Monday, December 08, 2008

Junk Bales

Back at Junk Value, Recyclables Are Piling Up - NYTimes.com:
"There are no signs yet of a nationwide abandonment of recycling programs. But industry executives say that after years of growth, the whole system is facing an abrupt slowdown."
Slide Show
No Market for Rubbish

The recycling slump has even provoked a protest of sorts. At Ruthlawn Elementary School in South Charleston, W.V., second-graders who began recycling at the school in September were told that the program might be discontinued. They chose to forgo recess and instead use the time to write letters to the governor and mayor, imploring them to keep recycling, Rachel Fisk, their teacher, said.

The students’ pleas seem to have been heard; the city plans to start trucking the recyclables to Kentucky.

“They were telling them, ‘We really don’t care what you say about the economy. If you don’t recycle, our planet will be dirty,’ ” Ms. Fisk said.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What Else?

Editorial - Water and What Else? - NYTimes.com:
"For the extra cost and the promise of added purity — and the mound of plastic in landfills — that bottled water should be as good or even better than the less-expensive stuff that comes out of a tap. And consumers should be able to see certified data that prove it."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Turn of the Tap

Tap Water’s Popularity Forces Pepsi to Cut Jobs - NYTimes.com:
"In addition, consumers are increasingly choosing tap water over other beverages at restaurants and at home to help save money and the environment, according to PepsiCo and industry analysts. Research by William Pecoriello, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, found that 34 percent of consumers say they are reusing plastic bottles more often and 23 percent say they are cutting back on bottled beverages in favor of tap water or beverages in containers that create less waste."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Denmark Does Domestic

Op-Ed Columnist - Flush With Energy - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com:
“I have observed that in all other countries, including in America, people are complaining about how prices of [gasoline] are going up,” Denmark’s prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told me. “The cure is not to reduce the price, but, on the contrary, to raise it even higher to break our addiction to oil. We are going to introduce a new tax reform in the direction of even higher taxation on energy and the revenue generated on that will be used to cut taxes on personal income — so we will improve incentives to work and improve incentives to save energy and develop renewable energy.”

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Make it the Green House

This Lawn is Your Lawn
This video is part of Kitchen Gardeners International's "Eat the View" campaign to convert part of the White House lawn into an edible landscape. It features KGI founder, Roger Doiron, digging a new garden on his "white house" lawn.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Worst Recycler

Houston Resists Recycling, and Independent Streak Is Cited - NYTimes.com:
The city’s shimmering skyline may wear the label of the world’s energy capital, but deep in Houston’s Dumpsters lies a less glamorous superlative: It is the worst recycler among the United States’ 30 largest cities.

Houston recycles just 2.6 percent of its total waste, according to a study this year by Waste News, a trade magazine. By comparison, San Francisco and New York recycle 69 percent and 34 percent of their waste respectively. Moreover, 25,000 Houston residents have been waiting as long as 10 years to get recycling bins from the city.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bangladesh Bag Ban

Los Angeles to ban plastic bags by 2010 | Environment | guardian.co.uk:
San Francisco, which uses less than half as many plastic carriers as Los Angeles, became the first American city to ban plastic bags last year. China unexpectedly followed suit in January by ending production of bags and barring shops from giving them away.


Bangladesh was the first nation to ban plastic bags in 2002 amid rising worries that disposed bags were blocking drains during the monsoon season.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Green Ideas

International Listings Blog » Top 100 Real Estate Blogs

Green Ideas

As a realtor, investor, homeowner, or homebuyer, you might be interested in some of the newest innovations in environmental architecture and design. The following blogs provide ideas and inspiration for a greener habitat.

