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Thanks to lower energy costs and forecasts for a milder winter, Americans will pay less to heat their homes this year that they did last winter.

In its latest report, the federal Energy Information Agency projects that households will spend an average of $960 this winter for heating fuels, 8 percent, or $84, less than last year.

The biggest drops are in homes using natural gas and propane, where prices will drop by 12 percent and 14 percent, respectively. For those using electricity or heating oil, costs are expected to fall by 2 percent.

The declines are a reflection of much lower oil and particularly natural gas prices this year. Oil prices, which had soared to $147 a barrel last winter, are now trading around $70 a barrel.

For natural gas, the fall has been even sharper. Natural gas prices peaked at $13.6 per thousand cubic feet in the summer of 2008. They are currently trading at $5, after having fallen to around $3 per thousand cubic feet just a few weeks ago.

The latest projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast this winter to be one percent warmer compared with last year and one percent milder than the 30-year average, calculated between 1971 and 2000.

Heating degree-day projections vary widely between regions. The Midwest, a major market for propane and natural gas, is projected to be about 4 percent warmer than last winter, while the West is projected to be about 4 percent colder, the government said.

The energy agency sees oil prices rising to $75 a barrel by the end of next year, and gas at $5 per thousand cubic feet.

From “Government Sees Lower Winter Heating Bills” by Jad Mouawad, published October 6, 2009 at The New York Times.

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About 47 percent of current retirees say they left their jobs sooner than they had planned.

From Employee Benefit Research Institute

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Resource Recycling, Inc., publisher of Plastics Recycling Update, invite you to attend North America’s premier plastics recycling conference. The Plastics Recycling 2009 Conference will be held February 24 – 25 at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

The conference format and tradeshow provide a collaborative setting and numerous opportunities for networking. The 2008 conference, held last February in Jacksonville, Florida, attracted more than 700 attendees from over a dozen countries. The tradeshow showcased over 50 exhibitors.

he Plastics Recycling 2009 Conference agenda will feature extensive and detailed industry assessments, including analyses of trends in the U.S. and Canada, plastics collection issues, recycling market factors, and legislative and policy considerations. Presenters include the leading experts in plastics recovery and utilization.

Download the registration form and fax it to 503.233.1356 or call 503.233.1305 x118 to register by phone.

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The US generated 8.8 million tons of waste comprised of furniture and furnishings in 2005; the amount recycled or reused was negligible. It is estimated that the US produces 8.75 billion pounds of textile waste every year, which takes up about 4 percent of landfill space across the country. The average American throws away 68 pounds of clothing and textile waste per year. Most of the waste is generated by consumers, but North American spinning mills, weavers, and fabric manufacturers also contribute to textile waste by sending 25,000 tons of new textile fiber to landfills each year.

The textile recycling industry, including more than 2,000 US companies, diverts 2.5 billion pounds of post-consumer textile product waste from landfills annually. Both residential- and industry-discarded fibers can be used to make a variety of products when recycled (including wiping cloths, rugs, and filling products), thus conserving landfill space, preventing more land from being cultivated for fiber-producing crops, and saving water, energy, and pesticides.

Many of these reclaimed textiles are exported to developing countries for reprocessing and/or use there. In fact, between 1990 and 2003, the US exported approximately 7 billion pounds of used clothing and textiles around the world.

From GreenYour.com

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New York City’s 8 million residents and millions of businesses, construction projects and visitors generate as much as 36,200 tons of garbage every day. The cost of disposal has grown to about $400 million this year.

From The New York Observer

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The Boylan Bttlg. Co., founded in 1891, is honored to share very similar beginnings with the carbonated beverages of the same era that are now world-famous. But it is our differences of today of which we are most proud. For more than a century Boylan has formulated and produced, regardless of cost, only “authentic soda-pop”, unlike most bottlers in the country who have over the years compromised their original recipes and cut costs by switching to corn syrup and plastic bottles. Boylan still uses pure cane sugar which enhances the true flavor rather than leave a syrupy aftertaste and thick glass bottles to ensure freshness and proper levels of carbonation. Our in-house flavor formulations use the most expensive extracts and essences – and plenty of them. So whether you’re drinking a Boylan because you appreciate what is good and made right or just trying one for the first time, we thank you for supporting one of the oldest bottling companies and its authentic beverages of a bygone era.

