Category: Climate Change

Why is the Sunshine State so Far Behind with Solar?

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 14, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

One would think that with all that sunshine Florida would be way out in front on solar power, but no such luck. How can this be with such dire warning threatening the state? Some scientists believe that Miami will be the first US metropolis to become uninhabitable as a result of climate change.

Florida should be sprinting to cut carbon. When homes, towns, and businesses overproduce solar power they can either store the excess in their home batteries or send it back to the grid and get paid (net metering). Why don’t Florida residents want to take advantage of one of their most valuable assets. They can earn an income from their overabundance of this vital natural resource.

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Florida has the third largest population in the US:

  • California – 39.7million
  • Texas – 29.1
  • Florida – 21.6

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Yet, according to vivant.Solar, Florida is ranked #10 in solar power:

  • California – 21,074 MW
  • North Carolina – 4,308 MW
  • Arizona – 3,400 MW
  • Nevada – 2,595 MW
  • New Jersey – 2,595 MW
  • Massachusetts – 2,011 MW
  • Texas – 1,874 MW
  • Utah – 1,599 MW
  • Georgia – 1,566 MW
  • Florida – 1,430 MW 

It’s time to act. Florida’s carbon footprint is ranked #3 in country at 4.5 PPM. Residents have the ability to move the needle by taking advantage of natural resources. There are many state and federal incentives to assist with the transition. Let’s DO THIS!~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Overhauling the Packaging of Consumer Brands | Circular Economy

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 13, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

With the advent of the global circular economy movement, it soon becomes clear just how many everyday items can’t be recycled. It’s quite alarming. We’ll never reach zero waste unless we find innovative solutions to meet this imperative.

Take plastic, for example. The following plastic packaging/ additional items cannot be recycled:

  • plastic single use shopping bags
  • straws
  • plastic film wrap
  • frozen food bags (nearly all vegetables are sold in non-recyclable bags)
  • cereal box liner
  • chip bags
  • granola bar, candy bar and nearly all snack items wrappers
  • six-pack rings
  • plastic hangers
  • any plastic containers that can’t be cleaned, ie toothpaste tubes

Back before I was aware that these particular pieces couldn’t be recycled, it was exciting to end the month with an empty kitchen garbage bin. But now that I’m in the know, and I see the waste stack up, I feel maximum frustration. We have to stop, focus and fix.

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 10.09.07 PM.png Thankfully, innovative sustainability companies have done just that. According to Healthy Human, the following are the top sustainable packaging innovations of 2019:

  • Loop, Returnity and Share Pack – companies that enable consumers to conveniently return packaging either by dropping off at targeted locations, or sending back in company provided totes
  • Plant based packaging – plastics made from plants
  • Edible packaging – typically this is seaweed, hopefully they’ll soon find additional alternatives
  • Plantable packaging – contains seeds so the packaging can be planted after use
  • Compostable plastic alternatives
  • Minimal packaging design
  • Upcycled or recycled packaging

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Sustainable packaging solutions are here. All we need now is to grow demand which will come from our consumer decision making. We simply must be motivated to seek these sustainably packaged products out and use our wallets to influence corporations to switch. If we all refuse to buy particular brands because of the packaging, corporations will soon wise up.

We can DO THIS!~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Are You Ever Confused About What Can Be Recycled? | Check Out This Link

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 10, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Recycling has the world’s undivided attention as we strive to reach our lofty goal of zero waste.  Proper recycling is of the utmost importance in the new circular economy era. As we attempt to deposit each item into the correct bin, it’s become more clear that the packaging industry has to be overhauled.

  • Paper labels stickered to a glass container is a very big problem. When glass is pure,  it’s 100% recyclable. When paper stickers are added to the mix, it changes everything.
  • How about the bubble wrap mailing envelopes? Paper on the outside, plastic inside. These can’y be recycled, which is unacceptable.
  • Toothpaste has to have a package redesign as well. It’s impossible to recycle toothpaste tubes because they can’t be cleaned.
  • Plastic bags can’t be recycled. This includes bread bags, frozen fruit and vegetables, Saran wrap, sandwich bags, etc.
  • If we can’t reuse or recycle, we must refuse.

