What Is A Nurdle . . . And Why You Should Hate It

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What Is A Nurdle . . . And Why You Should Hate It

OK, we are not speaking some alien language here, we promise.  But a NURDLE is just as alien to this planet as the sound suggests.

Nurdle Free Oceans tells us, "Nurdles are small plastic pellets about the size of a lentil. Countless billion are used each year to make nearly all our plastic products but many end up washing up on our shores."

So, a nurdle, is basically a ubiquitous little devil of a plastic pellet that is impossible to clean up, once they are almost always inevitably spilled into our waterways.

Unbelievable, right???  Before we started on this journey into glass recycling, the ever-present nurdle invaded our psyche, and we just knew we had to do something to make a difference in this world.  It's these nurdles that are causing so much harm to our planet because they attract and concentrate background pollutants like DDT and PCBs to highly toxic levels.  Bad news.

And on top of that, they are eaten obviously by wildlife in the worlds rivers and oceans, until these little nurdles cause so much damage they kill whoever has eaten them..

In conclusion, please share this post far and wide so that we can stop this maddening problem from getting even worse.  And if you live in the state of Colorado, you can make the jump to glass recycling by visiting one of our awesome glass-only drop-off stations!!!

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How Glass Is Recycled

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How Glass Is Recycled

OK, here we go.  Everything you ever wanted to know about how glass is recycled.  But first . . . the obligatory company plug.  

At Clear Intentions, we know glass recycling.  That's because we  are Colorado's first and only glass recycling facility.  We are on a mission to recycle 100% of all of Colorado's glass, about 300 MILLION pounds of it.  No small feat, but our team kicks ass, and lives glass recycling in and out.

Now to the good stuff, with the help from our friends at recyclingguide.org.  Hover for captions. :)

The consumer throws glass into a recycle bin.

The consumer throws glass into a recycle bin.

Glass is taken from the bin and taken to a glass treatment plant like Clear Intentions

Glass is taken from the bin and taken to a glass treatment plant like Clear Intentions

The glass is sorted by colour and washed to remove any impurities.

The glass is sorted by colour and washed to remove any impurities.

It's a beautiful thing when consumers collect their recyclables! (1)  It's even more beautiful when those bottles are sent to a glass-only recycling facility like Clear Intentions! (2) Look how happy these bottles are.  That's because they're getting cleaned and separated by their awesome colors! (3)

The glass is then crushed and melted, then moulded into new products such as bottles and jars. Or it may be used for alternative purposes such as brick manufacture or decorative uses.

The glass is then crushed and melted, then moulded into new products such as bottles and jars. Or it may be used for alternative purposes such as brick manufacture or decorative uses.

The glass is then sent back to the shops ready to be used again.

The glass is then sent back to the shops ready to be used again.

Glass does not degrade through the recycling process, so it can be recycled again and again.

Glass does not degrade through the recycling process, so it can be recycled again and again.

Next up, the happy bottles get crushed into beach sand, similar to the sand found on secluded beach islands. And then they're molded into new bottles with millions and millions of their friends. (4) Once done, they are back on the shelves in as little as 30 days! Fast than aluminum cans can say. (5) And since glass is infinitely recyclable without any loss of quality, they can go through the whole process till the end of time!

 

So, think of us next time you're in Colorado and need a place to recycle your glass.  Clear Intentions has tons of drop-offs around the state, so get recycling!!!

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Young & Elite Featuring Brittany Evans

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Young & Elite Featuring Brittany Evans

Recently, Clear Intentions Founder and President had the pleasure of sitting down with Young & Elite Entrepreneurs Under 30.  Discover more about Clear Intentions, Brittany, and her advice to up-and-coming, young, entrepreneurs! 

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Small Business of the Year

We are so honored to announce that we've been named Small Business of the Year at the 80/95 Awards by The Denver Post! We'd like to thank all of our supporters, our amazing clients, and the incredible community of Colorado who has shown us that people truly do care about their environment and keeping it beautiful! We can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store and thank you for your continued support!

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The Millennial Workforce w/ Brittany Evans

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The Millennial Workforce w/ Brittany Evans

On April 14th, 2016, Founder and President of Clear Intentions, Brittany Evans was invited to speak at Adams County Economic Development Luncheon regarding the Millennial workforce and how to understand, connect, and appeal to this massive up-and-coming group of employees!

