How does the technology we use change the way we’re reading? This article behind Scientific American’s tweet last Friday reports that reading on paper still boasts unique advantages over increasingly prevalent e-readers and tablets. Understanding how reading on paper is different from reading on screens requires some explanation of how the brain interprets written language. The human brain develops specialized circuits or regions for object recognition, including text. The edges, corners and physicality of paper text have a more obvious topography than onscreen text: that is, all of those tangible features of paper text make it easier to form a coherent mental map of the text. In contrast, most screens interfere with intuitive navigation of text and inhibit people from mapping the reading journey in their minds. For this reason, engineers and designers will continue to make reading on an e-reader as close to reading on paper as possible.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has begun ranking its suppliers on sustainability. Since launching a sustainability program in 2006, the retail giant has reduced energy consumption in its stores, added solar panels, curbed emissions and recycled millions of tons of trash. Now, Walmart is looking to extend its operation with a supplier sustainability index. The corporation will create a competitive sustainability ranking for many of the 150,000 products sold in its stores. As always with Walmart, the opportunity is to drive change at scale. If all goes according to plan, it could change the way all kinds of consumer products – clothes, toys, electronics and beverages – are made.
If you’re planning a summer get-away, there are increasingly more options for green travel without sacrificing the luxuries or comforts you hope to have. Thankfully, this list of green vacation spots will help make all our travels as green as possible. From exploring the eco-tourism in Madagascar to basking in the geothermal energy of Iceland’s spas, these locations are completely powered by renewable energy and can help you get off the power grid while you’re off the grid.
In recycling news, the United States EPA has reevaluated existing regulations to permit the recycling of plastic scrap containing levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) less than 50 parts per million. PCB production has been banned in the United States since 1979 due to is links to cancer and other toxic effects. This new interpretation allows more plastics to be recycled while continuing to prevent dangerous levels of PCBs from entering the environment. According to the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, 1 million to 2 million tons of plastic are generated annually, most of which could be separated and recycled.
Competition. Progress. Achievement. These are all good measures for today’s corporate sustainability initiatives, but did you know these are also natural desires that are fulfilled by some of the most successful games? Read more…
Photo: Shutterstock via Earth 911
Recycled paper gets a second life and helps bring new possibilities to people with disabilities through the project, “heArtwork.” Created by passionate 20-somethings from Network of Organizations Working for People with Disabilities Pakistan (NOWPDP), the project works to enhance social inclusion and economic sustainability for people with disabilities. HeArtwork is designed to be a model in both innovation and sustainability through recycling waste paper and other products and utilizing them to make crafts that are sold in corporate and consumer markets. This process will produce revenue for the heArtwork students, all who have some kind of physical, mental, or emotional impairment.
Earth 911 recently heralded the importance of paper recycling by composing a helpful and concise refresher guide on everything you need to know about it. Did you know that by recycling one ton of paper we save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water and 463 gallons of oil? The guide covers the basics of paper recycling, such as explaining how the process takes place, as well as the details of how to recycle properly. The article also addresses some of those paper recycling conundrums, and includes practical information and statistics. For example, 76 percent of paper mills used some recovered paper in 2011. By understanding how this process works and what you can do to ensure recyclable paper doesn’t end up in a landfill, you can help keep this number high.
Energy Digital recently reported on the positive effects that sustainability initiatives have on corporate productivity. Jones Lang LaSalle‘s new Global Sustainability Perspective (GSP) report identifies the important role that employee engagement plays in producing sustainable change. The findings suggest that sustainable engagement boosts overall performance on the job and shows that employees enjoy work more and are more productive when they see their companies acting in a socially responsible manner. This positive side effect should be only further incentive for companies and corporations to think through their sustainability efforts.
GreenBiz.com tackles the not-so-simple question ‘What is sustainability, anyway?” It dives into a slew of available definitions to find the most accurate explanation. For example, the EPA offers that sustainability is a way to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony. Ultimately, GreenBiz concluded that SustainAbility’s thoughtful articulation of the topic is the most thorough description. It states that sustainability is “not only the future of our society for today’s industries and businesses, it is also about commercial success. The mandate to transform businesses to respect environmental limits while fulfilling social wants and needs has become an unparalleled platform for innovation on strategy, design, manufacturing and brand, offering massive opportunities to compete and to adapt to a rapidly evolving world.” A perfect definition, however, still remains up discussion. How would you have answered the question above? We would love to hear your thoughts.
Lastly in today’s news—happy April Fools Day! At Choices, we think you should get in the joking spirit and try a new reuse option for plastic wrap: cover your officemate’s chair or computer!
Recently, CHOICES reported on bricks made from recycled paper in Spain. While that developed out of an inventive materials manipulation, sometimes innovation comes from taking a look at the materials already abundant at hand. That’s exactly what Vaca Diez did in Bolivia. In a country where sturdy reliable housing is hard to come by and 40 percent of the population are below the poverty line, Diez used the materials around her, mainly plastic bottles, dirt and sand, to create a home. So far, Diez has built ten homes for rural, indigenous migrants and diverted all those plastic bottles from Bolivian landfills.
Back in the U.S., New York City Mayor Bloomberg has introduced a bill in his final State of the City address to ban foam food packaging. It’s a step towards the city’s goal of increasing the diversion rate to 30 percent by 2017. But, this doesn’t come without consequences. Global Green outlines them in the full article.
The conversation around consumer electronics recycling is continuing to grow an audience. The electronic recycling industry is expected to increase as goods that use recycled material stay in demand. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has added a report on the Electronic Goods Recycling industry to its growing collection of industry reports.
Finally, GreenBiz put together 10 tips for better energy management.
“Involve and Reward Employees: Employees at GM who suggest an improvement to an existing process can receive a portion of the implemented savings (up to $20,000).”
Every Friday we round up the best sustainability and paper related tweets of the week, enjoy!
— Minneapolis Egotist (@mplsegotist) February 11, 2013
— Earth911.com (@Earth911) February 9, 2013
The importance of recycling also extends to maintaining a healthy balance in the ecology of the planet. Help Recycle it’s easy & fun.
— Help Recycle (@HelpRecycle_com) February 14, 2013
Print & Paper Myths and Facts!No1The Myth: Making paper destroys forestsThe Fact: Paper production supports sustainable forest management
— D&AD (@dandad) February 15, 2013
— Steve Lister (@StevenLister) February 7, 2013
How I feel every day: Recycle all the things! ow.ly/i/1tZms
— City of Vancouver (@greenestcity) February 6, 2013