CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility
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CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility
A new collection of consumer retail online and brick+mortar stores relating to corporate social responsibility, social impact and documenting the municipalities /cities that are creating related legislation for bag bans, plastic bans and bottle bans.  
Curated by Jared Brick
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Doing Well By Doing Good - % willing to pay more!

Doing Well By Doing Good - % willing to pay more! | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

Many companies today are making a conscious effort to put sustainable practices into action. They’re well aware that doing so not only helps the environment and society, it can also create goodwill for their reputations and contribute positively to their brands’ health and performance. Green initiatives can also save money. Reducing packaging materials, minimizing transportation costs and installing energy-efficient lighting are just some of the ways environmentally savvy companies are cutting costs. But the bottom line is not just about profitability—it’s also about a culture change.

But do consumers really care about conscious capitalism when it comes to buying decisions? Are they willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies that engage in actions that further some social good?

You’d be hard-pressed to find a consumer who said he or she didn’t care about the environment, or extreme poverty around the world. But does care convert to action when it comes to buying decisions? Assuming a positive ratio between a stated willingness to pay and an actual willingness to open one’s wallet, the survey found that the answer is yes for a growing number of consumers around the world.

WILLING TO PAY MORE

More than half (55%) of global respondents in Nielsen’s corporate social responsibility survey say they are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact—an increase from 50 percent in 2012 and 45 percent in 2011. Regionally, respondents in Asia-Pacific (64%), Latin America (63%) and Middle East/Africa (63%) exceed the global average and have increased 9, 13 and 10 percentage points, respectively, since 2011.

Jared Brick's insight:

Find out which consumers of the world are willing to pay more for brands that are committed to positive social + environmental impact!

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Oakland Shares Eco-Actions with #traXOakland - traX

Oakland Shares Eco-Actions with #traXOakland - traX | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

TraX is excited to support the inspiring citizens from the City of Oakland to share their impactful eco-action photos and videos to Instagram with #traXoakland tags! 

Starting at the Oakland Earth Expo and on-going traX will work to support and reward local action heroes for the following actions:

  • RECYCLING AT HOME or WORK
  • COMPOSTING AT HOME or WORK
  • USING REUSABLE PRODUCTS at STORES
  • CLEANING UP LITTER in OAKLAND
  • PLUGGING IN HYBRID or ELECTRIC CARDS
  • MORE ECO-ACTIONS THAT HELP CLEAN-UP our LOCAL COMMUNITY!

Please share this campaign and tag #traXOakland today!

Twitter   •    Facebook   •   Google+

INSTAGRAM GALLERY OF IMAGES


SIGN-UP TODAY TO GET SQUARE CASH REWARDS FOR SHARING IMAGES!

’First
’Email’
’Mobile
’Home
’Instagram

Jared Brick's insight:

Come see TraX at Oakland Earth Expo and share your eco-actions with #traXOakland for up to $5 in cash rewards!

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Can Berkeley Become First City to Recycle 100% of Garbage?

Can Berkeley Become First City to Recycle 100% of Garbage? | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

Proud to haveThe California community that pioneered recycling is looking for new ways to achieve its zero-waste goal.

Berkeley, the California city that pioneered the modern recycling movement, set itself an ambitious goal a few years back: Stop sending trash to landfills by 2020. But even in one of the nation’s most environmentally self-conscious communities, that’s proving a tough task.

That’s the message from a recent report from the city auditor’s office. With five years to go, it found Berkeley is in danger of falling short of its zero-waste target even though the city of 115,000 has already slashed the volume of recyclable garbage sent to landfills by 75 percent. That challenge, and how the city responds to it, offers lessons for residents of other communities around the United States that are attempting to cut pollution and minimize their carbon footprint by achieving zero waste.

If any community should be able to recycle its trash away, it’s Berkeley. The city on San Francisco Bay started the United States' first curbside recycling program in 1973 and now offers pickup of food waste in addition to the recyclables and garden trimmings most other towns pick up these days.

Even here, people still toss cans in the trash or sort their recyclables improperly, which can cause whole batches of recycled materials to be rejected and end up in landfills.

Jared Brick's insight:

Proud to have @TraX based in Berkeley California, possibly the first city in the US to have zero-waste from landfills!

