Sunday, July 26, 2009

POLLUTION: X-TEX - A Powerful New Oil Attracting Material and Its Potential Environmental Applications

By Travis Zdrazil

Oil wreaks serious damage on the environment. That's why new ways to protect the environment from oil spills and oil containing storm run-offs are a high priority. Find out more about one of the newest materials, X-TEX, commonly found in high quality storm water filters, that can be used in many ways to protect the environment.

What is X-TEX?

It's a lipophilic material or media, which means it attracts and absorbs oil. It is made out of recycled synthetic fibers. Those fibers are shaped into a lightweight mesh-like fiber mass that has an enormous surface area along with interstitial spaces. This combination of features gives X-TEX its outstanding absorbent qualities and makes it a high performance filter material. It is used in filters as well as in the form of rolled fabric, which can be used as a geo-textile.

More importantly, the material's absorbent qualities are all the more valuable because it attracts oil while allowing water to flow freely. This makes it particularly effective for removing oils and other hydrocarbons from water. It can absorb not only petroleum, but also animal and vegetable oils, which makes it an excellent tool for removing spills.

However, because it allows water to pass through while absorbing any hydrocarbons and oils, it is ideal as a filtration medium for a variety of applications. Because of its huge surface area and its interstitial spaces, it can filter out and absorb a great amount of the targeted substances.

How else can X-TEX be used?

X-TEX can be incorporated into other water filtering materials as a supportive compound. Those other materials include for example certain zeolites, zero-valent iron filings, and activated carbons. In fact, it can be specially "conditioned" to attract specific chemical compounds.

It tends to form into cohesive "wads" or mats. This feature makes it the ideal medium for filter devices and other applications because it can be shaped to fit as needed.

What about cost?

Of course, the cost of environmental pollution is tremendous and so cost may not be the most pressing issues when it comes to effective clean-up and especially preventive tools.

Yet considering that X-TEX can filter and absorb about 20 times its own weight of hydrocarbons, it is actually quite cost effective, especially when compared to some of the more traditional filtering media.

Not only that, but between 85% and 90% of the absorbed oils can be reclaimed, which allows the media to be reused. This makes it environmentally friendly in a way that traditional absorbents are not. In addition, it will not leach harmful substances into the environment. And when it is burned, it will produce only minimal ash or residue.

Want to know more about oil absorbent products? Travis Zdrazil, an expert on environmental safety products, has supplied businesses with industrial strength absorbent products for more than 10 years. Sign up for his free newsletter at for valuable tips and the latest news on absorbent and other environmental safety products.

You may publish this article, but must keep the resource box ©2009 PCI Products Company. All rights reserved.

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RECYCLING CASE STUDY: Pennsylvania Environmental and Recycling Update

By Ronnie W Tanner

Pennsylvania is a crossroads state, the northern side of the Mason-Dixon line. Philadelphia, in the east, is part of the sprawling Northeast Atlantic Coast megalopolis which runs from DC to Boston. On the West, Pittsburgh is part of the so-called Rust Belt, the Industrial Midwest.

In between is an expansive agricultural zone, home to the Amish as well as much of this country's agriculture. Environmental concerns have increased in Pennsylvania along with the rest of the United States, and auto recycling and salvage is a significant component of all that. Here's the latest environmental and recycling news from the Quaker State.

Recycling Improves in Pittsburgh

The famous steel city, Pittsburgh has made the jump from heavy industry to high tech-some of the most innovative technology in the world comes from Western PA's big city and its universities. Still, despite all this invention and creativity, Pittsburgh has been somewhat behind in terms of recycling. The Pennsylvania Resources Council aims to change that.

The PRC is a longstanding environmental organization in Ohio, one of the state's biggest advocates for recycling and other ecological programs. They have recently deployed a program to simplify and promote recycling in the city called "Zero Waste Pittsburgh." Among the most innovative features: recycling audits for businesses and homeowners, and recycling for common hazardous materials like Cathode Ray Tube monitors and TVs, other electronics and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

State, Activists Join Forces to Turn Golf Green

Golf courses have been anathema to environmental activists for years. The sprawling links consume inordinate levels of water, an increasingly scarce resource. And the only way to keep the greens green is with kilos of toxic chemicals. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently directed one of the state's most prominent environmental groups - the Pennsylvania Environmental Council - to produce a guide for green golf course development and maintenance, a survey released this month to the public.

With input from an environmental consultant, the guide promises to be of use to local government and green-minded course developers around the country. Among its most valuable ideas is the use of native vegetation to reduce water usage, a strategy used by homeowners everywhere now. They also outline ways to preserving floodplains, streams, creeks and other watershed areas often damaged by courses.

Three Mile Island Nuclear Reactor Passes Environmental Review

Three Mile Island has been synonymous with nuclear disaster ever since a partial meltdown in 1979 created the nation's closest nuclear power close call. No new nuclear plants have opened since, though several have begun construction in recent years. With new management, the environmental activist bugaboo still operates today.

As part of the renewal process of its 20 year permit, the plant submitted to an environmental review from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission this year, and was given a clean bill of health this month. The permitting process rolls along, expected to be finished by the time their current permit expires in 2014, but Pennsylvania residents are glad to know things are safer at Three Mile Island.

Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at Pennsylvania Junk Yards. He writes about Pennsylvania Junk Yards and other industry specific topics.

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RECYCLING CASE STUDY: The Latest Michigan Recycling News

By Ronnie W Tanner

Michigan is not new to the world of recycling and decreasing the environmental impact our generations are making on the Earth. The Department of Environmental Quality is focusing its energy on diverting waste from landfills, minimizing the use of virgin materials that must be harvested or mined, and creating jobs to replace the waste management department it will displace by this reduction.

Those are just part of the plan, and Michigan officials are proud to say they are doing their part to improve our environment. Each county has contacts listed on the Department website which allow residents to find local programs to handle their recycling needs. There is also an organization called the Michigan Recycling Coalition that coordinates cooperation between businesses and local government, as well as individual members of the community to reduce, recycle, and compost all possible products and byproducts.

Currently, Michigan leads the way in the recycling news. In Michigan, the deposit on drink containers in the form of plastic, paper, glass, airtight metal, or combination thereof is a full 10 cents. This is the highest rate in the country for deposits, however, so is its recycling rate. The redemption of the containers is at 97.2 percent, making the program a nationally noted success. Since 1976 when the Bottle Bill was enacted, the state has been intent upon reducing roadside litter, and cleaning up the environment. Their approach has certainly worked.

This same state, though, faces along with environmental challenges like the hot weather creating heavy pond scum on the lakes, a recent fuel spill into White Lake on June 3, 2009. The city of Whitehall will pay over $16,000 to clean up the spill. The hefty price tag will not discourage the people of Michigan, despite this disappointing blow to the overall environmental health of the state. Citizens here are dedicated to the environment and will continue the public and private efforts to keep their state one of the most eco-friendly states in our country.

Michigan notes that on the other side of the coin, the Energy Department is helping out by lending the Ford Motor Company, the Nissan Motor Company, and Tesla Motors portions of a $25 billion fund to increase the fuel efficiency of the vehicles being manufactured in the state of Michigan. These loans are expected to increase the functions of the factories to produce more fuel-efficient models as opposed to the gas guzzlers of yesterday. Officials hope the huge loan assistance will counteract much of the negative impact the fuel spill has made.

