Monday, September 25, 2017

Keeping contaminants out of Detroit's recycling


To increase recycling rates, the City of Detroit created a single-stream recycling system a few years ago. They thought it would be easy. However, over the last five years, the value of recovered waste has plummeted while the effort to extract it has risen. One of the major challenges in single-stream recycling is contamination.

Contaminants - or those dirty, rotten scoundrels - are what happens when non-recyclable items are mixed with recyclables. Innocent papers smeared with food or grease, paper towels, paper plates, napkins, the dreaded Styrofoam - these are some of the reasons that tons of recyclables are rejected from Detroit's recycling system each year.

There’s a general rule of thumb we use to help those who are not sure if something is recyclable or not recyclable: When in Doubt, Throw it Out.

Contaminants pickup by season too. In the spring there will be garden hoses and plant containers. During the holidays, there will be broken Christmas lights and foil wrapping paper. So let’s take a look at the top three most common contaminants found in recycling today. Keep in mind that every community is different and some accept things curbside where others do not so check with your municipality for a current list of what can be recycled. For the most part, here are the top three things that material recovery facilities do not like:

Plastic Grocery Bags.  Number one thing facilities pull out during hand sorting. These bags can muck up the machinery and close it down. Grocery Bags can be taken back to your local grocer to be disposed of properly.

Speaking of plastic grocery bags: do not put recyclables in them and then into your cart. These would be automatically pulled and sent to a landfill. Workers should never open plastic bags to sort through recycling due to safety reasons.

Pizza Boxes. Some municipalities will allow these to be picked up curbside if you take the insert out and throw it away, but the truth of the matter is that a pizza box can ruin an entire batch of slurry. The delicious cheese that we love on our pizzas is greasy. That grease permeates the cardboard. Cardboard is mixed with water and squeeze-pressed to make new paper and that grease will cause holes in paper.

It’s really that simple. Oil and water do not mix and the facility will generally pull pizza boxes out during hand sorting.

Styrofoam. Expanded polystyrene, more commonly known as Styrofoam, is problematic to recycle. The problem is the weight. The exact reason that makes Styrofoam so attractive to be used in packaging is the same reason it is difficult to recycle.

Profits from recycling are calculated per pound. With material so lightweight, it takes more money to cover the cost of transportation, handling, and processing. To process it so that it is cost efficient requires costly equipment. While it can be recycled, it isn’t accepted curbside because it is not cost effective to do so. Your best bet is to avoid Styrofoam when possible.

Other contaminants include food, trash, hardcover books, light bulbs, electronics, cookware (ceramics, plates, cups), window/mirror glass and construction debris.

These tips are brought to you by the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog as part of our Tip of the Week feature. Please check back next week for more advice for your home, money, and life.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Discount on Educator.com subscription


Every parent wants their child to do well in school and getting a discount in the process is even better. When a student isn't able to live up to the full potential in the classroom, services like Educator.com can help a student succeed.
For those not familiar with the service, Educator.com is a startup e-learning site focused on delivering the highest quality educational content created by great teachers. The Educator experience is designed to provide you with everything you need to succeed in your high school and university level courses.
Their site creates a one-to-one learning environment with the instructor; emphasizing graphical explanations and working through solution steps. Their goal is to make learning accessible, affordable, and fun for every student. Plus, they have a special discount for readers of this blog that I'll explain in a moment.
First, I want to tell you a little more about Educator.com and some of the things that I like about it. I really like the fact that there are multiple examples worked out and explained in each lecture as well as:
  • Under each lecture video are comprehensive notes that detail things to remember and common student mistakes. It is the perfect tool to refresh your memory before a big test without having to watch the entire lecture again;
  • Taught by the most effective college professors;
  • All of their instructors have doctorate degrees and are current university professors. Several have more than 25 years of teaching experience; and
  • Interactive student community to answer questions.
With all of these benefits, I'm pleased to an exclusive 10% discount for any of their courses for readers of the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog. All of these courses include a free introductory lesson.
To get this 10% off discount on a six-month or annual subscription, readers should enter the coupon code 399840D0EF at checkout.
This discount is brought to you by the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog as part of our Tip of the Week feature. Please check back next week for more advice for your home, money, and life.

