Archive for the ‘Alternative Energy’ Category

Building a Culture of Sustainability in the Workplace

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

The more aware we become of sustainability and what we can do to lessen our impact on the environment, the more organizations are looking to engage their employees in sustainable efforts in the workplace. There are 5 main steps that are extremely beneficial to ensure compliance and engagement with sustainability practices; permit, educate and engage, act, embed, and evaluate. The first step, permit, is important to establish support and permission from top leaders and management. Second, by educating employees of the newly established practices, they are more likely going to be willing and able to engage in eco-friendly practices. The most common ways to do this is to establish “green teams” among employees, volunteers to ensure compliance, social media, and awards or incentives for contributing to the effort. Next, each employee should have the knowledge and resources to be empowered to take action in the office, in their home, and elsewhere in the community. The fourth step is to embed sustainability efforts into the corporate culture. By doing this, sustainability should be mentioned in or involved in recruitment, operations, employee performance reviews, and product/service development. Finally, evaluate how you are doing. Gauge how all of your efforts are impacting the community and how well it has been integrated into the culture of the workplace. The goal of the 5 aforementioned steps is to really create a sustainable culture in a timely manner and realize the value of these efforts.

Read more at Green Business Times

Sustainable Packaging curriculum gives insight to decision makers

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a project of GreenBlue offers a comprehensive curriculum introducing sustainability considerations for packaging called the Essentials of Sustainable Packaging. The program offers insight into the entire packaging life cycle: material sourcing, packaging design, manufacturing, transportation and the final disposal of the product. Corporate decision makers that attend will learn how a holistic view of sustainability can apply to all of their daily operations. Attendees will learn about the following categories: sustainability and balancing tradeoffs, tools for measuring and reporting sustainability, sourcing and recovering materials, communicating initiatives for sustainability, and finally understanding environmental and human health impacts. The Essentials of Sustainable Packaging have been attended by hundreds of professionals  from leading companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and educational institutions.

Read more about the Sustainable Packaging Coalition

Living Green: Is it worth it?

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

In theory, living green is an ideal situation for everyone and the environment. However, as we research and look into “green” solutions, we realize that the greener we live, the less green there will be in our wallets. The price of renewable energy systems has been debated many times leaving us wondering- is it really worth it? While renewable energy systems have changed and come a long way in the past decade, the prices are still fairly steep. Another drawback to renewable energy solutions is the toll it actually takes on the environment. For example, animal rights organizations claiming that wind turbines are damaging to bird populations. Another example is corn-based ethanol farms, that are not only spendy but we may be missing out on income from crop that could be growing in that area instead. While we strive to be more eco-conscious in our business and production endeavors, the installation of these solutions currently use huge amounts of finite resources. The irony of using enormous amounts of energy in order to save energy in the long run is a barrier that is increasingly difficult to cross. Only in the future will we see a return on our eco-investment.

Edible Packaging Hopes to Help Save the Environment

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Could you soon be eating the packaging that your food comes in? Well, it looks like this may son be a reality. So, who exactly came up with this and how does it work? After doing some research I found out that these WikiCells, mimic nature’s “bottles” by creating an edible membrane. Harvard chemistry professor and biochemical engineer David Edwards has come up with the revolutionary idea of edible packaging.

David Edwards invented containers for food and drinks which can be disposed by eating them. “The idea was to try to create a bottle which was based on how nature creates bottles” Edwards explained. These edible containers, made of so called “WikiCells”, are natural food membranes that are held together by electrostatic forces. Picture a fruit like an orange or a banana that is encased by a biodegradable shell. This is where that idea came from. Food packaged by humans is typically packaged in plastic, unlike our nature counterpart. But professor David A. Edwards thought why shouldn’t we mimic nature and create edible/biodegradable packaging for food products?

Harvard describes WikiCells as “thin delicious membranes with significant water diffusional resistance and adjoined shells that allow for stability of the WikiCells over long periods of time”.

Edwards, who is already well-known for his other food invention, inhalable food, like chocolate, believes that these edible containers will first be seen in restaurants. He hopes to get them into homes and offices, for delivery and purchase in stores as soon as possible thereafter. The biodegradable WikiCells can be produced in various sizes and shapes and they can contain solid food as well as liquid.

Edwards hopes that somebody WikiCells will be more commercially available to the broader public somebody. “In the near term, we will be encountering WikiCells in restaurant settings,” he said. The researchers say WikiCells can be used for food and beverages in restaurants, homes, offices and grocery stores as a way to reduce the amount of packaging that goes to landfills. And eventually, with a world view, he has his sights on developing a product platform for WikiCells, which would allow individuals to produce their own edible bottles. “People in a village in Africa could become plastic bottle-free and make things for themselves. It’s really exciting from a humanitarian point of view.”

Facebook Uses Arctic Air To Save Energy

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Facebook announced another eco-friendly effort to continue greening up its empire. They will have a new server farm located in Luleå, Sweden. Because this location in Sweden sits in the freezing cold (the Arctic to be exact), the servers will be cooled naturally saving tons of energy.

