A fun Blog to share fun and easy ways to be green!

Friday, February 29, 2008

I SO Want One of These

Check out this and many other bottle trees here!

Kodak, Wal-Mart Launch National Recycling Program

Feb. 28 -- Eastman Kodak Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have launched a national program to recycle waste materials from in-store photo kiosks.

Some 4,100 U.S. Wal-Mart and Sam´s Clubs stores that operate Kodak Picture Kiosks expect to annually recycle 2 million pounds thermal printer ribbon, spools and cartridges. Customers can make photo prints, enlargements, greeting cards and other items at the kiosks. The used materials consist primarily of polyethylene terephthalate and polystyrene.

Wal-Mart will consolidate material collected from each store at its return centers and from there it will be reused and recycled with Eastman Kodak´s help.

"Kodak has a long record of responsible behavior related to environmental issues and this initiative is a world´s first in the photo kiosk business," said Nicki Zongrone, general manager of retail systems solutions and vice president of Eastman Kodak.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Recycling Plant Searching for Stray Cat Homes Ahead of Move

Look at that PRECIOUS cat! As you know, we have our share of cats and kittens at the landfill and at our collection and recycling centers, too. I've personally placed two: Oscar and PETE.

The SP recycling plant in Richmond is moving and workers say the stray cats that live there will be out on the street again.

The feral cats often find their way inside recycling bins and end up at the recycling center.

Plant manager Wanda McGee has cared for the cats and says she's looking to find them new homes. She says she's placed five cats so far.

"They're adoptable," McGee said, "A lot of farmers will have them in their barns and they're great mousers. They can take care of rodent problems"

New Nike "Trash Talk" Shoe Made from Manufacturing Waste

BEAVERTON, Ore. (13 February, 2008) — Steve Nash is the All-Star guard for the Phoenix Suns whose passion for environmental awareness forged a partnership with Nike (NYSE:NKE) to create the Nike Trash Talk, the first performance basketball shoe made from manufacturing waste. Nash will debut the Nike Trash Talk tomorrow night in Phoenix against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Nike Trash Talk is modeled after Nash’s current shoe, the Nike Zoom BB II Low, and meets Nike’s Considered design standards for taking a sustainable approach to performance footwear innovation. Learn more.

“Any opportunity to promote the environment and preserve our planet is a step in the right direction,” Nash said. “I’m very excited to be one of the first athletes to wear the Nike Trash Talk. I think people will love the shoe, and hopefully by wearing it I can inspire others to try it out as well.”

Nike footwear designer, Kasey Jarvis said: “ We were really looking for a ‘here and now’ solution to footwear waste, and creating a performance product using waste materials felt like a very innovative solution. Using Nike’s Considered design ethos we were able to create a shoe that stands up to the stringent on-court performance requirements but is also more environmentally friendly.”

The Nike Trash Talk meets Nike’s Considered design standards because…

The upper is pieced together from leather and synthetic leather waste from the factory floor using zig-zag stitching.

The mid-sole uses scrap-ground foam from factory production

The outsole uses environmentally-preferred rubber that reduces toxics and incorporates Nike Grind* material from footwear outsole manufacturing waste.

The Phoenix Suns’ colorways will have shoe laces and sockliners which use environmentally-preferred materials and will be packaged in a fully recycled cardboard shoe box.

Nike is releasing a limited number of the Nike Trash Talk in three different colorways – two Phoenix Suns colorways (home and away) and one colorway for Nash to wear this week for the All-Star Game. The All-Star colorway will be sold at the House of Hoops by Foot Locker in New York and in New Orleans this week with a suggested retail price of $100. The Phoenix Suns colorways will launch April 22, 2008 at the House of Hoops by Footlocker.

About Nike Considered and Nike Grind:

As part of Nike’s commitment to innovate for a better world, the company has committed to designing all footwear to meet Nike’s baseline or higher Considered design standards by 2011. Nike’s Considered ethos challenges designers to use environmentally preferred materials, reduce waste, create sustainable manufacturing processes and use innovation to help reduce our overall environmental impact.

