Reusable lunch gear that really works

Best in class reusable lunch containers: A Koko insulated lunch bag, wrap-n-mat sandwich wrap and a sleek Thermos, lead and BPA free.

Now that school’s started, the plastic baggies have taken wing, and plastic bottled beverages are spewing forth like water through a dam.
Are you still sending your kids to school with an arsenal of disposables? Maybe you’ve tried to cut back on all the waste, but with mixed success. We’ve sampled more than a few awkward and non-enduring, non-disposable packing containers. Our move to glassware storage seemed like progress around the house, but really weighed down the takeout lunches. And those wax paper sandwich bags that work so well at the deli? We got big complaints about fossilizing bread ends when they were employed for long haul packing.
This year, though, we feel like the San Francisco of lunchbag trash diverters. Our assembled retinue of carryout lunch tools is reducing our noon trash toll to almost nothing, save for a few cracker and granola bar wrappers.

Plastic bag ban fails in California

California’s state Senate rejected a proposed law to ban plastic bags in grocery stores late Tuesday, voting 21-14 against the measure that had passed the Assembly earlier this summer.
Despite the support of progressives, environmental groups and the California Grocers Association, the plastic bag ban proved controversial, with the American Chemistry Council, which represents plastics makers and the oil industry, ridiculing the law in ads that claimed it was the wrong focus for the legislature and would cost the state jobs.

LA’s Give + Take: An equation for upscale clothes swapping

With a river of consumer goods streaming into the world every day, it’s comforting to know that people are diverting some stuff to recycling and reclamation centers, and in the case of clothing, to resale shops.

Give + Take, upscale swap shop in LA

The trouble is, those resale or consignment shops typically don’t pay much for your outgoing duds, even if they’re not duds.

Clinging to green products

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

This just in from the inaugural Greenwashing Forum in Portland: Four out of five people say they’re still buying green products, even in the midst of the U.S. recession, according to a new opinion poll.

And they thought we were clinging to our guns and religion out here in the hinterlands!

The study, commissioned by Green Seal, a green certifier, and EnviroMedia Social Marketing, which founded the Greenwashing Index, looked at opinions and green behaviors.

It found that:

  • About 50 percent of the 1,000 people survey say they are buying just as many green products now as before the economic downturn

    Rice University team will turn Hurricane Ike waste into soil-enriching “biochar”

    By Julie Bonnin and Barbara Kessler
    Green Right Now

    At this time of year, when many municipalities are gearing up for holiday tree recycling programs, the city of Houston is dealing with something far more monumental – more than 5.6 million cubic tons of tree waste left behind after Hurricane Ike swept through Southeast Texas in early September.

    The city turned some of the debris into mulch, but launched a contest in October, Recycle Ike, to spark ideas for keeping the remaining tree waste from simply being disposed of in landfills.

    The winners, announced last week, are a Rice University team of students and scientists who will create a biomass charcoal from the tree remains. The group was among more than 200 entrants from around the world that submitted ideas.

    RecycleBank: offering retail “credits” to recyclers

    By Catherine Colbert

    “It pays to be green” is one of RecycleBank’s mantras. And that’s what the cutting-edge company, based in New York City, is all about: Paying people to be green, at least when it comes to recycling.

    While most people who recycle are already self-motivated to participate, RecycleBank gives them an extra incentive in the form of Reward Points redeemable through local and national partners, such as Petco, IKEA, Staples and other retailers.

    Customers can take advantage of this financial pat on the back whether they’re homeowners who recycle curbside or students who recycle through a RecycleBank Kiosk.

    “We believe everyone can recycle and everyone should be rewarded for it,” says Lisa Pomerantz, director of marketing. “RecycleBank is founded on the belief that environmental solutions create economic opportunities. With that in mind, our goal is to increase recycling, reduce landfill needs, cut disposal costs, and build local economies.”