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Recycle Your Cell Phone

Are you planning to upgrade to a new cell phone that'll manage your email, show webcasts, and all but make your morning coffee? If so, what will you do with your old phone?

Cell phones contain a number of hazardous substances, including arsenic, lead, and PBDEs, that can pollute soil and ground water when buried in landfills. These persistent toxins are associated with cancer and endocrine system disruption.

The National Cell Phone Collection Program (NCPCP), part of the nonprofit organization PITCH-IN CANADA, recycles used cell phones, keeping them out of landfills. Even better, they pay one dollar per phone to local community groups registered with their program. These groups, which include schools, hospitals, clubs, and camps across Canada, collect old cell phones broken or not. The NCPCP refurbishes or remanufactures the phones to "as-new" condition and these are then sent to developing countries, providing them with affordable phones.

To find an up-to-date list of cell phone collection centres in your area or to register your group with the program, visit the PITCH-IN CANADA website at pitch-in.ca. They provide groups with colour posters, prepaid shipping labels, and tips on the best places to collect old phones to help your group promote cell phone
recycling.

Susan Safyan

Wear Your Plastic Proudly

Did you know that your fleece jacket might be made of recycled pop bottles? In fact, a single fleece jacket uses the equivalent of 25 two-litre pop bottles. New recycling technologies now make this possible.

According to Encorp Pacific (encorpinc.com), a federally incorporated nonprofit corporation that buys and sells water, soft drink, and juice containers, approximately 285 million plastic bottles were sold in Canada in 2003. Nearly 229 million containers were recycled in the same year&a recovery rate of 80.5 percent. After being sorted into various types of plastic, returned bottles are ground into flakes that are spun into fibre and then milled as post-consumer recycled (PCR) fleece.

Recycling plastic bottles not only keeps bottles out of the landfills, but for every 3,700 two-litre bottles that are recycled, a barrel of oil is saved and approximately one-half ton of toxic air emissions is kept from the atmosphere.

Look for PCR-fleece products next time you're shopping for a warm winter jacket. Future generations will be glad you did.

Lucretia Schanfarber

Check in to Greener Hotels and  Restaurants

"Quite simply, our business practices are destroying life on earth," says Paul Hawken in his book The Ecology of Commerce (HarperCollins, 1993). But it doesn't have to be this way, and for some businesses it isn't.

Recycling programs are catching on throughout Canadian hotels and restaurants. In an attempt to reduce the 1.1 million tons of waste currently sent to landfills, the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association and BC & Yukon Hotels' Association are coordinating organic waste-recycling services for their members with Smithrite Disposal Ltd. Smithrite provides the recycling bins and handles pick-up and transport of the waste to Sea to Sky Organics in Squamish, BC. Since June 2005, over 100 organizations in the Lower Mainland have joined the program. This heightened ecological awareness isn't reserved for western Canada. Quebec's Le Chateau Montebello has constructed a composting site which will be used to fertilize and mulch its herb garden. Since composting detracts from landfill fees, these actions reward individuals as much as the environment. The HotelAssociation of Canada's Green Leaf Eco-Rating program identifies hotels committed to improving their environmental performance. Eco-rated hotels not only save money, but they can also gain valuable market share by providing clients with a credible, third-party audit of their facility.

Clearly, business and environment can be healthy partners.

Galina Pembroke

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