Leading the way to awareness of environmental awareness, even a night talk show host from Michigan is raising awareness about how we dispose of our everyday waste. In particular, the fluorescent bulbs we toss in the trash become quite a concern. The small amount of mercury needed to make the bulb work is then released into landfills, creating quite a dangerous hazard to our environment. The poisons contaminate fish and mammals alike, and are becoming an international concern. Our food supply could well be affected by contaminated sources of seafood and beef. Work is underway to find better ways to dispose of these bulbs, and reduce the risk to wildlife and nature.

Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at Michigan Junk Yards. He writes about Salvage Yards in Michigan and other industry specific topics.

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RECYCLING CASE STUDY: Indiana Recycling and Environmental News

By Ronnie W Tanner

Indiana is perhaps best known for its rolling rural Midwestern landscapes and high prairie Middle American slowness of life. This image may actually be a bit stereotypical, with a large chunk of Chicago's suburbs (including Gary-a large urban area), as well as Indianapolis also here.

Still, Indiana's connection to the earth has made environmental concerns and recycling - including auto recycling and salvage - a growing feature of life in the Hoosier State. An update on the latest environmental and recycling news in Indiana follows.

Recycling Facility Gets Big Expansion

North Vernon, Indiana is a place you may not have heard of, but which is one of the epicenters of the growing environmental industry. Home to the world's largest recycling facility for plastic bags, owned by the largest manufacturer of the device loathed by environmentalists across the planet, its proprietor has announced plans to double capacity.

Hilex Poly aims to be the leader in recycled bag production with its North Vernon facility (which is one of the community's leading employers, now expected to hire more for the expansion). It has pioneered a program called Bag-2-Bag which reverses the distribution process, allowing grocery customers to return their bags to the store to be shipped back where they came from and sent to Indiana to make new bags. The company hopes to someday sell only bags recycled from old ones, a closed loop theory enticing to environmentalists.

Federal Funds Improve Environmental Infrastructure

Northwest Indiana is home to a federally protected lakeshore sand dune range beloved by those who frequent its recreational opportunities. With new funds appropriated by Congress for preservation and improvement of the infrastructure at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, those who have worked to protect the ecologically unique and precarious area are inspired for the future.

Also involved in the environmental appropriation was almost a million dollars for improvement of a water reclamation facility in Portage, Indiana. As population increases in this part of Indiana, the older facilities were being seriously tested and environmentalists feared contamination of waterways and drinking water. The funds will preclude this from happening while improving their biosolid disposal and reclamation technology.

Federal Report Outlines Indiana's Climate Change Impacts

Global warming has been linked, for the moment, to the production of carbon dioxide, creating an ecological challenge and potential doom. Indiana is not exempt from the costs and consequences of global climate change, and a new federal report detailed some of what the Hoosier State can expect over the coming years.

The biggest negative impact expected is increased flooding, as heavier rains and shorter, milder winters (milder for Indiana, of course) mean the kinds of destructive floods familiar in the Great Plains become even more devastating. Overall, however, the longer planting seasons and higher precipitation suggests Indiana's powerful agricultural sector could in fact benefit. Migratory birds once uncommon to Indiana have begun to roost there, emigrating from the more southern states they settled in decades ago. This same habitat shift could mean new invasive plant species however, limiting agriculture's gains.

Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at Indiana Junk Yards. He writes about Indiana Junk Yards and other industry specific topics.

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CASE STUDY: Florida's Progressive Environmental Programs

By Ronnie W Tanner

The Sunshine State has long been known for its progressive social and ecological programs. From the Super Fund clean up initiative to their ambitious attempts to preserve the Everglades, Florida has consistently been on the front lines of the battle to preserve natural habitats.

Given their history, it should come as no surprise that Florida recently became one of the first states to promote a new monofilament recycling program, designed to prevent fishing lines and lures from entering the estuaries and oceans. By setting up disposal containers on beaches and piers, the state of Florida has created a safe and secure disposal site for excess fishing line.

The effects of fishing line can be deadly, from choking out fish populations to ensnaring Ospreys and other members of the avian family. Since the inception of Florida's aggressive recycling program other states, such as Maryland, have instituted their own monofilament recycling programs. Fishing line is just one of the many things being recycled in Florida, a new Sunshine State program has made it possible to recycle tires with 100% efficiency.

A new Florida company, Florida Tire Recycling, Inc. (FTR) has created a process by which they can reclaim, reuse and recycle 100% of America's used waste tires. In an interview with FTR, the said tires were called one of America's greatest sustainable resources. FTR uses the tires to create rubberized pellets, which can be melted and molded into a multitude of uses, from tennis shoes to bath mats, and all with zero landfill waste. These pellets can also be used to create the next generation of tires, furthering the cycle of reducing use and reusing waste. Tires aren't the only things being recycled on America's biggest peninsula, Florida's latest program has shocked a lot of people.

While it may sound like a process not for the squeamish, recycling solid waste is actually a very sanitary and necessary process in civic planning and environmental protection. Currently, Florida recycles about 24% of its solid waste, with a majority of their recycling programs being single stream programs. Single stream recycling is innovative in the fact that it allows users to mix plastic, glass and cardboard all in the same bin, without the need to separate it. Many communities are still using facilities which can not handle single stream recycling processes, and still require that the residents separate their trash into the three categories themselves.

Truly, Florida has long been one of the most forward-thinking states in terms of the ecological and environmental programs that they institute in order to protect the world we live in. We've already seen how much can happen when a single state steps up and sets and example for the rest of them. Perhaps it's all that coastal territory, but one way or another, they are continually ahead of the curve in terms of environmental policy and will hopefully continue to set a positive example for the other 49 US states.

Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at Florida junk yards. He writes about Salvage Yards in Florida and other industry specific topics.

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SOLAR ENERGY: Low Cost Balloon Shaped Solar Design is Highly Efficient

By Michael A Edward

In doing research for this article I have run across some great green products but never one like this. Can you imagine getting electrical power from balloons? This is what Cool Earth out of Livermore, California has done when it designed the next generation of solar collectors. The basic concept hasn't changed; convert sunlight into electric power using solar cells, but the packaging has changed, and this is where balloon design is unique.

One side of the balloon is made from reflective silver Mylar plastic, while the other half is clear to let sunlight in. The silver material is parabola-shaped to concentrate the sunlight on to a single point. That point is the solar cell package that is placed on an arm at the precise point of maximum light concentration.

The balloon has a simple circular metal frame that is used to hold the Mylar in the proper shape. An arm extends from the ring to the top center of the orb. This holds the solar cells that produce the electricity. The cells are cooled by water to dissipate the heat concentrated on the solar cells.

The balloon's design will concentrate the sunlight 300 to 400 times better than traditional roof mounted solar panels. By design, this reduces the cost of each balloon and greatly increases electrical output per cubic inch of solar cell material. This means that cost of the electricity produced will be on par with current natural gas peaker power plants.

When operational the balloon will produce about 1kw of power. With the average house consuming around 3.5 kw it would only require a 20 sq ft area. But alas the company is only looking at producing this design for local utility companies and large business.

