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Study: Consumers are aware of food waste, but don't care enough to stop it

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A new study published by the scientific journal Plos One—co-authored by PhD student Danyi Qi and Professor Brian Roe of Ohio State University—found that food waste has yet to become a pressing issue for most consumers.

In July 2015, 500 people representative of the U.S. population were surveyed. Of the respondents, 58% said they knew that food waste was bad for the environment and 77% of respondents felt guilty about it. Yet, 53% of respondents said they're not willing to change their behavior and the same percentage thought it would be hard for their household to do so.

Despite ongoing coverage of scientific literature showing that date labels aren't linked to food safety, 70% of respondents said they thought throwing away food after its expiration date helped reduce the potential of food-borne illness. The concept that some food needs to be wasted in order to ensure meal freshness and quality was supported by 59% of respondents.

The fact that an estimated 40% of food is wasted in the U.S. every year and the country has a goal of reducing food waste 50% by 2030 are well-publicized at this point. The issue has brought celebrity chefs to Capitol Hill and a bill proposed by Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine that would standardize date labels has also received lots of coverage. Yet outside of the waste and food industries this issue still doesn't seem to be resonating with consumers.

The study found that 24% of respondents think they're too busy to worry about it. One would think that financial factors might get people's attention, but only 42% of respondents recognized that wasted food equals wasted money. In an even more telling statistic, only 14% of respondents thought that they wasted more food than households of a similar size.

In conclusion, the study's authors say that education around food date labeling would be a useful step forward. Organizations such as Harvard's Food Law and Policy Clinic have been very active on label reform and initiatives such as the Natural Resources Defense Council's "Save the Food" campaign are trying to give the issue national attention.

By Cole Rosengren | July 25, 2016

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle; Confused?

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

You might have listened several times:  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – the three ways to reduce solid waste. You might have been impressed to observe their rhythmic phonic. But you hardly have understood its real spirit because such words have become quite a buzzword in our social sector.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: What the heck are they?

Reduce

It is the first element of entire phrase of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It seems very simple but it is actually the litmus test of our environmental friendliness. If we follow this tip we have to entirely change our whole life style. Did you ever see a customer insisting the shopkeeper stuff as many articles in a small bag as possible? This is called reduce. It aims to use the things as little as possible because we throw them away after their use. Cans, bags, bottles or any such articles we use to carry or store things we must use in minimum number. Its easy example is use of paper. Write down on both the sides of a paper and don’t stop here even write in its margin over the header and footer; means fully use it then throw it away. This is the basic spirit of the reuse.

Reuse

How easy it is to say reuse. But we sometimes make it a status symbol to throw away a thing after its use and avoid using it again. Did you ever see a person received a greeting card and reused its envelope by sending back the card to sender in the same envelope by just pasting a name tag over it? Is it very funny? It seems very funny but actually it has a purpose. So make reuse your habit. Whenever and wherever possible reuse the things if they are not harmful to do so.

Recycle

It sounds so technical and we look to factories which recycle the things. In most of the cases we can do it by ourselves. Keep the leftover rice of overnight and mix it into freshly boiled vegetables and yummy sauces the next day and enjoy a Chinese cuisine. Put some glaze paper around the tin of a cold drink and use it as a pen keeper. Here also you have to apply your creativity to keep recycling going. In this way we can save our environment from garbage pollution as much as we can through these three killer tips. Do your share to care for our environment.

*Written by Mimuba - www.pollutionpollution.com

Students Create Garbage Disposal Attachment for Pre-Processing Compost

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 14, 2016
  • A team of six students from Rice University have created a prototype called the BioBlend for in-home food waste processing. The motor-operated unit is attached to a garbage disposal under the sink to further grind up food and strain out the water. The resulting material can be used for composting or biogas generation.

  • The students are also working on a website that would track user input volumes, provide advice on which items are best for composting, and provide alerts if the capture drawer was full or left open.

