Earth Day – A trashy celebration to end this year’s posts

This headline is priceless. The article is meh.

San Francisco Parks Trashed On Earth Day: Celebrations Are Not Very Eco-Friendly, Huge Messes Left Behind

By Posted: 04/23/2012 5:52 pm Updated: 04/24/2012 1:39 pm

San Francisco may be the greenest city in the nation, but some residents have a funny way of showing their appreciation.

On Earth Day, Marina district residents took their celebrations a little too far, leaving behind a Fort Mason disaster zone.

Our friends over at SFist alerted us to this heinous trashing:

Not to get all hippie-preachy or anything, but this is kind of an offensive amount of trash, right? Do normal and reasonable human beings not look at that mess and say, “…maybe we ought to like, I don’t know? Take some of this trash with us? To a trash can?” or “Maybe we should bring that coffee table back home?” We’ve seen our share of litter-y days in Dolores Park and some embarrassing trash pileups in Golden Gate Park, but leaving actual pieces of living room furniture is a whole new level of prickish park use.

Fort Mason wasn’t the only park to take a hit on Earth Day. Mission residents also woke up to a severely less beautiful Dolores Park this morning.

One resident told Mission Local, “I’m not sure who angers me more, the people who came to enjoy the park on Saturday and left this mess or Rec and Park, which continues to ignore the complaints and warnings of neighbors about the park’s abuse.”


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Green Funeral Services – the other half of dying

Getting “laid to rest” is a two part process. There is preparing you and there is the ground you go into. Yesterday I covered the ground you go into part with Roselawn Cemetery which is a dated term I suppose but it is what I know. Today we take a look at the services that get you there. Jenn Bormann is with Butler Funeral Home and she was at Earth Awareness Fest with Clada Parker. They had with them a woven willow casket complete with a basket style top and an optional silk liner. Wow is all I can say. A casket you could leak out of, that is a very winning concept! Sorry I probably wasn’t supposed to say that but I am a loud mouth sometimes. Anyway I found this story about them in the SJR and I will put up their website as well. I did not want to just copy text from their website, because that is way to commercial for this nonprofit.

Tim Landis: Butler Funeral Home gets ‘green’ certification

Posted Sep 25, 2010 @ 11:30 PM

Not only is it possible to go green. Among the newer trends in the funeral home business is going out green.

BUTLER FUNERAL HOMES and ROSELAWN MEMORIAL PARK of Springfield have obtained certification from the national Green Burial Council for sustainable funeral and cemetery practices, eco-friendly products and even organic snacks at the wake.

Butler is getting in early on the green-certification trend as far as central Illinois goes, but president Chris Butler said he expects others to follow.

“Some of this includes elements people are already asking for. They just don’t call it ‘green,’” Butler said of practices that include non-toxic embalming fluids or no embalming at all, using only natural stone, limiting loss of natural habitat, biodegradable caskets, burial shrouds instead of caskets and use of renewable products.

Butler Funeral Homes Inc. is among the city’s older businesses. Forerunner funeral homes date to 1893.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Natural Gas Industry Does Better For The Environment

I do not normally trumpet the oil and gas industries innovations but this seems like a good one.

Tiny valve offers huge environmental impact

Big things do, indeed, often come in small packages.

A prime example of this axiom is the new valve that Devon has begun installing on its older wells. The device shows promise of revolutionizing the industry’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Roughly the size of an adult pinkie finger, the valve has the added benefit of eliminating waste, allowing Devon to sell more of the natural gas it produces.


Early results have been dramatic. Devon has replaced about 700 valves, all in Wyoming. Each device has reduced methane emissions by about 50 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per valve. That figure is equal to taking nine cars off the road. Devon plans to replace about 2,300 more valves in Wyoming and 700 in Western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.

In 2010, the American Carbon Registry approved the methodology associated with the new valve as the first carbon offset methodology for the oil and natural gas industry. That designation sets the stage for Devon to mitigate future costs of obtaining carbon credits should Congress pass cap-and-trade legislation.

Each valve costs about $300. That cost is recovered quickly – usually within three months – by capturing and selling the natural gas that was vented using the older technology.

“The device literally pays for itself before the invoice comes due,” said Darren Smith, a manager of Devon’s Environmental, Health and Safety department.

