Saturday, December 20, 2008

What Grows On in Rhode Island

Friday, December 5, 2008

The 12 Wastes of Christmas

The 12 Wastes of Christmas

RIRRC Shares Tips for a Greener Christmas

You shop. You mail. You cook. You wrap. You give. And in the process of giving, you generate waste. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day sees the highest volume of trash in local landfills. Last year, the Central Landfill in Johnston experienced a 29 percent increase in waste during this time period. So instead of giving the Central Landfill your annual “gifts” of wrapping paper, Styrofoam peanuts and poinsettias, here’s some advice on reducing your trash.

12 plastic shopping bags. Keep your baggage to a minimum. Make sure to have reusable bags in your car for those spur of the moment shopping trips. But, if you find yourself starting to accumulate plastic bags, recycle them in ReStore bins. These bins are located in supermarkets and other retail stores throughout R.I. For sites, go to

11 bows and ribbons. Have you heard that thrifty is the new black? Collect ribbons or bows from gifts and reuse them next year. For your own gifts, tie environment friendly alternatives such as pine cones, candy canes, bells, or old ornaments to your gifts. This will give them a more personalized look.

10 pounds of food waste. All food preparation yields waste. Apple cores, potato peelings, egg shells, coffee grinds and the like are organic and should be composted instead of mixed with trash. Can’t make it out to the backyard right away? Fill a zippered plastic bag with food waste and freeze it. Your nutrient-rich compost will be a lasting gift to your flower beds.

9 champagne bottles. Whatever your poison, chances are its container is recyclable. Champagne and wine bottles, as well as beer cans and bottles, eggnog cartons, milk & cream cartons, soda bottles, and cider jugs can all be recycled in blue bins.

8 miles of wrapping paper. More than 8,800 tons of gift wrap are used each year by consumers during the holiday season. Sadly, the life cycle is only a few days. When opening gifts, collect the torn gift wrap in brown-paper, leaf-and-yard waste bags (no bows or ribbons, please). Leave the bag at the curb beside your green bin and all that paper will be recycled. For your own gift-giving, use gift bags. The holiday patterns never go out of style and are easily reusable.

7 gift and cardboard boxes. Online shopping is convenient, but it often results in an abundance of corrugated cardboard boxes. Give them extra life by reusing them as gift boxes. If you have no secondary use for them, flatten them out and recycle. If they are longer than six feet, cut them down and tie them up with string; otherwise they won’t fit in the recycling truck.

6 bundles of greeting cards. Isn’t it nice to get something in the mail other than a bill? Continue the good feelings of your friends and family by recycling the envelopes and cards in your green bins. Or, for those crafty people out there, cut off the front of the card and re-use it as a gift tag.

5 lumps of coal. If Santa gave you coal, it might be a hint from him to reform your naughty anti-environment practices. Use that coal to add a smile to your snowman, and promise to adopt one new earth-friendly practice in 2009. For suggestions, go to

4 dried-up decorations. Once your holiday greenery (wreaths, boughs, poinsettias, and boxwoods) dries up and turns brown, remove the wiring, bows, foil wrap and decorations and add them to your compost bin.

3 holiday catalogs. More than two million tons of direct mail winds up in the trash each year. You can recycle all of those catalogs, flyers, coupons and special mailers by putting them in your green bin. Even better, cut down on unwanted mail by delisting yourself at If concerns about identity theft keep you awake at night, rip off the address page and shred it before recycling the rest of the catalog.

2 mountains of bubble wrap. Save packing materials for future mailings. Or, you can donate the Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap to a local pack-and-ship businesses. Call 800-828-2214 for the nearest location.

1 brown Christmas tree. Cut Christmas trees are accepted free of charge at RIRRC. Most RI municipalities designate a certain week for tree pick-ups after the holidays. Contact your local department of public works for more information. Resource Recovery chips the trees so they can live again as mulch and compost.

This holiday season, be sure to add one more person to your gift list: Mother Nature.

