Packaging is the gateway to a deeper conversation about sustainability






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Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor — Packaging Digest, 7/15/2013 9:58:11 AM





Jim HannaJim HannaHow do you use packaging to communicate your sustainable strategy to customers? Come and find out.

 

On July 17, 2013, Jim Hanna, director, environmental impact, Starbucks Coffee Co., will speak at the Packaging Digest Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit conference in Chicago. His topic: “How we build successful sustainable packaging.”

 

Here, he gives us a preview of some key points in his presentation. For more information about the conference and/or to register, visit www.fbpackaging.com.

 

Q: What is the Starbucks approach to sustainable design in packaging?

Hanna: Our approach is to focus on the entire life cycle of the packaging from raw material sourcing all the way to end of life and to where we can use the life cycle approach assessment to determine the true sustainability of packaging. A lot of folks focus on materials or on end of life specifically. As a company that is focusing pretty heavily on climate change as one of our primary environmental drivers, the climate footprint of our packaging is one of the essential pieces that we take a hard look at.

 

Q: Why is this holistic approach so successful?


Hanna:
It’s successful because it’s credible. Unfortunately, there’s still lot of green washing in sustainable packaging out there. Our approach is agnostic to type of material. It looks really at where the true inputs are going into manufacturing and packaging. How do we design packaging in the best way to not only reduce all the environmental impacts of it but make it appropriate for existing end-of-life management infrastructures out there? 

We’re not a company that has a zero-waste goal because zero-waste goals are often the distraction from reality. We will always create some waste. We’re not a company that focuses on landfill diversion as the only definition of sustainable packaging because, again, landfill diversion doesn’t necessarily equate to environmental efficacy or environmental mitigation. We try to take a credible, long term approach and not get trapped into a lot of the fads and trends we see out there today, which play a role at raising awareness of the issues of packaging’s footprint—but often don’t tell the complete story by locking on to one specific metric of a package’s sustainability. 

Also, we’ve always taken a collaborative approach to defining sustainable packaging because, if we’re going to be successful as an industry, we have to be working together as an industry to create the necessary scale and break down some of the largest barriers to issues like waste management and harmonization of materials. We’ve done number of initiatives over the years that have brought stakeholders into the room from up and down the entire value chain to create a sense of thinking like an integrated system toward a common purpose.

 

Q: Why do you think it’s beneficial to engage the community in your sustainability efforts?


Hanna:
When we define our community, it’s the 60 million people that walk through our doors as customers every week, it’s the places where we operate our stores and the impact that we have on those towns, as well as the place that we hold within those communities as a contributor to their livelihoods. It’s also the nearly 200,000 partners that put on the green apron as employees of Starbucks every day.

Finally, we see our community as the stakeholders who have influence in our company and are keen on how our company operates because of the size and the ubiquity of our brand and the reach it has on a global scale. Whatever their area of focus, these stakeholders have a key interest in the betterment of our world and they are looking to corporate leaders to solve these tough global issues. 

If we’re not engaged with those folks, then we’re not relevant with them. Obviously, from a customer base, that impacts sales. But from a community base, it impacts the place that we hold within those neighborhoods, and our ability to operate successfully within them. It’s beneficial for every company to be directly engaged with their communities—however they define them—because it’s critical to their success.

 

Q: How do your customers influence your sustainable packaging initiatives? 


Hanna:
That’s an interesting question because often I think that we, as companies, aren’t necessarily aligned with what our customers expect from us around sustainable packaging. 

Here’s a good example: We were the first large company in the world to take the use of food-contact post-consumer fiber to scale. With our supply chain partners, we went through the challenges of getting FDA approval (to the FDA, “approval” is defined as a “no objection”) for food-contact post-consumer fiber. It took us a number of years to make that happen and, although we’re still one of the only companies out there using post-consumer fiber at scale for food contact in our hot paper cups, we haven’t necessarily seen a significant resonance within a customer base around that leadership model. 

You don’t see customers out there asking “Why are you only 10 percent PCF Starbucks? You really should increase that to 20, 30, 40, 50 percent” or whatever the number is. 

Consumers, especially in the U.S. and Canada, define sustainable packaging by focusing on end of life. That’s caused us to focus a lot of effort and resources into creating solutions for our packaging because we know that’s what resonates most with our customers. Yes, we work to mitigate the footprint of our packaging from cradle to grave. But we need to realize that our customers, and most consumers, are locked in on end-of-life as their definition of sustainable packaging today.

We need to create solutions for our customers so we can have broader conversations about the true sustainability of packaging and about the sustainability of our businesses. 

Here’s another example: Around 75 percent of our environmental footprint comes from the operation of our stores. Three years ago, we made a commitment to reduce that operating footprint and set out to build every company-owned store in the world to be LEED-certified. If you’re familiar with the challenges of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification system, that’s a really big deal. That being said, if you ask any customer what is Starbucks’ greatest environmental footprint, most of them will assume it’s our cups. 

I always jokingly say, I would much rather customers come into our stores and say ‘I choose to shop at Starbucks because you guys have this super-efficient HVAC system, because as a conscious consumer, I get that this is where the rubber hits the road when we talk about Starbucks’ environmental impact and good for you guys for addressing it!’ 

I know to even attempt to get to that point, what we’re going to have to do is solve for the most pressing and prominent issue in their eyes-which is our packaging. It’s essential that we at Starbucks, and that we as an industry that’s using single-serve packaging, solve these end-of-life issues for our customers regardless of the contribution they make to our total footprint, so that we can shift the conversation to more pressing environmental issues.