  1. Apartment Therapy: Don’t let the title fool you. Although this blog attempts to save the planet, “one apartment at a time,” the authors bring resources to light that would delight any homeowner.
  2. Equity Green: A real estate tax advisor who focuses on public REITs, homebuilders, energy companies and real estate transactions (including like-kind exchanges), conducts an exploration of everything green as it relates to real estate.
  3. Green Build Blog: Green Build Blog posts about everything related to green building, with some entries devoted to answering readers’ questions.
  4. Green Buildings NYC: Stephen Del Percio, a New York attorney and a LEED accredited professional, attempts to stay on top of the latest news and developments in green building through his gbNYC blog. His site also links to the Green Buildings sites in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Miami.
  5. Inhabitat: Future-forward design and a daily source for innovations in sustainable architecture and green design for the home.
  6. Jetson Green: Preston D. Koerner focuses on advance trends in green building with an eye to the confluence of modernism and environmentalism.
  7. Living Green: Aaron Doyle, who believes that “everyone should be able to experience the pride and privilege of homeownership,” shares her thoughts on energy, environmental, and health issues that affect real estate today.
  8. Offbeat Homes: The unique, odd and freaky homes of today and tomorrow is brought to you by a freelance environmentally conscious Jennifer Chait.
  9. Sustainable Cities Blog: The CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities in New York City blogs about moving cities toward sustainable practices.
  10. Sustainable Green Communities: Ram Shrivastava, a CEO and professional engineer, writes on environmentally friendly building design with discussions on climate change, green roofs, flood control, storm water recycling, LEED compliance, and alternative fuels.
  11. Treehugger: This blog attempts to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information. Although more of a lifestyle-type blog, the focus is on living environments.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lazy Locavores

A Locally Grown Diet With Fuss but No Muss - NYTimes.com:
“The highest form of luxury is now growing it yourself or paying other people to grow it for you,” said Corby Kummer, the food columnist and book author. “This has become fashion.”


The author Barbara Kingsolver, whose book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” was a best seller last year, did not have the lazy locavore in mind when she wrote about the implications of making her family spend a year eating local. But she celebrates the trend.

“As a person of rural origin who has lived much of my life in rural places,” she said, “I can’t tell you how joyful it makes me to hear that it’s trendy for people in Manhattan to own a part of a cow.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Plant a Row for the Hungry

Gardeners New and Old Make Way for Vegetables - NYTimes.com:
Some of Ms. Howard’s increased harvest will also go to food pantries through an organization called Plant a Row for the Hungry, which encourages gardeners to plant extra vegetables to share with the poor.

State Landfill Free Tours

State landfill announces free tours of facility | Rhode Island news | projo.com | The Providence Journal:
Rhode Island Resource and Recovery Corporation, the independent state agency that operates the landfill, is offering a free 90-minute tour and educational session July 26 and Aug. 16 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Reservations for the tour can be made by calling Pat Russo at Resource Recovery, at (401) 942-1430, ext. 121. The maximum capacity is 25 people per session.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

pay-as-you-throw

Providence takes steps to adopt new trash system
As a part of the new system residents would be required to buy special city
garbage bags. Residents would then have to pay according to how much trash they
throw out. Mayor David Cicilline and the City Council members are supportive, of
the new system

T. Boone Pickens

Monday, July 07, 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Totes From Trash

Totes From Trash - NYTimes.com:
A New Jersey-based eco-friendly plant food company has struck a deal with Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT) to turn its used packaging into purses, backpacks and other merchandise, company officials announced this week.

Under the partnership, TerraCycle, which already packages its own worm-waste fertilizer in recycled plastic bottles, will expand its waste collection sites to include Kraft brands such as Capri Sun, Chips Ahoy! and Oreo cookies. The companies will also sponsor teams to collect trash and will donate two cents per item to local community groups and schools.

Plants Can Relate

Plants Found to Show Preferences for Their Relatives - NYTimes.com:
The sea rocket, researchers report, can distinguish between plants that are related to it and those that are not. And not only does this plant recognize its kin, but it also gives them preferential treatment.

If the sea rocket detects unrelated plants growing in the ground with it, the plant aggressively sprouts nutrient-grabbing roots. But if it detects family, it politely restrains itself.
“Plants,” Dr. Dudley said, “have a secret social life.”

Friday, July 04, 2008

Solar Thaw

Government lifts solar project ban on public lands - SiliconValley.com:
Companies planning to build huge solar power plants in the desert will be able to file new applications to use federal lands after the Bureau of Land Management reversed its position on the issue Tuesday.

