Q&A With Tom Szaky – CEO of Terracycle

| Thursday July 17th, 2008 | 1 Comment

wormy.jpgAt its inception, TerraCycle began with one product Рworm poop fertilizer.  Today, they offer a wide variety of products including cleaning products, rain barrels, tote bags, and more.  But these are no ordinary cleaning products, rain barrels, and tote bags.  They are great examples of what we call upcycling.  They take waste products (like Clif Bar wrappers, Capri Sun pouches, or Coke bottles) and turn them into useful stuff.
Now is your chance to ask TerraCycle’s CEO, Tom Szaky, all the questions you’ve been dying to pose.¬† At Huddler’s Green Home, they’re putting together a crowd sourced interview.¬† So for the next few days, post your questions in their forums and make sure to vote on your favorites.¬† Then they’ll take the best 10, send them over to Tom to get answered and we’ll publish the full interview here on Triple Pundit.¬† What are you waiting for?¬† Make sure your question is in the mix!
Again, the link to post is HERE.

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2nd Gen Ethanol Moves Forward with NREL-Dow Agreement

| Wednesday July 16th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Aiming to reduce dependence on imported oil, the the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Dow Chemical Company announced an agreement today to jointly develop and evaluate a process that will convert biomass to ethanol, as well as a range of other chemical products, by making use of a new mixed alcohol catalyst developed by Dow.
The thermochemical process would cut CO2 exhaust emissions by as much as 80% and not rely on food crops. Biomass, such as the leaves and stem of corn plants and wood waste, will be used as feedstock and first converted into bio-synthesis gas, or syngas, through the application of high pressure, heat, steam and oxygen then converted into ethanol and other useful chemical alcohols by passing it through reactor where biochemical reaction driven by Dow’s catalyst will produce ethanol and other useful bio-based chemical building blocks.
The joint evaluation program will focus on improving the mixed alcohol catalyst, as well as demonstrating pilot scale performance and the commercial relevance of an integrated facility, according to a Dow Chemical media release.

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San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral Will Install Solar Power System

| Wednesday July 16th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Grace Cathedral, in partnership with PG&E, will install solar power this fallIn a special ceremony this morning on the steps of San Francisco landmark Grace Cathedral, it was announced that Pacific Gas and Electric will partner with the Cathedral by providing $65,000 for the installation of a new, state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic (PV) power system.

Mayor Gavin Newsom told those assembled that this project helps advance the goal of making “San Francisco the greenest city in the country” adding “I commend PG&E for their vision of implementing renewable energy on a true San Francisco landmark. This project supports the City’s goals of increasing the use of clean, renewable power”.

PG&E senior vice president Nancy McFadden called this installation another step in promoting the utilities’ commitment to promote ”the use of solar photovoltaic systems and demonstrate that energy efficiency and renewable energy can be incorporated in even the most historic buildings”

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Home Solar, Minus the Cost, Effort, Worry

| Wednesday July 16th, 2008 | 13 Comments

Sun%20Run%20logo.jpgIt seems these days you can’t throw a rock without hitting a story relating to solar power. So why haven’t you got it for your home yet? I bet you’ve already come up with a list of three reasons, without even thinking. My guess is they fall into these areas: Cost, efficiency (or lack of it) and aesthetics. Oh and let’s throw this one in for good measure: Who lives in their home for 15-30 years these days? Not you, and what good will those panels do you on your next home?
I found a solution to all of these concerns, and more: Sun Run. What they do is unique, and does quite a thorough job in allaying people’s fears. Rather than have you buy, lease, or take out a loan for the solar system, Sun Run retains ownership of the equipment. and guarantees a certain amount of power generation. Come again?
Yes. In conversation with Nat Kreamer, COO of Sun Run, I learned about a unique “solar as a service” model that had even I, chest deep in the latest green energy innovations, am considering using their service when I buy a home. Why?

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Is Greenwashing Good?

Shannon Arvizu | Monday July 14th, 2008 | 1 Comment

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Is greenwashing really a disinformation campaign by corporations trying to win over the conscious consumer? Or is it just part of the “growing pains” of becoming a sustainable company? Joel Makower, of Greenbiz.com, thinks it’s the latter. He writes,
“The rise of green marketing claims is a testament to how quickly being seen as green has become of importance to companies. Isn’t that what all of us wanted to see happen?”
Maybe…but maybe not.
Makower hints that greenwashing may eventually fade as corporations integrate environmental considerations more fully. It could be, however, that greenwashing is symptomatic of a larger corporate contradiction between economic growth and ecological integrity.

