Christmas time brings with it lots of tissue paper. Can it be recycled with newspapers?
Dear Christmas Wrapper,
Tissue paper is one of the few papers that cannot be recycled at the Recycling Center. According to www.theroundup.org/is-tissue-paper, most tissue paper is made from virgin tree pulp, which takes a heavy toll on the environment. Society’s heavy use of tissue paper has been described as “flushing forests down the toilet.” White tissue paper that doesn’t have lotions or perfumes on it is biodegradable. It will break down in your compost pile in two to four weeks and enrich your soil. Tearing the tissue paper in small pieces will speed up the process. Tissue paper that ends up in a landfill can take as long as five years to decompose as it maybe buried under all kinds of other waste. Today there is a biodegradable tissue paper available that is made from plant fibers such as bamboo, hemp, and sugar cane. It is generally softer and stronger than regular tissue paper. It requires less water and energy to produce so is more environmentally friendly. It may cost a little more, but well worth the extra pennies. Reusing tissue paper and gift bags is also environmentally friendly, as well as economical and acceptable.
Dear Recycle Lady,
I just purchased a prepared meal that came in an aluminum pan. The directions said to put it in the microwave for 2.5 minutes. How can this be? I always heard that metal would cause sparks in the microwave.
There are several facts to consider when putting aluminum pans in a microwave, as well as two schools of thought. First, metal is not the problem as the walls and the mesh screen on the door of a microwave are all made of metal, one that doesn’t heat up or cause sparks. The walls of a microwave must be metal as metal is the only thing that can hold microwave radiation inside the oven. Problems arise when the aluminum pan touches the wall of the microwave, causing an arc of microwave radiation and possible sparks. Be sure to read and follow the instructions on the product.
According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering in Germany, using aluminum containers in microwave ovens is safe. They found no hazardous results or damage when testing more than 200 portions of food. They also noted that it was important that aluminum cookware be in the center of the oven, on a non-metal turn table, and away from the sides of the microwave. Those who do not recommend using aluminum pans in a microwave caution that sparks can occur when microwave radiation heats a metal object, causing arcing from the pan to the wall of the oven. They also caution against using pans more than 1.5 inches deep in the microwave, including aluminum pie plates, cake pans, and bread loaf pans. The food in these pans may only be slightly heated; possibly only the open part may be heated. Metal twist ties, and sharp edges or loose pieces of aluminum foil sticking out from food should be avoided, as these objects can act as an antenna and cause sparks.
Kudos to the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – They have received an $80 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pilot a program that will pay producers to implement climate-smart practices on farms of all sizes and commodities, an initiative that could curb climate-changing gases. (Virginia Tech Magazine)
Have questions about recycling, or interesting information about recycling? Send questions or requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dear Recycle Lady is sponsored jointly by the Greenbrier Recycling Center and Greenworks Recycling.