National Security

Climate Change May Challenge National Security, Classified Report Warns
Source: The Earth Institute at Columbia University
The National Intelligence Council (NIC) has completed a new classified assessment that explores how climate change could threaten U.S. security in the next 20 years by causing political instability, mass movements of refugees, terrorism, or conflicts over water and other resources. Among the major outside contributors of data was the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), a member of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. While the NIC assessment itself is confidential, the CIESIN data is public, and is posted here (PDF; 4.5 MB).

Monday, June 30, 2008

Can Weeds Help?

Can Weeds Help Solve the Climate Crisis? - Global Warming - Environment - NYTimes.com:
Not only did the weeds grow much larger in hotter, CO2-enriched plots — a weed called lambs-quarters, or Chenopodium album, grew to an impressive 6 to 8 feet on the farm but to a frightening 10 to 12 feet in the city — but the urban, futuristic weeds also produced more pollen.

Half Empty or Full?

Is Your Tank Half Empty or Half Full? - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com:
High gas prices have had some obvious immediate effects on Americans: Hummer sales are down, commuting by public transit is up, airlines are charging for nonessentials, like baggage. But if $4 gas (or higher) is here to stay, we can expect our lives to change in other ways, too. The Op-Ed page asked 10 writers to reflect on the consequences — unexpected, unnoticed, unrealized, good, bad or indifferent — of really expensive fuel.

Curbing Cruising

As Gas Prices Rise, Teenagers’ Cruising Declines - NYTimes.com
“We’re not cruising around anymore, with gas costing $4.50 a gallon,” said Ewelina Smosna, a recent graduate of Taft High School in Chicago, as she hung out the other night at the Streets of Woodfield, an outdoor mall in Schaumburg. “We just park the car and walk around.”

Friday, June 27, 2008

Congressional Speculation

Op-Ed Columnist - Paul Krugman - Fuels on the Hill
What about those who argue that speculative excess is the only way to explain the speed with which oil prices have risen? Well, I have two words for them: iron ore.

You see, iron ore isn’t traded on a global exchange; its price is set in direct deals between producers and consumers. So there’s no easy way to speculate on ore prices. Yet the price of iron ore, like that of oil, has surged over the past year. In particular, the price Chinese steel makers pay to Australian mines has just jumped 96 percent. This suggests that growing demand from emerging economies, not speculation, is the real story behind rising prices of raw materials, oil included.

In any case, one thing is clear: the hyperventilation over oil-market speculation is distracting us from the real issues.

Hot Air Heating

Congressional Memo - An Inexhaustible Energy Source - Heated Words. But Can It Be Tapped?
Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, declared, “After today’s vote, the G.O.P. now officially stands for the Gas and Oil Party.”

Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said: “Most Democrats still insist on trying to repeal the law of supply and demand. It’s a new economic theory. You might call it Obamanomics.”

Solar Freeze

Citing Need for Assessments, U.S. Freezes Solar Energy Projects
"The Bureau of Land Management says an extensive environmental study is needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah."

Gas-Guzzling Car

38 random thoughts on building prosperity:
Driving a gas-guzzling car is always a waste of money, no matter how much gas costs. In addition to the fact that you probably paid too much for an overpriced tank that’s designed for offroading and you don’t even like getting your shoes muddy, you are helping to destroy the earth’s environment by contributing to climate change. One way or another, climate change is going to be expensive.

Kids Love Solar Power

Schools turn to the sun to save
'I have yet to meet a kid who doesn't love solar power,' said McCalmont, whose company contracts with several local private schools as well as Fremont Union. 'They think it's cool, it's new technology, and they are fascinated with how it works.'

The Rubbish Fairy

Take Out the Trash Precisely, Now. It’s the Law.
“It’s a sad thing to have to shatter people’s illusions, but gone are the days when we could put all our rubbish and junk in a big bag and overnight the fairy would come and take it away, and that would be the end of it,” Mr. Bettison said. “The rubbish fairy is dead.”