Some of the more daunting aspects of any of the green products I have looked at is cost. When researching renewable solar power it is amazing how simple this design is and how much cost reduction has been applied. If this product is ever mass produced the cost per watt will drop significantly and maybe to a level where its cost is on par with coal producing power plants.


Michael's website is dedicated to new green products, renewable energy and alternative energy sources. For more detailed information about the current article check out his HubPage at green products or for pictures of this unique design his website at going green.

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CONSERVATION: Award winning photographer Daniel Beltrá takes powerful new images of The Amazon

London, 23rd June 2009

Award winning photographer Daniel Beltrá takes powerful new images of The Amazon

First images taken on The Prince's Rainforest Project and Sony assignment show the rainforests' glory and destruction

Daniel Beltrá, this year's winner of The Prince's Rainforests Project (PRP) Award at the Sony World Photography Awards has released some initial photographs taken on the first leg of his prize - a fully-funded assignment to document the three major rainforest regions of the world.

The Spanish photographer, now based in Seattle, beat off stiff competition from some of the world's finest environmental photographers to win the assignment on behalf of The Prince's Rainforests Project and Sony Europe.

"Travelling to the Amazon has been an incredible experience and I have been able to capture some powerful images that show the many different elements of the rainforest – the beauty, the wildlife, the local people and also the destruction", says Daniel. "It is has been an eye-opening journey so far and I'm looking forward to photographing the Central African and South East Asian rainforests on the next parts of my trip. I hope the photos I produce will make a strongly persuasive argument for emergency action to preserve the world's tropical rainforests".

The PRP, founded by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, recognises that every year, destruction of the Earth's rainforests releases more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than all the world's cars, planes and ships put together and aims to achieve consensus about how the rate of deforestation might be slowed. The PRP is working with governments, businesses and non-profit organisations around the world to find solutions to deforestation - and to find them fast - with the ambition of 'making the trees worth more alive than dead'. The project has also launched a global awareness campaign, asking people to sign up at put rainforests at the heart of the climate change debate.

Environmental responsibility has been a significant part of the Sony ethos for many years and the PRP partnership is just one of Sony's many environmental initiatives. Sony Chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer recently filmed a video with the PRP animated frog in support of the partnership which can be seen on the PRP website.

Sony and the PRP are delivering a stunning interactive exhibition that will combine Daniel's new photographs with Sony technology to allow people to experience the glory of the rainforests and understand their plight. The exhibition will open at Kew Gardens, London on October 3rd 2009.

Media contact

Claire Mylchreest, Corporate Communications, Sony Europe
Tel: +44 1932 81 6000/ email:

Kim Shaw, Cake
Tel: +44 7791 717 720/ email:

Further information

• Daniel Beltrá is available for interview and images from his current PRP assignment are available through the PRP and Sony, contact details below.

• About Daniel Beltrá
Beltrá is the winner of numerous awards. Last year, he won awards in the NPPA Best of Photojournalism and the International Photography/Lucie contests. He is a fellow of the prestigious International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). His Amazon work was awarded in the China International Press Photo contest in 2006 and the World Press Photo in 2006 and 2007. That same year, along with Sir David Attenborough, he received a Special Nomination from The International Forum on the Drought in Seville (Spain) for his dedication to the environment.

• The Prince's Rainforests Project
The Prince's Rainforests Project (PRP) was established in October 2007 by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and aims to achieve consensus as to how the rate of deforestation might be slowed and stopped. The PRP intend to leverage the convening power of HRH The Prince of Wales and work alongside governments, international businesses, non-profit organisations and the rainforests nations themselves to find a solution to mass deforestation and degradation of the rainforests, and make the trees worth more alive than they are dead.

If you're interested in finding out more about the PRP or to register your support to combat climate change through halting deforestation, please log-on to:

• About Sony
Sony manufactures audio, video, communications and information technology products for the global consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, game and online businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be one of the world's leading digital entertainment brands. Sony recorded consolidated global annual sales of EUR 54.4billion (yen 7,730 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009, based on an average market exchange rate for the same period of yen 142.0 to the EUR. It employs approximately 171,300 people worldwide. In Europe, the Sony Group recorded consolidated annual sales of EUR 14.0 billion (yen 1,987.7 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009.

• For more information about Sony's environmental initiatives go to

Saturday, July 25, 2009

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: A Healthy Place to Live - The Role of Energy

By J Mahoney

Health and Indoor Conditions

If a home is energy efficient it will be a healthier place to live in too. The fact is your home energy is utilized mainly for maintaining a comfortable environment where the temperature, humidity, and air quality is well regulated. Energy also provides a drive force for a hygienic modern life style where every device and appliance used makes use of energy for achieving the desired output.

If energy is used almost in every aspect of running the home unless it is managed properly your hard earnings will simply seep out of your house.

Comfort conditions

Irrespective of the geographical location of your country, the nationality you belong to, your race or physical features all human beings experience comfort within a narrow band of environmental parameters. Personal factors (e.g. health), air temperature, mean radian temperature, air movement and velocity, relative humidity, clothing and activity level all influence human sense of comfort.

Studies have shown humans feel comfortable only within:

  • The temperature range of 23.5 to 25.5 0 C at an air velocity of 0.18m/s in the summer and 21% to 23% 0 C at an air velocity of 0.15 m/s in the winter.
  • Humidity range of 30% to 60%

In extreme conditions complications such as hypothermia, frost bite may result in lost limb or even death. Similarly extreme high temperature may lead to dehydration and heart malfunction leading even to death. Low humidity may cause dehydration and high humidity will cause lack of body heat transfer which too may be fatal in extreme cases. A lack of concentration, drop in efficiency etc is characteristic of high body temperatures.

Indoor Comfort Environment

Only heating or air conditioning accompanied by humidification or dehumidification can maintain the required indoor comfort conditions. Heating constitute about 60% of your annual energy bill while air conditioning (which uses electrical energy only) share too is about the same.

Indoor Air Quality

In home health issues indoor air quality (IAQ) plays a very big part. Today more than ever people are concerned about their health. Home or indoors are where you spend most of the time of the day and what you breathe in if not clean will lead to numerous health problems.

Unlike in the past the thickly populated urban regions with its smog, chemical fumes, smoke, dust, pollen, microbes, toxic gas emissions etc makes indoor as well as outdoor a very unsafe environment. While we cannot do much with regard to outdoor air quality as individuals, indoor quality is entirely within our purview when it comes to pollution control. Ironically it has been observed that indoor air of buildings is many times more polluted than the outdoors.

The way to tackle this issue is better ventilation (or dilution) with less polluted outdoor air using forced air circulation. Air movement and velocity will depend on the design of the ventilation system. Obviously when you want fresh air to come in, part of the air within the house has to be forced out. Along with the air expelled thermal energy used to heat the indoors (in colder seasons) or cool the indoors (in hot seasons) is lost.

While the use of heat recovery or enthalpy recovery ventilators addresses this problem well inevitably a minute amount of energy too is wasted. To filter out particulate pollutants and odors the ventilation system need to incorporate High Efficiency (HEPA) Filters and activated carbon filters (which too increase the energy consumed).

In conclusion a healthier place to live in is energy efficient homes i.e. a home where energy is managed better. Optimizing energy usage and minimizing wastage therefore must precede all other actions.

