Archive for June, 2010

Rethinking Recycling with Rewards in mind

Monday, June 21st, 2010

There is a lot of talk about “going green” in our communities and a lot of action taken through recycling. Whether you acknowledge global climate change or not, most people don’t want themselves or their children to grow up in a landfill; and an easy way to prevent this is to start recycling.

One of the biggest reasons people don’t recycle is because it’s not convenient. Many communities do not offer an accessible way to recycle and instead of residents looking into how they can overcome the inconvenient challenge, they just throw everything away.

Fortunately, the Omaha-metro area does offer home pick-up of recyclables – like aluminum, plastic and paper – and stations around the city to recycle glass. Papillion Sanitation and Apple Trash are both going an extra step to ensure that the residents they service have accessible recycling that also offers rewards.

Papillion Sanitation and Apple Trash are both taking part in RecycleBank, a program which offers recyclers rewards by partnering with cities and haulers. By recycling electronics, furniture, clothes hazardous material and day to day waste, people can earn points redeemable at over 1,500 local and national retailers. Along with your weekly recyclable pickup you can call to schedule junk removal from your home.

Even if your community doesn’t offer these kinds of rewards for recycling, there are other “rewards” that can come from recycling.

According to the National Recycling Coalition, the average American discards 4.6 pounds of garbage every day. This garbage, the solid waste stream, goes mostly to landfills where it’s compacted and buried. As the waste stream continues to grow, so will pressure on our landfills, and our resources and environment will suffer.

At some point there will be nowhere else to keep our garbage. Here is a list of specific items and the pressure they cause on our landfills –
• banana – 3 to 4 weeks
• paper bag – 1 month
• cotton rag – 5 months
• wool sock – 1 year
• cigarette butt – 2 to 5 years
• leather boot – 40 to 50 years
• rubber sole (of a boot) – 50 to 80 years
• tin can (soup or vegetable can) – 80 to 100 years
• aluminum can (soda pop can) – 200 to 500 years
• plastic 6-pack rings – 450 years
• plastic jug – 1 million years
• Styrofoam cup – unknown? forever?
• glass bottle – unknown? forever?

There are 309,533,720 people living in the United States, a little over 800,000 of which live in the Omaha-metro area. If half of the people in Omaha discarded 1 tin can per day in the garbage that is 400,000 tin cans per day and 146,000,000 cans per year sitting in a local landfill. And at a decomposition rate of 100 years… that’s a lot of garbage.

Your recycling effort can start with even that one tin can per day. When you consider how many recyclable items you throw out each day, you can truly understand the personal impact you can have on changing the world by just recycling!

Home Inspections give Sense of Security

Monday, June 14th, 2010

When buying a home, an inspection is a critical step when deciding if a home is right for you. A home inspection will give you a sense of security by knowing exactly what you are getting in a home, both good and bad. This is not to say that, as the buyer, you should complain about the pink fuzzy wall paper in the master bathroom or the orange shag carpet. The issues looked for in an inspection include those that are health and safety concerns, or major repairs.

Home inspections require a professional – not your best friend who once re-did their kitchen. I would recommend an ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) certified inspector to do the job. They’ve gone through training and have to adhere to specific guidelines when performing home inspections.

Here is a short list of things that are of high importance when inspecting a home –

Roof and attic – construction, structure and gutters

Furnace and Air Conditioner units – age, condition, lifespan expectancy

Structural – construction of walls, ceiling and foundation

Plumbing – drainage, waste and vent pipes and water heater

Electrical – main panel, circuit breaker and types of wiring

Appliances – dishwasher, smoke detectors and garbage disposal

Again, this is a brief list and a home inspector would know all the specifics and details of what needs to be looked over. The best idea for a buyer is to hire their own home inspector and have the inspection done within a few days of an accepted offer on a house. If safety issues arise, or major repairs are needed, the buyer can ask the seller to make the repairs, or the buyer and seller can negotiate the cost of repairs together.

It’s important to remember that no home is perfect and each buyer and seller should expect to have to repair something when purchasing a home. Buyers can also ask sellers for a home warranty to ensure that any major issues will be taken care of, at least for a short period of time.

So even for you do-it-yourselfers, a professional home inspection is highly encouraged when purchasing a home. A home shouldn’t be an impulse buy and should be handled by taking each necessary step to ensure a quality and comfortable purchase.