Kroger plans plastic bag phase-out by 2025

August 25, 2018 by  
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The Kroger supermarket conglomerate announced on Thursday that it is planning a phase-out of plastic bags at all store locations as part of its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment . The company owns more than 2,700 stores throughout 35 states, including popular chains such as Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer and Ralphs. Related: UK bag tariff halves plastic bag marine litter, reduces sales of plastic bags by 86% Kroger is making a “bold move that will better protect our planet,” according to CEO Rodney McMullen. “We listen very closely to our customers and our communities, and we agree with their growing concerns,” added Executive Vice President and COO Mike Donnelly in a press release. Seattle’s QFC grocery stores will be the first of Kroger’s chains to fully eliminate plastic bags, achieving the goal as early as next year. “Starting today at QFC, we will begin the transition to more sustainable options. This decision aligns with our Restock Kroger commitment to live our purpose through social impact,” announced Donnelly. Between the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste and the Restock Kroger commitments, the company hopes to divert 90 percent of waste from landfills by 2020 and provide food to families and individuals in need. Last year alone, the conglomerate sent more than 91 million pounds of safe, nutritious food to local food banks and homes, providing over 325 million meals in total. In 2017, 66.15 million pounds of plastic and 2.43 billion pounds of cardboard were recycled. Kroger, however, wants to achieve more. Related: Starbucks ditches plastic straws for the environment Estimates suggest that less than five percent of plastic bags are recycled annually in America and nearly 100 billion are thrown away each year. Single-use plastic bags are the fifth most common plastic pollutant, harming waterways and marine ecosystems. Harmful microplastics result from the breakdown process and have made their way into soils, waters, air, and nearly everything we ingest. That’s why Kroger, rather than merely lessening the number of plastic bags, plans to eliminate them completely by providing reusable, recyclable multi-use bags. Kroger joins companies such as Starbucks, McDonald’s and the Marriot International Group in a stand to eliminate single-use plastics, which follows legislation banning them in states such as Hawaii and California. + CNN + Kroger + NPR Image via Pixabay

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Kroger plans plastic bag phase-out by 2025

New study finds glyphosate in kids’ cereals and snack bars

August 16, 2018 by  
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Bad news for anyone who likes to eat cereal, or granola bars, or anything that contains oats at all: a recent study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested 45 conventional oat products for the presence of glyphosate, and researchers found it in 43 of them.  And, of these 43 oat products, 31 had amounts of glyphosate that were far above the EWG’s Health Benchmark of safe ingestion amounts. The poisonous chemical may sound familiar since it’s the active ingredient in Roundup, the herbicide whose health risks Monsanto intentionally concealed from the public. Related: Court orders Monsanto to pay $289 million in cancer trial The World Health Organization has issued warnings about glyphosate in the past, stating as far back as 2015 that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” And yet, the majority of oat products tested for the study had glyphosate levels that exceeded 160 ppb, the maximum amount considered acceptable by the EWG. In fact, one popular brand of oats contained 1300 ppb. While organic oats did much better, 30 percent of samples using organic oats still tested positive for glyphosate, possibly due to Roundup drift from farms in the area or cross-contamination. Related: Beekeepers file a complaint against Bayer after glyphosate was discovered in honey Given the common use of oats in breakfast cereals, the study raises the possibility that millions of American children are being exposed to the dangerous chemical. “I grew up eating Cheerios and Quaker Oats long before they were tainted with glyphosate. No one wants to eat a weed killer for breakfast, and no one should have to do so,” commented Ken Cook, President of the EWG.  Calling for action on our part, he added, “it’s up to consumers to call on companies to rid their products of glyphosate.” + Environmental Working Group Via Treehugger

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New study finds glyphosate in kids’ cereals and snack bars

