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Wal-Mart eliminating plastic bag waste

Posted by shawn @ 2:33 pm on September 30, 2008

I read a very interesting article on treehugger this morning stating that Wal-Mart is attempting to eliminate plastic bag waste by 1/3 by 2013, from their current 2008 levels. I think it’s fantastic that some major corporations are finally realizing they have to be held accountable for the significant carbon footprint their business endeavors trail with them.

To put this waste reduction plan into perspective for you, by eliminating plastic bags by 1/3 per store they will actually reduce an estimated 290,000 tonnes of carbon emissions and energy consumption equal to 678,000 barrels of oil!

As long as Wal-Mart turns this realization into reality this is a very positive leap for big business thinking green.

Read entire article

Take Back The Brita Filter!

Posted by gerry @ 12:29 pm on


There is currently no way to refill or recycle Brita filter cartridges in North America.  Take Back the Filter, a grassroots movement, is advocating that Brita (i.e. Clorox) offer recycling for old filters so they don’t stock pile in the dumps.

Inspired by Jim McKenna’s and John Lieberman’s successful campaign to urge AOL to quit sending out unsolicited CDs, they are collecting used Brita filters, both pitcher and tap, to deliver to Clorox en masse at some point in the future.

Filters in the US can be mailed to the following address:

Take Back The Filter
5245 College Avenue, Box #815
Oakland, CA 94618

If you’re Canadian and want to cut down on freight, feel free to mail them to me, and I will consolidate them with mine to mail to the US:

c/o Gerry
PO BOX 24051
Pinebush RPO
Cambridge, Ontario
N1R 8E7

Shutting Off Your Engine Instead of Idling

Posted by gerry @ 10:16 am on September 29, 2008

I was stuck in a non-moving traffic accident this weekend because all the lanes on a major highway were closed.  Once I realized that the stoppage would be long-term, to reduce unecessary emissions from idling, I shut off my engine.

It’s amazing how many drivers will leave their engines on, and idle, during prolonged traffic jams.  During a prolonged traffic jam, I’m usually quite content fiddling around with my radio, and any other peripheral devices plugged into the cigarette lighter, which all function fine on the car’s AC power.

My Air Conditioning-Free Summer

Posted by gerry @ 2:16 pm on September 26, 2008

I have officially survived the entire summer of 2008 WITHOUT an air conditioner.

Air conditioning over summer months is one of the biggest drains of electricity.   According to Wikipedia, the following activities are the biggest consumers of electricity in households:

32% space heating
13% water heating
12% lighting
11% air conditioning
8% refrigeration
5% electronics (includes computers)
5% wet-clean (mostly clothes dryers)

By doing away with air conditioning, not only am I saving a significant amount of money in electricity bills, but I’m also doing my part to offset my carbon footprint (from having to drive a compact car around town).

Public Transit is Lacking in Cambridge

Posted by gerry @ 2:02 pm on September 14, 2008

One major issue I have with the Cambridge/Kitchener/Waterloo triangle is the lack of reliable public transit.  Having lived in large metropolitan areas such as Toronto and Ottawa, I have always relied on public transit in the past.  That is, until I moved to Cambridge.  My rationale for moving to Cambridge (from Toronto) was that living close to my office would reduce my carbon footprint.  However, the moment I moved to Cambridge, I was informed that I needed to purchase a vehicle.

Quiet frankly, Cambridge is a city that is completely dependant on vehicles.  Roads are not pedestrian-friendly (and often do not have sidewalks), and bicyclists have no bike paths to bike on.  Furthermore, the Cambridge transit system is completely disconnected to other cities.  We do not have reliable local public transit, nor can we travel between cities effectively.  For example, in order to get to Waterloo, I can drive 20 minutes in my compact car; or, alternatively, I can transfer between a myraid of buses and hopefully get there in 90 minutes. 

It’s also extremely difficult to travel to other cities from Cambridge via public transit.  For example, to get to Ottawa, I need to take a taxi to the Cambridge greyhound station, take a bus to Toronto Union Station, then hop on a train to get to Ottawa!

There’s always been talk about GO train service in Cambridge, and for rapid high-speed rail service connecting Cambridge with Kitchener/Waterloo, but nothing ever happens.  It just seems that all these proposals get bogged down because of political in-fighting and red-tape.  Hopefully, I will live to see Cambridge get reliable public transit within my lifetime.