If you look at the global problems we face around environmental degradation, climate change, water scarcity and other pressing issues, citizens and consumers have to be focused on what really matters if they are to play an impactful role in shifting the direction of current negative environmental trends. It’s our job as businesses to help them understand where the real impacts lie and how the choices they make every day as consumers have a huge impact on the environment. 

If we as a business sector are just placating their current perception of environmental impact—which we often do, unfortunately—we’re not going to be able to cross that hurdle to really focus on solving the true and massive environmental issues we face. Yes, we cannot downplay the importance of solid waste management, including the impact that recycling and diversion have on climate change. But the conversation can’t end here.

 

Q: How can packaging help show a brand’s commitment to environmental responsibility? How can your packaging communicate all of what you just said? 


Hanna:
Packaging is that tangible, touchable, seeable thing that is our first and primary touch point with our customers. Packaging must tell the right story to begin the conversation around sustainability. 

Packaging is the starting point and is the gateway to great conversations. It’s essential that we get that part right because that puts our customers and consumers on the path of either trusting the brands they’re using or not trusting them. If we can build that level of trust, if we’re doing the right thing around packaging, then that gives us the ability to engage in deeper conversation around our total environmental footprint and how our customers can play a role in driving that impact down by “voting” with their dollar. 

Addressing end-of-life specifically, and how we should think about brands’ “responsibility,” it’s no longer acceptable for the business community to simply accept a lack of recycling infrastructure in the communities where they operate or assume that we have no influence in driving development of that infrastructure to move our single serve packaging out of the landfill pipeline. We know the necessary pieces in solving the infrastructure puzzle, including market development, material optimization, creating material scale for recyclers to invest in their capacities, along with local policies that catalyze the factors and drive consumer behaviors. But, frankly, we don’t tap into the power we have as a business community to proactively impact local environmental policy.

 

Sure, we are great at playing defense and activating our trade associations to (rightly) oppose material bans or Draconian fees on packaging. But we’ve never been effective at sitting down with local lawmakers ahead of time to hash out good policy that drives infrastructure development and acceptance of our products into recycling streams, leaving us vulnerable to bans, fees, extended producer responsibility (EPR) and other last-resort policies to divert our products from landfills. We need to take a second look at our engagement strategies as an industry.

For example, I can’t tell you how many cities I’ve gone to that, when I walk in their doors, they weren’t accepting Starbucks cups into the recycling system at either the commercial or residential level. By educating and helping policy makers understand that our business goals actually aligned with the city’s/county’s environmental goals, and by aligning all of the players within the local recycling “system” we’ve been able to break through those barriers in a number of cities and get our cups accepted. What we can’t do is sit on the sideline and just throw up our hands and say “The infrastructure or the markets don’t exist”—because it’s our job to make sure that, if they don’t exist, we do everything we can to drive those markets. 

That was a longwinded answer to how packaging can demonstrate brands’ environmental leadership, but that’s really one of our commitments here at Starbucks: To lead the initiative to ensure that our packaging, and our industry’s packaging, is able to reduce its environmental footprint in every way from cradle, to use, to end of life.

 

Q: How does Starbucks balance the need for packaging that’s eco-responsible with packaging that fulfills the consumer’s desire for convenience? 


Hanna:
We try to take a holistic approach to our packaging in a way that, rather than focusing on the packaging, it focuses on the needs. Starbucks’ need is to deliver the best cup of coffee we can to our customers in a way that creates brand connection and elevates the experience for our customers every day beyond what our competitors can do. 

We’ve taken the approach of focusing on our packaging goals from a broader perspective of how to deliver this great cup of coffee to our customers in a way that reduces our environmental footprint while enhancing (or at least maintaining) their experience. 

We have a three-pronged approach at Starbucks. 

Number one is—and this may not sound too exciting to the folks in the single-serve packaging industry—we’re trying to get our customers to use fewer of our paper and plastic cups. We have a program to incentivize people to bring their own reusable cups into our stores. When they do that, we’ll wash it for them and prepare their beverage in those cups, whether it’s a tumbler or a travel mug and we’ll give the customers a discount for their efforts. We have a target at Starbucks that, by 2015, 5 percent of all of our transactions occur with customers who bring in their own reusable mugs.

Unfortunately, we’ve hovered around 2 percent since the inception of the incentive program. The numbers dance around that a bit, but that’s been where we’ve been locked in for years. What we discovered is that the discount we offer is great, but it’s only a driver for a limited number of consumers. Most consumers are bringing in their own mugs because they simply enjoy the beverage that way or they have their own sense of environmental consciousness and this is how they’re doing their part every day to reduce their environmental footprint, regardless of whether or not they get a discount. 

It’s also a convenience issue, as carrying around a big bulky mug that may or may not be clean or may have been sitting in your car for a week, often negatively impact people’s ability or choice to bring in their own reusable mugs. 

In January 2013, we introduced a new concept. It’s a $1 reusable mug that’s made out of 100 percent polypropylene, the lid and the cup. The cool thing is the convenience factor is solved and the cost factor is solved because it’s only a buck, instead of our standard price between $10 and $18 for our mugs. It looks and feels like our existing paper cup, maintaining the brand attachment and Starbucks experience. For folks who were previously comfortable with our single-serve cups, this gives them an option for a reusable cup. And, because it’s only a buck, if you forget it at home or in your car or office, you can buy another one. After the introduction of the $1 reusable cup, we saw a significant bump in the purchase of reusables overall. But, more importantly, we also saw a marked increase in the number of people bringing their mugs back into the store to be reused.

