By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact
Is Recycling Patriotic?
Recycle Bank, a new rewards program that contracts directly with cities to develop an incentive program that actually pays consumers to recycle, is promoting recycling, saying it is “American as Apple Pie.”
They argue that recycling is patriotic and shows “our love for our country.” Nationally, we currently only recycle 30% of our waste. When the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates up to 75% of our waste can be recycled, obviously recycling is not yet part of the American ethos.
By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact
It’s sometimes painful to watch the big automakers scrambling to right their collective ship, coming out with prototype vehicles like GM and Segway’s lovechild, the P.U.M.A. (granted, my colleague Steve Puma – no relation – noted that it is a step in the right direction). But on the flip side, it’s a joy to hear about cool startups like Zambikes and Bamboosero.
Vaughn Spethmann founded Zambikes in an effort to develop both employment opportunities and appropriate transportation for Zambians. Not only did he and his Zambian bike-builders create standard steeds, they also created innovative designs including the “Zambulance,” designed to carry sick people to hospitals in places where other means of transportation aren’t adequate or always available.
As described in this BBC piece, the companies are working with enterprising Africans to produce bikes – including mountain and cargo bikes with a bamboo frame – in Zambia and Ghana. They are sold in Africa and the US.
With some $4.5 billion in Federal grants spurring project development and investment, LED streetlights and smart grid technology are being combined and systems rolled out in a growing number of California cities.
Creator of the LonWorks open platform standard for smart grid and building/facilities energy management systems and products, San Jose-based Echelon Corp. is at the forefront of this wave of infrastructural change. The emerging market leader is involved in smart grid LED street lighting projects in Palo Alto, San Francisco, San Jose, as well as others in the US and abroad. Click to continue reading »
I grew up in Southern California during the beginning of the worst multi-year drought in California’s history. We sang “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down” at summer camp. My mother timed my showers and started screaming at the four-minute mark. We cringed at the sight of our azure swimming pool. We thought it couldn’t get any worse. Click to continue reading »
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The 4th of July celebrations are almost upon us. The 4th of July weekend is a good time to re-think what products we use. Before you break out the disposable plates and plastic flatware, consider a few facts about our country’s solid waste.
The U.S. produces 70 percent of the world’s solid waste, and 80 percent of U.S. products are used once and then thrown away. Paper is 37 percent of all the waste in the U.S., and paper waste in landfills emits methane. Landfills are the largest source of methane emissions (32 percent), which has a warming effect 23 times greater than carbon dioxide.
Compostable products are better alternatives to plastic disposables. Founded in 2004, World Centric sells compostable products made from renewable sources. The company’s website pointedly states that “every action has an impact on the well-being of our planet.”
Compostables, according to World Centric, “provide eco-friendly alternatives to everyday consumption choices, which can help minimize social & economic inequalities, reduce the impact of our consumption on the environment and help create a better and sustainable world.”
Sometimes you can eat your words, and they taste good. LA’s Coolhaus has taken the staid category of the ice cream truck and brought it inventively into our time.
Using local and organic ingredients whenever possible, these ice cream sandwiches, all centered around an architectural theme, come in both “prefab” (generally offered) flavors, like Mies Vanilla Rohe, Mintimalism, and Frank Behry, and can be custom designed on request, either on the spot or as an ongoing exclusive flavor, like Renzo Pie-Ano launching soon at Wurstkuche.
Coolhaus is an example of what the founders call “Farchitecture” – the exploration of the intersection of food and architecture, using disciplines not typically associated with each other to enhance the execution. Click to continue reading »
While ocean ship operators were digesting news of a pending major rule from the Environmental Protection Agency on vessel air emissions, another vision of the future occurred at the Port of Long Beach, CA.
A Toyota car carrier partially powered by solar energy docked at the port. The Auriga Leader is the first such green-technology-equipped car carrier to ply the high seas and it’s about time.
The vessel is outfitted with 328 solar panels that can generate up to 40 kilowatts, decreasing demand on the ship’s diesel-powered auxiliary engines for electricity, thus cutting down pollution, the port says.
Photo Source: Fotosports / R. Parker
As hoards of tennis fans queued in line for hours today, hoping to get a glimpse of Andy Roddick or Roger Federer on Centre Court, the organizers of the world’s premiere tennis event offered a concession to those unlucky enough not to get in this morning: Resales.
While Wimbledon has been praised for not over-commercializing this year’s tournament, the reselling of tickets, at first mention, may seem like an attempt to institutionalize scalping. As original ticket holders exit the grounds, they have the option to make unwanted tickets available for other fans (either by depositing the actual tickets at select kiosks throughout the grounds, or if they want to keep them as a souvenir, having the barcodes scanned upon leaving so that new tickets may be generated).
There is one big and important difference between this system, however, and the guys that stand outside stadium gates at baseball or football games. Beyond the fact that prices aren’t ridiculously inflated, all proceeds Wimbledon generates from ticket resales are donated to charity. Click to continue reading »
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At last, an organic way to eliminate odors before taking a crap. I’m so sick of all those harsh chemicals I usually use to spray the toilet before going number two. Oh no, wait a minute, I never spray the toilet with anything, because, frankly, pooping is about as natural as you can get.
But that doesn’t stop Poo-Pourri from coming out with a new all new organic bathroom spray, aptly named: “Nature’s Call.”
While attending the Renewable Energy Finance Forum Wall Street last week, I was almost surprised to see an entire discussion dedicated to how Big Oil plans on entering the cleantech business.
The talk was led by Don Paul, Executive Director of the University of Southern California Energy Institute.
In his former life, Mr. Paul was the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Chevron. He knows a thing or two about the oil business. And his presentation was right to the point.Click to continue reading »
In today’s economy, energy efficiency is a top priority for both public and private institutions. It promises to reduce energy expenditures, lower GHG emissions, and – of course! – to save a pile of money. While there’s been talk of energy efficiency since the 1970s, excitement has grown recently due to oil price fluctuations and energy efficiency funding in the federal stimulus plan. So, does this mean that we can finally save money from energy efficiency – without having to spend more cash first? Click to continue reading »
Think your “Conflict Free” diamond is conflict free? Think again.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), the well-known initiative attempting to “stem” the trade and sale of conflict diamonds, has been dealt several recent, serious blows to its credibility. Between new revelations of violence in Zimbabwe’s diamond fields, increasing evidence of diamond smuggling and fraud in Venezuela, Lebanon, and Guinea, and the recent condemnatory departure of one of KPCS’s founders, Ian Smillie, it is clear that the KPCS leaves a lot of room for improvement and innovation.
Last Friday, Human Rights Watch released a damning report accusing KPCS member state Zimbabwe of “engaging in the forced labor of children and adults” and “torturing and beating local villagers on the diamond fields of Marange district in eastern Zimbabwe.” HRW reports that the military, still controlled by the country’s former ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), “killed more than 200 people in a violent takeover of the diamond fields in late 2008.”Click to continue reading »
When Dow Chemical Co. decides to get into the algae biofuel business, it’s a sure sign that algae as a go-to alternative and renewable energy source has entered the big leagues.
Dow this week said it is hooking up with Algenol Biofuels Inc. to construct and operate a pilot-scale algae-based integrated biorefinery that will convert CO2 into ethanol. The planned location covers 24 acres at a Dow site in Freeport, Texas. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Click to continue reading »