ShipGreen Offers Retailers a Web-Based Program to Offset Carbon Emissions from Shipping

| Wednesday January 2nd, 2008 | 2 Comments

ShipGreen allows retailers an easily integratable carbon offset programThrough the pioneering work of Dr. Cristiano Facanha of ICF International and Dr. Arpad Horvath of the University of California at Berkeley, ShipGreen.net now offers a web-based program that integrates with retailers’ online shopping carts, enabling consumers to easily – and accurately – offset the carbon produced from product life-cycle shipping emissions.

Facanha and Horvath’s combined experience in life-cycle assessment, supply chain, and freight transportation has allowed the pair to develop the most accurate algorithm yet possible in determining the carbon footprint of products from manufacture to delivery at the consumer’s door.

The program easily integrates with a retailer’s shopping cart, giving the customer the option to offset the carbon produced in shipping their purchases. Due to the accuracy of the algorithm developed by Facanha and Horvath, the average cost of an offset is only .29 to .49 cents. The modest cost may help bring some of the “almost greens” into the “bright green” category I spoke of in a previous post.

The offset programs funded through the program are verified in accordance with Kyoto Protocol requirements and, according to ShipGreen, to The Gold Standard (f)or the Climate, Community & Biodiviersity Alliance, taking into account cultural, environmental, social and economic issues”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Got An Idea for a Green Gadget?

Shannon Arvizu | Wednesday January 2nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

Humans are tool-makers. This, according to many in the sustainable business field, is our greatest asset for building an innovative and sustainable society.
While most of us read and write about the latest green inventions on the Triple P site, here is a unique opportunity to propose your own idea for a green gadget. A new design contest for the development of green electronics is now open as part of the Greener Gadget Conference in New York City, scheduled for February 1, 2008.

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Global Warming, What Global Warming?

| Tuesday January 1st, 2008 | 6 Comments

ppp023-main_walrus_portrait.jpg It’s easy to forget that many of what scientists and many laypersons now take as scientific givens – a heliocentric solar system, plate tectonics, evolution – initially faced fierce and strident opposition that persisted over decades if not centuries – and to this day remain outside the world view of large numbers of people. Such is the case when it comes to global warming and climate change, which has taken several decades – and sharp spikes in fossil fuels and commodities– to win the minds and hearts of what James Lovelock terms “scientific middle management” as well as a broader public.
That’s certainly not to say that there is unanimity in the scientific community or the broad population – as can be seen in some reader comments– when it comes to acknowledging that we are on the brink, or perhaps in the early stages of a global warming period and that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide is the primary accelerant. And it remains very much in doubt as to whether or not governments, industry, NGOs, local communities and individuals can respond as widely or as urgently as may be necessary to even at least ameliorate the adverse effects.

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Solatubes: Power-free lighting solution

| Monday December 31st, 2007 | 0 Comments

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If you’re looking for an innovative and highly energy efficient daylighting system, Solatube may be the answer. These sunlight tubes combine art and science to provide beautiful and functional daylighting. This technology has actually been tauted as one of the most technologically advanced daylighting products available today. The combination of creative component integration along with a sleek design provides an abundance of pure, clean and natural light for any interior space.

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AskPablo: About Plastic Recycling

| Monday December 31st, 2007 | 47 Comments

50px-U%2B2673_DejaVu_Sans.svg.pngThis week I got the following question from Barb:

My community as well as all other surrounding cities here in Ohio only accept plastic with a #1 or #2 to recycle. Why can’t the other numbers be recycled? Is there any effort among businesses to use the most oft recycled plastics (i.e. only use #1-4) or an effort in the “green” community to encourage the use of a select type of plastic so that eventually it’s economically feasible for recycling centers to recycle all plastic containers?

