Conservation Corner

Lakewood's Recycling Habits

On October 14th of this year, select Lakewood streets received city-issued blue recycling bins. These new blue bins will be implemented using a three-phase process with phases two and three to occur in 2014 and 2015, respectively. This program is just another step forward with the recycling habits of Lakewood residents. Recycling and re-using items is one of the easiest and best ways to help our planet. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produced 4.4 pounds of waste per day in 2011. Out of that waste, about 1.53 pounds was recycled or composted, or just under 35%. In 2012, the city of Lakewood recycled just over 50% of the waste generated by residents. This is an impressive number and Lakewood should be proud of the success of its green initiatives.

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Volume 9, Issue 25, Posted 2:41 PM, 12.11.2013

No More Sandys

It's the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. 

It's been a full year since communities across the U.S. were devastated by this superstorm--from the coastline of New Jersey to right here in our backyard. There were thirty-foot waves on Lake Erie, downed trees, lost power, and hurt and scared neighbors. For Cleveland, it took over $17 million dollars in federal aid to fix the storm damage, and that's not even counting how much people had to shell out of their own pocket to fix windows, roofs, cars, or flooded basements. That's what the storm did to us. So what can we do to it? 

We need to stop global warming. 

At first glance, that sounds like a tall order. But scientists have repeatedly found a connection between our shifting climate and the increase of extreme weather events. In a global warming future, storms like Sandy won't be freak occurances--they'll be the norm. There is overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is being caused by our actions, which is both a blessing and a curse. It's a curse because that puts the blame on our own shoulders, and a blessing because that means we can do something about it.

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 2:01 PM, 11.12.2013

Lakewood Residents Lead Charge To Clean Up Dirty Power Plants

A new campaign from Environment Ohio to get pollluting power plants to clean up their act has found a supporter in Lakewood City Councilman Tom Bullock. As the Cleveland field organizer for Environment Ohio, and a Lakewood resident, I was thrilled to hear that our representatives are concerned about the threat posed by carbon pollution and committed to clean energy.

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Volume 9, Issue 19, Posted 11:41 AM, 09.20.2013

Dan Morgan: He’s Come A Long Way To Be Green

Dan Morgan was born in Lakewood in 1958 and is quick to admit that he hasn't always focused on sustainability. In fact, he tells about his childhood and the blatant disregard he had for environment: tossing pop bottles and cans out of their boat, while navigating the sludge; throwing toys and bikes over the cliff into the lake behind their Edgewater Dr. home; and watching the garbage trucks dump at Lakewood Park.

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 8:17 AM, 03.24.2010

Green Biz Spotlight: Going Green Is For The Dogs!

After having been a dog trainer for nearly a decade, and having had much discussion around dogs’ nutritional needs with her clients, Kathleene (Kat) Berger decided to open a pet supply store that offered the good, wholesome products she was so often recommending to those clients.

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 8:17 AM, 03.24.2010

Green Living: Pets

Pets are big business here in the United States - according to the Humane Society there were over 77 million owned dogs and over 93 million owned cats, and people spent over $40 billion on them (and other pets) in 2009 alone, on things from food to waste disposal, from medical care to toys and bedding. So, how do you make sure that your pet spending is the best it can be and help your pet to live a greener life?

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 8:31 AM, 02.24.2010

Green Living: Recycle!

Disposing of trash is not cheap or easy, despite how it seems from the average citizen's experience; casually tossing that bag of trash into the bin is just the beginning. A landfill will be its home for a long, long time - plastic bottles, for example, may not even begin to decompose for up to 1,000 years - and it may leach dangerous chemicals into the land and water nearby. Though recycling is only one part of waste reduction (following reducing and reusing), it is a vital one, and is very easy to do, with the wide variety of items accepted curbside in Lakewood as well as in the new public recycling bins across the city.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 8:52 PM, 01.26.2010

Keeping Out The Cold

Though we've had a lot of nice weather so far this fall season, it's undeniable that colder weather will come, and about forty-five precent of the average energy bill goes to heating and cooling our homes. Turning down the thermostat 5° in the colder months could save up to 10% on those bills. Energy Star recommends setting your thermostat at 68° while awake and at home, and 60° while asleep or away from home (programmable thermostats are the easiest and most recommended way to achieve this and could save you more than $100 a year).

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Volume 5, Issue 24, Posted 8:48 AM, 12.02.2009

Green Biz Spotlight: The Little Engine That Does!

