By MJ Deschamps
With fast fashion and quick turnover key commercial ingredients of today’s garment and apparel industry, excess textile production is prompting the sector to gravitate towards more recycling and re-use of materials, to conserve energy, increase sustainability and lower raw material costs. (more…)
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. (more…)
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.
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.
Article by Marc Gunther at Greenbiz.com: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/07/26/behind-scenes-sustainable-apparel-coalition?utm_source=E-News+from+GreenBiz&utm_campaign=21c7056b94-GreenBuzz-2012-27-07&utm_medium=email
The story of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition begins with a letter designed to get the attention of even a busy CEO. At the top: the logos of Walmart and Patagonia. John Fleming, who was then Walmart’s chief merchandising officer, and Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, signed the letter, which invited chief executives of some of the world’s biggest clothing companies–fierce competitors, ordinarily — to join together to develop an index to measure the environmental impact of their products.
Their pitch, in part, read like this:
Creating a single approach for measuring sustainability in the apparel sector will do much more than accelerate meaningful social and environmental change. Standardization will enable us to maximize sustainability benefits for all buyers without investing in multiple sustainability technologies and certification processes, and ultimately empower consumers to trust claims regarding sustainably sourced apparel.
Finally, as an industry, we will benefit from the unique opportunity to shape policy and create standards for measuring sustainability before government inevitably imposes one.
…The time is right and the need is great for the apparel sector to move forward now, without further delay, in unison, with strong partners like you.
It was a risky proposition. What if it turned out that a competing company had a better sustainability story to tell? Would consumers be given access to the index? NGOs? Regulators? Most big retailers knew that they had very little visibility deep into their supply chains. Did they really want to find out, for example, that a supplier to one of their suppliers, in a factory they had never visited in China or Vietnam, exploited workers or dumped pollution into a nearby river? Any meaningful index would require companies to ask tough questions and, eventually, face demands from others to share what they had learned.
The letter went out on October 1, 2009. Less than three years later, despite those risks, the apparel industry has made major progress towards creating a global sustainability index, the Higg Index, to measure and score products, factories and companies. A first version was released today by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the nonprofit group that developed the index.
Its vision? Nothing less than “an apparel and footwear industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities.” The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) hired an executive director, Jason Kibbey, in January, and today it has more than 60 members, representing brands, retailers and suppliers who together account for more than a third of the global apparel and footwear industry.
Here at MantraMeds, our scrubs are made from recycled plastic but we like to emphasize that making our planet a more sustainable place means practicing all 3 R’s: Reducing, Reusing & Recycling. Here is a great article from HuffPost Green on reducing use of plastic on all your fresh summer produce!
I started shopping at my farmers market this summer. I’ve noticed people putting fruits and vegetables directly in their totes, without taking the plastic bags some vendors offer. But how do you keep produce fresh in the fridge without the plastic?
Not long ago, I asked myself that same question. I had recently invested in a large set of organic cotton reusable produce bags, and while I was feeling mighty proud of myself each time I ventured out to the market (look how eco-friendly I am! Who needs those wasteful plastic produce bags?), the scene in my fridge a few days later was less than pretty.
Stored in plastic, fruits and vegetables would have normally stayed fresh for at least a week. But left in my new reusable bags, all my beautiful produce fast turned into a wilted, spoiled mess. (Even the “crisper” bin seemed to do just the opposite, no matter what the setting.)
I’ve written before about the enormous environmental implications of wasted food; needless to say, my cloth produce bags were not coming close to offsetting the yearly 34 million tons of food waste to which I was now contributing.
But obviously, there were reasons to avoid the plastic bags, too (wildlife-destroying pollution, needless oil consumption, endocrine-disrupting chemicals). They also didn’t seem necessary: After all, plastic produce bags only came into being in the 1960s; plastic grocery bags, a decade later. There had to be a way to keep my fruits and veggies fresh without them.
Enter Beth Terry. As author of the blog My Plastic-free Life and the recently released book Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, Terry knows how to keep everything from persimmons to parsnips fresh with nary a plastic bag in sight: She’s lived plastic free (and not just in the produce department) since 2007.
Terry’s storage methods come largely from Ecology Center Farmers’ Markets in Berkeley, CA, which createdthis guide on how to store more than 60 kinds of fruits and vegetables. But being the plastic-free pro that she is, Terry of course had some suggestions to add. With her help, I’ve created a condensed version for you that includes her input, below.
