Tag: Recycle

No More Oil | A Call to Action

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 14, 2020 by Erika Browning

We have all heard the warnings. Personally, I can’t remember a time in all my 42 years where the big “what ifs” weren’t on a constant loop. What if we don’t loosen our grip on fossil fuel? What if we don’t find alternative energies? What if we don’t recycle & continue to fill up precious land with our garbage? 

My questions go a bit deeper. As an expat living in Europe, I was utterly shocked at the lengths people go to to try to turn back the doomsday clock on climate change. 

Imagine how baffled I was when I learned that not only are Europeans, (Germans specifically) willing to work towards saving the planet, they are adamant about it. Don’t dare try to stick a plastic bottle in a regular rubbish bin. Car not up-to-par on emissions standards? You’ll be needing a new one that can pass muster. I took trains all over that magnificent countryside. Fields of solar panels lined the tracks in several regions, side by side with fields of hops or vineyards. Modern windmills generate energy, dotting quaint farms that don’t look as if history has touched their walls in centuries. 

Twitter – @SamTalksTesla

Coming from a lifetime in the United States, specifically a city that was quite literally built on a giant oil well, I’ve fully experienced the rabid grip this country has on its oil. As I write, I am looking across the river at massive refineries, smelling the by-products & seeing lights flicker as workers pass by. When an organization does something like offering up alternatives to oil, the whole state gets fired up. This is people’s livelihood! This is people’s land that has provided for them for well over a hundred years. 

These are people whose whole lives have revolved around oil: whether it be production, sales, manufacturing, or, of course, consumption. I suppose the difference between here and Europe could be something as simple as “cultural history”. But I believe more strongly that most of the reasons that Americans are so opposed to change is information related, whether accurate or not. 

Twitter – @ClausMiler17

We all can agree that something must change. Someone, somewhere must find a way to point their fellow countrymen in the right direction. But how? Let’s start with education. For the next several weeks I will be sharing some ideas, both large and small scale, that you can use as a consumer to make a positive change. I will be dutifully researching various methods that worked elsewhere and finding paths to apply those same methods in this incredible country. 

Whether it’s setting up a recycling program in your area, or petitioning for charging stations for electric vehicles, we will come up with some easy ways to make changes to your community, and maybe some ways that will be met with some resistance but also with the tools you’ll need to get these ideas in play.

Twitter – @JohnEG78

We have to do better. Our kids and grandkids deserve to live life in a safe environment that won’t be detrimental to their health and well-being. It’s time to start caring about the planet we are leaving behind, in fact, it’s past time.  

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Raising Pro-Planet Pre-Teens

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 14, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

Whether you’ve been working on building a more sustainable lifestyle for a while or you are a total newbie, you don’t want to be the only one in your family running around your house turning off lights and pulling recyclables out of the kitchen trash. Everyone in the house needs to get involved. You may be thinking easier said than done, especially if your kids are a bit older.

But I have good news! If you are raising a tween or young teen, it’s not too late to become a Pro-Planet Parent! Start small by making a few changes that shed light on specific causes and encourage eco-friendly behavior. Buying your son or daughter a 100% recycled 4Ocean bracelet is a great first step! 4Oceans is a global initiative dedicated to cleaning up the world’s oceans and spreading awareness. For each bracelet purchased, they promise to pull a pound of plastic out of our waters. Since 2017, they have removed 9,381,011 lbs of garbage from the ocean and coastline.

4Ocean – Loggerhead Sea Turtle Beaded Bracelet

Are you looking to make even more impact? Get your tween to look at thredUP for their next clothing purchase. This online secondhand store is a sustainable choice for the whole family. According to thredUP, the average article of clothing is worn only seven times before it is thrown directly into the trash. They claim that if everyone switched to secondhand purchases, we could collectively save 6 BILLION lbs of CO2 emissions per year.

Twitter – @thredUP

Another way to reduce your teen’s landfill waste and contribution to lowering CO2 emissions is to swap their favorite print magazine with the E-Copy. Doing so will help your young one realize that sustainable earth-conscious choices do not necessarily mean compromise. It can actually put some money back in their pockets! An annual online subscription to the popular magazine, Girl’s Life, is available on Barnes & Noble Nook for under $20!

Come back every Tuesday for more Eco-Friendly Parenting tips!

