San Francisco’s Mayor Newsom Signs Mandatory Recycling Law

| Wednesday June 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

SF%20Compost%20Law.jpg
Photo Source: seattlepi.com
Yesterday, Mayor Gavin Newsom signed one of the first legislations of its kind in the country: a mandatory law requiring residential and commercial building owners to recycle and compost. While several other cities require recycling service and participation, San Francisco is the first city to require the collection of food scraps and other compostables.
Based on a study by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, food discards comprise 10% of the total municipal waste stream, and the majority of that comes from the commercial sector. In the same study, the Waste Management Board found that over 40% of the waste produced by both the retail food store and restaurant sectors is compostable food and paper refuse.
If all of the recyclable and compostable materials currently going to landfills were captured by the city’s programs, according to the San Francisco Department of the Environment, San Francisco’s recycling rate would soar to 90%.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

podium[Your News Here]

Waste Expo Part IV: “Recyclables Separated Off-Site”

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Wednesday June 24th, 2009 | 1 Comment

vegas_garbage.jpg

The Waste Expo convention that I attended early this month was sponsored in part by the National Solid Wastes Management Association, which launched a public relations campaign at the event. The campaign is called “Environmentalists. Every Day.” and is meant to paint some green attitude on the garbage business.
Included on the campaign’s web site are little tutorials on how waste management professionals ought to engage with the public at large and basically make the industry out to be a steward of the Earth, or something like that. The organization is basically saying “Hey, we’re part of the solution, not the problem!”
Well, it is true that the solid waste industry has evolved quite a bit in recent decades – though I would offer that perhaps this evolution is due largely to having to comply with environmental regulations and in finding business value in the recycling industry. But does an industry that calls energy generated through incineration a “renewable” energy really embrace the tenets of sustainability?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

iPhone + Hidden Park ARG = Getting Kids Outdoors

| Wednesday June 24th, 2009 | 3 Comments


It’s been said that today’s kids are increasingly focused on their gadgets, and see the outside as a distraction from doing the cool things they can do online, on their XBox, their laptop, and their iPhone.
So how do you find a way to get them outside in a way that doesn’t involve nagging and will increase their own desire to be there in the first place?
Bulpadok has found a way. Engage them in a way that will leverage their fascination with the iPhone, their imagination, and GPS: The Hidden Park. Bulpadok is an Australian mobile apps company who as they say, “We love Geocaching so much we blended it with Alternative Reality Gaming.”
In the case of The Hidden Park, they’ve mapped out real life parks in nine major metropolitan areas in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, overlaying a children’s fantasy adventure “alternative reality game” (ARG) on top of that, taking them (and their parents) on a grand day at the park in the process.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

New Study Finds F-gases Are Making It Harder to Stay Cool

| Wednesday June 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

F Gas Refrigerator

Earlier this week, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirmed that refrigerant chemicals known as “F-gases” pose a greater threat to global climate change than was previously thought. The paper, which was authored by a team of scientists from NOAA, EPA, Dupont and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, estimates that the growth of F-gas emissions due to increased cooling needs represents a grave enough threat that it may undo nearly half of the efforts to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions as a means to combat global climate change.
Found in everyday products such as refrigerators, insulation foams and air conditioning units (including units in homes, building and cars), fluorocarbons were designed by chemical engineers to trap heat in modern cooling appliances. In this light, hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) are the quintessential greenhouse gases. The intention behind the design of HFCs was to combat the impact of cooling chemicals such as Freon on the depletion of the ozone layer, and they were developed before the impact of human-induced climate change was widely understood.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Chinese Companies Creating Better Green Products

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday June 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

250px-Solarboiler.jpgTen companies received Business Week’s (BW) Greener China Business Awards. Although still the world’s biggest user of coal powered energy, China is emerging as an “incubator for clean technology,” as BW puts it. China is the largest producer of photovoltaic solar panels, and the second largest market for wind turbines. The Chinese government says it will increase its use of renewable energy to 23 percent by 2020, up from its current 16 percent, which is similar to European targets.
BW used a panel of experts and its reporters to select ten winners from over 60 candidates. Some of the companies were selected for cleaning up pollution they created, and others for creating environmentally-friendly products. It is the latter category that caught my attention, particularly two Chinese companies: Himin which makes solar water heaters, and Haier which makes environmentally friendly appliances.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Tesla to Receive Goverment Money to Build Electric Cars

| Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 | 2 Comments

Tesla%20Charging.jpg
If you thought that Tesla Motors hadn’t hit the big time, that it was just a fringe, even infant car company next to the big boys like Ford, GM, or Toyota, today’s bit of news might help change that notion. Like the major automakers, it too will now receive government funding.
Dozens of auto companies, suppliers, and battery makers have sought a total of $38 billion from a federal loan program to develop fuel-efficient vehicles, an AP article reported this morning. Alongside Ford and Nissan, two automakers that have EVs in the pipeline that will also get government funding in this new proposal, Tesla will receive roughly $465 million to build electric drive trains and vehicles.
“By supporting key technologies and sound business plans, we can jumpstart the production of fuel-efficient vehicles in America,” US Energy Secretary, Steven Chu said. Though, as Chu later alludes to, this will definitely help create more jobs and hopefully reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, it also begs the question if this is the best use of the money.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Solar Stocks: Hot or Not?

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

solar stocks

As usual when it comes to the stock market the answer is maybe yes, maybe no. Playing in the solar arena depends on how risk-friendly you are.
Yes solar stocks are hot at the moment but are they a good long-term play or a bubble ripe for bursting? J. Peter Lynch, a financial analyst and contributor to RenewableEnergyWorld.com, advises caution.
“If you are getting involved in solar stocks you have to be a little a careful right now. Don’t buy a solar stock and put it away,” he says. Instead be ready to trade and be alert to the fluctuations in the market and the players.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Waste Expo Part III: Trash-Talkin’ in Sin City

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

lasvegas.jpgI wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I’d get from Bob Coyle, vice president of public affairs for waste management company Republic Services of Southern Nevada, when I told him that, based on my experience, no one believes that waste is recycled in Las Vegas. Not the Las Vegas taxi driver I talked to as I was headed for the airport. Not my college buddy who lives in Vegas. Not even some of my fellow attendees at the Waste Expo conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center. As it turns out, that’s hardly news to Coyle.
“That’s one of my biggest challenges,” he says. “And the residential [recycling] system is antiquated, at best.”
Republic Services of Southern Nevada, which has an exclusive contract for waste collection and disposal in Las Vegas, collects trash twice a week from 515,000 residential customers in the area, and brings about 9500 tons of waste per day to the Apex Regional Landfill, located 25 miles north of Las Vegas. It also offers recycling services and operates a municipal material recovery facility (known as a MRF in waste circles) where recyclables are collected, sorted and bailed before being sold and shipped to converters in the US and aboard. But rather than being collected twice weekly, along with the trash, recyclables are only collected twice a month.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Waste Collection Goes High Tech

Wes Muir | Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

By Wes Muir, Director, Communications, Waste Management
The days are longer, kids are out of school and beach season is in full swing: these are clear indicators that summer is upon us and everyone is flocking outdoors. While you’re out and about, packing a picnic lunch or walking around your favorite city, you’re probably also generating trash.
How many times have you wandered down the street or along the beach, wondering where you can pitch that ice cream wrapper? Or maybe when you’ve desperately sought a garbage can for that cup of coffee you drank while walking into work? Unfortunately, most times you’ve probably been unsuccessful in locating said receptacle. Worse yet, as this blogger describes as a pet peeve, you do find a bin, but it’s overflowing and you can’t properly dispose of your piece of trash.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

China Plans To Increase Geothermal Development

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

geothermal chinaChina is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Coal is used for 70 percent of China’s energy. However, the vice-chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Zhang Xiaoqiang, recently told the London newspaper, the Telegraph that China is serious about developing renewable energy. “We are now formulating a plan for development of renewable energy. We can be sure we will exceed the 15 per cent target. We will at least reach 18 per cent. Personally I think we could reach the target of having renewables provide 20 per cent of total energy consumption.”
Earlier this month the deputy head of the National Energy Administration, Liu Qi announced the preliminary draft for China’s energy stimulus plan was completed. No other details were given, but geothermal heating will surely be included in the stimulus plan, which will help China meet its goals of increasing its renewable energy use to ten percent by 2010 from 7.5 percent in 2005.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Other Random Eco-Stats, David Suzuki Style