Thursday, November 6, 2008



Recycle computer and electronic waste courtesy of RIRRC, Arpin Van Lines

JOHNSTON, R.I. (November 6, 2008) – In commemoration of Rhode Island Recycles Week, Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation will host a special electronic waste recycling collection for local businesses.

The free computer recycling collection will be held on November 14 from 8:00 a.m. to noon at Arpin Van Lines, 99 James P. Murphy Highway, West Warwick. Companies that need to recycle more than 50 items may contact Arpin at 884-0321 to arrange for a free pick-up.

Items that are eligible for recycling are CPUs, servers, network equipment, routers, telephones, radios, scanners, keyboards, monitors, laptops, mouse devices, laser printers, fax machines, cables and wire, cell phone, window air conditioner units and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).

Arpin and Cartridge World RI/Office Recycling Solutions are working with RIRRC to ensure that the business waste will be recycled appropriately.

“On any given day, Rhode Island businesses must pay special recycling vendors to discard their electronic waste. On November 14, they’ll get to recycle all that unwanted and broken equipment for free,” said Mike OConnell, executive director of RIRRC. “It’s a bargain, and we encourage business owners to take advantage of this opportunity to divert the sometimes-hazardous material from the Central Landfill to the much better alternative – recycling.

RIRRC is the state environmental agency dedicated to providing the pubic with environmentally sound programs and facilities to manage solid waste. The agency funds and manages the state’s recycling program, and owns and operated the Central Landfill and Materials Recycling Facility in Johnston. For more information, visit

Friday, October 24, 2008



Easy-to-use, easy-to-build bins are more affordable than costly chemicals

JOHNSTON, R.I. (October 24, 2008) – Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation will sell compost bins at the Central Landfill on Saturday, November 8 from 8:00 a.m. to noon. The price is $40, while supplies last. Bin sales are limited to one per vehicle.

The backyard composting bins hold 12 cubic feet of material and are easy to assemble without tools. Bins keep compost piles neat, protect it from animals, and speed decomposition.

Making compost is easy and much safer for lawns and gardens than fertilizing with chemicals. And one can control how organic the compost will be. To start, combine food waste such as fruit cores, vegetable peelings, coffee grinds and so forth, with yard waste, such as leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and dead plants. Add water from the garden hose until the pile is moist and the materials will decompose over time to look like dirt. But, it’s much better than dirt because the compost contains nutrients that will make grass and flowers thrive.

Since leaf and yard waste is the second largest component of the Central Landfill, composting is a great way to reduce the amount of waste needlessly landfilled.

“We love people who compost, because they drastically reduce the amount of waste they contribute to the Central Landfill,” said Mike OConnell, executive director of RIRRC. “Additionally, it’s great to know that there are fewer lawn chemicals, which contribute to local water pollution in the form of run-off. ”

The sale will be held at the kick-off event for Rhode Island Recycles Week. In addition to the compost bin sale, Resource Recovery will offer all-plastics recycling and large volume paper shredding.

For additional information on composting and R.I. Recycles Week activities, visit or call 942-1430 x775.

Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation is the quasi-state environmental agency dedicated to providing the public with environmentally sound programs and facilities to manage waste. The agency helps fund and promote the state’s recycling program, and owns and operates the Materials Recycling Facility and Central Landfill in Johnston.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Print What You like

Friday, September 19, 2008

Real recycling

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tap Water

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Grand Opening

We are excited to announce Providence Green's Cloth Bag Project is underway. Below you can briefly read about the project and follow the links for more information. We will be giving away our first big batch of bags to the designer's of Groundwork's Providence Runway Earth Fashion (the show is coming up Sept. 17th).

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Paper recycling-

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Subscribe to get updates via email

Enter your email here to get the blog updates via your email.

The Official Cloth Bag Counter

For every bag made from this project please send 1 email per 1 bag to Thanks!