John Mahoney is a freelance author who writes about various Renewable Energy through topics including Energy-Efficient-Homes. For more info contact

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GREEN LIVING: Container Homes Are Ecological & Sustainable

By Dave A Lee

Have you ever considered looking into shipping container homes? If the answer is yes, then you are in for a real surprise. For starters, shipping container homes are the most environmentally stable and sound form of home development on the market today.

Using only a tiny percentage of the typical materials to build most standard homes, costs and labor to actually create one of these is astounding compared to constant price increases of your average house today.

The overall structural strength of a shipping container allows the builder to develop multi-story dwellings, offering a larger living space without expanding its footprint. The heavy corrugated steel framing allows the unit to withstand 65,000 lbs of stacked weight.

It has been estimated that 86% of the materials used to build a shipping container home have been recycled. Also, the main foundation design is not as expensive and uses a fraction of material which is much quicker to assemble.

If you are concerned about the transportation infrastructure of these containers, no need to worry because it already exists, so the container homes can be easily moved by train, ship or truck, thus reducing major transport time.

Everything needed to complete the final product is delivered in one trip. An investment is already made by not having to pay extra money for several deliveries and separate construction materials.

Many people today have explored the possibility of getting a shipping container home. With a little research on the internet, you will be amazed at what is available today. The cost of regular constructed houses are sky rocketing as we speak. Even the materials being used are getting cheaper and seem to not last as long as they once did in the past. With the money you can save by investing into a container home, a bright future is in store for you.

Anyone who would like more information on shipping container homes, please visit my site below.

Container Homes

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RECYCLING: Recycling Glass Bottles and Jars

By Patrick J Hills

Disposing of glass bottles and jars in your home recycling bins that are specially meant for collecting glass is very important when the waste material is taken to recycling center. Items such as Stackable recycling bins help in sorting the waste material efficiently and reducing time spent in recycling.

Most curbside recycling bins and rollout carts are tough enough for the glass items. Glass bottles and jars accounts to 30% of the total waste and disposing them properly not only contributes in recycling but also helps to save energy.

Glass comes in three different colors: colorless, green and amber (brown); all of them are made differently and so cannot be recycled together. Metals, corks, plastics, ceramics, papers when mixed with glass cannot only result in substandard glass but can also cause damage to the furnace used to melt the glass mixture. Trying to recycle them together can lead to contamination and reduction in quality of the glass.

Almost every product made of glass i.e. glass containers, jars, medicine bottles, glass food containers are good for recycling. However mirrors, window glass, light bulb, glass table ware and products where glass is blended with other non-glass materials should not be recycled.

Tips to effectively dispose glass bottles and jars:

• Always make sure that the glass bottles and jars you want to be recycled are clean; if not, rinse them properly, only when they are clean, they should be deposited in the recycle bins. This will save potential contamination in the future.
• Make sure that you have taken all labels off the glass bottles and jars. One good idea is to soak them overnight, the next day the labels can be peeled off easily.
• In case of bottles, make sure that all non-glass parts are taken off, such as metal, plastic or cork cap, and metal strip around the bottle neck; the aim is to put only glass in the recycle bin.
• The next step would be to segregate the glass products according to their colors: colorless, amber and green. You are now ready to dispose them, make sure that you put them in their respective containers.

Glass waste is generated everywhere - homes, offices, hotels, and public places etc. There are various bins that are suitable for disposing glass. To help users dispose glass waste in the correct recycling bin, decals indicating "Glass Only" can be used on them. You can find high quality recycling containers for all kinds of waste at discounted rates.

For more tips and information about home recycling bins, check out:

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WASTE: Food Industry - Effective Waste Management

By Patrick J Hills

Hotels and restaurants produce a large amount of recyclable waste material. They also require more specialized waste containers and rollout carts. The most common type of waste includes organic waste (prepared food and its ingredients), plastic, glass, metal, paper and cardboard which can be managed using a variety of Rubbermaid Waste receptacles and other Outdoor Containers.

With proper planning these can be reduced and recycled to a large extent, which can help in saving precious natural resources and also saving energy spent in manufacturing new products. Proper planning can also help in effective disposal of waste material that cannot be recycled. The wastage can be reduced in a great amount by reducing, reusing, and recycling. This article discusses some most effective ways for waste management in food industry:

Ideas to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

1. Replace utensils, dishes made of disposable materials with reusable ones. Reusable items prove economical in the long run as these can be used repeatedly after cleaning and this reduces the garbage expenses.
2. Use reusable napkins, tablecloths instead of disposable ones.
3. Buy large containers rather than buying many small ones. This will not only save money but also reduce container waste.
4. If you see a pattern in food being left over by customers, contemplate smaller servings. If required change the cost accordingly, a lower cost will make you more competitive, also less food will be wasted.
5. Ask your suppliers to provide products which are packaged in recyclable materials.
6. Buy concentrated liquids and soaps and then distill them at your end rather than buying pre-distilled ready-to-use solutions. You will not only save money but will also reduce container wastage.

Features of a successful recycling program

1. Educating your employees about the advantages of reusing and recycling is of paramount importance. Complete participation from the employees can help in making your recycling program a success.
2. Make sure that recycling and trash bins look different and are clearly marked with recycling decals.
3. The recycling bins should be placed at convenient locations where everyone can reach them. This goes for bins placed in the cooking area as well as bins placed in the customer area.
4. Inform the customers about the recycling program in your premises. This will also help in enhancing your image and also encourage participation from the customers for recycling waste materials.

Top recycling-bins manufacturing companies like Rubbermaid, Waste Warrior, Ecolad, United Receptacles, Techstar, Witt and Safco have manufactured several bins having the food industry's recycling needs in mind. Some most popular bins for employees are Stackable Recycling Containers and Rollout Carts. The most popular bins for customer area are Recycling Container for Aluminum Cans and Designer and Steel Containers, you will find a wide variety of recycling bins to meet you hotel's or restaurant's needs.

For more tips and information about waste containers, check out:

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RECYCLING: Recycling Buildings and Homes - How is it Done?

By Thomas P Smith

Most people have seen videos or live demonstrations of buildings being demolished via wrecking balls or implosion. Straight demolition can happen quickly and efficiently. However, most if not all of the old building materials are taken directly to a landfill. An alternative is building recycling.

Building recycling refers to the dismantlement of a building or home. But, instead of taking the materials to a landfill, items are systematically removed and inventoried. These recycled building materials are then sold to other builders or stored for future use. It is important to mention that the building materials must be kept dry during this phase unless they are for exterior use.

Recycling a building is usually separated into two distinct categories. These include separating the materials into structural and non-structural. The first group, non-structural, consists of doors, windows, cabinets, appliances, and flooring. These items are removed first.

The second category, structural, consists of lumber, concrete, and exterior coverings such as stone, brick, and siding. Once the non-structural materials have been removed, the building is dismantled from the roof down in an effort to preserve as many of the structural components as possible.

A third category worth noting includes piping, duct work, and wiring. Though technically non-structural in nature, removing these materials often disrupts some of the structural components of a building. They are often removed during the structural deconstruction phase.

