GREEN MARKETING BEST PRACTICES

Sustainable development and a greener future hinge on the ability for scientists and researchers to communicate their findings to policymakers and the general public. With this in mind, the United Nations has developed a guide detailing some of the most effective practices used by professionals around the world for communicating environmental messages that have helped create positive changes in their communities.

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Making sure to have a specific audience was found to be an important part of communicating. Differences in opinion can vastly affect the ability for a message to be effectively communicated, which is why having a specific audience helps when it comes to tailoring messages and choosing the best communication channels to spread those messages.

To read the full story, please click here.

By Efrain Esparza, GMC Writer

Beyond Pretty Lights

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“Chemical compounds probably aren’t what come to mind when you think about fireworks. What comes to mind when you see fireworks? Do you think of the loud noises they make? Or do you think about the stench they leave behind following the grand finale of the display? While fireworks have become a huge tradition on the 4th of July, the chemicals that are used to make them have been found highly detrimental to the environment.

Bright flashes of colors such as red, white, blue, yellow, green, and violet light up the sky— results of the combustion of flash powder oxidizer potassium perchlorate and various nitrates. Strontium nitrate is responsible for red fireworks, barium nitrate for green, and copper chloride for blue”

To read the full story, click here.

The Type of Desert You Don’t Want

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In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared June 17th a global observance of desertification, shedding light onto the persistent dehydration of dry land ecosystems.

Desertification is the process in which fertile land becomes desert due to prolonged drought, deforestation or inappropriate agriculture. Desertification actively threatens the most vulnerable populations. In Africa, desertification is prevalent, causing an unsustainable use of local, scarce resources.

Mismanaged land can lead to a myriad of unfortunate outcomes. Improperly managing land can cause the soil to become infertile, decreasing the opportunity to grow food, which leads to food scarcity.

The UN suggests ways to prevent desertification. Reforestation, tree regeneration, and water management are among the best ways to prevent further land degradation. The UN also recommends soil enrichment by hyper-fertilizing soil through planting.

Communities are encouraged to come together to combat desertification. To learn more, visit the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) website.

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer

Wringing Out Water Waste: A New Way To Care For Your Jeans

Have you ever wondered how much water you use to wash your jeans? If you are a person that wears a pair of jeans once before washing them, you’re using a lot of water—more than you probably think. Over the life span of a pair of jeans, 3,781 liters of water are used from beginning to end. The measured life span includes: growing cotton, manufacturing, consumer care and disposal.

Levi Strauss & Company (LS&Co.) is dedicated to sustainability. In 2007, the company conducted a study to assess the environmental impact of a pair of jeans over the span of their lifetime. The Lifecycle Assessment Study (LCA) found that the two biggest energy and water impact areas were cultivation of cotton and consumer use. Based on further findings from the study, LS&Co. was able to change the way they produce jeans in order to decrease the environmental impact. LS&Co. established a water recycle and reuse standard of production, along with participating in water stewardship programs.

LS&Co. also created a quiz as part of a hashtag campaign, the #WashLess pledge, which allows anyone to find out his or her environmental impact based on how they use and take care of their jeans. The quiz covers topics such as region where one lives, how long one keeps a pair of jeans and how many times one wears a pair of jeans before washing.

According to LS&Co., if American consumers washed their jeans after 10 wears, water usage and climate change impact could be reduced by 77 percent. To find out your environmental impact through your jeans, take the quiz here.

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer

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You’re Hot Then You’re Cold: A Perfect Utensil for Any Meal or Drink

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With Earth Day right around the corner, Green Media Creations celebrates the countless recycling and sustainability efforts that are being made all around the world. For instance, the possibility for the extreme decrease in plastic cutlery and plastic truly is amazing.

Although revolutionary alternative-to-plastic products reflect how far we’ve come in this field, the statistics are still overwhelming. In the U.S. alone, 40 billion plastic utensils per year are thrown away after just one use. Narayana Peesapaty, founder of Bakeys and creator of edible spoons, compares 40 billion plastic utensils to India’s 120 billion plastic utensils thrown out per year.

Bakeys, which operates on fair trade principals, manufactures Peesapaty’s brilliant product in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. These edible spoons come in plain, savory and sweet flavors. They are made from rice, millet and wheat. With a shelf life of three years, these edible spoons are a truly creative alternative to plastic cutlery. If not consumed with a meal, they simply decompose within four to five days.

Peesapaty began this project with Kickstarter, which has received funding of well over his $20,000 goal. With over $150,000 in funds to work with, thus far, this project has quickly become a game changer. Peesapaty plans to use this money to expand this venture and create forks and chopsticks. He also hopes to start an international distribution system, which would ultimately reduce product and production costs.

With the current recipe, Bakeys’ edible spoons are already vegan and do not contain preservatives or trans fat. In the future, Bakeys hopes to achieve the following certifications: vegan, gluten-free, no high-fructose corn syrup, no preservatives, no trans fat, dairy-free, fair trade, organic, non-GMO and kosher.

Plastic takes hundreds of years to fully biodegrade, which leaves us with a pressing question: why has it taken us so long to find an alternative to plastics? Nonetheless, Bakeys edible spoons are a cutlery revolution and truly exemplify a step forward in sustainability efforts.

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer

Off the Meds Yet?

Earlier this week, GMC celebrated the 23rd annual United Nations (UN) World Water Day. This year, the UN focused on the importance of the process of obtaining clean water, and the people who work to make sure water is safely distributed.