The students began working on this project after the school's Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen tasked them with finding a way to change user behavior. Prototypes will be installed at the Chalmers University of Technology's HSB Living Lab in Sweden for further testing by students in residence. Local organics collection is available in that area of Sweden and students could potentially set the material they process through their BioBlends out for pick-up.

The use of in-sink garbage disposals has seen a resurgence lately. They've been recommended as a cheaper option for collecting organics in New York and Philadelphia has begun mandating them in new homes as of this year.

While the device will be useful in raising awareness among residents of the food they're disposing, it's unclear what role it would play in existing collection systems. Curbside programs accept most types of organic waste regardless of its consistency and many cities with in-sink disposal units are recovering gas from the material at anaerobic digestion facilities. The units could be useful for areas that don't have biogas recovery systems or for residents that want to do at-home composting.

By Cole Rosengren | July 1, 2016 www.wastedive.com

Transforming recycling promotion into a fine art

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A county in Washington state has over the past decade developed a recycling promotion event that draws tens of thousands of attendees, all while supporting markets for recovered materials.

Located in downtown Vancouver, Wash. and held annually on the last weekend in June, Clark County's Recycled Arts Festival was started 11 years ago to help educate and engage the public in the county of over 420,000 residents.

The two-day festival this year featured over 150 vendors selling artwork or goods made from reused, recovered or recycled materials collected in the region. Items on display included ukuleles made from recovered cigar boxes, new fashions made from scrap clothing and delicate butterflies made from used cans of soda.

But the event does more than highlight local artisans – it also acts as a powerful outreach tool.

As residents are perusing the recycled artwork for sale, they are also getting an education on diversion and sustainable activities. Sprinkled throughout the festival are numerous exhibits from Clark County's various environmental departments and efforts, such as its Master Composter & Recycler program, Washington State University's Master Gardener program and the Clark County Habitat for Humanity Store.

"Our goal with this festival is really to raise awareness about waste reduction," Sally Fisher, festival project manager from the Clark County Department of Environmental Services, said in a video posted on Facebook following the event. "And hopefully inspire [others] to be as interested and passionate about waste reduction and creative reuse as we are."

Fisher also noted more than 75 percent of the funding for the event comes from exhibition fees and the event's sponsors, a varied group including the Clark County's primary hauler, Waste Connections, as well as local financial institutions and auto dealerships.

One booth at the festival, Tossed & Found, educates residents on how some of the materials and products that they bring into their homes can be recycled, reused or composted. A craft table at the exhibit allowed kids to turn recovered materials into art of their own, with leftover reusable materials heading to the area Humane Society’s ReTails Thrift Store after the festival.

By Dylan de Thomas, Resource Recycling- July 5, 2016

Steora Smart Bench arrives in the United States

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 06, 2016

The Fibrex Group is pleased to introduce the first Steora Smart Bench available in the United States, and a business partnership with Include.  Steora was invented by Wiz-Kid Innovator Ivan Mrvos of Include j.d.o.o in the Republic of Croatia.  Include has developed the most technologically advanced and attractive solar smart bench on the market today.

Steora Smart Bench’s unique design provides self-sustaining green solar energy to power a large suite of applications such as cell phone charging, WiFi Hot-Spot Internet Connection, area LED lighting, sensor data gathering capabilities and temperature control.  Yes, it even has a built-in cooling fan system to keep the seating area below 80F on hot days!

Steora Smart Bench is a sustainable gathering space to socialize and stay connected. Steora also brings a note of ultra-modern design that can enhance or blend in with existing urban landscapes but will always draw attention. Being on the front edge of innovation, the Steora Smart Bench will make a visible and functional green statement for years to come.

Transform your properties to be smarter and greener with the Steora Smart Bench. Public spaces want to support and attract the mobile generation by providing more charging device options than ever before. Welcome Steora to become an essential part of your modern, daily life.

Steora is by far the most advanced solar smart bench on the market and is optimized for continuous public use. It was developed to satisfy the future needs of sustainable and smart connected urban spaces.   By creatively harnessing green solar energy, the Steora Smart Bench provides USB and wireless cell phone charging, mobile WIFI hot-spot Internet, area lighting, seat cooling, local advertising information, sensor and data gathering features.

