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.
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
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
Repreve Recycled Fiber that we use in MantraMeds Scrubs sells their eco-friendly materials to tons of cool companies! Check out this one – American Flora - Founded by a veteran dancer, American Flora is a line of dance and yoga wear that emphasizes a woman’s true femininity, athleticism and beauty. They create boutique high-performance garments inspired by our passion for dance and the beauty of our natural world. Smart design and extensive use of eco-friendly Repreve® fabric ensures each piece in our collection provides the ultimate combination of luxury, comfort and performance. American Flora is made in the United States from 100% US sourced material.
The organic farming debate is about more than just yields
Yields from organic farming may not match those produced by farmers who use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, but there are other good reasons to buy and support organic — its health benefits, the good that it does for farm workers, even its animal-welfare rules.
So, at least, say executives of the Organic Trade Association, a Washington-based group that represents about 6,500 organic farmers, producers, retailers and suppliers.
“Yield is only one window into organic farming,” says Laura Batcha, executive vice president of the trade group. Organic farming is “good for the environment. It’s good for local economies. It’s good for the farmer incomes.” A 2008 USDA survey of organic production found that organic farms had average annual sales of $217,675, compared to the $134,807 average for U.S. farms overall. Overall, the U.S. organic industry, including fiber as well as food, generated about $31 billion in 2011, up from just $1 billion in 1990. Despite the U.S.’s sluggish economy, organic food and farming remain growth businesses.
I went to see Laura and Christine Bushway, who is CEO of the organic trade group, at their offices on Capitol Hill to talk about several issues, including the push to require labels on food containing genetically modified organisms, the Farm Bill and food safety, including a recent incident of mad cow disease in California. But we talked a lot about yields because it’s in the news: A recent survey of 66 research studies published in Nature, which found that organic yields lag those of conventional farming, has stirred up a bit of a brouhaha. [See my blog post Organic food is not as green as you think, and the comments.]
People who are interested in a career improving their community might be interested in a masters degree in human services from an online school.
We all know recycling is good for the environment, but many don’t realize the ways recycling can positively impact their own community. These days, there are more than just moral incentives for communities to establish recycling options and encourage participation.
Here are five ways the benefits of recycling can hit close to home:
1. Creates Green Jobs
Recycling has become a major industry that reaches far beyond your average curbside pickup program. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2010 employment in green goods and services accounted for 3.1 million jobs in the United States. The green job potential grows exponentially the more communities invest in their own recycling efforts.
It’s easy to associate green jobs with what we see most often, such as curbside collection services, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot to do with recycling that goes on behind the scenes.
Once a recyclable material is collected, it usually requires processing to transform it into a valuable material that can be reused. From there, those refined materials get manufactured into new products made from recycled material.
None of these steps can take place without businesses and employees to collect, transport, process and manufacture recovered materials. When put in the context of the numerous types of materials collected, such as glass, plastics, paper and metal, it is easy to see how the potential for green jobs adds up.
Green Lessons Our Moms Taught Us
Read full article on Earth911: http://earth911.com/news/2012/05/08/green-lessons-our-moms-taught-us/
Moms teach their children a variety of lessons as they grow up – from how to tie their shoes to the importance of spending quality time with loved ones. As we get ready to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, Earth911 couldn’t help but realize that many of the values our moms imparted are actually very eco-friendly – whether Mom was an enthusiastic eco-advocate or not. From finding new uses for scraps others might have thrown away to encouraging us to stand up for our beliefs, here are five green lessons our moms taught us.
1. Family and friends are more important than material possessions
You know your mom would like nothing more than to spend some quality time with her kids this Mother’s Day – and would prefer this gift of time over flowers, jewelry and other store-bought presents.
This is just one of the values mothers pass down to their children that happen to be very green: Spending time with your loved ones is more important than buying the hottest new car, latest designer outfit or just-released electronic gadget.
