Friday, December 9, 2011

Poor air quality for tribes in rural Alaska

Air quality in many Tribal Alaskan towns and villages represents a serious health threat to its residents.   The main challenges for many native villages are diesel emissions, poor indoor air quality, solid waste burning, and wood smoke:  
  • Diesel is used extensively in rural Alaska.  Continued exposure to diesel fumes has been linked to lung disease and aggravation of asthma.  
  • Most rural Alaska homes are constructed to keep warm air inside and have little ventilation during the cold winter months.  This can keep indoor air pollutants from fuel sources locked into homes.  
  • Garbage cannot be buried in many parts of Alaska because of permafrost so it is often burned.  Burning garbage can create dangerous toxic smoke which contains dioxins that can cause cancer.  
  • Wood smoke also creates health hazards.  Inhalation of wood smoke can cause several dangerous health conditions like pneumonia and asthma.
Tribal communities across the state have created the Alaska Tribal Air Tool-kit in an attempt to help reduce poor air quality.  The tool-kit is free of charge and has many helpful tips for helping improve the air we breathe.

Wood exchange program hopes to lower emissions in Alaska

The Environmental protection agency (EPA) has given the city of Fairbanks Alaska, $70k to start a wood exchange program.  The program will allow residents to exchange a cord (128 cubic feet) of wet wood for a cord of dry wood.  Dry wood burns much cleaner then wet wood and could potentially help reduce the amount of fine particulate matter in the interior Alaska city.  The city proposed a large scale program which would cost a half a million dollars but was awarded only a small portion of that from the EPA.  The borough assembly will need to create an ordinance to accept the money, which could happen sometime in December.  Fairbanks is looking at creative ways to lower its emissions because millions of federal dollars have been tied to the city’s air quality.

Laundry Makes a Difference

Make your laundry count!

Most of us have become accustomed to wearing our clothes once before each wash, throwing them out before they are actually worn out and washing our clothes when it is unnecessary.  Ninety percent of the energy used when washing laundry comes from heating the water and most clothes can be washed in cold water and come out just as clean if you buy detergent for cold water.  This will reduce your gas bill tremendously, not to mention your water bill.  The average load of laundry uses an astounding forty-seven gallons of water a load.  When drying your clothes give air drying a chance.  The average household spends over a $100 a year just on drying their laundry and it is completely unnecessary.  If your clothes appear clean, wear them again! Obviously wash your undergarments but there is no reason to wash your jeans, skirts and sweater after every use.  It uses more energy, more money, more water and takes more time.
Before you toss your wardrobe out, ask yourself, is this worn out?  If not, donate it! This goes both ways try buying something used.   You may find that you save a ton of cash and your are stopping the production of an unneeded item and preventing the item you bought from ending up at the dump.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Green Alchemy: Sewage into Bricks!

Here's a creative way to cut carbon emissions and reuse waste: turn sewage into bricks for construction purposes. That's right, incinerated sewage sludge is being combined with a vegatable oil based binder to be used in masonry. Normally traditional bricks are made out of concrete, made from cement, which when produced releases carbon dioxide emissions, 5-10% globally. The bricks made from sewage are completely CO2 free, meaning that they will greatly reduce emissions if they are widely used, replacing traditional bricks.

"The blocks and bricks do not smell and have been tested for and passed industry standards for heat, freezing, and strength."

Learn more at:
--David Honey

Solar Highway

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is still working on their solar highway project. It will be the largest solar highway in the nation. This is a good way to off set all the carbon emissions from the automobiles on the highway. It will have 7000 solar panels, enough to power 165 homes each year.

check this link for more information:
--David Honey


José G. Jiménez

Ever wonder what YOU could do to conserve where you live? Do you even care of your place? 
Let consider our environment as OUR home, HOME where you can make a mess as you please or keep it nice and tightly. Here are 10 TIPS YOU can easily do to keep your HOME nice & shiny:

Could you imagine walking to work due to you living that close! Energy star appliances are a must to keep that low energy input.

