After Cyber Monday, here comes a new spotlight on e-commerce shipping

December 4, 2019 by  
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This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here.How many Amazon packages were rapidly shipped to your home this week thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday?For many of us, plenty. And those big cardboard boxes with tiny items inside are just one of the more visceral problems associated with the rapid rise of on-demand online shopping. 

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After Cyber Monday, here comes a new spotlight on e-commerce shipping

What to expect from the UN’s COP25 climate change conference

December 4, 2019 by  
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This article originally appeared on Ensia.In 2015, 195 countries adopted an international treaty aiming to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsiuc (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above average preindustrial temperatures in order to avert the worst of Earth’s climate emergency.

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What to expect from the UN’s COP25 climate change conference

4 key tasks for countries at COP25 in Madrid

December 4, 2019 by  
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The conference provides an opportunity for countries to continue to build momentum ahead of 2020, which could lead to more ambitious climate commitments.

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4 key tasks for countries at COP25 in Madrid

9 tips for eco-friendly Black Friday, Cyber Monday shopping

November 27, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Shopping is an ubiquitous part of American culture that peaks during the holiday season in spurts of deal-hunting and gift-giving. Anyone who has made efforts to go zero-waste or plastic-free knows how difficult it can be to maintain those goals while finding meaningful presents for loved ones. So when Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around, you might experience the internal conflict of responsibility to the planet with the desire to give gifts. We love that you love the planet, so we’ve put together some ideas of ways to enjoy the season without leaving behind a Sasquatch-sized carbon footprint. Watch packaging  When it comes to gifting, watch out for extra packaging, especially plastic foam and molded, unrecyclable plastic . Consider buying items in bulk, as long as they have less packaging and won’t go to waste. You can also bring your own containers for bulk products like bath salts, pet treats and food. As always, bring your own reusable shopping bags, and decline the offer of plastic bags from the store. Related: Avoid the crowds with these 10 alternatives to Black Friday shopping Support sustainable companies More and more companies are working to source natural materials and manufacture products in a sustainable way. Reward their efforts by supporting them as your first choice in gift-giving. For example, select bracelets made from ocean plastic, shoes or sunglasses made from coffee grounds or indoor gardens sourced from recycled plastic. Look for companies that ship using recyclable materials, too. While smaller, sustainably minded companies may not have a flashy ads online or on the TV, they are out there and will often offer discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday just like the giant box retailers. You just have to do a little bit of searching. Make your own gifts The most sustainable way to enjoy Black Friday is to be in complete control of the materials used in your gifts. Instead of heading out for pre-packaged and wasteful options, take a trip into the local pottery studio and make some plates, a popcorn bowl or a mug to give as a gift. Upcycle by gathering up special T-shirts and other clothing to have a company make them into a memory quilt (if you have sewing skills, you can also DIY !). Set another date on the calendar for a craft party, and invite friends, family and neighbors to gather and make gifts. Use the Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts to score some deals at the craft store. Just be sure to look for products that don’t include plastic and emphasize natural materials like hemp, grapevine and organic fabrics. Choose green technology A quick glance through most holiday catalogs will highlight deals on electronics. If TVs and other modern gadgets are on your list, research models that consume less energy and purchase solar-powered items when they are an option. Go for durability While it is likely that not every item you purchase throughout the season will fully fit the sustainability bill, one way you can help the planet is in waste reduction. To meet this goal, keep in mind that a long-lasting product will create less waste than one that is quickly disposed of. Research your purchases and go for items made with real wood instead of pressboard, strong metals instead of flimsy ones and natural materials instead of plastic (think wooden picnic tables and rocking horses for toddlers). The same goes for jewelry, clothing, furniture, kitchen items and decor. Quality counts, both for the gift recipient and for the planet. Look for eco-friendly materials Especially when it comes to textiles , the materials used in production can make a huge difference in the amount of pollutants that end up in waterways and landfills. Select natural fibers for sheets, towels, blankets and clothing. The most obvious example is organic cotton , which eliminates the toxic chemicals such as insecticides, pesticides and fungicides used in traditional cotton production. Minimize driving and stops Stop-and-go city traffic is guilty for contributing to air pollution , so do your part by limiting the number of stores at which you shop. Pick one store for your purchases, or select stores near each other. Even better than driving is to take public transit, bike or walk from shop to shop. Shop local Depending on where you live, shopping local is likely the best thing you can do for the environment. You get bonus points if you can shop at a nearby craft mall or import store with a focus on eco-friendly and/or locally made products. If you do hit up the online deals for Cyber Monday, follow the suggestions above in regards to buying from sustainably minded companies and observing packaging and shipping practices. Gift wrap naturally Once you’ve made or purchased your gifts, continue the eco-friendly trend with thoughtful gift wrapping. Use natural fabric or paper, and accessorize with leaves, flowers, small branches, nuts or fruit. Alternately, recycle greeting cards into gift tags, upcycle tablecloths and pillow cases, put gifts inside gorgeous reusable bags or organize a gift basket with no wrap at all. Images via Shutterstock

