Sustainable Biodegradable Cutlery and Tableware

Vegware, a new environmentally sustainable company has come out with a line of products that is tackling a major area of pollution and waste in a very creative an innovative way. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this company and their products.

As we all know, humans are getting lazier and lazier and one of the worst inventions of the twentieth century has been the disposable cutlery and tableware. Basically, people are too lazy to wash allot of dishes after a party (I’m even guilty of it myself… Yes I admit it) or small get together, so they go out and buy a bunch of disposable plates, cups, forks, knives and napkins. This really does make it easier for the host, especially after a long night of eating and drinking.

Unfortunately almost all of those disposable products were made from petroleum with a few added poisonous chemicals and a very dirty production process. Not only that, but when they get thrown away, they either fill up a landfill somewhere or get incinerated thereby releasing all of those nasty chemicals back into air we breath.

Until now, there were no clean, biodegradable, sustainable options other than washing a lot of dishes. This is where Vegware have come to our rescue, now we can still be lazy hosts but not hurt the environment in the process. Vegware makes a variety of tableware and cutlery products all made from sustainable eco-friendly substances. For instance, their forks, knives and spoons are made from corn and potato starch, while their plates, bowls and cups are made from cassava starch. They have a whole slew of other eco-friendly products, but you will just have to go see for yourself, but over all this company has a very innovative and supper creative idea and I really hope it catches on here in the states.

Two thumbs up for Vegware’s eco-friendly, sustainable tableware!

Movie Review: “The Story Of Stuff”

I don’t usually post twice a day, but I just watched this movie and I just had to share it. The movie is “The Story Of Stuff” and its about 20 minutes and I highly recommend that you take 20 minutes out of your busy life and watch this movie.

Annie Leonard narrates this wonderful short and explains the life cycle of things, from the mining and product production, to the consumption and final incineration. Not only does she follow the products, but she explains very eloquently every factor involved including natural resources, people and even governments.

The system of production and consumption is seriously flawed and the human race cannot continue to consume at its current rate less we will be left with nothing more to consume. We need a paradigm shift from this dangerous mindset of consumption. Follow this link and watch “The Story Of Stuff” because simply recognizing the problem will help to create this paradigm shift.

Coal Industry to Turn Coal Into Diesel

While the U.S. faces record high fuel cost, the coal industry believes that it has a solution that will fix everything. They are talking about transforming millions of tons of coal into diesel. Sounds like a brilliant idea right… WRONG!

Unfortunately, you can count on the dirty coal industry to come up with an even dirtier method of producing diesel. Yep that’s right, this new “bright idea” is not only twice as dirty as regular petroleum based diesel, but its more expensive too. As the Natural Resources Defense Council put it “Relying on coal-derived liquid as an alternative fuel could nearly double global warming pollution for every gallon of transportation fuel produced and used.”

When concern about global warming is at its highest, leave it to the coal industry to come up with a new way of creating diesel that is worse for the environment. Seriously, what are they thinking, where is the logic? I guess it’s all for the money!

I urge you to do what you can by visiting the NRDC: Move America Beyond Oil site and sending a letter to your local congressman. Together we can make a difference, but we must take consistent action in order to do so.

The Sun Can Power The Entire US

According to a recent news article from the Green Wombat a scientist, David Mills presented a research paper at the Solar Energy Society conference which argues that large solar farms can replace traditional dirty power plants and produce the same electricity at competitive prices. He argues that by using solar thermal plants, combined with some sort of energy storage system to keep the lights on all night, we can totally replace dirty electrical production plants here in the US.

Solar thermal plants use mirrors to focus the sunlight (or electrical light) towards tubes of water which create steam to turn turbines. The idea of using electrically generated light at night is what sets his idea apart and actually makes it feasible on such a large scale. By using this technology Mills calculated that a 92 mile square solar farm could power the entire continental United States.

To read more have a look at the full article over at Green Wombat. http://greenwombat.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2007/09/19/solar-nation-can-the-sun-power-the-us-3/

Alternative Energy Breakthrough: Windbelt Technology

Shawn Frayne, an inventor from California recently discovered an excellent new way to transforming wind energy into electricity. His invention was so significant that Popular Mechanics awarded him the 2007 Breakthrough Award. Frayne’s wind-belt invention works by using the oscillating motion produced when air passes over a thin membrane or belt, by attaching magnets at either end of the membrane and allowing the magnets to oscillate between two metal coils on each side, producing an electrical current.

Frayne recently opened a website for this revolutionary product which he is calling the “Humdinger Windbelt” and whatever revenue the company makes in 1st world countries, he hopes to use to help out third world countries. Considering that this technology is very cheap to make and easily repaired, Frayne believes that it is perfect for third world country applications.

Corn Ethanol: Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

While car manufactures, big agribusiness and our good ol’ president are pushing corn ethanol, toting it as the wonder fuel of the future, real scientist and professionals have a different take. According to recent studies, the only ones who will ultimately benefit will be the large agribusinesses like Archer Daniels Midland, as they suck small farmers dry and make a killing from all of the government subsidies.

The simple fact is this: Corn ethanol is 4 times less efficient than gasoline. Yes I said it, gasoline is actually better for the environment than corn ethanol. It takes over 110 gallons of gasoline to work 1 acre of land to produce ethanol. In other words while gasoline has a return of 5 times the energy that is put in to refining it, ethanol only has a return of 1.3 times.

Not only will farmers lose, but the global hunger issue will worsen as more and more farmers switch to corn for ethanol. This will cause the price of other agricultural products as well as corn, to rise and cause a massive increase in the number of chronically hungry people.

For a more graphical example of this study, have a look over at GroovyGreen.com and look at their take on Corn Ethanol.

Is Man Made Global Warming Real or Fiction?

Who can say for certain whether or not man made global warming is true or false Nobody right, I mean no one can truly predict the future of the physical planet. Does this mean that humans should disregard the possible outcomes by either choosing to do nothing or by simply taking no action? I believe all of the questions are answered in the following video by using some simple logic and breaking down the outcomes. Please just take a few minutes out of your day and have a look at this brilliant video.

Save The Environment: Stop The Snail Mail Spam!

A commonly overlooked source of wasted time, energy and materials is snail mail spam. Now the average person considers online spam to be much more annoying than snail mail spam according to a Science Daily article, however, I must say I think telemarketers are the most annoying of them all. With all of the current publications and news focusing on online email spam and telemarketers, snail mail spam has been all but forgotten, when in my opinion it is much worse, particularly from an environmental perspective.

The average person doesn’t mind sifting through their snail mail real quick and then discarding the junk mail, but that’s just it, people are throwing this stuff away, not recycling. A recent study showed that in the US only 17% of all junk mail is recycled, so the majority is simply filling up our landfills and producing more methane (greenhouse gas) in the process. This is not even considering the waste and emissions created during the production of this paper.

Over 13 Ounces of water is used to produce one sheet of paper. Also because trees are used in the production of paper, these once carbon neutral entities that help to reduce global CO2 will re-release their stored CO2 as their fibers are broken down into pulp. Paper production produces additional emissions from a variety of factors, from forest soil loss, trucking, pulping, paper manufacturing and shipping to the increased methane at the landfill.

Recycled paper is definitely better than virgin paper and I do applaud advertising companies who are using recycled paper, but this number is insignificant compared to the amount that are using virgin paper for their advertisements. Source reduction is of course the best thing one can do to help curb the emissions produced by paper production. Source reduction reduces the amount of trees cut down, waste water, landfill space and even the energy required to recycle the paper.

You may be thinking that you can’t do anything about this junk snail mail, but after some research, I have found a few different ways to drastically cut down your junk snail mail. I’m sure most of you have heard of the “Do Not Call” list where you register your phone with the government so telemarketers don’t call you, well there is something similar for snail mail publications as well.

The National “Do Not Mail” list from Directmail allows you to register your name and address with them so you no longer receive any junk snail mail from their company or companies using their address list. Another great resource is OptOutPrescreen.com which is a company that will get you off of the credit card mailing list. OptOutPrescreen will require that you submit your Social Security number which some people may object to, but credit card companies already have this information, so in my opinion it is worth it to stop getting these credit card offers. The third resource is from the Direct Marketers Association where you can put your name and address on their do not mail list for only $1. The final resource is http://www.41pounds.org/ which is a relatively new site that claims to be able to stop from 80% to 95% of your current junk snail mail, which if true will be the most valuable resource listed.

By using the resources above and stopping useless snail mail spam from coming to your house, you can really help the environment and reduce your CO2 emissions. You may be wondering how much of a reduction can this possibly make, well after I put our home address on those do not mail list, I decided to attempt to calculate the amount of waste and CO2 I would be saving. Here are my results:

Known facts:
One sheet of paper = 4.5 grams.
1 kg of Virgin paper produces 3.24 kg of CO2.
One sheet of paper produces 13 Ounces of waste water.

