Sustainability Initiatives

Cheat Sheet, “Toxic! Your Favorite Kitchen Products Could Kill You”

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Cook, slice, meal prep, sanitize — all of these tasks are performed in the kitchen. Unfortunately, these are all tasks that could potentially harm you and your family with diseases like cancer, bacterial infections, and more. Before you panic and throw away all of the kitchen products you own, read on to see which ones could be harmful to you and what to look for when buying new ones.

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The Sun Chronicle, “Take Five: Real versus artificial Christmas trees”

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There are two distinct camps when it comes to Christmas trees. And no, I’m not talking about rainbow-colored lights versus white lights.

There are those that prefer the natural pine scent and elegant beauty of a freshly-cut live tree and those that opt for the convenience, cost-effectiveness and ease of the artificial tree. Today, we let each side make its case and look at five factors in determining which better suits your taste.

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Green Biz, “Why consumer electronics giants are flunking toxic phaseouts”

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Ten years ago, some of the biggest names in the consumer electronics industry — Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Samsung, Apple and others — made ambitious public pledges to phase out the worst hazardous substances from all products. With the exception of Apple, the latest Greenpeace “Guide to Greener Electronics” reveals that most of these companies largely have failed to live up to those pledges.

As a former project leader for the Greenpeace campaign to create solutions to the electronic waste crisis, I have some thoughts on what I believe can be learned from these long-term trends in the electronics sector and the implications both for companies making new sustainability commitments and those striving to ensure their commitments match the scale of the challenges ahead.

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The Washington Post, “The world produces more than 3.5 million tons of waste a day – and that figure is growing”

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Since early 2016, I have traveled to six major cities around the world (Jakarta, Tokyo, Lagos, New York, Sao Paulo and Amsterdam) to investigate how they manage — or mismanage — their waste. There are some remarkable differences. And a question emerges: Is this just garbage, or is it a resource?

The world generates at least 3.5 million tons of solid waste a day, 10 times the amount a century ago, according to World Bank researchers. If nothing is done, that figure will grow to 11 million tons by the end of the century, the researchers estimate.

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Builder Online, “How to Choose Green Building Materials for a Healthy Home”

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Common building or remodeling supplies—like flooring, plumbing, insulation or drywall—can contain toxic chemicals that can present potential health hazards. Homeowners are becoming more aware of what it means to live in a healthy home, and will pay more for a home that doesn’t make them sick. Designers also say that healthy living is driving interior design trends, especially in the kitchen according to recent Houzz surveys.

Chemical pollutants can build up in the indoor air we breathe, released from things like building products, carpet, paint, and other products you wouldn’t expect chemicals to be hiding. That’s why it’s more important than ever for builders to choose products and building materials that are clean and chemical-free, and improve the indoor air quality of the home.

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Chicago Tribune, “‘It’s about time this was cleaned up’: Divers remove junk reef off California coast”

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Divers are removing hundreds of old tires, plastic jugs and other junk that was dumped off the Southern California coast nearly 30 years ago by a man who thought he was helping the ocean environment. The cleanup began last week off of Newport Beach, the California Coastal Commission announced Wednesday.

 

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Recycling Today: “Groups vow to raise $150 million for plastic recycling”

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The nonprofit organization Ocean Conservancy has formed an alliance with partners that include the Trash Free Seas Alliance, Closed Loop Partners, PepsiCo, 3M, Procter & Gamble, the American Chemistry Council and the World Plastics Council to work to raise $150 million for a new funding mechanism to prevent plastic waste from flowing into the ocean.

The initiative is being designed to fund waste management and recycling solutions in Southeast Asia, with a focus on investments to improve collection, sorting and recycling markets, says the group, which met in early October 2017 in Malta at the Our Ocean 2017 conference.

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Grand Rapids Business Journal: “Commission: $271B needed for Great Lakes water systems”

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DULUTH, Minn. — State leaders said the Great Lakes region needs to drastically improve public water systems. The Great Lakes Commission has called for upgrading wastewater treatment plants, stormwater pipes and drinking water filtration systems. The Ann Arbor-based commission, which represents the region’s eight states, said a conservative cost estimate is $271 billion.

 

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Woodworking Network: “Watson Furniture provides transparency in its product materials”

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POULSBO, Wash. – Watson Furniture is a manufacturer of office and contract furniture, including tables, desks, storage products, markerboards, dividers and furniture collections. Watson believes people have a right to know where their furniture came from, and whether there are harmful or toxic ingredients in products that go into offices where they spend 40 hours a week. They also want to assure customers that the materials Watson uses in production are sustainably sourced.

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