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Taking on the E-Waste Problem

| Sunday December 30th, 2007 | 5 Comments

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Ongoing growth in volumes and disposal rates of electronic waste and scrap pose consumers, governments and industry with a growing threat to environmental health and safety. In its 2002 report “Exporting Harm,” the Seattle arm of the Basel Action Network revealed that about 80 percent of electronic waste brought to recyclers in the US is in fact not recycled here but exported to Asia, most likely China, where “it is melted down in primitive, environmentally damaging conditions including the cooking and melting of computer circuit boards in vast quantity.”
Five years on, governments, international organizations and IT industry leaders are now coming together to address what is a complex and intricate problem. In March, United Nations University, United Nations Environment Program, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and a host of government agencies and leading electronics industry participants established the Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) program, a global private-public sector cooperative that aims to “help shape government policies worldwide and address issues related to redesign and product life expectancy, reuse and recycling, and help build relevant capacity in developing nations.”
Consumers need to get on board. We are throwing away electronics at unprecedented rates. The US EPA estimates that only 12.5%, or 330,000 pounds, of the 2.63 million tons of e-waste disposed of in the US in 2005 was recovered for recycling. The other 87.5% wound up in landfills or was incinerated, posing environmental and human health risks as well as wasting a lot of increasingly costly, potentially recoverable metals and other materials.

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Hypercar: The car that pays you to drive it

| Saturday December 29th, 2007 | 4 Comments

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The car of the future is not only going to come standard with a hybrid powered engine; rather, the whole concept of a car from the ground up will be an entirely redeveloped mobility machine. A fine example is the Hypercar, a vehicle designed in reverse; featuring ultra light construction, hybrid-electric drive, low-drag design and efficient accessories to accomplish a 3 to 5-fold improvement on fuel efficiency. The major highlight? It can actually pay you to drive the car, imagine receiving a check at the end of each month just for driving a smart vehicle. The performance is poised to match current automobiles through comparable saftety, amenities and affordability.
The Rocky Mountain Institute is the creative “green” engineering think tank behind this promising concept. The model was developed by looking at today’s vehicles and re-thinking virtually every aspect. Through aerodynamics, advanced composites to achieve light weight coupled with strength and a power train that is more effective than any before, they just might have found the answer to gas-guzzling, air-polluting autos.

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Biodegradable Caskets: Composting your relatives?

| Friday December 28th, 2007 | 9 Comments

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Green goes under ground, six feet under and currently being spear-headed in Oregon by and environmentally-friendly funeral products dealer by the name of Cynthia Beal. She is the founder of The Natural Burial Co. in Portland, Oregon, the healthy way to recycle yourself and your casket upon taking the inevitable dirt nap. Cynthia herself wishes to become an Oregon cherry tree when she dies, and she has found a way to make that happen — her body, a burial, and her own biodegradable coffin.
These biodegradable coffins are the focal point of an eerie and surprising green business; perhaps Beal described it properly when she said “it is composting at its best.” Her shop officially opens in January, and kissing the storefront window is a United Kingdom sourced Ecopod, a biodegradable coffin constructed out of recycled newspapers. These kayak-shaped coffins are the focal point of the up and coming “natural burials,” which are formaldehyde-free, and buck the usual cement vaults, laminated caskets or chemical lawn treatments. The result, burials that are not harmful to the environment.

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Alex Steffen: Inspired Ideas for a Sustainable Future

| Friday December 28th, 2007 | 0 Comments

Alex Steffen is the co-founder and executive editor of WorldChanging.com. I found this video on Hugg.ca (another blog to which I have the privilege of contributing ) with Alex speaking at the TED conference in Monterey (click here for a list of other great speakers on a host of topics).
I think you’ll find Alex’s talk worthwhile.

Alex Steffen: Inspired ideas for a sustainable future on Video.ca

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Builder reduces its carbon footprint: Pays Off

| Wednesday December 26th, 2007 | 2 Comments

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So how would a builder profit in the current rough and tumble real estate market? Build a high quality home using green practices without cutting any corners that’s how. David Hall of Deltec Homes has successfully led his company along this path and the profits continue to grow even in these hard times for builders and developers alike. The difference with Deltec is that it is improving upon its green ideas and building practices from within.
Deltec is implementing its green ideas in its own plant, promising to be operating on 100% renewable energy resources by the first of the upcoming New Year. Not only is this a milestone for the company, it is for the state of North Carolina as well. Deltec will officially become the largest private generator of solar power in the entire state with this move.