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Megan Tiger's curator insight, November 1, 2014 10:22 PM

A big step for local government in CSR, hopefully state and federal government could take a hint. Maybe Lawrence could catch wind of this idea. I think it would be an amazing project to implement in Lawrence. Zero-waste is not that hard to achieve if residents can all be on the same page and working to attain the goal. I am happy that local governments have stepped up and realized they do have a big hand in CRS and that they can be influencers to create a more ethical and in this case a greener environment. 

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What Is Collectively?

What Is Collectively? | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
We're a new type of platform showcasing the people, places and cutting edge ideas that are creating the change we need to see now to attain a better future.
Jared Brick's insight:

Have you heard about @Collectively yet? An alliance of companies showcasing the innovative talent so tackle real world issues! 

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Why do Apple and Facebook Want to Handle Your Money? (Hint: $40 Billion a Year)

Why do Apple and Facebook Want to Handle Your Money? (Hint: $40 Billion a Year) | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
Last month—in the space of one week—both Twitter and Apple made major announcements about payments, i.e. how we buy things online and in real life. Twitter rolled out a “buy” button, which appears
Jared Brick's insight:

Getting consumers to purchase with their phones has been a dream of tech companies for years now... can Apple or Twitter do it?

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YAHOO... California becomes first state to ban plastic bags!

YAHOO... California becomes first state to ban plastic bags! | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

This bill is a step in the right direction - it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself, Gov. Brown said in a statement Tuesday.


SB270 provides $2 million in competitive loans to help plastic bag manufacturers convert their operations to produce reusable bags. The bill was one of the most watched proposals in the Legislature this year, with grocers, plastic bag manufacturers and unions fiercely lobbying lawmakers about the potential loss of jobs and about how the 10 cents charge for recycled bags can be used.


Opponents of the bill said the statewide plastic bag ban is government overreach, while others argued that the per bag fee grocers will charge will amount to a windfall that essentially allows customers to be charged twice since the cost of carry out bags are already factored into store prices.


The success of bag bans in our local communities has empowered state legislators to make the right decision for the health of California's waterways.

Jared Brick's insight:

Congrats to Senator Alex Padilla for getting this legislation passed against strong plastic/oil funded campaigns! Onwards...

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Going Green: How Corporate Social Responsibility can Boost your Bottom Line

Going Green: How Corporate Social Responsibility can Boost your Bottom Line | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
By Johnny Gorman, Director - Shopper Practice, Nielsen

CONSUMER| 09-09-2014
 14


Corporate social responsibility is practiced by companies dedicated to making a positive social or environmental impact on society. It can also create goodwill for an organisation’s reputation and contribute positively to brand health and performance.

According to Nielsen’s corporate social responsibility survey, three in five Australian consumers think more highly of a company that supports worthy causes and over half feel increased loyalty to that brand. 
You’d be hard pressed to find an Australian who said he or she didn’t care. But does care convert to action when it comes to buying decisions?

One in two consumers said when buying a product or service from a company it is very important to them that the company shows a high level of social and or environmental responsibility and a third of Australians buy from companies for this reason each month.

Consumers are willing to support a brand because of their ‘go green’ or ‘go social’ credentials but are they willing to pay more? The survey showed that two in five Australians will, and 29 percent bought a product or service from a company supporting a worthy cause in the last month even though it was slightly more expensive.

We have seen growth in grocery products with clear positioning around the environment. Nielsen research reveals household cleaning products with eco labelling saw a 14.2 percent increase in value sales when compared to a year ago. And shoppers are paying on average nearly $2 more per litre for eco-friendly dishwashing products.

More and more consumers expect corporations to be socially responsible. It enables you to differentiate your brand and effectively create shared value by marrying the appropriate social cause to your consumer segments.

To succeed in sustainability, companies should consider this five-part approach:

1. VISION. Be clear and actionable 
2. ENDORSEMENT. Get adoption and action from senior leadership
3. STRATEGY. Focus on outward messaging and consistent cause messaging
4. ACCOUNTABILITY. Use key performance indicators, internally and externally
5. MEASUREMENT. Quantify program outcomes and return on investment

Opportunities to ‘Go Green’ exist in any category, but you need to understand your brand’s core equity to determine how far you can credibly stretch into the space. The best initiatives are those that appeal to a heterogeneous group of buyers, but a keen focus on your most passionate (and profitable) consumer segments is also vital.

