Tuesday, November 30, 2010

End of the Quarter Ecological Footprint

I re-took the EF quiz and I now only take up 3.5 earths compared to when I first took the quiz I took up 3.8 earths. So my EF only went down .3 earths.

To help my EF go down, I have been really good about unplugging my phone and computer charger when I'm not using them. I also take showers in 4-10 minutes. And with my newest goal of using reusable bags, I've done pretty good with that. There have only been a couple times that I forgot to bring them with me shopping.

I think that I will be able keep up with these changes. After a while, I'll probably make new goals for myself and see if I can achieve those. It will take me a while buy items with less packaging. Every time I by something and it can't be recycled, I kind of feel guilty for buying it.

All in all, I think this quarter was great for achieving my EF reduction goals.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Friday

Just thought I would blog about all the sales and shopping that went on on Friday for this week. I do have to admit that I participated in Black Friday. My mom and I got up 2 AM to go shopping at 3AM. After a long morning of shopping (I didn't get home til around 8 AM), I ate some breakfast and listened to the news.

It was crazy about how many people they predicted to participate in the chaos shopping. They predicted 4 million more people would be shopping that day. And their reasoning for going shopping was to spend less for Christmas. Many stores decided to open up before early Friday morning and opening Thanksgiving night, ie Toys R Us.

The National Retail Federation came up with outstanding numbers for Black Friday and its weekend. For both online and store shoppers, there were over 212 million people after those Day After Thanksgiving sales. There's an estimated $45 billion spending. People spent an average of $365.34, which is up from last years number, $343.31. The number of people shopping at midnight tripled from last year, 3.3% in 2009 to 9.5% in 2010. By 4 AM, almost a quarter of the Black Friday shoppers were already at stores shopping.

I wonder how much of the packaging these items come in will be recycled and how much will end up in the landfill in the next six months.
Now that I've shown you the insane numbers. I wanted to show you some insane pictures from Black Friday.

Here is Toys R Us Thanksgiving night, which opened at 10 PM. One article said that Toys R Us' new game is Black Thursday.

This is a store in Canada.

This is Old Navy in Hunington, West Virgina.

This last one is a video and I'm so shocked at how much people don't care about others and only care about getting what they want. In this video, as people are pushing and shoving to get into this Target, a man gets trampled on and no one stops. They just keep going and stepping over him until after about 10 seconds go by, people finally start helping him. Even then, people still step over and don't care.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Drink more and save the Earth? Awesome!

I actually got this article from Anna (click on her name to see her blog). I thought it was pretty cool. The Scotts are hitting two birds with one stone here.

The Scottish are taking what is leftover from the distillation phase and making it into a biofuel for cars. Apparently they have a very big whiskey habit each year, a $6.2 billion habit. Researcher at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland are using the pot ale and draff, the bi-products of distilling whiskey,  to make a new biofuel. Vehicles now would not have to adjust or adapt to the new fuel. They are also saying that it is possible that planes will be able to run off this new fuel called butanol.

So far research has shown that butanol is 30% more efficient than ethanol. The European Union is setting some standards by 2020, 10% of fuel sales will be from biofuels. Professor Martin Tangney said that using waste was more environmentally sustainable than growing crops just for biofuel.

This also means that crops don't have to be grown to have this kind of fuel. It's just using what wasn't being used before. I think this is a great idea instead of using ethanol. Crops can be saved and used for our consumption and animal feed. It's a lot that won't be taken away. It would be pretty cool to be able to use this biofuel in America whenever it gets on the market. I'd be up to filling my gas tank with whiskey waste.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Recycle or Upcycle?

Yesterday I bought a bag of M&Ms. I know that sounds exciting, right? Well, when I got home, I noticed that on the back of the bag there was an infinity sign and the name Terracycle.  Next to that it says, "Mars is turning used candy wrappers into eco-friendly products," and gives the website terracycle.net. I proceeded and checked out the website.

I first watched this pretty awesome video about garbage or at least I thought it was a pretty awesome video.

What Terracycle does is have schools (elementary to university) collect non-recyclable items and send them in to Terracycle. These non-recyclables are then made into usable products, like backpacks, pencil pouches, bags, stuff for your pets and gardens, etc.

It all started in 2001, by Tom Szaky, a Princeton University freshman. He first started it as an organic feritilzer company and it's grown to what it is today. He wanted to create a way of doing business that is good for the environment, good for the people and is good for the triple bottom line. Terracycle has won many awards for its environment business model. A few awards won were from Home Depot, The Environmental Business Journal, and Zerofootprint.

To join in on this fun, you can join a brigade, which is a specific collection of waste stream. Each brigade is different in what they collect. There are brigades that collect candy wrappers by Mars and Cadbury, collect chip wrappers, yogurt cups, plastic cereal bags, and lots more. Once the minimum of 500 items is collected, you send it in and Terracycle will donate $0.02 per item to a charity or non-profit organization of your choice, or if it's your school collecting, you get to keep it. The companies that are supporting the brigades, pay for shipping.

Interesting fact: In July, they changed the minimum items sent in from 100 to 500 to help cut done even more on people's environmental impact. So instead of having 10 shipments of 100 waste items, there's only 2 shipments of 500.
There are about 30 different brigades. They range from candy and chip wrappers to Scotch tape dispensers to the plastic paper towels come in to corks and the plastic bag of diapers. Like I said before, after the collection, these non-recyclable products are made into new ones. These products will be available to buy in stores like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target, and K-mart (in selected cities). We won't see them for a while because Terracycle has to build up their inventory. Currently, they have made 186 items out of waste and have collected 1,853,931,933 pieces of waste.

This is a great idea to recycle those items that are non-recyclable. They arecreated into something usable and trendy. I think that we should do this here at WWU to help reduce our garbage even more. It's so easy to get involved and there are so many brigades to choose from.

Monday, November 1, 2010


"With your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!"

(This is the second part of the first episode of Captain Planet and it reminds of the BP oil spill.)

"Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Heart! Go Planet! With your powers combined, I am Captain Planet! Captain Planet, he's our hero. Taking pollution down to zero."

Why isnt' this cartoon played anymore? I loved Captain Planet when I was younger. To be honest, this show would probably get a lot of kids into being more pro-environment. I watched the first episode and at the end they give tips on how to be nice to the environment like: conserving energy and carpooling. It's a lot more educating than I thought or remember.

In actuality,  the Planeteers are real. All around the world there are groups of Planeteers helping better the environment. You can visit their Facebook page here or their website. They have several different chapters around the world. There are 7 chapters, 5 of which are in the US. The other two are in Jamaica and Ghana.
Here's a nice little tid bit here, Captain Planet turned 20 this year and he's still going strong. Ted Turner, the creater of Captain Planet, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Environmental Media Awards October 16, 2010. He's been interested in the environment ever since he was a little kid.

The Power is Yours!

Do you use reusable bags when you go grocery shopping?