Updates to the cloth bag project! Go to and click the link that says new!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Conserve Food

With this website.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What's Behind A Patchwork Of Recycling Rules?- NPR

What's Behind A Patchwork Of Recycling Rules? from NPR


All Things Considered, July 25, 2008 · Every week in my neighborhood of Arlington, Va., two trucks come through and make separate collections — trash and recycling. The arrival of the recycling truck is quite a spectacle: half municipal service and half extreme team sport. The truck heads down the cul-de-sac, the crew jumps off the truck, they grab the yellow plastic bins and the brown paper bags, and they dump them into two separate compartments of the truck.

What's mystified me for a long time is this: Why is it that the rules for how we sort and put out recycling in Arlington are different from the rules in neighboring counties? And why do the rules in Arlington seem to change every few years?

It turns out that recycling is kind of like voting. Every jurisdiction runs its own show.

On a recent Friday morning, Arlington's environmental programs manager, Mike Clem, showed up at my house to observe my recycling habits. Every week, I put all the plastic, metal and glass in a yellow bin. Then I put all the paper products out at the curb in paper bags. Clem tells me I can put junk mail, even envelopes with windows, cereal boxes and newspapers, all in one bag.

It turns out there's a name for this system of recycling. It's called dual stream. Put all the paper products in one place, then co-mingle all the rest. Co-mingle is recycle-speak for "throw everything else together."

Here's the theory: I dispose of lots of stuff. It either goes for recycling or it goes in the trash. Disposing of the trash is really expensive for the county. Recycling is less expensive because the county can sell some of the stuff for money.

So, as Clem told me, the best recycling policy is one that gets me to put less in my trash dumpster and as much as possible in my recycle bin. He says the most valuable items are the aluminum cans, and then the newspaper and cardboard boxes. The glass, he says, is almost more trouble than it's worth — there's not a good market for recycled glass these days.

Counties Try To Go Easy On The Recycler

Arlington County figures that the best way to get me to recycle is to make it very easy. I used to have to cut or fold the cardboard down to size and tie it with twine. But it figures if it's too laborious, I may get lazy and stick cardboard in the trash. In fact, Arlington is now eyeing an approach that makes recycling even easier than dual stream does.

It's called single stream, and it's the approach many jurisdictions are taking these days, including nearby Prince George's County, Md.

Again, the trash is separate, but all the recyclables — plastic, paper, glass, cardboard, metal — go into a single plastic bin and are all sorted at a state-of-the-art recycling plant that opened last fall.

David Taylor of the company Waste Management says the big upside to having everything thrown together is that you don't need a special truck with different compartments to collect it. Counties can use garbage trucks to collect the recycling, compacting everything just as garbage is compacted. In the past, recycling trucks could haul 2 or 3 tons per trip. Nowadays, garbage trucks can haul 8 to 10 tons of recyclables per trip, saving the county gas and money. And that explains why you might see a garbage truck hauling your recycling these days.

The downside to single stream is that despite the high-tech sorting devices, there is contamination. Quality suffers somewhat, and the end product sells for less. And, of course, it costs a lot of money to build a new, more automated recycling plant.

So some places are sticking with dual stream, keeping the paper separate from everything else. Neighboring Montgomery County, Md., is one of them.

On the day I visited its recycling center, it had other big news. County Executive Isiah Leggett announced that Montgomery was going to begin accepting a wider range of plastics at the curb, including tubs and lids. Until recently, the county only accepted plastic bottles.

Montgomery County's recycling center manager, Tom Kusterer, told me that until a few months ago, there was no market for those types of recycled plastics, but they've recently found clients who will buy the plastic to turn it into plastic lumber, plastic pallets and plastic flower pots.

Here's a catch with recycling: Once a county or a city decides to accept, say, plastic tubs and lids, it's pretty hard to tell people two years later — sorry there's no more market for that stuff. So these decisions tend to be for keeps.