Number two is encouraging our store managers to learn which customers typically enjoy their beverages in the stores and serve them in ceramic mugs, again, to reduce the use of single-serve packaging. You’d be surprised at how many customers don’t even know that we offer ceramic mugs in our stores. 

Number 3 is, for customers who choose to use single-serve cups, how do we do that in a way that provides that great Starbucks experience they’ve come to expect, delivers their beverage safely and conveniently every time, and has the lowest environmental footprint. 

That’s where we can really look at materials innovations, such as the post-consumer fiber we already use, innovation in coatings on the paper to impact recyclability and industry-wide material standardization to create scale for recyclers. Finally, when I talk about our 2015 goal of declaring our cups recyclable, what I’m talking about is access to recycling. The industry often defines recyclability or compostability based on the materials of our packaging, when we should be defining it based on access that our customers have to recycling or composting services. This isn’t Jim Hanna making up his own definitions. It’s the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guide that defines recyclability in that way and that’s the definition we use for our target.

For Starbucks, we define recyclability as follows: When our customer chooses to dispose of their cups—whether it’s in our stores, in their homes, in their offices or in a public space, if they don’t have access to recycling at that point, then the cups aren’t recyclable. They’re going to go into a landfill. That’s what we’re focusing on—building those infrastructures for recycling and end of life so that, hopefully, by 2015 we can actually cross the Federal Trade Commission’s 60 percent access threshold and declare victory.

 

Q: How do your packaging designs used in the foodservice environment at the point of consumption differ from some of those used in your retail products and why?


Hanna:
They don’t—and that’s a good thing. We take a holistic approach to packaging design whether it’s for retail stores or in our foodservice operations. 

We also look at our transport packaging, the movement of packaging from our distribution centers into our stores or the packaging that comes directly into the stores. We have significant focus on our supply chain to be able to help them minimize over packaging—which has been a pet peeve of our store partners (employees). Nothing galls them more than to get a small delivery in a big box. We know that cubing efficiency and standardization of packaging sizes is essential for efficient transportation, but we know there’s a significant footprint associated with transportation that can be significantly reduced if done right. 

We’ve been making significant progress in balancing efficient transportation with minimization of packaging, while balancing the need to maintain integrity of the items being transported. This includes introduction of durable, reusable transport packaging across our distribution network. While we’ve made huge progress, other retailers out there live and breathe this stuff, especially the ones that own their entire distribution systems, and have had significantly more leadership in this area that we can learn from.

We want to be game changers in the industry. But we’re also willing to follow game changers in areas where they either have more influence, more exposure to the issue or a greater ability to be those game changers. That’s one exciting culture of our company: We put a stake in the ground where we think we can change the world. We also know that there are many other companies who can do the same thing and we’re glad to follow them.

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Practical ways to reduce your carbon print

Practical ways to reduce your carbon print

Small changes can have a big impact. Climate change is happening all around us and we need to start thinking about ways of reducing our carbon footprint and ‘going green’.

In your home Although planes, offices and factories produce the vast majority of the country’s CO2, as individuals we contribute 40% to the UKs total greenhouse gas emissions and two thirds of this comes from our boilers.

However, you can reduce your CO2 emissions from heating by switching to an energy-efficient boiler. These high-efficiency condensing boilers use the heat that normally escapes through the flue to turn more water vapour back into water. This means as much heat as possible is transferred from the boiler’s burner and as little as possible is lost through the exhaust flue.

Add a complete set of heating controls like timers and radiator thermostats we can reduce the amount of CO2 we produce as a country by 1.4million tones and save over £275 a year.

British Gas is helping you on your way to becoming ‘green’ by offering £825 worth of discounts on replacing your old boiler for a new energy efficient one to. If you buy and new or replacement boiler by 25 July you’ll get £400 off the boiler, free home care for a year and free radiator and controls installation.

It is also important to get the proper insulation as half of all heat loss is through the roof and walls. This will save you around £365 on your heating bills because you won’t need so much heat and you’ll also get a tax rebate of £125.

Out and about Transport is the biggest offender to global warming. We can make a big impact if we reduce our car usage. Walk or cycle on short journeys, and when in cities make use of the much better public transport facilities.

Plus it’s not just how often we drive it is the manner in which we drive. By less hard use of the accelerator and the brake you could make your fuel go a lot further, reducing your emissions and saving you around £200 a year.

At the shops Always buy energy efficient light bulbs. They last on average 12 years longer than standard bulbs and you could save around £100 over their lifetime.

Buy recycled products and remember to reuse your shopping bags. Make sure food packaging also comes from a sustainable forest and is recyclable or has already been recycled.

British Gas is not just a gas supplier. They can also provide you with a greener electricity supply and even help you to upgrade to a more eco friendly heating system.

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“locavoring” our Restaurant Menus…is it Possible ?

“locavoring” our Restaurant Menus…is it Possible ?

What is “Locavoring”? Is it even a real word? Well it is now. 2007 was the year of the “Locavore”. The Oxford English Dictionary picked it as their word of the year. The “Locavore” movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locavores also shun supermarket offerings as an environmentally friendly measure, since shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation. Two years earlier the phrase 100-Mile Diet was coined by James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to describe their one-year local eating experiment. Their diet experiment consisted of eating food produced or grown within 100 miles of their home apartment. This included not only local produce, but also ensuring that any meat or dairy products came from animals that ate local feed and were packaged locally. We’re now about halfway through 2008 now and I’ll bet there’s only and handful of you who have either heard of or are in anyway living as Locavores or 100 Mile Dieters because committing to this virtuous act is at this point just too damned hard!