With all of the activity on Facebook, its servers are working hard around the clock and produce a lot of excess heat. Traditionally, server farms require expensive, complicated air conditioning systems to prevent over heating. But when your servers are sitting in the Arctic, cooler temperatures will naturally create a cooling system. Facebook’s server farms span 175,000 square feet. It costs $75 million each year to run the servers in the Arctic. Imagine the costs of having a server farm in a warm climate- yikes! The Swedish server farm will also enjoy the benefits of the nearby Luleå River, which provides green and affordable hydro-electric power.

Luleå is in Northern Sweden and is as close to the North Pole as Siberia, and averages a chilly 35 degrees Fahrenheit year round.

Method Unveils Packaging Made From Upcycled Ocean Plastic

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Method has unveiled its latest innovation in sustainable packaging- a bottle that is made out of plastic collected from the North Pacific Gyre, also referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The bottle contains 100% post-consumer polyethylene, 25% of which is plastic collected from the Gyre. Method has partnered with Envision Plastics who is one of the largest recyclers in the US making it possible to make this Ocean PCR that is the same quality as virgin HDPE plastic.

The process starts will collecting and cleaning the plastic removing unwanted contaminants where it is then blended and remanufactured into high quality plastic. The beauty is that the upcycled ocean plastic can be recycled again and again. Method’s ultimate goal is to raise awareness that the real solution to plastic pollution lies in reusing and recycling the plastic that’s already on the planet. Method also aims to prove that green business can grow the US economy and create jobs.

Method made its first bottle entirely from post-consumer recycled plastic in 2006. Since then they’ve been known as a leading innovator in premium eco-friendly household and personal care products by developing plastic packaging that is completely free from virgin plastics. Method products can be found in over 35,000 retail locations.

Tomorrow is World Car-Free Day!

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

In case you didn’t know, tomorrow is World Car-Free Day. So what does that mean? Well, this green holiday will be celebrated world-wide by individuals focused on giving the climate a break by taking cars off of the roads. People around the globe are organizing their own events exploring alternative transportation via wiki to the WCN website. WCN, or World Carefree Network, is loosely running World Car-Free Day.

What are people doing to honor this holiday you ask? Events include everything from group cycling on the way to work to people protesting the lack of non-car transportation options in the street. But if you live in a location where this celebration simply isn’t practical, there are still options for the dedicated. You could sample an electric car from a car sharing program such as Hertz on Demand for the day. Carpooling is another option that is an act of lessening the amount of automobiles on the roads.

World Car-Free Day began in 2008 and tomorrow will mark the 4th time it will be celebrated.

What Does the Future Hold for Paper and Packaging?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

By 2015, paper use in magazines, newspapers, and books is expected to fall between 12 and 20 percent from 2010 levels. With the increased use of tablets nationwide, there is no surprise at this report. In 2010, tablets exploded onto the market where by the end of their first year, 15 million tablet computers were in use. North America alone accounted for 10 million and by 2015, that number is expected to grow to 200 million.

Some people out there thought that the newspaper industry would be a thing of the past by now. Where will it be in 2015- just three short years away?

As paper use falls, the packaging market will also see big changes. Environmentally friendly packaging growth is expected to really take off with degradable packaging experiencing the most demand growth. As manufacturing technology continues refine degradable packaging to expand its uses, the sky will be the limit. The development of degradable packaging has been slow as researchers are testing materials such as mushrooms, banana leaves, and coconuts.

Right now, recycled content packaging is the largest green packaging sector by far because it is far more developed. What will packaging look like in 2015?

Chair In The Box

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

It’s lighter than a magazine, easy to set up, holds a person up to approximately 200 lbs, and is made out of corrugated box material. So what is it? It’s Chair In The Box. Yes, a simple box that is opened and easily folded to make a chair.

The chair is very functional. The corrugated boards are composed of recycled secondary fibers like used newspapers and old boxes. There are several environmental benefits with Chair In The Box. It encourages the use of recycled materials and helps in saving paper. The product also provides a good alternative option for metal products which are non-renewable resources.

Apple’s New Eco Headquarters Looks Like a Spaceship

Friday, June 24th, 2011

“Apple’s been growing like a weed” said Steve Jobs, the charismatic CEO of Apple Inc. And that is precisely why Jobs announced plans of Apple pursuing a new eco-friendly home in northern California to house approximately 12,000 employees. The company’s existing headquarters, which accommodates about 2,600 employees, has forced Apple to rent space in smaller buildings scattered throughout Cupertino, located nine miles west of San Jose.

The spaceship donut-like structure that Apple is looking to build will be set on a proposed 150 acre campus. The huge circular structure will be made almost entirely of curved grass with a heavily landscaped center. Steve Jobs has hired Stanford University’s senior arborist to make the campus 80% landscaped.

Other eco-friendly characteristics of the new project were a natural-gas-fired energy center that would serve as the new headquarters’ main power source. Most of the parking will be underground to create space for thousands of additional trees on the property.

The new site will allow Apple to increase its workforce and consolidate in one location. Jobs hoped to submit formal plans for the new Apple headquarters soon with the goal of moving in by 2015.

So what do you think of this thing? Quite futuristic I must say.