The Paradox Of Recycling

Right now, there is a strong market for most recyclables and plenty of tax money to be saved by getting us to recycle more. Enough to keep Ron Gonen, chief executive of RecycleBank, in business. RecycleBank is a private company that contracts with local jurisdictions. So far, it services more than 100,000 homes and is expanding rapidly. Gonen's idea is to not just make it easy to recycle, but to make it financially rewarding.

He's developed a system that lets households earn points based on how much they recycle, and those points are turned into vouchers that can be redeemed at national and local businesses. Gonen says a family can earn as much as $300 or $400 in RecycleBank points in a year. In one Philadelphia neighborhood where RecycleBank operates, he says recycling went up more than tenfold in a matter of months.

Here's a paradox of recycling: Counties and other jurisdictions measure their recycling in tons, as does Ron Gonen's RecycleBank. But as Mike Clem of Arlington and the others told me, glass is the problem child in the recycle bin. There's not much of a market for those glass jars and bottles, which end up being ground into material for paving roads (as the Prince George's County people told me, at least it's just sand and nothing toxic). So is weight really a sensible metric when glass is much less valuable to the county than, say, aluminum but is also much heavier?"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Those Little Plastic Peauts

Business 1Yes, those Styrofoam peanuts that come in the boxes from online orders are a real hassle. They stick to your clothing, pollute the environment and are not biodegradable. So what can you do with them. After checking out these links and you still can't figure out where to dump them, the University Height's Staples did accept our reader's peanuts. (Thanks John!)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rechargeable Battery Testing

courtesy Groovy Green

Rechargeable Battery Testing

Popphoto has published a good comparison of rechargable AA batteries, testing them on digital cameras to see which were able to hold the biggest charge and which performed the best. They were also compared by charger type and against traditional "disposable" batteries* .

battery comparison

It’s uncertain whether these values will translate into optimal performance for your gadget or flashlight, but click the photo or link above to check out their results.

*Please don’t throw away batteries. Check with your trash/recycling hauler or local stores, many of which now will take your dead batteries in free of charge (no pun intended!).

Friday, June 27, 2008

Trash is more than a problem in the UK

Take Out the Trash Precisely, Now. It’s the Law.


Published: June 27, 2008
WHITEHAVEN, England — The citizens of Whitehaven try, really they do. They separate out their cans, their paper, their cardboard and their glass, and they recycle them all. They compost. They jump up and down on their trash to cram it into their government-issued garbage cans, and they put the trash out for collection at exactly 7 a.m., twice a month. (Thanks John!)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

They Say Reading is The Best Form Of Knowlege (not really)

Ignoring the terrible title, I will attempt to share with you a cool new website for used books in Rhode Island. In case you didn't want to scroll through their description, the site is MARIAB.
In their own words:

Founded in 1976, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Antiquarian Booksellers, Inc. (MARIAB) has now grown to include over 130 members.

The organization's members include bookselling firms founded as early as 1825. Our booksellers offer books from the 16th through the 21st Centuries, plus broadsides, maps, manuscripts, prints and ephemera. You can find an index of specialties on this site. Many of our members also purchase books and other material, and you are invited to contact them directly.

Some members also offer services such as appraisals, book searches or collection development assistance to individuals and institutions; and some issue occasional lists or catalogues. The listings in our directory include booksellers who conduct business in open or group shops, by appointment, and by mail order. All members subscribe to the organization's Code of Ethics. If you own a Massachusetts or Rhode Island based book business and would like to learn more about MARIAB Membership, please contact the Membership Chair.

Every year, we publish a handy, glove box sized directory of our members, including contact information and an index of dealer specialties. The directory is available at most member shops, or you can request a copy by mail .

Picking The Right Compact Fluorescent Light For Every Room of Your Home [Lighting]

from Gizmodo
Picking The Right Compact Fluorescent Light For Every Room of Your Home

We have all heard about how it pays to go green when you ditch your power guzzling incandescent bulbs for money saving, eco-friendly CFLs—but have you given any thought to what type of CFLs work best in a particular room? Wired has, which is why they came up with a guide that covers the best lighting solutions for reading, brushing your teeth and the all-important "business time." Hit the link for the full list. [Wired]

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Garden Plots

I had no idea this existed, but, apparently it does:

Hi, UGers[See Post On Urban Greens].

