8-Bit Software Online Conversion

    There are four good reasons for recycling, in descending order of importance: (1) By recycling materials you will be saving large amounts of energy that would otherwise be needed to make them anew from raw materials. By saving on electricity, and thus requiring less fossil fuels, this will cause less carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide to be produced. Sulphur dioxide causes acid rain, which damages forests, wildlife and buildings, while carbon dioxide causes the greenhouse effect, a far more serious problem as it is expected to cause catastrophic climate changes. (2) Recycling materials means that they are used again instead of being thrown away somewhere. If recycling does not take place, more and more rubbish will be produced in a never-ending progression (millions of tonnes each year). The growing shortage of land for rubbish tips and land-fill sites means that more and more beautiful areas of land are being strewn with rubbish. As well as being dangerous, the continual accumulation of rubbish of various sorts ruins whole areas of landscape. (3) Huge amounts of raw materials that should be saved are being wasted and thrown away. By recycling, these materials can be re-used, and their natural sources saved for later use. This not only means that vital resources will not run out as quickly (world supplies of some metals are expected to run out within 25 years, with disastrous consequences for some industries), but also important habitats can be protected, for example recycling aluminium cans means that the Amazon rain-forests suffer less destruction through mining of new aluminium ore (bauxite). (4) Many recycling activies also raise money for charity.     (1) One of the most important materials to recycle is the aluminium used in cans. This saves 95% of the energy used to produce a new can - in other words the saving of energy is absolutely huge. Recycling cans also raises large amounts of money, which most recycling centres will give to charity. As well as this, there is the advantage of preventing destruction of the rainforests mentioned above. Ensure that a can is aluminium by trying a magnet on the side; if it DOESN'T stick, then it is aluminium. Try to avoid cans with additional plastic bits inside, for example draughtflow beer cans. Push the can in in the middle and then flatten it; this means you can fit lots of them in a plastic bag. Some recycling organisers will also want tin cans, i.e. iron coated with tin. Use the same procedure, but don't get the two sorts mixed up. (2) Recycling paper is one of the most widely publicised activities, sadly Britiain is still well behind most EEC countries in implementing it. One of the most important things you can do is to BUY RECYCLED PAPER; this helps to ensure that there is sufficient demand for it.The more people buy recycled paper, the more the prices will fall; at present recycled computer listing paper can be bought for the same price as non-recycled; recycled writing paper is also available. Many people refuse to use recycled paper because they think it is not good quality, but the only noticeable difference is the slightly darker colour of the paper - this is caused because recycled paper is not produced using unnecessary bleaches, harmful to the environment, to turn the paper brilliant white. The resulting paper is perfectly acceptable for writing, and is also easier on the eyes, especially reading through lots of computer-generated text late at night. For photocopying or similar, high quality 75% recycled paper, which is guaranteed for laser printing, can be obtained. It is a little more expensive, but at only 0.5p per sheet, it is a negligible cost compared to the printing costs of 2p/page upwards on ink-jets, laser printers and photocopiers. Recycling paper is particularly advantageous, because if you throw paper away, as well as increasing the amount of rubbish, it will eventually rot, giving off methane, which can cause explosions, and carbon dioxide - both gases contribute to the greenhouse effect. The best way to collect paper for recycling is to find an A4-sized cardboard box (Tesco supermarkets, and possibly others, often leave suitable boxes from their packaging to be collected by anyone who wants them), and leave it wherever is convenient. Lay paper flat, this way you can fit far more into the box. Recycle all paper products - newspapers, magazines (preferably without the staples), circulars and catalogues, envelopes too badly torn to be re-used (without the plastic inserts of address windows). If your box fills up before you have time to hand it over for recycling, simply put it away somewhere and fill another one. (3) If there is a cardboard-recycling scheme in your area, this is also valuable, since cardboard rots when thrown away too. For cereal boxes etc., open the top and