Finally, while many consumers may perceive sustainable products to cost more, you need to understand your optimal price point and the impact on volume and profit.

Download the Nielsen Global Report on Corporate Social Responsibility here.

ABOUT THE NIELSEN GLOBAL SURVEY

The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility was conducted between Feb. 17 and March 7, 2014, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6 percent. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behaviour of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

Jared Brick's insight:

5 steps for companies to increase sustainability initiatives: 1- Vision 2- Adoption/Action 3- Strategy 4- Accountability 5-Measurement 

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Megan Tiger's curator insight, September 28, 2014 5:00 PM

Great article on how you can be the change in your company 

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Does a just 5p Tax really work for Plastic Bag Usage!

Does a just 5p Tax really work for Plastic Bag Usage! | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
Plastic bag use in Northern Ireland has fallen by almost three quarters since a 5p tax was introduced last year, the Department of the Environment has said.
Jared Brick's insight:

Congrats to Northern Ireland for this amazing statistic and impact of 72% drop in plastic bag usage with just a 5p tax, and funds paying for new environmental programs!

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CA Bag Bill Falls Just 3 Votes Shy - Where was YOUR legislator?

CA Bag Bill Falls Just 3 Votes Shy - Where was YOUR legislator? | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

The State Assembly took up SB 270 to ban plastic grocery bags, and the Bag bill fell 3 votes shy. Learn how your legislator voted and how you can help.

The opposition is sparing no lies or money to stop the bill. The plastic bag industry is spending six figures on their latest ad blitz alone!

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

It's a David vs. Goliath battle, but your contribution today will help us rebut the industry's blatant lies and flashy commercials. 

And if you haven't already, take action and share it with your friends.

You CAN make a difference in the Sacramento debate on plastic bags--make an online donation now.
Jared Brick's insight:

Learn where your state legislator voted on SB270 CA plastic bag ban this week!  Bummed for sure...

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Don't let plastic bag companies be the only voice: CALL your assemblymember to ban single-use plastic bags!

Don't let plastic bag companies be the only voice: CALL your assemblymember to ban single-use plastic bags! | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
Help me make this become model legislation for the country.


Don't let plastic bag companies be the only voice: Tell your assemblymember to ban single-use plastic bags!
Jared Brick's insight:

California will vote to add SB 270 to the ballot, please CALL your representative this morning to show your support! It is easy... for Action Heroes like you! #traXactions #eco2020

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Group launches new ads to derail California plastic bag ban - Plastics News

Group launches new ads to derail California plastic bag ban - Plastics News | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

The APBA's clown-themed advertisement, watch this video!

http://youtu.be/qpyXaaQRk-U


As the California state legislature prepares to close out its legislative session, opponents to a bill that would ban single-use thin film bags at retailers statewide are turning up the heat.


The American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) launched a six-figure online, television and radio ad blitz in Sacramento, building on an ad campaign begun in May to oppose Senate Bill 270, the latest in a years-long string of bag ban attempts, sponsored by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacioma).


“SB 270 is perhaps the most flawed and intentionally misleading bill currently in front of the California legislature,” said Lee Califf, APBA executive director. “We are running these new ads to encourage Californians to call their legislators in opposition to a bill that will kill manufacturing jobs and scam consumers so grocers can collect billions in bag fees from their customers, without providing any public benefit.”


The first ad, “Clowns,” highlights what APBA calls “the ridiculousness and environmental hypocrisy” of the bill, which, if passed, would mean Californians would pay at least 10 cents at grocery stores for each reusable plastic or recycled paper bag from the grocery store, and single-use plastic bags would be prohibited under the bill. “Reusable” bags would be defined as those rated for 125 uses — which APBA points out are five times thicker and much worse for the environment than traditional single-use grocery bags — and made of at least 20 percent recycled plastic at first, ultimately going up to 40 percent recycled content. In 2016, the prohibition would be extended to pharmacies and liquor stores, if the bill passes.

The second ad, called “Scam,” calls the bill “a dirty deal” and a “bag scam” between politicians and the California Grocers Association that would line their pockets with campaign donations and fees while costing consumers money and some of the more than 2,000 plastic bag manufacturing and recycling jobs in the state.

“The plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry will continue to advocate for our employees in the face of misguided, job-killing legislation,” Califf said. “And we continue to call on members of the legislature and key stakeholders to work collaboratively on a responsible approach that protects jobs and consumers, while also benefiting the environment.”