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9 tips for eco-friendly Black Friday, Cyber Monday shopping

Avoid the crowds with these 10 alternatives to Black Friday shopping

November 23, 2018 by  
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The unofficial kick-off to the holiday season is virtually stamped on the calendar the day after Thanksgiving . Titled Black Friday — from the idea that it is the time of year retailers leave the red column and enter the profit, or black, column — the commercialization of the third Friday in November is somewhat of a pop phenomenon with a cult-like following. Merchants hype up and advertise specials, deals and savings weeks in advance while people prepare to rise at 4 a.m. just hours after completing their holiday feasts. If you prefer to avoid the madness, here are some alternatives. It’s not surprising that so many people participate in Black Friday. After all, it is the season of giving. Many look forward to spending the day with spouses, siblings or parents. Others like to complete their holiday shopping early so they can enjoy the upcoming weeks in other ways. But from a different perspective, Thanksgiving offers a rare 4-day weekend, leaving many unencumbered by school and work obligations. This is an opportunity to enjoy the last bits of decent fall weather, spend time with family or try something new. So while everyone else is out battling for the newest electronics, fill your Black Friday with some of these shopping alternatives, many of which are good for your health , the environment and your wallet. Volunteer Nothing feeds the soul like helping others. Volunteer to serve a meal at a local homeless shelter; these shelters often seek volunteers for special meals served during the holidays. Also, track down your local food bank. Food banks are always looking for extra hands during the busy season. Volunteer options abound, so choose to participate in something that you’re passionate about such as a church bazaar, a beach clean-up or a gift wrap event to support foster children or servicepeople. If you’d rather spend the day alone, make crafts to donate to a worthy cause, scoop leaves out of drains on your street or make repairs at an elderly neighbor’s home. Get into nature Fall is that forgiving season where you might need an extra layer, but the harsh winter days have not yet arrived. Take advantage of the weather and enjoy some time in nature . Invite a friend for a walk or take the dogs for a long hike. Pedal the miles on your street bike or hit the hills with your mountain bike. Go bird watching, camping or kayaking. If the snow has arrived, hit the slopes for skiing or snowboarding. Related: Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials Take a trip The long holiday weekend is the perfect time to take a mini vacation. Hit the beach , visit family or explore someplace you’ve never been. Locally, you can set a goal of visiting all the parks in your area. Do home improvements Life gets busy with the daily 9-5, so when you have a couple of days off work, it’s nice to tackle home improvement. Clean out the garage, donate cans and bottles to a local fundraiser, make trips to donation centers and get the recycling out of the house. Perhaps paint a room or install new flooring. You could also complete those outdoor tasks of cleaning up the garden, building new beds and repairing gates. Attend a local event Merchants and vendors know that you’re spending the day with family, so there are ample opportunities to find an event that suits your interests. Look on community boards for information about craft fairs, wine tastings and musical events. With part of your thoughts wrapped up in holiday gift giving, pick up gift certificates for lunch while you’re at the winery, buy concert tickets for a friend or purchase small local goods such as honey and tea and then put together gift baskets as the holidays get closer. Host a friendsgiving Friendsgiving is a growing tradition where people assemble for a casual pre- or post-Thanksgiving gathering. Commonly, people bring leftovers or a favorite recipe , so everyone contributes to a potluck-style dinner. You could make it a family event, invite couples or just have friends over. Structure the day the way you want with an emphasis on quality time together and no stress. Make it a pajama party. Write thank you cards to each other or others. Have a movie marathon or cue up a sporting event on TV. Make gifts Instead of marching in to the nearest mall, spend the day making your own gifts . Have a wreath-making party, whip up a batch of Kahlua drinks and place in cute bottles, prepare gifts in a jar such as cookie or soup ingredients, make salt dough ornaments or get out the sewing machine to create heat packs or door draft blockers. Related: Inexpensive DIY holiday centerpieces and decorations Schedule a date Get out with others and attend a movie, go bowling, visit the zoo, head to the theater, check out an art exhibit or museum, get a pedicure or massage or check out a local escape room. Create memories at home In today’s busy world, it’s rare to truly unplug and revel in moments at home. Plan a craft with the kids, make snowflakes for decorations, work a puzzle, make homemade popcorn and gather the family for a movie or dig out the board games. These are the things your family will remember long after the store-bought items are unwrapped and eventually discarded. Support alternatives to big box stores Hit up the secondhand market through thrift stores and estate sales, shop locally and support small businesses and scour Etsy and other online merchants for crafters who make creative, one-of-a-kind items. When you do make purchases from retailers, support those in alignment with your eco-friendly beliefs. Also check out Shop for Good Sunday , a community of companies that aim to be responsible stewards in business. If you decide to go shopping, remember to carry the spirit of the season with you. Allow someone to park in a space when you arrive simultaneously, offer to return a shopping cart for a mother with small children, help the elderly across the road and let someone with only a few items check out before you. Also think about ways you can minimize waste by purchasing items with responsible packaging, bring your own bags to the store and refuse bags or boxes that you do not need. Images via Rawpixel ( 1 , 2 ), Fidel Fernando , Kane Reinholdtsen , Traveler , Kelsey Chance , Michael Mroczek , Myke Simon , Picsea ,  Heidi Sandstrom and Shutterstock

