Green lifestyle

This Company Does Something Cool With Something Most of Us Recycle

Read the full story in HuffPost Green.

Most of us see old milk jugs as something for the recycle bin (or, in the case of one blogger, the makings of a D.I.Y. Storm Trooper helmet). But for toy maker Green Toys, the plastic jugs become the start of something fun: toys.

Green Toys’ line — which ranges from kitchen sets to vehicles piloted by little bears — is made completely from recycled milk jugs. To date, the company has recycled over 24,000,000 jugs. The plastic that milk jugs are made out of is called high-density polyethylene. Since this type of plastic is used for food storage, it is also safe for children. Green Toys products pass several safety tests, including the FDA regulation for food contact.

Learn About the Safer Choice Label

From the web site:

For the past 15 years EPA’s label for safer chemical products has been known as the Design for the Environment, or the “DfE,” label. We spent more than a year collecting ideas and discussing new label options with stakeholders, such as product manufacturers and environmental and health advocates. Then we took our ideas to consumers and asked what worked best for them. The result is the new Safer Choice label.

A Project to Turn Corpses Into Compost

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Even as more people opt for interment in simple shrouds or biodegradable caskets, urban cemeteries continue to fill up. For the environmentally conscious, cremation is a problematic option, as the process releases greenhouse gases.

Armed with a prestigious environmental fellowship, Katrina Spade, a 37-year-old Seattle resident with a degree in architecture, has proposed an alternative: a facility for human composting.

Green Good Housekeeping Seal: It’s all in the data

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

There’s so much talk about Big Data nowadays that the importance of “little” data gets lost in the conversation. Yes, Big Data — large scale aggregation of thousands and even millions of data points — is vital for making predictive analytics based on patterns of behavior or preferences.  In the environmental arena, Big Data is potentially useful for addressing issues ranging from climate change to loss of forest cover.

But when it comes to determining whether a single product is “green,” the small details can make the difference.

With many companies trying to gain an edge on becoming more environmentally responsible — whether for corporate social responsibility, cost saving or marketing purposes — we thought we’d share some recommendations and observations about the data tracking and internal collaboration companies need in order to make significant environmental advances. These reflections are based on our work with products that have been considered for the Green Good Housekeeping Seal, a multi-criteria environmental evaluation that is an overlay to the 100-plus-year-old Good Housekeeping Seal.

 

New Grist Series: The real sharing economy

Via Grist.

Renewable energy is booming and countries are finally beginning to act committed to saving the climate, just as we’re approaching game over for the stable climate. But carbon emissions keep rising every year, in tandem with economic growth.

Sharing, real sharing, could allow humanity as a whole to produce, consume, and emit less while improving quality of life through greater social interactions, fairer wealth distribution, and stronger community relationships. But sharing needs to go far beyond profit-seeking smartphone apps for unregulated taxi services (Uber) and vacation rentals (Airbnb).

This series explores the real sharing economy — where wealth and power are shared, not just consumer goods and spare bedrooms. These real sharing entities share resources, knowledge, and decision-making responsibilities as they co-create community goods and services. Then they share the abundance together.

Troublingly, a grow-grow-grow economy makes us all more reliant on money. Real sharing economy projects make money less important, like the Buy Nothing groups on the Facebook and tool-lending libraries that Grist already writes about. This series will tour examples of Seattle’s emerging sharing movement: a bike cooperative, an urban food forest, and a community solar program.

Planting the seeds of a real sharing economy is no easy task. But it’s easier to share the work than go it alone.

5 Free Apps to Swap, Share and Sell Your Extra Stuff

Read the full post on Shareable.

The average American spent $82 per day on consumer goods last month. It’s safe to say that we’re in the grips of a powerful consumption habit.

Not surprisingly, this creates a gargantuan amount of waste. Where does all that stuff go when we’re finished with it? Too often, the landfill. In 2012, Americans generated nearly 251 million tons of trash. That’s over 1,500 pounds of trash per year for every man, woman and child in the U.S.

Sharing can not only keep tons of trash out of landfills, it can save us tons of money. If Americans cut their daily consumer goods habit by half, they could save an estimated $15,000 a year.

There’s never been a better time to share or tools to do it. Below are five apps to help you swap, share, and sell your extra stuff like a pro.

How Much Water Do You Use? Help ProPublica Investigate Water Use in the U.S.

Thirty-one states have water supplies dipping below normal. Droughts have formally been declared in 22 of them. How we use water has never been more important, especially in the American Southwest, where drought conditions are the most severe in a generation — and could last another 1,000 years.

The vast majority of the water we use goes toward generating power (41 percent) and nourishing agriculture (37 percent). But one in 12 gallons of water is consumed at home.

That’s a small but critically important slice of the water used to make the nation tick. And it’s a slice that every single person in the United States can directly control.

As part of a two-year project examining America’s water crisis, ProPublica is teaming up with CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism to gather data on how Americans use and consume water at home. We’d like to know what you use. Grab your water bill. Complete the ProPublica survey. We’ll tell you how you stack up to your neighbors.

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