Of course, prioritizing your friends and family and living green doesn’t mean quitting your job and avoiding new purchases altogether. But what’s better for the Earth – and your family – is to buy only items you need and think carefully about each purchase, opting for high-quality goods that will last for a long time. Remember, the first “R” of the famous “three R’s” is to reduce: When you reduce your unnecessary purchases, you end up consuming fewer resources and disposing of less waste.
In fact, this philosophy of buying only the necessities and abstaining from impulse shopping has freed up time for two eco-moms, Béa Johnson whose family strives to lead a zero-waste lifestyle and Meg Hourihanwho is spending the year trying to avoid new purchases.
“Now that we’re not burdened by stuff, we have more time do things we truly enjoy. I have more time to play with my kids,” Johnson told Earth911 last year.
2. Nothing beats a home-cooked meal
No matter how old you are or how many Michelin-rated restaurants you’ve eaten in, there’s nothing quite like the comfort and warmth of your mom’s best homemade meal.
And while Mom may have whipped up home-cooked meals to save the family money or to promote better health, it turns out that home cooking is a great way to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
By steering clear of takeout lunches and frozen dinners, you’re cutting down on food packaging, including many materials which cannot be easily recycled through local collection programs – such as polystyrene foam clamshell containers or frozen food packaged in plastic bags. You can further reduce your waste when cooking for yourself by buying in bulk to avoid packaging or choosing products packaged in materials that are recycled in your community.
Cooking from scratch also gives you more control over the meal’s ingredients, so you can pick organic, free-range and local choices to reduce your environmental impact.
3. Stand up for what you believe in
Mothers don’t just impart important values to their children; they also remind their kids to actively pursue their principles and defend their beliefs when they are challenged.
If sustainability is your passion, there are plenty of things you can do in your local community, school or workplace to make a difference and make your mama proud.
To prevent usable items from ending up in the landfill, organize a citywide garage sale or bicycle repair and recycling program in your community. You can also start a food scraps composting program at your school or a recycling program at your office or apartment complex. Or volunteer your time weeding and tending plants at your local community garden or picking up litter at a local beach cleanup event.
Read full article on Earth911: http://earth911.com/news/2012/05/08/green-lessons-our-moms-taught-us/
Eco-Friendly Shipping: It Is Possible!
Love the convenience of shipping but hate the environmental impact? Don’t fret, eco-conscious consumer. Our experts are here to help. Earth911 sat down with Darby Hoover, senior resource specialist for the Natural Resources Defense Council, to get the low-down on shipping the eco-friendly way.
FedEx hybrid electric delivery vehicles are on the road in several major cities around the U.S. Photo: FedEx
1. Opt out of overnight
Ground or air? The age-old question has puzzled sustainable shippers for decades. And the decision to have an item shipped via ground or air mail is still the most important choice consumers make with regard to eco-friendly shipping, Hoover says.
“Ground shipping is going to use less fuel than air,” she says. “So, the more you can avoid having things shipped overnight mail (or whatever is going to require air), that’s probably a good way to think about it.”
While top-name shipping companies, such as UPS and FedEx, are taking steps to reduce the carbon footprintof air shipping, choosing a ground method is usually your best eco bet. Transporting one ton of parcels for one nautical mile produces about 1.39 pounds of CO2 emissions, according to 2010 UPS data. So, if you can wait a few extra days for your package, go for ground instead.
2. Choose the right provider
Carriers for the U.S. Postal Service walk and drive through every neighborhood six times a week, which left Earth911 wondering: Since delivery trucks will be on my street anyway, is USPS my greenest choice for shipping?
“That can be true, especially if everybody [on your block] is getting mail,” Hoover says. “But if the trucks are driving through and not everybody is getting mail, I’m not sure if that ends up being considerably more efficient.”
Green perks offered by the Postal Service that the other guys can’t match include a program that allows you to purchase stamps and other supplies online and have them delivered with your mail. USPS will also schedule a free pickup for outgoing packages, which carriers will pick up at your doorstep when dropping off your mail. But the Postal Service isn’t the only eco-friendly way to ship.
