|Wednesday, November 24, 2010|
|Food Maker Reducing Waste Sent to Landfills|
|Food and consumer products company Sara Lee is making progress in
meeting global sustainability goals, the company said in releasing its
2010 sustainability report.
“Sustainability is a global effort at Sara Lee,” said Audra Karalius,
vice president of sustainability, environment and safety for the Sara
Lee Corp. The company is based in Downers Grove, Ill.
The company has set a goal of reducing waste sent to landfills by 12% between 2005 and 2012.
Six of the company’s global facilities have achieved zero waste to
landfills, and others are making progress in reducing their annual
tonnages sent to landfills as well, the report states. Companywide,
waste sent to landfills has decreased by 32%, the company said.
For example, the Sara Lee coffee plant in Suffolk, Va., achieved zero
waste to landfills in 2009, through a mixture of composting, recycling
and use of waste-to-energy facilities. In Albuquerque, N.M., the bakery
reduced its landfilled waste from 25 metric tons in the first quarter to
12.25 metric tons in the third quarter of 2009 by recycling paper
ingredient bags, cardboard, shrink wrap, bread bags and broken plastic
Also, in Bellevue, Neb., the bakery there recycled 1,360 metric tons of
scrap metal, batteries, food waste, cardboard, pallets and other mixed
waste in 2009.
The company has implemented several environmental management procedures.
For example, workers are encouraged to find ways to minimize waste
by-products in the manufacturing stream and to find ways to recycle the
waste that is generated. Supply packaging is collected and recycled or
returned to suppliers when possible, and water is reused whenever
possible. Mixed waste is sorted and recyclables removed before being
sent to landfills, and efforts are made to reduce air emissions and
Renewable energy also is being used. The company’s coffee factory in
Joure, the Netherlands, uses spent coffee grounds from its manufacturing
process and biogas as main energy sources for the factory’s steam
boiler, reducing natural gas consumption by 40%.
“Sara Lee is committed to promoting wellness and nutrition, supporting
our communities, and protecting our planet,” according to the company’s
To read the 2010 report, and archives of previous reports, visit www.saralee.com/aboutsaralee/sustainability.aspx.
|Lowe’s Expands In-Store Recycling Capabilities|
|In addition to recycling shipping materials including pallets, wraps and
cardboard, Lowe’s home improvement stores in the U.S. are now offering
recycling of hard-to-handle products like mobile phones, rechargeable
batteries and CFL bulbs.
“Lowe’s is always looking for new and better ways to serve our customers
and continue to be responsible stewards of the environment,” said
Michael Chenard, Lowe’s director of environmental affairs. “Recycling is
a simple way to help reduce unnecessary waste in our communities. The
recycling centers make it easier for customers to make a difference, and
we look forward to continuing to partner with them to promote and
support community recycling.”
The recycling centers will be provided at all 1,700 retail stores in the
continental U.S. Customers can drop off any expired, unbroken CFL, any
rechargeable battery up to 11 pounds and all used mobile phones and
plastic shopping bags. Lowe’s stores in Canada also feature CFL
Lowes said the products are responsibly shipped and recycled.
The home improvement chain partnered with Call2Recycle to handle
recycling of rechargeable batteries and mobile phones. Each year since
joining the Call2Recycle program, Lowe’s has increased the volume of
rechargeable batteries it recovers from consumers, with more than
334,000 pounds recycled last year, the company said.
Also, every Lowe’s store in the U.S. offers free appliance recycling to customers when new appliances are purchased.
Beyond consumer recycling, the stores also recycle shipping material.
For the past five years the chain has run a nationwide pallet recycling
program. In 2009, Lowe’s recycled more than 166,000 tons of wood
pallets, along with 147,000 tons of cardboard and nearly 400 tons of
For more on the retail chain’s environmental initiatives visit www.lowes.com/socialresponsibility.
|Starbucks Expands Cup Recycling Project|
|Starbucks Coffee Co. is hoping an expanded pilot project now under way
in New York City eventually leads to the widespread recycling of its
familiar white cups around the country.