 

We’ve created a culture of food in this country that ignores seasons, borders and with it common sense. “We” are every Chef or restaurant operator in the country. Though many have tried to re-establish the traditions of locally inspired menus, as a group we are still part of the problems promoting climate change and poor nutrition in the most abundant food culture on the planet. Like many other voices in the commercial food industry, I spent the last twenty years or so demanding easier access to non-local and out of season products. This movement began in earnest in the explosion of restaurants and dining that started in California in the early 80’s and spread across the country like a wildfire that hasn’t slowed or stopped since. Because of the influences of Jeremiah Tower, Alice Waters and others, we were all on the hunt for imported cheeses, oils, artisan pasta and canned tomatoes. We needed to have the same exotic fruits and vegetables we saw on their menus. But California had the upper hand of good climate, so much of the unique produce, (arugula and radicchio etc.), and artisan dairy products (goat cheeses and high fat cream) that were easily obtained there had to be sent hundreds or thousands of miles so the rest of us could stay in step. The importers of products, mainly from Italy and France, were well established on both coasts, but the rest of us had to get our local distributors up to speed get these products to us with as little hassle and as inexpensively as possible. It got even more complicated when my creative brethren and I, demanded out of season produce all year long as well. We thought nothing of putting fresh raspberry desserts on our menus in February and creating recipes for our permanent menus with fresh vegetables like corn, new potatoes and green beans, regardless of any seasonality. We also wanted abundant amounts of other products that never existed before. Products like already pre-butchered and sorted chicken breasts, fresh boned filets of salmon, tuna and sea bass, all manner of beef cuts of prime or prime quality, plus a massive catalogue of prepared or partially prepared foods that we would use help keep our labor costs in control. Our vendors, their suppliers, brokers and manufacturers were happy to comply with all of these “requests” and would even up the ante in a few cases with a few new foods (processed of course) or their own creation. Together, the restaurant and food manufacturing industries, created a market demand where there was none before and we are all paying for it now in spades.

 

Another interesting phenomenon was taking place while all of this was going on in the restaurant and cafe dining rooms around the country. The retail grocery market took notice and responded with a flurry of new food products. The restaurant industry had become a leader in food consumerism. Supermarkets and retail food manufacturers responded to a consumer demand for these new foods. So, without missing a beat, they stoked the fire of this food explosion by stocking their aisles with out of season produce and never before seen imported foods. Then, to complete this “perfect storm” of consumerism, the American dining table at home started to fade into the shadows and became a place to drop the mail rather than be the nightly gathering place for the family. Food manufacturers responded to this change, or perhaps fueled it, with hundreds of convenience foods that virtually turned the kitchen from a place to cook meals using real food into a reheating zone of microwaves and toaster ovens. 

The culture of abundance we enjoy in this country has never before seen on this planet and every day this prosperity costs us more and more in fuel and greenhouse gasses. To wean this culture off of pre-made polenta, fresh limes all year and a seemingly permanent supply or fresh Yellowfin Tuna will be nearly impossible. Yet it has to be done if we have any chance at all reducing the carbon footprint created by this massive billion dollar industry. At last estimate, nearly 1/3 of the greenhouse gasses released to our atmosphere were a result of one more aspects of food production in the Untied States alone. A profound and complicated change of this magnitude, to a market that is very well ingrained in our daily way of life, will unfortunately take time that we don’t have, and a population wide effort that’s never been attempted. Now the questions are, how do we make the effort and if we do, will it be enough? Will the change to one cafe menu really alter our ability to sustain life as we’d like it? Frankly, I don’t know that answer and I’m not sure if anybody really does. But, I’d rather do something now rather wait until its too late. The upside is so much better. Not only will we making an effort to save our environment, but I’m betting we’ll come up with some tastier, more interesting menus to boot. As I see it we (the movers and shakers of the restaurant industry) have to find a way to make all of the following points happen, if not at the same time, then pretty damn close together.

Replace old and local phobic menus with menus that are driven seasonally and as locally as possible.

Demand produce from local farmers. (Hopefully this will create a new market of local growers that until now has been struggling to take hold.)

Demand grass fed and free range meat products. (Corn and other grain feeding is fuel and greenhouse gas costly)

Lobby legislature to create laws and funding to support and mandate these changes in the market. (It’s going to take both laws and money to make some of this happen)

Lobby legislature to stop promoting the use food for fuel (Replacing corn with cellulose products as the primary source for ethanol, will avert a massive worldwide food shortage looming in the not too distant future)

 

 

Call this a mandate, a manifesto or the ravings of a lunatic…I really don’t care. I just hope that someone out there will hear it and follow along.  There are already hundreds of Chefs and operators in this country who have lead the way for years on this front. But it’s not enough. That number needs to be thousands. In a 2007 NRA (that’s restaurant not rifle) hot trend survey of Chefs, local produce, organic produce, grass fed beef and sustainable seafood were all in the top ten. So there’s something in the wind. We just need to find a way to speed it up.

