Posts tagged ‘Green living’

Farmer’s Markets

At ecosumo, we not only work hard to outfit your life with the Green-est products available, but we also like to input the healthiest products into our bodies.  Therefore, we shop a lot at Farmer’s Markets.  We’re always reading up about where the Farmer’s Markets around us are located, and recently we found these 3 interesting articles.  Don’t forget your ecosumo reusable bags when going shopping!

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1. 5 Questions You Didnt Know You Should Ask at Your Farmer’s Market: This article is a concise list of topics you can bring up while poking about at your Farmer’s Market.  Don’t be shy – the farmers/growers/clerks love to talk about their products and you should know the answers to these questions.

2. Ten Things You Should Know About Farmers’ Markets: Did you know that tax dollars go to supplement Farmers’ Markets in the USA?  Neither did we.  Read this awesome article to learn why and how, as well as 9 other great tips.

3. About Farmer’s Markets (Video): Okay, so perhaps you’re not savvy yet to the Farmer Market culture.  Here is a good video that gets into not just what they are, but why they are out there.

July 16, 2009 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

Thoughts About the Shipping Industry – How to Get Some Green in There

Recently we’ve spoken about the contexts of disposable bags and disposable water bottles.  We also spoke in our recent product post, Turn Your Laundry Green, about how Dropps literally lightens the load for the shipping industry, thus lowering all sorts of Green antagonists – exhaust, fuel waste, wear/tear on automobile parts (necessitating more car parts/waste of former parts), et cetera…  So in this post we’re going to touch upon a related topic that will probably span a few posts – the shipping part of the supply chain and how it relates to being eco-conscious.  Over time we want to talk about the many individual parts of the supply chain and how to make them Green.

The purposes for businesses to Green their fleet are multiple.  Let’s talk straight first – it SAVES MONEY, and businesses have that responsibility to their share holders.  However, when Wall Street closes, the environment doesn’t…  So, okay, the piggy bank is plump, let’s focus on the planet that your business needs in order to do any business at all.  One great purpose for diversifying the fleet into fuel efficient machines AND to make the product lighter to reduce multiple forms of waste during shipping is to have LESS of an impact on the surrounding environment.  This is more than good public relations – this is an act that proves to surrounding communities (typically comprised of people who work for you) that their quality of life is important.  As well, being innovative in Green ways often leads to efficiency and reduced costs – that builds reputation and a credible business model.

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Let’s take a look at Executive Order 13423, passed in 2007 (doesn’t it sound ominous?)  Truth is, it’s a governmental order for the federal government to get moving on “advancing the nation’s energy security and environmental performance” (you can read all the nitty gritty at this link at the Environmental Protection Agency site).  Essentially, EO 13423 regards a list of 11 areas that federal agencies must reduce waste in, including 1) Vehicles, 2) Energy Efficiency, and 3) Greenhouse Gases.  The order is meant to have federal agencies not only obey stricter laws about waste and pollution in the way they ship items (as well as build, maintain, purchase, et cetera), but, more importantly, to set the example and standard for the private sector.  ecosumo likes to believe that leadership by example will work, and we’re researching to find statistics on the positive effects of EO 13432.  One issue with EO 13432 is that 2015 is the year federal agencies must abide by to change their practices…that’s a bit long in the tooth for our tastes.

Let’s take a look at UPS Green Fleet biz model.  This is the 9th largest business fleet in the world with 282 aircraft and UPS operates the “largest private alternative fuel-fleet in the transportation industry, including hybrid electric and hydraulic hybrid, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, fuel cell, and electric vehicles.”  They optimize the amount of time their auto-fleet is moving by having proprietary software that limits left turns which statistically take longer than right turns.  They even had some of their packaging redesigned to “eliminate bleached paper and increase the use of post-consumer recycled content.”  Check out the link provided at the beginning of this paragraph to read much more about UPS’ initiatives to make themselves a Green company worth emulating.  We’re thinking perhaps the federal government can speed up EO 13423’s effects by consulting with UPS – how about you?

Ultimately, this issues comes down to customers shopping from companies that implement daily business procedures to reduce waste in shipping (and other areas, of course.)  We know you’re busy, but if you have some extra minutes, take a look at the websites of companies you buy products from.  See what they do to reduce waste in the shipping process – and if you don’t see anything, write to their customer service or marketing departments and ask for information about how they reduce waste.  There are more-often-than-not alternative companies that work to reduce waste who are willing to sell you similar products.  We also recommend checking in on the Environmental Protection Agency to see what their doing to make it easier for businesses to go Green.  And if you receive a package from a company that has a box that is way too large for the product and is filled with paper/styrofoam fillers, let the company know in an email (or, even better, on a blog) that you won’t be buying from them anymore unless they change their shipping methods.