Watch her full presentation and tell us... What are your opinions of the Millennial workforce?

ACED welcomes speaker Brittany Evans, President of Clear Intentions at its 2016 Executive Showcase.

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History of Glass Recycling

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History of Glass Recycling

There is evidence that recycling started as early as 400 BC, when ancient civilizations would take glass from conquered villages and reuse the glass in their own settlements. Recycling materials, such as glass, became necessary for survival, especially in times of disease, war, or famine.

Recycling took another step forward during the Great Depression and WWII, when recycling and reusing materials became vital, since resources and materials were limited and people could no longer afford to purchase new materials. Recycling and reusing became a symbol of the war, and a way for American’s back home to do their part to help the war effort.

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American’s recycling effort took a step back after WWII ended in 1945, especially during the 1950’s when the economy had rebounded. Many recycling programs were abandoned in favor of disposing of waste in landfills. The environmental movement was becoming more prevalent by the 1970’s when awareness of recycling and the need for recycling became mainstream. Bottle bills or container deposit laws, are bottle compensation programs, which were created in some states to incentivize recycling. (Ranch Town Recycling Center Inc.)

Bottle bills require a minimum refundable deposit on beverage containers in order to incentivize a higher rate of recycling and reuse. The deposit-refund system was created by the beverage industry as a way to ensure the return of their glass bottles to be washed, refilled, and resold. With beverage containers composing of 40-60% of litter, a deposit encouraged people to return their glass containers, keeping them out of the streets, waterways and wilderness.  (Container Recycling Institute)

The next step for American recycling came in the 1990’s when single-stream recycling was introduced in California. Single-stream is a system that combines all recyclable items such as paper, plastic, metal, and glass together in a collection truck, rather than being sorted into separate materials and handled separately throughout the entire process. Single-stream is designed to handle the fully commingled mixture of recyclables, but this leads to a major drawback when it comes to recycling glass.

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Single-stream recycling has many advantages, but one of its biggest disadvantages is the fact that single-stream does not work well for recycling glass. When glass is combined with the other recyclable materials it commonly breaks and becomes impossible to sort out while also contaminating the other recyclables. This is why we must rethink the single-stream system to make recycling more efficient.

Clear Intentions provides services that remove glass out of the single-stream recycling system.  To ensure that 100% of this infinitely reusable material actually gets reused. 

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An Interview w/ Brittany Evans

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An Interview w/ Brittany Evans

On May 18th, 2016 Brittany Evans, Clear Intentions Founder and President sat down with Colorado Business Roundtable on Denver's Money Talk 1690 AM radio to discuss everything from how glass recycling and manufacturing works in the United States, to being a female, millennial business owner.

Check out pictures and listen to the full interview below!

Listen to the full interview here: http://www.cobrt.com/radio/clearintentions

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Why Single-Stream Is Failing Us

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Why Single-Stream Is Failing Us

We get a lot of questions about why the single-stream recycling system doesn't work and why our nation still uses it knowing that! This video breaks down those questions and answers a lot of interesting questions. What do you think about this crisis? Did you know this was happening? 

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Recycling Facts & Tips

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Recycling Facts & Tips

Recycling is one of the most important steps an individual can take to help the environment and move towards a more sustainable lifestyle.  Yet there are often small mistakes made in the process, as a result of lack of knowledge, that prevent all of these materials from being reused. But worry no more… We’re here to provide some useful tips and facts to ensure you’re making the most of your recycling!

 

  • Why recycle? There are lots of reasons! Recycling saves energy by preventing the need for manufacturers to create something entirely new from raw materials. It also prevents the need to exert natural resources like trees! Recycling also reduces the need for landfills which can further damage the environment and ecosystems that depend on it!
  • Every city has its own rules and regulations regarding recycling. For example, Colorado uses single-stream recycling meaning all recyclables go in one bin and are collected and sorted by machines.
  • Because of the single-stream system in Colorado and many other states, only around 17% of recycled glass actually gets recycled. The rest gets taken to landfills.
  • Glass typically shatters in the processes of collection making it hazardous to the sorting machines. Because of this, it’s better to discard the glass (take it to landfills) than risk a machine blockage, break, or malfunction.
  • An estimated 28 billion glass bottles, jars, etc., get tossed out per year never to be recovered again.
  • Glass is infinitely recyclable, so if you recycle it independently, it can be reused forever. See where your closest Glass Drop-Off Station is here!
  • You typically don’t need to worry about labels or cleaning out glass and other products when recycling them.
  • Making glass from recyclable materials can cut water related pollution by up to 50%.
  • 14 Billion pounds of trash are dumped into the ocean per year. The leading material being plastic which causes extensive damage to marine life. The best way to reduce plastic waste is to remove it from your life. Replace plastic bags with reusable bags. Replace plastic bottles with glass and commit to reusing your containers. 

