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…)
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. 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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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.
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
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
Another label is coming to popcorn, yogurt and other products, but instead of adding to the visual noise caused by some confusing labels, this one is designed to give plain and simple recycling information.
The How2Recycle label, created by nonprofit GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition(SPC), will pop up on 10 companies’ products throughout the summer and into 2013. The label explains the recyclability of each component of the package, clearly stating the material each part is made from and adding special instructions if needed.
“When consumers think about sustainability, they think about recyclability, so having that transparent communication is really important,” said Anne Bedarf, SPC’s senior manager.
The standard recycling symbol means a material is widely recycled, while the symbol with a slash through it means the material isn’t recycled. The addition of the phrase “check locally” means the material is recycled in limited areas. The label with the phrase “store drop-off” is for plastic bags, wraps or films that are accepted at many grocery and retail stores.
The How2Recycle label is already being used on two Seventh Generation products — a limited edition 180 oz. detergent bottle and new 22 oz. pre-wash spray — and more than 50 products at outdoor gear company REI.
Both companies are members of the SPC, and fellow members ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG), Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ: COST) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will join them in using the label on Orville Redenbacher popcorn, Kirkland Signature brand products and computer accessories.
Consumers appreciate labels
Transparency was one impetus behind the birth of the label, which started as discussions among SPC members in 2007 about greenwashing in brand labels. Concerned companies asked the SPC to research material and recycling labels, which ultimately led to the SPC asking its members to develop their own ideas for what an informative recycling label should look like.
The SPC took those ideas and spent much of 2010 speaking with governments, trade associations, recyclers and the Federal Trade Commission to get input before rolling out the How2Recycle label.
The label is partially based on the On-Pack Recycling Label in the United Kingdom, which also breaks down each packaging component and declares how commonly it’s recycled.
Bedarf said studies of the U.K. label found consumers appreciate that companies are clear about the recyclability of their packaging, even if the materials can’t be recycled.
Danielle Peacock, an SPC project associate, said the same thing is happening here.
“U.S. consumers are also finding that just knowing that the company is making an effort means a lot to them,” she said. “They think highly of the company just for using it.”
One of our MantraMeds Insiders took our sustainable medical scrubs to Panama on a medical mission. His team performed routine dentistry for people in need while there. He wrote us:
The scrubs were great thanks so much. I was in Penonome, Panama for 2 weeks doing dental work in poor communities. I appreciate you getting me the scrubs so quickly and exchanging sizes, ya’ll made it really easy. They were the best looking scrubs in Panama.
Find out more about the MantraMeds Insider Program here: http://mantrameds.wordpress.com/insider-program/
Sign up to become an Insider here: http://www.mantrameds.com/insider-signup
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.]
May 08, 2012 11:06 ET
Health Care Professionals Return From CleanMed Ready to Green Health Care
Conference Provided Education, Tools, Motivation to Speed Health Care Sustainability
WASHINGTON, DC–(Marketwire – May 8, 2012) – Health care professionals from across the country are returning to work today with renewed energy and tools for engaging in sustainable health care after attending CleanMed, the nation’s most important conference on health care sustainability. With information on new products, procedures and tools to help hospitals green their operations, including a new free program developed by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, plus a strong business case, hospitals now have every incentive to begin reducing their environmental footprint.
“At CleanMed, we provided more than 50 multidisciplinary educational sessions that made the business case for health care sustainability as well as highlighted the health concerns of climate change and environmental impacts,” said Laura Wenger, executive director ofPractice Greenhealth, one of the host sponsors of CleanMed. “We are also providing tools, education, practice guidelines and other assistance to hospitals to help them engage in sustainable operations, and we hope they will take advantage of these programs.”
The Healthier Hospitals Initiative, started by Practice Greenhealth, Health Care Without Harmand The Center for Health Design, along with eleven major hospital systems, provides free “How-To” guides and technical assistance for hospitals to engage in sustainability in six areas of hospital operations. Hospitals can enroll for free and proceed at their own pace. The goal of HHI is to speed the engagement in sustainability across the health care sector. A presentation on each of the six areas or “Challenges,” was made at CleanMed for attendees to become more familiar with the program.