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Bright Green Consumers and the Scourge of Greenwashing

| Wednesday December 26th, 2007 | 4 Comments

Green gadget hounds on the riseA couple of news items I’ve come across lately regarding green consumers and the marketers that market to them:

First is a recent Forrestor Research study entitled “In Search of Green Technology Consumers” that find an increase in consumers the profess an active concern for the environment and a willingness to spend extra for green products from an environmentally conscious company. According to the research, 12% of Americans (25 million people) fall into this “bright green” category. That leaves 90 million (41%) that are concerned about the environmental, but not enough – at least yet – to spend extra for green products.

The remaining 47% don’t care or “believe in” environmental issues. Wal-Mart, shipped from China encased in lead – doesn’t matter. Cheaper is always better. It must be hard to breath with your head stuck in the sand all the time…

But I digress.

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Holiday Reading: Gaia’s Revenge and Lovelock on Nuclear Power

| Wednesday December 26th, 2007 | 4 Comments

ppp21gaiasrevengecover.jpg I come a little late to the party, so to speak, but I recently picked up and am now a little more than halfway through James Lovelock’s The Revenge of Gaia, the fourth in his series of books developing the Gaia Hypothesis, now Theory, he and a small group of collaborators first put forth widely back in 1972.
Lovelock and colleagues’ work to develop the Gaia Theory and earth systems science has proven to be seminal in several ways, and hence I figure these books must have a place on any required reading list to do with climate change, energy and natural resources development and management, as well as providing well worthwhile insight and inside commentary on the state of scientific research and the how scientific community works today.
The idea of Gaia – consisting of the biosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere– as being a “living” entity in terms of its natural ability to organize and regulate our world’s chemical, physical and biological activities, inputs and outputs so as to make the planet amenable to life has proven to be an iconic and elementally attractive way of viewing the planet for large numbers of lay persons as well as scientists–one that harkens back to our ancestral concepts of Nature as a mother goddess.

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Bye bye fertilizer, let your waste work for you.

| Tuesday December 25th, 2007 | 8 Comments

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Surprisingly, the two largest components in a landfill are food and paper, both biodegradable substances. In fact, statistics clearly show that nearly 50% of all municipal solid waste is consistent of only food and paper products. The EPA clearly states that food waste is the #1 least recycled material.
The problem with landfills pertaining to food and paper waste is the lack of oxygen, which so happens to be a principle partner in promoting degradation. Thanks in part to a population explosion and the lack of landfill space costs are skyrocketing for waste removal. This can only mean higher taxes and higher fees for everyone. A bright inventor and waste removal expert has developed upon an old idea and created a more simple solution for the home and office environment to eliminate food scraps the smart way.

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AskPablo is taking a break

| Monday December 24th, 2007 | 0 Comments

Che.jpgAskPablo is on vacation this week. I would like to wish you and your family happy holidays and all the best for the new year. May you be safe, happy, and sustainable.
Pablo Päster
Sustainability Engineer
www.AskPablo.org

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Ecopod: The Smart Compactor

| Friday December 21st, 2007 | 0 Comments

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Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a recent convert to eco-friendly products, you’ll love the 21st centuries’ answer to the “old-school” trash compactor. Meet the Ecopod, recently made available this past fall, this innovative appliance provides an efficient way to crush, store and redeem recyclable beverage containers, particularly plastic bottles and aluminum cans. The design is simple and functional, not to mention sleek and attractive. It crushes with ease and comes with the engineering strength and smarts of the minds behind BMW.
Designed by BMW Designworks, USA, it provides a convenient foot pedal to initiate the compact of your bottle or can. Once compacted, the container falls into an internal bin, which can then be later removed for redemption or curbside disposal. Each storage pod will fit about 50 crushed containers. The upper compartment houses extra room for other recyclable materials (i.e. newspapers or glass bottles). This is the perfect energy efficient and well-built system for the home.
The nicest feature to the unit is the simple fact that it allows the users to see just how much recyclable waste they create; be it either a shocking revelation, or hopefully further inspiring efforts to reduce one’s footprint. Green and smart companies would be wise to also use this cheap and shining tool in the office. I see it as a simple way to get green by making room for one of these sleek units in the break room. Start the eco-trend in your office or business by promoting recycle solutions for your employees or co-workers. Awareness is the critical component to reducing waste in the internal work environment which, I might add, can potentially lead to increasing the profits of your bottom line by fostering eco-creativity and simple office solutions.

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