteen essential elements that were looking for and are a valuable addition to any mulch layer.

I usually sprinkle them directly on top of the autumn leaves making sure not to apply more than a centimeter or two in any one area. If over applied you can slow the decomposition processes. I commonly add eggshells my mulch layer as well. They’re comprised of over 40% calcium, but it’s immediately available to your plants upon release from the shell. Egg shells also have a wide variety of elements including nitrogen. They have nine of the fifteen essential elements and most importantly they contain significant quantities of selenium, which is often not found in other free and local resources.

Egg shells are easy to add to the mulch layer. I usually let them dry out in my shed for a few months. This will help reduce any potential of bacterial colonization. Once dry and brittle I crush the shells and roughly sprinkle them on top of my mulch layer. Not only can you take materials that would otherwise become trash you could literally grow your own fertilizer at home.

Comfrey is a plant that sends down a deep taproot and is able to collect nutrients from the mineral layer and bring them to the surface as part of their leaves. I use the leaves as part of the mulch layer helping to deposit these nutrients where the garden plants can have access to them. Comfrey contains all fifteen of the essential elements. In order to keep things in place and start the decomposition process I’ll make sure to give the mulch layer a quick water. When you’re applying mulch near live plants, such as a perennial, make sure not to apply an overly thick layer. All these materials when combined in larger quantities can form a hot compost. Hot compost near a root system can cause significant damage.

When combined and used in a mulch layer or in the creation of compost these free and local resources often have more than enough nutrients to allow you to grow healthy organic vegetables year after year. If combined with other free and local methods such as cover crops, wood ash, and human urine. I am confident anyone can go product free in their garden while producing vast amounts of healthy organic crops. If you would like additional information on the free and local resources I mentioned make sure to drop me a line and stay tuned for future articles.

4 Simple Tips to Live More Green Everyday

I don’t think anyone intentionally wants to hurt the environment. It’s assumed that it’s inconvenient and more work to perform activities that have a huge impact on the environment. I’m going to tell you a few ways that you can live more “green” that are simple to implement.

Capture Rain Water

First is rain capture. When you have a small garden you can either turn on the hose or use the water that falls from the sky. Rain capture systems are becoming more and more avoidable and they capture the rain water and store it so you can use it whenever you need it. It’s a great way to lower your utility bills and the water supply is not likely to run out anytime soon!

Scraps in Compost Pile

The next thing is composting biodegradable scraps. When you have that morning banana or fruit salad for dinner, instead of throwing away all the scraps throw them in a bag and take them out back to turn into organic soil. This is great for your garden and can save you lots of money instead of buying organic soil from the home improvement stores.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

An obvious method is to recycle. Recycling has been around for years but it’s still one of the best methods to stay green. The best way to incorporate this into your life is to have four trash can type containers.

The first can should be for plastics, the next for glass, the next should be for biodegradable waste, and the last is for non-recyclable trash. The biodegradable container should be able to be dropped directly into your compost pile. Typical plastics that can be recycled are milk containers, soda bottles, and plastic food containers. Typical glass that can be recycled is glass food jars and cosmetic containers. Some items are just not recyclable and those will actually be thrown away. For this I’m talking about certain types of laminated paper, treated or contaminated wood, insulation or light bulbs etc. Being green is trying to reuse and recycle as many products as possible to minimize their impact on the environment.

Keep Your Utility Bills in Check

Lastly, a great way to not only lower your utility bills and have a great impact on the environment is to install solar panels. Solar panels take advantage of the sunlight during the day to offset your power usage during the day and night. Solar panels are getting cheaper by the day and it’s financially feasible to purchase enough panels to completely take yourself off the grid. Also try to open your blinds and use natural light as much as possible. That way you can get the necessary light without actually turning on your lights and adding to your power bill.

These are some simple ways to live more “green” and these will have a direct impact on your life and the environment. If everyone were to incorporate these simple ideas into their life, our planet would be so much better off and everyone would be living healthier as a whole.

If you have other ideas that I didn’t mention above please reach out.

Happy living and continue to live green!