Thursday, June 14, 2012

How Can You Save 17 Trees? Just Keep Recycling That Paper!

Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water.

More paper recycling stats can be found here.

BP 'Deepwater Horizon' Oil Spill - Where Does It Rank?

I've been getting conflicting charts and numbers from around the internet but according to Wikipedia, it looks like its in the top 5 of the world's largest oil spills.

Here are some of the worst oil spills in history:
The Odyssey: 132,000 tons
In November 1988, the American-owned oil tanker Odyssey split in two 700 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia. The tanker spewed about 132,000 tons of crude oil into the sea and caught fire as it sank, setting the spill aflame. Because of hazardous weather conditions, the Canadian Coast Guard could not immediately reach the spill, and much of the oil burned.
The Haven: 145,000 tons
A violent explosion aboard the Cyprus-based tanker the Haven killed six members of the crew and spilled 145,000 tons of oil off the coast of Italy in April 1991. About 70 percent of the oil burned in the ensuing fire. In most oil spills, oil remains near the surface of the water, but in this spill some of it sank. Oil from the Haven was later found in ocean beds at depths of up to 1,640 feet (500 meters).
The Amoco Cadiz: 223,000 tons
Stormy weather drove the Amoco Cadiz Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) aground on the Portsall Rocks, a 90-foot deep outcrop off the coast of Brittany, France, in 1978. The ship split in two and quickly sank before its 1,604,500 barrels of oil load could be pumped from the wreck.
Castillo de Bellver: 252,000 tons
In August 1983, a fire aboard the Castillo de Bellver led to an explosion that caused the tanker to break in two. Oil spilled into the sea 24 miles off the coast of Cape Town, marking the largest spill to date in South Africa. Luckily, the oil caused minimal environmental damage as the direction of the wind moved the oil slick offshore, where it dissipated naturally.
ABT Summer: 260,000 tons
ABT Summer tanker, traveling from Iran to Rotterdam, leaked oil and caught on fire about 700 miles off the Angolan coast in 1991. The disaster killed five of the 32 crew members on board.
Nowruz oil field: 260,000 tons
During the first Gulf War, a tanker collided with a platform on Feb. 10, 1983, spilling approximately 1,500 barrels each day, until the platform was attacked by Iraqi planes in March and the slick caught fire. The Nowruz oil field was not immediately capped, because the field was located in the middle of the Iran/Iraq war zone. The well was finally capped by Iran in September of that year – an effort that resulted in the deaths of 11 people.
Fergana Valley: 285,000 tons
The Fergana Valley, one of Central Asia's most densely populated agricultural and industrial areas, was the site of the largest inland oil spills in history in 1992.
Atlantic Empress/Aegean Captain: 287,000 tons
In July 1979, a Greek oil tanker called the Atlantic Empress collided with another ship,the Aegean Captain, during a tropical storm off of the island of Tobago in the Caribbean Sea. The Atlantic Empress disaster killed 26 crew members and is the largest ship-based oil spill.
Ixtoc I oil well: 454,000 tons
The Ixtoc I oil well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in June 1979. The oil drilling platform then caught fire and collapsed, rupturing valves and making it difficult for rescue personnel to control the damage. The spill continued until March 1980.
Gulf War oil spill: 1,360,000-1,500,000 tons
The worst oil spill in history, the Gulf War oil spill spewed an estimated 8 million barrels of oil into the Persian Gulf after Iraqi forces opened valves of oil wells and pipelines as they retreated from Kuwait in 1991. The oil slick reached a maximum size of 101 miles by 42 miles and was five inches thick.

Friday, April 8, 2011

WTF is Sustagrain® and why is it in my food?