Canada moves to ban bee-killing pesticides

August 16, 2018 by  
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Environmentalists scored a victory in Canada on Wednesday, securing restrictions on two pesticides that have been posing threats to bees and aquatic insects. The Canadian government’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), branched under the division ‘Health Canada,’ has agreed to impose constraints on the crop chemicals, slowly phasing out their use over the next three to five years. Thiamethoxam, produced by Syngenta AG, and Bayer AG’s clothianidin are common farming applicants to protect crops such as corn, soybeans and canola from damage caused by insects. Thiamethoxam and clothianidin fall under a category of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics. Reports examining the link between honey bees and neonics in North America have been emerging over the past years in an attempt to explain declining bee populations. A recent review also found bodies of water contaminated with these pesticides can harm aquatic insects. Food chains within the environments are being affected by the infected insects, which are food sources for fish and birds . Related: EU approves complete ban on bee-killing insecticides “I’m thankful we’re going to see a phase-out,” said Jim Coneybeare, president of the Ontario Beekeepers Association . “I’d like it to happen sooner.” According to the association, the overwhelming use of neonics has been disastrous for bee colonies in Ontario. The survival of bee habitats is already precarious; only a little more than half were able to survive the most recent winter season alone. Farmers, on the other hand, are given few alternatives to sustain consumer demands and not have their stocks fall to pestilence. Barry Senft, CEO of Grain Farmers of Ontario, said neonics are an “important tool” in farming. Many farmers, and some beekeepers, also worry that the regulation will prompt the use of even harsher chemicals , because the development of successful eco-friendly alternatives has been slow. Related: Beekeepers file a complaint against Bayer after glyphosate was discovered in honey A third compound, imidacloprid, also produced by Bayer, will come under scrutiny in Canada by the end of the year. The EU banned the outdoor use of neonics in April, and the pesticides are undergoing scientific review in the U.S. before proposed action opens to public commentary next spring. Ultimately, the pesticide ban in Canada will face a 90-day consultation period, and the verdict will not be finalized until late 2019. Via Reuters Image via Aleksandar Cocek

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Canada moves to ban bee-killing pesticides

New Airstream trailer is built to tackle off-roading for 40K

August 1, 2018 by  
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Want to tackle rough roads in style? Airstream , the makers of the iconic “silver bullet” trailers, has just unveiled the new Basecamp X Package, a compact camper specifically designed for rugged roads. The all-terrain Basecamp X Package comes with a convertible and multifunctional rear space that delivers style and the comforts of home to any adventure off the beaten path. Clad in shiny aluminum panels, the Basecamp X Package is the more rugged cousin of Basecamp , a tiny trailer launched two years ago. The newly unveiled trailer offers all the standard Basecamp features—such as versatile storage solutions throughout and a solar pre-wire kit for renewable power hookups—as well as brand-new features. These include a three-inch lift kit for added ground clearance, Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires, a stainless steel front stone guard, a solar front window protection, and a black shadow wheel design. “Our Basecamp X encourages you to go on bigger adventures,” said Airstream CEO and President Bob Wheeler in a press release. “You can tackle rough roads and cold-weather driving with confidence. “The higher departure angle along with the aerodynamic design opens up a new world to explore.” Related: Airstream’s new Basecamp is a tiny house you can tow practically anywhere The compact unit has a base weight of just 2,635 pounds—with a maximum trailer capacity (GVWR) of 3,500 pounds—and can be easily adapted for eating, sleeping, lounging or storage. Large rear cargo hatches make loading and unloading easy. The Basecamp X Package is towable with a variety of small and mid-sized SUVs and Crossovers. The pricing for the Basecamp X Package units starts at $39,600. + Airstream

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New Airstream trailer is built to tackle off-roading for 40K

Environmentalists want to sculpt an Arctic ice ‘Trumpmore’ to show climate change is real

May 2, 2018 by  
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Would the face of a certain climate change -denying president carved on an Arctic iceberg last for one thousand years — or melt? That’s the question an environmental group is asking. They aim to sculpt Donald Trump’s face in ice “to end the debate on climate change.” Environmental association Melting Ice aims to “build the biggest ice monument ever to test if climate change is real” with what they’re calling Project Trumpmore . Inspired partly by Trump’s alleged dream of having his face carved onto Mount Rushmore, Project Trumpmore aims to make his dream come true…but perhaps not in the way he’d like. They want to sculpt the president’s face on an iceberg with the anticipation the artwork would melt away. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); The plan is to build Trumpmore to match the size of the presidents on Mount Rushmore. Read more: http://projecttrumpmore.com/#s5 Posted by Project Trumpmore on  Wednesday, April 25, 2018 Related: ‘Trump Forest’ plants trees to offset the president’s climate ignorance Nicolas Prieto, Melting Ice chairman, said in a statement, “ Global warming is one of the most important issues and topics of today. There are still people who ponder whether it’s a real issue. We want to build the monument for all of us, so we can see how long the sculpture lasts before melting. Often people only believe something when they see it with their own eyes.” According to the statement, three young men “working in the creative field” are behind the project, hoping to create a concrete symbol with what they call their scientific art project. On their website, they said if they do reach the construction phase, they’d broadcast the process, estimated to take around four weeks, on a live feed. They said “a world-leading team of Finnish and Mongolian ice sculptors” would do the carving. There’s still a ways to go — the team estimates Project Trumpmore might cost 400,000 Euros, or over $478,000 if crafted responsibly. They said on their website they’ll work to minimize the carbon dioxide emissions generated from traveling and other work on Project Trumpmore, and are aiming to launch a crowdfunding campaign. They have yet to find a location for the giant face and ask if anyone knows of one to get in touch with them. You can find out more on the Project Trumpmore website . + Project Trumpmore Image via Project Trumpmore