To Bob Wright, co-owner of Buckeye Beer Engine, being “green” is simply the right thing to do. As long as the Beer Engine has been open (13 years, the last three of which have been in Lakewood), the restaurant/brewery has focused on behaving in a socially responsible way. Since the beginning, local farmers have picked up spent grain to feed their cows or to use as compost for crops. As per Bob, “It makes the best compost…so full of nutrients.”

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Volume 5, Issue 24, Posted 8:48 AM, 12.02.2009

FAQ: Are CFLs Safe for the Environment? How Should I Dispose of Them?

Commonly known as CFLs, compact fluorescent lightbulbs are the energy saving bulbs that are replacing traditional incandescent, halogen, and other lights around many homes and apartments. They use between 60 and 80% less energy than their traditional counterparts, making them increasingly popular among stores, wallets, and daily conversations. While using a fraction of the energy, CFLs also have a longer life and thus save money over the long run. For example, CFLs typically last between 6,000 and 15,000 hours, compared to 1,000 hours for incandescent bulbs. Most will require an upfront investment, but they are becoming less expensive as they become more mainstream and will save the user upwards of $30 over each bulb's life. Additionally, the efficiency of each bulb saves 2,000 times its own weight in greenhouse gas emissions. If you want to cut your electric bill and your carbon footprint, seriously consider replacing your incandescent bulbs with CFLs, starting with your most frequently used lights. You may really appreciate the change when you get your next electric bill.

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Volume 5, Issue 22, Posted 8:47 AM, 11.04.2009

Green Business is Smart Business

Why go green?

Whether or not you are directly involved in a “green” business, building sustainable practices into your business model is a very smart thing to do. Research studies show that more and more people expect businesses to make, sell and/or support environmentally responsible products and services. They are also looking for businesses to participate in simple environmental practices (e.g. recycling). In addition, more and more people are choosing to buy locally. Many green practices will save such direct expenses as energy costs, reusing products and reducing use of paper, ink.

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Volume 5, Issue 22, Posted 11:42 AM, 11.04.2009

Don't Throw Your Trash Can Out with the Trash!

As the city prepares to make the change to automated trash collection, with new cans being delivered across the city, you're probably wondering what to do with your old trash can(s). Though many ideas hinge on being able to get it pretty clean, and some involve a bit of elbow grease, they're still worth a try to keep all that plastic out of a landfill. If your trash can is plastic, and is labelled with a recycle symbol and a #1-7, or is made of a recyclable metal, consider dropping it off at the recycling center. If not, or if you would rather make use of it further, try these ideas:

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 6:42 AM, 05.20.2009

Expanded Recycling: Reducing Landfill Fees Saves Money for Us All

Disposing of trash is not cheap or easy, despite how it seems from the average citizen's experience: after you casually toss that bag of trash into the bin, the real work (of finding someplace to put it, paying for it, and getting it there) begins. And, once that trash reaches its destination, it'll stay there for a long, long time - plastic bottles, for example, may not even begin to decompose for up to 1,000 years - and possibly leach dangerous chemicals into the land and water nearby. The city of Lakewood spent over three quarters of a million dollars to take care of all of our waste last year, and projections indicate that waste disposal costs will only go up from here. The solution? Less trash. The way to get there: more recycling.

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 5:36 PM, 05.06.2009

Making School Milk Hormone-Free

Milk: it does a body good, or so we've been told. According to milk spokespeople, drinking milk can help build better bones, promote healthy skin, teeth, and eyes, and provide nutrients and electrolytes as part of a healthy diet. Some ads even suggest it can help you lose weight.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 6:24 AM, 02.28.2009

Plastics by the Numbers by Heather Ramsey

It seems that nearly everything these days has plastic components: cleaning products and drinks come in plastic bottles, toys are either made from it or come packaged in it, and we store our food with plastic wrap and Tupperware. And, though we tend to take it for granted that these items are safe, we have recently been inundated with stories of dangerous chemical contaminants, in products from from baby bottles to toys.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 6:24 AM, 02.28.2009

Valentine's Day

Though Valentine's Day is only a few days away (or, if you've picked this up late enough, has already passed), eco-friendly chocolate is an appropriate gift throughout the year, as are organically grown bouquets and other common Valentine's gifts.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 9:15 PM, 02.10.2009

The Paper Towel Problem by Heather Ramsey

Paper products account for more than a third of waste in US landfills, with paper use expected to rise steeply over the next few decades. A large amount of this paper comes from products like paper napkins and paper towels, which are used once and, since it is not possible to recycle them, only once, before being sent to the landfill.

