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This is the last post of this blog. It was created to track the environmental movement on the SUNY Fredonia campus . It was the first blog I every made. My goal was to continue the blog but I could not find any new writers to keep it going. I do plan on making a sustainable buffalo blog in the near future…so this might not be the last post…When I get that up and running I will post the link here. Thank you to everyone who followed me and visited this blog.

What is your opinion about the meat industry in the US?

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Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News- From Times article

I’ve been reading a lot  about the food industry in the United States, and the majority of what I have been reading has been very scary! Yet it is my personal belief that Americans food industry is often demonized by some environmentalist who don’t really have realistic expectations.  At the same time there is no denying that there are real problems with the way Americans get their food and these problems are not only environmental but they are medical and economical as well.

Below is a link to a very interesting article I read in the Times today about the meat industry…I would really enjoy feed back! What is your opinion about the way Americans eat?

NY Times Article

Link

NY Times article

NY Times article

Ive been reading a lot  about the food industry in the United States, and the majority of what I have been reading has been very scary! Yet it is my personal belief that Americans food industry is often demonized by some environmentalist who don’t really have realistic expectations.  At the same time there is no denying that there are real problems with the way Americans get their food and these problems are not only environmental but they are medical and economical as well.

Below is a link to a very interesting article I read in the Times today about the meat industry…I would really enjoy feed back! What is your opinion about the way Americans eat?

 

 

A Great NYTimes article I read today!!!

Companies Pick Up Used Packaging, and Recycling’s Cost

Last year, some 11 million six-ounce No. 5 yogurt cups were collected through a recycling program, according to Stonyfield Farm, the Vermont yogurt maker. More Photos »

By
Published: March 23, 2012

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Brushing your teeth with a yogurt container? Wiping your mouth with a coffee cup?

You might be doing both, as a result of a new trend in recycling, courtesy of the manufacturers who make the original products. A growing number of large food and beverage companies in the United States are assuming the costs of recycling their packaging after consumers are finished with it, a responsibility long imposed on packaged goods companies in Europe and more recently in parts of Asia, Latin America and Canada.

Several factors are converging to make what is known as “extended producer responsibility” more attractive and, perhaps, more commonplace in the United States.

“Local governments are literally going broke and so are looking for ways to shift the costs of recycling off onto someone, and companies that make the packaging are logical candidates,” said Jim Hanna, director of environmental impact at the Starbucks Corporation. “More environmentally conscious consumers are demanding that companies share their values, too.”

Perhaps most important, he said, “companies are becoming more aware that resources are limited and what they’ve traditionally thrown away — wow, it has value.” It is now cheaper to recycle an aluminum can into a new can than it is to make one from virgin material, and the same is becoming true for plastic bottles.

“Shredding, melting, recasting and rerolling used aluminum beverage cans into new aluminum can sheet saves 95 percent of the energy that it takes to make can sheet from raw ore,” said Beth Schmitt, director of recycling at Alcoa.

The principle is the same with used plastic bottles, which are made from petroleum — and are one of the country’s largest exports to China, where they are used to make fabric fibers. “Tuna cans, cereal boxes, laundry detergent bottles — all of it has value in end markets that are thirsty for it,” said Michael Washburn, director of sustainability at Nestlé Waters North America, a bottled-water producer.

So far, company-sponsored recycling efforts are voluntary in the United States. Many states have laws requiring companies to take responsibility for spent products like batteries and mercury switches, but so far, only Maine has a law that might shift the cost of discarded packaging to business. Passed in 2010, it established a framework that allows the state to add products, including packaging, to the list of those for which manufacturers must assume the costs of disposal. So far, however, no new products have been added.

Opposition to mandated responsibility for packaging after use is widespread, even among companies that are already required to do it abroad. “We’re not convinced there’s compelling evidence that it’s the most appropriate solution for the U.S.,” said Meghan Stasz, director of sustainability at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents more than 300 food, beverage and packaged goods companies.

Nonetheless, a few prominent food and beverage companies are moving on their own to recapture their packaging after their customers are done with it.

Coca-Cola has a whole subsidiary, Coca-Cola Recycling L.L.C., devoted to its stated goal of ensuring the recycling of 100 percent of its cans and bottles in North America by 2015 and 50 percent in the rest of the world. To that end, seven factories owned wholly or in part by the company toil away around the globe recycling plastic, including one in Spartanburg, S.C.

Coke is also experimenting with nonpetroleum-based packaging materials. Products like Dasani and Sprite come in PlantBottles made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which are up to 30 percent plant-based and can go through the same process that regular, 100 percent oil-based PET bottles go through. The packaging has won awards and last year became a new source of revenue for Coke when the H. J. Heinz Company licensed it for use in its ketchup bottles. The company also places bins at events and locations like Nascar races to collect bottles for recycling.

Asking customers to return packaging to bins is a growing trend among companies. Starbucks now has bins in which customers can deposit their cups at 18 percent of its stores in the United States and Canada, up from 5 percent just a year ago. The company has a goal of 100 percent by 2015.

