Starbucks to Turn Coffee Grinds & Stale Baked Goods into Detergent

You can now add one more innovative idea to Starbucks’ efforts towards being an environmentally responsible, sustainable company. In an attempt to both lessen its environmental impact and reduce food waste, Starbucks in Hong Kong is testing out a recycling process that will turn old baked goods and coffee grinds into laundry detergent and bio-plastic.

According to the NY Daily News, the project, led by scientists at the City University of Hong Kong, is being tested at a new food ‘biorefinery,’ that diverts food waste and transforms it into viable, usable products. Biorefineries transform corn, sugar cane, and other plant-based material into bio-based fuels and other products.

Recycled food waste is good for the planet in two essential ways. For one, it keeps tons of food garbage out of landfills and second, it reduces the need to manufacture goods from virgin, raw materials.
Starbucks Hong Kong produces about 5,000 tons of used coffee grounds and unconsumed baked goods that end up in the garbage bin every year. Currently, most of the waste is incinerated, composted or disposed of in landfills.
So how will old coffee grinds and stale banana bread be transformed into something more useful? Continue reading

Jessica Alba to Be Honored for Living the Green Life

Originally posted on by Marc Malkin

Jessica Alba is getting a second Mother’s Day this year.

The Sin City starlet and mom of two will be honored at the upcoming Environmental Media Awards with the inaugural EMA Green Parent Award, E! News has exclusively confirmed.

Not only has Alba, 31, been an outspoken supporter of the Safe Chemicals Act, but also her The Honest Company aims to help parents choose affordable green products. In March, Rodale will publish her first book, The Honest Life, a guide to natural and non-toxic living.

“Becoming a parent is life-changing and brings into focus the priority of healthy choices and the responsibility of the environmental sustainability of our planet,” says EMA president Debbie Levin. “Jessica is a great example of how you can turn that passion into positive change.”

The EMAs also recognize movies and television series for their promotion of environmental issues. Among this year’s nominees are feature films The Lorax, 21 Jump Street and Big Miracle, along with TV’s Whitney, Veep, Happy Endings, Harry’s Law, Dallas and Rizzoli & Isles. Continue reading

Environmental Media Awards to Honor Elon Musk, Kelly Chapman Meyer

Originally posted on by Kimberly Nordyke

The duo will be recognized with the Corporate Responsibility and Lifetime Achievement nods, respectively, at the 22nd annual event.

The Environmental Media Association will honor entrepreneur Elon Musk and environmentalist and health advocate Kelly Chapman Meyer at its 22nd annual EMA Awards, to be held Sept. 29 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.

Musk will receive the EMA Corporate Responsibility Award, and Meyer will receive the EMA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Musk, the CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors and the CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies, was chosen for his commitment to the advancement of technological development in creating sustainable energy.

At SpaceX, Musk is the chief designer, overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets. At Tesla, Musk has overseen product development and design from the beginning, including the all-electric Tesla Roadster, Model S and Model X. Musk, who co-founded PayPal, also serves as the non-executive chairman and principal shareholder of SolarCity, a provider of solar power systems that he helped create.

Meyer is a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, for which she recently co-chaired the “Making Peace with the Ocean” benefit that raised more than $3 million to celebrate and raise awareness for our oceans. She most recently co-founded the American Heart Association’s “Teaching Gardens,” which strives to eliminate childhood obesity by integrating nutrition and fitness into schools. Meyer is currently focused on launching and expanding “Teaching Gardens” into 1,000 schools within the next two years.

Additionally, she is a board member of Heal the Bay and worked to help pass the Environmental Education Initiative, which provides environmental education for all K-12 children in the state of California.

The EMA Awards honor individuals and organizations, as well as films, television productions and their creative teams, that increase public awareness of environmental issues. Continue reading

New Fuel Efficiency Standards: 54 mpg By 2025

On Tuesday, the Obama administration released the final version of its landmark fuel-economy standards. The new standards would boost fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon for the average car by 2025 – almost double what it is today!

According to the LA Times, these new fuel standards are part of a lengthy campaign by the administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and oil consumption. Building on that same campaign, the administration initially sought to get fuel standards to 35 mpg by the end of the 2016 model year. The latest standards would be phased in starting with the 2017 model year.

“These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said President Obama. “This historic agreement builds on the progress we’ve already made to save families money at the pump and cut our oil consumption.” Continue reading

City Wall Mural Helps Clean the Air

Murals and wall art can add beauty to city dwellings, but this innovative artwork not only beautifies the surrounding landscape, it actually fights smog.

Italian artist, Andreco, has painted a mural entitled Philosophical Tree which lives on a wall in Bologna, Italy. The mural was created using photocatalytic paint which absorbs nitrogen monoxide, otherwise known as smog, in the atmosphere.

The Philosophical Tree also demonstrates that environmentally friendly initiatives don’t have to be an eye sore on the surrounding area.