From Boylan Bottling Co.

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Recycling has been part of Anheuser-Busch operations for more than 100 years, when Adolphus Busch started recycling leftover brewers’ grain. Today that commitment continues as Anheuser-Busch Companies recycle more than 97 percent of the solid waste they create, more than 5 billion pounds of material a year.

Anheuser-Busch Recycling Corporation (A-BRC) is one of the world’s largest recyclers of aluminum beverage containers, recycling more than 27 billion can annually. That’s 25 percent more cans than Anheuser-Busch puts into the market.

A-BRC supports a vast network of more than 700 suppliers by providing collection equipment and marketing tools such as radio and newspaper advertisements, and local signage to encourage community recycling. A-BRC implements hundreds of recycling programs each year, ranging from the company’s Recycle Challenge school program where schools earn money from recycled cans to purchase equipment, to beverage container collection at large venues, including Daytona 500, Sturgis Bike Week and Professional Golf Association/Ladies Professional Golf Association events. Budweiser Green Teams staff some of the largest events in the United States to help prevent litter, recycle and increase recycling awareness.

From Anheuser-Busch’s Our Pledge.com, who’s mission is to continually seek to operate more efficiently and maintain our quality standards, while considering our environmental impact in order to be better stewards of the world in which we live.

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While the men and women of the Department of Sanitation will work around the clock and do whatever it takes to make sure that our streets are passable, when it comes to pedestrians, it’s up to you to make sure that they can get through your sidewalks safely. Here are the rules you must follow to make winter safe and enjoyable for yourself, your family and your neighbors:

  • Whether you’re the owner, tenant, occupant or the person in charge of any lot or building, you must clear the snow and/or ice from your sidewalk within four (4) hours after the snow has stopped falling, or by 11 a.m. if the snow stopped falling after 9 p.m. the night before.
  • If the snow becomes frozen and too hard to remove, you may spread clean, unused cat litter, salt, sand, sawdust or another similarly suitable material within the same time limits.
  • As you clear your sidewalk, keep in mind: YOU MUST NOT THROW SNOW INTO THE STREET.  It’s against the law, and it forces Sanitation to re-plow your street. Also, you should never cover fire hydrants with snow – this could interfere with firefighting efforts.
  • The bottom line is sidewalks must be thoroughly cleaned as soon as the weather permits.

Failure to comply with the law may result in fines ranging from $100 to $350.

From NYC Department of Sanitation.

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In 2006, Americans generated about 251 million tons of trash and recycled 82 million tons of materials, which is 32.5 percent. We recycled 1.5 pounds of our individual waste generation rate of 4.6 pounds per person per day.

From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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2 tablespoons, plus 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1 pound linguine
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 sliced red jalapenos
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon Essence, divided, recipe follows
1 cup small diced onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cups canned tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
1/2 pound mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1/2 pound calamari, bodies diced into rings, with the tentacles
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, optional

Bring a large 1-gallon pot of water to a boil, add 2 tablespoons of the salt to the pot and place the pasta in it. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and then transfer pasta to a large bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss to coat the pasta well, then set aside.

As the pasta cooks, set a 14-inch saute pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Once hot add the red jalapenos. Season the shrimp with 2 teaspoons of the Essence, add the shrimp to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Turn the shrimp over and cook another minute. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside as you prepare the sauce.

Place the onions in the pan and cook until wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the red pepper flakes and saute briefly before adding the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook the sauce briefly, then add the clams to the pan. Cover the pan and cook the clams for 1 minute, remove the lid, add the mussels to the pan and replace the cover. Cook the mussels for 2 minutes, remove the lid and season the calamari with the remaining 1 teaspoon of Essence before adding them to the pan along with the seared shrimp and the pasta. Continue to cook the pasta, tossing to blend the pasta with the sauce, and season with the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt, about 2 minutes. Garnish the pasta with the chopped parsley and cheese and serve.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

From Food Network. Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2007.

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