Building recycling involves a systematic approach to demolition. It also makes use of old materials which, in turn, reduces the energy consumption and emissions produced from manufacturing. Another great benefit is the reduction of materials sent to landfills. Recycling homes and buildings is a great way to contribute to the sustainability of our planet.

Thomas Smith writes about environmental topics including building recycling at his blog Sustainable Planet Today. Visit to learn how you can make your life more sustainable while helping our planet.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: How Do Smart Grids Help the Environment?

By Barret Hudson

Smart grid technologies are viewed by many as the way forward for green energy, but what exactly are smart grid technologies and what do they have to do with solving the environmental problems we face?

It turns out smart grid is a term that covers a wide range of concepts and technologies that all combine to help modernize our power system. The main focus of smart grids is to increase the level of information and interaction between different sections of the power grid. This communication allows for a more efficient running of our power system and can lead to big changes in the future.

By increasing the level of information available to the people managing the power grid we can more efficiently adjust to meet peak demand. This is the first major environmental improvement that we could see from smart grids. Currently peak demand is met by running what are known as "peaker" plants. These are typically older coal fired power plants that only run to help meet peak demand.

By more efficiently controlling our power grid through better monitoring we could decrease and possibly get rid of the need for these dirty power plants. However, new technologies must be implemented to allow for the monitoring and control of power to manage this peak demand.

In addition to helping cut down on our environmental impact, decreasing the need for "peaker" plants will help decrease the cost of energy because we will no longer be paying to maintain power plants we only use occasionally. These same smart grid monitoring technologies will also allow grid managers to better respond to system overloads and route excess power to prevent outages thereby minimizing economic loss due to power outage.

Another goal of smart grid technologies is to increase the efficiency of cross continental power transfers through the grid. This will be a major step forward for renewable power sources, helping to alleviate some of the downside of intermittent production. Being able to effectively move power generated anywhere around the country we can have wide spread production of renewable energy insuring that some portion of it is always online.

As it currently stands wind generation needs to be backed up by more traditional forms of generation incase the wind stops, however by dispersing our wind generation across the continent we decrease the risk that we will completely lose production. Along with this comes a greater possibility for a decentralization of power production, allowing for smaller wind turbines and solar arrays to plug into the grid and share the power they create.

There are also more consumer oriented ideas under the canopy of smart grid technologies. One which is already being implemented is the use of smart meters. Smart meters allow of dynamic pricing of energy based on current levels of demand. By increasing the price in real time as demand increases we can help smooth out our power demand curve, which will help further alleviate the strain put on the grid during peak demand periods.

Along with smart meters people are also developing smart appliances that monitor the demand on the grid and run when there is the most power available. This would include things like dishwashers and clothes driers that you could set to run overnight, but instead of setting an exact time, you would just tell them to run when the price of energy drops below a certain threshold. These consumer smart grid technologies will help consumers play an active role in power grid management instead of the current passive role they play now. Higher involvement with the community allows everyone to pitch in and do their part to help solve the current environmental problems, but it can't happen without smart gird technologies.

The final aspect that smart grid proponents talk about is something that is already widely available to consumers but not taken advantage. I am referring to energy efficiency improvements. If everyone in the country did the most to make their homes as energy efficient as possible we could dramatically decrease the strain we put on the grid.

By reducing our demand for power from the grid we would make it easier to transfer to renewable energy sources and manage our peak demand. While there are already many options available for improving home energy efficiency the goal of smart grid technologies is to increase awareness of these options and give people a reason to seek out problems and make improvements in their home energy efficiency.

This only covers the very basics of smart grid technologies as they apply to a wide range of topics. The overall idea of smart grid technologies though is clear; to increase efficiency and intelligence in the power system as a whole. Achieving these goals will make it easier to integrate renewable energy sources into our power system, deal with peak demand, prevent outages and build a more resilient power grid. So while smart grid technologies in and of themselves may not be considered green technology they will aid in allowing a speedy adoption of green production and thereby help reduce the production of Co2 and other pollutants.

About the Author: Barret Hudson is a representative of Green Collar Operations, a home weatherization company in Austin, TX specializing in performing energy efficiency improvements. Learn how to cut your energy bills by up to half at

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ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: Forget Biodiesel, I Run My Truck on Waste Vegetable Oil

By Leon Griffin

In a time when oil supplies are beginning to be depleted, the need to have alternate or renewable fuel sources is beginning to have an effect on the kinds of cars being offered for sale to the public. There are very few in the public today who have not heard the terms "biodiesel fuel" or "waste vegetable oil" in regards to renewable energy sources that are currently being researched to try and find answers to the shrinking supplies of petroleum-based fuels.

Technically speaking, waste vegetable oil is a biodiesel fuel because biodiesel fuels are any fuels that are derived from vegetable oils or animal fats that run a "diesel" or compression ignition engine. The term Biodiesel is currently used almost exclusively for the product made by combining chemically-reacting lipids like vegetable oil or animal tallow and alcohol.

One important difference between biodiesel and waste vegetable oil is that biodiesel is formulated to be used alone or with petrodiesal blends in "standard" diesel engines and is different from the new vegetable and waste oils which are used to power diesel engines that must be converted specifically to do so.

To produce biodiesel fuels, the oils must undergo a process known as "alcoholysis" (sometimes called "transesterification"). In this process vegetable oils have the fatty acids separated from the glycerol components using ethanol (and sometimes methanol) to replace the glycerol with specific types of alcohols known as short linear alcohols. In its purest form, biodiesel has the designation (B100) or it can be blended with petroleum diesel at any concentration for use in most modern diesel engines.

Because of the different solvent properties that biodiesel has versus petrodiesel, biodiesel will cause damage to natural rubber gaskets and hoses in vehicles made prior to 1992. For this reason, these parts in older cars must be replaced with a kind which is nonreactive to biodiesel.

An unexpected plus is that biodiesel has been known to break down and clear out deposits of residue left in fuel lines where petrodiesel has been used before. Fuel filters in the engine might become clogged with particulate matter as a result, especially if a quick switch to pure biodiesel is made. Mechanical experts recommend that the fuel filters on engines and heaters be changed not long after first switching to a biodiesel fuel blend.

Additional advantages to the use of biodiesel fuels include the fact that water will not mix with it; biodiesel has a higher boiling point and flash point of (less than 266 ° F for biodiesel as compared to 147 °F for petroleum-based diesel or -52 °F for gasoline. It has practically no sulfur content and is often used as an additive for Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel.

Waste vegetable oil (WVO), unlike pure plant oil (PPO) or straight vegetable oil (SVO) is a byproduct of other industries such as the deep fryers used in industrial potato processing plants, factories that produce snack foods and fast food restaurants.

A majority of the enthusiasts who use it prefer to call the vegetable oil used for fuel as waste vegetable oil (WVO), particularly if it is the discarded oil recycled from a restaurant to better distinguish it from pure plant oil (PPO) or straight vegetable oil (SVO) commonly thought of as standard biodiesel.

As of 2000, industry experts estimate that the United States was producing an amount in excess of 11 billion liters or 2.9 billion U.S. gallons. If this entire amount could be gathered up and used, it could be used to replace the equivalent amount of fossil-based petroleum, totaling almost 1% of the oil consumption in the US.

The only theoretical drawback here is that the production of waste vegetable oil is limited by the amount that the industries can make as a byproduct versus pure or straight vegetable oil which is limited only by the farm production capacity of any given national economy.

