You Are What You… Breathe?

If you think the air that you are breathing is perfectly fine, think again. There are some very nasty and dangerous pollutants that could be lurking around inside your home and around your property and community that you should be aware of, if only to use precautions to protect yourself from health risks.

Some of the air pollutants commonly found in and around your home include these:

Lead.

Lead is a common pollutant often found in the air that can cause serious health repercussions. Lead may be a particular issue in older homes that have lead paint or pipes, which can lead to contamination of the home’s air and water supply. Lead is linked to causing issues with the nervous system, cardiovascular system, immune system, and kidneys and can promote developmental delays.

Ozone.

Ozone is not so much a singular pollutant, but rather a chemical reaction and result of other chemicals and toxins getting together. Breathing in ozone is particularly risky for the elderly, children, and individuals with respiratory issues, such as asthma; ozone can also cause damage to vegetation, foliage, and natural ecosystems. Ozone may likely lurk in places like your garage, where car exhaust or stored chemicals could be present.

Particulate matter.

Particulate matter is used to describe the tiny bits of dust, debris, and liquid that could be in the air that you breathe. These could be a problem during home renovations, when dust and debris are created during refurbishing or following a fire when ash could be floating in the air. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues specific warnings regarding particulate matter that could enter the nose, throat, and lungs, causing serious health risks and complications.

Nitrogen Oxides.

Nitrogen oxides in the air are most commonly attributed to vehicle emissions. The EPA has gotten stricter regarding emission testing and decreasing nitrogen oxides produced by car manufacturers. Exposure to nitrogen oxides can cause inflammation of the airway, asthma, and respiratory distress in people of all ages.

Carbon Monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is often a silent predator, and the odorless, colorless gas can cause fatality. Watch out for carbon monoxide in gas-powered appliances, your garage, and when idling your vehicle outside the home. At high levels, carbon monoxide cuts off oxygen to the body’s vital organs, including the heart and brain.

Sulfur Dioxide.

Sulfur dioxide is not likely something that you can control or reduce around the home; this pollutant is an emission commonly originating from industries, power plants, and fossil fuel combustion. The emissions from large ships and trains often contain sulfur dioxide, which then seeps into the air that everyone breathes. The pollutant embeds in the lungs, causing long-term respiratory issues such as emphysema, and even premature death.

While there may be little that you can do to prevent the sulfur oxides and emissions from power plants or passing vehicles, there are some things that you can do to improve the health and welfare of your family. Consider these strategies to clean up your air:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home.
  • Have a contractor or plumber assess your home for lead in the plumbing, wiring, or paint.
  • Frequently clean and clear your exhaust pipe of your vehicle to decrease carbon monoxide risks; this is especially relevant for those that live in climates where snow and ice can build up around your muffler. 
  • Contact an environmental lab for further tips.
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Computers Can Be Recycled For Valuable, But Sometimes Toxic Materials

There comes a time when even the most powerful computers need to be retired. Unless the system has sentimental value, it’s best to recycle standard systems in order to make room for the new system and to avoid dangerous waste from affecting the environment. To support a healthier environment, reduce the need for material mining and to avoid troublesome fines, take the time to understand a few recycling points about computers.

Why Bother Recycling?

There’s no shortage of campaigns, commercials and regulations concerning recycling. It helps the environment, but how does that affect you directly? For computer recycling, the effects can be fairly immediate.

One of the main concerns with computer recycling is the toxicity of computer systems. When you throw away computers carelessly, you spoil the ground with toxic substances such as lithium, chromium and cadmium. In small amounts, these substances aren’t going to destroy an entire ecosystem, but the explosion of computer use in a mere decade can lead to plant stagnation. Although there’s a lot of materials in landfills that lead to the same problem, reducing all these materials from the landfills is important.

An extreme level of computer hazards can be observed in Guiyu, a city in China’s Guangdong province. This news article describes the electronic waste (e-waste) problems and migration, as well as the health risks associated with mismanaged e-waste. 