You might be doing both, as a result of a new trend in recycling, courtesy of the manufacturers who make the original products. A growing number of large food and beverage companies in the United States are assuming the costs of recycling their packaging after consumers are finished with it, a responsibility long imposed on packaged goods companies in Europe and more recently in parts of Asia, Latin America and Canada.

Several factors are converging to make what is known as “extended producer responsibility” more attractive and, perhaps, more commonplace in the United States.

“Local governments are literally going broke and so are looking for ways to shift the costs of recycling off onto someone, and companies that make the packaging are logical candidates,” said Jim Hanna, director of environmental impact at the Starbucks Corporation. “More environmentally conscious consumers are demanding that companies share their values, too.”

Perhaps most important, he said, “companies are becoming more aware that resources are limited and what they’ve traditionally thrown away — wow, it has value.” It is now cheaper to recycle an aluminum can into a new can than it is to make one from virgin material, and the same is becoming true for plastic bottles.

“Shredding, melting, recasting and rerolling used aluminum beverage cans into new aluminum can sheet saves 95 percent of the energy that it takes to make can sheet from raw ore,” said Beth Schmitt, director of recycling at Alcoa.

The principle is the same with used plastic bottles, which are made from petroleum — and are one of the country’s largest exports to China, where they are used to make fabric fibers. “Tuna cans, cereal boxes, laundry detergent bottles — all of it has value in end markets that are thirsty for it,” said Michael Washburn, director of sustainability at Nestlé Waters North America, a bottled-water producer.

So far, company-sponsored recycling efforts are voluntary in the United States. Many states have laws requiring companies to take responsibility for spent products like batteries and mercury switches, but so far, only Maine has a law that might shift the cost of discarded packaging to business. Passed in 2010, it established a framework that allows the state to add products, including packaging, to the list of those for which manufacturers must assume the costs of disposal. So far, however, no new products have been added.

Opposition to mandated responsibility for packaging after use is widespread, even among companies that are already required to do it abroad. “We’re not convinced there’s compelling evidence that it’s the most appropriate solution for the U.S.,” said Meghan Stasz, director of sustainability at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents more than 300 food, beverage and packaged goods companies.

Nonetheless, a few prominent food and beverage companies are moving on their own to recapture their packaging after their customers are done with it.

Coca-Cola has a whole subsidiary, Coca-Cola Recycling L.L.C., devoted to its stated goal of ensuring the recycling of 100 percent of its cans and bottles in North America by 2015 and 50 percent in the rest of the world. To that end, seven factories owned wholly or in part by the company toil away around the globe recycling plastic, including one in Spartanburg, S.C.

Coke is also experimenting with nonpetroleum-based packaging materials. Products like Dasani and Sprite come in PlantBottles made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which are up to 30 percent plant-based and can go through the same process that regular, 100 percent oil-based PET bottles go through. The packaging has won awards and last year became a new source of revenue for Coke when the H. J. Heinz Company licensed it for use in its ketchup bottles. The company also places bins at events and locations like Nascar races to collect bottles for recycling.

Asking customers to return packaging to bins is a growing trend among companies. Starbucks now has bins in which customers can deposit their cups at 18 percent of its stores in the United States and Canada, up from 5 percent just a year ago. The company has a goal of 100 percent by 2015.

“There are financial benefits to doing this,” said Mr. Hanna of Starbucks. “It lowers operating costs, and we also save money because it helps us retain good people every year and builds brand reputation at no cost to the marketing budget. It makes business sense.”

Starbucks did a pilot project with a paper mill in Mississippi to prove that used cups could be recycled into new paper cups in much the same way that PET bottles and aluminum cans can be recycled into new bottles and cans. But there still is little demand from recyclers for used cups, and many communities lack the infrastructure to collect and process them.

Stonyfield Farm, the New Hampshire yogurt maker, has had more success with its containers. By chance, Eric Hudson, the founder of Preserve, a company created in 1996 to create products out of recycled materials, bumped into an executive from Stonyfield Farm. Stonyfield has the kind of customers who “call asking, ‘Have you considered putting your products in glass?’ ” according to Amy Elkes, its brand program and consumer insights manager, and it was eager to find a way to recycle its yogurt cups.

Despite its wholesome image, yogurt, one of the most widely sold dairy products, is largely sold in polypropylene, or No. 5, plastic cups, which most municipalities do not recycle.

After a meeting with Mr. Hudson, Stonyfield told its customers that they could mail in their used cups for recycling. About 200 customers responded.

Finally, in 2008, the company struck a deal to put collection bins in Whole Foods stores, and the effort took off. Customers can take any No. 5 container to Whole Foods stores — margarine tubs, other brands’ yogurt containers — where they are collected, taken to a plant for processing, and then turned into toothbrushes and razors by Preserve.

Last year, some 11 million six-ounce No. 5 yogurt cups were collected through the program, up from 2.3 million in 2009, according to Stonyfield.

