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Coffee Cup Horror Story : Attack of The Pod Creature

shutterstock_186889283It was just another day at the office. We were getting ready to wish “Kelly” a ‘Happy Birthday’ when suddenly we heard a loud noise and the ground began to shake. We ran outside to find that we were being attacked……  by single serving coffee pods?

This is the premise behind the horror short, “Kill the K-Cup”, recently released as part of the “Kill the K-Cup” Campaign, and gaining major attention across the internet. The campaign is a partnership between Egg Studios and the Canadian coffee shop, Social Bean, and is asking Keurig to make recyclable coffee pods immediately.

The popularity of single use coffee makers has grown exponentially since their introduction to the market in 1998. According to a survey by the National Coffee Association, nearly one in five people surveyed admitted to having drank single serving coffee the day before. Single serving coffee is now the second most popular way to brew coffee, after the good old fashioned traditional drip method.

The Company Green Mountain Keurig seems to have control over the market and is outlandishly successful. Single servings come in a plastic and tin foil and are affectionately referred to as K-Cups. In 2013 Keurig produced 8.3 BILLION K-Cups. K-Cups are popular because of their convenience and they give the user a choice of what kind of coffee they want.

K-Cups are not easy to recycle. Though Keurig has some reusable options they are not available for all models. Only 5% of K-Cups are actually made with recyclable plastic, everything else must be sent to the dump. According to “Kill the K-Cup” the amount of K-Cups discarded in 2013 could wrap around the equator 10.5 times. That is a lot of trash!

Personally I wonder what is so wrong about having only 1 flavor of coffee available in the office and having workers rotate making the coffee and cleaning the single drip machine. Is all this convenience really necessary?

Though the “Kill The K-Cup” video is complete fantasy it does make you question the impact of the popularity of the K-Cup. Asking Keurig to expand the recyclability of K-Cups is the least that can be done.

 

Coffee Attack via Shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Stop Wasting Food!

shutterstock_169420184We have all done it many times, thrown perfectly good food into the trash. You might think this is not a big issue, just an unhappy accident of over consuming, but the problem is bigger than that.

According to the Food Waste Reduction Alliance 25 to 40% of food grown, processed, and transported in the United States will never be consumed. This waste is upsetting because 1 in 6 people in the United States suffer from hunger.

Food waste is also terrible for the environment. Most food waste finds its way to landfills where it will decompose and release the greenhouse gas methane. In the United States landfills are responsible for 1/3 of methane emissions.

Another environmental issue is wasted food is wasted resources, like the energy, and water used in agricultural practices.

Below I have put together some tips to reduce food waste in your daily life. Many of these tips may seem obvious but are often forgotten.

Use Common Sense Instead of Relying Solely on Food Packaging Dates
Labels on food are not USDA or FDA regulated and are mainly used to help stores maintain their inventory. These dates imply when the product is at its peak in quality, but the food may still be edible after the date. Use your best judgment and sense of smell instead of solely relying on the labeling.

Be Mindful of What Is In Your Fridge
Use what will go bad first, first. Be aware of what is in your fridge and how long it will likely last.
Be sure to check the contents of your fridge before you go food shopping.

Instead of Taking One Large Shopping Trip a Week Take A Few Smaller Ones
Perishables like fruit and vegetables have a short shelf life. Instead of buying a week’s worth of healthy goodies only to have a majority go bad before you get the chance to use them, go on smaller shopping trips throughout the week to ensure freshness.

Only Buy What You Will Use
Just because a larger size of a perishable is a better value doesn’t mean you should buy it. If you don’t plan on eating yogurt everyday do not buy a large tub that would take you months to consume.
On a similar note only put on your plate what you plan to eat, you are more likely to save the food for another day if you don’t feel like the food has been “tainted” by a dirty plate.

Bring Leftovers For Lunch
If you make too much for a meal, instead of throwing it out, save it for lunch the next day. Not only does this reduce waste but if you’re on a budget it will help you save money.
This is also true for when you go out to eat. There is nothing wrong with taking a “doggy bag” because if you don’t the food will just go in the trash.

Compost
Composted food can be used for gardening. Give your food the second life it deserves instead of sending it to the landfill.

shutterstock_156586097For more information and tips check out this article  at Clean Techies on Food Waste which includes a helpful/education graphic by fix.com.

landfill via shutterstock

stop wasting food via shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

How To Offset Your Printing Footprint

I Have A Dream

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Though Martin Luther King Jr. may be best  known for his influence on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965, he was also an early leader in the Environmental Justice movement. Before his untimely death Martin Luther King was protesting basic enviromental issues like poor housing conditions in Chicago, Illinois and Sanitation conditions in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King Jr’s pursuit of justice for all is a presiding theme in the environmental rights movement. In fact, I remember seeing his quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”  as a battlecry at the  “People’s Climate March” last fall.

