Instead Of Throwing Out This Plastic Wrapper, You Eat It

Read the full story in Fast Company.

If you buy a Belgian waffle at a food festival this weekend in Ubud, Bali, you’ll be able to eat the wrapper it comes in. A waffle vendor is one of the early customers testing new food packaging made from seaweed instead of plastic: The wrapper is nutritious if it’s eaten, and if it ends up as litter, it naturally biodegrades.

Wal-Mart Steps Up Push to Shed Potentially Harmful Chemicals

Read the full story from Bloomberg News.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding its program to clean up the products it sells, setting a 2022 target for reducing potentially harmful substances and widening the list of chemicals it wants to avoid.

Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards: A Roadmap for State and Local Action

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This new working paper examines how the Energy Policy and Conversation Act (“EPCA”), and the DOE regulations promulgated thereunder, place limits on the ability of states and cities to outlaw the use of inefficient appliances and equipment.  It surveys existing state efficiency laws that cover products beyond federal jurisdiction, and discusses several steps states can take to advance appliance and equipment efficiency including: (i) seeking EPCA waivers from DOE to create and enforce statewide standards for federally covered products (and, if necessary, litigating the rejection of any such waiver petition); (ii) regulating non-federally covered products such as computers; (iii) encouraging the use of more efficient appliances and equipment through local building codes for new construction; and (iv) revising procurement laws to require the use of products that exceed federal efficiency standards.

The Best Home Decor That Doesn’t Ruin The Environment

Read the full story in Fast Company.

In the fight against climate change, every action helps, especially the everyday choices you make at the cash register. A study published earlier this year in the International Journal of Environmental Policy and Decision Making found that consumers are becoming more conscious about the carbon footprint of their products they buy and use. Considering that the building industry is responsible for over 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions and on top of that there’s the carbon footprint of all the stuff you buy to fill those buildings, now’s a great time to buy products that are friendlier to the environment at some point in their lifecycle, whether its in how they’re made or how they perform.

Shoppers must use their purchasing power to lead green products revolution

Read the full story in The Guardian.

It’s easy to imagine the battle for greener chemistry as a titanic struggle between goliath industries and sprawling governments, with consumers watching from the sidelines as their lives and health hang in the balance. But this perspective – and most stories about toxic chemicals – ignore a key part of the equation: consumer demand. For all the much-discussed push of government policies and industry innovations, it’s the pull of consumers and the market that ultimately fuels the biggest changes.

Trying to Solve the L.E.D. Quandary

Read the full story in the New Yorker.

Is there a workable business model for products that are built to last, rather than to fall apart? This is an idea that I explored here in July, in a story about the L.E.D. quandary. That quandary, in short: companies are making a good thing—light-emitting-diode bulbs that conserve energy and last for years—but they can’t make money in the long run from products that rarely need replacing. As global light sockets fill with L.E.D.s, century-old corporate titans are getting out of the bulb business even before “socket saturation” tips sales into a decline. The question remains whether any company has an incentive to make a product that is not designed to fall apart or become obsolete.

After that story ran, several newer, smaller firms reached out to me claiming to have solutions to the conundrum. Two seemed worth a deeper look: Cree, an L.E.D. specialist in the U.S.; and UrbanVolt, based in Dublin, Ireland. Both say that they no longer sell light bulbs but “light.” They exemplify two very different approaches to doing so.

UL Introduces SPOT™ Online Database – The Largest Credible Product Sustainability Information Tool

Read the full story from UL.

UL today introduced SPOT™, a web-based product sustainability information tool that will facilitate the selection of credible green products and enable the design community to apply that information into the Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflow. Currently featuring more than 40,000 products, SPOT database will be a first of its kind tool for architects, designers and specifiers to identify products by sustainable attributes, MasterFormat product codes and building rating system credits such as LEED v4 and the WELL Building Standard™. To enhance the mobile experience, UL’s SPOT app is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.