The issue is a plastic coating used on the cups.
The new effort — which includes 86 locations in the city — builds upon
an earlier and smaller scale pilot project that involved just seven
locations over an eight-week period last fall.
Now Starbucks and Global Green USA are working with Action Carting
Environmental Services Inc. to gather even more of the
polyethylene-coated cups to see whether then can be mixed with other
recovered fiber and recycled on a larger scale.
“Finding a sustainable solution is a top priority for Starbucks,” said
Jim Hanna, Starbucks director of environmental impact, in an e-mail
“During this pilot, our cups are being transformed into facial and bath
tissue, paper towels and napkins, and other consumer paper products that
contain post-consumer recycled fiber,” he said.
Test results from last year, when the cups were mixed with other
recovered paper and recycled in a university laboratory setting, were
“With the quick run we took I would be very confident to say
post-consumer cups, we’re not going to see anything negative in the OCC
[old corrugated container] stream,” said Joel Kendrick, director of
recycling, paper and coating pilot plants at Western Michigan
University, during a presentation posted on You Tube.
Annie White is director for the Coalition for Resource Recovery, a part
of Global Green USA that’s serving as a third-party technical consultant
on the project.
Increasing the size of the pilot project will allow for the collection
of many more cups that will be tested in a variety of ways for their
recyclability and end uses.
“It helps us build critical mass, get more data,” White said. “We need
to have a certain volume of material to really be able to understand how
it performs in the mill.”
Cups are being collected over a nine-week period that began Sept. 13.
“We hope this test will allow us to better estimate the amount of
material that can be collected from customers in store. Based on earlier
results, we hope to collect several bales of cups for recycling,” Hanna
The amount of material collected last year was small, White said, but
allowed researchers to determine that recycled paper including the cups
performed well during testing.
Expanding the pilot program also helps determine whether individual
stores can provide a clean enough waste stream to allow cups to be taken
directly to paper mills for reuse rather than being sorted at a
materials recovery facility.
“I think the key is to really find ways to figure out existing collection streams and minimize sorting,” White said.
A key to the project is use of a leak proof and recyclable paper bin
liner developed by Duro Bag Manufacturing Co. to collect used cups at
Starbucks locations, CoRR said. This could allow bags to be baled with
CoRR also is interested to see what information from the pilot program
can be used for the bigger picture of recycling all food service
“We’re interested in working with all sorts of restaurants and all sorts
of packaging beyond cups as well to really see and prove this model of
collecting this material,” she said.
“The results of this large-scale pilot have the potential to
institutionalize recycling across the foodservice industry and influence
the redesign of all fiber-based food packaging for recyclability,”
according to CoRR.
Contamination and coatings are two major hurdles that have to be overcome for food service packaging recycling.
“Starbucks has really taken a leadership role and is really forging
ahead, which is wonderful because it’s helping us to understand more
broadly the opportunity for this concept,” White said.
The coffee company also sees the potential to impact recycling beyond
its own operations. “If the pilot is successful, it could make Starbucks
paper cups recyclable more broadly and influence recycling practices
across the foodservice industry,” Hanna said.
“Our overarching recycling goal is that 100% of our cups will be
reusable or recyclable by 2015. By ‘recyclable,’ we mean in form and in
practice — in our stores, in public spaces and at our customers’ homes.
The ‘in practice’ point is an important distinction for Starbucks. We
won’t call our cups recyclable until the local infrastructure is in
place to make it happen,” Hanna said.
And that’s an important point, because recycling capabilities differ
around the country. “Currently, one of the most significant challenges
is the widely discrepant capabilities of local recycling and composting
services,” Hanna said.
|Tuesday, November 2, 2010|
|Tubeless Toilet Paper!|
toilet paper roll is about to undergo its biggest change in 100 years: going
On Monday, Kimberly-Clark, one of the world's biggest
makers of household paper products, will begin testing Scott Naturals Tube-Free
toilet paper at Walmart and Sam's Club stores throughout the Northeast. If
sales take off, it may introduce the line nationally and globally — and
even consider adapting the technology into its paper towel brands.
