Earth Day: Toward A ‘Greener’ Lifestyle, Volume 9, Issue 2

Earth Day: Toward A ‘Greener’ Lifestyle

Volume 9, Issue 2

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Earth Day: Toward A ‘Greener’ Lifestyle

April 22, 2015, is the 45th annual celebration of Earth Day. It’s a good time to celebrate “green” achievements and make commitments to reduce environmental impact.

Many organizations have made substantial progress in eliminating waste sent to landfills, increasing recycling and reducing their carbon footprint, water usage and energy consumption. These efforts are likely to continue. Achieving these goals not only benefit the environment, but also frequently exert a positive impact on the bottom line. Of course, more can be done both corporately and personally.

On the personal side, here are eight habits to consider embracing this Earth Day.

  • Do you really need to travel to have that meeting? Avaya, Santa Clara, CA, a supplier of networking solutions, achieved its carbon reduction goal two years early via use of its Scopia desktop and mobile videoconferencing tool. With 310,000 attendees participating in 100,000 videoconferenced meetings during the first six months of 2014, travel dropped 44%, and carbon dioxide emissions shrank 46%.

  • Do you use reusable shopping bags?undefined If every person used a reusable shopping bag just once a week, landfill deposits for bags would drop by 16 billion per year, according to Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, CA, a grower of organic produce.


  • Do you recycle broken toys? As part of its Start Young. Live Greencampaign, Tom’s of Maine, Kennebunk, ME, a supplier of personal-care products, gives free Toy Recycling Boxes to those who sign up during Earth Month on Boxes carry a prepaid shipping label, which delivers it to TerraCycle, Trenton, NJ, where the contents are recycled into new objects like picnic tables.

  • Do you consider repurposing before discarding an item? Type “repurposing (item name), t-shirts, for example, into your search engine for a host of ideas.

  • Do you conserve electricity, natural gas and water? It does make a difference if you turn off the lights when you leave a room like Mom told you to. Other energy saving practices include: Use the dishwasher’s Energy Saver drying setting and cold water for the laundry; line dry clothes instead of using the dryer and switch to compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs. In fact, changing to compact fluorescent or LED lighting can cut your energy bill for lighting up to 80%.

  • Do you avoid littering and pick up litter encountered during your day? undefinedEliminating litter is a win/win/win because it poses a threat to wildlife, pollutes waterways and devalues property.

  • Do you organize meals and shop to minimize food waste? According to the Grace Communications Foundation, New York, NY, roughly 40% of the U.S. food supply is thrown away every year, squandering natural resources and damaging the environment. Planning menus, following a shopping list, purchasing only what can be consumed before it’s spoiled or stale and eating what you purchase not only reduces waste, but also saves money, potentially hundreds of dollars annually for a family of four.

  • Do you recycle at home? At work? And on the go? With many communities transitioning to single-stream recycling, collection of an expanding array of materials and a growing number of recycling bins in public places, it’s easier than ever to send waste on its way to new uses instead of the landfill.

Poster by Hilary Lacher, Charlotte, NC,

For additional information and other ideas, check out For additional information and other ideas, check out,,,,,,, and


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Foodkeeper App Prevents Food Waste

U.S. consumers waste nearly one-fourth of the food available to them, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This percentage climbs even higher when other levels of the supply chain are included.

The FoodKeeper app could eliminate billions of pounds of waste by helping consumers store food properly, extend its shelf life and eliminate uncertainty about whether a product is still good to eat. It also provides timely reminders to eat the food in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer.

“This application will help reduce food waste by showing users how to store foods properly, and reminding them to use items before they are likely to spoil,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This can help consumers save money and reduce the amount of safe food going to landfills.”

Developed by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, and the Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, VA, the app provides storage information and refrigerator, freezer and pantry storage timelines for nearly 500 food and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce and seafood.

An integrated calendar allows users to enter a product’s purchase date and offers notifications when it is nearing the end of its recommended storage period.

Available for Android and Apple devices and searchable via swipe gestures or voice control, the app also provides cooking tips for meat, poultry, seafood and egg products to ensure users prepare these products in ways that eliminate foodborne bacteria.