 

Tobie Nidetz is a 35-year veteran of the hospitality industry. He began his career in Chicago as part of a restaurant and tavern family. He served an apprenticeship in classical French cuisine with Chef John Snowden. After working in several small bistros he joined the fledgling Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises where he helped mold the unique culinary styles evident in the organization today. In 1979 he began food service and hospitality consulting to both small independents and major corporations. He is a freelance magazine writer working on his first book and teaches at cooking schools around the Twin Cities.

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The first results of the NRF Sustainable Retailing Consortium (SRC) Scorecard are just in and although we are still at the first stages of the new self-assessment tools implementation, it is already clear that retailers that are using it are finding the tool highly effective in assessing where they are at on green retailing and what they should focus more on. Under review are each retailers commitment to a sustainable program within their company. This includes: senior management buy-in and even the creation of an executive level position to oversee company-wide sustainability efforts. As well, the Scorecard allows retailers to assess their commitment to educating the consumer on green products and green choices; building stores, head-office and distribution facilities that are LEED certified; implementing energy conservation and management programs that incorporate alternate renewable energy sources; implementing recycling and waste reduction programs; enforcing supply chain and logistics guidelines that meet sustainability goals; implementing products and packaging requirements that minimize carbon footprint; and finally implementing accountability and education initiatives that help develop sustainability awareness among customers, employees and stakeholders.
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Sony Ericsson Elm, A Hi- Tech, Eco Friendly Phone

Sony Ericsson Elm, A Hi- Tech, Eco Friendly Phone

 

Sony Ericsson elm, silver black in colour comes from “Green Heart” range of Sony Ericsson. The phone is a made with recycled plastic material and in found to use less material for packaging. Our World is at an alarming stage of climate change and global warming at this point such a phone is highly revolutionary. This device helps you in sustainable consumption. Read Sony Ericsson elm review and you will have a perfect a first step towards green revolution.

The gadget not flaunts about the green revolution but is carries features that can simply win your mind with hi-tech facilities. The camera of Sony Ericsson elm is of 5megapixel. Supportive features like autofocus and the LED Flash along with GEO tagging makes it the perfect for you to hold while travelling abroad. The handset is a must for those who want to capture their memorable moments with camera. It also includes a video recorder that can simply make you go stunned.

Sony Ericsson elm is proud to present one of the best music system. Be it listening to MP3, the best music player for you is here is great sound clarity and the Stereo system is with RDS that can simply blow your heart of. The Elm Review states that its simply one of the best to have for all occasion with stunning features of GPRS class 10 that can make you stay connected with all your near dear ones when ever and where ever you want.

This marvellous piece of gadget incorporates EDGE, 3G and WLAN facilities which will help you in exploring the unfolded world of internet in the mobile. There is Bluetooth and USB2.0 for the data transfer that will simply make you transfer photos and files with friends.

The display is 2.2 inches with TFT and 256k colours and accelerometer sensor for UI auto rotate with 90gm of total wait is a great piece waiting for you to explore. The internal memory of the Sony Ericsson elm is 280MB and with card slot microSD it can be enlarged up to 8GB.

sony ericsson elm – PrePayMania.co.uk is one of the leading online retailer companies of sony ericsson elm review, PAYG, Pay Monthly handsets & Mobile accessories in UK. Glance through the extensive range of popular brands which we have categorized just according to your requirements.

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Reduce Your Company?s Carbon Footprint and Save Money

Reduce Your Company?s Carbon Footprint and Save Money

The environmental cost of commerce has become an important part of business in America and the world as we all become increasingly aware and concerned about the impact of our actions on climate change and our environment.  Many businesses are creating sustainability plans, training environmental impact officers and implementing company wide recycling and reduction programs.

For many small and medium sized businesses, the option of hiring a college degreed sustainability officer and staff is really not in the budget. There are however new online training programs which cater to small and medium sized businesses such as CarbonProfessionalSchool.com But short of taking a course and becoming an expert, what can your business do to be environmentally responsible and reduce your carbon footprint…all while saving money.

Here are 5 ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save some money.

(1) Recycle Toner and Ink Jet Cartridges. These things, which always run out at the most inopportune time, cost way too much and, contrary to what the big companies than manufacture them proclaim with their “send it in recycling programs” – end up in the landfill, usually in the poorest areas of the world.  The technology and quality of recycled toner and ink jet cartridges in many cases surpasses the original equipment manufacturers…and you get to support a local business like yours when you patronize them.   And don’t forget to set your printers to “draft” mode when you’re not printing for official communications…it’ll save you money and toner/ink.

(2) Use Less and Buy Recycled Paper. Back in the early 90’s when email was gaining popularity we all proclaimed that it was the beginning of the paperless office.  But the paper companies weren’t scared. Paper sales went through the roof because now we had more information to print out, copy and share with each other. Now there are a variety of document sharing services, including free ones like Google Docs, while allow immediate sharing of and collaboration of documents without having to print out 5 copies for the group to mark up.  It saves money, time and is much more efficient.

Furthermore, as the quality of recycled content paper has gone up to photo quality level and the cost has gone down to below the cost of “new” paper, it clearly makes no sense not to include the procurement of recycled printer and copier paper in your corporate sustainability plan.

(3) Go Paperless with your invoices. PayPal and Google Checkout both have electronic invoicing capabilities for those of you who process payments via credit card, and for many companies, their PayPal and Google Checkout accounts are tied directly to their corporate checking accounts for seemless, and transaction fee free payment processing.  They both offer a variety of export formats and integrate with popular accounting packages like QuickBooks and Microsoft Accounting.  