The bill is the ninth crack at a statewide bag ban in California, this time with the support of the grocers association and a provision that seeks to addresses industry opposition to previous attempts by creating a $2 million grant pool from state recycling funds. Plastic bag makers would be able to apply for grants to retrain workers or reorganize operations to make bags that would meet the new state-wide requirements.


The APBA's clown-themed advertisement.

Jared Brick's insight:

Amazing what the #APBA, American Progressive Bag Alliance will go to to confuse the supporters of #SB270 Bill to Ban the Bag in CA. The bag fee funds should go to non-profits for clean-ups!

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Is SB 270 a Plastic-bag ban a cash grab that hurts environment, consumers & workers?

Is SB 270 a Plastic-bag ban a cash grab that hurts environment, consumers & workers? | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

By Carl Dameron- As a local business owner and president of the Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce, I take exception to Senate Bill 270 (Padilla), which would ban single-use plastic bags in California. This legislation is misguide

Jared Brick's insight:

Opposition to SB 270 California's bag ban from: Carl Dameron- president of the Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce, offers his thoughts on the issue.

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Plastic Bag Bans Will Cost You - Reason.com

Plastic Bag Bans Will Cost You - Reason.com | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

Forcing consumers to shift their behavior isn't cheap!


SACRAMENTO — When municipal officials started to impose bans on lightweight plastic shopping bags, it seemed like the latest attempt to inflict a little pain on consumers — a mostly symbolic effort to make us feel like we were "doing something" to save the planet.


But as a statewide plastic bag bill advances in the assembly, it's clear it also largely is about money — about protecting some industries and trying to shift around the costs of waste disposal and clean up.

S.B. 270 "prohibits retail stores from providing single-use carryout bags to customers, and requires retail stores to provide only reusable grocery bags for no less than 10 cents per bag," according to the state assembly's analysis. It also provides $2 million in grants and loans to help manufacturers convert their facilities and to pay for recycling efforts.

In his fact sheet, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, argues that 88 percent of the 13 billion high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic bags retailers hand out each year are not recycled, that it costs the state more than $25 million a year to dispose of the waste and that such bags kill birds, turtles and other species.

Yet we all need to get groceries home from the store, so we must place them into some sort of bag. The American Progressive Bag Alliance, representing manufacturers of HDPE bags, sent around a different, heavier kind of plastic bag allowed under the bill. The group claims that it takes five times as much energy to produce these thicker bags that are similar to the kind used in department stores.

"S.B. 270 is not about the environment," the alliance argues. "It's a scam … to enrich the California Grocers Association to the tune of billions of dollars in bag fees at the expense of 2,000 hard-working Californians." Grocers could pocket as much as $189 million a year from the new bag fees, according to a bag manufacturer's study, although grocers dispute that and may face additional costs to revamp their checkout stands and to store and transport these bigger bags.

If S.B. 270 becomes law, Californians also will rely more heavily on those heavy non-woven polypropylene bags (NWPP) that stores often decorate with logos and sell for about a dollar. These are made from oil rather than natural gas, so critics note that a ban of lighter bags could harm efforts to address global warming.

This can get pretty confusing, but the main goal of S.B. 270's supporters is to force consumers to shift to something reusable, so that they toss away fewer bags. I take issue with the term "single use" plastic bags, given that most of us reuse these light, cheap bags we now get — to dispose of cat litter, to curb the dog during walks, to line our wastebaskets. It's hard to believe that the new reusable bags or paper bags will be reused a lot more than these supposedly non-reusable ones.

new study from the libertarian Reason Foundation notes that S.B. 270's supporters do not account for the energy use needed to clean the heavier types of bags and that consumers are unlikely to reuse them enough to pay for their additional costs.

The California Department of Public Health, Reason notes, warns consumers to clean and sanitize these bags frequently to avoid the outbreaks of food-borne illness caused by, say, reusing a bag that had been used to bring home meats, but has since sat in the hot car trunk. This means additional water, detergent and electricity use (not to mention time).

Reason wonders whether this effort is worthwhile. "Contrary to some claims made by advocates of plastic bag bans, plastic bags constitute a minuscule proportion of all litter," the report explains. Miniscule means about 0.6 percent of the nation's "visible" litter.