Purifying water is an extensive yet important process, and many people don’t realize how easily water is contaminated. For instance, people tend to not finish prescribed medication once they’re feeling healthier. What happens to that leftover medicine? It is common to dispose of prescription drugs by flushing them down a toilet. In some cases, it was even encouraged by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This was a way to ensure that unused drugs wouldn’t be abused by anyone else, or to avoid a potential hazard to family members or pets.

Flushing away some prescriptions could be more damaging to our water source than we think. Although the water used in our toilets is processed at sewage treatment plants, some prescription medications may not be completely removed from the water. This poses a hazard to human health, fish and wildlife, and may also potentially contaminate soil and groundwater in the future. In 1999 and 2000, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a study and found traces of pharmaceuticals in 80 percent of sampled rivers and streams. Due to this staggering information and an increase in the use of prescription medicine, the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend a more precautious disposal of certain medications.

The safest way to dispose of prescription medications is by turning them into a facility that collects pharmaceuticals or a collector registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). If those options are not possible, the FDA recommends that the prescription be placed in a sealed plastic bag filled with dirt or kitty litter and then placed into the trash.

It is important to remember that although prescription medicine can disappear with the flushing method, it is still going somewhere. As we celebrate events such as World Water Day, it is imperative to remember that we all contribute to the quality of the water we depend on. National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is right around the corner, on April 30th. For more information on ways to safely dispose of medication, click here.

Think twice before flushing unused medication.

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer

Managing Our Carbon Footprint: The Bright Side of Carbon Dioxide

We hear it all the time—we need to reduce our carbon footprint. There are companies such as Liquid Light that have discovered innovative ways to reduce the negative effects of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide, said to be the leading cause of climate change, is the biggest byproduct produced by mass transportation and manufacturing plants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that carbon dioxide is responsible for 76 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Liquid Light proposed groundbreaking technology that recycles carbon dioxide into other chemicals that can be used in everyday products. Emily Cole, cofounder and chief science officer of Liquid Light, believes recycling carbon dioxide is necessary in order to change the way we reduce our carbon footprint.

“We take carbon dioxide from its source [like power plants or factories], add water and electricity to it, and create liquid fuels and chemicals such as ethylene glycol and glycolic acid,” said Cole.

Liquid Light’s efforts could greatly help reduce GHG emissions, as well as reduce the cost of producing the materials used to make products like plastic bottles. According to the website, Ban the Bottle, 17 million barrels of oil are needed each year for the production of plastic bottles, which doesn’t include fuel for the transportation involved in the process. The end products of recycled carbon dioxide could replace the petroleum used in not only the production of plastic bottles, but also during the making of asphalt, cleaning products, aspirin and synthetic rubber.

When it comes to reducing our carbon footprint and recycling, many people believe that it is just a way to divert waste and feel better about the act without it actually making an impact. This couldn’t be more wrong. Recycling will not have a true impact if we do not change the way we live and consume. If we continue to use petroleum instead of alternative chemicals, our carbon footprint will continue to depress greatly. In order to sustain a reasonable use of our resources, we need to make sure that we are extracting said sources at a lower or equal-to value. Thanks to companies such as Liquid Light, we might be able to expedite the process of leveling the rate at which we use resources that are harmful to our environment.

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer

Conserving Water When Prepping Thanksgiving Dinner

Photo Courtesy Of: plainvillefarms.com

Photo Courtesy Of: plainvillefarms.com

       When you think of Thanksgiving dinner, what comes to mind? A big turkey or ham as the main course? Accent dishes such as stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and deviled eggs? Do you ponder what you’re thankful for at this moment in your life?

        However you picture your Thanksgiving dinner and how you plan to celebrate it, one thing can be certain: there are a lot of ways to waste water while preparing your meal. Water conservation is important in everyday meal prep, however, it is especially important when preparing large meals. Here are a few tips on how you can prevent wasting water by doing things a little bit different:

Tips for:

Preparing dinner:

  • Defrost your main course in the fridge rather than using the cold water soak method. Make sure to consult the packaging to determine how long you will need to defrost before it is ready to be prepared and cooked
  • When making mashed potatoes, use the twice-baked method instead of boiling them to ensure that they are soft enough to mash
  • When preparing your food you might need to wash your hands in between dishes such as turkey and mashed potatoes. When washing your hands, eliminate water waste by turning off water in between lathering hands and rinsing them

Beverages:

  • Instead of automatically serving each person their own glass of water, only serve water to those who ask. This prevents water waste in case guests don’t want their water or don’t finish it. This also means one less dirty glass to wash

Washing dishes:

  • When hand-washing dishes, don’t fill up the sink basin with water. Instead, get your sponge or cloth sudsy and scrub your dishes one by one and set them aside. When all dishes have been scrubbed, begin to rinse one by one

          Thanksgiving is a very special holiday for many reasons and it’s a great day to spend with family and loved ones. Celebrate joyously, but celebrate sustainably!

Can you think of any other ways to conserve water when preparing meals? Comment below, we’d love to hear feedback!

For more information on the current state of the drought and water conservation, visit the blog of NRDC’s Tracy Quinn at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/tquinn/

Get Smart: Recycle Your Smartphone.

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Each time there is a new iPhone or Android on the market, what do you do with your old phone? Do you let it sit in a drawer? Do you pass it down to someone? Does it end up in the trash? If you’re not a fan of collecting old stuff, or you don’t know someone in need of a new phone or you’d rather keep it out of the trash, try out an ecoATM! By inputing some information and handing over your old device, you can get reimbursed! It is the best way to make money off of an old phone. Consider it a reward for recycling! Visit ecoATM’s website and enter your zip code to find a machine near you!