Like the straight vegetable oil used as an alternative fuel for diesel engines, the viscosity of waste vegetable oil must be lowered so the proper atomization of fuel will prevent the incomplete combustion of the oil and the build-up of carbon that can ultimately damage the engine.

Additionally, the free fatty acids (FFAs) found in WVO can have an adverse effect on metals. Copper and the alloys derived from it, like brass, are affected. Zinc and Metals like zinc, or those galvanized by zinc-plating are stripped by FFAs. In addition, tin, lead, iron, and steel are all susceptible, too. Stainless steel and aluminum are the only metals that seem to be immune to the effects of FFAs.

Ideally the engine on a car should be converted before using vegetable oil as a fuel. Most diesel car engines can use WVO, if fit with suitable modifications. One common solution is to reduce the viscosity and surface tension of the oil by preheating it, by the addition of a heat exchanger, and an additional fuel tank for "normal" diesel fuel (petrodiesel or biodiesel). It will contain valves to switch between this additional tank and the main tank which contains the vegetable oil. This tank and valve system is an aftermarket modification which costs around $1200 USD.

The engine is initially turned on with diesel, switched over to the vegetable oil when it is warmed up and changed back to diesel fuel shortly before turning it off to make sure that no vegetable oil remains in the engine or fuel lines so that it is read you start when it is cold again. For durability that is more long term, it has been discovered that it is best to increase the frequency of oil changes and to pay increased attention to engine maintenance, particularly when it comes to the fuel injectors, cooling system and glow plugs.

Although initially a little more expensive, as you can see, there are several advantages to using biodiesel or waste vegetable oil as fuels for vehicles. In addition to being a renewable resource, unlike fossil-based petroleum, these fuels also release fewer pollutants into the atmosphere which can worsen global warming.

Leon Griffin

Engineer Entrepreneur owns WVO Designs; a company helping people to convert vehicles to run on vegetable oil. In addition to providing a community forum to share designs; the company provides equipment for vehicle conversion, collection and processing of waste oils.

Check out and learn more about WVO.

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POLLUTION: Marine Debris

By Kimberly C. Smith

Ever since the introduction of plastics into our world, we have become a throwaway society bent on convenience with a propensity toward carelessness. All plastic that has ever been produced is still with us in some form. Proper disposal is extremely important, as less than 5% of plastic is recycled.

Marine debris is trash (typically plastic) that somehow ends up floating in the ocean, where it spreads toxins and kills marine life. Most of this debris is man-made and slow to degrade, such as cigarette butts, soda cans, plastic bags, and fishing gear. We are [(un)intentionally] turning the oceans into dumping grounds.

This marine rubbish is having a devastating effect on marine species worldwide. Birds and marine mammals either ingest it (mostly plastic caps and bits mistaken for food) or become entangled in lost fishing nets, plastic rings and other debris. Ingested plastic either blocks the digestive track (the fish or animal starves) or is unwittingly passed to the young.

Lost or discarded fishing nets keep on fishing. Nets and traps that have been abandoned or discarded continue to ensnare marine life, which eventually starve or suffocate. What a waste!

The largest concentration of marine debris is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. You can find many videos of this phenomenon on YouTube. Also look for a video from the NOAA Marine Debris Program that shows exactly what marine debris is, how it affects the ocean, and why it's important that everyone do their part to get rid of it.

Marine debris is a worldwide problem that will take all of us laboring together to solve. Everyone benefits when we all work toward sustainable, healthy oceans.

Kimberly C. Smith is an aspiring writer with a different perspective. Visit to browse a variety of interesting topics. Join this growing community FREE by clicking

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RECYCLING: What Are Governments Around the World Doing to Encourage Reusable Bag Use?

By David Kraft

As awareness increases worldwide of the problems posed by the use of plastic bags, local and national governments are beginning to take steps toward eliminating their use. Some have instituted taxes on plastic bags, and some have even banned them altogether.

Countries that have begun to institute policies which discourage or eliminate the use of disposable bags include the western nations of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Australia and the United States; eastern countries such as China, Bhutan, India, Taiwan, Bangladesh and Singapore; and the African nations of Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, Somaliland, Rwanda and South Africa.

Shoppers around the world are now carrying reusable shopping bags, and savvy store owners have gotten in on the action by selling their own branded reusable bags next to the checkouts.

An innovative program in Ireland called the "PlasTax" taxes shoppers who opt for plastic bags, and it has resulted in a whopping 90% decrease in the use of plastic bags since the program began in 2002. Translated into units, this equals 1 billion fewer plastic bags put into circulation each year. Under the program, the money collected by taxing the plastic bags even serves a green purpose: funding environmental initiatives. The PlasTax has been so successful that other governments have followed suit, making the use of reusable shopping bags the norm and plastic bags the exception.

In some countries, laws regulating the thickness of bags have been put in place, such as in China. In order to combat litter and petroleum waste, that country's state council banned the use of bags thinner than 24/1000th of a millimeter. The Chinese government also requires that retailers charge for thicker bags. In the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, all polyethylene bags are outlawed in both their production and use, and those caught carrying them could be imprisoned for up to seven years or given a fine of $2000. In 2003, Indian politicians proclaimed that the bags interfere with the health of the soil and create unsightly litter. Outright bans have also been favored in Paris, San Francisco, England, Australia, Singapore and Bangladesh.

San Francisco's recent ban on plastic bags prohibits large grocery stores and chain pharmacies from using plastic shopping bags. Paper bags and biodegradable bags have taken their place, and the use of reusable bags is encouraged. Other cities considering bans include Austin, Annapolis, Bakersfield, Boston, New Haven, and Phoenix.

While some see these bans as positive in that overall pollution is reduced by keeping non-biodegradable waste out of the environment and CO2 emissions from their production out of the air, others argue that the bans do not significantly affect the amount of disposable bags in use, be they paper bags or compostable ones, both of which have their environmental downsides. It is important to understand that San Francisco's ban, while it is a start, is really only a partial ban. Thousands of small businesses will continue to be allowed to distribute plastic bags of any sort. All in all, consumers themselves have the most power to effect a change by simply shopping with their own reusable bags.

David Kraft is a freelance author that writes about a variety of subjects. He supports eco-friendly living and green products such as reusable bags. For more information about eco-friendly living, visit his reusable grocery bags site.

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CASE STUDY: About ISO 14001

By Katherine Bells

The ISO 14001 aims to reduce the environmental footprints that many businesses leave behind today because of not taking the right steps to be environmental sustainable. This standard promotes the decrease in the waste of necessary business resources and also reduces the pollution that can sometimes be a by product of a business.

About ISO 14001

The most updated version of the ISO 14001 was released in the year 2004 by the International Organisation of Standardization (ISO), which was attended by members from all the committees from around the world. In order for a company to be awarded the ISO 14001 standard certificate, an external auditor has to audit the company by an audit body that has been accredited by an accreditation body.

The certification auditors are required to be accredited by the International Registrar of Certification Auditor and the certification body has to be accredited by the Registrar Accreditation Board in the USA or by the National Accreditation Board in Ireland.

