Thursday, October 31, 2013

Safety For Trick or Treaters



RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation, through its Watch for Me NC pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign, urges parents, motorists and trick-or-treaters to be safe this Halloween.


More than 2,200 people are injured or killed in collisions with motor vehicles in North Carolina each year, and more than a third of those collisions occur in the evening or at night.


With thousands of children expected to be parading the streets on Oct. 31, the Watch for Me NC campaign is offering these safety tips to help make this year’s Halloween safer and more enjoyable:


For Parents
Before children start out on their trick-or-treat rounds, parents should:


· Plan and discuss a safe route trick-or-treaters intend to follow and establish a return time.
· Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along the established route.
· Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
· Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.
· Let children know that they should stay together as a group if going out to trick-or-treat without an adult.
· Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.




For Trick-Or-Treaters
To have a safe trick-or-treating adventure, trick-or-treaters should:


· Stay in familiar neighborhoods along the established route and stop only at familiar houses unless accompanied by an adult.
· Walk on sidewalks, not in the street. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
· Cross streets at crosswalks when available. Look both ways before crossing streets and cross when the lights tell you to cross, after you check for cars in all directions.
· Carry a flashlight, wear clothing with reflective markings or tape, and stay in well-lit areas. Wear a watch you can read in the dark.
· Don't cut across yards or driveways.


For Motorists
Motorists should be especially alert on Halloween and should:


· Drive slowly through residential streets and areas where pedestrians trick-or-treating could be expected.
· Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
· Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
· Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
· At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Green Square office building


RALEIGH– The Green Square office building, the Raleigh headquarters for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, is now a standard-bearer for environmental design and efficiency.

On Wednesday, state dignitaries will unveil a plaque recognizing the building’s new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification and honoring those who helped the building earn the nation’s highest building standards in environmental design.

North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Dan Forest, who is a LEED-certified Raleigh architect, will be the keynote speaker for Wednesday’s 10 a.m. ceremony in the first floor lobby of the 217 West Jones St. office building. Forest will be introduced by John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The N.C. Department of Administration’s Secretary Bill Daughtridge plans to attend Wednesday’s ceremony. The ceremony should last 30 minutes and will be followed by tours of the building.

The Green Square office building becomes the first state government complex constructed in Raleigh that meets the nation’s highest building standards in environmental design. TheLEED program is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council to assess building performance and sustainability goals. It addresses facility design considerations for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

To achieve significant cost and energy savings, the building was constructed with numerous “green” features, including:

· Cisterns on the roofs that capture rainwater so it can be treated and reused in the building to flush toilets, water plants and provide cooling tower makeup water.

· Many more windows than the typical office building. This enables the state to maximize natural lighting, reduce its energy bill and cut down on the amount of pollution generated by electricity production.

In addition to serving as the headquarters for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Green Square office building is home to the Innovation Center, a lab where state and university officials and others can test technology before purchasing it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Builders Embracing the 3 R's

Guest Blogger Sam Marquit:

A commercial contractor weighs in on how builders are embracing the Three Rs — reduce, reuse and recycle.

Over the years that I have spent as a commercial contractor, I have seen both commercial and residential buildings constructed using green materials. In addition, I have ensured that these materials haven been implemented in new construction sites. In 2013, worldwide spending on green materials reached $116 billion. That figure is expected to surpass $254 billion by 2020.

Homes are beginning to catch on. Irrigation systems work best when they are in an area of the country that regularly experiences drought. In addition to this, some homeowners are watering their gardens and lawns by means of shower or laundry greywater. These systems provide both planetary and bank account benefits.


Businesses are beginning to embrace “Three Rs,” (reduce, recycle and reuse). In fact, many businesses are working behind the scenes to benefit the environment. Some businesses have accomplished green success by creating centers in which to sort waste. After waste has been sorted, it is sent to various facilities to be reused or recycled.

Consumers and businesses from all over are coming together by using and reusing materials through the process of “upcycling”. Over time, the earth is becoming a greener and healthier place in which to live. It is important to continue this trend moving forward.

More and more businesses are going green every day. From the Las Vegas desert, which contains the most eco-friendly hotel in America, to major cities such as New York, organizations are embracing sustainability.

ARIA, one of the many green Las Vegas hotels, has been successful in sending 47% of the waste it creates to recycling facilities. Furthermore, the facility’s convention center does an excellent job preventing 80% of its waste from ending up in landfills. In fact, the building’s food waste is not thrown away, but instead collected and sent to a nearby pig farm to be used as food.
The Ink48 hotel in New York City is a perfect example with its earthcare program. This program allows members to come in and discuss different ways in which they and others can go green. Let’s hope trends like this one continue into the future.

