Archive for the ‘Energy Efficiency’ Category

Four Benefits of Recycling Plastic

Plastic is inexpensive, durable, and lightweight, so it makes sense that it’s used abundantly in manufacturing.

Plastics are used to manufacture a staggering number of products we use every day – everything from food and beverage containers to trash and grocery bags and even children’s toys and diapers. But all this product has to go somewhere, right?

Each year, approximately 100 million tons of plastic is produced, and it usually ends up in landfills. When plastic is disposed of in landfills, it can take up to 1000 years to decompose. When burnt, plastic releases highly toxic gas. Keeping these things in mind, the best option for dealing with plastic is reducing the amount we use in the first place, and for the plastic waste we do use, it is essential that we are recycling.

Recycling is crucial to the future health of our planet, and here are four reasons why. Keep reading for four major benefits of recycling plastic.

It conserves natural resources and energy.

Tossing that plastic water bottle in the trash takes less than a second. Reusing it takes the same amount of time and has more benefits. Did you know that it takes twice as much energy to burn plastic as it does to recycle it?

Recycling saves energy by reducing or eliminating the need to make materials from scratch. Making products from scratch is labor-intensive and expensive. Using recycled materials instead of pulling new natural resources, manufacturers can make the same products with less energy and expense.

[Need some recycling tips for this coming summer? Click here!]

Recycling plastics saves so much landfill space.

Our American landfills are growing every day. Because they are so full, they take up large parcels of land which destroys essential natural resources. Waste dumps are also significant emitters of methane gas, one of the primary gases proven to be responsible for climate change. According to an article in EPA, “In 2018, landfills received 27 million tons of plastic.”

By recycling our plastic, we can help slow the rate at which our landfills are filling up and the number of greenhouse gases generated by them.

Helps protect ecosystems and wildlife.

Recycling reduces the need to grow, harvest, or extract new raw materials from the Earth. That, in turn, lessens the disruption and damage done to the natural world: fewer forests cut down, rivers diverted, wild animals harmed or displaced, and less pollution of water, soil, and air.

And of course, if our plastic waste isn’t safely put in the recycling, it can be blown or washed into rivers and seas and end up hundreds or thousands of miles away, polluting coastlines and waterways and becoming a problem for everyone.

Our oceans are in trouble, and the numbers are astounding. According to National Geographic, “there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.”

Reducing climate-changing carbon emissions.

Because recycling means you need to use less energy on sourcing and processing new raw materials, it produces lower carbon emissions. It also keeps potentially methane-releasing waste out of landfill sites.

Reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere is vital for stopping disastrous climate change.

The truth is we need to get into the habit of using less stuff. And the things we use need to be reused before being recycled to minimize waste. Many people think that one person can’t make a difference, but when it comes to recycling, one person can make a huge impact. Recycling is a simple way to preserve our natural resources and protect our clean air and water.

With the services and facilities offered by Carolina Fibre, it’s easier than ever to jump on board with green efforts here in eastern North Carolina. Contact us today to learn more about our recycling services!

The Many Benefits of Fiberon Decking

Many companies worldwide recognize the many issues with the way we approach waste and recycling, so they are stepping up with innovative solutions. This new approach these companies are taking is pushing for positive change in their industries and inspiring hope for sustainability.
One company leading the charge of innovation is Fiberon Decking. Fiberon is a supplier of composite decking solutions. They design outdoor spaces that are not only created to sustain, but also to leave the smallest possible footprint. For almost two decades, Fiberon has been working to help those looking to create outdoor spaces, with quality and sustainable products made in the USA.
Beautiful outdoor spaces.
Fiberon takes great pride in creating outdoor living products that offer lasting beauty, maximum value, and easy maintenance.
Outdoor living is nothing without the outdoors and its natural beauty, so Fiberon incorporates eco-friendly materials and sustainable processes into everything they create.
Protecting the environment.
Fiberon’s amazing products are made from recycled materials, they source local recycled content, and utilize a closed-loop water cooling system for zero water discharge.
Their decking materials are made with locally-sourced recycled plastic, leftover sawdust, lumber mill scraps, and other materials. Each year Fiberon prevents more than 60,000 tons of plastic and other waste from ending up in landfills. Plus, Fiberon composites prevent further deforestation, do not contain the toxic chemicals often found in pressure-treated lumber, and are manufactured in a zero-waste process. Some other important facts about Fiberon and their processes include:

  • They are saving more than one million trees every year.
  • 100 million pounds of recycled plastic put to good use every year.
  • Manufacturing composite decking requires a constant source of water and they reuse almost all of it.
  • They reuse 98.5% of the waste from their manufacturing process.

Composite decking is cost-effective. 
While pressure-treated lumber may cost less initially, maintenance costs are significantly higher. Composite decking is a lot like prefinished flooring. It arrives as a finished product and never needs sanding, staining, or painting, just an occasional soap, and water cleaning. Wood needs to be finished after installation and then refinished every 1-2 years, meaning you’ll spend a significant amount of time and elbow grease maintaining that deck.
What’s more, wood decks are susceptible to mold, decay, weather elements, insects, and in general, have a shorter lifespan. Composites continually retain their good looks year after year.
According to, maintenance costs with composite decking will be about $5-$15 per year, whereas wood decking will cost about $450-850 per year.
[Check out some more outdoor sustainability ideas here!]
Composite decking is safer. 
Wood-plastic composite decks will not splinter, split, crack, or rot, making your outdoor space safer for children, pets, and bare feet.
Fiberon decking looks just like wood.
Today’s composites genuinely reflect the organic beauty of hardwoods, complete with subtle streaking and wood grain patterns. And when it comes to color choices, you’ll find many more options to suit your tastes than with traditional wood.
As summer comes to a close, and the crisper temperatures creep into the Carolinas, start thinking about your outdoor space. Does it offer you the peace and joy that it should? If not, contact the experts at Fiberon today!
And for more tips on living green, whether outdoors or in, stay tuned to Carolina Fibre’s blog.

Four Essential Summer Recycling Tips

In most states, summer is beginning to wind down, but in southern North Carolina, we are still in the thick of it.
Our weekends are still filled with day trips, beach days, and pool time. It adds up to a lot of time spent outside in a beautiful environment, and we want to be sure to protect it. So, while you’re soaking up the sun this summer, try to reduce waste, save resources, and protect our earth by following these four essential summer recycling tips.
Road trips.
If you are ready to hit the road, pack some meals and snacks in eco-friendly containers and bring a reusable water bottles instead of buying bottled. Don’t forget to bring along bags to collect recyclables in the car and look for recycling bins at rest stops. Some other things you can do include:

  • Instead of buying small, travel-sized toiletries, fill reusable containers with shampoo, soap, and other necessities.
  • If you stop for a fill-up or a quick bite, commit to picking up a few trash pieces along the way. Try to help make the world better than how you found it!
  • Take only napkins, condiment packets, free brochures, maps, or coupons you will use.

Lawn care.
You will probably be mowing the lawn quite a bit this summer, so don’t let that cut grass end up in a landfill! The EPA estimates that our yard waste accounts for 18% of material in our landfills. Our dumps are quickly running out of space, so it’s important to help where we can. Grass clippings are an organic material that can be reused to benefit the environment.
Rather than bagging the grass as you mow, leave it on the lawn where it will return valuable nutrients to the yard. If you’re worried about the look of cut grass on your lawn, add your clippings to a compost pile. Either way, your grass-cycling will significantly impact the environment and help reduce landfill waste.
[Need more eco-friendly summer essentials? Click here!]
Pool and beach days.
If you have old beach or pool toys, try patching holes or find other uses. These products are usually made of PVC, which are not recyclable, so consider this before buying new ones. If you are shopping for new pool toys, buy those made from recyclable materials to minimize the ecological impact. Other tips include:

  • Reuse plastic or paper shopping bags to pack items for your trip and recycle them afterward. Plastic shopping bags are perfect for keeping dirty shoes and wet bathing suits separate from other things, while paper bags are great for packing snacks.
  • Use old buckets and other items in your house to build sandcastles instead of buying new ones.
  • When visiting beaches and parks, be sure to take out everything you bring in so that you leave places clean and undisturbed.
  • Take a closer look at your sunscreen. Don’t forget to see which cans and bottles are recyclable before throwing them out. Most metal sunscreen bottles are made from aluminum, which is a highly recyclable material.