No, the holes in the rolls aren't perfectly round. But they do fit
over TP spindles and come with this promise: Even the last piece of toilet
paper will be usable — without glue stuck on it.
'Green' product claims are often
FTC revises guidelines for products
claiming to be eco-friendly
Suddenly, there's news in the $9 billion — but stagnant
— toilet paper market. More important, it's got a "green" halo.
The 17 billion toilet paper tubes produced annually in the USA
account for 160 million pounds of trash, according to Kimberly-Clark estimates,
and could stretch more than a million miles placed end-to-end. That's from here
to the moon and back — twice. Most consumers toss, rather than recycle,
used tubes, says Doug Daniels, brand manager at Kimberly-Clark. "We found
a way to bring innovation to a category as mature as bath tissue," he
He won't disclose the tubeless technology used but says it's a
special winding process. A similar process is used on tissue the company sells
to businesses but not to consumers.
Behind the marketing push is a growing consumer demand for
environmentally friendly products.
One environmentalist applauds the move. "It's a positive
example of how companies are seeking creative ways to reduce environmental
impact," says Darby Hoover of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
But more relevant than nixing the tubes would be more recycled content in its
paper, Hoover says. While Scott Naturals normally has 40% recycled content,
this test product does not — but future versions will, Daniels says.
Hoover says she hopes other toilet tissue makers follow Kimberly-Clark's
lead. How soon that may happen is unclear. Procter & Gamble, maker of
top-seller Charmin, declined to comment.
|Thursday, September 23, 2010|
|Kraft Cuts Waste by 30%|
With a stable of powerhouse brands that includes Nabisco, Oreo, Cadbury and Maxwell House, Kraft Foods Inc. said it has cut waste by more than double its previous goal.
And the Northfield, Ill.-based food maker did it two years ahead of schedule.
|Follow the Bouncing Bottle|
Follow Little Bottle around and you'll learn about the earthly benefits of glass recycling - a fully closed-loop process.
The animated, bespectacled character created by Saint-Gobain Containers led hundreds of people on a virtual scavenger hunt that tackles the weighty topics of selecting glass for your food and beverage containers and then the importance of recycling it when you're done.
|Oval Office Rug Fashioned From Eco-Friendly Material|
The new rug adorning the president's Oval Office was made in Michigan from sustainable materials including repurposed wool, according to the company that made the floor covering.
|Tuesday, September 21, 2010|
|Toy Story 3 Landfill Named One of 2010´s Hottest Toys|
Landfills have hit the big time with the toddler crowd.
Toys "R" Us is out with its much-talked-about annual list of hottest toys for the holiday season, and there´s finally something for the landfill-loving youngster.
Move over G.I. Joe. A play set based on the climax of "Toy Story 3" -- where the famous toys are almost incinerated -- is being called one of the best new toys of the upcoming holiday season.
The "Tri-County Landfill" play set from Fisher-Price is an exclusive to Toys "R" Us. "Just like the movie, the toys can be picked up in a giant scoop and then dropped into a sorter before landing on a conveyor belt that leads to an incinerator," a description released by the toy company states.
Check it out at Fisher's Price
|Wednesday, July 14, 2010|
|Hidden Water in Your Products|
By now, most of us are familiar with the usual water-saving tips: don’t leave water running unnecessarily, time your showers, install low-flow shower heads and resist the urge to unnecessarily water the lawn or wash the car.
|Tuesday, July 6, 2010|
|Greenwashing: Avoiding Eco-Hype|
You recycle, ride a bike to work, and buy organic food. You pay extra for "green" electricity and have an eco-friendly car. So can you rest easy, with a clean conscience that your life is as sustainable as it can reasonably be?
Well ... although many of us try our best to minimize environmental impacts, our actions don't always achieve as much as we believe.
|Tuesday, June 22, 2010|
|8 Ways to Green 4th of July|
The Fourth of July is right around the corner! Summer’s hottest
holiday will no doubt call for backyard barbecuing, fireworks and maybe
even a dip in the pool.