Sam Marquit is an independent entrepreneurial contractor and home remodeling expert. He has made it a point to give his readers a look at sustainable building trends. Forecasting the possible application and implementation of new green building materials and technologies is just one small part of Sam’s effort to reduce our carbon footprints.

Monday, October 28, 2013

You can burn the candle at both ends

Make New Layered Candles from Old Candle Wax

Tutorial from Mary Mazzoni

Candles add a unique ambience to any living space, but any candle lover knows there’s often loads of wax that goes to waste.

When the wick burns out, it can be tough to figure out what to do with the wax that remains in your pretty jarred candles other than toss it in the trash, but Love Grows Wild blogger Liz Fourez devised a better solution: Transform all that old wax into new layered candles.

The process may sound a bit tricky, but Fourez makes it look surprisingly easy. All you’ll need is a new set of wicks (which are easy to find at your local crafts store), a saucepan and a burner to get the job done.

Feel free to get creative and mix different scents and waxes to create your candles. For best results, Fourez recommends sticking with complementary scents and colors (think: pale yellow vanilla and warm red cinnamon) for a prettier look and a more pleasant aroma.

Ready to give it a try? Head to Love Grows Wild for step-by-step instructions on how to do it yourself.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A grave matter

How eco-friendly are you?

Maybe you:


•Take reuseable bags on every trip to the grocery store.
•Started your own compost pile.
•Make sure your recyclable bin accumulates more suff then the garbage can.

A great start, definitely, but have you considered your environmental impact while you're busy resting in peace? If you are planning on using that burial plot would you go so far as taking your eternal rest in an eco-friendly coffin?

eco Rest coffins are made with either by-Board, an agricultural waste by-product that is bonded with a non-toxic resin or Re-board, a paper based product. If it were me, I'd go with the Re-board because it has a completely printable surface and who doesn't want to make one last statement?

Oh the options. On mine? Palm trees and mountains. No doubt.

What would you want memorialized on your earth-friendly, "blank canvas" coffin?



The Midcounties Co-operative Funeral Group

Eco Uniforms from The Midcounties Co-operative Funeral Group
But that's not all to think about on your dying day, seriously.

For those concerned with the environmental impact from clothing, the Midcounties Co-operative Funeral Group has launched the UK's first recyclable corporate clothing line made entirely from biodegradable and sustainable sources.




"The first, 100% environmentally responsible tailored funeral wear collection."

Even the interlinings are made from 100% recycled PET plastic bottles.

If there was a grading scale on how environmentally conscious a person is, I think having a funeral consisting of a biodegradable coffin and funeral staff dressed in recycled ceremonial garb gives you an A+.

And you can take that to the grave.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pill Drop Today

Today, October 26th, 2013, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Justice, will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets. Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country. To find out more, visit the Take Back2 page.



Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know3
Medicines Recommended for Disposal by Flushing4
How to Dispose of Unused Medicines5
Medication Disposal: Questions and Answers6


Site for Local Information:

http://www.newbernsj.com/news/local/pill-drop-scheduled-for-saturday-in-new-bern-1.222369?tc=cr

Friday, October 25, 2013

‘Pill Drop’ scheduled for Saturday

On October 26th, 2013, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Justice, will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets. Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country. To find out more, visit the Take Back2 page.



Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know3
Medicines Recommended for Disposal by Flushing4
How to Dispose of Unused Medicines5
Medication Disposal: Questions and Answers6


Site for Local Information:

http://www.newbernsj.com/news/local/pill-drop-scheduled-for-saturday-in-new-bern-1.222369?tc=cr

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall Wardrobe Need a Refresh?

Fall Wardrobe Need a Refresh? Swap, Donate or Recycle Those Duds

Feature from Mary Mazzoni

Swapping out your summer clothes for fall fashions? Now’s the time to donate those gently used duds.

The air is crisper, the days are shorter and sweater weather is surely upon us. As you’re making room for all those cool-season clothes in your closet, take the opportunity to free yourself of items you no longer wear.

That shrunken tank top or over-ruffled blouse may be just what another shopper needs to avoid buying new, and you’ll enjoy the satisfaction that comes with unloading the stuff you don’t want or need. Here are some recycling solutions that may surprise you, from selling trendy fashions online to diverting damaged clothing from landfills.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Fort Macon Power Squadron needs volunteers

The Fort Macon Power Squadron needs volunteers Saturday for their Big Sweep Cleanup.