*Note: While the Ecology Center guide occasionally calls for paper products, Terry tries to limit these; she opts for cloth bags or plastic-free reusable containers instead. (“While plastic is truly problematic, all single-use disposable bags and wrappers have an environmental footprint,” she says.) She suggests a variety of different bags and containers on her site.
This is a guest post from Tom Szaky, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of TerraCycle, which provides free waste collection, and then turns that waste into sustainable products. View our previous post about TerraCycle here: http://mantrameds.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/terracycle-outsmart-waste/
Widely quoted estimates suggest that 90% of the ‘stuff’ we buy is discarded within 6 months of purchase. What’s worse is that 10% of this “stuff” ends up going to some type of waste-to-energy facility, while the remaining 90% of America’s waste ends up in a landfill.
With over 360 million Americans and counting producing on average about 4 pounds of waste a day, it is clear that our recycling systems need to be expanded to accept a wider range of materials, and fast. Worse yet, even commonly recyclable packaging formats such as PET and HDPE plastic bottles are only recycled at an estimated (and paltry) 25%.
Go to the following link or click on the image below to “develop (yet another) iron-clad excuse to drink a cool beer… ‘I’m not just drinking, I’m saving the Earth!’” http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/latest/organic-brewery-0625?click=main_sr
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to go green…
Revolution is sometimes necessary, if never comfortable. Thomas Jefferson knew this when he and his revolutionary colleagues laid out their grievances before dissolving the bands that connected them with the King of England. We celebrate the success of that revolution every year, and for good reason.
This Fourth of July, a couple hundred years later, there’s another revolution afoot, with the potential to shake up the way America does business, interacts with other nations and pursues happiness. “Green” is more than a buzzword. It’s a path forward for a great nation seeking to produce its own energy, shore up its security and provide sustainable prosperity for its people.
Jefferson didn’t spend a lot of ink on energy policy in the Declaration of Independence, but a selective reading of his “indictments” against the King almost sound like a treatise on sustainability. (At least, the whole argument for untangling ourselves from that rotten King of England is framed as aligning human behavior with natural law and the “powers of the earth.”)
So, this Fourth of July, start participating in the next revolution, one that embraces good-old American ingenuity and hard work on the path toward a brighter future for our great nation.
Read more about how to Declare Your Independence from Oil, Waste, Factory Food, & Suspect Chemicals: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/declare-independence-47062306#ixzz1zUmsAlEd
Loving this idea to get you through the July heat!
Make your own vitamin water. Add fruits instead of sugar for a natural sweetener for your H20. Cut the fruit into paper-thin slices or small chunks. Combine ingredients with water. Refrigerate 4-6 hours and serve over ice. So delicious and very refreshing!
This great idea was brought to you courtesy of Homesteading.
Homesteading – the center for “How To” products on self-reliance, sustainable living, and other related fields.
At their recent commencement, more than 5,000 graduates at George Washington University joined hundreds of thousands of other students across the country in forgoing traditional polyester gowns for versions made entirely from bits of melted plastic.
By Maggie Fazeli Fard, The Washington Post
When George Washington University’s Class of 2012 marched across the Mall in D.C. to accept its degrees recently, the nation’s backyard was transformed into an eco-fashion runway.
Sure, the men wore dress shirts and slacks while the women donned colorful spring dresses and shoes that wouldn’t sink in soft soil. But on top of these outfits, each GWU student sported the newest trend: gowns made from plastic bottles.
More than 5,000 graduates at GWU joined hundreds of thousands of other students across the country in forgoing traditional polyester gowns for versions made entirely from bits of melted plastic.
“The ‘green’ gowns look and feel the same, and the students were really excited,” said Robert Blake, the manager of the GWU bookstore and a member of the university’s regalia committee. “For us, this was really a no-brainer.”
The eco-friendly fashion statement is part of a larger effort by colleges and universities to reduce the carbon footprint of commencement ceremonies.
Read full article here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2018289998_greengowns27.html
Wellness at Work – Walking Expert Visits Wellsource, Inc.
Walking adds years to your life, reduces stress, and doubles productivity
PORTLAND, Ore. – When Robert Sweetgall left his high-paying job as a chemical engineer almost 30 years ago, he knew he was staring death in the face. His father, aunt, and uncle, all died at an early age of heart disease.
And his greasy, high-cholesterol diet wasn’t doing him any favors. So he did what any sane, single bachelor would do who questioned the meaning of life. He put a few things in a fanny pack, opened the front door, and started out on an 11,028-mile walking journey that would take him across the United States seven times.
