First Alternative declares bag independence

First Alternative declares bag independence

On July 4, 2009, First Alternative Co-op will begin charging 5¢ for every new paper bag used at our checkout registers. This charge is an environmental initiative meant to lessen our dependence on disposable bags and encourage the use of reusable shopping bags. A survey conducted among our customers earlier this year showed overwhelming support for a bag charge.

• An owner survey will determine how the Co-op uses the proceeds from the bag charge.

• Our Beans for Bags program will not change, and customers will still receive one bean for every bag reused at checkout.

• Only the paper handled bags at the registers will be charged for, not the smaller paper bags used for produce and bulk items.

I have been using one of the Blue Co-op Bags for a couple months now. It’s even made from recycled plastic!

Flooding + Iowa + Potential Cause

Iowa Flooding Could Be An Act of Man, Experts Say

Kamyar Enshayan, director of an environmental center at the University of Northern Iowa, suspects that this natural disaster wasn’t really all that natural. He points out that the heavy rains fell on a landscape radically reengineered by humans. Plowed fields have replaced tallgrass prairies. Fields have been meticulously drained with underground pipes. Streams and creeks have been straightened. Most of the wetlands are gone. Flood plains have been filled and developed.

“We’ve done numerous things to the landscape that took away these water-absorbing functions,” he said. “Agriculture must respect the limits of nature.”

[S]ome Iowans who study the environment suspect that changes in the land, both recently and over the past century or so, have made Iowa’s terrain not only highly profitable but also highly vulnerable to flooding.

via the Washington Post

Oberlin College Dorm Energy

Oberlin College Dorm Energy Project - Office of Environmental Sustainability
Oberlin College in Ohio was featured in this month’s issue of Vegetarian Times. Oberlin’s Office of Environmental Sustainability is working on a system to monitor water and energy use in Oberlin’s residence halls. It’s brilliant. The site, “Dorm Energy“, shows electricity usage for 18 Oberlin residence halls.

Continue reading Oberlin College Dorm Energy

Aluminum recycling in Corvallis

aluminum can

The Allied Waste newsletter arrived in the mail today. The folks at Allied Waste put together a concise and easy to read mailing called “At Your Disposal.” I was reading the “Curbside Recycling Update” section when I read about the blurb on aluminum recycling.

Aluminum goes to ALCOA on the east coast and is made into aluminum cans again.

I think it is great that aluminum cans from Corvallis, Oregon are being recycled. However, what is the environmental cost for transporting west coast cans to the east coast for processing? The process seems a little counter intuitive to me. I wonder if environmentally conscious recycling / post-consumer recycling processes need to be analyzed…

What do you think?

300 million people and the Breathing Earth

I hope everyone received the memo:


Nation’s Population to Reach 300 Million on Oct. 17

The U.S. Census Bureau today reported that the nation’s population will reach the historic milestone of 300 million on Oct. 17 at about 7:46 a.m. (EDT). This comes almost 39 years after the 200 million mark was reached on Nov. 20, 1967.

The estimate is based on the expectation that the United States will register one birth every seven seconds and one death every 13 seconds between now and Oct. 17, while net international migration is expected to add one person every 31 seconds. The result is an increase in the total population of one person every 11 seconds.

Breathing Earth “displays the carbob dioxide emission levels of every country in the world, as well as their birth and death rates – all in real-time.”