Clean Sweep
When: Sat, October 26, 9am – 1pm

Where: Public boat ramp on West Beaufort Road (map)

Description: "Louise Manke Captain"; Is our team leader the County public docks in Beaufort at Turner St on Towne Creek by the airport. Our date is Oct 26.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How to Buy the Right Amount of Paint

How to Buy the Right Amount of Paint
Tips from Haley Shapley

Do you know how much paint to buy? Consider all the factors before purchasing.

Buying the right amount of paint for a project seems simple — figure out how big your room is, look to see how many square feet a particular can covers, and buy accordingly. As anyone who has ever painted a room has probably discovered, though, it’s not quite that easy.

There are many factors that influence how much paint you need. Consider the following:

The size of the room. This is the most obvious consideration — what’s the surface area of the walls of the room you’re painting? Remember to subtract out spaces for doors and windows if they aren’t being painted the same color. If the coverage on the can says 300-400 square feet, you need 1 gallon for a typical room (10 feet by 10 feet) with smooth walls.

The use of primer beforehand. You may think using primer for a base coat is unnecessary, but it’ll make your paint job better, and you won’t need as much paint — especially for new walls that have never been painted. Considering that paint is more expensive than primer, you will save money in the end to use primer first. When changing the color from dark to light, use white primer; when changing from light to dark, ask your paint dealer to tint it to gray.

The texture of your walls. “If the surface is rough, it takes more paint to cover it,” says Paul Fresina of PaintCare, a nonprofit organization that works with state and local governments to make paint recycling easier for consumers.

The color of your paint. Here’s a fun fact: If you use red paint, you’ll usually need more than with any other color. Other colors, too, may require extra layers. Also consider the colors you’re starting and ending with. If you’re going from a really dark color to a light color or vice versa, the color change means that you’ll probably need more coats.

The type of paint. The old adage of “you get what you pay for” applies to paint. “If you buy cheap paint and it doesn’t cover as well and you need more paint, you’re not saving money in the end,” Fresina says. “It’s faster and usually saves money to use higher-quality paint.” The more solids in a paint, the better it will cover.

With all these considerations, it’s best to ask your salesperson for assistance — they can advise you on approximately how much paint you need based on the kind you’re buying and what you’re painting.

Yet no matter how well you estimate, you may not be able to buy paint in the exact increment you need. “Unless you intentionally use up the paint by putting on an extra coat, you almost always have some left over because of the fact that it’s only sold in certain-sized containers,” Fresina says. Keep some paint around for touch-ups, and if you have a lot left over, you can find creative ways to use it up or look at recycling options.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ways to Recycle Used Tea Bags and Coffee Filters

Ways to Recycle Used Tea Bags and Coffee Filters

By Wendy Gabriel

Is your trashcan a mess of damp coffee grounds and tea bags? These helpful reuse applications show that grounds and bags are useful after the mug is emptied.

I drink gallons of coffee and tea — not all in one day, mind you, but over the course of a month I amass quite a collection of filters and tea bags. Below are some of the ways to reuse the coffee filters, grounds and tea bags.

Reusing coffee grounds and filters
Reuse your coffee grounds to feed your plants. Plants such as rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreen and camellias that prefer acidic soils will benefit from a layer of coffee grounds. I save my used grounds in a pail and use them to mulch my house plants and outdoor plants, including the patch of raspberries I am cultivating in my back yard.

I also reuse coffee grounds when planting my garden. Work used coffee grounds into your garden soil before planting seeds. After your plants start to emerge, work in coffee grounds near the plants. The grounds repel snails and slugs and add nutrients to the soil. I continue working the grounds in throughout the growing season, especially around cabbage and other vegetables that are prone to attracting slugs and snails.

I have used old coffee grounds to deodorize my freezer. Dry the grounds on a baking sheet then put them in a bowl and place them in the freezer.

Reuse your coffee filter to make compost. They can make up some of the brown materials needed to make nutrient-rich compost for your yard, garden and plants. Make sure you purchase coffee filters that are unbleached — it is healthier for you and for the environment. For some great tips about composting, check out The Do’s and Don’ts of Composting.

Another option is to avoid wasting a coffee filter all together by using a permanent coffee filter or a French press coffeemaker, which has a built-in filter. There was a permanent filter included in the box when I purchased my coffeemaker. It saves me money and reduces my environmental impact. You can purchase one for yourself at many local retailers or online.

Reusing tea bags

After drinking a cup of tea, I have found a few uses for the used tea bag before it ends up in my compost bin.

First, I usually reuse it for another cup of tea. Then, while it’s still moist, I use it to clean my bathroom mirrors. After my daughters finish brushing their teeth in the morning, the mirrors look like a Jackson Pollock masterpiece, so I wash them with the used tea bag then wipe the mirrors clean with a dry cloth. The tea’s tannic acid gently breaks down the grime on mirrors without the need for chemicals.