Get rid of them the right way! Properly dispose these toxic items in to their proper toxic disposal sites provided throughout EVERY city.

Wearing a sweater doesn’t hurt anyone nor YOU but your HOME in winter! Show that skin & expose it! Doing this can save energy & reduce pollution yearly.

Tropical forests are CUT to raise beef and making them become a product. When’s your NEXT local market visit in your neighborhood?

Domestic cats kill over 1 BILLION small birds and animals yearly. Upset natural predator & prey balances and eliminate ground-nesting birds.

NO! Along with nitrogen fertilizer they runoff and ARE major water pollutants.

2nd-HAND smoke IS a major INDOOR air pollutant & health hazards. LIVE longer & HEALTHIER!

03) H20
CATCH faucets running away with YOUR gold! Midday water lawn, NO!

Another friend to your pockets! This will save LOTS of money while being more environmental friendly to your HOME. Most of the yard & kitchen waste are 30% of trash.

1/3rd of traffic is commuters. Getting from point A to point B in a more efficient way will be saving you money and time plus a HUGE dash of your HOME.

These little things that we typically don't really think about could change YOUR life along with EVERYONE's around it.

more tips can be found here:


José G. Jiménez

What is Carbon Footprint? What is Ecological Footprint? We all can come to an understanding that it’s our human emission trail that contributes to the earth’s atmosphere through carbon emissions gases. More specifically Greenhouse Gases (GHG), which contain carbon dioxide and methane. Any person, product, or event passes on these types of gases into the atmosphere, damaging our environment. 

Image above, dictating our contribution (Carbon Footprint) has increased where our own Ecological earth (non-carbon Footprint) can’t & won’t be able to maintain our maintenance. Humans exceed their carbon footprint allowed by our only livable & habitable planet.

On the other hand, Ecological Footprint is the human demand we have on our earth’s ecosystem that can supply to our demands. Consisting of the productive land and sea area, in which, it’s necessary to supply to us, humans to consume. Given the image above, we have exceeded that this planet is cable of maintain and provide.

We need to do a change NOW before there is no tomorrow…

A helpful site that we ALL need to be aware of is:

Waste Water Re-Use!

Many gallons of water are saved each day by reusing wastewater. The problem with this is the treatment process causes emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas, to be realeased into the atmosphere.
Waste water is the water that consumers literally flush down the drain. It is also the water that has been used for cleaning and for other industrial purposes. Wastewater must be sterilized before it can be sent back to the consumer for reuse, to remove any health threats.

"Nitrogen removal process and nitrous oxide formation

The removal of nitrogen from waste waters is a two-stage process. In the first stage, the ammonium ion (NH4+) is converted to the nitrate ion (NO3-); this part is called nitrification. In the second stage, the nitrate ion is converted into molecular nitrogen (N2); this is named denitrification.
During both these processes, there can be a release of nitrous oxide (N2O). N2O is a gas with very high greenhouse gas properties; its Global Warming Potential (GWP) is 298 times higher than that of carbon dioxide.
If the nitrogen removal process is applied at industrial scale for waste waters treatment, relatively high quantities of N2O could be formed and, consequently, released into the atmosphere."

Read more at:
 - - David Honey

Corn Ethanol in Gasoline Fuel

Everyone knows fossil fuel emissions are major contaminants to our environment. One solution in trying to reduce the damage caused by fossil fuel emissions is to change the formula of the fuel. Most of the gasoline in the US in the past 30 years has been a mixture of at least 5 to 10% ethanol. Ethanol producers are petitioning the EPA to increase the amount to 15%. Most engines are not capable of handling ethanol, as they were designed for a more pure fossil fuel gasoline. Increasing the amonut of ethanol would cause some engine failure as well as pose some health risks to the general population.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG);

"Growth Energy, a consortium of ethanol producers, petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow 50% more ethanol in gasoline than is currently permitted, requesting approval for E15 fuel (a mixture of gasoline with 15% ethanol) (Growth Energy 2009).