The Fibrex Group, Inc. is known for its original product line of innovative green design site furnishings, solar bollards and playground equipment.  We are very excited about our latest entry in the smart urban furniture market and look forward to working with the early IoT and Smart City adaptors.  Steora benches are in stock and ready to be shipped from our warehouse in Virginia.

How to Teach Children Eco-Friendly Habits

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Contributing to the overall sustainability of the environment in even a small amount can make a considerable difference in the long run. By regularly practicing eco-friendly living you do exactly that. However, in order to truly create the change that we want to create, it’s important we get others involved in conserving and recycling as much as we can. So why not start with our own kids? After all, it’s easy to build good values/principles when someone is young.

Encouraging green or eco-friendly habits in children starts with you. Here’s how you can help them developing these habits:

#1: Set a Good Example

Being a parent, you are your child’s first role model. So if you want them to live in an eco-friendly manner then you need to live that way. You need to demonstrate how it’s supposed to be done. For example, if you want your kids to conserve water by turning off the water when brushing their teeth, then do it yourself first. You can do many such things such as: not leaving the lights on when leaving a room, unplugging any equipment/appliance that is not use, etc. When your children see you do something positive, they follow your pursuit.

#2: Reuse, Recycle and Reduce

When you go out shopping make sure you use a reusable bag so that your kids know the importance of that practice. Also, get your kids involved in decluttering your home by throwing away or selling the unnecessary items, while safely storing what is useful. If you live in a hot place like Phoenix, AZ rent climate controlled self-storage to store your stuff and instead of discarding reusable items between children, so that you can reuse them in the future without letting them clutter your home. When it comes to recycling, work with the kids to create fun and decorative boxes that can be used for sorting and separating glass, paper and plastic.

#3: Plant a Garden

Saving money on groceries and eating organic food is a great way to show your children the importance of going green. Preparing and planting a garden with your children will help you do just that. Besides that, when you let them get in the dirt and experience how mother earth works, you’ll have them love nature and the whole idea of going green. However, see to it that you don’t compromise when it comes to being organic in your approach. Avoid using pesticides and use natural seeds at all costs.

#4: Begin an Energy Saving Project

One of the best “eco-friendly” teaching that you can impart to your children is to be independent of “public utilities”. Show them how installing your own solar power generating system can help create energy the eco-friendly way. This can be a fun project that your kids can get involved in. If you do some online research you’ll easily be able to find good training videos/material to get a good, viable start. By teaching your children about solar power, they not only learn how to save energy, but also money.

*Originally posted by www.ecochildsplay.com

RECYCLING AND REUSE TIPS FOR THE SUMMER SEASON

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 21, 2016

With the Summer season finally here, we offer the following tips to make this summer better than ever!

  • Rather than buying small, travel-sized toiletries, fill reusable containers with shampoo, soap, and other necessities.
  • Reuse plastic or paper shopping bags to pack items for your trip and recycle them afterwards. Plastic shopping bags are perfect for keeping dirty shoes and wet bathing suits separate from other items in your suitcase, while paper bags are great for packing snacks for the car.
  • Choose electronic tickets when booking airline flights to reduce paper waste.
  • Take only napkins, condiment packets, free brochures, maps, or coupons that you will actually use.
  • Take along plastic bags to collect your used beverage containers for recycling at rest stops.
  • If you change your own motor oil, recycle it at a “quick lube” shop, gas station, or auto store that accepts used motor oil for recycling.
  • To pass the time on long drives or rainy vacation days, bring scrap paper for drawing and games.
  • Start an art project with “found” objects – collages and sculptures made from discarded items are a growing trend!
  • Shop at stores that specialize in used sports equipment – you’ll save money and promote reuse.
  • When you’re stuck inside on a rainy day, clean out your closet and collect the old clothes and toys for donation to a charity or your next garage sale.
  • Spend your free time volunteering at a local park or helping out with environmental clean-ups.
  • Build a backyard fort or tree house from recycled materials, such as wood scraps, cardboard, and other found items.
  • Summer is a popular time for barbeques and other outdoor festivities. At your next party, set the picnic table with reusable dinnerware, and remember to recycle all bottles and cans after the party!!
  • Hot summer days require gallons of thirst quenchers. Be sure to recycle the used beverage containers.
  • Consider putting a filter on your water tap and refilling bottles with the filtered water. Instead of buying many small drink bottles, buy drinks or drink mixes in bulk and fill reusable bottles.
  • At the beach, use old buckets and other items in your house to build sand castles instead of buying new products at the store.
  • When visiting beaches and parks, be sure to take out everything you bring in, so that you leave places unlittered and undisturbed.

