Ready to Kick it Up a Notch on Greenifying?

December 28, 2008

Are you already a concerned Greenifying business owner who wants the company to be more environmentally friendly?  You’ve already put in the energy saving fluorescent bulbs and reset the thermostat to save money.  Now let’s go a little further in your commitment to the planet.

Check your carbon footprint.  There is many more ways to reduce your household carbon emissions. Find out more about your emissions and where you can best reduce them by using an online “carbon calculator.”  A list of those is found on the website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Look into ride sharing or mass transit.  Over a quarter of the vehicle-miles travelled by households are for commuting to and from work – usually with one person in the vehicle. If business owners lead the way and encourage employees to follow, carpooling and mass transit could offer a huge reduction in carbon emissions. 

Plan and combine trips, too.  And talk to your employees about this.  Many times, an employee thinks “Oh, it’s just the boss’ vehicle.”  Remind them that in a recessionary economy, the money they save may provide their paycheck in the future.  And if they do combine and plan their trips better, they’ll help Greenify, as well.

Switch to green-power, too.  Contact your electricity provider to find out about the green power options available to you.  Many areas offer these services, and sometimes, all you have to do is check.

A more long term commitment to lowering the carbon footprint is a commitment to being in business a lot longer.


Trees: Greenifying the Old Fashioned Way

December 24, 2008

Have you planted a tree recently?  I ask with good reason.  Trees are one of our most important natural resources.  They provide shade, fruit and seed and oxygen regeneration services for all of us.  They are great places for birds to live and for people to sit under on a hot day.  And they are just plain beautiful.

“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.”  Those words were written over 100 years ago by Alfred Joyce Kilmer and they’ve never been forgotten.  Trees are truly lovely.

They are graceful in the summer as they sway in the breeze.  They are colorful as cooler temperature turns their leaves different shades of red and gold and everything in between. They are austere and dignified in winter as the snow falls on their stark empty branches.  And they are the first sign of spring, popping back to life with little bits of green with just the smallest bits of inspiration from a passing warm breeze.

In addition, trees can help lower your heating and cooling bills at home and the office.  By providing shade in the summer and a barrier against winds in the winter, they soften your carbon footprint. “If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less,” says Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research. “In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%."   They also add between $1000 and $10,000 in value to any property.

Trees are wonderful and needed everywhere.  Add a tree to the front of your business and it instantly signifies a more friendly atmosphere to customers.  It says “we are settled here” and in business to stay.  And it says that your business is concerned about the environment and making a contribution to a better planet. 

Trees are wonderful ways to Greenify the planet, your business, your home, the air and the view immediately before us.  They are contributing members of our earth and should be valued and taken care of as such.  Trees are one of the easiest and most wonderful ways to Greenify a business or home.


Keeping an Eye Out for Those Who Don’t Greenify

December 17, 2008

The U.S. government has started a new most wanted list---for those who not only don’t Greenify, but who are accused of assaulting the environment.

These are environmental fugitives who do everything from smuggling chemicals that eat away the Earth’s protective ozone layer, to dumping wastes into oceans and rivers and trafficking in polluting cars.

While most versions of the “Most Wanted List” include those who commit crimes, the Environmental Protection Agency is rolling out a roster of 23 environmental thugs, complete with mug shots and descriptions of the charges at the EPA’s website.

One EPA enforcement official said those represent the "brazen universe of people that are evading the law." Many face years in prison and some charges could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, if they are caught.

"They are charged with environmental crimes and they should be brought before the criminal justice system and have their day in court," said Pete Rosenberg, one of the EPA’s directors in charge of criminal enforcement division.

One name on the list is John Karayannides, who allegedly helped orchestrate the dumping of 487 tons of diesel fuel-tainted wheat into the South China Sea in 1998. Karayannides is believed to have fled to Athens, Greece.

Also at large are the father and son team of Carlos and Allesandro Giordano, who were originally picked up in 2003 as owners of a company that was illegally importing and selling Alfa Romeos that did not meet U.S. emission or safety standards. The two men are believed to be hiding out in Italy.

The launch of the most-wanted list comes as EPA's criminal enforcement has ebbed. In the last 12 months, the agency has opened only 319 criminal enforcement cases, down from 425 in 2004. 

EPA officials defend the agency's record, saying the agency has focused on bigger cases with larger environmental benefits.  And now, they are giving people concerned about Greenifying a chance to keep an eye out for those who have committed crimes against the planet.


Greenifying in the New Administration

December 15, 2008

It is expected that President-elect Barack Obama will organize administration’s efforts toward the environment and energy in a different fashion than previous Presidents.

The President-elect is expected to announce his energy and environment team late Monday (December 15, 2008) in an afternoon at a news conference in Chicago.  This will be just the latest in the steady roll-out of his Cabinet, which is now nearly complete.

