Green Business

Accounting for litter makes plastics more costly

Accounting for litter makes plastics more costly In the debate between plastic and…well, virtually everything else that plastic has replaced, such as paper, cloth, steel, or glass, trying to determine which material is actually better for the environment is often complex and nuanced. A way to sort it out is using the technique of life cycle analysis, which considers the entire lifetime of a product to quantify if plastic is a better or worse alternative from an environmental standpoint.

Ford becomes a weed eater & may use dandelions for car parts

Ford becomes a weed eater & may use dandelions for car parts As we roll into summer there’s always one thing that gardeners and allergy suffers dread, the lowly dandelion. While it may wreak havoc on your lawn and sinuses, the pesky weed may end up in your next set of wheels. Ford and The Ohio State University (OSU) are looking to transform dandelions from a pollen-filled menace into a source for car parts.

Going green doesn’t have to be more expensive

Going green doesn’t have to be more expensiveThere is a perception that being environmentally responsible costs more money, and that most people will naturally choose less expensive options over “green” alternatives. But such a perception is misleading. If costs of a product are truly taken into account, the green option is nearly always the economic option.

Recent articles report the unsurprising results that people make choices based on economic impacts, not necessarily on environmental ones. The New York Times featured an article describing the “fickleness” of consumers for green products. And in a study on the outlook for green vehicles, such as hybrids and EVs, JD Powers and Associates note that for most consumers “cost matters more than the environment.”

Pop Push Press makes Al Gore’s book look hip on the iPad

Pop Push Press makes Al Gore’s book look hip on the iPad Al Gore has always been a tech geek; the former Vice President once claimed that he was the guy that invented the internet. Since he left office Gore has been trying to educate the public about the environment with some help from technology like his feature film An Inconvenient Truth. With some help from Pop Push Press, Gore’s latest book called Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis was transformed into an interactive read for the iPad.

Will William & Kate’s wedding be a royally green affair?

Will William & Kate’s wedding be a royally green affair? Ever since Prince William decided to “put a ring on it,” the world has been obsessed with the preparations surrounding his wedding to Kate Middleton. People debated about what venue would be perfect, Kate’s wedding dress designer, and if David and Victoria Beckham would get an invitation. With all the fuss over the big day almost over, what will be the environmental impact of their wedding?

Amazon brings budget-priced LED light bulbs to the masses

Amazon brings budget-priced LED light bulbs to the masses As the US transitions from incandescent bulbs to more eco-friendly options, many companies are rushing to get their LED light bulbs on store shelves. The problem is that many people are put off by high price of the single bulbs when compared to cheap packs of CFLs. Amazon has teamed up with Lighting Science Group to offer LEDs that are easier on your budget.

Native grasses reduce lawn care costs and make better lawns

Native grasses reduce lawn care costs and make better lawnsThe snow and ice are finally gone, the birds are singing, and trees are beginning to leaf out. It’s that season again – lawn care season. Consumers spent $35 billion in 2007 for lawn and garden products. So we get better lawns from it right? Not really.

In fact, most lawn care results in a vicious cycle. Adding fertilizer in the spring jumpstarts the lawn growth. But that helps the weeds as well as the grass. Adding herbicide kills weeds – which also kills beneficial broad leaf plants like clover, which fixes nitrogen. The remaining monoculture of grass has no defense to pests, so pesticides need to be added. Come the dry summer, and the lawn needs watered daily so it doesn’t wither and dry-out. You water and you fertilize and you add more chemicals and – if everything goes right and the lawn grows nice and lush – you have to mow at least once or twice a week.

Greenpeace skewers Apple’s fossil fuel powered data center

Greenpeace skewers Apple’s fossil fuel powered data center Cloud computing seems to be on the lips of every IT specialist these days; stacks of servers can handle your Tweets, status updates, and download music. These data centers suck up an enormous amount of energy to operate and it often comes from dirty sources like coal and nuclear plants. Greenpeace is continuing their fight against dirty data centers and named Apple the biggest offender in a recent report.

Turning plastic into oil lands Agilyx lots of gold

Turning plastic into oil lands Agilyx lots of goldPerhaps inspired by Rumpelstiltskin’s example of spinning flax into gold, Agilyx Corporation, based in Tigard, Oregon, is turning plastic into oil. Agilyx recently announced that it raised $22 million to develop and commercialize its oil-producing process. But the economics of the technology is based less on making black gold and more on getting rid of waste plastic.

Agilyx claims it developed an energy efficient technology to convert plastic back into oil. The corporation uses pyrolysis, which is a process that heats the plastic in an oxygen-free atmosphere. The plastic is melted and then gasified, and is de-polymerized back into its constituent monomers. Impurities are separated out, and the crude oil is condensed and collected. An advantage of this process is that plastic doesn’t need t be separated into PP or PET or HDPE; it can work with mixed-waste plastic.

The economic value of caring about bats

The economic value of caring about batsNatural systems maintain the quality of life by providing vital services such as water purification, stormwater management, and pest control. But we often don’t notice or appreciate the benefits of natural systems until they are gone. This natural capital must be assessed and valued before it is too late. A recent study valued the pest control services of bats to be billions of dollars per year, just as a new disease is decimating the bat population.

Bats normally conjure images of vampires, horror movies, and night creatures. But bats are both beneficial and, in spite of their reputation, elegant. Trout anglers know this: on warm summer evenings during the mayfly hatch, as rising trout dimple the water and mayflies fly their last conjugal dance, bats flit back and forth feeding as acrobatically as any rising trout. Such an evening is often the high point of the season for a trout angler.