In an interview Friday, Sen. Padilla told me that this isn't just a new idea, but it's something that has noticeably reduced the waste stream in cities that have implemented it. He calls concerns about health risks "overblown."

If so, that's good news. But if S.B. 270 passes, Californians will face many new annoyances and costs, with Reason pegging the cost of California bag-bans on consumers at more than $1 billion a year. So at least no one can call this "cheap" feel-good legislation.


Jared Brick's insight:

"S.B. 270 is not about the environment," the alliance argues. "It's a scam … to enrich the California Grocers Association to the tune of billions of dollars in bag fees at the expense of 2,000 hard-working Californians." 

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Dramatically Reduce Retail Waste in 5 Steps

Dramatically Reduce Retail Waste in 5 Steps | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
Waste is costly, though some of that cost is unnecessary. Follow these steps to dramatically reduce your retail waste, and the associated costs.
Jared Brick's insight:
Retail waste can really add up, check out these helpful ideas
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Ocean Is Filled With Trillions of Plastic Pieces!

Ocean Is Filled With Trillions of Plastic Pieces! | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
Nearly 300,000 tons of plastic pieces are in the world's oceans, according to a report.
Jared Brick's insight:
We have an obligation to deal with this issue, one the human race has created... so thus we can solve it! #reusetoday #instagood
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Challenge Bear

Challenge Bear | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

A Challenge Bear made by recovering Veterans: A gift that inspires the recipient to build a better world, then pass on the challenge! When you give this bear to a young person, you give a challenge – both from yourself, and from the Veterans who crafted them.  This is more than a teddy bear, it’s a companion on your journey to make the world a better place.  This durable, belt or pack mountable bear is there to inspire you the whole way, and to join you in your celebratory photographs of your accomplishments.  These photos are the key to continuing the challenge, when you upload them to our Facebook page or the social media page of your choosing as you challenge your friends!  

Wear the bear during a beach or park clean up, while serving food at a homeless shelter, while exploring at a museum, participating in a fund raising walk, while experiencing civics at a City Hall meeting or traveling to a new community and building relationships with people from another culture.  What can you do to make the world a better place?  Take a picture or a video and show your pride by posting it to Facebook or Instagram.  The remarkable Challenge Bear has a hidden pocket to hold souvenirs of your path in achieving the goal, as well as the Veterans challenge card as a reminder.

Jared Brick's insight:

Up for Challenge Bear?  Help support GreenVetsLA to assist US veterans with jobs, and sharing positive challenges via bears, made by them! Support and share today

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Collectively

Collectively | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
Collectively is a global platform celebrating the people, places and cutting edge ideas creating the change we need to see in the world.
Jared Brick's insight:

A new platform for collaboration and positivity in the struggle for our global change! Meet collectively.org

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Germany created waste free store with packaging-free supermarket!

Germany created waste free store with packaging-free supermarket! | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

Meet a pair of German women fed up with a packaging 'overdose' and with a passion for 'precycling' founded 'Original Unverpackt' (Originally Unpackaged) in Berlin.

Jared Brick's insight:

Meet the new German Grocery store, Original Unpacked aka Unverpackt! BYO everything to this store! Get closer to your food again...

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Megan Tiger's curator insight, October 9, 2014 12:12 AM

Perfect way for local companies to step up their social and "earthly" responsibilities. Hopefully the idea will spread. 

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Honolulu mayor signs Oahu plastic bag ban changes into law!

Honolulu mayor signs Oahu plastic bag ban changes into law! | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed off on changes to Oahu's plastic bag ban Thursday.

The new law, which takes effect July 2015, now includes biodegradable plastic bags in the ban, amending the original law passed in 2012, which did not ban any.

The changes, as defined in Bill 38, were made after concerns about the lack of an industry standard over the definition of a biodegradable bag.

“Biodegradable bags take a very, very long time to break down,” Caldwell said. “They’re not that great. Compostable bags are better. They break down quickly.”

The ban already provides exceptions for bags that are used to package loose items like fruits and vegetables, prepared foods and bakery goods, laundry, dry cleaning and even newspapers.

Customers can still use reusable bags, recyclable paper bags and “compostable plastic bags,” which applies to bags that meet current ASTM D6400 Standard Specifications for compostability and that is labeled with the Biodegradable Product Institute (“BPI”) logo.