Scott Cooney | Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

Continuing a line of previous posts on terrific eco-stats coming from David Suzuki’s Green Guide (on energy, food, ecopsychology, and travel), here is a summary of eco-stats that don’t fit into any particular category, but may be of marketing use for green businesses.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The Sustainability Lens

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

preidio-buzz-bar.gif
Piersonbooklens.jpgBy Steve Pierson
“The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hopefulness only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run, as if your life depends on it.”
From Paul Hawken’s commencement address to the University of Portland Class of 2009

Let me begin by saying what a wonderful commencement address I think Mr. Hawken’s was, and thank Hunter Lovins for relaying it to the Presidio community. It reminds me of Mark Sower’s Presidio graduation address comment about how “we are faced with insurmountable opportunities.” Both hold the tension of that impossible task we must nevertheless do. The anchor is the impossible task, and the variable is our capacity to rise to it.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The Heineken Experience: Marketing that Leaves a Bad Taste in my Mouth

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 4 Comments

heineken-bathrobe.jpg
Let’s face it – we all go on brewery tours for the free beers. Heineken understands this, and has pretty much done away with all of the real brewing aspects of the show, while giving customers a strong dose of the Heineken experience: an extended opportunity to view Heineken ads, drink shots of beer offered from a Heineken star shaped bar, listen to hip-hop in a darkly lit room (chandelier of bottles of course) with ads blaring on all 4 walls and even make a music video with men in lederhosen as background singers. The most exciting part of all, though, was the “Brew U” experience, wherein we did not have a tour guide, nor did we see the actual brewing or bottling of beer. Instead we stood on a platform and got heated up and tossed around like malt.

But, perhaps, I’m just a crotchety idealist. This might be the most brilliant marketing strategy of all time. Customers who already have at least a passing interest in your product willingly pay 15 euros to be subjected to a 2-hour, full-sensory experience of it, with beer! When we ended the tour, I asked around to some of the other people who had participated, and they had a great time. People were loving it! They didn’t feel ripped off at all. And they weren’t all just 18 year olds stoked to be free of the drinking age restrictions in their home countries. They didn’t even realize that they had paid for pure advertising, but then, isn’t that the most effective kind?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

TerraCycle and Yak-Pak Join the Billboard Bag Bandwagon

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

yak-pak-billboard.jpg
Bags, backpacks and accessories made out of used billboards, tarps, and other inspired detritus are a classic example of “upcycling.” That is, re-using something that’s met the end of its “first life” as something at least as durable and long-lasting in its “second life.” Not only that, but entrepreneurs have managed to do well taking advantage of practically free raw materials while earning a little “eco street cred” on the side.
One of the pioneers in the trend has been Freitag. The Swiss bag manufacturer has been making stylish and durable goods out of European “Truck Tarpaulins” since 1993 to great acclaim – building an 80+ person company and winning design awards left and right.
With Truck Tarpaulins uncommon in the US, discarded billboards have also become a hugely popular raw material for bags, as evidenced by the dozens of start ups who’ve made use of them. But a big challenge remains on the supply chain side – it takes a lot of effort and connections to establish a reliable source of, say, billboard material in order to run a predictable operation.
That’s where the networking genius of TerraCycle can play a role – in this case, helping Yak-Pak.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Starbucks Drops the Spin for a Candid Q&A

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 7 Comments

starbucks-trash-can.jpg

Update: Starbucks offers a 10-cent discount in all of their stores in the U.S. and Canada to customers who bring in their own reusable mugs for their beverages. Customers staying in a store can also request that their beverages be served in a ceramic Starbucks mug. More information about their “Mug Pledge” is available on their Shared Planet website.
Starbucks. A name synonymous with coffee and other frothy caffeinated delights. Or, if you read my Cause Marketing series, it’s a name I often liken to greenwashing, and have on more than one occasion questioned their authenticity when it comes to environmental consciousness — especially as it relates to the glaring fact that their cups are not recyclable in a majority of states in which they have stores. But I’m not alone. A quick google search with the terms “Starbucks cups not recyclable” will return a host of results and commentary around this issue as consumers struggle to understand why a company who claims a deep commitment to the environment would neglect such a critical element. And we’re left speculating if their CSR practices are only marketing deep.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »