Friday, November 21, 2008

Gimme 5

Starting in January, Preserve, a household product maker, will be accepting all #5 plastics for recycling. As part of a new “Gimme 5” program, Preserve will be arranging a partnership with Whole Foods to have bins for you to take your #5 plastics, such as butter and yogurt tubs, reusable plastic bottles, medicine bottles, and Brita water filters.

The company will be taking these plastics and reusing them for products such as toothbrushes, razor handles and kitchen ware (instead of filling landfills). The activated carbon and other filter media in the Brita filters will be sent to “be regenerated for alternative use and converted into energy” according to press releases put out by both Preserve and Brita.

If you don’t have a Whole foods near you, you can still send your #5 plastics directly to Preserve. For more information visit Preserve.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Green your Ride"

What if a single inexpensive upgrade could significantly cut your car’s emissions while simultaneously increasing its fuel efficiency? That is the idea behind this new product called ‘Blade,’ created by Sabertec. Blade is an exhaust filtration unit. It filters matter particles as well as increasing catalytic converter efficiency. This new device makes some pretty fantastic claims, but is it truly cracked up to be - or just another piece of green-washed bling out to pilfer your pockets?

Blade has been approved by the California Air Resources Board and the EPA. It is capable of reducing greenhouse gasses by up to 34%, filtering vehicle air pollution by up to 57%, and increasing your vehicle’s fuel sufficiency by 10-30%. Blade reduces emissions with a filter that captures post-catalytic particulate matter, also decreases the time it takes for your vehicle’s catalytic converter to heat up and prevents exhaust from slipping back into the combustion chamber as it is expelled, theoretically maximizing gasoline efficiency.

But, “Blade relies upon disposable filters, which must be replaced every 3,000-10,000 miles, cost $20 a pop, and will presumably end up in a landfill. Second, how can a device that by nature filters and restricts exhaust prevent it from trailing back into the combustion chamber? ... perhaps the most problematic aspect of the Blade is the way it empowers car culture by giving free license to gas guzzlers to parade about under an environmental banner: “Blade your ride… because you should feel good about what you drive”. The device even comes with a physical badge to identify your vehicle as “eco-optimized”. Bill O’Brien, the CEO of Sabertech says that “really, when you look at blade, it’s the best thing you can do for your car from an environmental perspective.” He continues to say that “a lot of people put these on their cars just because of how it looks.”

This conflation of image with eco sets a dangerous precedent, and I can already envision hordes of “eco-optimized” SUV’s sporting these banners as a justification to continue on polluting as normal. The blade may help in cleaning up car exhaust, but it ignores the number one way to reduce vehicle emissions: simply don’t drive - walk, ride a bike or use public transportation.”

via Treehugger and inhabitat

Frustration Free, Ouch Free

Amazon introduced ‘Frustration Free Packaging’ just in time for this holiday season. Right now, they currently have 19 products; with the hopes of expanding into more; with this new Frustration-Free packaging.

“If you’ve ever tried to open a plastic package twice the size of the product inside and ended up with box cutters in one hand and carpal tunnel syndrome in the other you may know ‘wrap rage.’ Then once you finally got the plastic off, you still had 18 wires to unwind and a mountain of mostly unrecyclable trash.”

Working with manufacturers, Amazon is trying to eliminate the awful plastic clamshell and other wasteful packages in exchange for recyclable brown boxes that are easy to wrap and unwrap.