Environment

Kaiser Announces Statewide Bag Ban in Hawaii

In a move which is unprecedented in the state of Hawaii, healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente has decided to do away with plastic bags, eliminating the bags dispensed to patients on a voluntary basis. Instead, environmentally friendly and biodegradable bags will be available upon request. In an article from Hawaii's KITV News, the company announced its pride in being a part of a movement to stop unnecessary plastic usage. 

Hawaii Lawmakers Consider Plastic Bag Tax

Despite the Hawaii-wide ban on plastic bags set to take effect in 2015, lawmakers are working on a temporary solution that they feel will save taxpayers and the environment from paying the price of plastic pollution. According to Mileka Lincoln of Hawaii News Now, lawmakers would like to introduce an intermediary bag tax in order to prevent the environment from suffering any further pollution. Lincoln writes:

House Bill 357 would require businesses to charge a dime for each single-use bag provided to customers at check-out.

Unilever to Phase Out Plastic Microbeads from Facial Scrubs

After a long campaign on the part of UK Marine conservation groups, the cosmetics company Unilever has agreed to phase out the plastic "microbeads" it uses in its exfoliating products, Rebecca Smithers of the Guardian reports. "Microbeads" or crystals are used to provide an abrasive wash to remove dead skin, but while historically pumice stones and loofahs did the job, plastic has become a cheap alternative.

Marks & Spencer Green Chief Attacks Government's Plastic Bag Policy

In an article published by the Guardian today, Mike Barry, head of the sustainability efforts at UK supermarket chain Marks and Spencer, has criticised the UK government's weak stance on plastic bags, saying that the coalition has shifted its aims regarding green policy, and should institute a charge on plastic bags issued at shops. Barry helped launch Marks and Spencer's "Plan A" campaign, which has been an effort to be more mindful of the consumer's impacts on the environment. He insists that the government must work harder to promote sustainability, and

CA EPA Re-Writes Info on Plastic Bags for School Curriculum

After significant pressure from environmental groups, the state of California's Environmental Protection Agency has revised the curriculum in planned to include in textbooks, lowering figures to more accurately reflect the amounts of plastic bags recycled each year, as well as eliminating a controversial section that was to discuss the merits of plastic bags to the environment. According to Mike Verespej of Plastics News: 

Clean Water Act at 40: Is it Failing to Meet New Pollution Challenges?

The Christian Science Monitor posted an article yesterday sharing a retrospective view of the Clean Water Act 40 years after its creation, and discussing the new challenges the legislation faces as science and laws develop and change with time. According to correspondant Richard Mertens, before the passing of the Clean Water Act in 1972, Lake Erie was considered a dead zone because of the severity of the pollution it experienced. The passage of the bill greatly improved the water quality, not just for Lake Erie but also for a number of other United States bodies of water.

Plastic Thought to Have Been Found on Mars

In an unusual report from NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, it has been announced that an object has been discovered on Mars that is clearly not Martian material, and is currently thought to be a shred of plastic. While it is not clear from NASA's report where the plastic came from, it is possible that it has been produced as a result of previous Mars expeditions. Plastic is ubiquitous on Earth, and while only a small fragment has been found on Mars, it is important that this is taken as a warning to exercise caution to avoid a situation similar to that of Earth on other planets.

100 Grannies Urge Plastic Bag Ban

This weekend, a group of elderly Iowan women who call themselves "100 Grannies" celebrated National Grandparents Day by making a strong request: to ban plastic bags in their community. As reported by the Daily Iowan, the 100 Grannies fear for the safety of the future generations, and encourage others to consider the huge impact plastic bags have on the environment. Writes Katie Kuntz of the Daily Iowan:

Why Would the U.S. Government Serve Bottled Water at the Presidential Inauguration?

With the United States presidential election just months away, inauguration planning is already in full swing. Decorators have been called. Bands have been short-listed. And the catering? Well, at least one part of the food and beverage selection seems to have already been decided. On the menu? Saratoga Spring Water, bottled water that will be brought in from out of state. Why not instead offer local tap water that thousands of residents in the nation's capital already drink? Excellent question.

Denmark Bans Phthalates Ahead of European Union Ruling

Denmark has decided to outright ban four phthalates ahead of the European Union's next scheduled time to revisit the issue, which isn't until 2013. The EU already outlaws the use of several phthalates, and going against EU regulation, even to strength a current ban or piece of legislation, isn't permitted for member countries.

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