Two other large producers of yogurt in No. 5 cups, General Mills and Danone, would not comment, but they, like almost all other consumer packaged goods companies, are no doubt keeping a wary eye on Walmart, the giant retailer, which already requires its suppliers to tell it the composition of their packaging.

Brooke Buchanan, a Walmart spokeswoman, said the company did not favor legislation that would mandate extended producer responsibility. But environmental advocates say the impact would be enormous if the company were to require its suppliers to participate in, say, a program in which consumers returned packaging to its stores.

Bill Sheehan, executive director of the Product Policy Institute, a nonprofit group that works to build support for extended producer responsibility, said, “Walmart is doing some pretty good things environmentally all on their own, and because of their size, they’re able to have a broad effect on what suppliers do.”

Keep Watch For More Environmental News Headed Your Way!

As a member of the US military this article from Government-Fleet made me smile!!!

Military Tests GM Fuel Cell Vehicles in Hawaii

The fleet of 16 General Motors fuel cell vehicles is funded by the Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center (TARDEC), Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL), and Office of Naval Research and Air Force Research Laboratories (ONR). Photo by Marco Garcia for General Motors.

 

HONOLULU - The U.S. Army, Pacific, unveiled a fleet of 16 General Motors hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles on Feb. 22, the world’s first military fleet of fuel cell vehicles. Each branch of the military is evaluating the vehicles in real-world use.

The military fleet of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles serves as the test platform powered by renewable hydrogen, travels up to 200 miles on a single charge, refuels in five minutes and produces zero emissions.

“The test data collected will be analyzed to make fuel cell technology practical in future operational platforms,” said James Muldoon, science officer, U.S. Army, Pacific.

The vehicles are being paid for by the Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center (TARDEC), Office of Naval Research and Air Force Research Laboratories (ONR), and Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL)

Recyclemania

Check out my latest recyclemania update in last weeks issue of the Leader…and watch out for more updates coming your way here! Also you can check fredonia’s progress at anytime at  http://recyclemaniacs.org/

Re Shake the Habit

SUNY Fredonia is at it again! This year we aim to “(Re)Shake the Habit” by holding several contests
within our local community to see who can create the best homemade reusable bag. As ever the aim of our campaign is encourage citizens to conserve resources and protect the planet by avoiding the use of plastic bags and encouraging the reuse and recycling of plastic bags.

Why Is the Habit So Bad?
While they seem harmless, plastic bags actually cause a lot of damage. According to the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) it is believed that over 90% of all the garbage floating around in the ocean is plastic leading to the deaths of one million marine animals each year. More than 500 billion plastic bags are produced each year and the United States is responsible for one fifth of them.

(Re)Shake The Habit Is Holding A Contest!
Why pay such high cost? Reusable bags are a cheap alternative to such an expensive habit. Many
environmentally conscious stores have reusable bags that their customers can purchase and that is GREAT! But being eco-friendly does not have to cost anything; that’s why this year we are “(Re)Shaking the Habit”by encouraging people to make their own bags.

During Earth Week (April 16-20) we will be hosting several contest venues one in Dunkirk, one in
Fredonia, one on campus, and one at each of our Dunkirk-Fredonia Middle Schools- in which local
residents can enter their homemade reusable bags as part of a contest give-away. While the bags are
being judged, we will acknowledge our generous sponsors and present a screening of the award-winning documentary ‘Bag It!’, which discusses the issues surrounding our use of plastic bags. We hope to   local community about the cost of using plastic in a fun and engaging way by encouraging people to make their own reusable bags from recycled materials.

Updates about the contest will be up soon!!!!

Tomorrow it will be 60 degrees out…a perfect day to rent a bike!!! Oh you do know you can do that now?

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The rumors are true…thanks to Campus Climate Challenge Fredonia now has a bike rental system that unfortunately is not being utilized because people don’t know that it exists…

The best part about the whole thing is that the bikes are FREE to rent!!!

The fallowing is a little paragraph from the new Fredonia handbook issued to freshman who most likely didn’t read far enough into it to know about the new program:

“Bicycles can be rented in the Aerobic Center (Hemingway Hall
basement). A student can rent a bicycle at no cost for two
consecutive days Monday through Thursday, and for the entire
weekend when you rent on Friday. A late fee will be assessed if the
bike is not returned on time.”

So there you have it folks…If you have a break tomorrow or anytime coming up…think about that new year promise you made to yourself about being healthy and rent a bike to travel around town instead of wasting gas (that seems to be going up every day) and finding parking (that seems to be in limited supply because of all the construction).

SUSTAINABLE FREDONIA IS BACK!!!!

I apologize for the long break…Since last spring I have went to basic training and studied a semester in Morocco (Morocco is located in the north-western corner of Africa below Spain…if you didn’t already know that).

Anyways I’m back and really looking forward to all the great environmental stories Fredonia has to offer this semester! There is a lot going on this spring and I hope my posts will spark your interest!

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