I have also heard about several other ways to reuse tea bags. For example, you can apply used tea bags to soothe sunburn pain. Put used tea bags on your sunburn and let them sit for about 15 minutes. The tea acts like an astringent to help reduce the pain.

Finally, if you do not have a compost bin you could bury your tea bag in your garden or your houseplants to add nutrients to the soil. The tea bag will decompose; just make sure you remove any staples.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Recycling4Smiles

Recycling4Smiles: Improving Quality of Life for Those in Need
By Wendy Gabriel

A Christmas gift inspired an 11-year-old to start recycling to make a difference in other children’s lives.

When 11-year-old Sonali Ranaweera learned in science class that in her home state of California she could make money from recycling, she took that information and ran with it. She had received $100 as a Christmas gift from her parents and they told her to use some of it to make a difference in someone’s life.

Sonali had learned about Smile Train, an organization that provides free cleft surgery to hundreds of thousands of poor children in developing countries, and wanted to use the money to fund a cleft surgery for a child, but she needed a way to make the additional $150 needed. That is where recycling and the California Redemption Value program helped out.

In California, there are approximately 2,200 recycling centers statewide that buy back empty CRV beverage containers. Shoppers pay CRV when they buy beverages from a retailer and receive CRV refunds when they redeem the containers to a recycling center. Sonali knew she could make money collecting the CRVs from her family and friends and her goal was to make enough to donate $250 to Smile Train by her birthday in May 2012.


Sonali Ranaweera and her brother sorting recyclables for the Recycling4Smiles program. Photo via Facebook.

To that end, on March 1, 2012 Sonali started Recycling4Smiles to raise funds for cleft lip surgeries and other causes benefiting less fortunate children in the world by cashing in recyclables. The charity donates 100% of the CRV collected from family, friends, businesses and neighbors to fund cleft lip surgeries and other needy causes related to children. Once the reach yearly goal for cleft lip surgeries is reached, any additional funds are donated to additional causes and charities that help children.

Recently, Sonali was recognized for her “outstanding volunteerism” by Kohl’s Department Stores. Each year Kohl’s awards a total of $10,000 in scholarships to each of 10 national Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program winners.

To date, Recycling4Smiles has donated more than $10,000 by recycling 3,769 pounds of aluminum, 1,228 pounds of plastic and 10,900 pounds of glass.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

N.C. Division of Coastal Management to co-host regional planning workshop in Wilmington

N.C. Division of Coastal Management to co-host regional planning workshop in Wilmington
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RALEIGH –The state Division of Coastal Management is co-hosting a southern regional planning workshop to discuss future directions for the N.C. Coastal Area Management Act Land Use Planning Program.

The workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Oct. 23 at the New Hanover County Government Center, 230 Government Center Drive, Wilmington. The state coastal agency is co-hosting the workshop with the Business Alliance for a Sound Economy and the North Carolina Coastal Federation.

The meeting will be an opportunity for local planning staff and elected officials to engage with other community leaders and stakeholders, and collaborate with state planning staff to provide input on the state’s coastal planning program.

Local governments in Brunswick, Carteret, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties and their respective municipalities are invited to participate. Elected officials and local professional planning staff will have an opportunity to discuss past experiences with the CAMA Land Use Planning Program under existing state planning guidelines. Participants will work with staff from the state Division of Coastal Management to consider new opportunities for technical assistance, streamlined plan reviews, and reduced local planning burdens through improved coordination with other planning requirements and activities.

The workshop is free, but registration is required. Visit www.nccoastaltraining.net to register and download an agenda.

A separate workshop for northern coastal counties and municipalities is being planned for early 2014.



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Friday, October 18, 2013

Recycle Electronics Year Round in Craven Pamlico and Carteret


Recycling Electronics in Carteret, Craven and
Pamlico Counties

Since 2011, discarded computer equipment and discarded televisions are banned from North Carolina landfills.

Computer Equipment is defined as desktop computers, notebook computers, monitor or video display units for a computer system, and the keyboard, mice, other peripheral equipment, and a printing device such as a printer, a scanner, a combination print-scanner-fax machine, or other device designed to produce hard paper copies from a computer.

A Television is defined as any electronic device that displays television or video programming with a viewable screen of nine inches or larger.

Until recently you had 3 locations once per year to deposit your electronics for recycling.

Carteret, Craven and Pamlico Counties now accept electronics year-round.