My average junk snail mail per day:
1.5 credit card applications per day (@ 1 envelope & 3 sheets per) = 6 sheets per day
0.5 useless magazines per day (@ ~30 pages) = 15 sheets per day
0.25 newspaper/coupon books per day (@ ~20 pages) = 5 sheets per day—————————————————————————————————-
26 total junk snail mail sheets per day (26 x 365) = 9,490 sheets per year

9,490 sheets per year @ 4.5g per sheet = 42.7 kg or 94 lbs. per year.
9,490 sheets @ 13oz of water per sheet = 3,648.5 Liters or 963.8 gallons of waste water per year.
42.7 kg of paper @ 3.24 kg of CO2 per 1 kg of paper = 138.3 kg or 306 lbs. of co2 per year.
Not to mention this amount of paper would generate about 109 lbs. of solid waste from the production process and use an entire tree.

Results of junk snail mail per year per household:
Kills 1 tree
Wastes 964 gallons of water
Produces 109 pounds of solid waste
Releases 306 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere

The calculations above do not consider the emissions related to shipping. Granted the junk mail will be delivered by mail couriers who would already be following their typical route by your house, so the net effect on that delivery system wouldn’t be too significant. However, when you think about it, the weight of all the added junk mail would actually cause each vehicle to run less efficiently and burn more gas per unit distance. Not to mention the added burden of recycling the junk mail that should have never been produced in the first place.

All in all, junk snail mail is a waste of money, time, energy and paper. Over 80% of all junk mail ends up in the trash and very little actually gets read. If you want to make a difference and help the environment, use the resources above and get your name on the “Do Not Mail” lists and drastically reduce the amount of junk snail mail being sent to your address. Of course these “Do not Mail” lists will not stop all junk mail, but you can recycle the rest and have almost the same net effect.

If you want to go even further than that, check out my Stop Global Warming action page and make a pledge to reduce your emissions by following a few simple steps. To create a carbon profile, you must sign up, but the sign up is free so what are you waiting for, go get a profile!

Take Action: No More Renewable Energy Standard or Tax Title in Energy Bill?

Well here we go again, yet another attack on renewable energy and the progress that it has already been making over the past few years. Nevada’s senator Harry Reid and congresswoman Nancy Pelosi have just decided to eliminate renewable energy standard and tax title out of the current energy bill set to pass in about 24 hours.

To sum up what this means, the would be $32 billion dollar tax package for renewable energies has just been scrapped for an increased fuel economy standard. Basically a few MPG increase in gas mileage instead of a huge tax incentive to get this country going in the right direction.� Unfortunately the fuel economy standard will in no way shape or form come close the effect that a renewable energy tax package can have on our addiction to foreign oil.

The tax title which was dropped will essentially end(not renew)�the current investment tax credit for solar and the production tax credit for wind energy. In short, we have an energy bill going through congress tomorrow with absolutely NO provisions for alternative energy. This is dropping the largest Pro-Solar provisions this country has ever seen.

Please,Ii beg you to do whatever you can, TODAY to call your local representative and give them an earful. We’ve got maybe 24 hours to turn this around. We suggest calling until the Capitol switchboard melts. Can you please ask your representative to pass the renewable energy message to Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi.A suggested script might go like this:
“Hi. My name is__. I, and 90% of America, would like more renewable energy. It’s not a tough call, since it’s pretty clear that the future of the world depends on it. So, please tell Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi to include a 8-year extension for the solar investment tax credits in the energy bill. Thank you.”

We have a contact information list�of all of your local representatives at the following link: http://www.neutralexistence.com/Write-A-Congressman.html

Again, we have less than 24 hours to make a difference in the future of this country.

Thanks for reading and taking action,

Adam Beazley, CEO – Neutral Existence LLC

Clean Your Planet, Save Money and Bragg About It

Well, today is “Blog Action Day” and thousands of bloggers from across the globe are posting tips to help curb global warming. In the spirit of Blog Action Day, I setup a special page in the members area to allow member’s to take carbon reduction pledges and see exactly how much carbon their pledges will save from entering the atmosphere.

The site doubles as a carbon calculator and a storage database so members can store their carbon reductions to add or decrease at a later date.� This also allows us to rank members by their emission reductions and of course the “Greenest” members will earn the most points. Regardless of weather or not you want to be ranked, or store your info, the 100 or so energy saving and money saving tips are well worth a look.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to checkout the site, here is the link to take action to stop global warming.

You don’t have to signup to read the content, but you will need to create a free account to get your carbon emission info saved into the database.� Grab an account and you can also advertise your green website, blog�or business.