Posts Tagged ‘environmental’

Plastic Pollution and Healthy Oceans

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

by Katherine B. Preston

This Earth Day I had the pleasure of volunteering at a community event designed to raise awareness about living more sustainably and reducing our collective environmental footprint.   I serve on the Board of Directors for a local organization, Sustainable Tallahassee, whose mission is to promote environmental stewardship and economic vitality in our community through education and collaboration.  At Sustainable Tallahassee, we have many initiatives, but the one we chose to highlight at Saturday’s Earth Day event was plastic pollution – specifically from single use water bottles.  We found that a lot of the festival goers with single use bottles justified using them because they recycle the bottles (which is great!) but that doesn’t quite negate the impacts.

Did you know that Americans drink around 50 billion (yes, Billion!) bottles of water each year – and that only around 20-25% of those bottles are recycled (according to National Geographic). That means around 38 billion plastic bottles are sent to a landfill each year in the U.S. alone, and many end up in our waterways and oceans.  The environmental impacts don’t stop there, unfortunately.  It takes about 17 million barrels of oil each year to manufacture all these bottles (again – U.S. estimates only), and approximately 3 liters of water to produce 16 ounces of bottled water.  Let’s not forget about the energy needed to transport all these bottles to retailers and homes, and to refrigerate them, and the impact from groundwater pumping.

If the environmental impacts alone don’t convince you to permanently ditch the bottled water, consider that all of this damage doesn’t come cheap either. On average, bottled water costs thousands of times more than tap water, and is no safer than what comes out of your faucet (unless you live in areas with lead pipe problems of course).  I am guilty of grabbing bottle waters at times, and tell myself that since its only once in a while it’s ok (plus I am very forgetful when it comes to reusable mugs and water bottles and have lost so many over the years).  After this year’s Earth Day event, I have made a pledge to do much, much better – and bought myself a new stainless steel water bottle since the last one was left on a plane somewhere in Baltimore…

If you spent time in this costume in the Florida heat educating your fellow citizens of the evils of bottled water, you’d make a vow to never use a plastic bottle again too! HMMH would be happy to send you one of our new HMMH stainless steel water bottles, just for reading this – please email us to order yours!

Recap on EBC Program on Energy and Environmental Affairs

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

by Stephen Barrett, LEED AP

SecretaryBeatonIMG_5408

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion organized by the Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC) with Matthew Beaton, the new Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs under Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.  While the Baker Administration took the reins in early January and Secretary Beaton has been on-board since day one, this panel was one of his first public appearances as he has been busy building his team and getting them up to speed.  Some in the clean energy and environmental industries had been concerned that the Baker Administration would roll back clean energy policies and environmental protections, though Beaton emphasized that the Administration was entering office with an open mind and no actions would be considered during an initial three month freeze period on any new regulations or programs.  Renewable energy advocates were happy to hear the Secretary’s announcement at the PV America Conference the previous day that the Administration would continue the Patrick Administration’s commitment of 1600 MW of solar by 2020.  Beaton was asked by the panel about another Patrick Administration proposal – the Clean Energy Standard – which would incentivize the purchase of Canadian hydropower in Massachusetts in an effort to achieve the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act goal of 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.  With the proposed program out for public comment, Beaton only said that he would wait to review public comment, but that he would focus on cost-effective solutions.  The high cost of electricity in Massachusetts due to constrained supplies of natural gas elicited a lot of interest.  While everyone seems to agree that high energy costs are a burden on the economy and that increasing natural gas supply in some manner is the best short-term solution, how to deliver new supply (e.g., new or enhanced pipelines, more Liquid Natural Gas [LNG] deliveries by sea) and how much to deliver given the region’s current over-dependence on natural gas is of much debate.  Beaton did not offer a plan for avoiding price spikes next winter but said it would be a focus of his agenda in the coming months.  All in all, the evening was a welcomed introduction to the new Secretary and the start of a productive dialogue with the environmental and energy business community.

Happy America Recycles Day 2014!

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

by Christopher Menge

recycling logo with the world

In honor of today being America Recycles Day, I put together the following tips to assist with your recycling efforts:

  1. Put your recycling bins next to your trash or near your kitchen.
  2. Remind your family members with “Can you Recycle that?” signs on your trash bins.
  3. Your cereal bags aren’t really “dirty.” Just shake them out or rinse them and then recycle! Recycle the boxes as paper, of course.
  4. Don’t throw away that greasy food container! You don’t need lots of energy-hungry hot water to recycle your greasy plastic take-out food container. Just put in a couple drops of dish soap, and with a sponge, some cold water and 15 seconds of scrubbing, you’ll have a clean container ready for the bin!
  5. Make 90% of those pizza boxes recyclable! Just use your sharp box cutter knife to cut out the greasy spot, and the rest of the box can go in the recycle bin.
  6. Quickly dress up your glass bottles for clean recycling. Just cut off the metal or plastic capsules and rings at the tops of the bottles, and put those pieces in the proper stream.