For more information, call your local Solid Waste department.
Carteret County - 252-728-8595
Craven County - 252-636-6659
Pamlico County - 252-745-4240
For general information call the Coastal Environmental Partnership
252-633-1564

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Staying Cool

Staying Cool: U.K. Grocer Tests Natural Refrigeration System
News from Mary Mazzoni

U.K. grocery chain Sainsbury’s is testing a new naturally refrigerated trailer to transport cold foods using a C02 refrigeration system.
We’ve seen businesses test out a wide range of methods for slashing the footprint of heavy truck shipping — from crazy trailer contraptions to fuel made from manure.

Now, U.K. grocery chain Sainsbury’s is testing the world’s first naturally refrigerated trailer to transport chilled and frozen goods with less environmental impact.

Made by Carrier Transicold, the truck fleet will be cooled with carbon dioxide using a modified version of a refrigeration system that was originally developed for deep sea containers and completed a rigorous sea trial program last year. The trucks will be tested in a two-year trial, where performance will be closely monitored by the company.

“The new carbon dioxide technology has much less of an impact on climate change and we hope it will play a big part in helping us reduce our carbon emissions,” Nick Davies, head of transport operations for Sainsbury’s, said in a press release. “We will be monitoring its performance closely and if successful, in line with our replacement plan, it could help us save over 70,000 tons of CO2 compared to the current refrigerated trailer fleet.”

This isn’t the first time Sainsbury’s made a big move to cut its footprint. It was the first U.K. retailer to commit voluntarily to phasing out harmful HFC refrigerants and plans to convert all its 1,000-plus stores to natural refrigeration by 2030.

That may seem like a long way out, but the company is already well on its way to achieving the goal. It converted all its refrigerated depots in 2011 and is on track to switch 250 stores to CO2 refrigerant by 2014. All new stores are currently fitted with CO2 refrigeration as standard, and more than 160 existing stores have already moved to the natural refrigeration system, the company said.

Additionally, Sainsbury’s recently extended its dual-fuel fleet to 51 vehicles — reducing carbon emissions by up to 25 percent. The eco-friendly fleet, now one of the largest in the U.K., operates on a combination of diesel and bio-methane, produced from decomposing organic material in landfills.

It’s all part of Sainsbury’s 20×20 Sustainability Plan, through which the company aims to reduce its depot-to-store transport emissions by 35 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2030.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Countertops Give Glass a Second Life

Countertops Give Glass a Second Life

Feature from Paula Felps Recycled glass countertops are a great alternative to laminate, butcher block and granite counters.

Each year, more than 28 billion glass bottles end up in landfills, which is enough to fill up the Empire State Building — twice — every three weeks. Recycling glass is an easy way to help the planet; recycling a single glass jar saves enough electricity to power an 11-watt CFL bulb for 20 hours, and, unlike most materials, glass can be recycled an infinite number of times without wearing out.

As we have become more aware of the need to recycle glass — and more educated about different ways it can be used — recycled glass countertops have become an attractive and eco-friendly alternative to materials like laminates, butcher block and granite counters. In addition to being easy on the eyes and better for the planet, glass is good for your family’s health, too. Granite emits radon, a naturally occurring gas with radioactive properties that is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. Butcher block counters are susceptible to mold and are typically held together with toxic glue, while laminates often have toxin-filled MDF backing.

Glass represents a healthier and more eco-friendly way to add stylish functionality to a kitchen or bathroom; like other materials out there, it is available in virtually any color, and one of the elements that makes it so appealing is that no two counters can ever be completely alike.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Staggering 1/3 of Global Food Supply Wasted

A Staggering 1/3 of Global Food Supply Wasted, Report Says
News from Mary Mazzoni

We all know that food waste is a growing global problem, but a United Nations report released this month indicates that the effect of all that wasted food may be even greater than previous estimates.

The report, “Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources,” is the first study to analyze the impacts of global food waste from a holistic environmental perspective — examining its consequences for the climate, water and land use, and biodiversity.

Food waste totals — about 1.3 billion tons annually, or a staggering one-third of the global food supply — align with previous findings, but the broad-sweeping effects of global food waste are perhaps even more shocking.

Surprising eco impact
UN researchers found that food produced but not eaten each year guzzles up a volume of water equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River and is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Additionally, annual global food waste also causes $750 billion in economic losses for food producers — equivalent to the GDP of Switzerland, the study found.

“We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practices, when 870 million people go hungry every day.”
“All of us — farmers and fishers; food processors and supermarkets; local and national governments; individual consumers — must make changes at every link of the human food chain to prevent food wastage from happening in the first place, and reuse or recycle it when we can’t,” José Graziano da Silva, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, the UN agency that produced the report, said in a press release.

“We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practices, when 870 million people go hungry every day,” he added.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Are you sure you can compost that?

