Trader Joe’s ditching single-use plastics for more eco-friendly options

March 11, 2019 by  
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An increasing number of grocery stores are ditching single-use plastics to help curb the amount of synthetic materials that end up in landfills around the world. Trader Joe’s is the most recent business to reduce plastic use in stores across the country, a move that comes after a Greenpeace initiative that garnered close to 100,000 signatures. In 2018, Trader Joe’s vowed to use more sustainable packaging to help decrease the 1 million pounds of waste it generates annually from plastics. A big chunk of that waste comes from single-use plastic bags , which the outlet has already stopped offering to customers. The company has also stopped using plastic in the produce section, replacing the traditional bags with biodegradable alternatives. Related: Cove launches the first 100% biodegradable water bottle “As a neighborhood grocery store, we feel it is important for us to be the great neighbor our customers deserve. Part of that means better managing our environmental impact,” Trader Joe’s Kenya Friend-Daniel shared. Plastic waste is a growing issue for countries around the globe. Only a quarter of plastics manufactured in the states are recycled, despite the fact that it takes significantly more energy to make plastic from scratch. If we increased recycling efforts up to three quarters, then we could save around a billion gallons in oil production and free up some 44 million yards of landfill every year. Trader Joe’s is not the first business to get rid of single-use plastics and hopefully will not be the last. Several grocery retailers in the United Kingdom have also removed single-use plastics from their stores. McDonald’s has also vowed to replace its packaging with sustainable materials within a decade, while Evian will go completely plastic free by next year. Reducing our reliance on single-use plastic is the first step in eliminating plastic waste , which often ends up in the ocean. With more and more companies like Trader Joe’s ditching single-use plastics for more eco-friendly options, we can only hope that other businesses will follow their lead and cut down on plastic use at a larger scale. Via Eco Watch Images via Shutterstock

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Trader Joe’s ditching single-use plastics for more eco-friendly options

Trump administration wants to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list

March 11, 2019 by  
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Government officials in the U.S. are looking to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list. The move, proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, would allow states in the Lower 48 to lawfully hunt populations of the gray wolf. “Recovery of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of our nation’s great conservation successes,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shared. According to NPR , the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing the proposal in the Federal Register this month. After the rule is published, officials will entertain public comments for a short period before passing anything into law. The public comments period usually lasts a few weeks. Related: 10 species at risk of extinction under the Trump administration Gray wolves were labeled endangered back in 1978, when populations dwindled to only 1,000 in the United States. Since then, the numbers have risen to more than 5,000 across the country. As populations have grown, ranchers and farmers have spoken out against the federal protections, as they often consider wolves a threat to livestock. While the numbers are a good sign, conservationists warn that the gray wolf has not fully recovered in all of the areas it used to roam. In some locations, the numbers are so small that removing the hunting ban could have disastrous effects on populations. For example, wolves may never reach recoverable levels in the southern Rockies unless the federal protections are extended. The former head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jamie Rappaport Clark, believes that states will not treat gray wolves the same as other species once the endangered status is lifted. Clark is fighting for additional protections that will ensure the wolves will not be hunted in mass once they are off the list. It is unclear when the law would be put in place if officials decide to move forward with their plan. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has yet to respond to the criticism of removing the gray wolf from the endangered species list. Via NPR Image via Christels

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Trump administration wants to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list

Climate change is wreaking havoc on Italy’s olive harvests

March 8, 2019 by  
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Italy is facing a major climate change crisis as the country’s olive harvests continue to decline. Italy’s olive industry has witnessed a 57 percent decrease in olive production, and according to a leading climate scientist, extreme weather is at the forefront of the crop shortage. Olive tree farms across Italy have been devastated by weather-related events this past year, including heavy rainfalls, unpredictable frosts, droughts and powerful winds. All of these weather patterns coincide with what climate scientists have predicted would happen in the event of global warming . Related: Biodiversity decline puts food supply at risk “There are clear observational patterns that point to these types of weather extremes as the main drivers of [lower] food productivity,” Professor Riccardo Valentini explained. Valentini noted that below-zero temperatures are not common in Italy, and extremes like this were foretold through climate change models. Research from the United Nation’s climate change panel also predicted similar weather patterns and indicates that the worst is yet to come. When it comes to olive trees, any abrupt change in temperature can have a devastating effect on the harvest. Valentini explained how a day or two of freezing temperatures can harm the trees and hurt their development. After they have experienced extreme weather , the trees never fully recover and are more susceptible to disease and pest infestations. As a whole, temperatures in Italy and the surrounding Mediterranean have gone up by around 1.4C over the past century, while rainfall has decreased by a staggering 2.5 percent. The changes in weather have cost the country over 1 billion dollars in olive production. Government officials are scrambling to come up with a viable solution but have yet to offer any resources for farmers in the region. Italy is not the only country affected by the changes in weather. The European commission recently predicted that olive harvests in Portugal will decline by around 20 percent this coming year. Greece will take a much larger hit with a decline of around 42 percent. All signs point to a continually increasing problem for European countries, as putting a stop to climate change is proving to be an intricate issue. Via The Guardian Images via vpzotova

