Do you remember to bring your reusable tote bag to the grocery store for a ten-cent discount? Would you remember to bring an inexpensive reusable tumbler back to Starbucks for your daily coffee? Starbucks is hoping that some people do, offering the new cups and a discount in an effort to cut back on the total number of cups the the chain uses per year.
Keurig’s single-use coffee pods might be convenient, but they can’t be recycled. Clean Water Action is calling on them to clean up their act, and Keurig has promised to try really hard.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency have rolled out the biggest redesign of the car window stickers that display a vehicle’s estimated fuel efficiency since the labels were introduced. The new stickers, designed to be easier to read and to provide more information about fuel savings and costs, will be required for all 2013 cars.
Not all organic eggs are created equal. While different cartons of eggs might all have the same “Organic! Yay!” label slapped on them, standards for what that means can vary from farm to farm. One might meet minimum USDA or Federal standards while another has no real outdoor access for the chickens to speak of. To help you navigate the bedeviling array of options, The Cornucopia Institute has created an Organic Egg Scorecard to rate farms on a 5-egg system. Small farms with lots of pasture for the chickens to frolic in rate highly, while eggs put out by Trader Joe’s, Kirkland, and Price Chopper only get a one egg rating.
At first glance this sticker I spotted on a water fountain appears to be from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, telling citizens that they’ve checked out the water and it’s probably safe. If you have any doubts about there being chemicals in there that seeped in because of hydraulic fracturing, don’t worry, just turn on the spigot and do the ‘ol match test and see if it bursts into flame. Wait, what?
IKEA has done away with energy-hogging incandescents ahead of federal legislation that would mandate more efficient light bulbs starting in 2012.
A new study says that you should be washing your reusable shopping bags because they might be full of gross bacteria such as e. coli, particularly if you used them to tote raw meat.
The National Geographic Greendex survey of sustainable consumption is out, and most of the 17 countries in the study have improved over the past year. In the lowest-scoring one, though, consumers are actually less concerned about the environment and think that the whole issue is being exaggerated. And a majority in that country believe their current habits are unsustainable, but they’re cool with letting their grandkids deal with it.
Not content with offering discounts to customers who bring in their own travel mugs, Starbucks has now thrown its weight behind “betacup,” a contest to “eliminate paper cup consumption through the design of a more convenient alternative to the reusable coffee mug.” Some of the ideas submitted so far include a hemp-based cup (we have some ideas about how to recycle that one), cups made from coconut shells, and inflatable, reusable cups.
If you want to buy environmentally friendly products when you’re out shopping, you’ll find plenty of options these days. The trouble is that “green,” like “organic,” is considered a very loose concept by lots of manufacturers. The Chicago Tribune put together a list of ways you can spot the fakes on your next shopping trip. Here’s an easy rule of thumb: the words eco, earth, green, friendly, gentle and kind are all frequently used to give the impression of being environmentally friendly, but they’re essentially meaningless marketing words.
A new smoothie cart across from the Museum of Natural History in New York City will be powered by bicycles, says the NY Post. If you pedal the blender yourself you can get $1 off.
Because we’ll always make garbage and we may not always be able to make jet fuel, British Airways announced today that they’ve partnered with biofuel company Solena Group to begin using fuel converted from waste materials in 2014.
60 Minutes has reported on a new fuel cell product called a Bloom Box, a big metal box containing a small stack of ceramic disks and “ink” that can supposedly provide enough power to run a Starbucks. The big questions are: Does it work? And will it ever help the average homeowner save on energy costs? Google has supposedly been using four of them to power one of its data centers for the past 18 months, so yes to the first question. As for home use, a Bloom Box currently costs over $700,000, so no. Inventor K.R. Sridhar optimistically says he wants to get the price to under $3,000 in the next 5 to 10 years, though. Watch the 60 Minute segment below.
Ideally, companies choose to lessen their environmental impact because it makes financial sense, not because it makes them feel good–which is a good thing, since companies don’t have feelings. Today, FastCompany published a slideshow that looks at 12 ways the mega-retailer is trying out various green initiatives. Some of them are more about selling the concept of green to consumers, which is dumb, but the ones that deal with shipping, energy consumption, and market creation are pretty impressive.
Terraskin is a paper that is made entirely from rocks and resin. Its production uses neither trees nor water. The rock mainly comes from construction waste material. The resin is mainly post-industrial recycled material.
Many stores offer discounts to customers who bring their own reusable bags to shop. Now, CVS is integrating their customer loyalty program with a green initiative, and plans to reward customers with 25 cents every time they use reusable bags.
Everyone knows the Good Housekeeping seal, which carries a two-year warranty on products that have it and pretty much proves that the product’s manufacturer advertises in Good Housekeeping magazine. Now the venerable publication has a new seal which is supposed to denote environmentally friendly household products and, according to Slate’s Paul Smalera, is at best meaningless and at worst draws consumers’ attention away from actual environmentally friendly products.