New Catalog Provides List of Certified Compostable Products

Quick Bit from Kathryn Sukalich

A new catalog aims to help composters and consumers identify products that will break down in a commercial composting facility. Photo: Shutterstock
A new catalog created by the nonprofit Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) lists more than 3,300 products that are certified to break down in commercial composting facilities.

The catalog, which is believed to be the first of its kind, is intended to help composters and consumers know whether the products they use will actually create beneficial compost. Items included in the catalog are cups, plates, cutlery, bags, films and resins.

Information about food service items is particularly helpful for composters, because separating plastic cutlery from food waste can be challenging and costly. By replacing plastic silverware with biodegradable alternatives, food service companies can help streamline the composting process.

“Compostable products substitute for nondegradable plastics in zero waste diversion efforts, making it easier to compost waste streams that are predominantly food scraps or wet/soiled paper,” said Steven A. Mojo, executive director of BPI, in a statement on the organization’s website. “The new BPI catalog provides accurate, item-level identification of these certified products — essential information composters need to demand that waste generators purchase and use only specific, BPI-approved products.”

According to BPI’s website, since the introduction of biodegradable plastics 15 years ago, confusion about whether a product will satisfactorily break down is common. BPI hopes to clear up some of that confusion with the new catalog. And nonbiodegradable plastics cost the composting industry money when they make it into their waste stream.

“The remaining plastic fragments reduce the value of the compost, creating lost revenue opportunities,” BPI writes on its website.

By consulting the new catalog, buyers of plastics will have a better understanding of which products can be sent directly to commercial composting facilities. To make this process even easier, the BPI website also offers contact information for many suppliers of compostable products.

To learn more about BPI’s compostable products certification or to search the catalog, visit the organization’s website.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Green Fontier

Earthships Explore the Next Frontier of Sustainable Living

It’s What’s Inside That Counts
The unique design element is just one thing that sets earthships apart from traditional housing. The systems contain and reuse all household sewage in indoor treatment cells, which lets it then be used in food production and landscaping. This approach allows for indoor gardens (or even jungles) to provide fresh produce for homeowners.

Toilets use greywater for flushing rather than running on a city sewage system, and earthships harvest water from rain and snow, which is used for everything from drinking to bathing to washing clothes. They depend upon thermal heating and cooling, and produce their own electricity with solar and wind power.

“This is the way all housing is going to look when there is no more oil,” says Jacobsen. “People are going to have to realize that they can collect power, grow food, and heat and cool their home. Whether people adopt that way of thinking and learn how to live that way before there’s a crisis is up to them.”

The Earthship Biotecture headquarters is home to several units that can be toured or rented for the night, further allowing people to experience life inside for a night or a weekend.

“That helps sell them,” Jacobsen says. “Once people experience them, they become more interested in owning one. We’re not out to convince people to pursue them; we’re just here to help.”

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge

Jacobsen acknowledges that earthships are seen as the “far edge of green and sustainable living.” But a growing awareness in sustainability issues has gone a long way toward making the homes seem less foreign. The cost is slightly higher but still competitive with purchasing a new home; Jacobsen says a small one-bedroom home begins at around $100,000. Of course, the biggest difference is that the earthship won’t be saddled with water and utility bills. Owners can also grow their own food inside the home, cutting back dramatically on what they spend at the grocery store.

“There is definitely more interest now here in the U.S., but our main growth has been international,” she says. “We’re doing a seminar in Ushuaia, Argentina, in January and building a school in Uruguay in February.” They also are building a community center in Malawi, Africa, that will provide health care to local tribes. She says such areas, where access to water and electricity are a challenge, provide the perfect place for earthships to showcase their abilities and efficiency.

The homes can be adapted for any climate, from frigid arctic settings to steamy tropical environments.

Here in the U.S., clients have ranged from single 20-somethings building small homes to the late actor Dennis Weaver building a 10,000-square-foot sustainable mansion in Colorado. The homes have evolved to include more traditionally styled buildings to suit building codes and customer wants. However, the nature of the building materials means that earthships will never be mistaken for a tract home.

“They’re always going to be buried in the earth; the mechanical systems will be apparent; and you’re going to see the solar panels, battery boxes and vent boxes. You’re never going to have an earthship that looks like a normal house,” Jacobsen explains.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Create a Haunted House with Things You Already Own

Haunted house creators are master recyclers — after all, something old and broken may just be the spooky touch a haunted house needs.

“We’re constantly trying to recycle stuff and make it reusable,” says Larry Kirchner, a haunted attraction industry expert and owner of HauntWorld.com, a website that features the best haunted houses across America and also sells instructional DVDs for those looking to make their own attraction. “With a little bit of aging techniques, you can make something look like it’s been sitting in the same spot for 50 years.”