The new technology is designed specifically to replace outdated valves on older wells. Devon’s newer wells, including all of the company’s wells in the Barnett Shale, already feature low-bleed valves.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Japan _ For such a small island, Big environmental mess

I still have strong doubts about the claims that the northwest section of the US got slimed by radiation from Fukushima. But the plant is a big environmental mess that could last 30 years. Then there is the millions of tons off debris that has smashed around the edge of the pacific garbage gyre and is barreling towards  Alaska and Washington state. That could do real damage. Some of it has already washed ashore. Once it is done there it will move on to hit Hawaii and ultimately end up in the gyre it avoided the first time. It wasn’t their fault but they still messed up the pacific ocean. A little future planning might not hurt.

Study Connects U.S. Deaths to Fukushima, Contradicts EPA Reports

By Adam Daley

A new study set for publication tomorrow in the International Journal of Health Services found there may be a connection between an estimated excess of 14,000 deaths in the U.S. and the radioactive fallout from explosions at Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, an argument in direct conflict with reports from the Environmental Protection Agency.

In the 14 weeks after Fukushima fallout arrived in the U.S., deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rose 4.46 percent from the same period in 2010, or roughly 14,000 deaths. The rise in reported deaths after Fukushima was largest among U.S. infants under age one.  The 2010-2011 increase for infant deaths in the spring was 1.8 percent, compared to a decrease of 8.37 percent in the preceding 14 weeks.

“This study of Fukushima health hazards is the first to be published in a scientific journal. It raises concerns, and strongly suggests that health studies continue, to understand the true impact of Fukushima in Japan and around the world,” said co-author Joseph Mangano, MPH, MBA, and Executive Director of Radiation and Public Health Project. “Findings are important to the current debate of whether to build new reactors, and how long to keep aging ones in operation.”

Six days after the meltdowns in Japan, scientists detected a plume of toxic fallout in the U.S. According to the EPA, all of the radiation levels detected were “very low, well below any level of public health concern.”


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Cement Kilns Burn Toxic Waste – But are not regulated like toxic burners

I skipped the lead which is about people having mixed feelings about the trade off between providing employment and pollution.  Personally I do not have mixed feelings because pollution controls supply jobs not take them away. But I skipped to the main fact that these kilns burn toxic waste but are much more loosely regulated. Nuff said.

Kilns ‘Not Designed To Burn Hazardous Waste’

Regulators have resisted, citing Ash Grove’s compliance with pollution standards. But those standards give cement kilns permission to pollute when they burn toxic junk for fuel.

Kilns are legally allowed to pump more toxins into the air than are hazardous-waste incinerators, which burn many of the same dangerous materials, including industrial solvents, aluminum plant waste and other toxic leftovers from the production of chemicals, oil and pharmaceuticals.

The Ash Grove Cement Kiln, as seen from an aerial photograph, sits on the northern edge of Chanute, Kan. 

Enlarge David Gilkey/NPRThe Ash Grove Cement Kiln, as seen from an aerial photograph, sits on the northern edge of Chanute, Kan. 

“The problem with cement plants that burn hazardous waste is that they’re not designed to burn hazardous waste,” says Jim Pew, a lawyer for the environmental group Earth Justice. “In my view it’s a loophole for the cement industry.”

Kilns like the one in Chanute that were built or rebuilt before 2005 can emit 43 percent more lead and cadmium — close to four times the hydrogen chloride and chlorine gas, and twice the particulates — than actual hazardous waste incinerators. Thirteen cement kilns in six states operate under those standards.

Three newer or upgraded kilns can emit even more toxic pollutants under EPA standards, including 18 times the lead and cadmium and 15 times the mercury.

These elevated levels are not harmful, says the EPA’s Brooks, because federal pollution limits are “set with a margin of public healthy and safety.”

The industry considers the safety margin huge — “far lower than what is necessary to protect human health and the environment,” says Mike Benoit of the Cement Kiln Recycling Coalition. The numbers are deceiving, he adds, and the actual emissions are minuscule.

“We’re talking about nanograms,” Benoit continues. “We’re talking about micrograms. Millionths of a gram — billionths of a gram.”