No more 3 copy carbon based invoices, no gas guzzling postmen delivering the mail and no more licking envelopes!

(4) Recycle Everything. Soda cans, newspapers, used equipment, furniture and materials (if you’re manufacturing things) all carry a price.  Aluminum cans trade for around $ .80 a pound (32 12 ounce cans = 1 pound) – so figure you can sell them to a local recycler for a bit better than half of that.  Doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you have an office full of Red Bull crazed employees or “Diet Coke Fiends” it can actually add up relatively quickly.   

List your used equipment on Craigslist or Google for a local company that will pick up and “recycle” your used equipment – or better yet, donate it to a local charity and take the tax deduction.  Goodwill and the Salvation Army will send out a truck to pick up larger items and most likely make weekly or monthly trips through your area.

(5) Offset Your Carbon Footprint with Carbon Credits

While Reducing, Reusing and Recycling is key in preventing climate change, offsetting your carbon emissions is the next great step in the preservation of our environment for generations to come. The Carbon Calculator Math is below, or you could use a Carbon Footprint Calculator at ecoaidnow.com/Calculators.aspx

To offset your carbon emissions simply means to neutralize your part in the polluting of our environment. In technical terms, a carbon offset is a certificate representing the reduction of one metric ton (2,205 lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions.

Certified Projects are developed such as a reforestation project that reduces carbon dioxide emissions, every ton of emissions reduced will result in the creation of one certified carbon offset (ecoaidnow.com)

Since carbon dioxide emissions are the principal cause of climate change, purchasing carbon offsets is key to promoting a greener environment.

When you offset your personal carbon emissions, you are doing your much-needed part in helping to put an end to global warming and climate change. In addition to making the world a better place, you just might also score a few popularity points with your friends and family.

Going Green at work doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to build a new building out of used tires, or procure all new energy saving computer and office equipment.  It is possible to work towards carbon neutrality without breaking the bank, and then supplement your efforts with cost-effective carbon credits.

Dr. Ken Pollock is EcoAid’s Chief Executive Officer, sets the strategy for the company. www.ecoaidnow.com. Read more of his articles at www.buycarboncreditsandoffsets.com. In addition, he will be launching http://carbonprofessionalschool.com in the near future to provide the training and tools for individuals, businesses and institutions. He has a PhD in Chemical Engineering.

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Going Green with Profits

Going Green with Profits

Henry Ford once said, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.”  Little did he know that the company he founded almost a century ago almost went down because it was not ready to heed today’s cost: conserve energy, save the environment.  The buzz words these days among cause-oriented groups are “climate change”, “save the environment”, and “go green”.  From businesses to traveling, everyone wants to go green and share something towards the conservation of the environment.  Even employees, without much prodding from their bosses, would gladly donate to environmental causes and some would even take out a payday loan to give to their favorite eco-conservation organizations.

Today, making a profit is just one side of the coin because many big and small companies are becoming eco-friendly and they want to help the planet survive.  With this in mind, there are plenty of green business ideas that go around and one or two could be easily applied, whether one is in the producing business or in the consuming lifestyle.  The first one is going to green business consultants.  These experts have solid experience in building businesses that adhere to environmental standards and regulations.  They also have the technical know-how in sustainability of these efforts.  New businesses in particular need the support and guidance in making business and financial plans and marketing strategies that incorporate environmentally friendly practices and systems.  For big businesses, they need these environmental business experts to improve the energy efficiency of their building and factories and use renewable energy.

Speaking of green buildings and factories, remodeling work is going green, too. Homeowners are now more environmentally conscious and more informed in choosing the materials for their homes.    These people also want to increase their homes energy efficiency, but still retaining its attractiveness in terms of design.  They even get online payday loans in order to buy appliances or equipment that have good energy star ratings as a way of contributing to energy conservation and an investment to good health.  Those who are into green house remodeling could work with experienced green architects and build a network of subcontractors who work with green materials.

Another business opportunity that could go green and would work well for the owners and the customers is ecotourism travel.  More and more people, especially the young and adventurous-type, want to try green tourism for a change—not just the usual, run-of-the-mill tour packages.  Ecotourism is becoming a multimillion industry which increased the popularity of adventure sports, wilderness survival trips, nature travel, and even eco-volunteering.  All in all, going green today works beyond saving the planet, but also making money in a good way.

Sean Teahan co-founder of
Cash Doctors
,Australia’s preferred short term lender, shares his insights on money matters. Founded in 2005 Cash Doctors has helped thousands of Australians with their fast
cash loans but that’s just the short term solution. Cash Doctors also help people in the long run by providing budgeting tools, e-books and individually researched
articles on money matters and financial tips. The aim is to assist people in achieving instant and long term financial freedom.

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Dan Lipsky – 10 Ways To Go Green And Save Green

Dan Lipsky – 10 Ways To Go Green And Save Green

10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green

Reposted by Dan Lipsky

How can we live lightly on the Earth and save money at the same time? Staff members at the Worldwatch Institute, a global environmental organization, share ideas on how to GO GREEN and SAVE GREEN at home and at work.

Climate change is in the news. It seems like everyone’s “going green.” We’re glad you want to take action, too. Luckily, many of the steps we can take to stop climate change can make our lives better. Our grandchildren-and their children-will thank us for living more sustainably. Let’s start now.

We’ve partnered with the Million Car Carbon Campaign to help you find ways to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. This campaign is uniting conscious consumers around the world to prevent the emissions-equivalent of 1 million cars from entering the atmosphere each year.