If you’re setting up an eerie environment of sorts at your house this Halloween, look at what you have first before going to the store. Could used milk jugs become ghosts? What about turning cardboard on its way to the recycling bin into tombstones? A mason jar can hold whatever “specimens” you can find, or a dollhouse that’s been outgrown can find new life as a haunted house — the options are nearly endless once you start to think creatively.

Your yard, too, probably holds some gems, like dead flowers or Spanish moss. “If you really want to make something look cool, find broken tree limbs and scatter them around,” Kirchner suggests. He also recommends turning garden hoses into vines — a little black spray paint can make them look creepy — or overturning potting urns and surrounding them with tombstones to look like an abandoned graveyard.

Above all, have fun seeing what you can recycle into decorations — this is a prime holiday for creativity for the fun of it. “What I love about Halloween is that Halloween is the only holiday that isn’t rammed down your throat,” Kirchner says. “You celebrate Halloween because you want to do it, and because you want to do it, you have more fun with it.”

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Us

Happy Anniversary to us. 20 years ago today the Coastal Regional Solid Waste Management Authority, aka, the Coastal Environmental Partnership, opened for business.

7 billion pounds of trash later we are going strong!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Widespread Fish Kills

Neuse and Tar-Pamlico Rivers seeing widespread fish kills
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RALEIGH – State officials believe millions of dead and dying fish are turning up this week in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico river basins due to extreme natural changes in physical and environmental conditions.

State officials believe menhaden fish are dying in the two eastern North Carolina river basins due to cooler water temperatures that promote the growth of a common water mold called Aphanomyces invadensand strong sunlight that sparks the growth of algal blooms. The algal blooms can cause oxygen levels in the water to fluctuate greatly.

Menhaden seem to be particularly sensitive to stressful estuarine conditions. These factors can combine to create stressful conditions in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico estuaries.

Ninety-five percent of all fish kills in the estuaries are related to low oxygen in the water. There is no harm to human health from the water, mold, or the algal bloom.

The dead and dying fish are primarily Menhaden between three and five inches long. They have been seen during the past several days in the Neuse River from Union Park in New Bern downstream to where the river meets the mouth of Slocum Creek and in the Washington, Chocowinity, and Blounts Creek areas of the Tar-Pamlico river basin.

Samples of the fish have been collected by staff with the state N.C. Division of Water Resources for further analysis. Water samples indicate recent algal bloom activity in the watersheds.

A similar event happened almost a year ago in these same waters. At that time, staff from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association determined that the fish sores were Ulcerative Mycosis caused by the slime moldAphanomyces invadens.

The fall season marks the end of the period that young fish mature in the rivers and begin to move to the sea. Fish that have not migrated by late September and October may be less hardy than those that migrate earlier. As a result, the fish migrating later in the year may be more susceptible to changes in water temperature or oxygen levels, invasive bacteria and other stress factors.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Cereal Bag Brigade

Through the end of October, a joint promotion between TerraCycle and the MOM Brands Cereal Bag Brigade will let you turn empty cereal bags and liners into a cool gift.

Rewards Are in the Bag for Cereal Lovers - Earth911.com

MOM Brands (formerly Malt-O-Meal) and recycling waste-management giant TerraCycle are offering an upcycled lunch bag or shopping bag to individuals...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Recycle and Incycle

The InCycle cups from MicroGreen are made from 50 percent post-consumer recycled content and 100 percent recyclable as #1 PET plastic.

MicroGreen Offers Recyclable Alternative to Disposable Cups - Earth911.com

MicroGreen's InCycle cups are made from recycled plastic bottles and can be recycled repeatedly.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A new spin on stemless

Stemless wineglasses from recycled windshield glass and a nightstand from aged recycled wood are just a couple of the cool finds in At West End's 2013 Autumn collection.

At West End's Recycled-Chic Housewares Impress for Fall - Earth911.com

At West End's Autumn 2013 collection includes handcrafted housewares with an eco twist.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Widespread Fish Kills




N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Release: Immediate
Date: 2013-10-03
---------
Contact: Susan Massengale
E-mail: Susan.Massengale@ncdenr.gov
Phone: 919-807-6359
Neuse and Tar-Pamlico Rivers seeing widespread fish kills
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RALEIGH – State officials believe millions of dead and dying fish are turning up this week in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico river basins due to extreme natural changes in physical and environmental conditions.

State officials believe menhaden fish are dying in the two eastern North Carolina river basins due to cooler water temperatures that promote the growth of a common water mold called Aphanomyces invadensand strong sunlight that sparks the growth of algal blooms. The algal blooms can cause oxygen levels in the water to fluctuate greatly.