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Volume 5, Issue 2, Posted 11:23 PM, 01.27.2009

New Year's Resolutions by Heather Ramsey

Though you may think it is a little late to make New Year's Resolutions, it is always a good time to commit to making a positive change. So, if you've got some room on your resolution list, or haven't made any at all, consider one (or more) of these easy, and often money-saving, green options (in no particular order):

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Volume 5, Issue 1, Posted 10:16 AM, 01.14.2009

Have A Green Christmas

As with many decisions these days, choosing what type of tree is the most 'green' is a complicated one - cutting down real trees isn't generally looked upon too highly, nor is using oil-based plastic to make a fake tree, whether you keep it around longer or not. So, what is an eco-minded Christmas celebrant to do?
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Volume 4, Issue 25, Posted 1:06 PM, 11.26.2008

Buy Nothing Day

Though many are unaware of its existence, there is another sort of holiday coming up (though, depending on when you have picked up this issue, it may also just have passed): Buy Nothing Day. Though its origins lie in Canada and the day is most heavily promoted through Adbusters magazine, a Canadian social-activist and anti-consumerist publication, it has developed into an international movement, with participants in more than 50 countries. In the US, Buy Nothing Day is slated for the day after Thanksgiving, which in recent times has been labeled "Black Friday," the day when hordes of consumers rush out to malls to purchase goods at steep discounts. For the rest of the world, which generally lacks such a day, it is the Saturday afterwards...
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Volume 4, Issue 24, Posted 2:52 PM, 11.13.2008

Giving Thanks

It is almost time for the beginning of what Americans tend to call the "holiday season", when traditional holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are celebrated. Thanksgiving, that Thursday in November when we all celebrate the harvest season, or, more likely nowadays, whatever it is we feel thankful for, is nigh. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving meals of today are a great deal more stressful for our environment than the celebration upon which they are based...
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Volume 4, Issue 23, Posted 2:57 PM, 10.27.2008

Coffee: Organic, Fair Trade, and Grown in the Shade

The US consumes 20% of the coffee produced worldwide. With many drinking it daily, and the majority drinking it at least occasionally, it has become a $50 billion industry. Millions of people depend upon coffee for their livelihoods, but many rainforest ecosystems also depend upon us to purchase coffee that has been grown in a sustainable way...
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Volume 4, Issue 22, Posted 3:36 PM, 10.18.2008

The Keep Lakewood Beautiful Home & Business Awards

Dedicated to promoting the general improvement of the environment in Lakewood since 1982, Keep Lakewood Beautiful announced the winners of its Annual Beautiful Home & Business Awards at a breakfast held on Wednesday, September 19th. The Beautiful Home & Business awards began in 1984 as a way to spotlight residents and businesses who beautify and maintain their property and encourage others to do the same...
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Volume 4, Issue 21, Posted 5:01 PM, 10.04.2008

Making Halloween Greener

Halloween, though still far from the most expensive holiday, leads Americans to spend approximately $5 billion a year, a third of which goes to candy. The environmental impacts of this range from simple packaging waste (some of which ends up discarded as litter) to the costs of shipping goods from around the world, from pesticide use and harmful growing practices (as are often found in commercial cacao operations) to the use of non-renewable resources, like the oil used to make plastics...
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Volume 4, Issue 21, Posted 3:16 PM, 10.04.2008

Leaf Humus & Pansy Sale - October 18th

If you've only just started composting your leaves or don't have leaf mold or leaf humus to get your garden winter-ready, fear not - the Keep Lakewood Beautiful Leaf Humus & Hardy Winter Pansy Sale has come to your rescue...
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Volume 4, Issue 21, Posted 5:18 PM, 10.04.2008

Making the Best of the Fall

Though many of us probably wish it were otherwise, summer has ended and it is now officially autumn. Though the warmth may yet linger awhile, before we know it, the leaves will be falling, and, if you expend a tiny amount of effort, those leaves will provide a useful addition to your garden: leaf mold. Despite the unpleasant name, leaf mold is just the name for the fibrous organic soil conditioner created as leaves break down. Since trees have roots that extend deep into the soil, they are able to absorb useful minerals that other plants cannot. Some of these minerals end up in the tree's leaves and allow those leaves to break down into a useful product...
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Volume 4, Issue 20, Posted 2:07 PM, 09.22.2008

Eliminating E-Waste

For many of us, life without electronic devices is hard to imagine, whether it be computers, MP3 players, cell phones, digital cameras, printers or fax machines. Technology improves very quickly, leading many to throw out old models in favor of new ones, usually after less than 2 years of use. And, if you're anywhere close to as clumsy as I am, your cell phone gets dropped and damaged even before that 2 year contract is up...
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Volume 4, Issue 19, Posted 8:47 PM, 09.07.2008