“There are so many different parameters that it’s hard to come down and say, ‘This is always better’ and ‘This is always not preferable,’” Hoover says. She suggests keeping an eye out for trucks you see in your neighborhood most frequently. If you often see drivers from a particular shipping company in your neighborhood, you may want to opt for that company for your shipping needs.
“[Private shipping companies] are motivated to reduce their drive-times and increase their fuel efficiency,” Hoover says. “So, they’re going to try to plan the best routes and figure out how to get packages to people the most efficiently in terms of time and money, which also turns out to be the most efficient in terms of environmental resources.”
To keep carbon footprints shrinking, USPS, UPS and FedEx have all begun utilizing alternative fuel fleets. A growing number of companies, including UPS and FedEx, also offer carbon offset programs to help minimize your shipping impact.
Earth Day Energy Quiz Yields Alarming Results
Rather than telling people how to be more energy efficient this Earth Day, SmartPower decided to test consumers’ knowledge of energy efficiency with a 10-question quiz. Instead of receiving the varied results we expected, we noticed that there were some surprisingly common incorrect answers.
For example, we asked: Where do houses leak the most energy? a) windows and doors, b) ducts, c) plumbing, d) ceilings, walls and floors
Seven out of 10 people answered a) windows and doors. Only one in ten people answered correctly: d) ceilings, walls and floors.
This is alarming, as houses are an even larger source of carbon dioxide than cars — another commonly missed quiz question — making it extremely important that homeowners understand not only how muchenergy their homes are wasting, but also where they are wasting energy.
Read full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-keane/earth-day-energy-quiz-yie_b_1452052.html?ref=energy
Brian Keane is the President of SmartPower, a non-profit marketing organization funded by private foundations to help build the clean energy marketplace by helping the American public become smarter about their energy use.
Follow Brian Keane on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SmartPower_org
National Parks Week 2012: MapQuest Launches Web-Based Parks Travel Guide (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
View full article, photos & videos at Huff Post Green: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/17/national-parks-week-2012-mapquest-travel-guide_n_1431790.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009
National Parks Week 2012 is April 21 to 29, and the National Park Service is celebrating by granting free admission to all 397 national parks.
This year, MapQuest launched a web-based guide to national parks to coincide with the week-long celebration of the United States’ natural and cultural wonders. The guide currently includes overviews of 58 major destinations, plus information on popular activities, wildlife and park history. Select park entries also include eye-catching video featuring commentary by park rangers (such as the one about Yellowstone featured below), and the panoramic photography of QT Luong.
Luong, a preeminent landscape photographer with a career spanning more than 25 years, uses his camera to “celebrate the splendor and variety of the natural and human heritage,” according to his website. Once an “avid mountaineer and climber,” Luong has photographed every single national park.
Scroll down to browse some of Luong’s most breathtaking panoramas.
The first national park, Yellowstone, was founded before the United States had seen its hundredth birthday. In the face of unchecked 19th century capitalism, which sought to exploit resources with little regard for the environment, a nascent conservation movement led by naturalists like John Muir led the charge to preserve and protect America’s natural wonders.
The movement gained momentum into the 20th century, and more parks were established. Philanthropists like John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and other private citizens took up the cause. During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps built improvements to the park system’s infrastructure, employing 2.5 million young men during its nine-year existence.
In 2011, a looming government shutdown threatened to close national parks and other units managed by the National Park Service, which is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The potential shutdown, which was ultimately averted, sprung from a budgetary face-off between the Obama White House and congressional Republicans.
MapQuest is owned by AOL, Inc., which also owns The Huffington Post
Party for the Planet | April 4, 2012
Party for the Planet was a huge success! Earthspun Apparel & MantraMeds had a booth right between Joy the Elephant, the Tortoises & the Giraffes! Tons of local businesses showed up to share their green initiatives. City of Greenville Recycling had green Silly Bands and face painting. We highly recommend the Greenville Zoo as a destination point this spring & summer! Zoo Camp 2012 is all abount Animal Mythbusters. What a great way for your kids to spend their summer! Go to http://www.greenvillezoo.com/zoocamp.aspx to find out more.