*Nike Grind: Nike created a recycling program in 1993 called Reuse-A-Shoe, which collects worn-out athletic shoes of any brand and recycles the footwear into usable material we call Nike Grind (rubber from the outsole, foam from the midsole and fabric from the upper). We also collect and recycle material left over from footwear manufacturing. Nike Grind is used in Considered product and in sports surfaces such as basketball courts, soccer turf and playgrounds which are donated to communities around the world.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Coil in Fear

From The Daily Grist

Giant pythons could spread in southern U.S., say feds

You may think you're prepared for climate change -- solar-powered fan, flood insurance, nostalgic polar-bear picture, check, check, check -- but are you prepared for 20-foot, 250-pound snakes? Giant Burmese pythons could find some one-third of the United States to be habitable climate by 2100, according to a new map published by the U.S. Geological Survey. The pythons, which were originally dumped in the Florida Everglades by disenchanted pet owners and now number in the thousands, aren't generally a threat to humans, but do count deer, bobcats, and alligators among their squeeze-'n'-gulp prey. However, alligators also eat pythons. But before you get any ideas, "we are not recommending you import alligators into California," says one USGS zoologist. "That would not be a good idea."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Scrambling to Go Green: Cadbury Eggs Will Come w/Less Packaging

Works for me. I'm a Cadbury egg fanatic; the new orange cream ones are FABU!

Cadbury Schweppes, the maker of the Easter season's omnipresent sugar-yolk-in-a-chocolate-shell, has unveiled an alleged "eco-egg." No, the goopy white innards aren't organic; no, the chocolate isn't fair trade. The "eco" aspect comes merely from the eggs being sold unboxed, reducing packaging waste. So which came first, the greenwashing or the egg?

Perish the Thought: How to Green Your Fridge

From The Daily Grist

There's a hog in your kitchen, and we ain't talkin' about your potato chip-scarfing spouse or 120-something pound dog. It's the fridge that's the problem: this major appliance is one of your home's biggest energy suckers. So how to make your icebox greener? Follow the easy steps in this week's edition of From A to Green.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It's Waste Not, Want Not at Super Green Subaru Plant

By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Subaru's giant assembly plant here is on track to produce 180,000 cars this year. Yet the automaker pledges that virtually none of the waste generated from its eye-popping output will wind up in a dump.

Copper-laden slag left over from welding is collected and shipped to Spain for recycling. Styrofoam forms encasing delicate engine parts are returned to Japan for the next round of deliveries. Even small protective plastic caps are collected in bins to be melted down to make something else.

All told, Subaru says 99.8% of the plant's refuse is recycled or reused so it doesn't go to a landfill. That includes a small portion, about 5%, that goes to a waste-to-energy plant that burns waste to make steam to heat Indianapolis' downtown.

Subaru is one of a growing number of companies claiming or working toward "zero landfill" status. While success earns environmental bragging rights — Subaru has TV ads about this plant's efforts — reuse and recycling also cuts costs to the tune of millions of dollars a year.

Other companies, from brewer Anheuser-Busch (BUD) to imaging-equipment maker Xerox (XRX), say they are going zero-landfill as well.

But it isn't always easy. The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart (WMT), which deals with a mountain of boxes, returned products and thousands of stores, is trying for a 25% solid waste reduction this year as part of the waste war declared by CEO Lee Scott three years ago.

Environmentalists and waste watchers say individuals and companies can learn from leading-edge corporate clutter fighters.

The zero-landfill movement is "not as popular as it should be," says Allan Gerlat, editor of the trade publication Waste News. "It's readily approaching waste at an earlier level in the stream. … It's a more efficient way to go about it."

While the trend has caught on in Japan, in the USA, "We're just starting to adopt zero waste," says Gary Liss, a waste consultant based in Loomis, Calif.

Japanese-owned auto companies have a head start. Toyota (TM) and Honda (HMC), among others, long have practiced kaizen, or continuous improvement. Among its tenets is reduction of muda, or waste, a costly drag on production.

Their plants usually have key suppliers nearby who practice just-in-time delivery — daily deliveries of key parts. That means an ample number of otherwise empty trucks that can carry back waste for reuse at no added cost.

Workers are gung-ho greenies

At Subaru, eliminating, recycling or reusing even the tiniest stuff is treated with an almost religious fervor among the 2,842 workers.

"We can talk trash all day," says Denise Coogan, the environmental affairs manager who means shop-floor discards, not basketball-court braggadocio.

Subaru pursues no-landfill status while churning out vehicles: 147,156 Subaru Legacy, Outback and Tribeca models and Camrys for partner Toyota last year.

The Lafayette plant opened in 1989 as a joint venture of Subaru and Isuzu. But it wasn't until 2002, the year before Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries became sole owner of the plant, that it got serious about its zero-landfill goal. Plant officials set a five-year deadline and say they met it in 2004, three years ahead of schedule.

After the five-year goal was set, plant managers started by analyzing what they were throwing away. "One of the first things we did was Dumpster dive," Coogan says. They spread all the trash out on the pavement to get a good look.

The team immediately saw that lots of the flotsam and jetsam could be coordinated into separate heaps for efficiency. For instance, plastic shrink wrap all could be thrown in the same barrel and more easily recycled. Ditto for the pins left over from pop riveting.

