Slideshow: A peek inside VF’s sporty, energy-sipping campus

July 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Slideshow: A peek inside VF’s sporty, energy-sipping campus

Get an inside look at the new California campus for The North Face, JanSport, Lucy, designed for energy efficiency, employee collaboration and creativity, and integration of buildings and outdoor space.

Excerpt from:
Slideshow: A peek inside VF’s sporty, energy-sipping campus

How to jump-start the vehicle-based smart grid

July 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on How to jump-start the vehicle-based smart grid

As a handful of Japanese automakers offer market solutions allowing electric batteries to provide backup power to homes, the future of comprehensive vehicle-to-grid technology remains years off.

Excerpt from:
How to jump-start the vehicle-based smart grid

Vadxx Energy To Repurpose Plastics Into Fuel in Akron, OH

October 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Vadxx Energy To Repurpose Plastics Into Fuel in Akron, OH

The City of Akron, Ohio recently announced a contract with Greenstar Recycling  (a local recycling facility) for processing the recyclable material picked up at the curb.  Greenstar Recycling  is partnering with the City of Akron to increase recycling in Ohio’s fifth largest metropolitan area and will construct a “state-of-the-art” recycling facility within the corporate limits of Akron. But this is no ordinary curb-side recycling or facility. This facility will include innovative technology that converts recovered plastic into synthetic crude oil. These services will be provided jointly by local company Vadxx Energy, LLC, and Greenstar. How it Works and What Kind of Waste Can Be Used? Vadxx Energy (Cleveland, OH)  manufactures synthetic crude oil, natural gas and recovers metals using raw material feedstock consisting of petroleum-based wastes. The raw material feedstock includes auto fluff, e-wastes, scrap tires, recyclable and non-recyclable plastics, synthetic fibers, used industrial solvents, waste oil and heavy refinery bottom oil. Vadxx has a license to implement patented technology, has a research and development office and a pilot plant in Akron, OH. Energy from Waste Flowchart: Image Credit, Vadxx Per Vadxx, Every year, 300 million tires are scrapped, and 12% of US municipal solid waste entering landfills is unsorted plastic. In addition, used carpeting, e-waste plastic and automotive fluff (“auto fluff”, 25% of what remains from automobile recycling) is becoming an increasing source of environmental hazards. In particular, there is an ample supply of auto fluff. Auto fluff is presently being disposed of in landfills at a cost to the generator. Industrial and automotive waste oils, spent industrial solvents and restaurant cooking oils add to the liquid waste problem. These along with restaurant grease and cooking oils can be incorporated into the Vadxx process. Moreover, Vadxx is researching additional possible feedstocks (i.e. paint, hazardous petroleum liquids). Benefits and Environmental Effects It is possible the Vadxx process can handle these in an environmentally safe manner, while providing excellent economic returns and keeping waste from landfills. Vadxx also claims that its process limits the environmental footprint of air emissions through target minimization of CO2, NOx and SOx production as well as scrubbing prior to oil condensation. Also the fact that the Vadxx manufacturing units are modular helps decentralize the points of discharge, minimizing each plant’s total emissions. The City of Akron is obviously pleased with this deal, with Mayor Don Plusquellic saying, “The facility will contribute to the growth and sustainability of Akron by returning an existing building to a manufacturing purpose with significant investment for equipment, building use and creation of new green jobs.” This is promising technology that conveys multiple environmental benefits. Once proved successful in Akron, OH, hopefully this process can be used in many other municipalities across the US.  