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Environmentalists want to sculpt an Arctic ice ‘Trumpmore’ to show climate change is real

Trump Administration decides to allow import of elephant trophies after all

March 7, 2018 by  
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The Trump Administration has decided to quietly reverse its ban of imported elephant trophies, instead stating the issue should be decided on a “case-by-case basis.” In November 2017, President Trump decided to publicly oppose the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to lift a ban on imported elephant trophies from certain African countries. Trump later tweeted that others in favor of lifting the ban would “be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal.” Apparently, changing Trump’s mind was not as difficult as he made it out to be. The decision on the big-game trophy import ban is only the latest instance of President Trump changing his mind — without explanation — on an important issue. His positions on immigration and gun control have also wildly oscillated, depending on to whom he had last spoken. Even as recently as late January, Trump defended his decision to maintain the ban. “I didn’t want elephants killed and stuffed and have the tusks brought back into [ the United States ],” said Trump in an interview . “[The decision to reverse the ban] was done by a very high-level government person. As soon as I heard about it, I turned it around.” It is not clear whether Trump once again changed his mind or if his government slipped one past him while the President was distracted. Related: Trump bewilders scientists, says ice caps are “setting records” In a rare moment of agreement, both President Trump and environmentalists have expressed skepticism as to whether the elephant trophy fees raised by countries such as Zimbabwe actually fund the conservation efforts they are intended to support. “A lot of the money has been siphoned away by corruption,” explained Rachel Bale, a wildlife reporter for National Geographic, explained on NPR’s Morning Edition , “so there are serious concerns with hunting management in Zimbabwe.” “In that case, the money was going to a government that was probably taking the money, OK?” said Trump in an interview. Ultimately, that skepticism was not enough to maintain the ban. “The Trump administration is trying to keep these crucial trophy import decisions behind closed doors, and that’s totally unacceptable,” Tanya Sanerib of the Center for Biological Diversity told the AP . “Elephants aren’t meant to be trophies; they’re meant to roam free .” Via NPR Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Sheldon Chalet combines extreme engineering with luxury on North America’s highest mountain

March 7, 2018 by  
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Sheldon Chalet is a cozy retreat perched on the flanks of North America’s highest mountain in Alaska . Set on Denali at 6,000 feet in elevation, the Sheldon Chalet offers views of breathtaking natural surroundings while enveloping its guest in a blanket of luxury and comfort. The building is anchored “deep into the granite, iron and titanium of the Sheldon Nunatak” and it offers all the amenities of a luxury resort . It sits 6,000 feet above sea level, on a glacier just below the summit of Denali, and it’s accessible only by plane. Related: Handsome timber chalet shows off the beauty of modern minimalism Guests can enjoy views of the towering peaks and the night sky while sitting around a cozy fireplace or while waiting for their personal chef to prepare fresh Alaskan fare. + Sheldon Chalet Via Uncrate

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Sheldon Chalet combines extreme engineering with luxury on North America’s highest mountain

Rimac creates an electric supercar with almost 2,000 horsepower!

March 7, 2018 by  
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The name Rimac may not be that familiar to you, but that could soon change with the Crotian automaker’s debut of the supercar of all supercars. Unveiled with significant fanfare at the Geneva Motor Show , the Rimac C_Two comes with almost 2,000 horsepower on tap and a suite of other impressive features; it’s basically what all electric carmakers should aspire to create. The Rimac C_Two has four electric motors , two in the front and two in the back that generate a combined 1,914 horsepower and 1,696 lb-ft. of torque. With that much power at your disposal, you’ll reach 60 mph in only 1.85 seconds and a top speed of 258 mph. The C_Two doesn’t just impress with the amount of power it has on tap, since it can also travel up to 404 miles on the NEDC cycle, thanks to its 120-kWh battery pack. Hook it up to a 250-kW fast charger and you’ll be able to charge it up to 80 percent in under 30 minutes. Related: Tesla-powered 1981 Honda Accord accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds Rimac is also looking to the future, since the C_Two will be capable of Level 4 autonomous driving, and it’s packed with the latest autonomous driving tech, including eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and lidar sensors. Even with all that power, Rimac describes the C_Two as a grand tourer. Open the butterfly doors and you’re greeted with a luxurious interior with three digital screens to provide all the information you need or want. There’s room for two and unlike most supercars, there’s even room for your gear. Rimac hasn’t announced the pricing for the C_Two, but only 150 units will be built. +Rimac Images @Rimac

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Rimac creates an electric supercar with almost 2,000 horsepower!