EWG's review has found that:
  1. A higher ethanol blend may damage non-road engines and emission control systems.
  2. Emissions from higher ethanol fuels may worsen health risks from air pollution.
  3. Distribution of higher ethanol fuel blends may pose new safety risks and higher fuel costs.
  4. Higher-ethanol fuel blends may compromise lifetime performance of non-flex fuel vehicles. "
You can read more about it at

-- David Honey

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Emissions Targets

          Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only enforceable climate treaty that binds countries to lower greenhouse emissions, is soon to expire. Currently there is a climate conference in South Africa, which ends tomorrow, whose main objective is to create emissions reducing targets that could be adopted by developing countries and United States. The Kyoto Protocol imposes financial penalties for not meeting the set emissions target. Thirty developed countries including New Zealand has agreed to renew the Kyoto Protocol and furthermore work on reducing emissions. Some of the countries that have declined to accept the agreement were Russia, Japan and Canada.

            This event shows that emissions are a major concern for many countries. One of the countries that is leading by example is New Zealand. They agreed to renew the Kyoto Protocol and they are willing to accept the consequences if they do not reach the set target. What is worrisome is that three of the biggest nations did not agree to the treaty again. These highly industrialized countries produce a lot of emissions per year and to know that they are not willing to reach the target emission goal set by so many other developed countries is troublesome.

            The conference will continue and hopefully those three countries will change their stand on setting targets for greenhouse emissions. 

To read more :

New Zealand to set new emissions target

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What causes High NOX Emissions

Thousands of technicians have faced the challenge of bringing a particularly stubborn application into compliance for NOx emissions. High NOx readings are a clear sign of performance issues somewhere in the system. The question is, where?

Among the potential causes of non-compliant NOx readings are:
Misfire condition
Malfunctioning or improperly adjusted EGR valve
Failed oxygen sensor
Leak in exhaust tubing upstream of converter
Excessive carbon deposits in combustion chamber
Improper spark advance
Blocked coolant passage
Overly lean air-fuel mixture
Damaged cold air duct
Failed or malfunctioning catalytic converter
Corroded or damaged engine sensor electrical connections

Please note that while a failed catalytic converter will contribute to high NOx readings, the failure in itself may have been caused by some other upstream performance problem. In all cases, it is crucial to identify the root cause of the problem before blaming the converter.
Case Study

" I'm working on a 1992 3.1-liter Chevrolet that failed in the test lane. The results were very good for HC and CO—nearly zero—but it failed for NOx. The converter seems to be operating properly and the engine is running okay. What's causing the problem?"

Answer: Because this application, like many others, does not have an EGR adjustment, there's little the technician can do to "tweak" the engine's performance to bring it into compliance. It's clear the engine is running overly lean. A lean engine operating condition produces more NOx than usual, and the lean exhaust chemically interferes with the converter's ability to clean NOx (remember that excess oxygen is good for cleaning HC and CO, but bad for NOx).

There are dozens of potential causes of the high NOx readings, ranging from the relatively easy (detonation or failed oxygen sensor) to the extremely difficult and time-intensive (an improperly signaling MAP sensor). Because the engine is otherwise performing satisfactorily, the least expensive option may be to upgrade to a heavier duty converter such as a CleanAir "Premium" unit featuring increased catalyst for greater efficiency.

- Khadija Al Mousa

Sunday, December 4, 2011


It’s true! Well, not exactly. We all know that there are harmful emissions in the air. However, tharmful emissions are also eventually absorbed by trees. When these emissions are absorbed by trees, the trees hold them until they are released somehow. This is the study of biogenic sources.