Water Wisdom

Though the earth's surface is mostly covered by water, not even 1% of it is fresh and accessible. Hundreds of millions of people already lack sufficient access to fresh water, and, if current consumption rates continue, this could soon increase by 25% according to the UN. The lack of sanitation facilities and fresh water contributes greatly to the incidence and spread of disease, from cholera to hepatitis to dysentery to simple infections...
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Volume 4, Issue 18, Posted 1:57 PM, 08.24.2008

Eco-Conscious Computing

Though computers undoubtedly help us in our green endeavors, from finding ways of reusing our old stuff to telecommuting to reading up on green issues online, they are also a big culprit in both our excesses in energy use and toxic landfill pollution. The manufacturing of computers involves a number of dangerous chemicals, including mercury, lead, cadmium, and chromium, which have been linked to brain, kidney, and liver damage and cancers...
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Volume 4, Issue 17, Posted 6:49 PM, 08.07.2008

Back to School: Eco-Education

Though the heat is still in full swing, summer is quickly segueing into Back to School season for parents and kids everywhere. Unfortunately for the planet, schools are a big source of waste, from disposable lunches to last year's school clothes to half-used notebooks. The average college student, for example, creates over 600 pounds of waste per year, including more than 300 pounds of paper and hundreds of disposable cups. Luckily, though, there are ways to reduce this waste, from elementary school up through college and the work world...

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Volume 4, Issue 16, Posted 11:35 AM, 07.24.2008

Keeping Cool

Regardless of your views on global warming/global climate change, there is no denying that the last few summers have been among the hottest of the last 150 years. The heat waves of 2003 claimed thousands of lives in Europe and heat waves in 1995, 1999, and 2006 each killed several hundred here in the US. Unfortunately, for the energy conscious, one major response to the heat consumes great quantities of energy in the process...
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Volume 4, Issue 15, Posted 9:47 AM, 07.11.2008

Safe Summer Sun Strategies

As sun doesn't often make an appearance in the Cleveland area, many of us may be tempted to spend as much time in it as possible when it's here. However, it is increasingly important to take precautions when out of doors to prevent skin damage from UV rays, and hopefully, not harm the environment in the process. Skin cancer is now the most common cancer in the US, with more than one million cases each year, some of them fatal. Though UVB rays are the cause of both sun burn and skin cancer, UVA rays are believed to exacerbate UVBs effects. Thus, it is important to use sunscreens that are effective against both, termed "broad spectrum" coverage...
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Volume 4, Issue 14, Posted 1:07 PM, 06.25.2008

Green(er) Grilling

If you're planning on hosting a BBQ or other outdoor gathering, consider the impact it will have on the planet. While it may seem a small matter to light the grill on the 4th of July, the impact of the entire country doing so adds up to enough energy to power 20,000 households for an entire year, while releasing 225,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Luckily, there are a number of ways to reduce this impact, from how you cook to what you eat to what you use to serve it...
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Volume 4, Issue 13, Posted 3:16 PM, 06.13.2008

Driving Down Gas Usage

The price of oil continues to be discussed incessantly, with most talk centering on how high it will go or who plans to do what about it. Perhaps instead, we should consider how to use less of it. Since barrel upon barrel of it is turned into gasoline to fuel our personal vehicles, all of us have something to gain from doing a few simple things while driving that can make that gallon of gas go a little farther:..
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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 7:25 PM, 05.29.2008

Love Your Local Lettuce!

The average meal travels anywhere from 1,500 to over 10,000 miles from the farms (or, more likely nowadays, factories) to your plate; these miles are often referred to as food miles. Each component of a meal, from fruits and vegetables to meats and grains to spices, has flown or been driven from where it was grown (or raised) to where it was processed to where it was packaged, THEN to a store where you travelled to buy it...
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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 12:06 AM, 05.16.2008

Bug Off!

Whether in the garden, in the home, or during picnics and BBQs, spring and summer may bring unwanted pests in addition to the warm weather. Americans spend millions of dollars to use millions of pounds of pesticides each year to try to rid themselves of pests, killing innocent birds and other animals and affecting human health in the process. Meanwhile, only around 5-15% of bugs in the yard are pests. Some, like ladybugs and praying mantises, help control other, less desirable, bugs, and others (honeybees, for example) pollinate plants to grow the food we eat...
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Volume 4, Issue 10, Posted 8:08 PM, 05.04.2008

Greening Your Lawn

Grass lawns have their benefits: the soil provides a home for worms and insects, which then provide delicious meals to birds; they can prevent soil erosion, filter contaminants, and absorb airborne pollutants; they clean the air as they convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. But, before you get out the hose to start watering your lawn for the warmer months, consider the fact that many households use more water outside in the summer than they do for everything else during the rest of the year...
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Volume 4, Issue 9, Posted 9:02 PM, 04.16.2008

Community Gardening in Lakewood: Help Us Grow!

