Recycle Your Cartons!

15 09 2011

Here’s an update from the Environmental News Network about carton recycling, one of the newest recycling movements in the US:

Cartons are recyclable! Made mainly from paper, cartons are in demand to be recycled into new paper products.

The Carton Council is committed to increasing carton recycling in the United States. By promoting both recycling technology and local collection programs they work to limit the number of valuable cartons that end up in a landfill.

The Carton Council, formed by four of the country’s leading carton manufacturers—Elopak, Evergreen Packaging, SIG Combibloc and Tetra Pak, is specifically committed to increasing carton recycling in the United States. Made mainly from paper, a renewable resource from responsibly managed forests, cartons are recyclable. By promoting both recycling technology and local collection programs, the Carton Council is planning to limit the amount of cartons that end up in a landfill.

The implementation of carton recycling in Dallas is the latest example of a national trend.  In 2008, only 18 percent of U.S. households had access to carton recycling programs.  Today, this number has nearly doubled to almost 36%, with cities in over 40 states representing approximately 40 million households now accepting cartons in their curbside collection programs.  Dallas increases these numbers by an additional 235,000 households, and is setting the bar for other cities in the state of Texas to follow suit.  Dallas also joins a growing number of cities across the country such as Los Angeles, New York, and Boston that have expanded their recycling programs to include cartons.

Last year, the City of Dallas recycled more than 50,000 tons of materials and is on track to recycle nearly 65,000 tons this year.  Carton recycling will help the city toward their 31% diversion goal for the year.  By increasing their recycling rate and coming up with innovative ways to increase waste diversion, the city saved $1,185,260.21 of landfill space.

For further information:

Even if you don’t live in an area that is offering carton recycling, you can encourage your local community to ask for this program to be implemented! Let local officials know that you’re interested in the latest advances in protecting the environment!

The 9/11 Memorial & The Environment

11 09 2011

On the tenth anniversary of September 11th, the memorial site has been unveiled to the public. Not only is the memorial space beautiful and tastefully designed, it is environmentally friendly as well.

From Treehugger:

From a green roof to locally harvested trees, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum opens on the 10th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center with a dedication and much media coverage of every angle, including Steven Spielberg’s The Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero. Despite delays, this moving site centers on two dramatic waterfalls and reflecting pools in the footprints of the Twin Towers as the focus on the 16-acre site for contemplation and the commemoration of 9/11. The sustainable features in the design were intended to be viewed as a sign of hope.

The water-conserving irrigation system includes stormwater capture in underground storage tanks to saves energy and resources. A suspended paving system supports the trees with soil-filled troughs and pavement for walking. The space is seeking LEED Gold certification. The plaza also meets the environment-conscious practices required by New York State Executive Order 11 and the WTC Sustainable Design Guidelines.

In addition, one new structure at the World Trade Center site that has replaced a fallen building, features a sophisticated system that generates off-peak electricity and composts paper waste.

– Roberta Cruger, Treehugger: A Discovery Company


Want to see a Supernova?

8 09 2011


Image via The Huffington Post

For those of you who love star-gazing, this piece of news will provide some excitement!

From The Huffington Post‘s Green section:

Last month, scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California discovered what they think could be the youngest — and closest — supernova in decades, leading UC Berkeley’s Joshua Bloom to call it “the supernova of a generation.”

The supernova, which is essentially an exploding star, has been named PTF 11kly. And even though it exploded in the Big Dipper, 21 million light-years away in the Pinwheel Galaxy, you might just get to see it over the next few weeks.

The Huffington Post spoke to Peter Nugent, a senior scientist at the Berkeley Lab who was the first to discover the supernova, who gave us some tips about how best to view the supernova.

, The Huffington Post

If you’re interested in catching this before its gone, head over to the original article for some great tips on the best equipment, times, and location to view PTF 11kly!

Do you frequently take a look up into the night sky? What are some of your favorite constellations?

The Petermann Glacier

4 09 2011

Petermann Glacier After the Break

A true sign of the precarious environmental times we live in comes in the form of the Petermann Glacier, which lost a very large chunk last year and stands to lose more in the near future. If anyone ever needed proof of the damage that has been done (and is still being done) to our planet, this is a perfect example.

The Huffington Post‘s Green section reports:

When a 100 square mile chunk — an area four times the size of Manhattan — broke off Greenland’s Petermann Glacier in the summer of 2010, scientists knew that it was a historic event. After all, it was the largest known calving in Greenland’s history, and the largest to occur in the Arctic in nearly 50 years.

Over the last year, scientists have only been able to view the extent of the breakup via satellite imagery. Until now.

Photographs taken in July and released on Wednesday offer a new perspective on the August 2010 break, showing before and after images of different areas of Petermann Glacier.

