Archive for the ‘Green Living’ Category
September 16th, 2009
While it’s easier than it used to be to find truly green products out there, it’s still not that easy. It’s often hard to find that Energy Star label on appliances or home electronics, even if the product qualifies. And there seem to be five dubious green claims for every one legitimate one.
Through time, better programs are being put in place by governments and companies to separate out the green from not-so-green, and journalists (including bloggers) are always there to poke holes in undeserved claims.
The past week brought a couple of items that all green shoppers will find useful / interesting:
- Inhabitat’s Evelyn Lee reviewed the green claims made by Method home products. Her verdict? Very green! Read her original post here.
- CNET wrote about the revised Energy Star standards for TVs, just released by the EPA on September 3rd. The new standards are pretty tight and draw a brave line in the sand: TVs over 50″ in size have to meet the same Energy Star limits as those under 50″, regardless of how it performs against its supersized peers. The standards for TVs smaller than 50″ have been tightened significantly too.
And, of course, you can make use of the green shopping tools we profiled awhile back. The Good Guide is always adding new products and categories to their 70,000+ item database, so with their help you’re likely to be able to find many green options in a store near you.
Popularity: 23% [?]
September 14th, 2009
Over 4 billion people in the world have cell phones. They’re handy, portable, inexpensive and we wonder how we even got along with out them before we had one. Cell phones are here to stay, there’s no doubt about that. But there are mounting concerns about the adverse health affects from radiation emitted from your cell phone. Nothing has been proven, but considering that a cell phone operates by sending out radio waves made up of electromagnetic radiation, it’d be wise to be conscious and make smart choices. All phones release radiation, but some release more than others, so one way to make smarter choices is to choose a phone that emits less. The Environmental Working Group has just provided a new online Cell Phone Radiation Guide providing the radiation levels for about 1,000 cell phones. What’s your cell phone’s radiation level?
Popularity: 23% [?]
September 11th, 2009
Pavement is one of the defining characteristics of our urban existence. From pop-culture terms like “asphalt jungle” to the Joni Mitchell song and its famous lyrics about paving paradise for parking lots, pavement is often used as a symbol of both the progress and peril of our urbanizing ways. Unfortunately, all of this pavement is more than a downer in our collective psyche. By catching car-based pollutants and funneling rainfall straight into storm drains and gutters, pavement destroys rivers and streams and kills the animals and plants that depend on them. Oh, and it also produces the dirty water that makes millions of people sick each year after they swim in polluted water.
Unfortunately, it’s much easier to lay pavement down than it is to take it out. The physical process is difficult, it’s hard to dispose of, and most of our zoning regulations and building codes make it difficult to remove once it’s in place. Decommissioning a parking lot or underused street for environmental reasons isn’t for the faint of heart, but fortunately there are some ambitious folks out there willing to confront the challenge head-on. Read on to see how they’re creating some beautiful and useful public spaces. (more…)
Popularity: 23% [?]
August 27th, 2009
We love our Kindle, and for many reasons. No more newspaper deliveries at 5AM or cold walks outside to pick them up. I can bring 15 books on vacation without slipping a disc. And my bedside table no longer looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But a recent study seems to confirm another reason why I love the Kindle (and I’m sure why I’d love Sony’s equivalent): it’s lighter on the environment than our tried-and-true paper books, newspapers and magazines.
The Cleantech Group, in a report published a couple weeks back, quantified the carbon and tree protection benefits of using a Kindle vs. having books shipped to you (or, even worse, driving to the store and buying one), and came up with some pretty staggering numbers: an average e-Book reduces physical book purchases by about 23 books a year, with carbon dioxide savings of about 370 pounds per year (via Earth2Tech.com). If you combine that per-unit number with sales projections for e-Books over the next few years, the Cleantech Group estimates that e-Books could cut carbon dioxide emissions by 500,000 tons in 2010 and 3.1 million tons by 2012.
Why such large numbers? Think about the path a book takes from the forest to your home:
- Trees are cut, transported and processed into paper;
- Paper is shipped to book printers/publishers, often across the globe;
- Books are shipped to retailers via a multi-tier distribution system;
- You then either purchase a book in a store (and drive to get there), or have a book shipped to you.
The savings above DO take into account the carbon costs of producing an e-Book reader. According to Earth2Tech, the carbon dioxide emissions that come from making and transporting a Kindle are around 370 pounds, meaning that you begin saving carbon dioxide once you’ve used your Kindle for a year (assuming you read 23 books - read more, and you begin saving sooner). And, if you read newspapers or magazines on your Kindle, the savings are even greater given the short lifespan and high weight of your typical periodical.
Similar logic applies to downloading music electronically, so you can also feel good about grooving to your favorite tunes on an iPhone as well. Read more about that in this article from Earth2Tech.
+ via Earth2Tech
Popularity: 4% [?]
August 12th, 2009
Blue jeans are classic, and a staple in almost every American’s wardrobe. They’re comfortable, versatile, durable and they look great too. There are jeans for every shape and size and if you ever find a pair of jeans that fit you perfectly - buy them. That is, as long as they’re organic cotton or vintage. And when you’ve worn out the knees or moved on to a better fit, make use of your old jeans by recycling them. Why this emphasis on eco jeans?
Popularity: 8% [?]