Enlisting the help of suppliers

A big part of the effort, and a big factor in cutting costs as well as waste, was persuading suppliers to take back packaging or other items removed during the automaking process and find ways to reuse them. Why throw away or melt down plastic packaging that can be reused to protect another load?

Having suppliers close by helped make the case for having them take back in their empty trucks waste for reuse. Seats come from a company in Frankfort, Ind., a half-hour drive away. Dashboards come from Greencastle, Ind., an hour away.

Subaru, however, still had to find a way to tackle its own manufacturing waste, including:

•Steel. A car's fenders, roof and body are stamped by giant presses from sheet metal, like cutting cookies from a sheet of dough. Subaru found it could limit excess by simply getting the right size steel roll for the parts. They saved 102 pounds of steel waste per car.

•Wood. Pallets commonly are reused here, as in just about every factory. But when they are no longer usable at Subaru's plant, they are rebuilt, if salvageable, or ground into mulch for gardens.

•Plastic. Flawed plastic bumpers that can't be installed are ground into pellets to make new bumpers. When a supplier's blue plastic sheeting proved hard to recycle, the supplier was able to switch to a clear shrink wrap. Layers of protective plastic in some parts shipments were eliminated when it was found they could arrive safely without it.

•Styrofoam. Reuse paid greater dividends. Styrofoam inserts protecting engine parts can be used for five trips from Japan before they have be recycled. The reuse effort has saved $1.3 million a year, Coogan says.

While all the obvious recycling has been done, officials are still trying to squeeze out more. Last year's 99.8% recycle and reuse rate marked a 0.2 percentage point improvement over 2006. "It becomes harder and harder as you get closer," says Senior Vice President Thomas Easterday. As a result, Coogan's goal is morphing from recycling waste to minimizing its creation in the first place.

Residual waste that can't be re-used or recycled becomes steam for heat. It is trucked to Covanta Energy's waste-to-energy plant an hour's drive away in Indianapolis. There it joins city rubbish as fuel for the massive boilers that supply steam to the city's downtown. Ashes go to the landfill, but the process reduces waste volume by 90%.

To handle its mountain of recyclables, Subaru has a contractor on the plant floor with a 30-worker team that collects recyclables from around the shop floor all day. The process also requires the cooperation of Subaru's assembly employees. For example, Rick Cordray, 48, has to toss the protective plastic caps from air-conditioning compressor units into a nearby bin.

"I'm a pretty good shot," he says.

To reinforce the message with employees and add to its recycling quotient, the plant has multicolored barrels in break areas for workers to recycle personal waste. Yellow barrels for glass, red for aluminum cans and so on.

Saving trees, saving money

Like Subaru, other companies have discovered that recycling isn't just public relations. Being green can save some real green.

Toyota says it has a 97% zero-landfill status average over its 14 assembly plants. Copy-machine maker Ricoh has been zero-landfill at its U.S. plants since 2002.

Aamco Transmissions, the 885-store chain in the USA, has started a program with franchisees to dramatically reduce waste. Strategies include recycling cleaning solvents and using waste transmission fluid to heat stores. CEO Todd Leff estimates the package could net store owners another $25,000 a year.

Fetzer Vineyards, a big California winemaker, started its waste-management team in 1990 primarily as a search for cost savings, particularly to cut what it was spending on garbage hauling. Fetzer decided to do its own trash removal, but costs continued to add up with every trip to the dump.

Then, using many of the same tactics employed by Subaru, it was able to reduce its refuse volume from 1,724 cubic yards in 1990 to 60 cubic yards by 2005, says Ann Thrupp, the sustainability manager. Now, rubber bands holding rolls of labels go back to suppliers. Some cardboard boxes are reused. Stems and leftover vegetation from winemaking become garden topper.

Likewise, Anheuser-Busch has been able to recycle 99% of the solid waste generated at its 12 breweries. "We're looking at how do we get that last 1%," says John Stier, director of environmental affairs. Among other things, the brewer composts the beechwood chips that it ballyhoos in ads as giving its beers distinctive flavor.

Retailers can face a tougher challenge when it comes to zero-landfill because of their many stores, need to dispose of spoiled food and huge inventory that includes household hazardous wastes.

Some are making major progress. Safeway (SWY), which operates 535 Safeway, Vons and Pavilions supermarkets in California, says it diverts 85% of its solid waste from landfills in the state. Target (TGT) says it has cut waste by 70%. The biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, lags behind because it started later than the others, consultant Liss says.

Wal-Mart CEO Scott set a zero-waste goal for the cost-conscious retailer in 2005. "Think about it," he said at the time. "If we have to throw it away, we had to buy it first. So we pay twice. Once to get it, once to have it taken away."