Obama is expected to name Carol Browner, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, as the head of a new policy council to coordinate climate, environment and energy issues; a so-called “climate czar.”

Browner was formerly the administrator of the EPA from January 31, 2001–June 27, 2003, under former President Bill Clinton.  She was the longest-serving administrator in the history of the agency, staying through both terms of the Clinton presidency.  She successfully fought off Congressional Republicans who wanted to gut the “Clean Water Act.”  She was successful, however, in working in a bipartisan manner to amend clean water statutes and the Food Quality Protection Act.

As EPA Administrator, Browner started the Agency's successful Brownfields program, which, during her tenure, helped facilitate cleanups of contaminated facilities, especially in urban areas, and which leveraged more than $1 billion in public and private funds for cleanups.  Browner is currently the chair of the Audubon Society; her term expires in 2008.

It’s widely believed that the return of a democratic president will signal future moves forward to a more green future in the years ahead for both homes and businesses.  Carol Browner may be part of those efforts.  Which may mean a Greenified 2009.


Two Quick Ways to Greenify Holiday Giving

December 3, 2008

If you’re like many Americans, you’re feeling the economic pinch this holiday.  Greenifying your gift-giving may help you feel a little richer in personal green. 

Have you thought about recycling gifts?  Yeah, sure, you’ve heard about re-gifting: rewrapping a gift you received but don’t care for in order to give it to someone it may be better suited for.  Re-gifting was made popular (and got laughs) on Seinfeld, the old NBC sitcom.

But maybe this year, you’ll consider buying items at second-hand stores.  Americans have been considered “under-consumers” for years, in that they didn’t use an item completely.  They threw things away or took them to second-hand stores well before their usefulness was finished.  Maybe it’s time you considered shopping in those stores.

Some things you can’t purchase at such a store.  You’ll not please the kids wanting a WII with an old VCR.  But if you’re looking for a back-up vcr for your business’ in-house security system, you will pay a lot less by purchasing a cast-off second-hand player in working order.  

Often these items are cast off early.  In some cases, stores have been known to clear inventory to charitable organizations.  If you can wait until after Christmas, many stores and households clear excess items that aren’t fully used.  (Some people never learn to Greenify.  It’s not in their nature.)  

At the very least, consider something made of recycled goods, like this Radio Flyer made of recycled plastic or a lovely star paperweight made of recycled blue glass. (They have them shaped like dolphins, too but that didn’t seem nearly as festive!)

You can teach your children a lesson about greenification by taking them shopping at a second-hand store, like Goodwill or the Salvation Army.  They’ll learn to appreciate the cost of goods, the fun of giving, and the value of a dollar while they shop.  It’s also a great time to talk about the value of conserving natural resources.

Even if the kids aren’t getting or giving second-hand gifts, give yourself or your spouse or someone else the gift of a recycled, second-hand item and feel the joy of helping Greenify the planet and the second gift of a lower budget.


Greenifying as Basic as an Acorn

December 1, 2008

There is growing interest in an unusual story reported out of Washington, DC, this week.  It’s not about the President-elect’s latest appointment or what members of Congress are packing up to leave office permanently as new members move in.  It’s about what’s missing from the nation’s Capitol and from several surrounding states.  What is missing is acorns.

"I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe," botanist Rod Simmons said. "But this is not just not a good year for oaks. It's a zero year. There's zero production. I've never seen anything like this before."

The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather, Simmons says in this weekend’s Washington post.  Hickory nuts aren’t around either.  And Simmons is not the only one who noticed.  

"I couldn't find any acorns anywhere," said Greg Zell, a naturalist at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington, VA. "Not a single acorn. It's really bizarre."

Zell researched and found Internet discussion groups, including one on Topix called "No acorns this year," reporting the same thing from as far away as the Midwest up through New England and Nova Scotia. "None in Kansas either! Curiouser and curiouser," posted another.

Some have theories about rain cycles. But many skeptics say oaks in other regions are producing plenty of acorns, and the acorn bust in these areas is nothing more than the extreme of a natural boom-and-bust cycle. 

And others say they’re not worried yet. "What's there to worry about?" said Alan Whittemire, a botanist at the U.S. Arboretum. "If you're a squirrel, it's a big worry. But it's no problem for the oak tree. They'll produce acorns again when they're ready to."  Of course the squirrels could starve in the meantime.

Naturalists expect this is an isolated biological event.  But it’s one that bears noting by those of us who like our world as green and beautiful as it is.

And I point it out as an interesting article you can read and also because if we let parts of our living world and food chain slip away, we are all the poorer for it. But we are in danger ourselves.  When greenifying is within reach, we have to do it to protect ourselves and out world.

Link to story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/29/AR2008112902045.html?hpid=topnews

 


New Car? No Thanks!