Here’s how to throw a little green into your mix of red, white and blue.
|Wednesday, June 16, 2010|
|Earth911’s Gift Guide For Dad|
Still haven’t found the perfect present for Father’s Day? We’ve found seven eco-friendly gifts for all kinds of tastes for all kinds of budgets.
|Tuesday, June 1, 2010|
|Scrap tire stockpiles have been reduced by 87 percent since 1990|
Sixty percent of the rubber consumed in the United States is used to make tires. Raw materials used to make tires include rubber (41 percent), carbon black (28 percent), steel (15 percent) and other materials (16 percent).
In 2008, 290 million new tires were shipped for use by cars and trucks. Of these, 80 percent were for passenger cars and 20 percent were for trucks. In addition, 20 percent were "original equipment" tires and 80 percent replaced used tires. Tire shipments have declined for the last two years.
|Friday, May 21, 2010|
|Groups aim to cut down on litter|
While single-use plastic shopping bags are nearing ubiquity in American retail stores, carryout restaurants and grocers, many local governments and organizations are looking to find ways to keep the bags from becoming litter. Two very different approaches are being examined right now — increase recycling of the bags, or ban their use all together.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of imagery of the Pacific Garbage Patch and impacts on wildlife. Local governments wanted to do something,” said Carol Misseldine, coordinator of Green Cities California. “Local governments wanted to do something.”
The coalition of 10 local governments collects environmental laws, studies and practices from across the state and offers them as sample legislation for other jurisdictions. The group recently issued its Master Environmental Assessment on single-use and reusable bags.
|Wednesday, May 19, 2010|
|8 Ways to Get Back to Nature|
Summer is nearly upon us, and now is the perfect time to start planning your warm weather getaways. No matter where you live, a hidden gem of a mountain to hike, lake to kayak or beach to lounge on likely lies no more than a few hours away.
Even for the most budget-conscious urban dweller, there are many ways to enjoy one's natural surroundings without breaking the bank.
|Tuesday, May 11, 2010|
|Room Air Conditioners 101|
If your current air conditioner is more than eight years old, it's time for a new one. Over the life of the product, the amount you'll save in energy bills will more than likely exceed the cost of the new unit.
Click here for basic criteria to use when choosing a new system
|Wednesday, April 28, 2010|
|The Next Wave in Composting|
No matter where you fall on the “green” spectrum, whether you’re an
avid environmentalist or simply in your initial research phase, it’s
hard to deny that composting is becoming the talk of the town.
Composting is often considered one of the most effective sustainable
activities, essentially creating a “recycling” system for food scraps
and yard waste in your own backyard.
|Wednesday, April 7, 2010|
|Students respond well to social-media driven recycling|
College students living in campus dorms respond well to recycling campaigns that include social media, researchers in North Carolina found.The study was conducted at the University of North Carolina Charlotte by the university´s Waste Reduction Office, the NCDNR Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance and Mecklenburg County Land Use and Environmental Services Solid Waste Division.
Over a four week period, researchers tracked students at three dormitories while conducting a recycling awareness campaign that included social media platforms Twitter, Facebook and Youtube pages. The study was aimed at increasing recycling rates and creating positive attitudes towards recycling, according to the university.
Periodic reminders might be the key to getting college students to recycle more, the authors of the report wrote. "The majority felt they possessed sufficient recycling knowledge and just forget to do it," the report states. Students were surveyed before and after the program to determine attitudes toward recycling.
Most students said they didn´t recycle due to "Not thinking about it" or inconvenience of drop off bins. Students at Cedar and Hickory residence halls on the UNC-Charlotte campus increased their recycling habits significantly during the study, the authors report. Cedar students increased their recycling from 51 pounds of bottles, cans and paper to 129 pounds. Students in Hickory increased their collections from 46 pounds to 106. The largest recycling hall, Sycamore, decreased from 113 pounds to 108 pounds during the study.
Bottles were the most-recycled material on campus, with paper coming in second.
|Thursday, April 1, 2010|
|6 Busted Eco Myths|
Now that April (aka Earth Month), is in full swing, it's the perfect time to get moving with your eco-fabulous resolutions.