Biogenic sources are natural sources like plants or trees, which once absorb a dangerous material like nuclear waste for example, can release a toxic emission.
Biogenic emissions account for 30 percent of all the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted in urban areas in the eastern half of Texas. Emissions are estimated and taken into account the species of trees present, the density of their foliage, the temperature and solar radiation on the day in question, and the distribution of vegetation throughout the modeling domain.
Most plants emit some VOCs, but the largest emitters are oaks, pines, sweet gums, eucalypti, and poplars.
Monoterpenes are found in small reservoirs in the leaves or needles of plants, to ward off herbivores. When an insect feeds on the leaf, the monoterpenes are released and can adversely affect the insect’s health. Because the monoterpenes are always present in the leaves, their emission rate depends mostly on the temperature. Higher temperatures will evaporate larger amounts into the atmosphere.
There are a few other important organic compounds emitted by plants. Alcohols are often emitted by damaged vegetation; there is some evidence that these alcohols act as an antiseptic. A few recent studies suggest that alkenes are also emitted by some plants.

One way to help counter this effect is to plant a new tree once a week. This will help maintain a sustainable world.

Mobile Sources Should Be Easy Fix

 Mobile sources include cars and trucks, of course, but also lawn mowers, airplanes and anything else that moves and puts pollution into the air. Motor vehicles emit several pollutants that EPA classifies as probable human carcinogens. EPA estimates that mobile (car, truck, bus, tractors and snowmobiles) sources of air toxics account for some cancers attributed to outdoor sources of air toxics. This estimate is not based on actual cancer cases, but on models that predict cancers that could be expected.

Some toxic compounds are present in gasoline and are emitted to the air
when gasoline evaporates or passes through the engine as unburned fuel.
Benzene, for example, is a component of gasoline. Cars emit small
quantities of benzene in unburned fuel, or as vapor when gasoline

A significant amount of automotive benzene comes from the incomplete
combustion of compounds in gasoline such as toluene and xylene that
are chemically very similar to benzene. These mobile source pollutants undergo chemical reactions in the atmosphere. (EPA)

So how can you make a difference? Well for starters you can drive less. If everyone droves one day less and biked for example we could cut back immensely on harmful emissions. One easy solution to this problem is to carpool, take public transit, or ride a bike. A unique iea would be to set up a carpool hotline at work or school so others could contribute to sustainability as well. It might be a little uncomfortable at first but the results are worth it.

Report Shows Carbon Footprint Beyond Oregon’s Borders

A new study finds more than half Oregon's carbon footprint results from products manufactured elsewhere, such as this factory in Linfen, China, and imported into the state. |credit: Flickr/Bert van Dijk | rollover image for more

PORTLAND — Oregon has just released figures that track the state’s carbon footprint based on what we buy. It’s believed to be the first such analysis by any state in the country.
The most common way to track greenhouse gases looks at what’s emitted within a state’s borders. the latest analysis suggests that products created out-of-state account for more than half of Oregon’s carbon footprint.
Oregon has been tracking greenhouse gas emissions since the early 1990s. But the inventory has always focused on local industrial emissions and carbon related to electricity. That doesn’t tell the whole story, according to Department of Environmental Quality spokesman, David Alloway.
“And it leaves out some important details, particular around materials and products. And so this new consumption-based inventory fills those gaps,” he says.
The new inventory finds that local sources of emissions make up less than half of the carbon Oregon consumers are responsible for.
The rest consists of imported products – coffee from South America, clothes and toys from China, cars made in Japan or Tennessee. Alloway says the study suggests local products have smaller carbon footprints – but maybe not for the reason that people would assume.
Alloway: “It’s not because of freight – everyone thinks it’s because of freight. The emissions from freight are surprisingly small. It’s because production here in the United States tends to be cleaner and use lower carbon-fuel mixes than production in the countries that we tend to import a lot of products from.”
Among the products with the largest carbon footprints are cars – which require carbon to be built, and can continue to emit carbon once they’re bought. appliances and food products are high on the list, as well. Those three categories alone account for roughly half of Oregon’s consumer carbon.
DEQ officials say the new consumption-based analysis is not meant to replace the existing production-based inventory. The new consumption-based report could have policy implications that are yet to play out. Oregon’s Global Warming Commission requested the study and its members could make recommendations.
The inventory uses 2005 data. That’s because it takes time for information to come out, and to do this kind of analysis. Officials say it might make sense to update the inventory again in a few years, because the economy has changed since 2005.
recommend the website its very helpful and got a lot of good information
 the article was taken from it :