Today, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, ENN has decided to share some of our favorite nature and justice themed quotes from the great civil rights leader.

“From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, let freedom ring. But not only that: Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.”

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

““Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial via shutterstock (for editorial use only)

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Paper or Plastic?

shutterstock_145228456I recently came across the following video from DNews (Discovery News) briefly addressing the age old grocery store bag question of ” paper or paper?. It’s quite educational and entertaining, and I suggest anyone with a spare 3 minutes to take a peak.

Though the video is not up to date on the newest ordinances banning plastic bags in the United State (think California) it is still worth watching.  The video  highlights global plastic bag ban successes like Rwanda,  but it also “attempts” to be “balanced” as well and questions the sourcing of recycled bags and the landfill impact of paper bags.

A ban on plastic bags will not just impact “grocery store decisions” but all shopping decisions that result in the receipt of a one time use bag. Banning plastic bags forces people to become more organized and think more sustainably.

 

bag tree via shutterstock

“Paper or Plastic: Which Bags Hurt the Environment More?” via DNews

 

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

The Ultimate Tree Care Guide

Guess Which Countries Rank the Highest in Energy Efficiency

Give Your Christmas Tree A Second Life!

shutterstock_120988276Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean your tree has outlived its usefulness. Give your tree a second life by recycling it.

Many towns and cities have Christmas tree pick up recycling programs. If your area doesn’t have one you can deconstruct the tree for personal use or identify a nearby tree recycling drop off site.

Here are some “second-life” options for your beloved tree:

Use Your Excess Tree Parts to Improve Your Garden
There are many ways that a deconstructed pine tree can get your garden into top shape for the spring. Heavy pieces can be used in compost and tiny branches can be used as mulch, or to protect you flower beds from the winter. Pine needles will also help the soil retain moisture.

Use Discarded Branches To Make “Natural” Bird Feeders
Coat a branch with peanut butter and bird seed to make a simple feeder for flying winter residents.

Use Trees To Improve Your Fish Pond
A sunken Christmas Tree provides excellent hiding habitat for fish in a fish pond.

Feed The Goats
Goats can “clean” a Christmas tree at an alarming speed!

Donate Your Tree To A local Mulching Program To Improve Local Parks
Many US cities ( like NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles) have programs where you can drop off your unwanted trees and the city will reuse them to mulch public parks.

Discarded Trees Can Be Used To Prevent Erosion
States like Louisiana and New Jersey use discarded trees to prevent erosion from the Ocean.

PS. Make sure to remove all decorations before recycling your tree, there are no environmental benefits to tinsel!

Recycled Christmas Tree via Shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

The True Cost of Meat

Can Recycling Increase Your Attractiveness?

shutterstock_95091373Who knew that recycling could make people consider you more attractive? Usually when I’m at a restaurant or and at party and ask “is there somewhere that this can be recycled?” the response I get is “Are you serious? Relax.” but according to the results of a poll by PepsiCo I may be hanging around the wrong people.

During a survey of 1,140 Americans, PepsiCo found that many Americans over the age of 18 find recycling an attractive, mate worthy trait. Hooray!

The study found the following:
- 40% of people said they would have a more positive opinion of someone if they learned they recycled
– 21% of people said they would be turned off if they found out on the first date the other person didn’t recycle.
– 2 in 5 respondents want a significant other who cares about the environment

Improved sex appeal (attractiveness) is a pretty powerful incentive. For many people increasing attractiveness may be a more powerful incentive then increasing sustainability and doing our part to protect the environment.

Of course, the numbers still need to be improved upon. Only 2 in 5 people want a significant other who cares about the environment?  I personally would appreciate higher numbers, but websites like Glamour and Yahoo found PepsiCo’s findings significant enough to share.

Though only 40% said that finding out the other person recycled would increase their positive perception of the person, it’s still a higher percent then finding out the person has a graduate degree (25%) , impressive job (18%), or good saving (8%).

I would also like to bring up another thing to consider when thinking about the “positive results” of PepsiCo’s study. There is a bias to self reporting. Most people wouldn’t admit out loud that they prefer a person with status to a person with environmental values. So the accuracy of the results can be questioned.

But any way you interpret it, recycling probably won’t hurt your appeal.

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bubble love via shutterstock

young couple via shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

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