Jared Brick's insight:

Congrats to Oahu for banning more plastic bags and including biodegradable in the mix... reuse is still #1 action to take!

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Megan Tiger's curator insight, September 28, 2014 5:01 PM

A good look at govements stepping into CRS

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California Legislature Passes Ban on Disposable Plastic Bags

California Legislature Passes Ban on Disposable Plastic Bags | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
A bill banning plastic bags in California grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores and other businesses is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk after the state legislature passed the measure Friday.
Jared Brick's insight:

In case you did not already hear CA passed the Ban on Plastic Disposable Bags... thanks for sharing Wall St. Journal! 

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Choking the Oceans With Plastic - NY Times

Choking the Oceans With Plastic - NY Times | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing — and there is really only one way to make it shrink!

LOS ANGELES — The world is awash in plastic. It’s in our cars and our carpets, we wrap it around the food we eat and virtually every other product we consume; it has become a key lubricant of globalization — but it’s choking our future in ways that most of us are barely aware.

I have just returned with a team of scientists from six weeks at sea conducting research in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — one of five major garbage patches drifting in the oceans north and south of the Equator at the latitude of our great terrestrial deserts. Although it was my 10th voyage to the area, I was utterly shocked to see the enormous increase in the quantity of plastic waste since my last trip in 2009. Plastics of every description, from toothbrushes to tires to unidentifiable fragments too numerous to count floated past our marine research vessel Alguita for hundreds of miles without end. We even came upon a floating island bolstered by dozens of plastic buoys used in oyster aquaculture that had solid areas you could walk on.

Plastics are now one of the most common pollutants of ocean waters worldwide. Pushed by winds, tides and currents, plastic particles form with other debris into large swirling glutinous accumulation zones, known to oceanographers as gyres, which comprise as much as 40 percent of the planet’s ocean surface — roughly 25 percent of the entire earth.

No scientist, environmentalist, entrepreneur, national or international government agency has yet been able to establish a comprehensive way of recycling the plastic trash that covers our land and inevitably blows and washes down to the sea. In a 2010 study of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers, my colleagues and I estimated that some 2.3 billion pieces of plastic — from polystyrene foam to tiny fragments and pellets — had flowed from Southern California’s urban centers into its coastal waters in just three days of sampling.

The deleterious consequences of humanity’s “plastic footprint” are many, some known and some yet to be discovered. We know that plastics biodegrade exceptionally slowly, breaking into tiny fragments in a centuries-long process. We know that plastic debris entangles and slowly kills millions of sea creatures; that hundreds of species mistake plastics for their natural food, ingesting toxicants that cause liver and stomach abnormalities in fish and birds, often choking them to death. We know that one of the main bait fish in the ocean, the lantern fish, eats copious quantities of plastic fragments, threatening their future as a nutritious food source to the tuna, salmon, and other pelagic fish we consume, adding to the increasing amount of synthetic chemicals unknown before 1950 that we now carry in our bodies.

We suspect that more animals are killed by vagrant plastic waste than by even climate change — a hypothesis that needs to be seriously tested. During our most recent voyage, we studied the effects of pollution, taking blood and liver samples from fish as we searched for invasive species and plastic-linked pollutants that cause protein and hormone abnormalities. While we hope our studies will yield important contributions to scientific knowledge, they address but a small part of a broader issue.

The reality is that only by preventing synthetic debris  — most of which is disposable plastic — from getting into the ocean in the first place will a measurable reduction in the ocean’s plastic load be accomplished. Clean-up schemes are legion, but have never been put into practice in the garbage patches.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States supports environmentalist groups that remove debris from beaches. But the sieve-like skimmers they use, no matter how technologically sophisticated, will never be able to clean up remote garbage gyres: There’s too much turbulent ocean dispersing and mixing up the mess.

The problem is compounded by the aquaculture industry, which uses enormous amounts of plastic in its floats, nets, lines and tubes. The most common floats and tubes I’ve found in the deep ocean and on Hawaiian beaches come from huge sea-urchin and oyster farms like the one that created the oyster-buoy island we discovered. Those buoys were torn from their moorings by the tsunami that walloped Japan on March 11, 2011. But no regulatory remedies exist to deal with tons of plastic equipment lost accidentally and in storms. Government and industry organizations purporting to certify sustainably farmed seafood, despite their dozens of pages of standards, fail to mention gear that is lost and floats away. Governments, which are rightly concerned with depletion of marine food sources, should ensure that plastic from cages, buoys and other equipment used for aquaculture does not escape into the waters.