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Test Your Recycling Knowledge

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Test Your Recycling Knowledge

re·cy·cle: convert (waste) into reusable material.

                            Take the short quiz below to find out how much you really know about glass recycling in Colorado                                  

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The Recycling Hero Next Door

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The Recycling Hero Next Door

Now that you know about what happens to glass once it enters your trash or recycling bin, what can be done about it?

Well, believe it or not, all across the globe, and even here in Colorado there is a veritable bevy of Recycling Heros doing their part to move glass recycling in a better direction.

One of those Colorado Recycling Heros is Pat Branch, and she has been recycling her glass now for the better part of a year.

"It's great!  All of my neighbors love it.  I can always tell when they are recycling their glass at my place because I can hear them dropping the bottles and their bags, even at 10 o'clock at night!"

She has been doing so well as a glass host, that people are literally digging glass out of their nearby dumpsters to save as much as they possibly can.  Clear Intentions even had to double her host bins because she began receiving so much.

It is amazing the power that just one individual can have on one small corner of the globe.  Thanks so much for all of your help, and thank you for being a glass recycling hero!

 

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The Truth About Glass Recycling In Colorado

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The Truth About Glass Recycling In Colorado

I know, I know — you thought glass already was recycled, along with other materials. As it turns out, only 17% of Denver’s recycled glass actually gets recycled. That’s 1 out of 6 bottles, a rate that places Colorado as 49th out of all states in the country.

The glass that does get recycled becomes a product made of 50% glass, the rest a mix of other discarded materials. While glass has the potential to be a renewable resource, this mixture will go to Colorado landfills as trash, accumulating to 12,000 tons a month.

How can that be? Well, the large compactors that collect trash and recycling smash all that material in order to gather as much as possible. Glass cannot withstand the compactors and crushes into irretrievable pieces, no longer capable of being recycled.

This is why “source separation” is key. Separating materials from the beginning can have a huge impact on recycling potential, particularly for glass. Plastic and paper can be sorted after collection, but glass gets crushed into useless bits.

Clear Intentions is making this potential a reality in Denver and greater Colorado. The company, begun as a college project by Brittany Evans, seeks to fully recycle every piece of glass that comes their way by acting as a waste management service.

Brittany is joined by Todd Lehman, Damon Michaels, and Tiffany Keen, who together work with bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels in Denver to collect their mountainous glass waste.

 
 

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Learning From the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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Learning From the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

This article is actually a guest post from Jacob Hatch with Hydration Anywhere

 

Floating in the midst of the vast, majestic blue Pacific is one of the greatest warnings of the environmental damage modern industry has brought with it. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is often pictured as a huge floating island of debris marauding across the Pacific, but in reality it is perhaps more accurately described as an “accumulation zone” for small plastic particles.

Although at times the ocean currents can group huge amounts of large and very obvious garbage into highly visible patches in the ocean, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is mostly invisible to the naked eye. Small particles of plastic which have been broken down due to extensive exposure to the sun combine with chemical sludge and debris from all corners of the world to form a huge concentration of polluted ocean waters.

A Lesson in Recycling

Floating in the upper water column of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the highest levels of plastic particulates anywhere in the ocean have been detected. These particles are the result of the photodegradation of plastic – a process whereby sunlight breaks down large pieces of plastic waste into tiny, microscopic particles. The impacts of this pollution on the marine ecosystems are not well understood, but one thing is clear: we are dramatically altering the composition of this area of the ocean with potentially harmful chemicals. We are all familiar with the havoc larger pieces of plastic can cause for marine life, but information on what this huge pollution of microscopic particles is scarce and remains an open question.

The tragedy of ocean pollution is bad news not only for marine life. For those in plastic manufacturing, every piece of plastic trash which floats astray into the Pacific Garbage Patch – or any of other similar areas in oceans across the world – represents a loss of useful materials. Proper recycling prevents wasteful expenditure of valuable materials by reusing existing products. In a world with ever-rising petroleum prices and an unstoppable demand for plastic, the value in recycling plastic cannot be understated.