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ClimatePULSE: Who owns these greenhouse gas emissions?

| Monday July 14th, 2008 | 4 Comments

CC_logo_small.jpgProtocols for corporate greenhouse gas accounting that are based on the ISO 14064 standards, such as the WBCSD/WRI GHG Protocol, use the term “scope” to distinguish between different greenhouse gas emissions sources. There are three categories; Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3. For most registry’s or reporting agencies Scopes 1 and 2 are considered mandatory while Scope 3 is considered optional.
Scope 1 emissions, also known as direct emissions, include any emissions that occur on-site or from company-owned assets. This includes the combustion of fuels, process emissions, and refrigerant leakage. These emissions are aggregated on a facility-level, with the company’s vehicle fleet considered as one “facility.”

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Envirofit’s Biomass Stoves Offer Quicker Cooking Times, Less Toxic Emissions, and Sustainable Business Model in Developing Nations

| Monday July 14th, 2008 | 6 Comments

cookstove.jpg Last week, Colorado-based non-profit Envirofit introduced clean-burning biomass stoves in India, a project that will attempt to reduce fuel consumption, toxic emissions, and offer a sustainable business model to foster local enterprise. In an effort to reduce indoor air pollution in developing nations, Envirofit teamed up with the UK’s Shell Foundation as a part of its Breathing Space program. The cook stoves will reduce toxic emissions by 80%, use 50% less fuel, and reduce the cooking cycle by 40%, according to the organization’s press release.
Biomass typically consists of organic materials like wood, crop waste, or animal dung, and for many households in places like India, is the main source of fuel for activities like cooking. Developed at the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory at Colorado State University, the cook stoves were engineered to burn traditionally used biomass materials more efficiently.

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Changents: How to Be a “Rock Star” Agent of Change

| Monday July 14th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Changents.comWho hasn’t dreamed of being a rock star? Throngs of fans following your meteoric rise to stardom, listening to your every word, creating a buzz about your latest grand accomplishment, an entourage of followers ready to step in at the slightest need.
Wake up, because chances are you might already be a rock star (or perhaps know one), at least the kind of rock star that Deron Triff and Alex Hofmann are looking for – that is to say, a rock star “Agent of Change” – and why they started Changents.com.
Rock stars of this genre are people like Elizabeth Redmond, creator of POWERleap, a flooring system that generates electricity from foot traffic (also featured last year here on 3P), or Scott Harrison, working to help alleviate the growing global water crisis. Elizabeth and Scott are two of a growing number of “Earthkeeper” Change Agents utilizing the tools and resources available to them at Changents, a new breed of online social media and networking platform developed by Triff and Hofmann. With key support and sponsorship from Timberland, Changents launched in beta on June 8th, but the buzz started back late last year when the project was in “quiet alpha” mode.
There are many great social networking sites out there focusing on environmental and social issues. Ways for people to connect, share ideas, find common ground, create a buzz. Some of those sites we’ve reviewed here at TriplePundit.
As good and useful as all those social networking sites are, Deron Triff and Alex Hofmann want Changents to be something different.

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Offsets: A Regular Part of a Diet Light in Carbon?

| Monday July 14th, 2008 | 2 Comments

food-pyr.jpgThe past few weeks I have been trying to wrap my head around the difference between compliance offsets (carbon offsets a company purchases in order to comply with carbon reduction commitments like Kyoto or AB32) and voluntary offsets. Aren’t they just the same product with different packaging and intention?
Not exactly. If you have been following any of the scoping plan discussions about AB32 implementation you’ll know that the role offsets will play is pretty controversial. To get the ‘why’ straight we’ve got to start at the beginning. AB32 is a piece of legislation that requires the state of California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and it charges the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to figure out how to get there. We have this wonderful strong commitment, we know the state will be working hard to reach this goal, but the type of restrictions that CARB will select, which industries will be hit hardest, and how they will be required to meet the new carbon limits are all up for grabs.