Twitter – @Girl’s Life Magazine

tl;dr

  • Become a Pro-Parent Parent: Help your young teen make earth-conscious choices
  • 4Ocean promises to pull 1lb of plastic out of the ocean for every bracelet sold
  • Since 2017, 4Ocean has removed 9,381,011 lbs of garbage from the ocean and coastline
  • Switching to secondhand clothing purchases, like thredUP, could save 6 BILLION lbs of CO2 emissions per year
  • Switching from print magazines to E-Copies lowers landfill waste and produces less CO2
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Circular Economy Front & Center During Pandemic | Reduce

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 24, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

It’s inspiring to realize how well the circular economy principles of reduce-reuse-recycle-upcycle line up with what we’ll need to do to pull ourselves through the covid-19 pandemic. Do I dare predict that five years from now we’ll pinpoint the economic shutdown of 2020, and staying at home to save lives during the coronavirus, as the turning point that enabled us to reach our climate action goal of lowering atmospheric carbon levels and saving humanity. Let’s do everything we can to make this happen. We have three months to nail this.

REDUCE

With empty store shelves and no end in sight, considering how many parts are made in China with their factories all shut down, we’ll just have to get by with less. Not that anyone feels comfortable spending any money. But still, the reality is that the supply of products has significantly diminished and there are very few alternatives, so the only solution is to go without.

In a week’s time, I was able to reduce my stress by figuring out all the things I could eliminate from my daily and monthly routines, saving myself hundreds of dollars. Stress weakens our immune system. We all need to stay strong and healthy so let’s share ideas.

REUSE

There are many examples of just what a savior reusing has become, particularly in dealing with urgent medical supplies such as face masks and swabs, but these medical heroes need a shout out for their ingenuity. Crafting face masks from office supplies didn’t make it on the evening, but hundreds of patients and medical professionals in that hospital are surely singing their praises.

Incredibly, this innovative reusing of office supplies surely kept many from becoming infected and likely saved lives. Let’s keep our eyes wide open in the upcoming weeks and months to find ways to more of this at every opportunity. Resourcefulness will keep us optimistic when the challenges seem too daunting to overcome.

Clothing is another excellent example. Second hand clothing stores specializing in designer labels, some of which have never been worn, have become a passion.

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RECYClE

Let’s rethink recycling while we’re stuck at home and have more time to focus on it. Currently, there’s way too many things wrong to let it go unaddressed.

  • With only 9% of plastic actually being recycled, plastic waste must be tackled. Now’s our chance. Refuse to purchase products packaged in plastic, especially condiments. When I did this with ketchup last fall, and had to hunt down a replacement for Heinz, my life changed forever. I found that I could actually succeed at it. I had to switch to BBQ sauce for a few weeks when I couldn’t find a real alternative. But now, I absolutely love my fav organic Red Duck ketchup packaged in glass.
  • Composting should be at the top of every household’s “To Do” list while we’re all sheltering in place. It’s such an immediate feel good. Creating a bin for all food scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, lint and yard trimmings, old leaves, etc that can be added to the soil in our yards and nearby forests to enrich the ground with nutrients that enable the soil to store much more carbon. Many towns are establishing compositing drop off and pick up stations at farmers markets. Again, we should be all over this.
  • Shipping packaging needs to be overhauled. Paper labels must be used for paper envelopes and cardboard boxes as well as paper tape on paper shipping containers, and plastic tape on plastic shipping. Further, we can no longer manufacture bubble envelopes that are manilla paper on the outside. There are multiple alternatives, so this is now unconscionable.
  • Innovation. I’m really excited about the prospects of LOOP taking off during the covid-19 crisis month,s and modeling the benefits of shopping through a company that sells name brand products in reusable containers that are dropped off and picked up on a regular schedule. The most stunning aspect of this service is the array of personal care products, including tooth paste. Game changer.

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UPCYCLE

And the cherry on top, is the artistic piece. The upcycling. Creative reuse. Taking old shoes and turning them into flower pots. Glass ketchup bottles, becoming storage containers or vases. So many possibilities. Let’s get creative.Three months to practice.

The coronavirus pandemic is our golden opportunity to lay the groundwork for converting our current linear economic system of take-make-pollute&waste to that of the carbon reducing alternative of reduce-reuse-recycle-upcycle.