bottom of the carton, and then fold it flat. Similarly with all waste cardboard (although the tougher sorts can be used to protect disks), including the cardboard insides of toilet rolls! By crushing all your cardboard and card flat, you can fit an incredible amount of it into one cardboard box (probably several hundred cereal packets), and it still doesn't weigh that much. (4) Recycling glass is also advantageous, and saves significant amounts of energy; avoiding having lots of broken glass lying around rubbish tips is also of obvious benefit to children who live near them. In addition, glass manufacturers (like aluminium can makers) need as much recycled glass as you can possibly give them, and the final product is indistinguishable from normal glass. Use a cardboard box to put all your bottles, jars etc. in (no plastic tops or corks, but the stickers and labels don't matter). Ensure that the glass is placed in the correct-coloured receptacle for recycling (brown, green or clear is usually the choice), though don't worry if a bottle is half-way in between two colours and you can't decide. (5) Some areas have facilities for recycling plastic - I believe it mainly applies to bottles of orange squash etc., because there are many different sorts of plastic. This is also a good idea, but very few areas have this facility, and it doesn't save as much energy as recycling glass, so where possible, buy glass bottles in preference to plastic. (6) Used stamps! Strange though it may seem, stamps that have been stamped by the Post Office can actually raise money for charity. Cut off the stamps, including a narrow border of the paper they have been stuck on (then recycle the envelope!). If you can't find someone that can make use of them, send them on to me (8BS, 1 Oakwood Drive etc.) - they don't weigh much! But don't cut up an envelope that could be re-used.     Recycling facilities are now spread across the entire country, but not all of them are convenient, and they can occasionally be hard to find if you don't know about them. But persevere, and try the following: (1) Tesco, Sainsbury's and others support recycling, and many stores have bottle banks and/or receptacles for paper, cardboard, cans in their grounds. (2) Your county council (or whatever) should have implemented a policy on recycling, and some (most/all?) councils have a Recycling Officer to organise this. Write to them or phone them (check local phone book) and ask for information; you may be surprised by the number of recycling facilities spread across your area. If they do not provide a reasonable amount of facilities, complain. (3) Friends of the Earth provide or support a number of recycling collection schemes (such as one in Oxford), and even if they do not do this in your area, they may be able to provide you with information about how to find recycling facilities if neither of the two above options can help you. The best way to contact them is through their Local Groups, which should have info about recycling in their area: Brent 081 440 1366 Brentwood 0277 221123 Elmbridge 081 783 0357 Enfield 081 360 9193 Epsom 081 393 9409 Hemel Hempstead 0442 67674 Hillingdon 0895 639251 Mole Valley 0306 882811 North Mymms 0707 269589 Reigate 0737 643563 St Albans 0727 51278 Staines 0932 245124 Surbiton 081 390 0053 Tandridge 0883 342841 Watford 0923 221353 Woking 0483 725439 If none of these are close enough to you, try ringing Friends of the Earth on 071 490 1555 and ask if there is a Local Group in your area; there are around 300 altogether. If the nearest recycling facility to you is too far to walk, don't make a specific journey by car, as this is very inefficient; try to drop off the materials for recycling on the way to somewhere else.     (1) Far more efficient than recycling is re-using. For example, it is far better to open an envelope carefully so that it can be used again than to send it to be recycled and then buy another one. Re-using materials saves large amounts of energy and resources, and can also save you lots of money. For sending disks, 100% cardboard disk mailers are best as they can be used again and again (don't seal them with too much tape, though, as they can be ripped accidentally), while simple board-backed envelopes and padded envelopes tend to fall apart after only 2-3 uses, and often rip when being opened. Many companies (and people) send letters etc. printed on only one side of the paper. Find (another) A4-sized cardboard box, and store up all the sheets that are in good enough condition to be re-used. I have well over 1000 sheets of paper ready for re-use. They can be used for rough notes for yourself (home, work, school, university), for draft printouts, and basically anything that you are printing or writing only for yourself (although I did at one stage print school essays on the back of notes and question-sheets that had been