Reuse, Too!

Much of the trash which ends up in our oceans comes in the form of packaging materials. This can range from wrappers for food, to plastic bottles for sodas or water, to plastic garbage and shopping bags. While these items make our lives more convenient, they are in many ways unnecessary. Reusable alternatives can be employed in everyday life to substantially reduce waste and environmental impact.

One of the best ways to reuse is to pickup a quality reusable water bottle. Take a look at the Hydration Anywhere feature “Best Water Bottles 2015 – Plastic, Glass & Stainless Steel Explored” (http://hydrationanywhere.com/best-water-bottles-2015-plastic-glass-stainless-steel/) for an exploration of the very best and most eco-friendly water bottles available.


Jacob Hatch is the author of the blog Hydration Anywhere (www.hydrationanywhere.com) – dedicated to providing a comprehensive resource for all things relating to staying hydrated! From environmental awareness to the latest info on water-related products and much, much more, be sure to check out the great content available for more from Jacob at Hydration Anywhere.

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Going Green with Denver Certifiably Green

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Going Green with Denver Certifiably Green

Want to go green as a business, but have no idea where start?

Well, thanks to the amazing team at Certifiably Green Denver, you can in no time.

 

We first met the Certifiably Green Denver team a few months back.  We had been looking for a group of people who cared immensely about sustainability in Denver, but also understood that sustainability for businesses was no "walk in the park" as they say.

Certifiably Green Denver provides free, confidential, non-regulatory environmental assistance to Denver’s business community. Their program helps your business find opportunities to improve efficiency and profitability while minimizing environmental liability through pollution prevention.

Best of all, their Sustainability advisers are available at no cost and can begin by visiting your business to complete a comprehensive assessment identifying ways to conserve.

We are excited to be joining them on August 25th at Stoney's Bar and Grill, their latest "Sustainable Business of the Month," to spread sustainability to the edges of Denver.  We will be showcasing of how we can tailor glass recycling programs directly for your business, effectively streamlining your waste and saving you money.

The map below shows us just how awesome it is to be a part of Certifiably Green Denver.


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Most Colorado Glass Doesn't Get Recycled, But That's Starting to Change

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Most Colorado Glass Doesn't Get Recycled, But That's Starting to Change

Glass is infinitely recyclable, so it’s easy to imagine that the bottles and jars you put out at the curb every week are headed off to be melted down and remade — baby-food jar into baby-food jar, beer bottle into beer bottle, forever and ever, amen. But not in Denver, or in many other Colorado communities with single-stream recycling, where everything from paper to plastic to glass is thrown into the same bin. Instead of being endlessly recycled, the glass that Denver residents put in their purple bins is reused only once, as a liner for landfills.

Surprised? That’s understandable. The city doesn’t draw attention to the fact — and hasn’t since it became the first place in Colorado to switch to single-stream recycling in 2005, in an effort to get more residents to participate. “Single-stream itself is a very positive thing,” says Eric Heyboer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “When you make it really convenient for people to recycle, they will recycle more.”

But convenience on one end creates more work on the other. The stuff that’s collected in the single-stream process must be sorted so that the paper, plastic and aluminum can go their separate ways. While the workers and machines at recycling facilities can separate the junk mail from the yogurt tubs and pop cans, they have a harder time picking out the glass.

That’s because it’s broken. Between your curb and the recycling center, glass is jostled, dumped and smashed numerous times. By the end of the sorting process, it looks like recycling confetti: broken glass mixed with shreds of paper, bottle caps and other tiny detritus.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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Where Your Recycled Glass Could Be Going

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Where Your Recycled Glass Could Be Going

Our company recently had the opportunity to tour the Bottle-Making facility of Rocky Mountain Bottling Company in Golden, Colorado . . . and IT WAS A BLAST!!!!

Seeing what happens behind the scenes of such a large company is something that very few people get to see nowadays, and we feel so fortunate to have gotten the chance.

Rocky Mountain Bottling Company creates bottles on a massive scale for MillerCoors and loads of other breweries.  An amazing process to actually see in person and if you ever get the opportunity to take a tour, don't hesitate.