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Avoid the crowds with these 10 alternatives to Black Friday shopping

Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles

November 12, 2018 by  
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The ReNew outerwear line, launched in late October by Everlane , has yanked three million water bottles out of the waste stream and turned them into fibers for the venture. The new collection offers cleaner fashion in an industry known for heavy pollution and resource consumption. This first round of renewed clothing includes four fleece pullover options, six puffer jackets and three parkas. While other companies have edged toward the trend of incorporating recycled materials into their production, Everlane is taking it a step further. Everlane has vowed to eliminate all virgin plastic from its manufacturing processes by 2021 and instead will rely 100 percent on recycled materials . Furthermore, the company will eliminate all single-use plastics from corporate offices and retail store locations. It has also committed to the use of recycled bags when shipping merchandise. The commitment is a firm one, as evidenced by the process involved to turn plastic into usable fibers. First, the facility receives large bales of compressed plastic bottles that are sorted using a combination of human and machine efforts. After sorting, the bottles are ground down into tiny flakes and subsequently melted into molten plastic. Next, that plastic is sent through a machine that turns it into long strands and then dices the strands into crystals. Once they arrive at the spinning facility, those crystals are melted down once again, turned into thread and spun into yarn for fabrics. Related: Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint In addition to the ReNew line aimed at conscientious material sourcing, Everlane offers sustainability with the goal for its products to last for decades. This is in steep contrast to many textile industry business plans that market trendy and disposable clothing to encourage consumers to constantly purchase the newest, flash-in-the-pan item. In addition, the company demands fair trade practices from the factories it works with and believes in ethical treatment of employees. In fact, all Black Friday profits are returned to the employees in some fashion. As a case in point, the 2018 profits are earmarked to build an organic farm on the campus of a facility in Vietnam, a country with otherwise excessive pesticide use that pollutes the food supply. + Everlane Via Treehugger Images via Everlane

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Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles

Opt Outside Virtually with Sounds from Around the World

November 24, 2017 by  
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Instead of indulging in consumerism on Black Friday, follow the … The post Opt Outside Virtually with Sounds from Around the World appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Opt Outside Virtually with Sounds from Around the World

Patagonia made $10 million for charity on Black Friday

December 3, 2016 by  
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In a single day, outdoor retailer Patagonia raised 10 million bucks for the environment. All of the sales from Black Friday are going to grassroots organizations working to protect the planet. Think of it as a fundraiser for the Earth that shattered previous records.

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Patagonia made $10 million for charity on Black Friday

Patagonia is donating all $10 million of its Black Friday profits

November 30, 2016 by  
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Black Friday is a consumeristic nightmare – but there are some companies using the day for good. Last week Patagonia announced plans to donate all of its Black Friday sales to charity, and they wound up pulling in a grand total of $10 million – five times the amount they originally predicted. The money will go towards grassroots environmental groups fighting the wave of climate change deniers moving into Washington D.C. next year. Patagonia has vowed to give away 100 percent of its profits from the single biggest shopping day of the year – and they intend to keep their promise. The company’s philanthropy goes all the way back to a 1985 pledge. Their yearly donations to environmental organizations account for just one percent of their daily global sales – but the figure added up to $7.1 million just last year. Related: Scientists warn of uncontrollable climate change amid drastic Arctic melt “This is a difficult and divisive time for our country,” Lisa Pike Sheehy, the company’s vice president of environmental activism , told CNNMoney. “I believe the environment is something we can all come together on… Environmental values are something we all embrace.” Patagonia says the decision to donate their Black Friday sales was inspired by nation’s recent political climate, since the environment does not seem to be a great concern for incoming politicians or many incumbent conservatives. The money will be given to a global network of over 800 grassroots environmental groups hellbent on saving the world. + Patagonia Via CNN Images via Flickr , Wikimedia

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Patagonia is donating all $10 million of its Black Friday profits

Episode 54: A Thanksgiving feast of stories about food systems

November 25, 2016 by  
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This week’s GreenBiz 350 podcast: What does it take to be the most sustainable coffee business in the U.S.? How clothing fits in the circular economy.

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Episode 54: A Thanksgiving feast of stories about food systems

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