Month: September 2012

Eco-Friendly DIY: Paint Swatch Calendar

Read the full story at Earth911.

Looking for a DIY project that is as practical and useful as it is eco-friendly? While cruising the internet, I came across a great way to upcycle paint swatches by the crafty folks at Maple & Magnolia. Since I’ve held onto quite a few paint samples from a variety of home improvement projects, I decided to give this craft a reuse remix and put them to work! Follow this super simple tutorial to give your life some extra colorful organization.

Food Waste Accounts for 40 Percent of All Food Generated in U.S., NRDC Says

Read the full story in Waste Age.

Food waste comprises about 40 percent of all food generated in the United States, according to a new study.

The analysis by the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that Americans are throwing away the equivalent of $165 million in unconsumed food each year, according to a news release.

The brief, “Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill,”analyzes recent case studies and government data across the U.S. food supply chain.

The full report is available at http://www.nrdc.org/food/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf.

House Rules

Read the full story in Waste Age.

Household hazardous waste programs can vary as much as the materials they take in. They range from one-day drop-off events to permanent facilities that operate six days a week. And community size doesn’t matter; a small district might operate a full-time facility while a big city relies on events. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot depends on the community served and political will.

It’s hard to nail down concrete data on household hazardous waste (HHW) programs and how they’re trending in the United States, says Victoria Hodge, HHW program supervisor in Denton, Texas, and vice president of the Westminster, Colo.-based North America Hazardous Materials Management Association (NAHMMA). NAHMMA has about 450 members comprising municipal and private waste handlers. She doesn’t know of any programs that have shut down, but notes that the budget constraints facing many of the nation’s communities represent the main challenge for HHW program managers.

Finding the Right Biofuels for the Southeast: A Range of Alternatives

Read the full story from the Agricultural Research Service.

Thanks to sunny skies and long growing seasons, farms and forests in the southeastern United States will play a major role in efforts to produce biomass for biofuels that reduce our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. And Agricultural Research Service scientists are focused on finding ways to tap into the region’s potential.

Why sustainability pros need to attack from the middle

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Embedding sustainability is a term I have jousted around for a decade. What kind of embedding is working today? How has the embedding work shifted? Certainly in the past two years, we have seen significant shifts from external to internal drivers. Employee engagement is a key theme in embedding CSR internally.

Today’s column is co-written with Grant Ricketts, CEO of Tripos Software, who has developed software to engage employees and has a substantial background in learning and talent management. From his conversations with practitioners, he is well positioned to understand their challenges in embedding sustainability. He calls these challenges “getting around the blockers.”

The challenge to embedding sustainability is that everybody has a day job, and sustainability is often not seen as integral to it. The question becomes how to get around these “blockers” and engage people in ways that build synergy and upscale results. Companies can leverage three business practices that will help make sustainability part of the everyday business experience.

Water use in electricity generation: the sobering facts that make a case for wind and solar power

Read the full post at Renewable Energy Focus.

Did you know it takes 100,000 gallons of water to produce a single megawatt hour of electricity? Well according to a new report out today, it does – unless you’re using wind or solar power that is. So maybe, with much of the world battling more regular bouts of drought and water shortages it’s something policy makers need to start taking more notice of?

The proponents of the report from Synapse Energy Economics – prepared for the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI) and the Environmental Working Group – certainly think they should. These groups warn that the huge demands on increasingly scarce water are “a major hidden cost” of a business-as-usual approach to American electricity generation.

The report, The Hidden Costs of Electricity: Comparing the Hidden Costs of Power Generation Fuels, analyses six fuels used to generate electricity — biomass, coal, nuclear, natural gas, solar (photovoltaic and concentrating solar power), and wind (both onshore and offshore). Water impacts, climate change impacts, air pollution impacts, planning and cost risk, subsidies and tax incentives, land impacts, and other impacts are all considered.