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Hospital-Acquired Infections

Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are defined as infections not present and without evidence of incubation at the time of admission to a healthcare setting. As a better reflection of the diverse healthcare settings currently available to patients, the term healthcare-associated infections replaced old ones such as nosocomial, hospital-acquired or hospital-onset infections.[1] Within hours after admission, a patient’s flora begins to acquire characteristics of the surrounding bacterial pool. Most infections that become clinically evident after 48 hours of hospitalization are considered hospital-acquired. Infections that occur after the patient is discharged from the hospital can be considered healthcare-associated if the organisms were acquired during the hospital stay. Read the rest of this page »

Hospitals Go Green to Save Money and Save Lives

Spalding Hospital sits on Boston Harbor in Charlestown. (Photo: Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

In an effort to stabalize energy costs hospitals nationwide are investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Host Steve Curwood checks out the innovative design of the new Spaulding hospital with John Messervy Director of Capital and Facilities Planning for Partners’ HealthCare. Read the rest of this page »

Sustainable Textiles Possible from Slime, Study Says

Atsuko NegishiNews Release

University of Guelph researcher Atsuko Negishi is investigating a novel and unlikely source of natural fibres that may one day lessen our dependence on petroleum: hagfish slime.

The textile industry needs an affordable, sustainable alternative to oil-based polymers, and a recent study shows that hagfish slime protein threads have the potential to be spun and woven into novel biomaterials.

Hagfishes are an ancient group of eel-like, bottom-dwelling animals that have remained relatively unchanged for more than 300 million years. When threatened, hagfishes secrete a gelatinous slime containing mucous and tens of thousands of protein threads. These threads belong to the “intermediate filament” family of proteins, and they have remarkable mechanical properties that rival those of spider silks. Read the rest of this page »

On the Move, a ‘Recyclarium’ for New York

Children from P.S. 63 in the East Village exploring the Recyclarium’s exhibits on disposal and sorting on Tuesday.

Sims Municipal RecyclingChildren from P.S. 63 in the East Village exploring the Recyclarium’s exhibits on disposal and sorting on Tuesday.

As a state-of-the-art recycling plant rises in Brooklyn, a mobile educational space known as the Recyclariumwill be making the rounds this fall to give young New Yorkers a taste of what’s coming.

The trailer, revealed on Tuesday at P.S. 63 in the East Village, offers exhibits and interactive games that explain the ins and outs of recycling, from disposing of the materials properly to processing what eventually emerges as the recycled product. The city’s schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, was on hand for the affair, which also featured a composting event.

The trailer accommodates 10 to 15 children at a time and takes about 30 minutes to explore.

As for the new recycling plant, officials with Sims Metal Management Municipal Recycling, the company that recycles the city’s metal, glass and plastic, say it will open on the waterfront in Sunset Park and include an education center with classroom space to promote recycling.

The city’s Department of Sanitation is paying the costs of the Recyclarium in the hope of spreading the idea of minimizing trash to children and young adults. Recycling is far less ingrained in New York City than it is in cities like San Francisco or Seattle.

The department also recently created the position of deputy commissioner to help the Bloomberg administration meet its goal of doubling the city’s recycling rate of 15 percent by 2017.

In addition to interactive games, the trailer presents dozens of recycling facts. Among the factoids: New Yorkers throw away 146,200 tons of glass per year. If all of it were recycled into sand, it would be enough to fill 718 sand volleyball courts, one for each elementary school in the city.

Article courtesy of MIREYA NAVARRO with the NYtimes http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/on-the-move-a-recyclarium-for-new-york/?utm_source=Kazi+Media+Group&utm_medium=Kazi+Media+Group

Barrington, RI Plastic Bag Ban Considered

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View full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/barrington-ri-plastic-bag-ban_n_1732887.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000040

BARRINGTON, R.I. (AP) — Answering the question ‘paper or plastic’ could get a lot easier in one Rhode Island town if local leaders support a call to ban plastic shopping bags.

Hundreds of residents and more than a dozen business owners in Barrington are pushing to scrap the sacks, which they say take up valuable landfill space and litter streets, streams and shorelines. But critics — including an alliance of plastic bag manufacturers — say prohibiting the ubiquitous bags would only reduce consumers’ options while doing nothing to help the environment.

The Barrington Town Council voted on Monday to direct the town’s solicitor to draft a proposed ban. The move follows a recommendation by the town’s Conservation Commission to prohibit plastic shopping bags to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bag. Under that recommendation, shoppers could also purchase paper bags for 5 cents each.

“It wouldn’t be a big deal to me,” said Linda Alves, who was shopping for home office supplies Wednesday in Barrington, an affluent town 20 minutes from Providence. Alves opened the trunk of her car and pulled out two reusable bags. “I have so many of these things, who needs the plastic?”

San Francisco was the first U.S. city to ban plastic shopping bags back in 2007. Several cities have followed, including Los Angeles and Seattle. The bags are banned throughout Hawaii. Westport, Conn. is the only New England community with such a ban.

“It’s a matter of changing habits, and that’s not always easy,” said Jonathan Cunitz, a member of Westport’s Representative Town Meeting and an advocate for the ban, which went into effect in 2009. “But people are now more conscious of the environment and we don’t see plastic bags on the street or on our waterfront.”

But an organization founded by plastics manufacturers to fight proposed bans argues that outlawing the bags could threaten more than 30,000 plastic bag manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Donna Dempsey, spokeswoman for the Washington D.C.-based American Progressive Bag Alliance, said the plastic bag has gotten a bad rap.

Read the rest of this page »

Nike, Walmart, Levi’s Launch Sustainable Apparel Index

sustainable_apparel_coalition1.480pfnzbjy2owokscow80os04.5r15frdicg4kos40gwk400wsw.th.jpeg http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/07/26/nike-walmart-levis-launch-sustainable-apparel-index/

Walmart, Nike, Target, JC Penney, Levi’s and fellow members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition have unveiled the group’s index for measuring the environmental impact of apparel products across the supply chain.

The Higg Index is an indicator-based tool for apparel that allows clothing manufacturers and brands to evaluate material types, products, facilities and processes based on a range of environmental and product design choices.

This 1.0 version of the index was developed for apparel products and measures environmental outcomes in water use and quality; energy and greenhouse gas; waste; and chemicals and toxicity.

Future releases of the index, slated for 2013, will include footwear products and social and labor impact areas, the coalition said. The index eventually will be expanded to include quantitative data and metrics and feature an improved scoring method.

The current version of the Higg Index asks practice-based, qualitative questions to gauge environmental sustainability performance. It’s based on the Eco Index and Nike’s Apparel Environmental Design Tool. However, the Higg Index has been significantly enhanced through the pilot testing period, the coalition said.

The tool includes a Materials Sustainability Index, a cradle-to-gate assessment tool to give designers and the global supply chain information on the environmental sustainability of materials.

A group of 30 manufacturers and retailers launched theSustainable Apparel Coalition last year to improve the environmental and social performance of the apparel and footwear industry, from water consumption and chemical use to waste and embedded energy in products.

Last month, Nike partnered with Random Hacks of Kindness in the Open Challenge for Sustainable Materials, an initiative that asks apparel designers and developers to use sustainable materials listed on the Nike Sustainable Materials Index.

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