Mercury Pollution

But tiny measurements can add up, especially when it comes to mercury emissions at Ash Grove.

“In the year 2004, for example, the Chanute plant was the second-largest emitter of mercury in Kansas,” says Craig Volland, an environmental consultant who advises the Kansas Sierra Club on air pollution issues.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Getting Your Garden Ready For The Spring – One advantage of fall gardening

Like it says at the end of the article, if you end your gardening in late fall then get it ready for early spring. Myself it is October and my Broccoli is just coming in now. YAHOO.

Young Plants

The hot, dry weather in July, August, and September is hard on germinating seeds and young seedlings. Germination and seedling survival is improved if one of these methods is used:

• Water a day or two before planting so seeds are planted in moist soil. Watering after planting can cause the soil surface to pack and crust.

• Plant seeds in moist soil and cover with moistened, non-crusting materials: a mix of peat moss and vermiculite or composted sawdust and sand. Keep the surface moist during germination and seedling establishment.

Plant three to five seeds of the small-seeded vegetables like broccoli and cabbage at the recommended final plant spacing in the garden row. Once the seedlings are established, thin the seedlings to one plant at each location.


Start vegetable transplants for the fall garden in individual containers, such as peat pots, small clay or plastic pots, or peat pellets. Setting out plants without disturbing the root systems reduces transplant shock.

Protect young plants from the sun for a few days. You can use bare-root transplants from thinning the seedling row, but be prepared to provide water and shade until they become established.

A fall garden is open to attack by insects and diseases just as the summer garden. In some cases, the insect problems are worse. Worms (cabbage loopers and imported cabbage moths) are serious problems on fall cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and collards. Control these leaf-eating worms with one of the biological sprays. Squash bugs are troublesome on fall squash and pumpkins.

Fall vegetables need fertilizer just as much as spring and summer vegetables. Don’t count on the fertilizer applied in spring to supply fertilizer needs of vegetables planted in late summer and fall. Fertilize before planting and side-dress as needed.

As the danger of frost approaches, pay close attention to weather predictions. Tender plants often can be protected from an early frost and continue to produce for several weeks. When a killing frost is inevitable, harvest tender vegetables.

Green tomatoes that are turning white just before turning pink will ripen if stored in a cool place. Pick these tomatoes, wrap them in paper, and use them as they ripen.

Don’t abandon the garden when freezing temperatures kill the plants. Clean up the debris, store stakes and poles, take a soil test, and row up part of the garden to be ready for planting early spring Irish potatoes and English peas.


Go there and read. More next week.


Worm Farms At Work – You can do it too

If your workplace has a cafeteria or a food service this is serious business and a potential money maker.

Welcome to Get Green, the Herald’s blog about making the newspaper more environmentally efficient and friendly. We offer some of our experiences about the challenges and successes of “greening” the Herald, as well as tips you can use at home. Questions? Comments? Got your own tip to share? Contact Eric Degerman via 509-582-1404 or

A posting about composting at work

By Eric Degerman,

I’m not so sure about bringing a case of worms to the office.

However, if it’s good enough for Gail Everett and the City of Richland, I’m game.

And I’ll it will serve as a test to see just how thoughtful my fellow employees at the Herald are.

Last month, I visited Gail — Richland’s environmental education coordinator — at city hall to talk about getting a compost bin started at Herald headquarters.

Lo and behold, she’s not the only one working in her small office. There are a bunch of happy worms dining on her discards of fruit.

With that inspiration, I’ll launch composting efforts at the Herald later this month. I need to acquire a suitable bin, then start creating a new home for some worms. Then, I believe Gail will be adopting out some of her “co-workers” for me to take to the Herald.

Ironically, these worms love newsprint. (Recycle your favorite newspaper joke here.)

— Eric Degerman is the Herald’s online managing editor who makes regular trips each year from Richland to Clayton-Ward in Kennewick so that he can exchange his household recyclables for money to buy beverages produced from Columbia Valley grapes and hops.


Fall gardening next week.


Corporate Recycling In The Workplace – You know they gotta have special containers

Corporate America was slow to come to recycling because they know a shift to a steady state economy means their demise. Still they come kicking and screaming because they can not withstand the the force of history. It would be nice if they recycled real things like electronics and building materials. Sooner or later it will happen. For now:

Office Recycling Bins

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The Kaleidoscope Collection


More tomorrow.