Keep reading for 10 simple things you can do today to help reduce your environmental impact, save money, and live a happier, healthier life.

1. Save energy to save money.

* Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.
* Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.
* Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. Or, use a “smart” power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts “phantom” or “vampire” energy use.
* Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
* Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying.

2. Save water to save money.

* Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too.
* Install a low-flow showerhead. They don’t cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.
* Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high.
* Plant drought-tolerant native plants in your garden. Many plants need minimal watering. Find out which occur naturally in your area.

3. Less gas = more money (and better health!).

* Walk or bike to work. This saves on gas and parking costs while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity.
* Consider telecommuting if you live far from your work. Or move closer. Even if this means paying more rent, it could save you money in the long term.
* Lobby your local government to increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay huge dividends in bettering your health and reducing traffic.

4. Eat smart.

* If you eat meat, add one meatless meal a week. Meat costs a lot at the store-and it’s even more expensive when you consider the related environmental and health costs.
* Buy locally raised, humane, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy whenever you can. Purchasing from local farmers keeps money in the local economy.
* Watch videos about why local food and sustainable seafood are so great.
* Whatever your diet, eat low on the food chain [pdf]. This is especially true for seafood.

5. Skip the bottled water.

* Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste.
* Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, with you when traveling or at work.
* Check out this short article for the latest on bottled water trends.

6. Think before you buy.

* Go online to find new or gently used secondhand products. Whether you’ve just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslist or FreeSharing to track down furniture, appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.
* Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items.
* When making purchases, make sure you know what’s “Good Stuff” and what isn’t.
* Watch a video about what happens when you buy things. Your purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.

7. Borrow instead of buying.

* Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
* Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbors while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.

8. Buy smart.

* Buy in bulk. Purchasing food from bulk bins can save money and packaging.
* Wear clothes that don’t need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.
* Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products. You might pay more now, but you’ll be happy when you don’t have to replace items as frequently (and this means less waste!).

9. Keep electronics out of the trash.

* Keep your cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible.
* Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury and other toxics and is a growing environmental problem.
* Recycle your cell phone.
* Ask your local government to set up an electronics recycling and hazardous waste collection event.

10. Make your own cleaning supplies.

* The big secret: you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products whenever you need them. All you need are a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap.
* Making your own cleaning products saves money, time, and packaging-not to mention your indoor air quality.

11. Bonus Item!
* Stay informed about going green. Sign up for our weekly newsletter or subscribe to World Watch, our award-winning magazine.

Reposted By Dan Lipsky

Dan Lipsky

Article from articlesbase.com

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Tips to Go Green and Save Green Posted by Dan Lipsky

Tips to Go Green and Save Green Posted by Dan Lipsky

10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green

Reposted by Dan Lipsky

How can we live lightly on the Earth and save money at the same time? Staff members at the Worldwatch Institute, a global environmental organization, share ideas on how to GO GREEN and SAVE GREEN at home and at work.

Climate change is in the news. It seems like everyone’s “going green.” We’re glad you want to take action, too. Luckily, many of the steps we can take to stop climate change can make our lives better. Our grandchildren-and their children-will thank us for living more sustainably. Let’s start now.

We’ve partnered with the Million Car Carbon Campaign to help you find ways to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. This campaign is uniting conscious consumers around the world to prevent the emissions-equivalent of 1 million cars from entering the atmosphere each year.

Keep reading for 10 simple things you can do today to help reduce your environmental impact, save money, and live a happier, healthier life.

1. Save energy to save money.

* Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.
* Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.
* Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. Or, use a “smart” power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts “phantom” or “vampire” energy use.
* Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
* Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying.

2. Save water to save money.

* Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too.
* Install a low-flow showerhead. They don’t cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.
* Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high.
* Plant drought-tolerant native plants in your garden. Many plants need minimal watering. Find out which occur naturally in your area.

3. Less gas = more money (and better health!).

* Walk or bike to work. This saves on gas and parking costs while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity.
* Consider telecommuting if you live far from your work. Or move closer. Even if this means paying more rent, it could save you money in the long term.
* Lobby your local government to increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay huge dividends in bettering your health and reducing traffic.

4. Eat smart.

* If you eat meat, add one meatless meal a week. Meat costs a lot at the store-and it’s even more expensive when you consider the related environmental and health costs.
* Buy locally raised, humane, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy whenever you can. Purchasing from local farmers keeps money in the local economy.
* Watch videos about why local food and sustainable seafood are so great.
* Whatever your diet, eat low on the food chain [pdf]. This is especially true for seafood.

5. Skip the bottled water.

* Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste.
* Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, with you when traveling or at work.
* Check out this short article for the latest on bottled water trends.

6. Think before you buy.

* Go online to find new or gently used secondhand products. Whether you’ve just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslist or FreeSharing to track down furniture, appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.
* Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items.
* When making purchases, make sure you know what’s “Good Stuff” and what isn’t.
* Watch a video about what happens when you buy things. Your purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.

7. Borrow instead of buying.

* Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
* Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbors while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.

8. Buy smart.

* Buy in bulk. Purchasing food from bulk bins can save money and packaging.
* Wear clothes that don’t need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.
* Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products. You might pay more now, but you’ll be happy when you don’t have to replace items as frequently (and this means less waste!).

9. Keep electronics out of the trash.

* Keep your cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible.
* Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury and other toxics and is a growing environmental problem.
* Recycle your cell phone.
* Ask your local government to set up an electronics recycling and hazardous waste collection event.