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Airline Travel Set to Increase Up To 600% By 2050 As US And Europe Row Over Carbon Offsetting

| Friday July 11th, 2008 | 6 Comments

airline.jpgIt’s easy to be angry about the watered down global environment deal hammered out last week in Japan. But when it comes to some personal issues, few of us are willing to budge an inch either. Are you prepared to cut back on your trips by plane? Airline travel is set to grow by 200 to 600 percent by 2050. And carbon emissions are not routinely compensated for by most airlines.

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Intel’s Grove Calls for Dual-Fuel Vehicles, Used Vehicle Retrofits

| Friday July 11th, 2008 | 0 Comments

classicoldpickup.jpg It’s hard not to notice, generally speaking, the stark differences in cultures, personalities and characters of leading lights in the energy and IT industries, particularly when it comes to strategic planning, organizational management and R&D, and especially when it comes to public relations and thinking “outside the box”. The apparent contrasts stand out when it comes to developing renewable energy and clean technology for power generation and transportation.
OPEC controls some 40% of world petroleum reserves – and that’s likely to increase in coming decades – giving it tremendous influence over its customers. The situation is analogous yet fundamentally different to that of Google in the Internet search engine marketplace, where a market share of more than 50% affords it the leverage to define the nature of American advertising, points out former Intel CEO Andy Grove, now a consultant to the company, in a July 10 article, “Our Electric Future,” published by The American magazine.
The difference between controlling energy resources – read oil – and advertising are great, however, Grove points out. “…the stages on which Google and OPEC play are dramatically different. Advertising is a big and important business, but energy is the lifeblood of all economies. Like drinking water or oxygen, we simply cannot be without it. So a supplier of energy can have significant control over customers – even nations.”

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More Recycled Paper Needs to be Used

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday July 11th, 2008 | 1 Comment

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Over the past three years the book industry needed three to four million tons of paper which translates to at least 60 million trees worldwide. The paper industry ranks number four in carbon dioxide emissions among manufacturing industries.
The Society of American Foresters released a 2007 study titled the State of Americas Forests which acknowledged that the U.S. is one of the biggest “producers and consumers of forest products.” U.S. consumption of forest products is greater than its production by 4.2 billion cubic feet.

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Philippe Starck Makes A Come Back, Designs Mini Wind Turbine

| Thursday July 10th, 2008 | 0 Comments

strak.jpgPersonal wind turbines are more often invented than actually manufactured. Those that make it to the commercial stage are mostly available at several thousands of dollars. That’s why it is all the more surprising that as of next September you’ll be able to buy a true designer windmill for way less than that.
Philippe Starck has reignited his genius once again and designed a not so fully fledged personal mini windmill on the market. Stark’s temporary break from his self imposed retirement from design which he had declared ‘dead‘ is a breath of fresh air. Literally. Starck called the turbine the Democratic Ecology, which sounds heavy enough for what you see but which probably sums up what’s been on Starck’s mind lately.

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Socially Responsible Credit Cards: Do They Add Up?

Shannon Arvizu | Thursday July 10th, 2008 | 3 Comments

Many readers of Triple P consider themselves socially-responsible investors. But what about socially-responsible creditors? How do banks use the profit they make from interest fees, late fees, annual fees, and balance fees? Which banks use our money to further projects of greater worth, and which invest in projects that degrade the plant and contribute to global income disparity? The cover story of this month’s Real Money, distributed by Co-op America, gives us the inside scoop on the best credit cards for our conscience. Many of these cards have great APR, no annual fee, and directly fund several social/eco endeavors.

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nvohk: Crowdsourcing Eco-Apparel to Do Good

| Wednesday July 9th, 2008 | 1 Comment

nvohk.jpgThe tagline on nvohk.com (pronounced invoke) says it’s “an eco-clothing company managed by the people who wear it.” Having officially launched at the end of June, the company already has over 300 activated members and thousands queued up in what is one of the latest and maybe one of the more innovate examples of crowdsourcing.
Crowdsourcing was first made popular in 2006 by Wired Magazine, and some well-known examples of such are Wikipedia, MoveOn.org, and Threadless.com. It is a very 2.0, user generated approach to running a business, referring to the act of taking tasks traditionally performed by employees or contractors and outsourcing them to a larger collective or the public.

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