October 13, 2008

Word that a new vehicle that gets 65 mpg will soon Greenify foreign shores but not be offered to car-loving Americans was a bit of a shock, wasn't it?  We all want to Go Green, and the reasons why we won’t get a chance at 65 mpg seemed murky at best.  The facts: the car runs on diesel and Americans consider diesel both smelly and dirty, also the auto is built in Europe and considered too expensive to ship to the U.S.
 
But what about saving fuel the old fashioned way?  Can we do it even without a pricey new car that gets great mileage but strains our already-pained pocketbooks? 

How about if we Greenify the old-fashioned way?  Using a meal plan to organize our grocery shopping will optimize both time and gas consumption.  If we plan our meals, we can make do with only one trip to the store per week, down from three or four or even nightly grocery shopping.  It may not seem like a lot, but those little stops can add up and detract from energy savings.

It also may be time to get a bike for those short hops around the neighborhood.  Get on the bike to call the kids to dinner.  Adding a little exercise may subtract a few dollars from our weekly gas consumption, but it can also subtract pounds. 

And carpooling is on an echo wave.  Where else can you find time to get to know your friends and neighbors better, while conserving energy?  Pick the right carpooler and you’ll find yourself arriving at the office less stressed out and with a better outlook on the day and week ahead.

Do all these things and you may save as much money as that 65 mpg vehicle would have offered, while keeping your dependable older car and realize savings there, too.  And using a product completely fits our Greenifying goal, too.  


Hand Dryers vs. Paper Towels

October 1, 2008

Hand dryers are probably one of the least popular ways to Greenify a business.  They are loud, users think dryers leave skin without natural oils, and that they sometimes seem to take forever to work.  But they should be among the most popular ways to go green with business owners.  Why?

One report estimates that for the average fast food restaurant’s restrooms to use paper towels for a year requires the wood product equivalent of 9 full grown trees and creates 1000 pounds of landfill waste in that same time period.  During the same timeframe, operating a hand dryer saves as much as 80% in energy costs, plus landfill fees, plus lowering labor costs because hand dryers don’t require maintenance.   

And we should point-out, hand-dryers are a changing, evolving asset that itself is growing greener day by day.  The newest models claim they save even more energy (cutting operational costs as much as 98%), drying hands in 10 seconds or less, and providing greater hygiene than ever before.

In fact, a Canadian study claims that the warm air blown across the skin surface does slightly dehydrate the skin, which leads to a decreased ability for microorganisms to grow and penetrate the tiny crevasses on the skins surface, where as absorbent towels may not provide the same protection, even though the skin appears dryer.
There you have it: easier on the environment, lower energy and labor costs, faster and more hygienic, too. 

What could make a decision to Greenify better?


Customized Reusable Shopping Bags: Good for the Environment; Great for Your Company!

September 22, 2008

How would you like to put your name and advertising logo into the pocket or purse of each of your customers, while at the same time, greenifying your business and saving money long-term?

It’s possible.  Environmentalists estimate that 500 billion to 1 trillion of the bags are now used worldwide every year.  And studies show that 100,000 marine animals perish every year because of the plastic bags.  Maybe it’s time you looked around for reusable shopping bags for your customers. 

You can order them in your favorite colors, numerous styles and with your logo and name on the exterior.  Some fold up so small they fit in pockets or purses.  Others flatten for easy transport. 

And here’s another reason to put your bag into your customers’ hands.  If you think about it, when was the last time you wanted to carry a bag with one company’s logo on it into a competing company’s store to load on supplies?  Custom-made re-usable bags help reinforce brand loyalty while giving your business a reputation for “going green.”   And if you think saving the environment is a noble cause, think about how many fewer bags you’d have to buy down the road.  It might take a while to see those savings, but “if you provide them, they will come.”  And come again. 

Greenifying your business has benefits in so many ways, doesn’t it?  

Here are several companies that make customized reusable bags:

http://www.reusethisbag.com/

http://www.tansclub.com/cottontotebag.html?gclid=COzhsfat8JUCFQykagod7WVBfA

http://dealbags.com/tote_bags.html


Greenify Your Shipping Methods

September 12, 2008

Did you know that the box that you check to indicate your shipping preference can have an impact on the environment? A recent on-line shopping site I was perusing had a box in the shipping section that said "Go Green Go Ground." According to Onlineshoes, "ground shipping methods use about 1/8th less fuel than similar air or expedited methods."

While making a choice to go green with your shipment method, they offer one more piece of advice. Go Green and Get it Faster. Ship your package to work. They give three reasons to ship your good to your office rather than your home. 

·      Your delivery is more likely to arrive safe and secure at a business address.

·      You'll get it on the first delivery attempt.

·      Less fuel will be used. Business districts are usually closer to shipping centers, so carriers can deliver more items in a shorter distance.

The next time you are greenifying your purchases by shopping on-line, consider greenifying your shipping method as well. Happy shopping!
 


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