Fuel Efficiency (Gas Mileage)

Congress first adopted the standards — known as Cafe standards, for Corporate Fuel Economy Standards — in 1975, in reaction to the disruption of the 1973 oil embargo. For decades, automakers resisted changes in the standards, but joined Mr. Obama for his 2010 announcement that he was ordering the creation of a new national policy that would result in less greenhouse-gas pollution from medium- and heavy-duty trucks for the first time. It would also reduce exhaust from cars and light-duty trucks beyond the requirements he set in motion a year before

fuel economy standards have been the primary way in which the United States has sought to control greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks, which along with other parts of the transportation sector account for about one-third of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions.

Manufacturers want a single, national standard set over the long term because it is easier to meet than the patchwork quilt of regulations imposed in the past.
More broadly, as American automakers recovered from their steep losses during the recession, they appeared to be finally giving up their addiction to producing gas-guzzling trucks and sport utility vehicle . Prodded first by rising federal fuel economy standards, then shocked in 2008 by $145-a-barrel oil and a global credit crisis that forced GM and Chrysler to seek federal bailouts, Detroit began making a fundamental shift toward lighter, more fuel-conscious cars — and turning a profit doing so.
The new standards announced in July 2011 are even stricter than those set four years before — in fact, they will be the largest increase in mileage requirements since the government began regulating consumption of gasoline by cars in the 1970s. While the American carmakers, as well as their Asian rivals, once argued against even minimal increases in government fuel rules, they have acquiesced without protest to an increase to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, from the current 27 miles per gallon.
Heavy trucks will have to get 20 percent more miles per gallon by the 2018 model year under the first-ever rules for heavy vehicles announced in august 2011.
The new standards are seen by the Obama administration as critical to reducing oil consumption and cutting consumer expenses at the pump, and the White House made it clear to Detroit executives that the changes were coming and they needed to cooperate.
It is an extraordinary shift in the relationship between the companies and Washington. But a lot has happened in the last four years, notably the $80 billion federal bailout of general motor , Chrysler and scores of their suppliers, which removed any itch for a politically charged battle from the car makers.

to read the full article :

BY :Daoud Abdallah

Turning waste in to energy could reduce landfill dependency

An innovative closed loop system will see neighbourhood rubbish burnt to produce heat and power for the community.

The notion that waste can be turned into energy seems as fanciful as turning water into wine. But this is no modern day miracle: it's a proven technology that has the potential to provide a significant amount of UK PLc's domestic energy needs while reducing the nation's over dependency on landfill.

Waste into energy technology can limit pollution and methane emissions, providing a low-carbon alternative source of energy. It produces large amounts of heat and power for district networks and is commonly used in Scandinavia. Although there has been some opposition to it in the UK as it can reduce the encouragement for reusing and recycling waste, it can also provide a good clean energy solution.

At the Surrey Canal development in a neglected corner of South-East London, a closed loop waste to energy system will provide hot water to 2,400 homes via a district heating system. Developer Renewal Group has received outline planning consent from Lewisham Council for this project.

The process begins with the sorting and collection of domestic waste. Instead of choosing a conventional rubbish collection process, with attendant refuse vehicles accessing the site, the developer has elected to install an automated underground vacuum waste system procured from Envac that demonstrably increases recycling rates.