But the prospect of where to begin can be daunting, especially when you factor in the myths floating around about reasons not to shift your behavior towards that which is more eco-conscious. So enjoy Earth Month to its fullest and don't be fooled by these six eco-myths.
|Thursday, March 25, 2010|
|8 Ways to Go Green in Spring|
There’s nothing we love more than great weather, sunlight and the perfect excuse to get back to nature.
We won’t bore you with those expected metaphors of spring and new
beginnings. Instead, we’ve made a detailed of list of simple changes
you can make this month that not only reduce your impact, but can also
actually save you money.
|Thursday, March 18, 2010|
|Why People Don’t Recycle|
A lot of people just don’t recycle. While there may be a temptation
to imagine them as conspiring Earth Haters who take orders directly
from Skeletor, they are usually normal people who try to contribute
positively to society in other ways.
They are members of our family, our neighbors and our friends. So what makes them choose to bypass the blue bin?
|Thursday, March 11, 2010|
|Inside Plastic Bans|
San Francisco made history when it became the first city to
officially ban plastic shopping bags in 2007, making it a pioneer of a
rapidly growing trend – the outlawing of common to-go plastic products,
such as bags and foam polystyrene containers.
In many cases, the main objective when passing these types of bans or fees is to ultimately reduce the amount of litter.
|Thursday, March 4, 2010|
|Greener Gadgets You’ll Love|
The Greener Gadgets event in New York City was a stark contrast to its Las Vegas counterpart, the Consumer Electronics Show. The venue was vastly smaller, the visual appeal was significantly absent, and the huge techie crowd was lacking (but we'll blame that on the snowstorm).
But there was one compelling dissimilarity about Greener Gadgets, and it was perhaps the reason we made the cross-country trip: undiscovered ingenuity.
|Thursday, February 25, 2010|
|Where Should the Unused Meds Go?|
Photos go to relatives and the knickknacks might go to a garage sale, but who wants to deal with the array of unused pills when grandma passes away?
Manufacturers are offering discounts, as well as Wal-Mart, on medications.
Some politicians do.
In the last year, state legislators across the country have proposed bills aimed at curbing the disposal of unused medication.
|Tuesday, February 16, 2010|
|Fun Crafts With Used Plastic|
Every now and then we like to take a break from the big news headlines and explore the creative world. We know you love crafts, perhaps almost as much as you love recycling.
We tried to think of an abundant resource that you regularly toss, and plastic was the first thing to come to mind. While we highly tout recycling all types of resins, we also love getting our hands dirty and making really cool stuff out of those bags under the sink or those bottles in the fridge.
|Wednesday, February 10, 2010|
There’s old tech gear under beds and in boxes all over my house. I know better than to throw all that e-waste in the trash, where it would eventually pollute the planet. And I also know that when it comes to tech disposal, time is of the essence. My cast-off cell phone or laptop could help someone less fortunate and even net a little cash too−but only if I act reasonably quickly. Any yet despite all this knowledge, my digital detritus piles up.
This year, though, my daughter’s fifth grade class wants to raise money to make their soon-to-be built school building “green.” Finally, the push I needed− clearing out my tech clutter could help me support Ava’s well-intentioned fundraising.
First stop: Gazelle. Since 2008, this socially conscious company has been helping people collect money for unwanted tech gear, guaranteeing to sell it for reuse or recycle it responsibility. Enter the particulars about your ex-gear and a cash bid pops up on-screen. If you like the figure, download a free shipping label, drop the item in the mail and wait for your check. Simple! Recently, Gazelle launched a service called Gazelle for Good that allows individuals or organizations to fundraise online with what they call a Gadget Drive.
So I went to gazelleforgood.com. It took maybe 10 minutes to create a customized donation page for my daughter’s school. The site works just like Gazelle except it also announces our cash goal and displays a thermometer that shows our progress. We can promote our cause with just a few keystrokes by e-mailing links to our homepage and printing flyers to post on bulletin boards.