“Although I knew what to expect in terms of ice loss from satellite imagery, I was still completely unprepared for the gob-smacking scale of the breakup, which rendered me speechless,” Alan Hubbard, the scientist from Aberystwyth University in Wales who took the most recent photograph, said in a statement.

And we can expect more. Hubbard told that another sheet, about half the size of the 2010 chunk, is poised to break away.

Jason Box, a scientist with the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University and photographer of the 2009 image, told HuffPost that the summer of 2010 was Greenland’s warmest on record, and records have been kept since 1873.

“We’re bearing witness to abrupt climate change,” Box told HuffPost. “This isn’t of in the future. It’s very much now.”

, The Huffington Post

Unfortunately, at this point it seems there is not a great deal that can be done to change the course of this glacier’s future. The damage is there, but we need to look forward to the future and what we can do to prevent more incidents like this.

Technology News: Can Your Smartphone Help the Environment?

1 09 2011

Smartphones have become a universally necessary product for most people. People who love their phones seemingly cannot part with them for even a moment! Now, when speaking about technology and electronic devices, many people probably don’t see that cell phones could be assisting the environment in any way. However, a new study has shown that there are ways these products can help us manage our energy resources.

A recent article from the Environmental News Network reports:

In July, at the Association for Computing Machinery’s MobiSys conference, researchers from MIT and Princeton University took the best-paper award for a system that uses a network of smartphones mounted on car dashboards to collect information about traffic signals and tell drivers when slowing down could help them avoid waiting at lights. By reducing the need to idle and accelerate from a standstill, the system saves gas: In tests conducted in Cambridge, Mass., it helped drivers cut fuel consumption by 20 percent. Cars are responsible for 28 percent of the energy consumption and 32 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, says Emmanouil Koukoumidis, a visiting researcher at MIT who led the project. “If you can save even a small percentage of that, then you can have a large effect on the energy that the U.S. consumes,” Koukoumidis says.

Who knew that our phones could also help promote greener living? Very exciting stuff.

Can you think of any additional ways that smartphones (or other popular electronic devices) could help the environment? Are there any Apps available that you’d recommend for others interested in green living?

Fair Promotes Green Living for Everyone

21 08 2011

We love hearing about local communities finding interesting and fun ways to get people excited about green living. What better way to accomplish this task than with a “green” country fair?

A community in London has done just that:

An event to promote practical, cost-effective ideas for green living will be run in a south-east London park next month.

Brockwell Park in Herne Hill will be home to the Urban Green Fair for a fifth year on Sunday, September 4.

The free event will offer more than 40 speakers, films, poets, workshops, children’s activities, food stalls and BMX races.

Organisers plan to use only solar and wind energy to power the day, which will give it one of the lowest carbon footprints of any festival in the country.

The event is being run by the Urban Green Fair Community Interest Company (CIC) which is dedicated to positive change on global and local levels.

Fair director Shane Collins said: “As well as being a fun day out, whatever your age, the Urban Green Fair is a chance to learn about the changes coming to our society and how best to navigate them together.

He said the fair aimed to educate the public on green initiatives and to stimulate support through shared knowledge.

The Press Association

What kinds of environmentally-friendly events does your community hold? Have you ever been to a green fair? If you’re active in your hometown, think about suggesting an event like this for your annual country fair or Earth Day celebrations. While it obviously makes for an educational event, it also promotes the idea that a green lifestyle is fun!

An Exciting New Discovery for Solar Energy

18 08 2011

Image via NASA

Great strides for solar energy have been made in recent months, and it is exciting to follow the story as it develops. Each discovery is another step towards making greener living simpler and more affordable.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have made a scientific discovery that  is intriguing all on its own but it is the breakthrough’s potential applications in solar power generation that have them excited. According to Stephen Rand, a professor at the university and author of the paper that discusses his team’s discovery in the “Journal of Applied Physics”, the researchers found a way to make an “optical battery” which harnesses the magnetic attributes in light that, until now, scientists didn’t think amounted to much of anything.

The report explains that  light has both electric and magnetic components but, until now, scientists believed the magnetic field effects were weak enough that they could be ignored. Rand and his fellow researchers, however,  found that at the right intensity, when light is traveling through a material that does not conduct electricity, the light field can generate magnetic effects that are 100 million times stronger than thought possible. Under these circumstances, says Rand, the magnetic fields become similar in strength to a strong electric effect.

William Fisher, a doctoral student in applied physics, says that what makes this possible is “a previously undetected brand of “optical rectification.”  In traditional optical rectification, light’s electric field causes positive and negative charges to be pulled apart in a material. That sets up voltage, similar to battery. Before, this effect had only been observed in crystalline materials that possessed a certain symmetry. This process works with materials such as glass, but presently requires light that surpasses the sun’s natural intensity Fisher indicated they were working on finding materials that would at lower light intensity.