Read the rest here:
Vadxx Energy To Repurpose Plastics Into Fuel in Akron, OH

Local Orbit Makes Local Produce Easy to Buy and Sell in Detroit

September 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Business, Eco

Comments Off on Local Orbit Makes Local Produce Easy to Buy and Sell in Detroit

Locally grown food is the rage these days, with more and more consumers clearly concerned about where their food is coming from. There is an increasing demand for farm produce and growing need to connect directly with producers. But sometimes it’s not always easy to get local food. What do you do if you want locally grown produce, but cannot visit week-day farmer markets? Local Orbit is a new way to buy food and other local goods direct from producers in your community, if you live in the greater Detroit area. Erika Block is the founder of Local Orbit, an Ann Arbor, MI-based tech startup that facilitates the distribution of local, sustainably farmed food and expects to roll Local Orbit out to many more markets nationwide by 2012 – 2013. How Does Local Orbit Work? Each week, sellers update their inventory. Buyers shop online. Within a 24-hour period, sellers deliver their orders to hub sites, which aggregate and pack orders for individual buyers. Buyers either pick up their orders or have them delivered. Wholesale orders that meet basic minimum quantities are delivered directly to the buyer. Local Orbit makes a small, flat-rate percentage on each sale, similar to selling on eBay or Amazon Marketplace. There is no fee for buyers to shop or for sellers to list. Sellers know the fee percentage upfront and work that into their listing price, so there are no hidden charges for anyone. That’s it. Local Orbit is trying to relink the food chain to make local food widely available and easy to buy.  Local Orbit for Buyers, Image Credit, Local Orbit Local Orbit for Sellers: Image Credit, Local Orbit Why did Local Orbit Come About? Local Orbit has evolved after couple of years of conversations with all stakeholders helping to bring ‘local’ into mainstream -farmers, food producers, chefs, eaters and people working to solve food distribution challenges. The need arose from obvious disconnected markets and inefficient communications. Independent food producers are struggling to build sustainable businesses and provide really good food for their customers. They need distribution and marketing support Producers/ Farmers Sell Well Local Orbit’s online tools provide a “back office in a box” for food hubs, entrepreneurs, farmers markets, coops, institutions and community organizations working to increase local and regional food distribution. Producers get help with all the tools to tell their stories and efficiently manage direct sales.  Market coordinators get customized web sites with e-commerce, payment processing, inventory management, marketing, logistics and customer service. Buyers Score Local and Fresh Produce Buyers get convenient, streamlined purchasing and a direct, traceable supply chain. They have easier access to food that is produced locally and are spending their dollars on local farmers and businesses. Erica Block are working to make local, sustainably produced food widely available and easy to buy -for everyone and was recently chosen as a 2011 PopTech Social Innovation Fellow . Kudos Erica!

Excerpt from: 
Local Orbit Makes Local Produce Easy to Buy and Sell in Detroit

The method method: A Cleaner Clean, Design + Innovation and Just Plain Weird

September 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on The method method: A Cleaner Clean, Design + Innovation and Just Plain Weird

Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, method co-founders, Image courtesy: method Flashback to the year 2000:   Eric’s wondering why cleaning products are so poorly designed, and Adam’s dreaming of green cleaners that actually work and aren’t stinky. Together, these two childhood friends come up with an idea to revolutionize the cleaning world with stylish, eco-friendly products made with non-toxic ingredients that clean like heck and smell like heaven. 2001: method is born, and the Eric and Adam we are talking about are Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, childhood friends and co-founders of method. Fast forward to 2011: In 10 years, method has grown into a $150 million brand — a brand synonymous with green, good and successful. It was ranked the 7th fastest growing company in America by Inc. Magazine in 2006 and the 16th most innovative company in the world by Fast Company. How did method, in 10 years, turn the cleaning business industry upside down, redefine cleaners and set new standards for cleaning supplies? Eric and Adam reveal their successes are tied to their 7 obsessions! They talk about the method story in a book they released this week called ‘The method method’ (an excellent read that is both humorous and gripping). They call these core strategies “obsessions” because they realize that unless you are obsessed about your business values and practices, they could fade away as your business grows. Eric spoke exclusively to Ecopreneurist on the book and these obsessions that make method. Why did they get into the cleaning products business? Eric says “In advertising, I was always trained to look at cultural-shifts in consumer behavior where larger brands are not delivering and we realized this was the right place to be. We asked ourselves, what we could do differently and saw tremendous opportunity in this industry”. Tip: There is wonderful opportunity in well-established industry sectors, where environmental aspects or as Eric says, “cultural shifts” in consumer behavior are not addressed by larger establishments. This is a place small business owners can make a difference. Eric then spoke about partnerships and how the diversity in education and work between the co-founders actually laid a strong foundation for their business model. Eric’s background in advertising and design coupled with Adam’s experience with sustainability and engineering helped method become method. Eric says this partnership was “essential”. He goes on to add, “Our backgrounds were so different, that it helped us find new ways of collaborating, bring about a combination of design + function, that is unique to method. Without Adam, method would have been all life-style design and not much green. Without me, method would have been another drab green cleaner.” Tip: Collaborating with diverse professionals may actually add a unique USP to your product or service, especially in green business where many symbiotic relationships already exist and thrive. As Eric looks back on the 10 years, he says, “Locking down our obsessions and making them integral to our company was very important. As a company grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to adhere to these values.” One of method’s “obsessions” was to create a “culture club” or “branding from the inside out”. Eric says, “Creating and maintaining cultures continues to be the hardest value to upkeep. It’s always in motion and changing. Our goal is to create a culture that would inspire us to do our best work while enriching our lives.” He also has two pieces of advice for budding eco-entrepreneurs. One: Starting out a company that is just “green” is not enough these days. Take a product or service and add “green” to it by “disrupting the world of business as-usual.” Two: Emphasize the human connection associated with your product or service. “It’s hard to encourage people to adopt good only on the basis that its good for the planet. To make a lasting impression, bring out the connection that benefits their home, health and daily lives.” So after a glorious 10 years, what is in store for the next decade at method? Eric is thrilled with the excellent foundation that has been created. He says, “The cleaning industry is very dirty- so there is still lots to clean up. We want to continue to grow into newer markets and countries while educating consumers. And of course continue to innovate to stay ahead.” Ahem to that and an even more glorious decade ahead.

Original post:
The method method: A Cleaner Clean, Design + Innovation and Just Plain Weird

Moving Planet: What Are You Doing to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels?

September 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Eco

Comments Off on Moving Planet: What Are You Doing to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels?

Moving Planet, 24th September 2011 will be a day of action against climate change- a day to put our demands for climate action into motion—marching, biking, skating—calling for the world to go beyond fossil fuels. Moving Planet is an international day of action planned by 350.org . It is intended to build support for moving the planet away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable transportation. On September 24, 2011 participants from over 175 countries will hold events aimed at solving the climate change crisis by eliminating our global dependence on fossil fuels. What is the Goal of the Day? The goal is to get moving beyond fossil fuels—both symbolically by pouring into the streets in the thousands on foot, bicycle and other means of sustainable movement, and politically by bringing powerful demands to our leaders that day to move beyond fossil fuels to a 350 ppm world. Mobilizing for individual and community solutions will continue to be important— but one of the main goals for Moving Planet is to demand government action, especially in places where governments are stalling on climate action despite the overwhelming urgency of the science.  The Moving Planet is not just about sustainable actions- but also about delivering a clear list of demands. Science-based policies to get us back to 350 ppm. A rapid, just transition to zero carbon emissions. A mobilization of funding for a fair transition to a 350 ppm world. Lifting the rights of people over the rights of polluters.  What is a 350 ppm World? The ideology behind 350.org’s campaign is the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For all of human history until about 200 years ago, our atmosphere contained 275 parts per million of carbon dioxide. By now—the planet has about 392 parts per million CO 2  – and this number is rising by about 2 parts per million every year. Scientists are now saying that’s too much – that number is higher than any time seen in the recorded history of our planet.  350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments are now saying is the safe upper limit for CO 2  in our atmosphere. Why Focus on Moving Away from Fossil Fuels? The global fossil fuel infrastructure is a threat to our future everywhere, polluting our oceans, our land, our communities, our air, and our children’s lungs. It’s corrupting our politics with over $600 billion in subsidies globally, and hundreds of millions in campaign contributions in the United States in the last 10 years. The continued burning of coal and oil is what will tip climate change into climate catastrophe – getting off fossil fuels is the number one thing we need to do to get below 350ppm. Fossil fuels connect to many issues—sustainable agriculture, transportation, and water to name a few. What is Everyone Doing and What Action Can You Take to Join In? Some of the events happening include- Students in the Dominican Republic are painting the first bike lanes in Santo Domingo. Hundreds in Ukraine will be “flash-dancing” in the main square of Kiev. A massive parade is planned in Egypt , where participants will wear blue clothing to form a giant human Nile river. Hundreds of Parisians will unite to form an image of a wind-turbine. In New York , a giant bike ride calling for climate action will end at the United Nations General Assembly. You can find an event happening in your area or start your own!