The application is part of a larger effort between USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called the U.S. Food Waste Challenge. Launched in 2013, the Food Waste Challenge calls on participants across the food chain to:

Reduce food waste by improving product development, storage, shopping/ordering, marketing, labeling and cooking methods;

Recover food waste by connecting potential food donors to hunger relief organizations like food banks and pantries; and,

Recycle food waste to feed animals or to create compost, bioenergy and natural fertilizers.

For more information, visit


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Online Tool Analyzes Life Cycle

The SavvyPack ® Suite of interactive web services from Allied Development Corp., Burnsville, MN, provides content and software, plus assistance from analysts to generate the data needed to make economically and environmentally positive packaging decisions.

The services support online research as well as value chain and life cycle analysis. Value Chain Analysis software models the cost of package manufacturing or product filling. With this information, a SavvyPack® analyst can virtualize any operation in the packaging supply chain from raw materials to retail outlet and deliver detailed cost statements and a pro-forma profit and loss sheet.

With Life Cycle Analysis software, SavvyPack® analysts generate cradle-to-gate and cradle-to-grave analysis of any package and process. Primary outputs include an energy consumption assessment, a greenhouse gas release assessment and a material end-of-life summary.

For more information, visit

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Molded Pulp Jug Holds Kitty Litter


Purina Pet Care, St. Louis, MO, selects a renewable container for its first kitty litter product. Designed in partnership with Ecologic Brands, Inc., Oakland, CA, the container for Premium Pro Plan® Renew corncob/cedar cat litter contains no plastic. A process using heat and pressure makes the jugs strong enough to hold the litter while maintaining moisture resistance to protect the product inside. A plastic-free, friction-fit cap recloses easily.

Since it consists primarily of recycled fiber, the jug and lid are recyclable in the paper waste stream. Cat owners are encouraged to recycle the jugs in their curbside program or at a community recycling center. During spring of 2015, PetSmart stores will provide dedicated recycle bins for emptied jugs.

The clumping cat litter comes in two varieties (Unscented and Natural Balsam Wood Scent) and two sizes (6 and 10.5 pounds).


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Protocols Protect Perishable Foods

Science-based protocols for washing, handling, storing, packing, displaying and collecting reusable plastic containers (RPCs) ensure the units are safe for each time they transport fresh and perishable products. The guidelines, published by the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA), Linden, VA, also define Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points and microbiological testing recommendations.

Developed by retailers, grower shippers, manufacturers, industry associations and RPC providers in the Food Safety Working Group, established by RPA in 2014, the guidelines combine common knowledge and best practices to provide standardized protocols that surpass industry regulations.

“RPCs have become a pervasive and essential part of the food supply chain,” says Paul Pederson, chair of the RPA Food Safety Working Group and director of Food Safety & Compliance at IFCO Systems. “It is important that each member of the supply chain has a clear understanding of its role for the safe and efficient use of RPCs. The RPA strongly encourages all companies involved in RPC use to implement these recommendations.”

Guidelines for growers and retailers help prevent clean RPCs from coming into contact with potential contaminants. More detailed guidelines apply to providers of RPCs and involve adoption of a comprehensive microbiological sanitation and testing regime that covers human and plant pathogens. The guidelines also provide uniform testing and surveillance practices to confirm the quality and safety of sanitation processes.

“Most RPC suppliers are already doing a thorough job of sanitizing and managing RPCs; however, they have different processes to achieve the end result,” explains Pedersen. “Creating and documenting uniform best practices satisfies…users of reusables who need defined guidelines to share with…their supply chains,” he concludes.

The committee also researched and developed guidelines for label adhesives to ensure that RPCs are clean and free of adhesive residue for each trip. A test protocol confirms whether labels meet the guidelines. Other best practices for RPC suppliers cover transportation, two-tier auditing, documentation, training, integrated pest management and security measures for internal, external and shipping.

For more information and access to the complete report, visit


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Inks Adhere To Returnable Bottles

Codes on returnable bottles must be readable throughout the supply chain yet easily removed during the washing process. MEK-based V420 and V528 inks from Videojet Technologies, Inc., Chicago, IL, contain an adhesion promoter and binder for rapid drying and exceptional adhesion across a range of temperatures and humidities, as well as rapid removal via a caustic wash. Both inks are designed for Videojet’s 1000 series continuous inkjet (CIJ) printers with the V528 ink specifically formulated for the ultra-high-speed coding.

For more information, visit

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