Day: July 14, 2011

Sustainability Lessons from Jam: Less Choice is Greener Choice

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Dr. Sheena Iyengar is the famous jam researcher. In the mid-’90s while a doctoral student in social psychology at Stanford University, she and her colleague, Mark Leper, studied jam sales at an upscale grocer. When offering customers a sample of jam, decidedly more customers bought jam when offered fewer choices rather than more.

In this study, six choices beat out 24 choices. Although more customers shopped when more choices were available, 10 times more sales were made when the customer was offered fewer choices.

This counter-intuitive result — that “less is more” when merchandising — has since been confirmed by numerous studies by Iyengar and other researchers. More importantly, large and small companies have applied this principle with great results.

Economists find flaws in federal estimate of climate damage

Read the full post at The Daily Climate.

A new report concludes that each ton of carbon dioxide emitted in the atmosphere inflicts as much as $900 in environmental harm – almost 45 times the amount the federal government uses when setting regulations. The gap, advocates say, disguises the true value of emissions reductions.

News of the World scandal – the green angle

Read the full post at BusinessGreen.

If I’m honest, the connection is pretty tenuous. There is no doubting the green angle on the News of the World implosion is not quite as exciting as the media, political and criminal angles that are currently metastasising into what professional cynic Charlie Brooker today referred to as “everything-gate”.

But there is a potentially significant green angle, and not just in the way News Corporations’ admirable sustainability strategy is unlikely to be a front and centre issue at board meetings in the coming weeks.

A consensus appears to be building that the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), a body as toothless as a 16-year-old mongrel, will need replacing by a new regulatory body that – while remaining voluntary – will be backed by significantly greater powers.

It is early days for this mooted body, particularly given that the focus over the next few weeks will remain on crucial questions over the level of police corruption, the extent to which senior executives at News International are capable of redefining the term morally bankrupt, and whether David Cameron’s credibility has been permanently damaged.

But once the dust has settled we are likely to end up with a new approach to press standards that can only benefit green businesses, climate scientists and the wider low-carbon economy.

Hybrid Scorecard

The Union of Concerned Scientists created the Hybrid Scorecard to give consumers a comprehensive comparison of hybrid models on the market today. Our scorecard provides three primary ratings: Environmental Improvement Score, Hybrid Value, and Forced Features.

Webinar: Solvent Substitution or Optimization Can Save Money and Improve Safety

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CDT
Register at

Solvents are expensive and, if hazardous, special handling and management requirements add even more cost.  Fortunately, many effective, nonhazardous alternatives are available.  The exact combination of solvent and cleaning techniques will vary based upon soils and materials being cleaned.

Heidi Wilcox is the field specialist at the Toxic Use Reduction Institute (TURI) lab and works integrating lab work with field work in different types of facilities. Currently her work focus is on the sectors using the MA designated high hazard substances TCE and PCE as well as the Green Cleaning Industry. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Microbiology from UMass Amherst and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies and Atmospheric Studies from UMass Lowell. Currently, she is a Doctoral student in the Department of Work Environment in Cleaner Production.

Marie Steinwachs is Director of the Missouri Environmental Assistance Center, which is a statewide pollution prevention program at University of Missouri.  Over the past 3 years, the center’s P2 intern program has helped companies, institutions and public facilities save almost $1 million in annual costs, reduce over 5.4 million kWh of electricity, conserve over 4.9 million gallons of water, and reduce the use and disposal of almost 128,000 lbs of hazardous waste. The EAC teaches the nation’s first, accredited on-line engineering course in pollution prevention and sustainable business practices.

Product Stewardship Strategies for Local Governments Conference

When: July 22, 2011
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. PST
Webinar Registration:

Seattle Public Utilities, the Northwest Product Stewardship Council, and
U.S.  EPA  Region  10  are  hosting a day-long conference to look at how
local  and  state  governments can use product stewardship strategies to
reduce  waste  and  increase  recycling.  The conference will provide an
overview  of  product  stewardship policies and regulations currently in
use  in the U.S. and Canada and will provide examples of local and state
product  stewardship  programs,  describing  how they were developed and

The  conference  will  feature  presentations  by  experts with hands-on
experience  in  developing  and managing product stewardship programs at
the  local  government  level.  Each  presentation  will  be followed by
discussions  and  Q&A  sessions  led  by  Puget Sound area policymakers.
In-person  attendance  is by invitation only – please contact Dick Lilly
at Seattle Public Utilities ( For those who will
not  be  attending  the  conference in-person, the presentations will be
available as webinars throughout the day.

Presentation 1. Definition of product stewardship and where we are now
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Speakers: Sego Jackson, Snohomish County Solid Waste and Dick Lilly,
Seattle Public Utilities

Presentation 2. Product Stewardship in Canada – How it started, what
products are collected, and what’s next.
Time: 9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Speaker: Betsy Dorn, Senior Consultant, StewardEdge

Presentation 3. Producer-supported municipal blue box recycling
collection in Ontario – How it started and how it works.
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Speaker: Vince Sferrazza, Acting General Manager, Toronto Solid Waste

Presentation 4. Direct local action – How Ottawa stepped in on its own:
Lessons for other local governments
Time: 2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Speaker: Marilyn Journeaux, Manager, Ottawa Solid Waste Services of

For more information on webinars, please visit

Canon USA Saves $300K with Focus on Energy Efficient Offices

Read the full story at GreenerBuildings.

Canon U.S.A. saved $300,000 in utility bills over a two-year period by focusing on the energy used in offices for lighting, computers and printing.

Efficiency and conservation measures at five key sites from 2009 through 2010 saved 2.7 gigawatt-hours (2.7 million kilowatt-hours) of energy — enough that it could have been used to power Canon U.S.A. corporate headquarters in Lake Success, N.Y., for four months, the company said in a statement about the results.

Canon took a hard look at energy use and practices at its headquarters and regional offices in Irvine, Calif., Itasca, Ill., Jamesburg, N.J., and Irving, Texas, to determine what areas to tackle.

Saying Goodbye to the Yellow Pages

Read the full story in Governing.

San Francisco became the first city in the country to ban phone books that many say are wasteful and outdated.

Capturing energy in the air to power electronics

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

From cell phones to televisions to hospital equipment, there’s energy in the air all around us. Now, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technologyhave discovered how to harness this ambient energy and use it to power other devices.

I spoke yesterday with Manos Tentzeris, an engineering professor who is leading the research. Below are excerpts from our interview.

New York public school’s rooftop ‘eco-center’ will reshape science curriculum

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

New York Public School 6 (PS 6) on the upper east side of Manhattan has opened a new rooftop “eco-center” that has been four years in the making.

The facility, which includes an 800-square-foot greenhouse classroom, solar panels, a weather station, and a planting area, will be used to help reshape the science curriculum in the K-5 facility — and (it is hoped) in other public schools across the city.

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