There are three community garden plots available NOW at WBNA's Bridgham St. Community Garden (at the corner of Bridgham and Westminster) . The plots are 4'x16' each.

Are you or someone you know interested in a plot? The basic deal is this:

* $35 annual fee payable to WBNA
* No chemical fertilizers or pesticides allowed
* Gardeners all pitch in to maintain and improve common areas
* Gardeners are responsible for planting their plot ASAP, maintaining it throughout the season, and cleaning up/bedding down the plot in the fall

It would be great to have these plots in use by the next week or so. Please forward the message and get back to me ASAP if you are interested! I'm happy to answer any questions.


Those interested in this may contact her at r.n.greeneATgmailDOTcom

12 Creative Ways to Recycle Wooden Pallets- Life Hackery

courtesy Life Hackery
12 Creative Ways to Recycle Wooden Pallets

Have you ever seen wooden pallets sitting outside of a commercial building? Have you ever wondered what happens to them?

In some cases, the pallets are recycled or sold to someone who can use them. A lot of the time, though, they end up in the garbage - approximately 150 million of them per year. Wooden pallets are a massive drain on resources and a huge burden on the waste disposal system.

So why not give them a new life? Some businesses are happy to get rid of their wooden pallets. If they normally pay to have them hauled to the landfill, they will be happy for you to take the pallets for no charge.

What can you do with pallets? Realistically, they aren’t the highest quality wood you’ll ever find. However, they are good enough for inexpensive furniture and decorations when you can’t afford to buy pre-made…or if you’re a believer in the dorm-room school of design.

Below, we’ve gathered our favorite links that will give you new and interesting ways to use those wooden pallets. Some of these projects may not be appropriate for certain climates. If you are thinking of using wood obtained from pallets for an outside project, be sure to treat the wood first to protect it from the elements.

1. Keep the good critters in and the bad critters out: build a pallet fence.

2. Make an inexpensive shed for storage.

pallet birdhouse

3. Earn some money while you’re recycling! Make these rustic bird houses.

4. Need a temporary emergency shelter? Here’s now to make one from discarded pallets.

5. Get control of your compost heap with this excellent compost bin using pallets and a few inexpensive pieces of hardware.

6. Make some almost-free planters for your gardening endeavors.

pallet chicken coop

7. Build a chicken coop to house those unruly little cluckers.

8. If the pallets are made of untreated wood, use them as a free fuel your indoor or outdoor fire.

9. Not into gardening, animal keeping, or burning stuff? Make some unique and beautiful art with your pallets.

10. Make an attractive table for your home! Or try this one or this one.

11. Don’t spend big money on an expensive computer desk. Just build your own from discarded pallets!

12. Put them on the ground outside to keep plants or firewood elevated.

These are just a few of the many creative uses for old wooden pallets. Do you know of any other bright ideas to keep pallets out of landfills and make something useful and/or beautiful? Let us know below in the comments!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Cloth Bag Project

Taken from our website:

Right now, this project is in the beginning stages. This is the email sent out to begin the project:After reading this( inspiring blog about a woman who is giving out free fabric bags to anyone who wants one, I decided to try the same thing with our city of Providence, RI. Kathleen over at RRIE( might be able to provide the fabric. I have several contacts at RISD and Brown who may be able to organize students for the sewing(Andrea has connections with sewers). If this sounds like a project that you might be interesting in participating in please contact me and we can organize. The bulk of my idea is to hand out bags created by students to the citizens of Providence. Bags may be able to be distributed at WaterFire and Whole Foods. Ideas and comments on this seed are very much appreciated. Thank you.

New Site

If you didn't come from our new site go now!

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Providence Green is a community growing to help mother earth stay clean. We begin projects that encourage recycling, reusing and awareness of being taking care of the environment. Thank you.