The structure of ISO 14001 is very much like the ISO 9000, which is management standard, so these two standards can be implemented side by side to achieve the best results. As a part of the ISO 14000 family, which deals with different aspects of environmental issues, ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 14002 deal with environmental management system (EMS). ISO 14001 gives the requirements for the EMS and ISO 14002 gives the basic guidelines for EMS.

Environmental Management System with ISO 14001:2004

The EMS, as per the requirements of the ISO 14001, enables the company, may it be of any size, location and income to:

• It helps the company improve its environmental strategy and this positively affects their environmental performance.

• It helps in identifying and controlling the environmental impact that the activities, services or products of the company might have.

• And it helps in carrying out a systematic approach to set environmental targets and objectives, to achieve these and also to demonstrate that they have been achieved.

How does it work?

ISO 14001 does not specify or chalk out a definite level that each business has to reach. If the performance was determined, then it would have to be done for every specific business. But that is not how it works and has a very different approach, like:

• The ISO has various standards dealing with environmental issues. ISO 14001 deals with a framework provided for a strategic and holistic approach to the businesses environmental policy, actions and plans.

• It gives the general requirements for the EMS.

• This also states the reference to the communication requirements for the communication of the environmental management issues between the company, stakeholders, the public and the regulators.

• As these standards are not company specific, any and every business can undertake them as long as they are dedicated to the continued and improved environmental performance and they have a commitment to comply with the set norms.

If you are looking to get your company ISO 14001:2004 certified and reduce your carbon footprints, then you can contact Enviroaction. For more information about the company and its services, please check out their website at

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WASTE: Environmental Issues - Industrial Wastewater Treatment

By Lamika Zuberi

With the world getting so over populated, we are always looking towards inventing some new procedures for cleaning and protecting our environment. The soil, water and air that compose our environment have to be purified to protect our health from harmful elements that can attack our immune system and make us sick. Several diseases and health conditions can be prevented by simply keeping our soil, water and air clean. Several NGO's and environmental agencies are working towards making this earth a better place to live in.

Rivers are a source of water and hardly any river these days has pure water to offer. Throughout the world, factories and mills pollute the rivers by dumping waste chemicals there. Water that is contaminated causes serious damage to human health. In Africa and other third world countries, hundreds and thousands of people die each year due to drinking contaminated water. These countries are poor and their governments cannot afford to purify water for prevention of death from diseases such as gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella enteritidis. Simple water treatments plants can solve this problem easily.

Most waste water is also treatable using water treatment plants to make this water re-useable. Large factories that produce loads of waste-water can recycle the water through the waste-water treatment plant. This way these factories help keep the environment clean and healthy and also re-use water. There are various water treatment solutions available that you can even evaluate online and before you make a decision, check to ensure that it meets your requirements.

Waste-to-energy treatment, Veolia, Biothane, World Water Works and Crown Solutions:

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GREEN LIVING: Eco Friendly - A Lifestyle, Not a Hobby

By Anne Clarke

Being eco friendly is more than just changing your light bulbs and buying a new car, or even installing solar panels. While it can include those things, it doesn't have to. Moreover, it encompasses a more fundamental shift in mindset than can be accomplished with minor tweaks like that. Eco friendly is about being mindful of the impact all your actions have on the earth.

A perfect example of this can be found in a simple trip to the grocery store. A man, we'll call him Mike, buys a new Prius. It gets great gas mileage, so he must be eco friendly right? Maybe... but we'll have more on that later. Mike gets in his new Prius and drives three blocks to the grocery store. While there, he buys a box of cereal, some pre-packaged chicken from the butcher block, and a bag of frozen vegetables. He checks out, collects the bags, and drives home.

So, what did Mike do wrong? We will start with the drive. It's unnecessary to drive a vehicle three blocks unless you live in Anchorage and it's the middle of winter. No matter how efficient the gas mileage on your car is, you don't need it to drive that kind of distance, walking is far better for the environment. Barring that, most public transportation systems are still a better option than even the most efficient car.

Next we'll look at the things Mike bought at the store. A box of cereal contains not one, but two packages, one of which, plastic, is made as a derivative of fossil fuels. Mike should have bought the bulk cereal, you know; the stuff that only has one package? If Mike did that, he'd be lessening his impact on the earth. Same deal with his pre-packaged chicken. If Mike were to get chicken from the butcher instead of off the shelf, his chicken would be packaged in a paper wrapper, instead of Styrofoam and plastic. Not only is paper a renewable resource; but Styrofoam takes centuries to fully break down in a land fill. That works out to a double negative!

Lastly we come to the frozen vegetables; there's a laundry list for these too. Frozen vegetables had to be factory processed and cut to size by industrial machinery. They were then flash frozen and packaged... in plastic. A fresh vegetable cuts out the energy costs of freezing and processing the vegetables, and the packaging is much lighter than the frozen variety. And then there was the checkout! Mike collected his bags rather than bringing reusable bags with him to the store; wasting yet more plastic, or paper. Either way, the list of things Mike, an ostentatiously environmentally conscious person, did that were not eco friendly is long and sordid.

If you truly want to become an environmentally conscious person, you need to do more than the flashy, noticeable things right. You need to do the little things that most people will never notice correctly. After all, this isn't about you, it's not about making sure everyone knows how good of a person you are. This is about the earth; and doing what is right for the earth as someone dependant on its resources for life.

Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for Web sites on gardening, parenting, fashion, and home decor. Her background also includes teaching, gardening, and fashion. For more of her useful articles on going green, please visit Eco Friendly, an organization dedicated to furthering the green revolution.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

GREEN LIVING: Advice For Environmentalists

PollutionImage by Carlo Nicora via Flickr

Advice For Environmentalists by Chuck R Stewart

If you're like many people in a growing percentage of Americans who are becoming more aware of the consequences that their actions have on the environment and are wanting to do something besides switching your plastic carryout bags for paper bags and paper sacks, then you will be glad to know that there are many other things you can do to initiate change and to make mankind's interaction with the environment more friendly.

This article gives many tips on how you can change your actions and change the way you live so that you will not harm the environment as much as you have been already.

We all know that cars are one of the worst things for the environment, so many people are wondering what they can do to reduce the bad effects that their car has on the environment, and of course one of the easiest things you can do is to avoid driving whenever possible, which you can do by taking a different means of transportation like the subway or a bike, and also try to keep your trips closer to home.

You can be more efficient with the gas you use to fuel your car and decrease emissions by driving 55 miles per hour instead of 70 miles per hour, and making sure that your tires are inflated and that you drive slowly and do not accelerate too quickly can make a difference when you're concerned about the environment or even just your own gas consumption.

A big environmental concern is the great distances that our foods travel over before they reach us in our super markets and grocery stores, as this process creates extra pollution that is unnecessary and can really be easily avoided in many cases.

If you make an effort to buy your food from local sources like from farmers markets, or a community garden, you will be helping the environment by reducing the pollution generated by shipping masses of produce all over the country, but you will also be preserving the great nutrients and the delicious flavors of the food you are buying because those are lost many times in the long transit from their origin to where you live.

Packaging is another huge source of pollution in the United States and accounts for as much as a third of the garbage we throw away every year, so if we stop buying things that have a lot or excessive packaging, stop buying single servings of items and try to buy things in bulk we can reduce a lot of the waste that is produced by packaging.