10. Make your own cleaning supplies.

* The big secret: you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products whenever you need them. All you need are a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap.
* Making your own cleaning products saves money, time, and packaging-not to mention your indoor air quality.

11. Bonus Item!
* Stay informed about going green. Sign up for our weekly newsletter or subscribe to World Watch, our award-winning magazine.

Reposted By Dan Lipsky

Dan Lipsky

Article from articlesbase.com

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Alternatives to Using Plastic

Alternatives to Using Plastic

There are so many alternatives to using plastic that are eco-friendly and easy, why not make the switch?

Plastic is not good on so many levels. For starters, plastic is bulky, it is not biodegradable and it is made from oil derivatives, which come from a limited natural resource. Moreover, their production requires significant amounts of energy and emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

But that is just the beginning. The World Health Organization and Health Canada, the country’s health authority, are among the institutes that have confirmed that plastics contain proven toxins that are known to be human carcinogens.

But, let’s get back to the many, wonderful alternatives to plastic that you can use in your everyday life that will help keep you and your family healthy, while contributing to living a green and eco-friendly lifestyle. Here are a few ways to get started:

Eliminate plastic by using cloth bags:

Think about how many times you go to the grocery store in any given month – five, six, seven times? If you buy an average of three bags worth of groceries on each trip, that’s at least fifteen plastic bags a month, or 180 a year. Sure, you may use some of those bags for household garbage, but it’s likely that you’ve got an excess of them underneath your kitchen sink right now that have been accumulating at a rate faster than you are using them.

There are upwards of a billion plastic bags given out each and every day and a single, non-biodegradable plastic bag sits in a landfill for an average of 1000 years before it breaks itself down. That’s a lot of plastic and a lot of space and time sitting in a waste site. The alternative to plastic is reusable cloth bags.

Cloth bags are lightweight and are often made from biodegradable materials. You can stash a few in the trunk of your car, a few more in the backseat, some in your bike bag and a few more underneath the kitchen sink. The trick is to have cloth bags handy so that you remember to use them. This way, you’ll be doing your part for the environment while also saving a few cents every time you go to the grocery store as many are now charging customers at least 5 cents a plastic bag.

Switch from plastic to stainless steel containers:

Not only is tap water clean and free, it also comes without a plastic bottle. And not only is stainless steel environmentally friendly, it keeps your food free from plastic particles. Why not bottle water yourself in a stainless steel bottle if you want to have clean drinking water on hand? By using stainless steel food and beverage containers you can feel good about leading an eco-friendly lifestyle and avoiding bisphenol A, a chemical component that is used in hard plastic containers. Bisphenol A is so toxic – especially when it is used in reusable water and babies’ bottles – that Canada was the first country to add the chemical to the nation’s list of toxic substances.

Those are just a few ideas to get you started. Once you’ve tried those on for size and see how easy it really is to make small but important eco-friendly changes, you’ll start to think of more alternatives to using plastic – it’s like a domino effect!

Ivy Newport is the president and product strategist at Every Little Bit, an online retail store featuring eco-friendly products for your every day needs. You are welcome to use this article provided you include a link to Every Little Bit to credit authorship.

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The Cynical Edge of Corporate Green Credentials

The Cynical Edge of Corporate Green Credentials

Increasingly the environment is becoming a factor in our purchases. From cars to food packaging, houses to shopping bags, its perceived impact on the environment seems to be holding a lot of weight. But many so called ‘green’ companies use these green credentials simply to increase sales rather than ease the collective conscience by making a genuine commitment towards sustainability and environmental soundness.


Just take manufacturers of luxury goods for example. The very principal of luxury goods is opposed to a reduction in waste and consumption, yet these companies continue to use their green credentials as a new marketing venture, to increase the profits, waste and consumption of their products. It is hypocritical for these companies to offer environmentalism at a price to consumers who should realise that it’s their incessant consumption which is the real green issue.


Recently an airport got on its environmental high horse with airline company Flybe, over the airline paying actors to take flights to meet usage bonus targets set by the airport. The managing director claimed to be “absolutely shocked” with Flybe’s disregard for the environmental impact of their staged commercial flight.


This airport’s very business was in selling cut-price flights which completely fly in the face of any boasted environmental commitment. That’s not to say that airports shouldn’t consider their environmental impact, but this statement was clearly born from a reluctance to award Flybe with a 280, 000 pound bonus rather than their concern for the environment. It was simply a cynical exercise to turn public opinion against Flybe.


I recently noticed a print campaign by EDF Energy pledging to help reverse climate change by building 5 new nuclear power stations in the UK. What EDF might fail to recognise is that not everyone perceives nuclear waste as particularly environmentally friendly, even if it is buried and disposed of very neatly.


Essentially the reference to climate change suggests that EDF are investing a lot of money in nuclear power simply to make the world a nicer place, when in reality EDF would not be building any nuclear power stations unless it was financially beneficial for them to do so.


Such companies have a legal obligation to constantly increase profits for their shareholders, which is in opposition with the idea of sustainability, and will inevitably lead to ideological casualties. The very idea of such corporations being environmentally friendly should be laughed at. They should be encouraged to make genuine commitments to reduce the rate of climate change, but not rewarded for mentioning green credentials when it is simply a cold hearted marketing tactic.

John Mce writes on behalf of Environment in Business(EIB), a magazine about the environmental challenges facing organisations; and about the answers to those challenges. EIB separates the political and pressure group hype from the issues that really count for businesses.

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