Recycling Scholarships Available to NOLA Area College Students

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Since 1994, the National Recycling Coalition has awarded scholarships to students interested in the recycling field. This year, the NRC is awarding scholarships to qualified New Orleans area students in the amount of $1,500 each. Recipients will also receive complementary admission to the Resource Recycling Conference, August 30th through September 1st, and a one-year membership to the Coalition.

Students will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Attend a New Orleans area college or university
  • Academic and personal interest in the recycling field
  • Meritorious academic achievement
  • Available to attend Resource Recycling conference

Scholarship applications can be submitted at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NRCScholarship.  Applications must be received no later than July 22nd.  Winners will be announced by August 5, 2016.

Questions can be directed to the NRC’s Campus Council at: CampusCouncil@NRCrecycles.org.  More information is available at: http://nrcrecycles.org

Celebrate World Oceans Day 2016: Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 02, 2016

The ocean is the heart of our planet. Like your heart pumping blood to every part of your body, the ocean connects people across the Earth, no matter where we live. The ocean regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces oxygen, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines, and so much more! In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations, it’s imperative that we take the responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us.

This year, the theme is Healthy oceans, healthy planet, and we’re making a special effort to stop plastic pollution.

Plastic pollution is a serious threat because it degrades very slowly, polluting waterways for a very long time. In addition, plastic pollution impacts the health of aquatic animals because animals including zooplankton mistake the microbeads for food. Scientists also fear health impacts for humans.

The United Nations will celebrate World Oceans Day 2016 and recognize the winners of the Annual World Oceans Day Oceanic Photo Competition at an event on 8 June 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters.

Why do we celebrate World Oceans Day?

  • To remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe.
  • To inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean.
  • To develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean.
  • To mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world's oceans. They are a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere.
  • To celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean.

**Original by www.un.org

Why Solar Energy is Good

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Face it, solar energy is definitely the future trend of energy. Nowadays, many households, business & public areas have converted to be powered solely by solar power, reaping all the advantages offered by the sun.

Here are some good reasons for using solar energy to power your home or workplace:

1. Cut-down electricity bill
The key reason that most households convert their power source to solar energy is to cut down their electrical bill because the electrical usage generated from the sun is free. By converting as many home appliances as possible to use solar energy, you can save a significant savings in your utilities expenses.

2. It is a renewable energy source
Typical electricity is generated from fossil fuel that will run out one day. Solar energy is a good alternative to replace fossil fuel as the major energy source because solar power is renewable at absolutely no cost to supply energy infinitely.

3. Environment friendly
The world pollution is getting worse. Any effort that can reduce the pollution to the environment helps to save the earth. Solar panels are able to harness the energy from the sun and convert it to electricity. Therefore, the use of solar panels is environment friendly. Therefore, solar energy that is harmless to the environment will be the major energy source for future - starting today.

4. Low / no maintenance needed
Once you have installed the solar power system, it can last twenty to thirty years without major maintenance needed. You may need to do system check once a year, just to make sure everything is performing as it should. Since it requires very minimum maintenance cost, your cost should be minimal.

*Originally published on www.go-green.com.ae