CRA’s 22nd Annual Conference and Trade Show
“Recycling on the Rise”
March 19-23, Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC
The CRA is pleased to present our 22nd Annual Conference and Trade Show “Recycling on the Rise” to be held March 19-23, 2012 at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. You will find this theme throughout the conference program, as we explore new strategies, new materials, new opportunities and new horizons.
Join us for the Southeast’s premier recycling conference at the hotel that defined Southern Hospitality.
Earthspun Apparel will be at Recycling on the Rise in Asheville this week. Stop in and see our kewl recycled tees!
St. Patty’s day may be over, but our St. Patty’s Day Sale is still going strong! All Jade scrubs on sale through March 31st. Go to http://www.mantramedsmarket.com/st-patricksday/
MantraMeds Sustainable Medical Apparel believes going Green should not just be about consumer items. It’s about a lifestyle, a full commitment to sustainability. Now that spring is here, it’s time to spruce up your yard. Take Laura Ruby’s advice in from this Youtube interview.
Waylon talks with Laura about 10 green things we can do with our backyards for spring:
Click the image above or go to: http://youtu.be/pf463UrZ2bY
Laura gives tips on how to make your outdoor spaces not just beautiful, but useful as well. While lawns are very popular in the U.S., they use tremendous resources to maintain in most areas without much return on the investment. Laura explains ways for homeowners as well as renters to enjoy gardening and reap the benefits of digging in the dirt.
Laura Ruby is an avid foodie enthusiast, sniffing out fresh, local and yummy food wherever she goes. She worked as the Garden Coordinator for the Growe Foundation for the past three and a half years installing gardens and teaching garden curriculum at Boulder Valley elementary schools. She is also the founder and owner of YummyYards, an edible landscaping company, working to co-create more functioning, self-sufficient landscapes, and is a co-facilitator and teacher at the Lyons Permaculture Design Course at the Farmette. When not teaching about growing food, you can usually find her in a garden somewhere. -Kate Bartolotta
From Mother Nature Network’s Josh Lew (via HuffPost Green)
In 2010, Vancouver set a high standard forenvironmentally friendly Olympics with sustainability initiatives launched in conjunction with the Winter Games. Now, London’s Olympic organizers have an ambitious plan to host the “first truly sustainable” games later this year. That’s a bold goal, considering all the other tasks and issues that go with being the host of the world’s highest-profile sporting event. Most athletes will have a few minutes or even a few seconds in the spotlight this summer, but London will be on camera for nearly three weeks, with the user-friendliness of its venues, basic services for visitors and event security under the media microscope.
Some of the planned green features, like a giant wind turbine, have already been scrapped, and the unforgiving British media have brought the environmental commitment of the games’ organizers into question. However, green-minded London visitors will be able to appreciate the green features that are definitely going to be a part of the 2012 Olympic experience.
Earth Day is right around the corner! Find out how to get involved in your community! http://act.earthday.org/events/search/distance/29301
With April’s tax deadline quickly approaching, don’t forget that many purchases you made last year to benefit the environment and your wallet may also qualify for a tax break. Whether you bought a plug-in hybrid, made home energy efficiency retrofits or donated to an environmental charity, check out Earth911’s guide to 2011’s green tax incentives.
List and captions courtesy of Earth911
earthspun tees are made with superior quality, American made, ring spun yarns. The fabric is a unique blend of recycled polyester (RPET) fibers from green, brown and blue plastic bottles. These are combined with American recycled cotton to create an earth friendly, unbelievably soft garment.
The result? Colorful tees that require no dying process, provide superior comfort, long lasting durability and quick drying performance that tread lightly on Mother Earth.
Try earthspun® apparel and feel the difference!
This Valentine’s Day, MantraMeds encourages you to get creative and go green. Since the mind tends to clam up under pressure, here are some refreshing ideas to get your juices flowing! Here’s an article with some very interesting gestures that are thoughtful, easy, affordable, and GREEN! Although we wouldn’t recommend going out today and buying a pet for your loved one (idea no. 8), we do like the idea of signing up for classes (idea no. 9). Whether it’s salsa dancing or wine tasting, what better way to grow closer this February than to learn a new trade with your significant other! Read on…
Lost your calendar with “Valentine’s Day” circled in red sharpie? Forgot that February 14 signifies more than just the middle marker of a really short, cold month?