On the subject of cleaning, any plastic container that’s dirty cannot be recycled. Plastic packaging with skinny necks, and there are many, are a very serious problem. The hair conditioner I use, is nearly impossible to clean. I have to work so hard at it, I become aggravated at the selfish business practices of the manufacturer. My time is very valuable. Being forced to be clever and resourceful after a long day of work, so that the manufacturer’s job is easier, isn’t right.

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Here’s an exceptional link that makes recycling super easy. Just enter the name of the item you want to recycle, and it will tell you how to take care of it.

By the way, plastic shopping bags cannot be recycled either. ZeroWaste.gov recommends that these be recycled by returning them to the store where they came from. Excellent idea! Better yet, invest in reusable bags to make your life easier, and the world a better place.~

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© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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What Can Be Composted? | Circular Economy

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 8, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Composting is quickly becoming a very big deal. Knowing what can be composted, particularly at home, will net many positive rewards for you as an individual as well as your household, the environment, and for contributing in the lowering of global atmospheric carbon levels.

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Since there are so many benefits to composting, the sooner we start, the better. For the most part, it’s broken down to a solid mix  of “Greens” and “Browns,” the add a bit of water to the bin. Per the US EPA, the breakdown is as follows:

GREENS

  • all fruits & vegetables scraps
  • coffee grounds & tea bags
  • egg shells
  • grass clippings
  • yard trimmings
  • house plants
  • animal manures (except dog and cat)
  • seaweed

BROWNS

  • paper
  • cardboard
  • shredded newspaper
  • branches
  • dead leaves
  • pine needles
  • paper napkins
  • straw and hay
  • sawdust
  • corn stalks
  • dryer lint

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Check your city to see of they have compost drop off stations. Many towns and cities do. Washington DC for example, has compost drop-off at every farmers market, and during winter, there are three locations, one of which is opened on Sundays. Spring and summer months, the public can pick up compost for free to use in home gardens.

We’ve got this, LET’S GO!~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Let’s Commit to Zero Waste in 2020 | It’s Very Simple

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 6, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Let’s nail the waste scene as soon as possible. It’s not complicated. It just takes focus.

I began 2020 super jazzed to be living a circular economy life. I jumped in running the last three months of 2019, and was pumped to have it nearly perfected by December, which is when I successfully managed a zero waste month. I felt like I’d won an olympic gold medal, not to mention the excitement of having extra money in my pocket the way Wall Street geniuses always do.

Waste is something we can all manage on our own without being forced by laws. We just wake up one morning (tomorrow morning hopefully) and say, “I’m in!” And voila, we’re three quarters of the way there.

A zero waste life is about setting up a defined circular economy zone in our households where we can easily breakdown everything we consume so that it can quickly be turned around for multiple uses. The goal is:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle & Upcycle

Refuse is a big deal. We have the power to motivate businesses to do the right thing very effectively by refusing to buy certain products that create waste. For example, back at the beginning of October 2019, I made the decision to never buy ketchup packaged in plastic again. This was very difficult, because Heinz has cornered the market and there were no glass alternatives. I called Heinz, but Heinz refuses to sell ketchup packaged in glass the way they used to. So I made the bold decision to switch to BBQ sauce which is 85% packaged in glass.

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A month later, Red Duck created a brand new product, ketchup in glass. It’s delicious, so much healthier. And it’s organic too. Thank you, Red Duck! A responsive American corporation meeting consumer demand.

Additionally, I now use the recyclable paper towels made from bamboo that can be washed a hundred times. They dry on the counter so quickly. This has dramatically reduced our household waste.

Household kitchens should have multiple bins:

  • Composting for food scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Paper recycling
  • Plastic recycling
  • Glass recycling or reuse for storage containers, drinking glasses, vases, etc
  • Aluminum recycling

Once this is all set up, you’ll soon find that you have no garbage. It’s startling. On New Years Eve 2019, I lifted the lid and my garbage bin was completely empty.~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Climate Change & Education | US Botanic Garden in DC

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 2, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

With Italy’s official announcement at the beginning of the new year, that all schools will now teach sustainability & climate change, many American educators are looking for ways to incorporate climate change lesson plans into their curriculum.