16 years ago

Sorrow - Photo courtesy of Max Pixel
16 years ago today, our world changed forever.

16 years ago today, at 7:59 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 took off from Logan International Airport in Boston on its way to Los Angeles. There were 81 passengers and 11 crew members aboard. Five highjackers were also aboard.

Within the hour, Flight 11 and three more commercial airliners would be highjacked. The deadliest terrorist attack in American history began 16 years ago at 7:59 a.m.

By the time that terrible day was over, 2,996 people had left this world before their time. More than 6,000 others were injured that day.

16 years ago today, our world changed forever.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Dramatic police chase on I-75


Officers from the Detroit Police Department were taken on a high-speed chase through the streets of Detroit today, one that ended in a dramatic fashion on I-75. Footage from a helicopter, which is embedded above, shows the man who was suspected of murder pull over on the highway.

Rather than surrender, though, he jumped over the median and ran across the freeway - dodging both on-coming traffic and police officers who were now chasing him on foot. As a minivan approached, the suspect jumped on top of it and was surrounded by police officers.

One officer jumped on top of the minivan and engaged the fleeing suspect. The officer threw this man off the van and onto the ground. It was at this point that his fellow officers were able to take their suspect into custody without further incident.

While this was an exceptionally dramatic chase and arrest, I have to say that I am proud of each and every officer who was involved in it. They got their man and did it without putting the general public in undo jeopardy.

Wendy Hilliard returns to Detroit for National Gymnastics Day

Children learn gymnastics through the Wendy Hillard Gymnastics Foundation - Press photo

World-class gymnast and Detroit-native Wendy Hillard is returning to Detroit to celebrate National Gymnastics Day with a special event at the Joe Dumars Field House (1120 W State Fair) on Saturday, September 16 from 10 am until noon. Hilliard was the first African-American to represent the United States in rhythmic gymnastics in an international competition, including three World Championships (1979, 1981, and 1983).

At this event, aspiring local youth will experience a free gymnastics lesson from elite athletes, parents can sign their children up for the new classes, and attendees can hear from Wendy Hilliard about her experience as a gymnast. These free and low-cost gymnastics lessons are presented for urban youth by the Wendy Hillard Gymnastics Foundation.

Brenda Jones, President of the Detroit City Council, will also attend this event. She is expected to present Hillard with the Spirit of Detroit award.

National Gymnastics Day is an annual celebration of the sport that is currently in its 19th year. It is sponsored by Gymnastics USA. It is also celebrated in Australia, the Philippines, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates.

Editor's note: This post is a part of this blog's semi-regular Friday Focus series, which endeavors to highlight news and opinions that, in my opinion, don't get as much attention as they deserve.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Chris Polite releases new indie album


Detroit is a town that is famous for cars and music.

Detroit-native Bill Haley ushered in the rock and roll era in 1955 with "Rock Around the Clock."

In 1959, Barry Gordie created a "Motown sound" that embodied the streets of Detroit into the music of local artists like Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Marvin Gaye.

Techno was born here.

Artists from Detroit have reached the top in every music genre from gospel to rock to hip hop.

All of this is why I'm excited that Warrendale resident Chris Polite has released his newest indie album Death in Disguise EP. It is produced by Herschel Boone.

Death in Disguise features the new single from Chris Polite "Think It Thru." The video for that song was shot in Detroit by Diego Cruz and is embedded above.

You can find the Death in Disguise EP for purchase on iTunes and Google Play. It's also available on all of the major music streaming services.

Death in Disguise EP from Chris Polite - it's your Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for September 5.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Training opportunity for the construction industry


Wayne State University is organizing an OSHA-approved training for those interested in obtaining certification for a Respirable Crystalline Silica Training. Spanish-speaking students will receive a $25 gift certificate to Honey Bee Market La Colmena at the end of the training.

This training will happen on Saturday, September 9 and Saturday, September 16 at La Sed Page Senior Center (7150 W. Vernor) in Southwest Detroit.

For any questions about this training opportunity in the construction industry for Detroiters, please contact Mary Carmen Muñoz at (313) 554-2015 or mcmunoz@lased.inc. One may also contact
Roberto Muñoz at (313) 815-3146 or munozrd@udmercy.edu with any questions.