Read the rest of the article here:

-Duy Truong

I have compiled a few solutions that does not require for you to go out and buy solar panels or a hybrid car in order to be environmentally conscious.  Feeling the need to reduce emissions starts with the little things that you do. The purpose of this list is in order for you to re-think a few of the little things that you can do in order to reduce the size of your carbon footprint:

Your Neighborhood:

-       Build a community garden

Your Waste:
               - Natural composting, or biological decomposition is a great process, which produces a natural source of enriching soil. This practice is a great new innovation for the agricultural world. The practice of compost is a form of recycling kitchen waste along with your yard trimmings. A great way in which this practice of reducing garbage works is complying your waste in a designated spot in the ground. 

“Composting organic materials that have been diverted from landfills ultimately avoids the production of methane and leachate formulation in the landfills. Compost has the ability to prevent pollutants in storm water runoff from reaching surface water resources. Compost has also been shown to prevent erosion and silting on embankments parallel to creeks, lakes, and rivers, and prevents erosion and turf loss on roadsides, hillsides, playing fields, and golf courses.”

-Sade Mehdizadeh

Significant Reductions in CO2 Emissions from Ships

 An IMO-commissioned study into the impact of mandatory energy efficiency measures for international shipping shows that implementation of the measures will lead to significant reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, specifically reductions of carbon dioxide (CO2), resulting from enhanced fuel efficiency.

The study found that, by 2020, an average of 151.5 million tonnes of annual CO2 reductions are estimated from the introduction of the measures, a figure that by 2030, will increase to an average of 330 million tonnes annually. CO2 reduction measures will result in a significant reduction in fuel consumption, leading to a significant saving in fuel costs to the shipping industry.

The study, Assessment of IMO mandated energy efficiency measures for international shipping*, was launched on Monday (14 November) ahead of the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November to 9 December, 2011. 
IMO will report to that Conference on the breakthrough adoption, in July 2011 at IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), of mandatory technical and operational measures to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping. Amendments to the International Convention
on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), Annex VI Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships, add a new chapter on Regulations on energy efficiency for ships. The regulations will apply to all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above and are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2013.

For the rest of the article, visit:

-Duy Truong

Study links cuts in energy emissions to reduction in acid rain

A 25-year-study has proven cuts to emissions have reduced acid rain fall in the United States.

The detailed study, by researchers at the University of Illinois in the United States, is part of the Illinois State Water Survey carried out by the university.

Researchers found acidic precipitation, rain or snowfall with a pH value of 5.0 or less decreased in both frequency and concentration over the 25-year span on the test.

The researchers attribute the fall directly to government drives to improve air pollution, citing the Clean Air Act in 1990, as a major factor in cleaning up the environment.

Researcher Christopher Lehmann, said: "This is the longest-term widest-scale precipitation pollution study in the US in particular, we wanted to see how the trends in the pollution and the rain correlated back to emissions regulations.

"We're seeing regulations on emissions sources having direct and positive impact to reduce pollutants in rain.

"What goes up does come down rainfall chemistry directly correlates with air pollution.

"When we looked at the magnitude of the trend, we found it compared very well to the magnitude of the decrease in emissions reported by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)."

The study used data from the National Atmospheric Deposition Program which collects rainfall samples weekly from more than 250 stations across the US and analyses them for pollutants.

-Duy Truong

3 Reasons to Adopt a Sustainable Lifestyle

There are essentially three reasons to adopt a more sustainable ‘green’ lifestyle.
  1. Resources
  2. Health
  3. Money
Looking at things from a holistic perspective, it’s pretty simple. We have one planet – just one. And Earth, as we call home, has a finite amount of resources such as water, minerals, land, etc.  Yet, since 1960, our world population has doubled to roughly 7 billion people.  The United States, while not quite keeping up pace with the overall population explosion, has increased its population by 70% over the same time period.
Given that we have a finite amount of resources, we can safely say we now have ½ of the world’s resources per capita compared to 50 years ago. That’s not taking into account that we are consuming those finite resources at record speed. That said it’s safe to say sometime soon, our population will outpace our consumption of natural resources leading to an even faster rate of consumption.  There’s no doubt about it – we’re going to run out.
The point? Our resources are not endless. At some point, this WILL affect your children or your grandchildren.
Take away: It makes sense to conserve the resources we do have in order to stretch out their availability for as long as humanly possible while we explore and develop alternative sources.