photocopied on one side only). Once you have used the paper for the second time, then is the time to recycle it. Try to avoid throwing things away that may be of use to other people; many charities collect old clothes and unwanted toys etc., or you could sell them at a car boot sale or whatever. There are many different things that can be re-used; all you have to do is to think of them! (2) When shopping, try to make an environmentally friendly choice. Only buy aerosols if they are "CFC-free" or "Ozone-friendly". Avoid buying products with excessive packaging (for example, it is better to buy Cadbury's Creme Eggs singly than in three-packs). For items like orange squash etc., try to buy larger bottles (2 litre) rather than small (1 litre), as you then end up with less packaging per litre of the product. If possible, buy glass bottles rather than plastic, as these are easier to recycle. Buying fresh fruit, vegetables and meat locally, rather than heavily packaged and/or partially artificial convenience foods, not only helps to support local farmers, but also reduces the amount of packaging and transport involved, and is probably better for you as well! For products you do buy in supermarkets, look for those with the recycling symbol (three arrows) on them. (3) Using public transport, walking or cycling is more environmentally friendly than taking a car or a taxi. If you have to drive, try not to make journeys with only one person in the car; you are dragging round hundreds or thousands of kilogrammes of metal and plastic, at a huge cost in pollution, just to move less than 100kg of person from one place to another. In any case, avoid driving over 65mph; it is inefficient on fuel, and gets more inefficient the faster you go. Ensure you have a catalytic converter; if possible, use unleaded petrol (pollution from leaded petrol causes brain damage in children - unleaded is cheaper, too). It is also beneficial to buy the smallest car that is sufficient for your needs; and if possible, buy a diesel car. (4) Reducing the amount of power/fuel you use to heat your home is also important - and will save you even more money now that VAT is to be added to fuel and electricity bills. If you can afford it in the short term, having adequate loft insulation (5 inches or so) will save you HUGE amounts of money in the long term. Double-glazing all windows is also very valuable. Keep as many doors shut as possible, and turn off radiators in rooms that are little used. (5) You can also save large amounts of electricity on lighting. Don't sit in the dark, but unless you're reading, it's unnecessary to have blazing lighting on; more than 100W of lights on in a room is excessive, and 60W is preferable. When going out of a room for more than thirty seconds, always TURN THE LIGHTS OFF, except for fluorescent lights, which should only be turned off if you're going out for five minutes or more. Try to keep other electrical appliances off as much as possible too, though your Beeb consumes very little power compared to your lighting, so let's not go too far - lighting is most important. The best way to save electricity, and large amounts of money, is to purchase the new(-ish) Energy Efficient Bulbs, now widely on sale. Although these are much more expensive than normal bulbs, not only do they produce the same amount of light for far less electricity, but they also last much longer before needing to be replaced. So the initial cost is greater, but in the long run you will be saving yourself large amounts of money, and helping to stop pollution. (6) One of the best ways to help the environment is to put pressure on those who pollute it and damage it without considering the consequences. Friends of the Earth is one of the leading enviromental pressure groups, with over 300 local groups in Britain and national organisations in 47 countries worldwide. They campaign on a wide variety of issues, including recycling, energy efficiency, air and water pollution, rain forest destruction etc., but oppose illegal or violent protests. As well as lobbying government and commercial interests, they provide a wide variety of information on enviromental issues to the public, so that they too can help the environment. Joining FoE means you will receive their quarterly magazine, Earth Matters, which contains information and comment on environmental issues, far more searching than anything you will find in the papers or elsewhere, and news on what you can do for the environment, as well as updates on important campaigns. But more importantly, the money you give to join will go towards the important environmental work that FoE do. You can also arrange to give additional money to support their work, either by standing order, or by PAYE schemes, which mean you don't pay tax on the money you give to them. For details of how to join, phone 0582 482297, or contact me.