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Monitoring Pollution

Reducing The Environmental Impact Of Waste Plastic

Following my recent Keen For Green article about the efforts being made in Europe to cut down on energy consumption, I thought for my next article it would be interesting to look at the issue of recycling – and specifically, the recycling of plastic. This is a huge issue because here in the UK it has been estimated that five million tonnes of plastic are consumed each year – with 4.5 million tonnes entering the waste stream annually.

In early March the European Commission launched a Green Paper on plastics, looking at plastics disposal and recycling across the whole of the European Union. It discussed the fact that approximately half of all plastic ends up in landfill – which in terms of energy is the equivalent of 12 million tonnes of crude oil being buried each year.

The paper also drew attention to the big problem of single-use plastic carrier bags – in just one year in the UK, 2010, it was estimated that 200 plastic bags were used per person. This has led to radical proposals, including a total ban on plastic bags across the whole of Europe. Italy has in fact already implemented such a policy, having banned non-biodegradable plastic bags on 1st January 2011.... read more

Smoking can harm you…and it harms the environment too

cigarettes and the environmentTraditional tobacco cigarettes contain around 4000 known chemicals, which can greatly harm the smoker, those who breathe in the second hand smoke, and contribute to air and ground pollution. Many people are aware of the harms of the smoking to the human body, but not everyone is aware of the damage being done to the Earth through smoking.

The cigarette butts that many people feel free to throw onto the ground take around 25 years to fully break down. While they are slowly breaking down, all of the chemicals that are sucked through the filter are also being absorbed into the ground and by plant life.... read more

Global Warming 101: Understanding One of Earth's Largest Threats

Is it true? Is the Earth warming? Is there anything to do? With such conflicted reports and opinions, it’s hard to know what to believe. 

Here’s a basic primer on global warming; maybe this can help you understand one of Earth’s biggest threats. 

How is Global Warming Different from Historical Climate Changes? 

Scientists have learned that the Earth consistently goes through climate changes, getting warmer and colder, and has been doing so for thousands and thousands of years. So what is the big deal now? Isn’t it just a normal change or pattern? 

Not really. The difference in the past climate changes and current global warming is that scientists are determining that the warming trend we are currently experiencing is largely due to human effect, instead of a natural effect. ... read more

10 Tips to Becoming an Eco-Warrior in Your Home

Fossil fuels and electricity are currently at an all-time high and as a consequence homeowners are becoming far more environmentally friendly. There are many ways to reduce your energy consumption whilst gaining maximum efficiency with minimum effort. Not only is it healthy for the environment, it is also healthy for your wallet and bank balance.... read more

E-Waste and Recycling - The Cold Hard Facts

ewasteElectronic waste is going to be a major problem for future generations unless proper recycling measures are put in place. E-Waste can take many forms, from large appliances through to mobile phones, DVD players and laptops, but all share negative environmental effects. In terms of mobile phones, around 140 million mobile phones exist in the United States alone, of which only 14 million, or 10%, are recycled on average per year. When combined with other forms of E-Waste, major countries like the US are looking at 400 million units of E-waste each year, with over 3 million tonnes marked as waste in 2008. With recycling rates still regularly falling below 20%, dumping electrical equipment and appliances into landfills and incinerators creates multiple problems. ... read more

Crayola Doesn’t Recycle?

 

www.maxlugar.com

It seems like a strange concept nowadays that a large company, especially one that cares about children, would not recycle. I know I was shocked when I found out that Crayola had no recycling program. With millions of pounds of plastic used to make its iconic markers every year, it only seems logical that the company would offer a recycling program for used and empty markers.  

I’m not the only one that thinks so. Children at Sun Valley elementary school in San Rafael, Calif., have been promoting an online petition aimed at nudging Crayola, a subsidiary of Hallmark, into developing a "take-back" program for used-up markers. So far the petition on Change.org has more than 60,000 signatures.  ... read more

The State of the Air 2012

American Lung Association State of the Air

Have you read the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2012 report?  If not, I urge you to check it out immediately.  Visit the website and see what the grade is for where you live.   You may be surprised.  

The good news?  Things are getting better.   Air quality is improving.  

The bad news?  We still have a long way to go.  Over 127 million people live in counties that received an "F" for pollution.  California has the most polluted cities on the list.  ... read more

Independent Study Finds San Francisco the Greenest City in the US

San Francisco Greenest City

An independent study conducted in June found San Francisco to be the “greenest” city in the United States and Canada. This doesn't come as much of a surprise – the city has made headlines for leading the way with policies such as mandatory composting and a grocery store plastic bag ban.... read more

Is Sprint really a green company?

Newsweek's annual Green Rankings came out last week.  Some of the companies that make the list are surprising.  Last year I was baffled that McDonald's made the list.  (McDonald's actually dropped over 50 spots in the list since last year's rankings!)   In another surprise, Whole Foods ranked lower than Wal-Mart.  One trend I noticed is that technology companies have many of the top spots.  

This year, Sprint clinched the sixth spot on the list, right behind Dell, HP, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, and Intel.   I've been a Sprint user for over 10 years, and recently when I was in my local Sprint store to get my Android fixed, I noticed some green phones as well as a link to the Sprint Green website.... read more

Toxic Sludge in the Danube

A state of emergency has been declared in three countries after a toxic sludge leak.  Today, the toxic sludge from a factory in Hungary has reached the legendary Danube River.  Workers tried to contain the spill by pouring plaster in the Marcal River, but it still reached the Danube.   It has already killed several people, and it is likely to put animals into danger, as the Danube is rich in wildlife.  Watch a news video here.  I will post again when I find out information about cleanup efforts.  ... read more

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