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Sunny Trash

Moving from Burlington, Vermont to Boston, Massachusetts meant a lot of change for me, the most immediately noticeable being more crowds, more tall buildings, and more startled close calls when trying to cross the busy streets. One small thing, though, was an abundance of these wherever I went:

Big Belly trash compactor They're Big Belly solar trash compactors, although being a simple country boy I didn't know this right away. Basically, they're public trash bins that compact the trash that the receive. They have a hatch on the front, a solar panel on top, and a few blinking lights to indicate readiness to receive trash.

The compactor collects all of its own energy for compaction, and it does so either rarely or silently; I've never heard one make any noise. The device was interesting, but at first I didn't understand what good it did-- after all, compacting the trash doesn't make any of it disappear.... read more

College students get around thanks to... french fries?

If you really take a second to think about how many college communities there are across the country, chances are, your estimate will probably be lower than actuality. FYI- there are just under 5,000 higher education institutions around the US. Now, consider all of the students on each campus, whether they are commuting or living at school. A "small" school may hold somewhere around 4,000 students, and larger schools can hold students more than 15 times that amount. Think about all of the energy that is wasted through transportation at these schools, whether large or small. A majority of college students have cars, in addition, many colleges provide shuttle-like transportation to get around with less hassle.... read more

Art made with Recycled Materials

Last weekend, we went to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston.   (A very green zoo, btw, from their conservation efforts to many of the recycled items in their gift shops)  Before you enter, there were some animal sculptures (pictured left) made of used containers from the nearby Sam Adams Brewery.  

I thought it was an excellent and unique way of reusing something that would have otherwise been thrown away.  It made me think of the "reduce, reuse, and recycle" adage, and how people are often good about recycling these days, but forget about reducing and reusing.   And what better way to reuse something than to turn it into a cool piece of artwork?... read more

That Building Is Made of WHAT?

Earth911 gives us this astonishing fact: Americans buy 29.8 billion water bottles each year, and 80% of these end up in a landfill. Even more astonishingly, 80% of Americans have easy access to recycling programs, either through curbside pick up or community drop off bins, but choose to toss plastic bottles into the trash anyway.... read more

Green Company Profile: To-Go Ware

To-Go Ware

Why Its Keen:

Kelly Farkas of To-Go Ware introduces the company well:

"To-Go Ware provides reusable, non-plastic eating ware, including bamboo utensils, stainless steel food carriers and handcrafted accessories from communities abroad. Giving people some great options to reduce their forkprint while on-the-go. Our mission is to make available innovative products that provide a solution, tell a great story, and are enjoyable to use."

 

... read more

Concord, Massachusetts: the First U.S. Town to Ban Bottled Water

I'm not quite sure how I missed this tidbit of news, as it came out back in April.  

Concord, Massachusetts, home to Walden Pond and the original concord grapevine, has banned the sale of bottled water starting in 2011.  The measured will only allow the sale of refillable containers of water, which could still be sold and delivered in Concord.

The effort was lead by Jean Hill, an 80-something-year old activist.  She lobbied neighbors and officials on the serious environmental consequences of plastic bottles filling landfills and creating more pollution. 

The International Bottled Water Association released this statement about the ban.   I didn't even KNOW there was an International Bottled Water Association!  Their entire website made my blood boil.   Additionally, Joe Doss, president of the IBWA said:  "We obviously don’t think highly of the vote in Concord. Any efforts to discourage consumers from drinking water, whether tap water or bottled water, is not in the best interests of consumers. Bottled water is a very healthy, safe, convenient product that consumers use to stay hydrated." [source]  Oh, okay, Mr. Doss.  ... read more

Don't Throw Out Your Old Shoes

Nike Reuse-A-ShoeNike Reuse-A-ShoeI was at the outlet mall this weekend and, while waiting for a friend to finish shopping at the Nike store, I perused their literature display. Now, I'm not going to pretend I am up-to-date on Nike's social practices, nor am I going to deny that their shoes work best for my proluxating feet when I work out. Social politics aside, what I saw in their literature case made me very proud to be a working out gal with Nikes on her feet.... read more

ABC Gum Can Now Be Recycled

Nothing ruins a day faster than stepping onto a wad of gum on the street, and Anna Bullis has decided to do something about it. 

Photo by Pal Hansen of theguardian.co.uk... read more

Universal Studios - Green Seal Award

Universal Studios, HollywoodUniversal Studios, Hollywood

Universal Studios in Hollywood was recently honored with the EMA Environmental Media Association (EMA) Green Seal Award. The award is the first-ever given to a theme park for its commitment and effort in working towards a more environmentally conscious workplace and community.

I recently toured the theme park to witness their ‘greening’ efforts as a casual visitor.... read more

The Not-Your-Average Recycling Guide

We all know that standard bottles and cans are recyclable. Some items, on the other hand, are less obvious. Some items that you may think are recyclable are actually not. Some things need to be brought to a recycling center. Some things might be partially recyclable. 

Here is your guide to those items. These can vary from city to city and it can also depend on whether or not your city has single-stream recycling, so if you are unsure or have any questions, contact your city’s recycling department.
... read more

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