Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘recycling’ Category

World Cup 2014 BrasilThe FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil has so far been the biggest and most expensive tournament in soccer history. With ticket sales almost reaching full capacity and an estimate of over 500,000 visitors from around the world, the economic impact of this year’s World Cup has reached an all-time high. However, keeping this incredible event eco-friendly has been a daunting task with large amounts of pressure from environmental protection agencies around the world.

World Cup 2014 Eco Stadium

World Cup 2014 Eco Stadium

This year’s World Cup has exceeded CO2 emissions of the last World Cup in South Africa by over 1 million tons of CO2 with a total of 2.7 million tons. According to a study done by FIFA, and estimated 60% of the CO2 emissions are produced by transportation of personnel, equipment, teams, and fans coming from all over the world. Measures have been made to help prevent and offset the environmental impact such as building stadiums that run on solar power, rainwater collection facilities, and a large recycling program, but with any event on a scale and this grand is always a large environmental toll.

World Cup 2014 - I Take Care of My DestinationUNEP and Brazil’s Ministries of Environment, Sports, Tourism, and Social Development have teamed up to create and promote Green Passport Tours which promotes sustainable tourism specifically for World Cup 2014. FIFA’s head of corporate social responsibility, Federico Addiechi, pledges to offset 100% of the 2.7 million tons of CO2 emissions starting next summer with programs in reforestation and investment in wind energy and hydroelectric power.

Even with the changes that have been made to create a more sustainable World Cup, significant environmental improvements need to be made when hosting an event like the Olympics or World Cup; which emissions can equate to having 560,000 cars on the road for a year or the burning of 1.46 million tons of coal. Aside from emissions, the materials that were needed to improve Brazil’s infrastructure, build the stadiums and other buildings, power all telecommunications and TVs around the world, which has reached up to 3.2 billion viewers according to Bloomberg, also added to the degradation of the environment. With over $4 billion in untaxed revenue FIFA received for this World Cup alone, more time and money should be allocated towards the sustainability of our environment.

Environmental improvements for future World Cups have great potential if more leadership and requirements from FIFA were to be made. With hosting the World Cup being highly desirable for countries around the world, requiring more and stricter environmental standards for the host country would drastically improve environmental quality for these events. FIFA holds great power with its sponsors and host country and has the ability to use that leverage with changes such as requiring an amount of funding specifically for environmental health, eco architectural standards for all new stadiums, positioning all new stadiums to be near public transportation for less vehicle carbon emissions, or requiring an environmental advisor to assist the planning process for stadiums, hospitality and transportation.

All of these changes have the potential of making a large positive impact on the environment along with creating more awareness to the importance of sustainability. With great the support of FIFA, the World Cup could become an event not just for the love of soccer, but for new sustainable ideas that could be showcased to the world.

Read Full Post »

2014-03-21 Plastic Waste Graphic for Heathers Post VREarlier this week an article on Mother Jones highlighted a growing source of waste in American households – single serve coffee ‘cups’ used in coffee brewers like Keurig’s. According to the article, enough of these cups were sold in 2013 that they could have wrapped around the equator 10.5 times.

That’s a whole lotta trash. And specifically, a whole lotta plastic. And  most of those little cups are made of #7 plastic, which is nonrecyclable in most areas (it is recyclable, however, here in Austin).  In other words, most of those cups are going into landfills. What’s even worse is that a recent field testing of  so-called safe plastics (they’re all BPA-free) revealed that 100% of #7 plastics tested contained estrogenic activity, the very characteristic that has made BPA so controversial. From a broader perspective, virtually all plastic leaches out chemicals over time, especially in the high heat and pressure environments found in landfills. This can result in soil, water and air pollution, especially when these plastics end up in our waterways.

In other words, plastic, and specifically, the plastic waste that we individually produce, is a problem. For those of us who are not using single serve coffee cups, there are two other large culprits in our plastic waste – disposable water bottles and plastic bags.

Every year in the United States, 30 billion bottles of water are consumed. That’s almost 100 bottles of water per person living in the US. What’s more is that 80% of those completely recyclable water bottles don’t get recycled, but end up in landfills, wasting over $1 billion in plastic that could have been recycled. To cap it all off, studies have proven that bottled water is not any better for you than tap water.

2014-03-21 This may look like a Jellyfish, but it isn't. Photo Courtesy UC Davis

This may look like a Jellyfish, but it isn’t.
Photo Courtesy UC Davis

The other big culprit for plastic waste is plastic bags. Every year, over one trillion bags are used worldwide. 100 billion of those are used in the US, which ends up costing retailers around $4 billion. Less than 5% of these bags end up being recycled, and it can take anywhere from 20-1000 years for the bags to degrade completely. In the meantime, they break down into smaller pieces that readily absorb and leach toxins and are mistaken for food by animals. Plastic bag bans and taxes are already taking off across the country (including in Austin), and many stores offer small discounts for bringing your own bags.

The amount of waste created by water bottles, plastic bags, and even those little K-Cups is astronomical. Not only are plastics toxic and hard to degrade, fossil fuels are required to make them, making their environmental footprint large even when recycled.  While many of our environmental challenges are difficult to grasp and often times overwhelming, one thing that each person can do is try their best to reduce the plastic waste they produce. Drink tap or filtered water from home and use a reusable (preferably metal) water bottle to refill throughout the day. Keep reusable bags in your car so you remember to use them at the grocery store. And if you own a single serve coffee machine, try and find a reusable filter to put your own bulk-bought coffee grounds in.

It’s been reported that every square mile of the ocean has 46,000 pieces of plastic in it, but each of us can control how much of that we put in there!