New evidence shows oil and coal were central in the decision to reduce Bears Ears

March 2, 2018 by  
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Despite lip-service to the contrary, new evidence reveals that oil and mining played a central role in the decision to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has repeatedly stated that mineral extraction was not a factor in drawing up the new boundaries for the monuments, but documents obtained by the New York Times show that this is untrue, and that Zinke – along with Utah Senator Orrin Hatch – encouraged removing protections from areas known to have oil, coal or uranium deposits. Documents show that in March 2017, Hatch asked the Interior Department to look at the boundaries of Bears Ears in order to “resolve all known mineral conflicts.” In May, Bureau of Land Management officials asked for information on a uranium mill within the monument. The resulting map, which was drawn to exclude protected areas that were thought to contain minerals, is almost exactly the same as the map Trump unveiled as he cut the size of Bears Ears. Documents also show that Zinke’s staff used coal deposit estimates when determining which parts of Grand Staircase-Escalante should be excluded from protection. “The Kaiparowits plateau, located within the monument, contains one of the largest coal deposits in the United States,” a Spring 2017 Interior Department memo said. Staff members were asked to research “annual production of coal, oil, gas and renewables (if any) on site; amount of energy transmission infrastructure on site (if any).” Minerals weren’t the only determination used in changing the boundaries. Cattle grazing and timber were also factored in. When Trump reduced the national monuments, the Bureau of Land Management started to ramp up for a practice known as “chaining” in Grand Staircase-Escalante. Chaining involves putting a large chain between two bulldozers, which then move through forests to destroy native vegetation and open the land for cattle – a devastating practice that decimates the local environment. Related: President Trump shrinks Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments by 2 million acres Zinke claimed in December that he had recommended reducing the size of Utah’s protected areas because he wanted to take “an approach in which we listen to the voices of the people, not Washington, D.C., special interests,” citing the fact that Utah government leaders were opposed to the designation of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. While about half of Utahns want Bears Ears reduced , a vast majority oppose the break-up of Grand Staircase-Escalante. Local Utah leaders have sought to reduce the monuments since they were established in order to generate money by leasing the land – but even they were surprised by the size of the ultimate reduction. “Obviously they were looking at facts other than the ones we had raised, we assume,” said John Andrews, associate director of the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. Despite Zinke’s language, it was clear early on that mining and oil extraction were the real focus for reducing the national monuments. In December it was revealed that large Uranium firms were lobbying for access to the areas . At the time, Zinke denied that energy extraction was a factor in the decision-making process. “This is not about energy. There is no oil and gas assets. There is no mine within the Bears Ears…” he said. Via The New York Times Images via Patrick Hendry and the BLM

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New evidence shows oil and coal were central in the decision to reduce Bears Ears

Coca-Cola, Nestle seek to privatize world’s second largest aquifer

February 28, 2018 by  
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Coca-Cola and Nestle are pushing to take ownership of the Guarani Aquifer in Brazil. Named for the indigenous Guarani people, the world’s second largest aquifer beneath parts of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina may soon fall under private corporate control. According to  Correio do Brasil , private meetings between the multinational corporations and representatives of Brazil’s government have occurred to start the formal process of privatization, which could guarantee their control of the aquifer for over 100 years. Activists and community groups are concerned that privatization could result in lack of accountability and profit-driven decision-making that could jeopardize the long-term health of the aquifer and those who depend on it. Corporate lobbyists for Coca-Cola and Nestle have been hard at work in Brazil since at least 2016. These companies, along with AB Inbev, Dow, and PepsiCo, belong to the  2030 Water Resources Group  (2030WRG), an organization that describes itself as “a unique public-private-civil society collaboration.” However, water rights groups have identified the group as acting to insert corporate control into what has historically been a public service across the globe. Related: 73 million trees to be planted in largest reforestation project ever The corporate drive for private water rights comes as the nation endures political tension. The early talks regarding privatization of the Guarani Aquifer began prior to the impeachment of elected left-wing President Dilma Rousoff, who was removed from office in 2016. Since Michael Temer assumed power, his administration has rolled back many of the progressive policies put in place by Rousoff’s Workers Party. “The new Brazil that is back in business…is a more prosperous, a more open country,” said Temer at Davos, “a country with more opportunities for investment, more opportunities for trade and business .” Via Correio do Brasil, Franklin Frederick/Brasil de Fato and  Mint Press News Images via Romerito Pontes/Flickr and  manufaturadeideias/Flickr

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Coca-Cola, Nestle seek to privatize world’s second largest aquifer

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