Though only shooting to cut waste by 25% as a first step, the chain is making progress. Wal-Mart says it found an innovative way to recycle disparate plastic waste. Store crews are bailing it between two pallets. The retailer has recycled millions of pounds of plastic hangers, office paper and aluminum cans. Wal-Mart now is working with suppliers to reduce product packaging, both shipping materials and the final retail package, says Rand Waddoups, senior director of sustainability.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Big Green Purse Urges Women to Use Their Consumer Clout to Protect the Environment – and Themselves

Diane MacEachern’s message is simple but revolutionary. If women change the way they spend their money, they can help solve the environmental crisis – and protect themselves and their families, too. Why women? Because women spend $.85 of every dollar in the marketplace.

Check it out! I'm pre-ordering my copy this week!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

America the Beautiful Seeds the Future

America the Beautiful is accepting applications for Operation Green Plant. Through this program, America the Beautiful distributes free seeds to community programs throughout the U.S.

Donations of 100 to 1,000 seed packets are available to organizations working to improve their communities through gardening for a nominal shipping and handling fee.

Community garden programs that benefit the hungry; youth education programs; beautification programs for parks, roadways, and neighborhoods; and promotion of environmental stewardship are just a few of the uses for which organizations can apply.

America the Beautiful accepts applications on a rolling basis and fulfills requests as seeds are available based on organizations' relative need.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pens Makers Want Writers to BeGreen

Feb. 7 -- Pilot Pen Corporation of America has introduced what it is touting as the world´s first full line of earth-friendly writing instruments.

The BeGreen product line includes ballpoint pens, rolling ball pens and mechanical pencils. They are made from at least 70 percent recycled content and packaged using recycled materials.

They also are the same price as their nonrecycled counterparts, said Robert Silberman, vice president of marketing for Trumbull, Conn.-based Pilot Pen Corp.

"The product line will expand as consumer interest heightens for the well-being of our planet," he said.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Waste Management Launches New Educational Web Site

Feb. 4 -- Waste Management Inc. has a new interactive Web site aimed at educating the public about what happens to waste.

The site, www.thinkgreen.com, "tells the story of garbage from the curbside onward," the company said.

"We want to pull back the curtain and reverse the way the public things about waste. This is a tremendous opportunity for the public to learn more about our operations and the ways modern practices are protecting and enhancing the environment," CEO David Steiner said.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Crocs Kicks Off Recycling Program

By Samantha Critchell
Associated Press

NEW YORK — Old Crocs are getting a second chance — and giving many needy people around the world their first pair of shoes. The maker of the ubiquitous plastic shoes is launching its SolesUnited initiative to the public, asking for donations of worn-out shoes to be recycled and turned into new ones.

The company started donating shoes a little over a year ago when the brand's materials scientists figured out a way to recycle the plastic. But the plastic almost exclusively came from scraps created during the manufacturing process.

SolesUnited marks the opening of the program to the public with many retailers around the country accepting old shoes. It was to be announced on "Celebrity Apprentice" Thursday night.

Crocs are made of a proprietary closed-cell resin that expands and contracts to mold to the wearer's foot.

"It's a great opportunity to give back," Crocs CEO Ron Snyder says. "We've been very fortunate as a company."

Fortunate is right: Crocs was a small business founded in 2002 in Niwot, Colo. Last year, it was one of the most widely traded Wall Street stocks, and it was named a top pick for this year by an analyst at PiperJaffray.

SolesUnited shoes have slight design tweaks to differentiate them from the traditional Crocs. Shoes recently sent to Malawi, for example, were without the back strap found on the original clog-style shoe.

Crocs' distribution partner, the charitable Brother's Brother Foundation in Pittsburgh, has sent shoes around the world, including to Chile, El Salvador, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. During January, it filled nine oceangoing containers with 10,000 pairs of shoes each.

But, says Luke Hingson, president of Brother's Brother, this new expansion will bring the program "to a whole other level."

The shoes are important in these developing countries because it reduces people's exposure to foot injury and infection and they simply can walk farther when their feet don't hurt.

SolesUnited Crocs are embossed to note that they use recycled plastic and are intended for charitable purposes and can't be sold.

A similarly styled shoe, however, will be introduced in the U.S. as a fundraising tool.

"They're unique. You'll know you're participating in the SolesUnited program if you're wearing them," he says.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Paper vs. Plastic or Democrat vs. Republican?

Check out these cool totes, available at freddyandma.com.

High-Tech Trash

Great article from National Geographic. We're considering using Creative Recycling for our electronic waste program.