Their enormous bottle making facility takes raw materials from the earth, mainly silica sand and lime, add in our our favorite product: recycled glass cullet, melt it all together, and at lightning speed create 3 million new glass bottles . . . per day.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN BOTTLE COMPANY CREATES 3 MILLION NEW GLASS BOTTLES PER DAY

What's cool about the process is that the amount of recycled glass that their system needs to create new bottles is growing everyday, single, day.

During our tour, our friend and operations manager, Mark Diggins, says recycled glass is the best material for creating new bottles because it reduces the energy used to melt the ingredients together by incredible amounts.

By using recycled glass, the melting point for new bottles is roughly half that of using just raw materials.  Factor in a furnace temperature of about 2700 degrees, and that equals a savings of about 1350 degrees fahrenheit!!!

USING RECYCLED GLASS TO MAKE NEW BOTTLES REDUCES ENERGY USE BY HALF!

Now, if you've never seen a bottle being made from scratch before, it's quite a blur.  Once the ingredients are heated to a liquid temperature, they are funneled out the bottom of an enormous vat, while simultaneously being cut into bottle-sized globs.

These sizzling red-hot globs fly down chutes towards molds, which form the basic shape of the bottle, then get flipped into another mold, finishing with a second touch of shaping. 

Now mind you, this all happens in a matter of seconds, and we could only help but stand there staring with our jaws dropped.  The speed and efficiency was down-right mesmerizing.

Once the molding was finished, the bottles then went through a process of strengthening, and then onto pallets, to which delicious beer was certainly ready to make it's acquaintance.

And to put the cherry on top of an already cool tour, we discovered that it only takes a few days before recycled glass gets back on the shelves of stores nearby.  That is much much faster than aluminum cans could ever claim.  Pretty cool.

IT ONLY TAKES DAYS BEFORE RECYCLED BOTTLES MAKE IT BACK TO STORE SHELVES

In the end, we couldn't help but think that individual recycling does indeed make a difference in the world.  All of these new bottles were going somewhere, and to get them there was no small feat.

Imagine if all of these bottles were headed back into the same facility that Rocky Mountain Bottle Company was operating.  In fact, operations manager Mark Diggins made no small point to us, that their company would prefer to have it that way, saving energy costs every step of the way.

Glass really is the best packaging. We hope that with your help, we can keep pushing for better glass recycling in local communities.

That way, we can keep, the energy savings up for our friends at Rocky Mountain Bottling Company.

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Here's How Zero Waste Can Slow Climate Change

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Here's How Zero Waste Can Slow Climate Change

In our line of work at Clear Intentions, we are doing everything we can to ensure that we have a livable future by recycling as much glass as possible.

And we don’t want just enough glass to be successful as a company . . . we want all the glass that we can possibly recycle, because when we recycle more glass, we are doing our part to protect the future of our planet.

RECYCLED GLASS IS MUCH BETTER FOR THE PLANET, RATHER THAN CREATING NEW GLASS FROM SCRATCH

Using recycled glass, called cullet, offers several advantages both economically and environmentally over raw batch glass, which is made from virgin materials.

Case in point:

  • Replacing virgin glass materials with cullet saves 4% in energy.
  • A 10% increase in cullet use equates to a 7% reduction in particulate emissions. 
  • A 10% increase in cullet use equates to a 3% reduction in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions.
  • A 10% increase in cullet use equates to a 6% reduction in Nitrous Oxide (NO) emissions.
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RECYCLING YOUR GLASS HELPS SAVE ENERGY, MINIMIZES POLLUTION, AND REDUCES GLOBAL GREENHOUSE GASES

More importantly, just throwing our trash “away” directly impacts climate change because it is directly linked to global resource extraction, transportation, processing, and manufacturing.

When we minimize waste, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in sectors that together represent 36.7% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

We have already changed the planet to an amazing degree. Now let’s do it right.

For too long, our habit of not recycling, has dominated our mindset about where things go when we are done with them. It’s time to say enough is enough and show the world what we are made of. 

IT'S TIME WE STEPPED UP AND PUSHED FOR ZERO WASTE

And to be sure, it’s already starting . . . 

Glass recycling companies from Kansas, to South Africa, to the UK are popping up and turning recycled glass into new materials to be re-used over and over again.

Recycling is no longer a buzzword anymore, but is surely a desperately needed imperative to save the world.

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