“CleanMed has an undeniable re-energizing component to it,” said Gary Cohen, President and Founder of Health Care Without Harm. “Attendees are inspired by each other. As attendees see what can be done, they bring back new ideas and information that they need to push their programs forward. And of course, the main reason health care is engaged in this effort is to improve public health, which touches the mission of every hospital and speaks to health professionals, most of which entered their field with this goal in mind.”
The nation’s epidemic of chronic illnesses, much of which can be attributed to environmental factors, is behind the push for accelerating sustainable health care. Heart and lung disease, obesity, cancer, asthma and other chronic illnesses all have environmental components. Treating chronic illness consumes 75 percent of today’s health care expenses.
During CleanMed, Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm announced its annual award winners. Jackie Hunt Christensen has been named the recipient of the 2012 Environmental Health Hero Award, the highest award bestowed by HCWH. Presented annually, the Environmental Health Hero Award recognizes an individual whose professional accomplishments have significantly contributed to advances in environmental health science or policy. Ms. Christensen is a founder of HCWH and served as one of three co-coordinators who ran the organization following its formation.
“At Health Care Without Harm, with Gary [Cohen] and Charlotte [Brody], I learned to think — and work — both inside and outside ‘The Box.’ I think that strategy has been the key to the campaign’s many successes,” said Christensen.
Health Care Without Harm’s Nurses Work Group, along with The Luminary Project, has named Dr. Stephanie Chalupka, EdD, APRN, PHCNS-BC, FAAOHN, as the 2012 Recipient of the Charlotte Brody Award. Dr. Chalupka is Professor of Public Health Nursing and Chair of the Dr. Lillian R. Goodman Department of Nursing at Worcester State University and also holds an appointment as a Visiting Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health, Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology Program at the Harvard School of Public Health. The award recognizes a nurse’s endeavors towards “brilliantly lighting the way to a healthier environment and inspiring other nurses to do the same.” Other awards were presented by HCWH honoring nursing students, as well as achievements in waste management.
More than 280 hospitals and supporting businesses received awards from Practice Greenhealth, including six inductees to the Environmental Leadership Circle, Practice Greenhealth’s highest award, which honors facilities that exemplify environmental excellence and are setting the highest standards for environmental practices in health care. Those hospitals are Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Madigan Healthcare System, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, MetroWest Medical Center/Framingham Union Hospital and MetroWest Medical Center/Leonard Morse Hospital.
CleanMed’s companion conference, CleanMed Europe, will take place in Malmo, Sweden, on September 26-28, 2012. CleanMed’s next US conference will be held on April 24-26, 2013 in Boston, Mass.
As you may know, MantraMeds scrubs are cut from a blend of Texas Organic Cotton & Repreve Recycled Polyester, which comes from recycled post-consumer plastics! Found a great website that can serve as an awesome resource for information and trends in recycling plastics. Check it out!
Many community recycling programs are accepting more and more plastics*—and you may be surprised to learn how many types of plastic packaging can be recycled into new, useful products!
- Beverage bottles made with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic are collected in most curbside programs. This plastic is often melted, stretched into a fine thread, and then woven into soft, durable fabrics used to make things such as clothing, upholstery, and carpeting. (Tip: it’s okay to leave the caps on the bottles; they’ll be removed and processed separately at the recycling facility.)
- Detergent and cleaning product bottles are usually made with high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a strong, corrosion-resistant plastic. It is often recycled into outdoor furniture and other durable products such as plastic lumber, park benches, roadside curbs, truck cargo liners, trash receptacles—and new bottles. (Tip: rinse your bottles with water before tossing them in the recycling bin to remove remnants of the detergent or cleaning product.)
- Plastic bags are often made with HDPE or low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic. These bags are collected at many chain grocery stores and large retailers, including Target, Walmart and Lowe’s. Plastic bags generally are recycled into plastic lumber for decks, fences and furniture – and into new plastic bags. (Tip: before recycling bags, be sure they are free of food remnants, and remove any zipper closures. Plastic wraps from drycleaners, newspapers, and many consumer products can be collected with plastic bags.)