For the grill.
Barbeques are far and few between these days, but if you decide to host a small gathering, make recycling convenient by putting a clearly labeled recycling bin by the trash.
A barbeque can produce a ton of waste, and because plastic cutlery usually can’t be recycled, it’s essential to try and plan ahead. Provide reusable knives and forks for your guests. If you want to work toward zero-waste, put out reusable napkins, plates, cups, and cutlery at your next party! We know this isn’t always practical, so if you must buy disposable, try to find paper products that are made from recycled materials and are biodegradable or compostable.
By paying attention to a few extra details, you can help make a greener summer possible for everyone, you know. For more great recycling tips, be sure to visit Carolina Fibre online today!

How to Go – And Stay – Green During Your Next Vacation

The salty spray of ocean waves, open roads, the wind in your hair: summer vacation season is fast approaching!
If, like the Carolina Fibre team, you live in a state that makes traveling to various landscapes an easy feat, then you might only be planning on a brief road trip or two this season. But maybe you’ve decided to take a longer excursion that will keep you away from home for a while. Extended vacation time is great, but it can also make it seem more acceptable to let those green habits slide while you’re on that well-deserved break. Check out a few tips to help you stay on top of your green game even during your globe-trotting adventures!
Reusable water bottles
While we highly recommend having one of these on hand at home or work anyway, a reusable water bottle is especially handy for while you’re on the road (or in the air). And it’s not just to keep plastic out of landfills; over a lengthy trip, the cost of buying disposable water bottles every time you get thirsty can really add up! Bringing your own along saves you the trouble of repeat purchases, and keeps trash cans a few ounces of plastic lighter. So when you’re putting together a packing list, make sure you include a reusable water bottle – for both the environment’s sake, and your wallet’s.
Non-stop flights
Filling your car with fuel is one thing, but have you ever stopped to think about how much a plane uses just to get itself off the ground? By booking a non-stop flight, you can help conserve some of that valuable fuel! Just as it happens with cars, taking off and landing takes more energy than cruising along at high altitudes does. So, when you take a direct, non-stop flight instead of hopping onto multiple planes that have to start and stop, you’re actually helping to ensure that the minimal amount of fuel is being used for the duration of your trip. Plus, who doesn’t want to avoid layovers and the stress of making connecting flights?
Sustainable accommodations
Did you know that many hotels have adopted green policies to help cut down on the amount of waste that vacationers tend to accumulate? In fact, many of them will advertise these measures on their websites, so you can become familiar with them before you even arrive at your destination. When you’re looking into where you’d like to stay, keep an eye out for hotels and other accommodations that mention eco-friendly renovations they’ve recently completed, energy-saving methods, even sustainable products they like to use on-property.
Local products
While you’re away, we recommend soaking in as much of the local flavor as you possibly can! Not only is it a great way to experience a new place, but doing so can help cut down on the pollution and waste production in that region. It’s the same thing as being locally-centric when you’re at home; shopping and eating local products creates less demand for things that have to be driven or flown in, fewer instances of tossing materials like plastic from large manufacturers into trash cans instead of recycling bins.
Linens and things
You wouldn’t change your sheets and bath towels every day at home, so why do it on vacation? Request that your sheets and linens not be changed out every day to save on water and other resources expended during each load of laundry. Most hotels have some sort of system for housekeeping anyway, so it’s a simple matter of conveying your request in the right way.
There are tons of easy ways to give the planet its own sort of vacation while you’re off sightseeing and exploring new places. Stay tuned to our blog for more tips, and safe travels this summer!