Read Full Post »

Texas Mail-in Rebate Program

If you’ve considered participating… 

Funds are still available for the Texas Appliance Mail-In Rebate Program. Texas has already approved over $12 million in rebates and funds are limited, so act soon!

Funding for the program is available to Texas residential consumers on a first-received, first-issued basis according to the application’s postmark date until funds are depleted. 

  • You can check available rebate funds to see daily updates on the estimated rebate funds remaining. As funds near depletion, we will issue a notice of closure on our website.
  • Review the Rebate Eligibility Program Rules and search eligible appliance models before you purchase and install an appliance.
  • To be eligible for a rebate, program rules require that you remove and properly dispose of your old appliance. In doing so, you have one of two options to choose from: Recycling or Disposal

    NOTE: If you do NOT have an existing appliance to recycle/dispose of, OR if you keep, gift, donate or sell your old appliance, you will NOT be eligible for an appliance or recycling rebate.

  • Completely fill out an Official Rebate Application Form (PDF, 116KB), including the “Disposal/Recycling Information,” and submit according to program rules.
If you’ve already mailed in an application…
  1. It may take up to eight weeks to review and approve your application. You can check your rebate status online or call toll-free (855) 556-1312.
  2. Double check your application form to make sure it was filled out completely and accurately. An incomplete application form is the most common error; you may have overlooked something as simple as selecting the check box for “Option One: Disposal” vs “Option Two: Recycled.” You may resubmit missing information to ensure your application is processed. Please write your Rebate ID number on all resubmitted forms and supporting documentation. Check your rebate status online or contact customer service to retrieve your Rebate ID number.

    NOTE: If you do NOT select an option under the “Disposal/Recycling Information” section, then “Option One: Disposal” will automatically be selected for you and you will NOT qualify for the additional $75 bonus recycling rebate.

For other program questions, please see the Texas Comptroller’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), contact customer service or call toll-free (855) 556-1312.

Read Full Post »

Need a new refrigerator, washing machine, dish washer, water heater, air conditioner or heat pump? The the state has a deal for you.

Texas has started another round of its energy efficient appliance rebate program. As we covered in a previous blog post this is a big, sweet deal of a rebate for new energy star appliances. But because of the problems with the way the last program was run, this time it’s a mail-in rebate.

Not only will you save dollars on a new appliance, you will save money for the life of the appliance because it will use less energy and water than the old one. They even give you some extra cash if you recycle the old one so it doesn’t end up in a landfill or wasting energy in somebody’s garage somewhere.

A benefit of the federal stimulus package direct to your wallet just in time for Christmas shopping.  Because, you know– there’s nothing you want in your stocking more than a new HVAC system or fridge, right?  RIGHT?  : )

Here are the details from the State Comptroller’s office on how the program works:

Texas Appliance Mail-In Rebate Program opens today! Monday, Dec. 20, 2010

Starting today, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, Texans can purchase appliances and participate in the Texas Appliance Mail-In Rebate Program. The new $18.5 million Texas Appliance Mail-in Rebate Program is a traditional mail-in rebate program, and Texas consumers do not reserve funding for an appliance rebate. Now accepting applications! Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are distributed.

Helpful Information
Please check the Eligible Appliances, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Recycling Details and the printable resources listed below for key program information.

1.    Official Application Form for Texas Appliance Mail-In Rebate Program (PDF, 116KB)

Texans can also pick up a form at Comptroller field offices around the state. If necessary, consumers can call an automated toll-free customer information line at (855) 556-1312 to have a form mailed to their home. An application form is not required at the time of purchase, but is needed at the time of installation for disposal/recycling information.

2.     How to Apply Flyer (PDF, 187KB)

3.     Eligible Appliances Chart (PDF, 271KB)

They have added an additional 8.5 million dollars to the pool of funds left over from those that reserved funds but did not spend them, but it will be first come first served until the funds are gone.

###

By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

Read Full Post »

If you haven’t already pre-registered to celebrate the holidays at the 3rd Annual Austin Green Holiday Party, do so soon.  It is coming up soon and this year it is hosted by 10 great organizations.

Fiesta Gardens  (2100 Jesse E. Segovia St., Austin, TX 78702)
Thursday, December 16th, 2010 from 5:30pm-9:30pm

Registration:  Pre-Registration ONLY for this Event (No Cash Accepted at Door)

Network and learn about the hosting organizations and come together for a unified 2011.  Celebrate the holidays with us and enjoy music, great food, beer, wine and other beverages, as well as holiday cheer…

Live Music by: Austin Eco-Musicians (Reed Sternberg, Bill Oliver, Frank Meyer and More!) with Tribal Nation, the Austin reggae band later in the evening.

FoodBarr Mansion (Please help support our event sponsor and friend to the environmental community, the Barr Mansion.  They are catering this event, even as their own facility is being rebuilt after the fire.)

  • Blue Cheese and Winter Squash Sandwich
  • Chicken and Pepperoni Sandwich
  • Sundried Tomato White Bean Dip with Crostini
  • Basil Hummus and Cracker Shards
  • Local Organic Farm Salad Station with assorted dressings

Beverages: Beer, Wine, Sodas, Teas and water will be provided by the following sponsors:

The Co-Hosts: Texas Green NetworkPublic Citizen • SEED Coalition • Sierra ClubDesign Build Live • Austin EcoNetwork • Solar Austin • NetImpact •
Texas League of Conservation Voters • Austin Physicians for Social Responsibility

Read Full Post »

A new online film, the “Story of Electronics”, will be released on Tues, November 9. This is the newest in the series of the excellent, user-friendly Story of Stuff web-films about excessive consumerism and waste.

The Story of Electronics  tells the story of how electronics are really “designed for the dump” and not made to last or made for recycling. View the trailer at: www.storyofelectronics.org

Read Full Post »