We’ve GOT THIS!~

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Overhauling the Packaging of Consumer Brands | Circular Economy

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 13, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic 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!~

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Are You Ever Confused About What Can Be Recycled? | Check Out This Link

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 10, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic 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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Tree Crisis Compounds Climate Crisis | Quick Action

Washington (GGM) Analysis | September 3, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

With such an overwhelming blow to rainforests in the Amazon last week —  4,000 new fires detected in less than 48 hours, and 80,000 total fires in 2019 — we must move swiftly to replant and reforest on every continent.

The Amazon is considered the “lungs of the world.”  On average, we lose 65 trees every minute, 93,600 trees every day, and 34.16 million trees every year. This in and of itself is a human civilization-threatening reality. With the global population rising, and carbon sequestration falling, the only way to save more lives is to immediately act in response to the recent escalation in the destruction of the globe’s forests.

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The Path Forward must be a global commitment to:

  1. Lower carbon emissions faster
  2. Increase carbon sequestration faster through conservation, replanting as well other natural carbon sinks, most notably soil
  3. Cut back on paper products (we have to sacrifice our love of lush, fluffy double-ply anything)

Students love getting involved with climate action. So with the new school year beginning, let’s create a game plan. How about every American student planting 10 trees per school year? Some countries already require this.

  • Planting trees in groups is a lot of fun
  • Students can fundraise together, form an after school club and have meetings to decide where they’ll plant trees, as well as what types of trees
  • Working on a life-saving and planet-saving project brings out the best in us, builds character, and rewards with a new perspective on life
  • This can also be a fun family project on weekends
  • Best time to plant trees is the fall & the spring, September is an excellent month to get started

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There are many more benefits we receive from trees than just oxygen. Trees become friends. They are wonderful listeners. They nurture and support. Trees teach lessons about growing roots, and patience… the benefits of sunshine, as well as rain. Trees stay in our lives for a long time, providing stability. They grace us with shade and shelter. Trees share secrets about what it takes to grow big and strong. Trees are wonderful companions for students. A student tree force will provide many cures, not only for the environment and the climate crisis, but also for society in general.

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Enriching the soil all around us with more nutrients through composting, will also increase sequestration. Every restaurant and home should compost. No more using the sink disposal!

Steady daily pacing of recycling, composting, planting trees, switching to solar, walking more, driving less… will get us on our way to new green habits, and a less frightening future.

We can do this!

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Recycling Cancelled in Jackson, MS | Climate Action

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | August 20, 2019)
NoreenByLine by Noreen Wise

It’s alarming to learn that Jackson, MS has cancelled it’s curbside recycling program with Waste Management effective September 1, 2019, claiming that there aren’t enough residents recycling to continue paying the cost. Why does Jackson allow residents not to recycle? It seems that most towns and cities would initiate a marketing campaign to lure their residents on board with the importance of recycling. Recycling is typically the very first step we all take to help cut carbon.

It’s imperative that everyone on earth understand that the climate crisis erupted from unrestrained small actions by the global public, particularly Americans as a result of our wealth, and that all it takes to cut carbon is for each of us to focus on these same small actions. We each have to lower our own carbon footprints.to an optimal range from 4-7 million metric tons of carbon per year. Americans currently average 20 million metric tons of carbon annually.

Recycling is a must. So many of our products are now manufactured from recycled material rather than virgin. Using recycled material to manufacture new products creates a substantial energy savings which cuts carbon emissions. Every little bit helps. For a city like Jackson, MS to have a convenient curbside recycling service, there’s no reason for residents to not step up. Many towns have to rely on recycling centers which are drive to sites and can be very annoying, yet these residents establish weekly habits that make it work.

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Every single day there’s another alarming headline warning of the perilous climate crisis we now find ourselves embattled in. There’s no time to delay. There’s no excuse for not complying with basics like recycling.

To cut carbon significantly, and lower our carbon footprints to 7 metric tons per year, we only need to focus on 4 areas of concern:

  1. Household energy – go solar!
  2. Transportation – EV cars, walk, public transportation
  3. Food –  minimize dairy and red meat
  4. Stuff – buy less stuff, always recycle

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Recycling is mandatory. We can do this!

 

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