Posts Tagged ‘green’
Across the country, a handful of municipalities are radically reducing the amount of refuse they send to landfills, with the eventual goal of reaching “zero waste.” Seattle recycles or composts more than half of what its residents toss out. San Francisco diverts 77% of its waste from landfills. Even sprawling Los Angeles recycles or composts about two-thirds of its garbage.
Those numbers stand in stark contrast to the rest of the U.S., where the Environmental Protection Agency estimates only about a third of waste is recycled or composted. The cities are getting the job done largely by having citizens and businesses sort trash more carefully, to recycle as much as possible.
Officials in these cities think they can go further. “It’s good; doesn’t mean we stop there,” says Tim Croll, solid-waste director for Seattle Public Utilities. “We know the word ‘low-hanging fruit’ is overused, but there is still more stuff to be gotten out of that waste stream.”
The prime benefits in adopting zero waste are environmental; many cities that have enacted zero-waste plans say they have taken up the task in the name of sustainability. (more)
Brazilian design studio Rosenbaum collaborates with TV show Caldeirao do Huck in a segment called Lar doce lar (Home Sweet Home), which helps families in need re-designing their homes to improve their lives and self-esteem.
In its latest work for a family living in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, the firm included this neat vertical garden made from recycled PET bottles.
Although the idea is cool in itself, it’s so much better knowing that it’s part of a project to improve the lives of three women (mother and two daughters) that live in a one bedroom home with an income of 200 Reais (130 US Dollars) a month.
Putting together an urban farm was not the designer’s whim either: the women already had an eco conscience and grew in small containers made from recovered food packaging. (more)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced a program to make the city’s buildings more energy-efficient. Now that he’s taken a bold step to save taxpayer dollars and create hundreds of jobs by shaving the energy consumption of City Hall, the Harold Washington Library and other government buildings, what’s next?
Emanuel plans to issue a request for proposals from energy service companies (ESCOs), that — upon being selected — will analyze each of the nearly 100 buildings for energy saving opportunities.
This program is a shining example of how local initiatives can help grow the U.S. retrofit industry, which is key to reducing fossil fuel consumption in buildings (which produce over a third of carbon emissions and consume 40 percent of the fossil fuels), when climate scientists and others have called for an 80 percent reduction in global carbon emissions by 2050.
Moreover, promoting a U.S. retrofit industry that uses whole-systems approaches for cost-effective deep energy savings in buildings at a broad scale will advance the U.S. in the so-called clean energy race.
By retrofitting more than 6.5 million square feet of space, the Chicago program certainly has the breadth to accrue significant energy savings. But, does it have enough depth to capture the full opportunity, providing taxpayers most bang for their buck? (more)
Next week marks the first ever Green Tourism Week; an initiative launched by the Green Tourism Business Scheme last October. But Green Tourism Week isn’t alone in its drive to promote a greener way to travel. Nominations are currently being gathered for the Responsible Tourism Awards, which will be presented on 9th November – World Responsible Tourism Day. Even the UN’s World Environment Day (5th June) is getting in on the act, with a host of initiatives aimed at boosting environmentally conscious travel scheduled in.
It’s not all awards and world days though. Ethical travel company, Gap Year for Grown Ups, estimates that more than 100,000 of us choose trips that involve volunteering or conservation each year. While it doesn’t compare to the numbers heading off on package trips to Magaluf and Faliraki, it’s a positive start. So what does eco-tourism really mean? The International Eco-tourism Society defines eco-tourism as being ‘responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.’ Although it sounds straightforward, some less scrupulous companies call their activities eco-tourism when in reality, all they offer is a carbon offsetting scheme – even though this has become standard practice for many travel companies. If that’s left you unsure of where to look: check out the the 10 responsible travel companies that are putting Thomas Cook and co to shame.
Kraft Foods wants to use less water, energy and packaging in the manufacture of its stable of well-known food products, including Oreo’s, Ritz Crackers, Jell-O and its famous Macaroni and Cheese.
Kraft revealed last week several goals the company will work toward over the next five years, including a commitment from its European coffee brands that all coffee will come from sustainable sources by 2015.
“We’re learning, improving and looking beyond our four walls for opportunities,” Steve Yucknut, Kraft Foods’ vice president of sustainability, said in a statement. “Our new goals will help us do more.” (more)
As the anticipation continues to build for the resurgence of the electric vehicle (EV) industry, many questions remain unanswered. Will the electric grid be able to handle the added power output? Is the production and use of EVs truly better for the environment than the current fuel efficient vehicles?
Hoping to demystify the buying market for consumers, GoodGuide recently published ratings for the best and worst vehicles of 2010/2011. Using a unique system, accounting for the health, environmental and social impacts of mass-market products, GoodGuide is going beyond the “granola” to present ratings that highlight the net “good” or “bad” associated with a product. (more)
A little kid turns off the lights.
Local produce is packed in a reusable bag.
A man dumps material on a compost pile.
These are some of the actions portrayed on a new block of 16 stamps issued last week by the U.S. Postal Service. “Go Green” is its latest social awareness stamp. It’s a Forever stamp, which means that it can be used to mail a one-ounce letter regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used and no matter how prices may change in the future. (more)