- Plastic containers for products such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and margarine are now collected in many curbside programs. They are often made with polypropylene (PP) plastic that is recycled into things such as battery cables, landscape borders, cafeteria trays, and furniture. (Tip: some grocery store chains [e.g., Whole Foods] also collect these containers).
- Plastic foam used to make packaging often is made with polystyrene (PS) plastic that has been expanded with air. Innovative recycling programs can turn foam packaging into insulation, picture frames, building products—and new packaging. (Tip: some shipping companies, such as UPS, accept polystyrene foam packing peanuts for re-use.)
When you consider all the different types of new products that can be made with post-consumer plastics, it’s easy to see why they are such valuable materials. Getting the whole family involved in collecting plastics around the house is a great way to make sure this resource doesn’t go to waste. So recycle these and other everyday products—every day.
* Recycling programs differ greatly; check to see what can be recycled in your community.
Check out these other great articles by Plastics Make it Possible:
MantraMeds is big on sustainability. One of the most pressing issues today is our out-of-whack eating habits. Jamie Oliver has started a Food Revolution – bringing healthier eating to communities & schools across America & the UK. Will you Join the ‘Food Revolution’?
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day Aims To Inspire ‘Better Food, Better Life’
Read full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/28/jamie-oliver-food-revolution-day_n_1461430.html
He’s a chef, author, restaurateur and TV personality who has launched a food revolution, bringing healthier eating to communities, schools and homes across America and his native U.K.
“There are so many incredible people working on this issue, so we wanted to provide a platform for anyone with skills and knowledge around food — chefs, gardeners, food bloggers, food educators, etc. — to offer experiences/events (classes, seminars, tours, sessions) to kick start a real food movement in their community. They can go to the website and create a local food event and it will be in our global event listings for the public to attend. It can be an event for five people or for 50, and the more creative the better. We hope that this will inspire future projects at a grassroots level and connect neighbors who can support each other in standing up for real food,” Oliver says. “The other way that people can get involved is to host their own dinner party. There will be people in over 45 countries around the world hosting their own dinner parties in support of food education.”
For Oliver, who sums up his food philosophy as “Better food, better life,” has made it his life’s mission “to get people to eat real food, made from scratch. I believe — and research has shown — that by eating a diet of real food (meats and vegetables, carbohydrates and the occasional treat) that you cook for yourself and your family will make you a healthier person. When I look around the world at the rising rates ofobesity and diet-related disease, I am saddened and angered because this is entirely preventable. People just need food education and a few cooking skills.”
He’s proud that his television programs and campaign initiatives have produced tangible results and inspired people to make changes in their lives.
“After ‘Jamie’s School Dinners’ aired in the U.K., the people petitioned the government to serve better food to our children and they actually listened and voted more than $500 million into the system. In America, after the ‘Food Revolution’ aired, we inspired people to petition against flavored milk and pink slime in our schools, which not only got the USDA to change the regulations around flavored milk, but led fast-food companies and grocery stores to stop selling pink slime.”
Although he encountered bureaucratic red tape and resistance while making “Food Revolution,” he nevertheless considers it a win. “Just getting the ‘Food Revolution’ series on national prime time television was an accomplishment, but then to have the entire town of Huntington [West Virginia] transform and getting Los Angeles on the journey is a huge deal. We’ve started a national dialog around food issues that many more people in America are participating in part because of exposure to our shows and campaigns. And winning an Emmy was pretty cool, too.”
Currently, Oliver is running a restaurant empire that includes “Three Fifteens, one Barbecoa next to St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, two Union Jacks with Chris Bianco, and 31 Jamie’s Italians, which I hope to bring to the USA at some point.” His latest print effort is the U.S. version of “Jamie’s Great Britain,” due out in October. “It is my love letter to British food, and I am hoping after everyone falls in love with the country after the Summer Olympics that they will want to give the food a try too,” he says.