Menhaden seem to be particularly sensitive to stressful estuarine conditions. These factors can combine to create stressful conditions in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico estuaries.

Ninety-five percent of all fish kills in the estuaries are related to low oxygen in the water. There is no harm to human health from the water, mold, or the algal bloom.

The dead and dying fish are primarily Menhaden between three and five inches long. They have been seen during the past several days in the Neuse River from Union Park in New Bern downstream to where the river meets the mouth of Slocum Creek and in the Washington, Chocowinity, and Blounts Creek areas of the Tar-Pamlico river basin.

Samples of the fish have been collected by staff with the state N.C. Division of Water Resources for further analysis. Water samples indicate recent algal bloom activity in the watersheds.

A similar event happened almost a year ago in these same waters. At that time, staff from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association determined that the fish sores were Ulcerative Mycosis caused by the slime moldAphanomyces invadens.

The fall season marks the end of the period that young fish mature in the rivers and begin to move to the sea. Fish that have not migrated by late September and October may be less hardy than those that migrate earlier. As a result, the fish migrating later in the year may be more susceptible to changes in water temperature or oxygen levels, invasive bacteria and other stress factors.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

State aquariums, zoo and parks remain open during federal shutdown

State aquariums, zoo and parks remain open during federal shutdown
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RALEIGH– North Carolina’s state-run attractions are open to the public during the federal shutdown.

The North Carolina Zoo, all state parks and recreation areas, three state-run coastal aquariums and a pier, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, and the state’s coastal reserves remain open to visitors, officials with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced. The department operates these attractions, and officials at DENR also announced that state and local beach access sites remain open, even though the national seashores in North Carolina and other federally run facilities are closed due to the federal shutdown.

“We hope Congress and the President can come to some amicable resolution so federal attractions and facilities can reopen soon,” said John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “However, we want to let everyone know that all state-run attractions, many of which are run by staff in our agency, are open and will not see any short-term effects from the federal shutdown.”

More than 400 permanent positions in the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources are partially or fully funded by the federal government. However, most of those employees can continue to work for now for various reasons, such as federal funding being on a multi-year cycle for some programs. As of Wednesday afternoon department officials said furlough of some employees was expected but they are still working to finalize the list of affected employees.

“This is an unfortunate situation for these employees, their families and the people who rely on the valuable work they do to protect our environment and natural resources,” Skvarla said. “In the meantime, DENR management are reassigning staff to make sure we will continue to carry out our most critical environmental needs and responsibilities.”

Skvarla also said that should the federal shutdown become extended, additional furloughs might prove necessary.



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Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs - Phone: 919-707-8626 -- 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1601

Jamie Kritzer, Public Information Officer, 919-707-8602, Jamie.Kritzer@ncdenr.gov

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall color season launched in North Carolina state parks

Fall color season launched in North Carolina state parks
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RALEIGH – Abundant summer rainfall and cool September nights have already launched the fall foliage season in high elevations of western North Carolina state parks.

For the first time, travelers can keep track of peak color as it makes its way across the state through park ranger reports available online at www.visitnc.com, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

Regular updates will keep visitors posted on how fall color is progressing through the different types of forests in North Carolina, from the brilliant red of mountain sourwood to the rust-colored cedar in eastern wetlands. The fall season in the state truly lasts from late September into December.

“State parks, with their convenient access and miles of hiking trails, are natural destinations for people who want to get up close and personal with fall color. And, the 42 state park units present the fall foliage experience in every corner of the state,” said Lewis Ledford, state parks director.

Western state parks will immediately join a list of sites reporting peak color to the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development, which prominently features a fall foliage travel section on www.visitnc.com. As the season progresses, rangers in other regions of the state will submit similar reports.

Just a few of the most popular state parks for enjoying fall color include:

• Stone Mountain State Park in Wilkes and Alleghany counties, where fall color is peaking just as leaves begin to fall in the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park offers more than 18 miles of hiking trails.

• Hanging Rock State Park in Stokes County, which was named in 2012 as one of the 10 best spots for viewing fall color in the South by Southern Living magazine. The park offers trails across nine named peaks.

• Raven Rock State Park in Harnett County, where beech groves and hardwood forests mix with eastern evergreens. The park offers surprisingly challenging terrain in the piedmont.

• Merchants Millpond State Park in Gates County, where swamp cedars and stands of hardwood alternate color palettes. Canoes can be rented for waterborne leaf watching.

Complete information about the North Carolina state parks system and its events and activities is at www.ncparks.gov.

Home Electronics Disposal

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