If it all seems too distant, there are some positive rewards that can go directly into your wallet. The components inside your computer can be recycled for money, and there’s an entire subculture dedicated to scrapping different computer materials. The rate changes daily for different materials, and can give you a bit more of a return than simply handing the computer off to a garbage collector.

What Parts Are Worth Scrapping?

Although many materials inside the computer can be recycled, the metals and precious minerals stand out to many scrappers. Plastics can still bring in cash, but the value of metal means that computer scrapers can collect more money in smaller quantities. Rates are always changing, so be sure to speak with a recycling center before tossing anything.

Aluminum is one of the bigger, more obvious recycling targets in computers. Even in computers that seem to be made of plastic, there is an underlying aluminum frame and case. Inside every computer is a heat sink and sometimes a series of airflow pipes, which are either made of aluminum in standard computers or copper in high-performance systems. 

There are valuable materials inside hard drives, but you’ll need to figure out if you’d like to leave them inside the hard drive or take them out for separate recycling. One of the most valuable recycling materials inside the computer is the rare earth magnet cluster, which is thick enough to be handled by hand.

Even though the cost to buy rare earth magnets is impressive, recycling the magnets and other rare earth materials is often an expensive process, and may not yield a sufficient payout. Hobbyists can’t do anything with powdered rare earth material that needs to be industrially separated, but the intact clusters may be fetch a nice price on official recycling programs and private sales alike.

Contact a recycling services professional to discuss current rates and recycling strategies. For recycling services, contact a company such as B-P Trucking Inc.

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Budget Yard Waste Solutions : Reduce The Cost Of Removing Your Old Landscaping

When you have a large amount of landscaping material to remove from your property, there are a few ways to reduce the expenses involved in taking the waste materials away. Here’s what you need to know:

Take the time to plan the removal of material as part of any landscaping job.

The reasons you should remove excess vegetation, soil, rocks, and other landscaping materials are many. The most vital consideration is the safety of your home. Decaying wood and vegetation attracts home-damaging insects and makes your home more prone to catching fire.

An excess of rocks, clay, or other substances may need to be hauled away to create a driveway, garden, or playground. Storms can also spread unwanted limbs and debris around your property.

You may believe that you can just toss these materials into the nearby vacant lot or leave them at the edge of the woods, but this is unwise from both a fire safety standpoint and an ecological one.

Plan ahead for the removal of materials after scheduled projects, and have a plan in place for potential storm damage.

Renting a roll off dumpster may be all you’ll need to do.

If you don’t have a large amount of heavy material, it may be possible to use a roll off dumpster to handle all of your landscaping waste. Each dumpster firm will tell you precisely what they will haul, and many are willing to carry away bagged leaves, mulch, branches, and other debris.

Some companies will take small amounts of dirt and rocks as long as the levels don’t reach the top of dumpsters and the combined weight doesn’t exceed road limits. As you’re planning out landscaping work or preparing an emergency storm clean-up list, consult with your local dumpster providers to find out for certain which types of materials they will and will not haul away.

Contact a company like Tri-State Disposal for more info on what you can and can’t put in a rented dumpster.

How to handle material that can’t be placed in a roll off dumpster.

If you have a large job and you’ll have to rent a dumpster anyway, you don’t want the additional expense of hiring another crew to haul off the yard waste, but this is one solution. Another solution is to use a modest-sized roll off dumpster and have many smaller loads hauled away, but this method is only cost-effective if the dump or landfill is located close to your property.

If you have rocks or topsoil, there are people who will pick up these materials. Find local pond-building, landscaping, and gardening forums to advertise that you’re giving away materials they will use. Likewise, some woodworkers and people who heat with wood will help homeowners remove large trees and branches if you put out the word on the internet and let the neighbors know. They may not remove all of the debris in your yard, but their efforts will make your landscaping waste easier to manage and it won’t cost you a thing.

Whether you’re upgrading a lawn to make it more drought tolerant, or you’re landscaping to make your property less prone to fire damage, consult your local dumpster rental business to learn the rules about clearing all types of waste from your property.

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