Known as “The Real Forest Gump,” Robert Sweetgall shared his experience, walking tips, and health and wellness advice at Wellsource, Inc., on May 17, 2012. He is the founder of Creative Walking Inc., author of 17 books, and a longtime advocate for improving physical activity.
One Step at a Time
In the three decades since he walked off the job, Sweetgall has taught and inspired millions of people to be more physically active. He’s appeared on the CBS Morning News and National Public Radio, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and others. At 65 years old, he’s still trim and quick on his feet. And he continues to exercise regularly and share his message that he hopes will inspire others to get moving.
Wellness at Work
During Sweetgall’s cross-country adventures on foot, he wore through scores of custom-made shoes. He developed his own treatment to care for his feet. And he meticulously tracked the food he ate as part of a study for the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He lost 11 pounds of body fat during his first journey across the country on foot, burning an estimated 1.6 million calories by putting one foot in front of the other. Walking an average of 30 miles a day gave him a lot of time to think about the message he wanted to share with people.
“If you want to add years to your life, reduce stress, and double your productivity, take a five or 10-minute walk before work or school every day,” Sweetgall said. “Park your car at the far end of the parking lot, and walk to the store instead of circling around in your car. Just do something to make physical activity a part of your life. Then take it one step at a time.”
About Wellsource, Inc.
A new study links being outdoors and increased creativity.
Got any plans for this weekend? We understand it may be scorching in your neck of the woods as summer heats up, but getting outside will not only reconnect you with nature. It’ll also make you more creative.
Check it out: a recent study showed that hikers became 50% more creative after they spent four days cruising around a trail. Getting away from gadgets and walls can have serious brain benefits.
You don’t have to hike all weekend, of course. Our guess is that spending just an hour or so outside, whether you’re camping, walking, or throwing a Frisbee will help clear your mind, breather easier, and maybe even refocus. Give it a shot.
Check out Cool People Care on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/coolpeoplecare
AT&T is dedicated to supporting people and communities, the environment, and technology. Your vote counts: each nonprofit will win a percentage of the $80K pool, based on the number of votes they receive.
You can vote once per day, so make sure to come back tomorrow to support your favorite organization again!
ABOUT THE NONPROFITS
Roadtrip nation exists to support, empower, and encourage individuals who want to define their own roads in life.
Keep America Beautiful
Keep America Beautiful changes behaviors and improves communities through a focus on litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling, and beautification and community greening.
National Safety Council
The National Safety Council’s mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.
See video below at: http://youtu.be/Cw3-rAD1Ajk
Typically on this blog, we focus on sustainability as it relates to the MantraMeds brand and the eco-friendly textiles we use to make our scrubs. We have touched on recycling plastics, organic cotton, hospital sustainability efforts, and customers who include our scrubs on their exciting healthcare missions.
Today, I’d like to venture to a topic that is particularly prevalent this time of year, especially in the hot & humid Carolinas where the scrub materials are made… MOSQUITOES! Due to this past mild winter, they are EVERYwhere! I don’t know about you, but I’m SICK of spraying my body with chemicals twice a day, and I just don’t trust those clip-on fans that continuously emit who-knows-what into the air around you.
According to this blog, “… most bug repellents found on the market contain a chemical known as DEET (diethyl toluamide), a pesticide with known toxic effects, including endocrine disruption, brain disorders, slurred speech, skin irratation, seizures and even death. Children are more susceptible to subtle brain changes caused by chemicals in their environment because their skin more readily absorbs them (up to 56% of DEET enters the bloodstream!) and their still-developing nervous systems are more potently affected.”… YIKES!
FIND OUT ABOUT THE THREE PROPOSED “GREEN” ALTERNATIVES HERE: http://mightynest.com/blog/natural-and-effective-bug-repellents
The High Park Fire near Fort Collins, Colo. is burning on 43,433 acres as of Tuesday morning. The out of control blaze is being fought by more than 500 firefighters and they are concerned that Tuesday’s high temperatures could spread the fire further.
Only 30% of people in the Southern region of the United States had curbside recycling collection in 2008. Eighty-four percent of people in the Northeast had curbside recycling. The South also has the most landfill facilities – 726, in contrast with 134 in the northeast. [EPA]
Fact courtesy of Busch Systems – like them on Facebook
Making recycling make sense
Variation in recycling programs, unclear labeling, and inaccurate recyclability claims make proper recycling a challenge. The How2Recycle Label was created to provide consistent and transparent on-package recycling information to consumers.
We created a special version of the label for plastic bags and films that are accepted primarily at retail stores with plastic bags. For more information, see plasticbagrecycling.org.