But, in the end, the real challenge is to combat an economic model that thrives on wasteful products and packaging, and leaves the associated problem of clean-up costs. Changing the way we produce and consume plastics is a challenge greater than reining in our production of carbon dioxide.


Continue reading the main storyRECENT COMMENTS

John H 2 days ago

WALL-E.

M. Matthews 2 days ago

Puts the famous line from "The Graduate" in a whole new perspective, doesn't it?

ted 2 days ago

Like MRod, who spent his day on a Staten Island beach picking up trash, I do that every year at Jones Beach. While I'm doing it, I always...

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Plastics are a nightmare to recycle. They are very hard to clean. They can melt at low temperatures, so impurities are not vaporized. It makes no difference whether a synthetic polymer like polyethylene is derived from petroleum or plants; it is still a persistent pollutant. Biodegradable plastics exist, but manufacturers are quick to point out that marine degradable does not mean “marine disposable.”

Scientists in Britain and the Netherlands have proposed to cut plastic pollution by the institution of a “circular economy.” The basic concept is that products must be designed with end-of-life recovery in mind. They propose a precycling premium to provide incentives to eliminate the possibility that a product will become waste.

In the United States, especially in California, the focus has been on so-called structural controls, such as covering gutters and catch basins with screens. This has reduced the amount of debris flowing down rivers to the sea. Activists around the world are lobbying for bans on the most polluting plastics — the bottles, bags and containers that deliver food and drink. Many have been successful. In California, nearly 100 municipalities have passed ordinances banning throwaway plastic bags and the Senate is considering a statewide ban.

Until we shut off the flow of plastic to the sea, the newest global threat to our Anthropocene age will only get worse.

Charles J. Moore is a captain in the U.S. merchant marine and founder of the Algalita Marine Research and Education Institute in Long Beach, California.

Jared Brick's insight:

"the real challenge is to combat an economic model that thrives on wasteful products and packaging, and leaves the associated problem of clean-up costs. Changing the way we produce and consume plastics is a challenge greater than reining in our production of carbon dioxide."

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Retail System Issues - Retail inefficiencies

Retail System Issues - Retail inefficiencies | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
SYSTEM INEFFICIENCIES & SOLUTIONS

The current global manufacturing system creates massive inefficiencies throughout the entire process, from the raw materials stage to the end of the life-cycle. Typically, the focus lies solely on the end of this process, the disposal phase, but as you can see... it starts well before that! 

TraX encourages retailers to analyze the full impact and scope of these current issues, by assisting companies to modify each stage of this process. Below are the most impacted component phases, where the largest impact losses are occurring. Single-use disposable products given their short life-cycle, are simply too wasteful to be considered sustainable any longer. The traX solution is to move brands & retailers to incentivize and utilize more reusable products. 
Please watch these informative educational videos from our friends over at The Story of Stuff, and please contact us to learn more!

Jared Brick's insight:

Learn how more about retail system inefficiencies and how traX can impact the different phases of materials production! 

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Anatomy of the #SUD To-Go cup - Impact & Issues

Anatomy of the #SUD To-Go cup - Impact & Issues | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
#MondayMorningMindfulness

How has this icon become synonymous with our coffee drinking experience? I
am a big advocate for sustainability. My former blog was a sustainability
blog and I spent a year retraining myself to carry my own mug to coffee
shops in effort to be a better steward of the earth. 

Today, I'm back in the habit of asking for a to-go cup without a second
thought. The only thing I almost always opt out of is taking a plastic lid.
But, is choosing not to take the lid really making a huge difference? Do
paper cups just biodegrade?

With these questions at hand, I spent some time researching the individual
components of our modern coffee cup in order to better educate myself on
their makeup and environmental costs of our collective consumption habit. 

Investigating the impact of our use of disposable coffee cups, sleeves and
lids and their material make up is unsettling, to say the least. The global
consumption of coffee is upwards of 500 billion cups per year, so
logically, any materials sourced and manufactured for single use consumer
distribution have profound effects upon our planet . There is even a Cup
Summit hosted to address this issue within the industry.