Read more here:
Moving Planet: What Are You Doing to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels?

Virgin Media Implements Closed-Loop System for Internal Paper Use

August 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Recycle

Comments Off on Virgin Media Implements Closed-Loop System for Internal Paper Use

The Virgin group of companies is known to be a leader in sustainability efforts. Now its media company announced an initiative that increases its internal paper re-usage.  Virgin Media is working with its stationary supplier, Banner (one of the largest distributors of copier paper in the UK) to reduce its use of virgin paper using a ‘closed-loop’ system. Here is how they manage their entire paper cycle. “Last year, we used around  11,800 tonnes of paper  for internal and external use, which is roughly the same weight as 2,000 elephants. Because of this, we’re always looking for ways to improve the environmental credentials of the paper we use, which is why the paper we use for external use is sourced from a  responsibly managed forest . We recently reviewed how we could improve the sustainability of the paper we use internally and when our stationary supplier Banner approached us with a completely new way of doing things, we jumped at the chance! It’s what people in sustainability call a ‘Closed Loop’ system and it means that for our internal paper use, we’re using the same paper over and over – and over – again.” Watch this short film to find out how it works. Per Banner and this study by the Manchester Business School, Banner has been working on the whole closed-loop paper use process since 2007, at first with government agencies in the UK. With this system, they have devised an innovative solution to manage confidential paper waste and bring it back into mainstream use. How the Closed-Loop Paper Recycling System Works If  the waste paper is confidential it is shredded securely and data tagged and tracked through the process enabling return back to the primary user. The waste material is baled and transported to a specialist mill partner to be turned into pulp. The pulp is washed to remove any contamination then pressed, dried and finally manufactured into Banner 100% Recycled Copier Paper. Any pulp that cannot be recycled into copier paper is used to produce other products such as fertilizer. Environmental Benefits of the Closed-Loop Paper Recycling Process The paper flow becomes a “closed loop? with zero waste. The process is more sustainable than any other previous system as waste paper can be recycled back into recycled paper up to six times in the closed loop process, remaining in the recycling loop for a longer time than other recycled products that waste paper is turned into (e.g. tissue, cardboard). It also implies the purchase of 100% recycled copier paper, which is now mandated by government purchasing regulations. Economic or Business Benefits of the Closed-Loop Paper Recycling Process It provides a solution to the confidential paper waste problem by shredding it on-site and selling it back to a government agency or a business like Virgin Media. The shredded waste is securely baled and tagged with management information off-site and transported to a recycled paper mill where the trucks return with closed-loop paper produced from the previous batch. Turning the organization’s waste into a recycled paper product that is re-sold to the same organization allows that paper to be bought at a lower price, since in effect the organization has subsidised the cost of producing that product by providing the raw material needed. This reduces the number of third parties in the system, and therefore reduces the cost for the Banner and the client. This system or “business ecology” as I would like to call it, is helping not only the businesses it serves to reduce its paper-use-impact, but has also “allowed the supplier to be more than just a supplier of paper, and generated innovation in the supplier organization”. An initiative that has triggered a positive feedback loop and outlook.

See the original post here:
Virgin Media Implements Closed-Loop System for Internal Paper Use

Bad Behavior has blocked 2009 access attempts in the last 7 days.