5 Green Road Trip Tips

With summer winding down, the race to fit in just one last vacation is on and here at Carolina Fibre, we’re just as eager to enjoy the sunshine as you are! As you plan for your weekend excursions to the beach, or for that drive to your favorite camping spot, here are some tips for keeping it green and making your trip as environment-friendly as possible.
Get your car serviced beforehand
Whether you drive a hybrid or not, all vehicles run better and remain safer with regular tune-ups; this is especially important right before an extended trip. Maintenance checklist items include oil changes, tire rotations, battery and fluid checks, and yearly inspections. Before you venture out in your car, remember that a well maintained one will ultimately have a smaller impact on the world around you via emissions, so be sure to schedule a checkup in advance whenever possible.
Cruise down the highway
As tempting as it is to make those miles disappear between where you are and where you want to be, try to avoid speeding during your travels as much as possible. Not only will the journey be a safer one for you and your passengers, but following the speed limit is better for general fuel efficiency. The chances of being in an accident and putting a damper on your gas mileage all go up the faster you drive. So forget sudden starts and stops, road rage, and burning rubber: enjoy the ride!
Travel light
Speaking of fuel efficiency, packing light can help shed some pounds from your vehicle so that your mileage improves. It can be difficult to choose what’s most important on a weekend getaway, so give yourself plenty of time to pack rather than waiting until the last minute and possibly grabbing much more than you’ll need; extra pounds means extra gallons of gas you’ll have to lose later. This includes anything you might stow on top of your car in the roof rack, or on the back such as a bike rack. A good rule of thumb: if you don’t use it, remove it.
Refreshments, anyone?
On longer trips it can seem more convenient or easier just to stop along the way for food and maybe the occasional caffeine boost if you’re the driver. But, picking up snacks on the go tends to mean lots of paper and plastic wrappings, all of which take a toll on the planet when not disposed of properly. Instead, consider packing a few of your favorite bites to munch on along the way. Not only does the simple act of packaging your own food save you some money, it tends to save you from eating unhealthy alternatives. Reusable containers and utensils – not to mention a quality water bottle – cut down on the amount of trash you’ll accumulate on your trip; and who doesn’t like a nice clean car?
No need to wait – recycle as you go
Who says you can’t do two things at once? Even though you thought ahead and won’t be stopping at the gas station for a refill on food, you’re still likely to garner some kind of trash along the way to your destination. But, if you plan ahead, you can have readily available ways to dispose of this waste before your even click your seatbelt into place. Grocery bags, boxes, or bins are great for placing under seats or behind your own to collect recyclables and trash respectively, making the task of cleaning up after you finish the drive virtually nonexistent. Plus, the only thing you’ll have to think about while you navigate traffic is which container handles recycling and which houses the garbage, leaving you more headspace to drive safely.
We hope these tips prove useful to you as you wind down the summer with a few more adventures. There are so many great ways to reduce your impact on the planet and enjoy the seasonal sunshine, but if you’re ever at a loss, stay tuned for more pointers from the team at Carolina Fibre!

5 Facts You Need to Know About Earth Day

Ever year when April 22nd rolls around, the world throws a big party for one thing we all share in common—our planet! It’s called Earth Day, and while you’ve probably heard of it, how much do you actually know? It doesn’t matter if you’re an Earth Day expert or a brand new arrival to our beautiful planet. After reading this blog post, you’ll have all the facts you need to throw a great Earth Day celebration!
1. What is Earth Day, exactly? 
While it’s not a federal holiday, it’s recognized on the same day every year—April 22nd. The goal of Earth Day is to celebrate the planet and raise awareness about the need to protect and respect it. Earth Day isn’t just an American holiday, either—it’s celebrated all over the world!
2. Who created Earth Day? 
U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson originally came up with the idea for a national day to focus on the environment. In 1969 he, like many Americans, witnessed the ravages of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could combine that energy with a public understanding of air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. And he was right!
3. When was the first Earth Day? 
The first Earth Day took place on April 22nd, 1970, and it’s been celebrated every year since. This year will be 46th anniversary of Earth Day! Better start planning for the 50th celebration in 2020…
4. What has Earth Day accomplished? 
A lot! The Environmental Protection Agency was founded in December 1970, just 8 months after the first Earth Day. Earth Day has also helped pass the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Not only that, but Earth Day has inspired countless people to spend a day thinking about the planet and how they can make sure they leave it in good shape for their children and grandchildren. After all, we only have one planet! We need to treat it right.
5. How can you celebrate Earth Day? 
There are many ways to celebrate Earth Day, and many resources to turn to for ideas and inspiration. For example:

We hope this blog post helps you celebrate our planet year round! For more tips on living a greener life, make sure to like Carolina Fibre Corporation on Facebook. Happy Earth Day!

How to Create a Successful Recycling Program at the Office

Office Recycling Program
Did you know Carolina Fibre offers extensive recycling services to businesses in North Carolina and across the globe? It’s true! Not only do we serve locations throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, we also “go global” by exporting to companies who recycle our materials at their facilities. This means Carolina Fibre is often the bridge that connects recycling companies with the materials they can reuse to build something new in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. It’s a big and important job, but we love it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else—especially when you consider the many benefits of recycling. From reducing the waste sent to landfills, to conserving natural resources, to preventing pollution, to saving energy, the importance of a solid recycling program is clear!
While Carolina Fibre Corporation may be the bridge in this scenario, we couldn’t do it without the many businesses with whom we work. After all, they’re the ones that get those recyclable materials into our hands. If you’re thinking of starting up a recycling program at your place of business, your first move is contacting Carolina Fibre. Then, follow these steps for a happier and healthier planet.
1. Let employees know about your new recycling program.
Ignorance may be bliss, but knowledge is power! The first and most essential step to success is making sure everyone is informed and excited about your new program. Write up a recycling policy and distribute it to employees, hang up signs in the break room, by the water cooler, and in other high traffic locations, and send out an email, complete with a cute photo of a puppy. Everyone knows that cute puppy photos are the number one way to get any office workers’ attention.
2. Set up recycling bins in convenient, strategic locations. 
We don’t mean to imply that anyone is your office is lazy, but it’s a fact: the harder it is to do something, the less likely it will get done. Make it easy on your staff by putting recycling bins in the places where trash if produced. A bin labeled “paper” near copiers and by cubicles, and another marked “aluminum” in the kitchen will help everyone make the right decision when it comes to recycling. Forming new habits can be difficult, but if you make recycling a natural and easy part of your office’s routine, it will happen.
3. Create rewards for recycling. 
While the knowledge that you’re saving the planet one newspaper at a time is its own reward, throwing in a few extra incentives never hurts. Whether you choose to reward the department or the individual that recycles the most is up to you, and depends on the size of your business. “Green” prizes are best, such as a gardening kit, a subscription to a local CSA, or a reusable travel mug. Create an air of excitement around recycling, and see what a difference it makes!
Do you have any tips for starting a recycling program? If so, share them on our Facebook. If you’re ready to take your business’s recycling to the next level, contact Carolina Fibre Corporation today.