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And NEVER forget, you can reduce your shipping waste by 1) buying products online at sites like ecosumo, 2) using reusable bags and bottles, 3) having a reverse osmosis system installed so you don’t have to buy water in bottles anymore, and 4) either riding a bike or carpooling to the market with a friend or neighbor.  If you have feedback about this article or any of the opinions or facts in it, please comment using the blog and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Peace…ecosumo

April 10, 2009 at 11:44 am 1 comment

What is the Deal With Disposable Plastic Bags?

Remember that line from The Graduate, where one of Dustin Hoffman’s father’s friends tells him “The future is plastics”?  Well, for better and worse, that man was delivering some serious knowledge, even though script writer Buck Henry was being metaphorical.  What do we mean by “for better and worse”?  Well, we don’t want to demonize plastics in general – they do provide some benefits such as serving to reduce the use of other resources such as glass, aluminum, and steel.  They also make a variety of products flexible, durable, and lightweight, thus creating new industrial methods, business, and scalable economies where before there were none.  On their Packaging and Consumer Products page, the American Plastics Council provides some statistics and general information about plastics in regard to recycling, reuse, reduction, and recovery.

However, we’re speaking specifically about disposable plastic bags – those you take home your groceries in and wrap sandwiches in.  Ultimately, our stance is that industry will not take money out of its own pockets and reduce the harmful effects of their product to the environment without we-the-people encouraging them to, mainly by boycotting these products altogether. IT IS EXTREMELY EASY TO DO – for your grocery shopping, use reusable bags constructed from natural products such as cotton or bamboo; for sandwiches, wrap them in a paper napkin or a reusable piece of tin foil.

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YOU TELL US…WHICH WOULD YOU PREFER TO SEE?

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Here are some reasons and statistics WHY you should boycott disposable plastic bags and even ask your local grocer to discontinue carrying them.

  1. Plastic bags are made from petroleum…yup, that precious resource THAT ISN’T RENEWABLE which we use for so many other things.  That’s just ridiculous and we all know it.  Why waste precious resources when we have other options for reusable products?
  2. Plastic bags are not biodegradable.  Certainly, they break down, but only into smaller parts that end up in our water supply and even in our soil.
  3. Have you ever thought “Awww…that plastic bag is so beautiful blowing through my neighborhood”???  We bet not.  Litter is just awful and plastic bags are one of the biggest culprits (well…it’s humans who are responsible; plastic doesn’t throw itself away.)
  4. This is a GLOBAL dilemma.  Other countries have taken massive steps to curb the spread of disposable plastic bags, yet the United States is dragging its feet.  Check out some examples below (and much thanks to natural-environment.com, earthresource.org, BBC news, and National Geographic for doing the reserach and publishing the data to inform people.)
  • In Asia, the bags were banned in 2002 in Bangladesh after they were considered to be major factors in blocking sewers and drains and contributing to the severe flooding that devastated the country in 1988 and 1998.
  • In 2002, Ireland imposed a 15-cent tax on bags, which led to a rapid 90 percent reduction in use. Ireland uses the tax to help fund other environmental initiatives. Bags are also taxed in Sweden and Germany, and are set to be banned outright in Paris this year.
  • 30 rural Alaskan villages and towns have banned plastic bags.
  • The city of San Francisco became the first major municipality to ban the use of plastic bags, and nearby Oakland has followed suit, but not without controversy and litigation from industry groups.
  • In the European Union, member countries require manufacturers/producers of plastic bags and other plastic waste to take them back and recycle them.
  • In Taiwan and South Africa, both countries prohibit the thinner plastic bags – this encourages people to bring their own bags since retailers can’t afford to provide the more expensive, thicker plastic bags for free.

Compelling enough for you?   Then check out ecosumo.com for some reusable bags that were designed not only to be sturdy and eco-conscious, but provide some stylish solutions that fit the colorfulness and creativity of your Planet-Saving personality.  We carry a variety of reusable bags, some made from Hemp, others made from cloth, all made with durability, style, and Green living in mind.  And most of them are waterproof and hold more than double the standard disposable plastic bags.

Here are some final action items you can use to help rid our environment of the waste and poison that is disposable plastic bags:

  1. Get some reusable bags and use ’em!
  2. If you don’t have a reusable bag yet, ask for paper – they hold at least 4 times more than disposable plastic.
  3. Talk to/write to the store manager (or even the corporate headquarters) about promoting the use of cloth, reusable bags to their shoppers.
  4. Spread the word!  Tell friends and family and even strangers about how they can soooo easily help out.

March 12, 2009 at 12:08 pm Leave a comment


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