Tag Archives: environment

All about Zero Waste

The week in Zero Waste, starting with:

 

What Does ZeroWaste Mean?

To explain all this let’s start with what Zero Waste means. The concept isn’t about throwing things away, like most think, it’s about sustainability and recycling. We are all consumers and will continue to be, and the goal isn’t to get rid of consumption but to modify it. To create a system where everything we use ends up someplace other than a landfill.

 

Zero Waste: Stopping all that junk mail

Zero Waste: The recycled toothbrush

Zero Waste: The coffee maker

Zero Waste: Moving boxes – Recopack

 

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California pushes its citizens towards Zero Waste – new law asks for 75% reduction

California set a goal of a 50% reduction in 1989. In the last decade, most of the state has achieved that and surpassed it (the current statewide rate is 65%). Now, the government has upped the ante, asking for 75% by 2020.

 

London 2012 Olympics were planned as Zero Waste

Staging a One Planet Olympics in London would help achieve the first sustainable Games. Sustainability has been at the heart of the London 2012 Bid and Masterplan.

 

Why can’t mainstream media cannot write about sustainability?

I am often frustrated by the lack of depth in articles about sustainability. It’s as if all writers and “experts” are recycling the same content. We all feel this impending sense of climactic doom and want to make changes, but then we are fed the same tips we already know. I think I’ve discovered why this is happening.

You can do it, go Zero Waste!

Zero Waste: the recycled toothbrush

Here is another way to reduce your trash on your way to Zero Waste – the recycled toothbrush. It looks, acts, and feels like a normal toothbrush, but when you are done with it you replace the head instead of throwing the whole thing out. You can buy replacement heads in packs of 3, 6 and it comes in sensitive, soft, and medium bristle strength. They’re usually completely recyclable and made of recycled materials.

It’s a rather genius idea and I’m not sure why it hasn’t caught on already. I’ve been using mine for nearly 3 years (the same brush) and have switched out the head several times. Here is the brand I use:

 

Eco-Dent Terradent 31 Toothbrush

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How far are you willing to bike?

Recently, my girlfriend and I decided to go with one car. We both work from home and so it makes sense. We get to split costs and avoid paying for something that costs money just sitting there (not to mention depreciation). But, we also have to share time in the car.

This means we’ve both pioneered new modes of transportation, with biking the clear winner. Where we’ve discovered just what it means when you say “that is too far”.

At first, it was a couple of blocks. Anything beyond that seemed like a waste of time, compared to driving. As we got in the groove that expanded out several miles. We’re up to a 5-mile range now, and pretty surprised at how much fits within that range:

  • Local natural foods market – 2.2 miles
  • Starbucks #1 – 1.5 miles
  • Starbucks #2 - 2.5 miles
  • The Beach (Huntington Beach Pier) – 4 miles
  • Gym – 1.1 miles
  • Blockbuster Video - 2.5 miles
  • Shopping Center: Pizza, Comics, Bookstore, Chipotle, Pep Boys – 1.2 miles

One could nearly survive on all that. But, maybe we’re just lucky. We do live in a pretty dense area with a lot of local businesses. I wonder how your neighborhood works out. Have you measured up any of your local businesses?

As I’m getting more and more into this, I’ve started asking myself, “is driving really quicker?” After all, biking mostly avoids traffic, sometimes has quicker routes, and there are no parking problems. As an answer, I turned to Google Maps to compare the estimated times for driving vs. biking:

  • Local natural foods market – 6 mins driving  // 13 mins biking
  • Starbucks #1 – 5 mins  // 9 mins
  • Starbucks #2 - 7 mins // 15 mins
  • The Beach – 13 mins // 23 mins
  • Gym – 4 mins // 7 mins
  • Blockbuster Video – 7 mins // 15 mins
  • Shopping Center: Pizza, Comics, Bookstore, Chipotle, Pep Boys – 6 mins // 7 mins

That’s pretty amazing and I would consider it a wash. Biking only adds on a few minutes to most locations. With driving, you also have to take into account red lights, traffic, time for parking, and time to walk from the parking lot to the store. Each of which can add a few minutes to the journey.