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Climate change is wreaking havoc on Italy’s olive harvests

Episode 159: Director-investor disconnect, financing the circular economy transition

February 15, 2019 by  
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Plus, introducing our semi-regular “What I Do” series, featuring United sustainability senior manager Aaron Robinson.

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Episode 159: Director-investor disconnect, financing the circular economy transition

Why solving the problem of plastic waste begins at home

February 15, 2019 by  
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New business models and incentives for consumers are two ways to start.

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Why solving the problem of plastic waste begins at home

Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn

January 10, 2019 by  
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For many of us, a trip to the grocery store results in a ton of waste, thanks to the mountain of plastic bags and food packaging. But some stores are trying to change that by going zero-waste and selling in bulk. Precycle is a zero-waste grocery store in Brooklyn that has opened for business, and it is avoiding all plastic by having its customers buy food from bulk containers. Katerina Bogatireva, the owner of Precycle , is from Latvia, and she said that in her home country,  food waste is not acceptable. Instead, she remembers bringing reusable containers into stores. “Things like that still exist in many countries,” Bogatireva said. Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger But when she moved to the United States, she quickly assimilated and used the plastic packaging she saw everywhere. Bogatireva said that you forget your values after a while, but as she got older, she started to reflect on her childhood. “I remember looking at my mother-in-law’s trashcan and thinking, ‘this is right,’” explained the store owner. This was when she decided to open her own zero-waste grocery store, but it took years for her dream to become a reality. At Precycle, they offer food from local farmers and distributors, so customers know where their food comes from. The store’s goal is to empower customers with information, so they can reduce their environmental impact. Bogatireva said that she will take it easy on new customers at first by offering paper bags. However, she hopes to encourage people to bring their own bags and would like to see that become the new normal. Bogatireva said that everyone has to make their own choices. Just one person making a change might seem like a “drop in the sea,” but this change has to start somewhere. Actually, it just has to make a comeback. Bogatireva continued by saying that this is an old idea, not something new. + Precycle Via Tree Hugger Image via Shutterstock

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Precycle, a zero-waste grocery store, opens in Brooklyn

Millions of Christmas candles are heading to the landfill this month

January 10, 2019 by  
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The holiday season has come and gone, but part of our Christmas decorations will be here forever — or at least for the next 1,000 years. Millions of candles are heading to the landfill this January, and when it comes to holiday waste, candles are some of the worst offenders, according to a new report from business waste management service Business Waste . The popularity of candles is soaring. Not only were they on-trend for holiday gifting, but the Scandinavian trend of “ hygge ” is also playing a big part in the candle obsession. The Danish term that means “creating a warm atmosphere” has become a lifestyle goal for many and often includes luxurious blankets and glowing candles. Related: Time to put the flame out — scented candles can cause disease and poor air quality But the environmental impact of this big increase in candle sales can’t be underestimated. The plastic holders for popular tea light candles and the plastic wrap that many candles are packaged in wreak havoc on the environment , because most people aren’t recycling. Instead, the plastic casings and packaging (or the glass and metal casings) are ending up in landfills for up to 1,000 years. Household recycling is on the rise, but most people are focusing on food packaging, so things like candles are still ending up in the landfill. “As relaxing as a candle-lit room in the depths of winter can seem, households need to be aware that their choices as consumers have a direct impact on the environment,” said Mark Hall, communications director at Business Waste. “We see novelty candles flood the shelves throughout the run-up to Christmas, and while they make a nice, cheap gift, their long term impact is just not worth the brief enjoyment they bring.” In addition to the poor recycling rates of the packaging, most candles also have paraffin, which is a by-product of petroleum. When you burn these candles, it releases carbon dioxide. If you do choose to burn candles throughout the year, there are beeswax and soy alternatives which are much more eco-friendly. Aim to avoid plastic packaging, and properly recycle or reuse glass or metal components. + Business Waste Image via Pitsch