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Best Buy testing free e-waste recycling program - SiliconValley.com

Best Buy testing free e-waste recycling program - SiliconValley.com:
"Best Buy is testing a free program that will offer consumers a convenient way to ensure millions of obsolescent TVs, old computers and other unwanted gadgets don't poison the nation's dumps.

The trial, expected to be announced today, covers 117 Best Buy stores scattered across eight states that will collect a wide variety of electronic detritus at no charge, even if the Richfield, Minn.-based retailer didn't originally sell the merchandise."

Friday, May 30, 2008

How Green Is the College?

How Green Is the College? Time the Showers - NYTimes.com:
"Oberlin’s new sustainability house — SEED, for Student Experiment in Ecological Design — a microcosm of a growing sustainability movement on campuses nationwide"

Monday, April 28, 2008

U.S.P.S. goes green

U.S. Postal Service goes green with free mail-in recycling service for electronics
"In 10 metro areas across the country, the United States Postal Service has launched a new pilot program that allows people to submit old inkjet cartridges, toner cartridges, and small electronics for proper disposal and recycling via free pre-paid mailers that customers can pick up at Post Office branches. If the program is successful, it could be expanded nationwide by this fall."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

That Newfangled Light Bulb
Now, the question is how to dispose of these compact fluorescent bulbs once they break or quit working.

Unlike traditional light bulbs, each of these spiral bulbs has a tiny bit of a dangerous toxin — around five milligrams of mercury. And although one dot of mercury might not seem so bad, almost 300 million compact fluorescents were sold in the United States last year. That is already a lot of mercury to throw in the trash, and the amounts will grow ever larger in coming years.

For ‘EcoMoms,’ Saving Earth Begins at Home
Move over, Tupperware. The EcoMom party has arrived, with its ever-expanding “to do” list that includes preparing waste-free school lunches; lobbying for green building codes; transforming oneself into a “locovore,” eating locally grown food; and remembering not to idle the car when picking up children from school (if one must drive). Here, the small talk is about the volatile compounds emitted by dry-erase markers at school.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Hazardous Afterlife
Americans have a voracious appetite for new technology, but it comes with a cost not included on the price tag: electronic waste is the fastest-growing part of the garbage stream. Much of the equipment contains toxic substances, like mercury, lead and cadmium. And once in landfills and incinerators, the poisons are on their way into soil, water tables and the air. The problem can be controlled, but only if everyone commits to recycling.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

R.I.’s environmental landscape
Rhode Island needs to do significantly better in recycling its wastes. It now recycles only about a third of the wastes considered recyclable, and that is causing the state’s Central Landfill to fill too rapidly.
To read the report, go to http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Documents/GreeningRhodeIsland.doc.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Our Fetid City
The garbage — thousands of tons of it — has gone uncollected for three weeks, because all the available landfills are full.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

China: Crackdown on Plastic Bags
The State Council, China’s cabinet, banned the production of thin plastic bags and will forbid China’s supermarkets to offer them free beginning June 1, saying they cause pollution and waste resources. The council said shoppers should return to using cloth bags. The Chinese use up to three billion plastic bags a day and the country has to refine 37 million barrels of crude oil every year to make plastics used for packaging, according to a report on the Web site of China Trade News.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Bottled Water
When it comes to bottled water, she said, “when are we going to say enough is enough of this product?” (Berger had previously explained her position on water this way: “The product is zilch! You’re buying a friggin’ container!”) Now she handed me a bottle from a little collection she kept. The brand was called Oregon Rain; its slogan, “Virgin Water Harvested From Oregon Skies.” “This is my poster child,” she said. “It’s laughable.” Then to prove this, Berger laughed.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

On Gadget Overload
Faced with a house about to implode, our only choice was to start recycling. Even if I didn’t live in California, one of seven states that has banned the disposal of electronics in landfills, I would feel guilty about tossing all that lead, mercury and plastic laced with flame retardants into a garbage dump.

My good intentions turned out to be more difficult to act upon than I had expected.