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Healthy Green Tips for Pregnancy (And Everyday Life)

By Margie Kelly, Communications Manager, Healthy Child Healthy World

Pregnancy is the perfect time to commit to eliminating toxic chemicals from you and your family’s food, home, and personal care products.

Making your daily routines as healthy as possible during pregnancy will make you feel better and will go a long way toward protecting your unborn child from toxic chemicals like BPA, mercury, phthalates and more, all of which have been found in the bodies of pregnant women. Clearing out chemicals from your daily routines now is good practice for creating a healthy home environment for your newborn baby, who will be particularly vulnerable to harmful chemicals found in everyday products.

Over the years, Healthy Child has gathered some excellent pregnancy advice from our experts and friends. Consider these tips for a greener, healthier pregnancy:

Avoid pesticides

A recent scientific study showed a pregnant woman’s exposure to pesticides posed risks to a developing fetus similar to those associated with smoking tobacco. Learn all about the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 before heading to the grocery stores. Navigate the aisles for the cleanest, greenest fruits and vegetables grown without toxic chemicals.

Watch your intake of animal fats

Toxic chemicals like dioxin PCBs, and pesticides accumulate in fat, which means that when you eat certain fish or meat, you transfer those chemicals into your body.  Look for low-fat options, trim the fat from fish and meats, and eat organic meat and wild seafood whenever possible.

Be smart about plastics

Plastics seem benign but they can harm health, especially the health of developing fetuses. Vinyl plastic is everywhere despite its composition of a carcinogenic core and dangerous additives, like phthalates, to make it soft. Avoiding vinyl is a good rule of thumb, whether it means ditching the plastic shower curtain and cling wraps or choosing non-vinyl building materials for your home.

Another plastic to avoid is the hormone-disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in some water bottles, cash register receipts, and canned foods. To limit your exposure to BPA, say “no” to receipts, carry glass or stainless steel bottles, and eat fresh or frozen foods.

Ditch the toxic cleaners

Bombarding your counters, tubs, and floors with toxic chemicals doesn’t make them cleaner, but it does cover them with nasty chemicals. Why do that? Stay away from products with warnings: “hazardous” “poison” “danger.” Instead, choose cleaners made without harmful chemicals that come certified as eco-friendly. It’s also easy to make your own cleaners, which will save you money and a trip to the store.  Continue reading

Going Green on “Premium Rush”

As part of its commitment to environmental awareness and activism, Sony Pictures encourages its productions to follow green practices during filming, helping to create a much smaller overall carbon footprint.

One recent production that exemplified these efforts was Columbia Pictures’ action film Premium Rush. Produced by Gavin Polone, directed by David Koepp and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the film was shot in the summer and early fall of 2010 entirely in New York City. Given the scope of the project, the team was able to isolate attainable goals, inspire the cast and crew and set up a successful plan to maximize sustainable practices.

During its 97-day shoot, the cast and crew followed many practices that are becoming more prevalent in production offices, such as renting (rather than purchasing) office furniture. They also dropped off the office’s organic compost at a local farmer’s market. Over 550 gallons of food scraps were ultimately delivered to the Lower East Side Ecology Center’s stand to be used in community gardens throughout New York City. Plus, the production recycled #5 plastics (which New York City currently does not recycle) through Preserve’s Gimme 5 program at a local grocery chain.

As an alternative to simply throwing things away at the end of the production, Premium Rush made a particular push to give as many items as possible a second life, including donating wardrobe pieces to Housing Works, set dressing pieces were sent to the Angel Street Thrift Shop, and leftover fabric and towel scraps were sewn into dog beds and donated to St. Bernard Parish Animal Services in Chalmette, Louisiana.

In addition, 38 healthy trees and plants were donated to the New York Restoration Project for replanting, and funding was provided for its MillionTreesNYC program to plant 97 trees (one for each day of shooting) throughout the neighborhoods in which the film was shot.

Click here to watch a behind-the-scenes video on being green on the set.

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Rio Making the Play for Greenest Olympics Ever in 2016 With Amazing Artificial Waterfall

The London Olympics just came to an end, but Rio is already primping for the 2016 games. The city is planning on several new structures and additions to accommodate the Games. One of the many projects creating huge buzz is the Solar City Tower, an artificial waterfall designed to generate clean, renewable energy. And from the looks of the design mock-ups, it will not only be a source for sustainability, but a stunning structure.

The Solar City Tower is expected to be built on Cotunduba, one of the islands in Rio’s Guanabara Bay. 

According to the tower will have multiple functions, but its main purpose is to “capture and distribute solar power to the Olympic Village and to the city, but it doubles as an observation tower. The 345-foot structure will have solar panels around its base, used to store energy during the day, releasing it through turbines for use at night. For special occasions, the turbine will pump seawater into the tower and then shoot it back out to sea, creating a waterfall effect in the middle of the ocean.”

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