April is National Gardening Month, a time when people across the country celebrate the benefits of gardening. Here in Lakewood, a great way to celebrate is by taking advantage of community gardening with the Lakewood Earth & Food (LEAF) Community. The LEAF Community, whose initiatives also include Community Supported Agriculture, Earth Building, and Bulk Buying, plans to have several new gardening sites for the upcoming growing season, in addition to the already established Plover Patch in Bird Town...
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Volume 4, Issue 8, Posted 3:51 PM, 04.09.2008

Earth Day is Coming!

Celebrated for more than 35 years, each April 22nd, Earth Day has been important in promoting environmental awareness around the world. Its growing significance has made it the largest secular holiday in the world, involving more than one billion people, according to the Earth Day Network. The Earth Day Network, founded by the original creators of Earth Day, has seen it as a way to promote civic engagement, broaden the meaning of "environment," mobilize communities, support groundbreaking educational programs, and assist with worldwide events...
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Volume 4, Issue 8, Posted 11:01 PM, 04.03.2008

Green Your Spring Cleaning

Whether it's time for an annual Spring Cleaning or just the regular kind of cleanup, it is important to consider what your cleaning products are made of. According to the EPA, the air inside our homes is typically 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside, largely due to household cleaners and pesticides...
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Volume 4, Issue 8, Posted 9:23 PM, 04.03.2008

A Pragmatic Prescription for Paper

Though paper is more recycled than glass, aluminum, or plastic, it is still also the largest portion of the waste stream, at about 35% and 85 million tons. Each year, 67 million tons of paper are used in the U.S.--700 pounds per person per year and twice as much as in 1960--and paper production has been projected to increase by more than 75% by 2020. Recycling is very beneficial in terms of saving resources and space in landfills (recycling 1 ton of office paper saves almost 6 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, 2 tons of wood, and 3 cubic meters of landfill space). In general, recycling paper creates 35% less water pollution and 74% less air pollution than disposing of it as waste...
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Volume 4, Issue 7, Posted 2:28 PM, 03.21.2008

The Wastefulness of Water Bottles

According to the World Wildlife Fund, 1.5 million tons of plastic are used each year to make bottles of water for the US. The energy put into this effort is enough to power 190,000 homes or 500,000 cars. These bottles are then used to carry water that is, in general, no better than the average tap water, but may have a few chemicals added for "taste" that add nothing to the nutritional value. Of the 50 billion bottles used by Americans last year, around 38 billion (more than 75% and over $1 billion worth of plastic) ended up in the waste stream...
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Volume 4, Issue 6, Posted 10:05 PM, 03.11.2008

The Plastic Plague

Since their introduction in the eighties, plastic grocery bags have become ubiquitous, not only in grocery stores and your homes, but also strewn across the landscapes of cities and floating in the world's oceans. Because of their widespread presence as litter in trees and on streets, they are often referred to as "white pollution" in China, the "national flower" in South Africa, and the "national flag" in Ireland...

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 12:34 PM, 02.23.2008

The Dish On Fish

For many, the Lenten season is now in full swing, prompting a whole host of Friday Fish Fries as faithful Christians forego eating meat on Fridays. With this in mind, it seemed appropriate to consider the state of the world's fisheries and provide a little insight into how to choose the fish that have been harvested with the least negative impact to the planet...
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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 8:28 PM, 02.09.2008

Phantom Loads

Most appliances that use electricity, including televisions, DVD players, computers, stereos, and kitchen appliances, consume energy even when they are not powered on. This energy is often referred to as a Phantom Load, due to its invisibility to many consumers and its largely pointless use of energy...
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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 5:14 PM, 01.23.2008

Conservation Corner: The Third R (Recycle!)

After reducing and reusing, recycling is the final priority in waste reduction, and probably the one with which we are all most familiar. In 2006, for example, Americans recycled around 82 tons of trash, saving the equivalent of more than 10 billion gallons of gasoline in the process. However, this recycling is only about 30% of the trash we are creating. If we increased this number by only 5%, we could reduce emissions by the equivalent of 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide...
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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 4:46 PM, 01.10.2008