I’m pretty confident in saying we’d all prefer to breathe clean air and drink clean water.
A polluted environment leads to greater illness and higher health care costs.  Dirty air affects respiratory health and increased cases of asthma.  Water, polluted with chemicals from run-off, poses cancer risks. Contaminated soil contributes to cancer and other illnesses such as e-coli breakouts.   All of these cost a fortune to clean up. I won’t even mention the costs associated with treatment of related illnesses and death.
By choosing safer methods of treating our yards, fertilizing our crops and caring for our feed animals as well as more responsible manufacturing practices, we can prevent much of this in the first place.  Prevention is far cheaper than the consequences.
Take-away: Keeping our air, water and soil clean helps to reduce health issues and environmental fall-out

Remember how our grandparents used to remind us if we bought quality and took good care of our things that they would last much longer and cost us less since we didn’t need to replace them as often? That’s how I view our planet.  We pay a bit more upfront to ensure we have clean resources and save more in the end with less costs in clean up and health issues.
To bring it closer to home, let’s look at something as simple as our trash bill.
Our individual trash bill is based on our volume of waste and the cost associated of treating that waste. The bigger trash can we have the more expensive it is. Conversely, the more trash we either prevent, or divert through recycling or composting, the smaller sized trash can we need and thus a lower trash bill. This saves us money.
Taking that to the next level, each landfill only has so much space. Once a landfill is full there are two options:
  1. Build a new landfill
  2. Truck the trash to another landfill out of the area (this usually means out of state or out to sea)
Neither is cheap. Most folks I know don’t want a landfill built in their backyard (do you?) and so litigation ensues. Trucking trash to another location is very, very expensive and results in an increase in your trash bill. Not to mention it begs the question “Is it really right to make our problem (trash) someone else’s?”  As Julia Butterfly Hill once told me during and interview for our podcast, “There is no away”. Everything has to go somewhere. Isn’t the responsible thing to own up to it and find a solution?
Preventing trash through more responsible consumption on our part combined with earth friendly packaging and product design on the part of the manufacturers will help to keep costs down for everyone. And yes, that includes the manufacturer.
Take-away:  Take care of things. It saves you more money in the end.
And, for those that argue that the Earth takes care of itself – you are absolutely correct. The Earth will be fine. The larger question is will humans be around long enough to witness it?

-Duy Truong

Used Cooking Oil Fuels Seattle to Portland Flights

Good news Portlanders! Starting last month, Alaska Airlines began using biofuel blends in some of their Seattle-Portland flights. With emissions being a necessary aspect of most travel, it is encouraging that travel companies are being proactive in curtailing their emissions contributions.

What is the secret behind this biofuel? Used cooking oil, talk about a multi-purpose product. By using biofuel, it cuts down on about 10% of emissions and although that may not seem like a lot, it is actually “the equivalent of taking 26 cars off the road for a year.” Furthermore, if all Alaska Airlines were to switch to biofuel, “the annual emissions savings would be the equivalent of taking 64,000 cars off the road.” We are talking about preventing a lot of potential long-term damage, and hopefully reversing some of the harmful effects of emissions.

So what exactly are the drawbacks of this “miracle fuel?” The first is that biofuel is not only more scarce, but also more difficult to get ahold of and transport to actually use. The second is that it is much more expensive than regular oil- six times more expensive. Now the question is, are we- consumers and corporations- willing to spend the extra money for our safety as well as the environments?

With other airlines all over the world taking great strides toward reducing emissions, we can expect to see big changes in the airline industry within the next few years.

-Sara O’Connell