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

At Carolina Fibre Corporation, Earth Day is our favorite holiday. This probably isn’t surprising, since saving the planet is our mission. We often accomplish this task by sharing things you can do to help the Earth, like turning off the lights when you leave a room, lowering your thermostat, and taking public transportation. While these actions are important, they aren’t always fun. That’s why today, in honor of the hard work you do all year long, we’ve collected our favorite ways to celebrate this important day. Check them out, and enjoy!
1. Visit a State Park 
Did you know North Carolina has a robust State Park System, which includes recreation areas, lakes, trails, oceans, and rivers? If you’re on the coast, check out the native carnivorous plants at Carolina Beach State Park. Those of you in the mountains can explore the highest point in the eastern United States at Mount Mitchell State Park. And if you’re in the Piedmont, Lake Norman State Park boasts the largest manmade body of fresh water in the state. The hardest part will be choosing which park to visit first!
2. Plant an Herb Garden 
April is a great time of the year to plant some seeds (or, if you’re impatient, buy a few transplants for a head start). Don’t have a green thumb? Don’t worry! We know for a fact that basil and mint are fairly hard to kill, and if all goes well you could be making fresh pesto and enjoying homegrown mojitos all summer long. Now that’s what we call a reward!
3. Visit Your Favorite Thrift Shop 
Your local Goodwill or Salvation Army is full of strange treasures, weird household objects, and unique, new-to-you outfits. Explore its offerings and see what riches you can find. Not only will you be supporting a great nonprofit, but you’ll be giving new life to used items, saving the Earth and the economy precious energy, production costs, and materials.
4. Shop at the Farmer’s Market 
There’s nothing better than a meal made from fresh, local ingredients. By shopping at your farmer’s market, you ensure that the food you buy is local, which means it wasn’t shipped halfway across the country, and you keep your hard earned dollars in your community. This Earth Day, try a new recipe inspired by seasonal goodies and invite your taste buds to the celebration!
5. Ride Your Bike 
Not only is riding a bicycle good for the environment (no gas, oil, or emissions necessary!), it’s also good for your body. An afternoon bike ride in the sunshine is a great way to celebrate the Earth and enjoy all the wonderful things it provides. Cruise through your favorite park and take in the sights, sounds, and scents. Later, when you’re sorting your recycling, picking up litter, or scrubbing your house with all natural cleaners, you’ll think about that beautiful bicycle ride and remember all the reasons you decided to “go green” in the first place.

Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day

March is the greenest month of the year thanks to St. Patrick’s Day, but Carolina Fibre knows how to turn the holiday into our own “green” celebration. Make St. Patrick’s Day one of the most eco-friendly holidays and check out some of our fun, go-green ideas.
Home Decor 
Recycled paper is key when it comes to decorating. Grab some stencils and cut out shamrocks, leprechauns and pots of gold to hang from the ceiling or tape to your windows. Instead of buying a themed wreath, make your own using old materials like green t-shirts, denim, curtains or tablecloths. The wireframe can be recycled after the holiday is over. The only tool you need to create your wreath is a pair of fabric shears. Simply cut up the fabric of your choice in strips, tie them to the wireframe and cover every last inch. The best part is that once the fabric is cut up, the project becomes kid-friendly as there is no hassle or mess from glue and paints. You can also brighten up a room by inserting lights into green beverage bottles or vases. Don’t have anything green? Use an eco-friendly spray paint to add a green tint your bottles or vases. Great Green Goods has some great ideas for fun and creative ways to make eco-friendly and recyclable wreaths for any occasion.
Festive Apparel 
Who says you have to buy what’s popular at the party supply and craft stores? Get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day by creating your own holiday wardrobe. Shop at local thrift stores and other retailers in which used items are sold. Create your own handmade bow ties or spray paint an old pair of shoes. Scan your closet for green t-shirts, dresses, socks and accessories. You can even take it a step further and wear eco-friendly clothing like 100% cotton shirts. Complete your festive look by making leprechaun-themed hats using recycled paper or fabrics. When it comes to dressing up, your eco-friendly options are unlimited!
Themed Foods and Beverages 
Bake your favorite St. Patrick’s Day dishes by cooking with locally-grown produce. Aside from the benefit of fresher ingredients, you’ll be supporting your local economy instead of corporate chain stores. Make baking fun for the entire family and use green food dye made from natural ingredients. Green Living Ideas provides step-by-step instructions on how to make any color dye for all holidays and events. If you plan on drinking beer, stick to locally-brewed beer or even organic beer. And always choose draft over a bottle if given the option. Not all bars and restaurants recycle glass!
Do you have any green tips for St. Patrick’s Day? Share your ideas below in the comment section or on the Carolina Fibre Facebook page.