This is a big deal. Education will curb the fears that many young students harbor when they hear repeated warnings about the future. News flashes on phones about apocalyptic wildfires that killed a billion animals, and destroyed thousands of homes, is massively anxiety provoking. Lack of information fuels their concern, and action oriented facts curb it.

With this in mind, it was very exciting to see the impactful event at the US Botanic Garden on Capitol Hill Thursday evening January 30, 2020 for teachers in the Washington DC and outlying suburbs. Interactive tables, featuring climate change lesson plans, were spread throughout the breathtaking flora. Sustainability, the environment and nature were also included. Very inspiring. Nature itself is therapeutic. Studying nature along with climate action will improve the mental health of our youth as we rush to adapt to the crushing reality of the climate crisis.

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Modeling the importance of composting was powerful, especially on Capitol Hill where Mitch McConnell is blocking compositing in the dining halls in the Senate and House office buildings.

The following are several of the innovative lesson plans featured at the event:

  • Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!
  • Waste Less, Recycle More
  • Greenhouse Manual by the US Botanic Garden: “exploring ways to incorporate a greenhouse as a hands-on learning environment for students of all ages.”
  • School Tree Planting Program
  • Native Knowledge, Teaching America’s Whole Story – created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
  • Living Earth Teach-In: Sustaining our Future through Indigenous Knowledge
  • Air Quality Action Guide
  • What You Should Know About Ground Level Ozone and Particle Pollution
  • An Educators Guide to the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE)
  • Oh, and creating seed pizzas that will make spring planting so much easier (this was amazing)

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Glass Packaging Will Absolutely Curb Plastic Waste

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 14, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

My obsession with glass packaging is based on the fact that we as individuals and families can easily make a difference in curbing plastic waste through our product choices in the grocery store. All that’s required is that we’re more aware of what brands we select and how our selections impact the decision making at each corporation.

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300First, let’s be clear, there will always be a standard 30% of the public who will never care and will refuse to change their habits, not matter how much proof is provided. So we can’t worry about this. They’ll be forced to adapt when corporations stuck in the past go out of business.

But for the rest of us, the facts are compelling. And if we are to safeguard our children’s futures, it’s imperative that we change our daily and weekly habits appropriately.

  • The hotel industry has done a remarkable job of ditching all the tiny plastic bottled of incidentals and switching to giant dispensers in the showers. As soon as Bonvoy Marriott announced their decision, the majority of hotels immediately followed suit. Imagine how quickly the plastic nightmare would end, if Heinz did the same. Condiments and soda are two plastic heavy hitters. Coke has responded. Coke, Sprite and Fanta, along with a handful of other familiar soda brands, are sold in both glass and plastic in super markets. But Heinz refuses to compromise. Ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressing across the board, all Heinz-Kraft products are only sold in plastic.
  • According to Mashed, Heinz sells 650 million (plastic) bottles of ketchup per year, 1,000 bottles per minute. The tip of the Heinz plastic iceberg though may be the 11 billion packets of ketchup that Thrillist asserts Heinz sells per year. If Heinz would simply do what’s best for the public and for the planet, there would be an immediate and dramatic reduction in plastic waste.
  • National Geographic recently stunned the world by announcing that only 9% of plastic is recycled.
  • The majority of spaghetti sauce brands are sold in glass bottles, possibly 95%. BBQ sauce is at nearly 85% sold in glass, with the only two significant plastic holdouts are Heinz and Kraft.

Interestingly, spaghetti sauce sold in glass is priced lower than Heinz Ketchup sold in plastic. What gives? This makes no sense.

There doesn’t appear to be any data supporting Keinz’s stubborn refusal to adapt to the climate crisis. There appears to only be one way left to motivate Heinz to do the right thing… boycott Heinz!

I found organic Red Duck Ketchup, a brand new ketchup that’s positively delicious. I’m on my second bottle, and I love finding a reason to enjoy it every single day.

Boycotts are the American way. They work. Corporations respond to consumer demand that hits them in their wallets. It’s the upside of capitalism.~

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