A few weeks ago my wife requested a few items from the supermarket and like a good husband, I obliged. I threw 8 Healthy Choice frozen dinners in the cart with the rest of my stuff and went on my way. After I got home I had thoughts of trying one of the (fish) dinners that caught my eye. Naturally, since I've never eaten one of these things, I proceeded to read the ingredients. Sustagrain® stopped me in my tracks. Ultragrain® gave me a dirty look from the underside of another box. (Yes, both strangely written as you see written here with the ® symbol.)
Ok, so anyone who knows me, knows that I have to drop everything & look this Susta-whatever up. WTF is this, and why is it in my food?
With a little bit of digging (ie Wikipedia) I see that its a product of ConAgra Mills aka ConAgra Foods. Upon further reading I see that:
  1.  In 2002, ConAgra, together with other major food and beverage companies including PepsiCo, General Mills, Kelloggs, Sara Lee, and H.J. Heinz Co., spent heavily to defeat Oregon's measure 27, which would have required food companies to label products that contain genetically modified ingredients.[16] According to the Oregon Secretary of State, ConAgra contributed $71,000 to the campaign to defeat the ballot initiative.[17]
  2. In a 2009 ranking by Newsweek, ConAgra was ranked 342nd out of America's 500 largest corporations in terms of overall environmental score.[7]
  3. A 2006 report by CERES ... measures how 100 leading global companies are responding to global warming. Companies in the report were evaluated on a 0 to 100 scale. ConAgra scored a total of 4 points, the lowest of any of the food companies rated.[6] 
The first little factoid that gave me a 'light bulb' moment. To me, this looks to be one of the many genetically modified food products already on store shelves flying under the radar because its not labeled as such. Argh! How could I be so foolish to think this was actually a "Healthy Choice"?
ConAgra may have received some of my money in the past, but as of today, I will avoid them at all costs. I have already started making different choices at the supermarket. I can only hope others put their foot down as well.

Yikes! No way am I going to knowingly eat this stuff.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sustainable Sushi - Dining out at 'Miya's Sushi' New Haven

A few days ago, my wife sends me a text saying she wanted to go out for dinner but she couldn't decide between Japanese or Italian food. I immediately jumped on the opportunity to go to Miya's Sushi in New Haven. I have been itching to eat here and I had a hunch, even before going, that it was going to be great. So I imposed my will, grabbed the kids, and off we went. I'm not trying to write a full blown restaurant review or anything of the sort. Here are just a few things I'd like to say about Miya's since I am still gushing about the place.

Our server Ben, was extremely knowledgeable and very helpful. I must admit, the menu can be a bit overwhelming and entertaining at the same time. The decor was typical of a sushi restaurant, but the touch of family photos made it feel more inviting. Our salad was amazing and the sushi we sampled was some of the best we've ever had. The menu consists of only nutritious ingredients (no white rice to be found here), locally grown greens, and sustainable fish. One roll had a type of fish that is caught and delivered from Montauk Point (I forgot the name, sorry). Good to know the food here is not flown or trucked a billion miles just to get to our plate. Sweet! To my delight, even those odd rectangular sushi take out containers (the ones that are difficult to re-use) and plastic bags were 100% compostable. Hooray technology!

What a joy to eat out with little to no guilt in how I was affecting my environment. I can only tip my hat to Bun Lai and say bravo brother. Bravo! You doing a great thing for all of us. Next step is for all of us to ride our bikes here as a family. But that's a completely different bone I have to pick with the city of New Haven. grrrr!

Here are some awesome 'behind the scenes' photos at Miya's.
Photo credit:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dual Flush Retrofit for $79

I recently stumbled across this product and I am extremely interested in buying it for our main bathroom. Its called Simple Flush and its manufactured by Brondell.  Its a retrofit for your existing toilet and when you're done, you will have 2 flush settings. One button for 'number one' and another for 'number two'. Saving water has never been easier. Well, I think installing a low flow shower head might be easier. :)

Its not meant for every toilet. Just check the website for further details about the product. It also comes with a one year warranty.
Photo credit:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Plastic bags to > bags, belts , bracelets, and shoes

India consumes 5,000,000 tons of plastic a year. Soon they will be only the 3rd largest after the US & China. Wow!