There is the added benefit of a solid workout, but that can also be a problem. Sometimes I want to bike, but I’m too tired or hungry to do so. Although, I think it has improved my endurance going on a lot of  quick 1-2 mile jaunts. I’ve even looked at expanding my range to 7-10 miles. It was kinda fun looking-up what is within that perimeter: movie theater, more beaches, shopping mall, chocolate store (See’s Candy), Whole Foods, the library, etc.

I guess that’s how far I’m willing to bike…for now. Before we made this shift I never even considered biking to many of these places. Now, it seems ridiculous not to. I guess that how it happens when you’re trying something new, at first it seems out-of-reach and then after some time it becomes completely natural.

 

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*Enjoy Handplanes turns bodysurfing into art

*Enjoy handplanes set themselves apart in the bodysurfing industry by turning their creations into one-of-a-kind art. It is amazing, the creativity and beauty they put into these little planes, with everything from DIY craft to pure artist illustrations, simple coloring and classic lines.

Of course, one has to mention that all of these handplanes are made from recycled and reused material. They use old, trashed surfboards and environmentally responsible resin for glassing. Definitely a part of the Zero Waste mantra.

Take a look and you might just be tempted to buy one. You can also join the *Enjoy community by visiting their vibrant Facebook group.

 

**All these photos, and more, can be found on the *Enjoy Facebook Photos page

 

 

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The rise of wooden surfboards – alaia’s

Have you seen a wooden surfboard in the water yet? If not, you will soon as these earth-friendly boards grow in popularity.

The famous shaper, Tom Wegener, gave a talk about his designs for the ancient Hawaiian board, the Alaia (pronounced: ah-LIE-ah):

According to Wegener, this historical Hawaiian surfcraft – which appears to be little more than a flat piece of wood in the shape of an ironing board – may not only be the most enviro friendly surfboard available today, it might be part of one of surfing’s next big leaps in modern board design.

It is also a much-needed design, since the foam boards of today are nearly as toxic as you can make something. The recent movie, ‘Manufacturing Stoke’, discusses this strange development, as well as a detailed post I wrote on Green Surfboards.

The next step is finding the right type of wood that can match the ultra-high performance of the industrial-era poly/resin/chemical boards used by professional surfers today.

Phil Joske introduced him (Tom) to a sustainable board building material called Paulownia wood. With a much greater strength-to-weight ratio than balsa, an easy-to-work-with nature, and an imperviousness to saltwater, Tom used this unique wood and his innovative longboard designs to help revolutionize the genre of hollow wood surfboards.

Many in the industry are taking note of these designs, there is a certain beauty to a glossy wooden board. Especially, knowing that it is handcrafted and great for the environment.

Learn more at Patagonia’s – Wood is Good series (featuring videos, interviews, and lots of links to surf films and designers).

 

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The world of professional sports is going green

Allen Hershkowitz, from The N.Y. Times, has written up an interesting piece about The Greening of Professional Sports.

Among the many great points he makes, include how every industry will need to participate and public opinion is the most important factor, as well as:

 

Fifteen professional stadiums or arenas have achieved LEED certification for green building design and operations, and 17 have installed on-site solar arrays. Millions of pounds of carbon emissions have been avoided, and millions of pounds of paper products have been shifted toward recycled content or not used at professional sports sites. Recycling and composting programs have been developed or are planned at virtually all professional stadiums and arenas.

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London Olympics may be the greenest, most sustainable ever

With the opening ceremony of the London Olympics only days away, organizers prepare to celebrate what may be the one of the greenest Olympic Games to date.

For Olympic organizers, sustainability has been a major focus in planning the Games’ venues. Forbes notes that existing or temporary venues are utilized whenever possible. For permanent structures, “Each new venue was required to achieve a minimum 15 percent improvement against Building Regulations.”

The site of London’s Olympic Park has also been noted for its radical transformation. Once an industrial area along the River Lea, the site was previously contaminated by “heavy metals, hydrocarbons, arsenic and cyanide,” according to BBC News.