For more information on America Recycles Day, see http://americarecyclesday.org.

Happy Recycling!

ERAU Is Pushing the Envelope Yet Again!

Friday, May 16th, 2014

by Diana Wasiuk

Graduates of my alma mater, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), have a reputation for ‘pushing the envelope’ in more than one way… The Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) was one of those forward thinking ideas that only a bunch of aviation nuts could come up with and commit to with boundless enthusiasm. And boy did we ever!  Here is an article on another example of ERAU pushing for innovation: developing electric propulsion systems to reduce noise and emissions:
http://daytonatimes.com/2014/05/15/e-rau-to-develop-an-electric-aircraft/.

TRB e-circular “Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment” published

Friday, April 18th, 2014

By Mary Ellen Eagan

TRB recently published Circular E-C184: “Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment.” The following summarizes the content of the e-circular.

“Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment 2014” consists of twelve individually authored sections, representing the authoring experts’ opinions on issues that address the major environmental components affected by aviation activities, sustainable solutions that have evolved and continue to be developed to minimize environmental impacts, and the key processes that link aviation and the environment.

Readers of prior e-circulars in this series may notice that we no longer include a stand-alone section on “sustainability”.  This is because the Committee believes that sustainability is a cross-cutting issue that affects all topics in the environment – it is a way of operating, not an “issue”.  We have added several new topics to this volume:

  1. Natural resource management:  Airports are challenged to address natural resource management issues related to wildlife hazards, natural resource revenue generation (e.g., timber, minerals, energy), and water conservation.
  2. Renewable energy:  this section addresses major issues airports should consider when identifying and developing renewable energy alternatives.
  3. Public Health:  an emerging issue that several airports are facing is the need to develop health impact assessments and health risk assessments to respond to community concerns regarding the impact of airports on communities.

The individually authored sections of this e-circular represent the viewpoints of the attributed authors.  Members and friends of the TRB Environmental Impacts of Aviation Committee have also reviewed and contributed comments to these sections.

Many thanks go to the authors (listed below, by paper):

Environmental Impacts of Aviation on Human and Natural Resources  

  • Noise: Natalia Sizov (Federal Aviation Administration), Brad Rolf (Mead & Hunt), Mary Ellen Eagan (Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc.)
  • Air Quality: John Pehrson (CDM), Warren Gillette (Federal Aviation Administration), Brian Kim (Wyle), Prem Lobo (Missouri University of Science and Technology)
  • Climate Change: Judith Patterson (Science College, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada ), Mohan Gupta (Federal Aviation Administration), Rangasayi Halthore (Federal Aviation Administration), Anuja Mahashabde (The MITRE Corporation, McLean, VA)
  • Water Quality: Dean Mericas (Mead & Hunt), John Lengel (Gresham Smith & Partners), Richard Davis (Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.)

Sustainable Solutions to Address Environmental Challenges

  • Climate Change Adaptation Planning and Preparedness: John Lengel (Gresham, Smith and Partners), Kristin Lemaster (CDM Smith), Judith Patterson (Concordia University), Andrea Schwartz Freeburg (Federal Aviation Administration)
  • Natural Resource Management: Dean Mericas (Mead & Hunt), Sarah Brammell (Environmental Resource Solutions)
  • Renewable Energy: Steve Barrett (Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc.), Bruno Miller (Metron Aviation), Phil Ralston (Port of Portland)
  • Aviation Alternative Fuels Development And Deployment:  Bruno Miller (Metron Aviation), Steve Csonka (CAAFI), Kristin Lewis (Volpe Center/RITA, Jim Hileman (FAA), Mark Rumizen (FAA), Nancy Young (Airlines for America), and John Heimlich (Airlines for America)

Processes and Tools for Implementing Sustainable Solutions

  • Environmental Review under NEPA:  Mary Vigilante (Synergy Consultants), Brad Rolf (Mead & Hunt), John Putnam (Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell), Donald Scata (FAA), Betsy Delaney (First Environment), Barbara Thomson (First Environment)
  • Environmental Management Systems And Sustainability Measurement: Mary Vigilante (Synergy Consultants), Brad Rolf (Mead & Hunt), John Putnam (Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell), Donald Scata (FAA), Betsy Delaney (First Environment), Barbara Thomson (First Environment)
  • Aviation Environmental Modeling Tool Suite:  James Hileman (Federal Aviation Administration), Christopher Roof (USDOT RITA)
  • Research Needs in Public Health In Aviation:  Burr Stewart (Burrst), Andrew Dannenberg (CDC), Brian Kim (Wyle), Daniel Jacob (Federal Aviation Administration)