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Buy Biopolymers

By Marie Oser, Managing Editor
December 17, 2008
File under: clean energy, Clean Tech, Design & Innovation, Green Practices


Plastic, from the Greek plastikos1 (fit to mold), describes its ability to be cast, pressed, or extruded into an enormous variety of shapes. The primary source of the chemicals in plastic are fossil fuels, and while these petrochemical plastics are durable, they take a very long time to decompose when discarded. Plastic is a material that contains one or more polymers. Polymers are large molecules made up of chains of linked monomer elements. Molecules containing multiple bonds undergo polymerization, a reaction in which small molecules (monomers) join together in large numbers to produce a gigantic molecule (polymer).

Our waterways and landfills are becoming dangerously polluted with refuse manufactured from long-lasting petroleum-based polymers with short-lived applications. These persistent polymers are a significant source of solid waste. Scientists estimate that it may take more than 500 years for those ubiquitous plastic bags to break down in landfills. Growing concern about the cost of fossil fuels and their impact on the planet has prompted scientists to pursue viable alternatives to synthetic polymers derived from petrochemicals. …read more of Buy Biopolymers here

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Plant Plastic Promise

By Marie Oser, Managing Editor
December 15, 2008
File under: Design & Innovation, Green Practices


A century ago, plants were the basis for most products. By the 1980’s petroleum had almost eliminated biological materials as the primary source of products and fuels. These days a new generation of plastic may well turn the tide and return industry to its plant-based roots.

There is an industrial revolution in progress. Fields of corn are being harvested to produce a number of diverse products. Biodegradable plastics and natural fibers that are made from renewable resources are showing up everywhere. Today, consumers can find products made from plant polymers that have been consciously created to be environmentally sound from Versace to Bed Bath and Beyond. …read more of Plant Plastic Promise here

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Raising Cane

By Marie Oser, Managing Editor
December 2, 2008
File under: Business News, Green Practices, Sustainable Products


Organic farming and Fair Trade practices have obvious benefits for people and the planet. Consumers are guaranteed quality products grown with sustainable methods and assured that the producers are treated fairly.

How does it work? Traditionally, small farmers in developing countries barely eke out a living on a few acres of land. These impoverished growers are subject to declining world market prices, environmental degradation, and hazardous working conditions.

TransFair USA, a non-profit third party certifier, organizes farmers across Latin America, Asia, and Africa and connects them with major brands and retailers in the U.S. As a result, farmers receive up to 3 times the price for their products. And that is only the beginning. In addition to a fair price, buyers pay quarterly premiums. The premiums stay in the co-ops and are invested in clinics, schools, equipment, education, communication systems and water wells.

TransFair’s rigorous audit system tracks products from farm to finished product and verifies compliance with Fair Trade criteria. U.S. companies that meet strict Fair Trade standards are permitted to display the Fair Trade Certified label on their products.

Nigel Willerton was raised in England’s sugar trade. When he became …read more of Raising Cane here

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Organic Soy Sales Soar

By Marie Oser, Managing Editor
November 25, 2008
File under: Sustainable Products

Organic Soy Sales Soar

Soybeans arrived in America on a clipper ship from China in the early 1800’s. The beans had been used as ballast, a sort of counterweight to balance the vessel, and were unloaded to make room for cargo. A few farmers planted the beans, and by the turn of the century, many American farmers were growing the crop for animal feed.

Fast-forward to the 21st century. Soyfoods’ sales from 1992 to 2007 increased from $300 million to nearly $4 billion. This dramatic growth followed the FDA approval of a health claim linking soy with a reduction in coronary heart disease. While sales of soyfoods skyrocketed, rumors or strange new Frankenfoods began to …read more of Organic Soy Sales Soar here

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Organic Industry Grows

By Marie Oser, Managing Editor
November 21, 2008
File under: Green Practices

Organic Industry Grows

The organic food industry has now reached $14.6 billion, and while that number represents tremendous growth over the past decade, only 2.5 % of the food purchased in the U.S. is organic.

Most non-organic food is processed with chemicals to further extend shelf life or to make the product look more appealing. No one yet knows what the long-term effects of consuming this pharmacopoeia of synthetic chemicals may have on our body. Common sense dictates that minimizing, and optimally eliminating these chemical additives by consuming organic foods at every opportunity is in our best interest.

Ten Good Reasons to Buy Organic

Organic products meet stringent standards
Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures …read more of Organic Industry Grows here

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