Austin, Texas is gearing up for a ban on both plastic and paper disposable shopping bags that is going into action on March 1, 2013. The ban was approved by the Austin City Council in March of this year. The powers that be in Austin wanted to make sure they got the ban right the first time, so they took special care to draft a law that would fit what the residents wanted. Residents were invited to speak at public forums and the bill was drafted and re-drafted before the final version went to vote.
When you add it all up people spend a lot of time at work, and because of this the typical office cranks out a lot of garbage. There is the expected rubbish, like the unclaimed pages on the printer and spent coffee grounds, but there is also the unnecessary garbage, like single use plates, cups, and utensils. It is completely understandable as to why disposable items are popular in an office kitchen and break room right? There is just something about the office that causes people to not clean as thoroughly. Maybe they think the next person will finish scrubbing where they left off or they hope someone else will put the finishing touches on the dishes stacking up in the sink. Whatever the reasons, your office break room presents a huge opportunity to go green.
Honeybees are out to prove that if they can make it in New York City, they can make it anywhere. In a city full of concrete and skyscrapers, honeybee hives managed by beekeepers are popping up on rooftops across the city and across the world. Hotels in Paris, Toronto and Denver also boast rooftop hives. Utilizing rooftops for green space and outdoor activities is nothing new in large cities like New York – pigeon coups and terraces are common sights. Sustainable honeybee hives are a new addition and one that proves beneficial for everyone.
Last year 25 billion paper cups were thrown away just in the United States. This number may seem staggering, but think back to how many disposable coffee cups you saw this morning and how many to-go cups you saw at work after lunch. Disposable cups are a common sight and they easily pile up in our landfills. Many paper cups are difficult to impossible to recycle – the plastic coating that allows the cup to hold fluids is great for preventing leaks, but it also thwarts any effort to recycle the cup. Plastic cups are not much better since people typically toss them in the trash when they are done instead of recycling them.
Engaged employees are passionate about the company they are a part of – they will go out of their way to make sure the company is successful because they see their own success as tied to that of the company. Engagement is so much more than other business buzz words often thrown about, such as employee satisfaction, vision, commitment and motivation.
With fall just around the corner that means one thing to many families – it is time to go back to school. In Zoarville, Ohio for the sixth year in a row the Tuscarawas Valley school district is gearing up for the Back to School fair. This event is orchestrated by the local Community Business Association of northern Tuscarawas County and allows ccommunity service agencies and local businesses, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Tuscarawas County Public Library, Tuscarawas County Health Department and Safe Kids Coalition, Compass, NAMI, R U Stylin’, Zoar Air Design and Embroidery and Zoar Fire Department to round up school supplies for local students. The items are packed into reusable grocery bags and these care packages will be handed out to kindergarten through fourth grade students who attend the fair on a first come first serve bases.
Disposable bag bans come in all shapes and sizes. Different communities have different needs so ultimately it comes down to the local governing bodies to select the best course of action. City council members in Bisbee, Arizona, a city of 6,000 people located in the south-east corner of the state unanimously passed a voluntary ban back in December on single use plastic shopping bags. The ban was structured to be voluntary for six months at which time the city council and city manager would review the success and effectiveness of the ban.
In some regards southern California is on the right track when it comes to caring for the environment and reducing the amount of plastic shopping bags used within the area. Several towns and cities have either outright banned plastic shopping bags or are mulling the idea over. Evan Lewis, of La Jolla, feels these changes cannot come soon enough. This enterprising 11 year old is researching the cause, speaking at city council meetings, writing articles and doing everything he can to make plastic shopping bags a distant memory.
In an effort to spread environmental awareness and encourage artistic expression the annual Resource Recovery and Recycling Division’s 2012 Art of Recycling Sustainable Student Sculpture Contest was recently held. As part of the contest Santa Monica students are invited to create and submit sculptures made from materials which are usually recycled or thrown away. The goal was to get people thinking about zero waste, as the theme “Zero Waste—Imagine a Waste Free Santa Monica” clearly identified. By creating art from trash not only did the students find new uses for discarded items, but they also were forced to think about how much garbage they create and how they currently dispose of it compared to how they should manage it.
An interesting experiment is happening in Aspen, Colorado. Reusable bag banks are being setup throughout the city. Aspen voted a bag ban into law back in September and it took effect on May 1 of this year. The ban outlaws disposable plastic shopping bags and levies a 20 cent fee on paper bags. One month into the ban and it is estimated that 80-90 percent of shoppers are bringing their own reusable bags when they head out to the store. The concept of the bag bank is similar to the ‘take a penny, leave a penny’ trays you may see at a convenience store counter. The bag banks are metal baskets in which residents can deposit their extra reusable grocery bags for others who may need a bag to take as needed. Only reusable bags are to be placed in the basket.