Recycling and Fall Gardening – Yes they have things in common

I was at a food meeting yesterday at LLCC and Wes King pointed out that composting and fall crop covers are actually recycling of the ultimate sort. Taking organic matter and letting it turn back into soil and crops that will turned under in the spring are so to speak, nature’s way and direct recycling. This as opposed to taking stuff to a center where they then ship it off to an actual reprocessing plant many miles away. Since it is October what better things to discuss. First up composting at work and yes it can be done.

How to Compost at Work

by Jeannette Belliveau, Demand Media

If you’re already conserving energy, reusing and recycling paper and purchasing green office products at work, the next big step can be composting on the job and using it to green the surrounding landscape. If your office property permits use of the grounds in this manner, you can compost on site, and if it doesn’t, you can still pursue other avenues to keep the compostable food waste from going into the garbage. (See References 1)

Getting Started

Assemble a workplace “Green Team” with committed leaders managing your office compost program (see References 3). Kick things off by publicizing your switch to a three-stream waste system, whereby the office will provide separate receptacles for trash, recycling and compost (see References 1, p. 98). An educational poster or exhibit near the lunch room can explain the program (see References 5). Place sealable containers for compost in your office kitchen, food preparation area or snack room. These can be 13-gallon kitchen waste cans or smaller lidded buckets (see References 3). Employees can add coffee grounds, tea bags, vegetable wastes and eggshells to these bin (see References 1, p. 126). Avoid adding meat and diary waste.


A designated member of the Green Team can collect the food waste daily from the snack room and other collection points and place it in the central container or directly into the composter. It’s better to assign this duty to a Green Team member rather than custodial staff to better keep an eye on what is going into the composter, recommends the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Your office may be able to switch to collecting food waste two to three times a week depending on how much volume you see. (See References 3)

Composter Types

Your composter set-up should match your needs and business aesthetics, recommends Trish Riley and Heather Gadonniex in “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Greening Your Business (see References 1).” Options include a compost tumbler or plastic compost bins and digesters if you have access to garden space and want to avoid the tumbledown look of a loose or fenced compost bin. If you don’t have a yard or grassy area for the compost, you can use an electronic composter that dries and automatically stirs the compost or a worm bin. (See References 2, p. 20)


More tomorrow.


Gwinnett – An Education Company That Practices What It Preaches

I have fun with google everyonce in awhile. I will pick an odd phrase, like today I typed in “beautiful energy conservation”.  As always Procter and Gamble, Siemens and Johnson Controls greenwash pages popup first. Google is such a money hog. But this site was #4 so I thought what the heck. What a pleasant surprise.

Recycling Bank of Gwinnett
The Recycling Bank of Gwinnett, located at 4300 Satellite Blvd in Duluth, is open to the public for donations 24 hours a day, seven day a week.  Commercial haulers are served from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  There is no cost to consumers or businesses to drop off recyclables.
For safety reasons, the public is NOT allowed to remove newspapers or other recyclables from our facility.
The Recycling Bank of Gwinnett will accept 35 types of recyclables:



Newspapers and Inserts                School Papers

Cardboard Boxes                          Kraft Paper

Soda & Beer Cartons                    Cereal Boxes

Paperboard                                   Tissue Boxes

Paper Grocery Bags                      Shoe Boxes

Paper Shopping/Lunch Bags          Pizza Boxes

Magazines                                   Paper Towel Cores

Shopping Catalogues                    Tissue Paper Cores

Old Phone Directories                   Aluminum Beverage Containers

Discarded Mail                              Aluminum Food Containers

Greeting Cards                             Steel Food Containers & Lids

Envelopes                                    Empty Aerosol Cans

Carbonless Paper Forms               Plastic Soda & Water Bottles

Computer Paper                            Milk Jugs

Calendars                                     Plastic Detergent Bottles

Plastic Bottles #3-7                       Glass Bottles & Jars

Aluminum Baking Tins                   Books

Clean Metallic Lids

For other items you are interested in recycling, please use our Searchable Recycling Database to find a location near you to take your recyclables.


More tomorrow.