At the largest urban park built in Britain in over the century, officials planted 2,000 native trees and 300,00 wetland plants and restored five miles of the River Lea. 110 acres of land were also turned into “reed beds, wet woodlands, grassland and ponds” to encourage the return of wildlife, reported the Press Association.

While British officials originally planned to draw 20 percent of the London Olympics’ power from renewable sources, they fell short of that goal. The BioRegional and WWF-UK report explains that only nine percent of on-site energy will be renewable.

 

Source: Huffington Post Green - London Olympics: Green Games A Goal For Organizers

 

 

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Google adds educational Street Views – Antarctica with exploration outposts, penguins, and more

One of the focuses of this special addition to Google Maps is to teach users about the history of Antarctic exploration and the people who first set up shop in this bleak environment.

Here’s what Google’s technical program manager for Street View Alex Starns wrote in a blog post:

In the winter of 1913, a British newspaper ran an advertisement to promote the latest imperial expedition to Antarctica, apparently placed by polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. It read, “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.” While the ad appears apocryphal, the dangerous nature of the journey to the South Pole is certainly not–as explorers like Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott and Shackleton himself discovered as they tried to become the first men to reach it.

Partnering with the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota and the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust, Google has added 360-degree images of many historic spots, including the South Pole Telescope, Shackleton’s and Scott’s small wooden huts, Cape Royds Adelie Penguin Rookery, and the Ceremonial South Pole.

“They were built to withstand the drastic weather conditions only for the few short years that the explorers inhabited them,” Starns wrote, “but remarkably, after more than a century, the structures are still intact, along with well-preserved examples of the food, medicine, survival gear and equipment used during the expeditions.”

 

Learn more: c|net - Google Maps visits Antarctica’s snowy landscape

 

 

Inside the houses of the first explorers:

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Goodwill – a leader in recycling e-waste, creating green jobs

The following is a press release from Goodwill of Orange County, California. It discusses the great success the company has had managing e-waste and creating green jobs.

Check out your local Goodwill to see if they are also accepting e-waste, there is a good chance they are!

 

Turn Your E-Waste Into New Opportunities.

We all know those old TV sets, computers, printers and other electronic stuff (known as e-waste) can reek havoc on the planet if tossed into the landfill.

What you might not know is that, by donating it all to Goodwill’s E-waste Solutions program, you’ll be providing job training and green jobs to people with disabilities and other barriers–while helping to save the planet. That’s what we call turning your e-waste into a brand new opportunity.

Since 1924, Goodwill has pioneered our own “Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Renew” manifesto by creating a sustainable platform that provides jobs, revenue and a greener environment. We make it easy to be green by providing a safe and free service to the community, where we in turn are able to recycle computers, TVs and other electronics.

  • Reduce: By making recycling easy, we reduce the amount of toxic materials that would otherwise end up in our landfills
  • Reuse: We repair what we can and re-sell to bargain-driven families in the community who can’t afford the latest electronics
  • Repurpose: What we can’t repair, we disassemble and separate the metals that is in turn sold to reputable state recyclers

True to its mission of creating new opportunities, Goodwill of Orange County has been a ‘green’ business long before the term was coined.

 

All Orange County Goodwill Locations Accept E-waste at No Charge

As a California State Certified e-waste collector we’ll gladly accept all your electronics, working or not, at one of our Orange County donation centers. Tax receipts are provided. If your business has 20 e-waste items or more to donate, call us and we’ll pick them up — free of charge.

Click here to see what items we can accept and what items we cannot accept.

 

ViaOrange County E-Waste Solutions

 

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Low-tech ways to make ice cream

Here are a few of our favorite alternative ice cream-making apparatuses, ranging from low — to even lower — tech:

 

#1

plastic Ziploc bag inside a larger bag filled with ice and rock salt applies the standard equation — freezing temperature plus agitation for 5 minutes — and wins the prize for the most elegantly simple solution of all.

 

 

#2

It doesn’t get more basic than a coffee can filled with an ice cream base that’s placed inside a larger can filled with ice and rock salt. Close both cans with plastic lids, shake for 25 minutes and, voilà, ice cream.

 

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