The research team believes that this discovery could lead to a solar cell that requires no semi-conductor. Since semi-conductors constitute a bulk of a solar cell’s processing, eliminating it represents an opportunity for a considerable reduction in costs. Fisher notes that a solar cell using this new energy harvesting technique would only require lenses to focus the light and fiber to carry it. “Glass works for both,” said Fisher,  ”it’s already made in bulk, and it doesn’t require as much processing. Transparent ceramics might be even better.”

Caleb Denison, Earth Techling

Fantastic findings!

At Green Printer, we strive to keep up with all of the latest news in environmental preservation and technology. Is there a recent study or article about green living that grabbed your attention? Are you working in your local community to create environmental change? We’d love to hear from you in the comments! You might even find yourself or your findings featured in our weekly blog posts!

Green News: Can Organic Farming Reduce Antibiotic Resistance?

13 08 2011

Those of us who ascribe to a green lifestyle already know that this choice is in the interest of a wide variety of concerns, not strictly environmental ones. Living green also has a huge impact on our health. It is vitally important to pay attention to these matters, as so often the general public isn’t informed of developments surrounding their own health.

A recent study has shown that purchasing organic meats and other products can decrease the risk of resistance to antibiotics. From The Examiner:

Organic poultry farms that don’t use antibiotics have significantly lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria that can potentially spread to humans. That’s according to a new study which is the first to demonstrate lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria on newly organic farms. The research adds to the growing concern among health experts about germs becoming resistant to many commonly used antibiotics.

More than 100,000 people die every year from bacterial infections, 70 percent of which are resistant to antibiotics. The Food and Drug Administration estimates farmers use 29 million pounds of antibiotics every year on food producing animals, that’s 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. Bacteria resistant to antibiotics can reach humans through food and the environment, like water contaminated with runoff.

The new study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, measured the impact of removing antibiotics from poultry farms by looking at 10 conventional and 10 newly organic large-scale poultry houses. They tested for the presence of enterococci bacteria in poultry litter, feed and water and tested its resistance to 17 common antimicrobials. Researchers say 67 percent of the bacteria recovered at conventional farms were resistant to erythromycin, a commonly used drug used to treat infections in humans. That compares to just 18 percent from the organic farms.

How important is it to you to be a green grocery shopper? If you aren’t already choosing organic products, what is the reason? Do you have any ideas for readers who may struggle to find organic products in their locals stores?

Green Homes Catching On!

10 08 2011

No place is more indicative of our priorities than the home we live in. For those of us for whom green living is a major issue, having a home that supports that choice is very important. It looks like the environmental push is spreading, as a new study has shown that green homes in Portland, OR have been far outselling non-green homes in the same area:

For the fourth straight year in a row, green certified homes have outperformed non-certified homes in the Portland metro region, according to a study by the Earth Advantage Institute.

The annual study found that existing homes with a sustainable certification sold for 30 percent more than homes without one, according to sales data provided by the Portland Regional Multiple Listing Service. This finding is based on the sales of existing homes between May 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011 in Multnomah, Clackamas, Columbia, and Washington Counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington.

The study also examined how newly constructed homes built to sustainable certifications performed, and found that they sold for 8 percent more than new non-certified homes in the same six-county area.

– Matt Smith, Environmental News Network

Is your own home green or are you considering moving to a home with more environmentally-friendly qualities? Even if moving or doing major reconstruction isn’t an option for you at this time, you can always make small changes to your lifestyle to assist the environment!  

Have you made changes to your home in the interest of green living? We’d love to hear about it in the comments! Share your tips & tricks!

The Potential for ‘Zero Emissions’

5 08 2011

One of the latest pieces of environmental technology news to hit the press is the creation of solar powered vehicle chargers. This new development takes the concept of “zero emissions” a step beyond hybrid cars, it actually allows the entire vehicle to be run off of solar energy. This is a major stride forward in creating transportation that is 100% environmentally friendly, as well as making travel without the reliance on gas a reality.

“Zero emissions” is a tricky phrase. Electric vehicles produce zero emissions at the tailpipe, but more often than not there are emissions at the power plant. The only way to have a truly zero-emissions EV is to get your power from a renewable source like the sun.

SolarCity is making it a whole lot easier to do that. The California company has started offering solar EV chargers to customers in 11 states and Washington, D.C., allowing people to drive their cars purely on sunshine.

“It allows for the carbon-free lifestyle. You can go EV and PV and drive on sunshine power,” Ben Tarbell, vp of products, told us. “There are a lot of environmental and economic benefits for our customers.”

The company, fresh off a $280 million investment from Google, makes it easy for people to embrace solar power by leasing them complete photovoltaic packages. It’s been dabbling in solar chargers for awhile, and it installed solar EV charging stations along highway 101 between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2009.

But the arrival of the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, not to mention the plethora of EVs and plug-in hybrids automakers promise to deliver by 2015, makes it time to go all-in, Tarbell said.

– Alexander George, Environmental News Network