As a father of four, Oliver keeps the food he serves at home and at his restaurants local, sustainable and impeccably sourced. “A lot of what we eat at home comes straight from the garden so that helps, particularly from this time of year right through until Christmas when there’s plenty to harvest. As for the restaurants, we source everything very carefully so we know all about the food provenance. We go to all the farms to check on the animal welfare and we always use higher welfare chicken, for example.”
Looking ahead, he plans to “keep doing what I’m doing, raising my family, writing books, making telly, and making noise around issues that I believe in,” Oliver says. He has a simple solution for improving the food situation, and it starts with us. “Demand better,” he says. “More fresh, less processed. More access to good fresh food and food education so that the lovely people at home actually know what to do with a fresh vegetable.”
Get inspired: Learn about others who are making a difference with MNN’sInnovation Generation project.
How to Store Vegetables & Fruit Without Plastic
So you’ve got all these great fruits and vegetables and now we’re going to help you keep them at their freshest with these tips. These tips are from the Berkley Farmer’s Market which is a Zero Waste market! Here is a printable PDF of their original tip sheet. In the works here at Washington’s Green Grocer is a switch from plastic bags (although we use as few as we can get away with, while still keeping your produce from getting battered on it’s way to you) to only recyclable paper and reuseable cloth bags!
HOW TO STORE VEGETABLES WITHOUT PLASTIC
Artichokes‐ place in an airtight container sealed, with light moisture.
Asparagus‐ place them loosely in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temperature. (Will keep for a week outside the fridge)
Avocados‐ place in a paper bag at room temp. To speed up their ripening‐ place an apple in the bag with them.
Arugula‐ arugula, like lettuce, should not stay wet! Dunk in cold water and spin or lay flat to dry. Place dry arugula in an open container, wrapped with a dry towel to absorb any extra moisture.
Basil‐ is difficult to store well. Basil does not like the cold, or to be wet for that matter. The best method here is an airtight container/jar loosely packed with a small damp piece of paper inside‐left out on a cool counter.
Beans, shelling‐ open container in the fridge, eat ASAP. Some recommend freezing them if not going to eat right away
Beets‐ cut the tops off to keep beets firm, (be sure to keep the greens!)by leaving any top on root vegetables draws moisture from the root, making them loose flavor and firmness. Beets should be washed and kept in and open container with a wet towel on top.
Beet greens‐ place in an airtight container with a little moisture.
Broccoli‐ place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in the fridge.
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.
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/
Just in case you missed it, America Recycles Day published their winning video contest entries from 2011 today. The top two entries were raps about recycling! Check out these as well as the other entries at http://www.youtube.com/americarecyclesday.
Click image below to view the winning video OR go to the URL beneath the image
Winning video: http://youtu.be/PkPIjeq5aWg
A few of us here at MantraMeds are Clemson University Alumni. Clemson has several student groups dedicated to sustainability. Check them out on Facebook to support their initiatives or to get similar groups started at your alma mater!
Clemson Recycles - Our mission is to promote recycling through coordination and sponsoring events to raise awareness about recycling at Clemson University and in the community. Like Clemson Recycles on facebook!
Solid Green – The mission of the Solid Green Club (SGC) is to function as an active extension of the Clemson University Solid Green Committee (SG) by bringing about a heightened awareness of environmental issues, promoting a “Green Clemson” community and coordinating and sponsoring educational and service activities that further the community’s commitment to a more sustainable environment. Like Solid Green on Facebook!
Students for Environmental Action -Mission is to promote sustainability through advocacy, education, and funding projects that address environmentalism. Like Students for Environmental Action on Facebook!
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!
by Mary Mazzoni02/08/12
As you’re browsing the Web for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift this week, why not choose a gift that gives back? Here are three fun ways to help the environment and your community while showing your honey you care.
Read full article here: http://earth911.com/news/2012/02/08/valentines-day-gifts-for-charity/
All pink and purple MantraMeds scrubs are on sale now through Feb 14! Go to http://www.mantramedsmarket.com/valentines-day-sale/