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Millions of Christmas candles are heading to the landfill this month

UK bans pet stores from selling puppies, kittens

January 3, 2019 by  
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In an attempt to protect animals from exploitation, the United Kingdom has passed a new law banning third-party commercial retailers from selling puppies and kittens. The U.K. government wants to crack down on “puppy farms” and make things more difficult for dealers who seem to have no regard for animal welfare. There was overwhelming public support for the ban of third-party sales, and Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley says the new law “is part of our commitment to make sure the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start to life.” Now, U.K. residents looking to purchase a furry friend must go directly to the breeder or a rehoming center instead of a pet shop. Veterinarian Marc Abraham, the founder of Pup Aid, says that the new law is a victory for grassroots campaigners — as well as the U.K.’s dogs and cats — and it will make breeders more accountable. Abraham also says that the ban will make it more difficult for anyone to sell illegally smuggled puppies and kittens. Related: California bans all puppy mills and requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals Animal welfare groups have also praised the new law, with one of the country’s best-known animal shelters, the Battersea Cat and Dogs home, endorsing the ban. This legislative change comes in the wake of the RSPCA asking the public for information about two people who were caught on closed-circuit TV abandoning a dog, all the while driving off and ignoring the dog’s plea to return to the vehicle. The video clip of the abandonment — which took place in early December in the town of Trentham (about 150 miles northwest of London) — has gone viral on social media. “To see the poor dog in such obvious distress, jumping up at the car as it drives away, is just heartbreaking,” said RSPCA inspector Natalie Perehovsky. “I can’t understand how someone could do this.” Via HuffPost Images via Shutterstock

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UK bans pet stores from selling puppies, kittens

Massive shipping container shopping center to pop up in Warsaw

January 3, 2019 by  
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Nearly 300  shipping containers may soon be given a new lease on life as a massive pop-up shopping center in downtown Warsaw, Poland. Designed by local architecture practice Szcz and commissioned by investor Nowa Epoka Handlu, the cargotecture proposal would transform a 2.6-acre site into one of the world’s largest shipping container retail complexes. Named Implant, the three-story modular building would house approximately 80 tenants and host mixed programming from retail and restaurants to social and cultural space. Proposed for an empty lot adjacent to Warsaw’s ?elazna Street and Chmielna Street, Implant aims to revitalize a once-thriving area that was gutted during World War II and has since struggled to return to its former brilliance. In addition to urban revitalization, the project will inject much-needed greenery into the area with open courtyards and vertical green walls. Modeled after existing shipping container pop-up malls such as London’s BoxPark and Bangkok’s ArtBox, Implant will include a usable floor area of 5,318 square meters and will be split in three main zones: food and beverage, retail, and social and cultural event space. A total of 273 shipping containers will be used: 221 40-foot-long containers and 52 20-foot-long containers. The bars and restaurants will be located on the ground floor of the three-story building while studios, shops and other services will be placed on the upper floors. Related: Boxpark, London’s first pop-up shipping container mall, opens in Shoreditch “Vertical division of functions represents the synergy between culinary consumption taking place on the ground floor, either inside or outside the bars, while more qualified functions attract people who have special interest in visiting furniture designers, craftsmen and artists located on the first floor,” the architecture firm said. “The lot is enclosed from the southern side with a lower building containing a multifunctional space for concerts, exhibitions and other events and a pop-up children’s museum accessible from the courtyard. The mix of bars, studios providing obligatory workshops for different age groups and large functions (children’s museums and multifunctional indoor space) will create a mix of users that will come to the complex due to varied motivations.” + Szcz Images via Szcz

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Massive shipping container shopping center to pop up in Warsaw

10 Things You Can Do Today for the Environment

October 22, 2018 by  
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The recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on … The post 10 Things You Can Do Today for the Environment appeared first on Earth911.com.

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10 Things You Can Do Today for the Environment

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