It’s that time of year again, and the day is upon us that makes single people cringe and couples sweat. If you’re one of the latter, have no fear. There’s still time to get a meaningful, inexpensive, and relatively eco-friendly Valentine’s Day gift for that special someone.
An estimated one billion Valentine’s Day cards will be purchased this year — which means that just under the estimated one billion will ultimately wind up in the trash. Over 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold along with over a hundred million roses. It’s time to cut down on the waste and the cost of Valentine’s Day.
We’ve got some old tips from years past, some new tips, some borrowed tips … but nothing that’ll make your loved one feel blue, because these are all green(ish).
Read full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/valentines-day-gifts-diy-cheap-green_n_1273045.html
Consumers would increase sustainable apparel purchasing if only they could find it, according to a survey by Ryan Partnership Chicago and Mambo Sprouts Marketing.
Some 69 percent of consumers considered sustainability at least sometimes when purchasing clothing in 2011 and shoppers intend to double their eco-apparel purchases this year, according to the 2012 Styling Sustainability survey.
But access to green apparel is hampering take-up. A third of consumers who don’t regularly consider sustainability in their apparel purchases said sustainable clothing wasn’t available where they shop. About one in four said they didn’t even know where to purchase sustainable clothing, according to the survey.
When shoppers do buy sustainable clothing, 57 percent said they became aware of eco-attributes through product tags, while 37 percent credited in-store information. Some 61 percent of shoppers expressed interest in an apparel sustainability rating or index.
Read full article here: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/02/09/lack-of-eco-clothing-hampers-sales/
Environmentalism, digital world give traditions a tweak
Christmas is steeped in tradition, but that doesn’t mean the merry season can’t feel modern.
With the digital revolution, green sensibilities and ever-evolving styles of the 21st century, traditions take on a new vibe.
“We live in a different world,” says Gerald Smith, professor of religion and environmental studies at Sewanee: The University of the South. “We can sing ‘Over the river and through the woods’ all we want, but most of us live in a digital world; high-tech things are a part of our life, and what we are doing is pulling Christmas traditions in that direction.
USING ART TO SPARK A GLOBAL CLIMATE MOVEMENT.
EARTH collaborates with creatives to transform the human rights and environmental issues connected to climate change into powerful art that gets people to stop, think and act.
In 2010, 350.org launched EARTH, the world’s first ever global satellite art project. In over 16 places around the world, the public collaborated with artists to create art so large it could be photographed from space.
The art pieces highlighted a local climate change issue or solution.
Photo: Marvin del Cid
View slideshow pictures with details here: http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-project-350-first-global-climate-art-show
Find out more about Earth 350 at: http://earth.350.org/
Need an unusual and green holiday gift idea? Consider giving organic or natural fiber sheets and blankets.
Introduce your family and friends to a healthier, cozier night’s sleep with natural fiber sheets and blankets. While you are at it, get some for yourself – you won’t believe the difference!
Read full article here: http://wellesley.patch.com/articles/green-tips-green-bedding-for-an-unusual-holiday-gift
Click here for more information about “Greening your Bedroom”.
Information compiled from firstname.lastname@example.org, treehugger.com and Green Living by the editors of The Environmental Magazine.
For more green tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com
Just eight months ago, a one-acre plot at the Denver Green School was an unused athletic field, but now that land has come to life with food-bearing vegetation.
“We have harvested over 3,000 pounds of produce from this ground,” said Megan Caley, a coordinator for Sprout City Farms, which partnered to create the garden.
“Kids are eating healthier,” said Frank Coyne, of the public school. “They are excited to eat the tomatoes on the salad bar, they are excited to eat the cucumbers.”
(WATCH the program’s video below, or READ the story in News-7 Denver)