That ancient desktop my son, Cole (now 13), used in first grade will net only about $6, but Gazelle will pay for the shopping and keep the parts out of the landfill. The digital camera I haven’t touched since I upgraded will snag $43, Cole’s old cell phone $24 and my old Palm PDA $83. While I’m shipping all this off, I’ll throw some old orphaned cables and broken keyboards. As long as I’m selling some of value, Gazelle will recycle everything.
It might be hard to write a check in this economy, but it sure is easy (not to mention satisfying!) to ship all this stuff that was just taking up space.
By Christina Tynan - Wood of Family Circle Magazine, March 2010 Edition
|Wow, You Can Recycle That?|
A few weeks ago, Earth911 investigated some of the lesser known recyclables. Sure, they don't receive as much media attention as some of their co-stars like the plastic bottle or the aluminum can, but your massive response to "I Didn't Know That Was Recyclable!" proved that there is an outcry to dispose of those odd items.
From paint and batteries to wine corks and hair (really!), a little patience (and a search on Earth911.com) can make recycling these items a little easier. The list of qualified recycling candidates was long, so we figured we would feature a few more.
|Wednesday, February 3, 2010|
|New Orleans trash entrepreneur subject of reality show|
A New Orleans garbage man is the subject of a new reality show appearing on TLC next week.
Sidney Torres started his SDT Waste and Debris after Hurricane Katrina
struck the city and now operates more than 150 trucks and has 180
An hour-long pilot of the show featuring his company, "Trashmen," is
scheduled to air at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time on Feb. 11.
The show will feature Torres and his company’s efforts to clean up
during a particularly busy weekend that featured Halloween weekend
festivities, the Voo Doo Fest annual outdoor concert, and after a
Monday Night Football game featuring the New Orleans Saints.
Ratings for "Trashmen" will determine whether the show is picked up for additional episodes, Torres said.
|Tuesday, February 2, 2010|
|DEP Tests Show Prescription Drugs Leaching From Landfills|
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection says it now has enough evidence to prove that unwanted prescription drugs being tossed into local landfills pose a threat to surface and groundwater supplies around the state. New test results of leachate at three Maine landfills show high concentrations of a wide range of pharmaceuticals. And the findings are likely to boost support for a bill to require drug companies to collect and dispose of unused medication.
|Wednesday, January 27, 2010|
|10-Minute Green Home Makeovers|
We know it's not spring yet, and you're still donning that oversize wool coat and chunky scarf. But we admit that we are still in a post-holiday funk and are in serious need of some organization and motivation.
So we took a room-by-room tour around our own homes to find the solutions the your biggest clutter conundrums, disposal dilemmas and decorating difficulties.
|Wednesday, January 20, 2010|
|How to Compost Outside the Home|
Let's say you want to recycle organic waste but have no interest in starting a compost pile in the backyard. There's an app for that, an environmental application known as commercial composting.
Chances are you've contributed to commercial compost in the past without even realizing it. Common applications of compost include curbside green waste collection programs and Christmas tree mulching.
|Wednesday, January 13, 2010|
Why does it all even matter? We’ve all been there for the probing questions that follow habitual green activities or beliefs. While you know why you do it, it may be hard to articulate when you’re “under the gun,” so to speak.
Whether it’s lack of information, or just a twisted tongue, we’ve
got your stock replies ready for those pesky environmental questions.
|Friday, January 8, 2010|
|Adventures in composting|
Larraine Roulston writes children’s books and once volunteered with a puppet show.
But make no mistake, she is quite serious about the topic of composting.
just that Roulston uses children’s literature to promote what she said
she believes is an important aspect of waste management.
Havelock, Ontario, resident is currently working on her fifth
children’s book about composting and has spent the last 20 years
trumpeting the cause.
|Wednesday, January 6, 2010|
|Clean Up Your Holidays|
Get out the packing boxes and old newspaper - it's time to clean up your holidays!
What a whirlwind season it's been. With everything that happened in 2009, 2010 is sure to be another monumental year for all things green.