Fast food and any take out that we might purchase means that there is just that much more pollution that we are creating, and if we buy fresh foods and cook everything at home then we will be saving a lot of pollution. Another thing you can do to reduce packaging to reduce the amounts of things you buy a lot of when they are available in concentrated forms like cleaning supplies for kitchens, dishes, clothes, as well as other things.

Chuck R Stewart recently purchased several cases of carryout & paper bags for his restaurant.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

POLLUTION: Agricultural Crop Dusting - Effects on Humans, Animals and the Environment‏

A crop duster over an Illinois soybean fieldImage via Wikipedia

by Debbie Davis

Agricult- ural crop dusting has become a cost effective and accepted way to eliminate pests from crops. Many people who live near farms have come to accept it as a part of their lives.

Great care is taken to spray the designated fields, but an unexpected gust of wind, a sudden change in wind direction, or a miscalculation can leave you in the middle of a cloud of chemical dust.

What are the effects of crop dusting on the health of people, pets, and the earth? There is still great debate on the subject. Those who are a part of the industry say that if the dusting is properly done, there are very few health threats that can be linked to it.

Others who live nearby have reported dead fish floating in nearby streams and rivers, many people have reported increased respiratory problems, and others attribute the death of loved ones due to exposure to these chemicals.

So who is right? Research continues to be done to determine if these chemicals are really at the root of many of the occurrences that people report, but there seems to be no definitive answer that all can agree on.

There is a way to take matters into your own hands rather than wait for conclusive results from research. If you are sensitive to the chemicals, or just want to insure that you and your family are breathing the cleanest air possible you do have options.

Even though you may not be able to control the air quality outside, or prevent crop dusting, you can control your indoor air by eliminating chemical dust from your home or office with a high efficiency particle arresting (or HEPA) air purifier that has a filter specifically designed to remove airborne chemicals.

HEPA technology is the same filtration method used in hospitals, and by definition is designed to eliminate 99.97% of particulates down to .3 microns. This means that for every 10,000 particles in the air, 9,997 of them will be eliminated.

And since you never know when the pesticides will be sprayed, having a cleaner that can operate 24 hours a day every day is a must. 24 hour filtration gives you and your family the best chance of breathing clean air all the time, regardless of what's going on outside.

As the debate continues about whether these pesticides are harmful, if you are unwilling to take a chance with your health by breathing this dust that is nearly impossible to avoid, other than selling your home and moving far away, HEPA filtration is your best chance at keeping your air quality as fresh, clean, and healthy as it can be.

An excellent HEPA air purifier to remove indoor airborne chemicals that come into your home from crop dusting is offered by the HealthMate Plus Air Purifier. See it now at
Debbie Davis, President,

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

CONSERVATION CASE STUDY - Hoedspruit Cheetah Project and the Endangered King Cheetah

A King Cheetah (merely a colour mutation of th...Image of King Cheetah via Wikipedia

Hoedspruit Cheetah Project and the Endangered King Cheetah by Mark Bottell

Conser- vation volunteers regularly flock to Hoedspruit Cheetah Project to help with the rehabilitation of these big cats. But whilst many people have heard all about cheetahs few people have heard of the enigmatic king cheetah. But with so few sightings in the wild who can blame them?

The king cheetah was first spotted in Zimbabwe in 1926 where it was considered to be an entirely different animal to the standard cheetah. However, although the king cheetahs may look a little different from the other cheetahs that you may spot at the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project in truth they are exactly the same animal.

The most notable difference between the two leopards is their distinct coat pattern which features three stripes along its back. It was later discovered that these distinctive stripes were actually the result of a rare form of genetic mutation. King cheetahs must hold a recessive gene from both their parents which explains why the condition is so rare.

Although the condition may be rare, staff at the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project have been successful in breeding these exotic cats. This is an important exercise as it expands the gene pool of the species. Conservation volunteers at Hoedspruit Cheetah Project often see first hand the effects of inbreeding, and with so few cheetahs left in the wild the young are often born with crooked teeth and bent tails which shows how important it is to ensure that that the gene pool is successfully expanded to include rare sub-species of cheetah such as the king.

Conservation volunteers at the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project are guaranteed plenty of hands-on experience with a particular emphasis on the breeding and maintenance of cheetahs in captivity. Twice a week conservation volunteers will even have the opportunity to feed these elusive big cats which is definitely an experience in itself. There is also the opportunity to assist in veterinary treatment should any arise whilst you are on your animal rehabilitation experience.

As well as the hands-on experience students will attend weekly lectures on conservation, which include plenty of information from subjects as diverse as the biomes that make up the cheetah's natural habitat to presentations on the genetic makeup of the king cheetah.

Whilst at the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project, conservation volunteers will have the opportunity to explore many notable places of interest from white water rafting opportunities over South Africa's infamous Blyde River Canyon to early morning hot air balloon trips over the Kruger National Park, which provide a unique viewpoint in which to spot South Africa's Big Five, from elephants munching on leafy trees to lions basking in the long grass. Who knows if you're incredibly lucky you may even get to spot a rare king cheetah from the safe confines of your basket.

Mark Bottell is the General Manager for Worldwide Experience, an online tour operator offering extended breaks upon which you can participate in the Hoedspruit Cheetah project, and other conservation volunteering gap years for grown-ups.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

CLIMATE CHANGE CASE STUDY: Energy Performance Certificate Set To Target Climate Change

Major greenhouse gas trendsImage via Wikipedia

by Dominic Donaldson

In a bid to address the impact of modern living on the global climate, govern- ments around the world are introducing measures that will help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It is believed that the degree of climate change can be lessened by introducing energy efficiency into everyday living and using renewable energy. As such, the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has been introduced in the UK. We take a look at what an Energy Performance Certificate is and how it can help in the battle against global warming.

Having an Energy Performance Certificate is now mandatory within the UK and must be presented to all new tenants or property buyers. It provides the property with a score based on how energy efficient the building is. This score is calculated by assessing various aspects of a building such as insulation, glazing and heating. If the property is double glazed, has an insulated loft and energy efficient heating, then it will achieve a higher score.

The type of energy a property uses is also assessed, and if that energy is from renewable sources then this will help achieve a more favourable rating. For properties that do not score well, there is advice on how to run a more energy efficient building by improving insulation and using renewable energy. It is hoped that the information from an assessment will encourage property owners to adopt a greener approach, which in turn will lower emissions and thereby help meet EU targets.

Energy Performance Certificates were implemented as a result of an EU directive that was drawn up to meet the demands of the Kyoto Protocol. The directive states that all countries within the European Union will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 per cent by 2010, bringing them below 1990 levels. The Kyoto Protocol was implemented to help stabilize and hopefully mitigate the levels of gasses in the atmosphere that contribute to global warming.

The treaty was introduced in 1991 to guard against a continuing rise in emissions that could cause irreversible and detrimental changes to the world's climate. As well as targeting carbon dioxide emissions, the treaty also restricts the release of other greenhouse gasses which include methane and nitrous oxide. By introducing an Energy Performance Certificate, which is an integral part of a Home Information Pack, property owners are able to identify and address areas that could be improved to be more energy efficient, thereby help combat global warming.

Dom Donaldson is an environmental expert.
Find out more about an Energy Performance Certificate at

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