Used Cardboard Boxes

We found this interesting on alternativeconsumer.com. Did you know that 80 percent of all residential moves take place during the summer? For an earth-friendly (and low-cost alternative) to moving your home goods in slick, new cardboard boxes, try ordering from new company, Used Cardboard Boxes. Providing high quality, previously-used boxes, the website (with locations in Los Angeles and New York) guarantees the lowest prices, delivers boxes in one to two business days and doesn’t charge for shipping.

Just think of how many trees you’ll be saving – $120 billion of boxes are produced each year around the world, typically used once and tossed out, according to Used Cardboard Boxes.

With Co-op America’s seal of approval, check out usedcardboardboxes.com
for more info.

You can also visit U-Haul’s Box Exchange to see if anyone in your area has boxes to give away or sell @ www.uhaul.com/boxexchange/.

The Truth About Bottled Water

plastic bottle pollution

1.5 million barrels of oil in the US alone are used to make water bottles from polyethylene terephthalate, 86% of which are landfilled or incinerated. Often it is shipped long distances, like the 1.4 million bottles of Finnish tap water sent 4,300 kilometers (2,700 miles) to Saudi Arabia, or the popular Fiji water found in the US and Canada. ”Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing–producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy,” said researcher Emily Arnold. ”Although in the industrial world bottled water is often no healthier than tap water, it can cost up to 10,000 times more.” Tap water comes to us through an energy-efficient infrastructure whereas bottled water must be transported long distances–and nearly one-fourth of it across national borders–by boat, train, airplane, and truck. This ”involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels,” Arnold said. Its time to buy a Nalgene and refill it rather than tossing empties.

To fill in a little information I’ll ramble off topic a bit! First let’s be clear about this, in most modern communities tap water is often more purea than bottled water. Indeed, in the USA tap water is regulated by the EPA, whereas the FDA look over the shoulder of bottled water suppliers, using less stringent criteria. As eMagazine points out 40 percent of bottled water began life as, well, tap water.” In the same comprehensive article, eMag note that the NRDC had 1,000 bottles of water tested, and discovered that a “third of the tested brands were found to contain contaminants such as arsenic and carcinogenic compounds in at least some samples at levels exceeding state or industry standards. And in one study at Syracuse University, “… they found that one-fourth of bottled water had 10 times the bacterial count of tap water.And who is selling us this bottled water in the first place? The same folk who enthuse about the joys of Aspartame maybe?

NO! ECO SHOPPING BAG BRA

This is definitely one of the weirder attempts we’ve seen to make environmentalism more “sexy” to mainstream consumers, but you gotta hand it to the Japanese for creativity. Anyways, we found this article by Tylene Levesque on Inhabitat.

In an effort to raise awareness to the estimated 30 billion plastic shopping bags used by Japanese consumers (30% of which are thrown out without ever being reused), designers at Triumph International Japan have found a way to convert a bra into a shopping bag. Triumph, the same company that created the Eco-globe Bra (2004) and microwavable Warm Biz Bra (2005), has unveiled their newest eco-themed bra, the “No! Shopping Bag Bra” (No! reji-bukuro bra in Japanese). Available to Japanese shoppers, the bra, which comes in red, blue, yellow and pink, is also made of polyester fibers recycled from plastic bottles using the company’s EcoCircle recylcing system.

The bra is transformed into a ready-to-use shopping bag with only a few steps. One simply removes the shopping bag hidden into the padding of the bra, ties the lacey cups and shoulder straps around the bag for decoration and presto—you have a bag! Definitely innovative, but is it practical? We’ll just have to wait and see.

For more information, watch the video


Patagonia Wetsuits

Not for the first time, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia graces the cover of business magazine. It’s hard to ignore a company that’s been around for 30 something years, gives away pots of money to rowdy environment activists, drops best selling lines for greener ones, yet still makes $270 million USD a year. We glean from the article that Patagonia are working on a new wetsuit design. A non-petroleum neoprene made from crushed limestone with “a lining of recycled polyester and, of all things, organic wool.” And according to the Fortune piece, ”90 percent warmer than other wetsuits, as well as stretchier, stronger and naturally odor resistant.” Chouinard is quoted “We’re getting [back] into the surf market, because it’s never going to snow again, and the waves are going to get bigger and bigger.” The neoprene outer is of 80% non-petroleum based ingredients. (Fortune Mag reckoned it was made with crushed limestone but the Patagonia site is coy on that aspect.) The inner lining is a chloride-free merino wool grid bonded to recycled polyester. Kneepads are PVC-free and are said to be more durable and grippier. Coming for both men and women in 2mm and 3mm versions, to span water temps from 48 to 65°F (9 to 18°C). Long and shortie styles, although limited availability just now.

On the greener of business he remarks, “I’m blown away by Wal-Mart. If Wal-Mart does one-tenth of what they say they’re going to do, it will be incredible. And hopefully America will get a government that we need rather than one we deserve, that will put pressure on business to clean up its act. But the most powerful pressure will come from the consumer. Oh, my God, it’s going to be really powerful.”

Recycle A Cell Phone Save a Gorilla

Every year millions of new cell phones are purchased, did you ever wonder what happens to the old ones? Some get recycled, some get reused, some are left in a drawer, many get tossed. We just found out on the Sietch that now you can get rid of that old cell phone and make some money for a good cause at the same time.

ECO-CELL is a cell phone recycling program for environmentally minded fundraisers. They partner with environmental organizations to create profitable, easy to use and environmentally sound cell phone recycling fundraiser programs.

The nice thing about ECO-CELL is that they take all cell phones. Even ones that do not work, they have strict no landfill policy, meaning that they recycle everything even if it cuts into their bottom line.

Any organization can start a cell phone recycling program with ECO-CELL, here is how it works. You collect the phones, ECO-CELL picks up the phones for free, they pay you up to 15 dollars a phone (minimum $0.45). Its a pretty sweet way to make some cash for your organization.

The Gorilla fund, and the San Diego Zoo, among others have teamed up with the company to raise money.

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