As regular consumers and supporters of our favorite coffee shops, we are
ethically responsible to see our part in the problem. Although this topic
is worthy of many blog posts (and dissertations!), today I have gathered a
few facts and stats on each component of the conventional coffee cup that I
find particularly interesting and enlightening.

1. The Lid 

 - Made of Polystyrene which is not accepted in curbside recycling programs

- Polystyrene may leach toxins into food products, especially when heated 

- Polystyrene is used to make styrofoam and is classified as a grade 6
plastic 

- Of all the plastics it has been advised to AVOID use of grade 6 plastics
all together 

- after throwing it 'away,' a polystyrene lid will continue to exist for 
hundreds of years.

- Polystyrene has the potential to transfer toxic chemicals into the food
chain because it eventually breaks into smaller pieces and animals often 
mistake it for food.


2. The Sleeve

 -  Though the majority of sleeves are made of recycled material, most
sleeves don’t end up being recycled.

- Unrecycled sleeves make up about 2.8 billion pounds of trash every year
in landfills

- A coffee drinker can save 6-10 lbs of paper waste every year by simply
substituting the cardboard sleeve with a reusable sleeve.

- 3 billion hot cup sleeves were produced in 2011


3. The Cup

- Most paper cups are coated with plastic a low density polyethylene or
grade 4 plastic which means they cannot be composted or recycled.

- Paper cups may consume more non-renewable resources than cups made of
styrofoam

-  Paper cups are generally manufactured from virgin materials.

-  In 2006, Over 6.5 million trees were cut down to make 16 billion paper
cups used by US consumers only for coffee in 2006, using 4 billion US
gallons of water and resulting in 253 million pounds of waste. 

- Overall, North Americans use 58% of all paper cups, amounting to roughly
130 billion paper cups.

-  Today it is estimated twenty million trees are cut down every year just
to manufacture paper cups.



In conclusion, our To Go culture of coffee is not sustainable. It is
damaging to the environment and our health. Today I am pledging to break my
own habit of using paper cups and advocating that you also bring your own
reusable to-go cup to your local shop, or sit for 15 minutes and enjoy a
warm beverage in a ceramic cup at your cafe.  Did you know, you can even
ask Starbucks for a, "for here" cup?  

Doing research like this makes me respect cafe's like Los Angeles' Bar Nine
Collective who do not to offer paper or plastic products to their customers
but instead the serve their coffee in reusable glass jars. 

I am also appreciative of any cafes that supply compostable cups, sleeves
and lids. Every little bit counts. 

 

 

References:

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_cup_sleeve
*
http://www.organicauthority.com/sanctuary/5-reasons-to-kick-your-disposable-coffee-cup-habit-for-good.html
* http://www.nosleeveplease.com
*
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/downloads/2010/plasticsbynumber.pdf
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_cup
* http://www.thebetacup.com/about/
* http://scaa.org/lowimpactcafe/#.U9EV9FaDvG5
* http://www.gillianb.com/coffee-cup-chemicals/
*
http://sgp827.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/polyethylenes-impact-on-the-environment/
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch
*
http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/green-living/recycling-symbols-plastics-460321#slide-6
*
http://modernservantleader.com/servant-leadership/lemonjellos-leads-by-example-with-zero-waste-sustainability-policy/
* http://www.carryyourcup.org/get-the-facts
*
http://www.sfu.ca/sustainability/talking/waste/2014/confused-about-coffee-cups.html
*
http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/brainstuff/fun-kind-of-shocking-facts-about-disposable-coffee-cups/
Jared Brick's insight:

Fantastic article on how impactful single-use disposables are to the environment and how simple reUSE actions beat it hands down!

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Debate in South Dakota: Banning plastic grocery bags?

Debate in South Dakota: Banning plastic grocery bags? | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
Brookings might consider banning plastic grocery bags for environmental concerns.
Jared Brick's insight:

Cities are creating plastic bag bans all over the US, now over 200 legislative ordinances... will South Dakota be next?

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Rebate for saying ‘no’ to plastic - Community | The Star Online

Rebate for saying ‘no’ to plastic - Community | The Star Online | CSR - Corp. Social Responsibility | Scoop.it
GIVING ‘bag credit’ discounts is a better approach to get consumers to ditch plastic bags.
Jared Brick's insight:

All over the world people are figuring out that Giving incentives to people also drives behavior in a positive way!

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