Questions & Queries
"How are the fluorescent tubes recycled?"
- Anonymous (Question asked at our booth at the Go Green Expo)
Fluorescent light bulbs collected at our depot on Red River Road are stored in bins in the compound behind our building. We also have collection depots in Nipigon, Terrace Bay, and Atikokan. When bins are full at these depots we make arrangements with MGM Electric to have them shipped to their facility here in Thunder Bay. MGM Electric has established a local crushing facility, approved by the Ministry of the Environment. This crusher has special filters that capture the mercury vapour. Once crushed, all components, including the filters, are then shipped to a recycling facility where one hundred percent of the material is recycled, including glass, metal end caps and phosphor powder. Most importantly, the mercury is reclaimed and recycled. In 2011 to date, over four thousand bulbs have been collected through this program.
The fluorescent lamp recycling program is aimed at keeping mercury out of the environment. The mercury in these lamps does not pose a risk unless the lamp is broken. When the lamps are thrown in with garbage, the mercury escapes into the atmosphere and leaches into the soil, groundwater, streams and lakes. This is harmful to the health of all living things because mercury is a neurotoxin that attacks the central nervous system.
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Bike Lanes ‘Not in Effect’?
Thunder Bay’s bike lanes are not in effect from November 15 to April 1, each calendar year. What does that mean?
That means that during the winter months two things happen: 1. the bike lanes are not maintained – when there is snow, it is not removed from the bike lanes. 2. in some locations, on-street parking is re-instated from November 15 to April 1.
Maintenance and snow removal are very costly, so to make bike lanes in Thunder Bay financially feasible, we have made the compromise of not removing snow from curbs. Since the curb side of roads is used for snow storage in the winters anyway, bike lanes will not affect winter driving.
For most of the year, on-street parking is sometimes restricted so that cyclists can use bike lane safely. Since the volume of cyclists in the winter is quite low, and other on-street parking is restricted due to ploughing and calendar parking, allowing winter parking seemed like a sensible compromise. If you are unsure if winter parking is allowed on a bike lane, read the posted parking signs along the road. They’ll inform you of any restrictions.
This isn’t to say that there are no cyclists in the winter. Winter cycling is legal, and in most cases, quite safe. Thunder Bay doesn’t get much snow, and when it hasn’t snowed for 4 or 5 days, the pavement is dry and clear of snow, making it easy to cycle.
Cyclists need to take corners slowly, and give themselves twice the normal time for stopping. They also need to dress warmly. Because it is also harder for drivers to manoeuvre, it is imperative that cyclists communicate their intensions to drivers well in advance so drivers have time to react safely.
Because the days are shorter and dusk and dawn are the times with poorest light conditions, it is most important that cyclists dress to be seen by drivers. Cyclists need to wear reflective leg or armbands, light coloured clothing, have front and rear working lights, and reflectors on their bikes. These simple items can save a cyclists life.
The motto is: Be Safe, Be Seen.
In fact, if you are looking for a free armband, visit one of our local bike shops by November 7th. EcoSuperior and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit are giving away free armbands. Supplies are limited so pick one up soon!
Safe Riding, Safe Driving.
Get your copy of Thunder Bay's Guide to All-Weather Cycling.
5 Easy Ways to Save Energy this Winter
5. Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs.
4. Install a low-flow showerhead and an aerator on your faucets. An aerator allows air bubbles into the stream of water and slows the flow.
3. Caulk your windows to block any drafts.
2. Weatherstrip your doors.
1. Install a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the heat when you're not at home and at night when you're asleep.
Lessons Learned by a Pair of Recycling Gumshoes
Ecosuperior had the chance to tag along on the public tour of ReCool Canada’s recycling plant on Monday, October 24th. The tour gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how recyclables are collected, sorted, processed, and marketed in Thunder Bay. When we asked Steve Kozak, our tour guide and ReCool’s VP of operations about the do’s and don’ts of recycling he had some helpful suggestions.
Paper coffee cups can't be recycled because of the waxy film lining the inside. Pizza boxes however, are accepted. Paper with heavily saturated inks, like wrapping paper, or the yellow pages in the phone book also cannot be recycled at ReCool because the dye is too difficult and expensive to remove. When recycling cardboard boxes it is ok to leave the packing tape on. Plastic shopping bags melt at a different rate than plastics #1 and #2, so they cannot be recycled at ReCool, but many grocery stores do take them back for recycling. (but you really should switch to re-usable bags!) Remember to rinse out your cans and milk cartons, which will save ReCool employees from some messy spills and nasty odours... read the full story.
Gotcha! Green Star Award
Congratulations to Quality Market, whose Bring Your Own Bag Program is “a big win for the environment and our community!”
When you bring a reusable shopping bag, the cashier will give you a token that you can drop into the charity box of your choice. Quality Market will donate 10 cents for every token.
The charities for 2011 are:
- Catholic Family Development Centre
Quality Market is currently accepting charity applications for 2012.
Thank you for promoting environmental stewardship and supporting local organizations!
October 1st - November 4th - Green Cleaning Trading Event
November 1st - Leaf & Yard Waste Collection
November 1st - 14th - Great Pumpkin Compost Collection
November 11th - EcoSuperior closed for Remembrance Day
For more information on coming events check out EcoSuperior's Calendar.
What Is It?
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Old jokes reused
A man was driving down the road with twenty penguins in the back seat. The police stop him and say that he can't drive around with the penguins in the car and should take them to the zoo. The man agrees and drives off.
The next day the same man is driving down the road with twenty penguins in the back and again. He is stopped by the same police officer who says, "Hey! I though I told you to take those to the zoo."
The man replies "I did. Today I'm taking them to the movies."
For Subscribers Only
Visit our office and mention that you've subscribed to our monthly E-news-- You can save $5 when you purchase a rain barrel this month! Offer valid until November 30, 2011.