Archive for November, 2009

How to recognize greenwashing

blog banner2The Issue

  • Which products are “green” and which are “greenwashed”?  Greenwashing, a deceptive use of green marketing, is when companies try to make themselves look more environmentally friendly than they are in actuality.
  • TerraChoice Environmental Marketing (http://www.terrachoice.com/files/6_sins.pdf) conducted a survey of six leading big box stores.  The surveys identified 1,018 consumer products making environmental claims, of them, 1,017 made claims that were false or risked misleading the potential buyer.

Be Part of the Solution

How do I know I am buying truly eco-friendly products?

  • Ask yourself, does the product focus on only one (or two) eco-issues while ignoring other important ones?  Truly eco-friendly and sustainable products try to address many issues.  For example, a paper company may promote recycled content or sustainable harvesting information but neglect to mention manufacturing impacts such as air emissions, water emissions, and global warming impacts.
  • Does the product provide evidence of its environmentally sensitive claim on its packaging or company website?  For example, does your “not tested on animals” shampoo offer evidence or certification of this claim?
  • Can the manufacturer back up “organic” claims?  Do they provide certification?  Is the company’s claim so general or broad that its real meaning could be misunderstood by the consumer?  For example, “Green”, “Environmentally friendly”, and “Eco-conscious” have no meaning without further explanation from the manufacturer.
  • Taking the last point a step further, could the company be lying about their green certification?  For example, does the “certified organic” product provide evidence of the certification?
  • Does the product make a truthful environmental claim that is unimportant in helping the consumers decide which environmentally friendly product to purchase?  For example, does the product claim to be CFC-free?  Being CFC-free is irrelevant since all products are CFC-free as CFC’s have been banned in the US for almost 3 decades.
  • Is the “green” claim trying to make you feel better about buying a product that is just not inherently green”?  For example, cigarettes with organically grown tobacco are still cigarettes.

November 12, 2009 at 5:29 pm Leave a comment

We’re eco-conscious at home, let’s do the same while at work

office1-300x229The Issue
Most of us spend more waking hours while at work than at home, we might as well be eco-aware while doing so.

Be Part of the Solution
What can we do to be more sustainable?  How about:

Turn off you computer at night!  A computer left on 24 hours a day costs your company between $115 and $160 in electricity annually!

Don’t use screensavers.  Instead, set your monitor to turn off automatically after 10 minutes of non-use and set computers to sleep/hibernate after 30 minutes.

If possible, carpool!  You can cut your weekly fuel costs in half if you take turns driving, visit Bay Area Commuter Services (or even better, use HART, PSTA, walk or ride a bike).

Reduce word document margins to .75” and turn scrap paper into note pads.

Use your windows!  Natural light is always better then electric lighting.  If you must use electric lights, turn them off when not in use.

Print double sided and print only what is necessary on paper with recycled content.

Don’t go out for lunch.  Stay at the office and off the road, walk to a nearby café or bring your own healthy, natural and organic lunch.

Consider installing the free Ecofont, a font style that uses up to 20% less ink.

Purchase re-manufactured ink cartridges as they help to divert plastic and metal waste from landfills and reduce the need for oil and electricity to create new cartridges.

Recycle at work.  If your company doesn’t recycle, demand it!

Recycle your mobile phone!  Instead of throwing it away, recycle it a nearby Best Buy or Office Depot, or donate to CASA.

Specify Energy Star products if you purchase electronics and equipment.

Visit 1-800-Recycling to find out where to recycle ink cartridges and other in office recycling resources.

Stop buying bottled water.  Instead of buying bottled water every day, purchase a filter/pitcher like Brita or Pur.  Doing so will keep 230 plastic bottles out of the landfill.

Drink fair trade, organic and shade grown coffee in reusable mugs.

For more tips, or to learn more about sustainability at St. Petersburg College, contact Jason Green at green.jason@spcollege.edu.  Then visit http://www.spcollege.edu/sustainability, join the facebook group and follow us at http://twitter.com/sustainableSPC.

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November 4, 2009 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

Voting begins for Recycled Innovations Contest

recycled innovaitons

The local elections have been decided, but voting for the City of Largo Recycled Innovations Contest has just begun.  This online contest encouraged innovators of all ages to make a use-able items with the contents of their trash can.

Eligible Recycled Innovations range from kitty litter box hanging gardens to baby food container space savers and more. The innovators went beyond traditional recycling and re-purposed their trash into items that may be reused for daily activities.

Contestants will vie for innovative prizes such a solar/wind powered charges for cell phones, MP3 players and other electronics, environmental board games, and learning toys to name a few.  Prizes will be awarded to the greatest innovators in various age categories: Junior Innovators, Tween Innovators, and Macgyvers.

The winners will be decided exclusively by web-based voters at www.LargoRecycles.com. Voters need not be Largo residents to make their vote count.

Recycled Innovation Contest Winners will be announced via e-mail on America Recycles Day, November 15.  To vote online log on to www.LargoRecycles.com, or for more information call 727-586-7424.

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November 4, 2009 at 6:53 am Leave a comment


who we are:

Early in 2008, St. Petersburg College recognized its responsibility to model to our students, employees and community ways to minimize global warming emissions and provide the knowledge to our graduates to help achieve a more environmentally friendly future. Because of this, the College made sustainability (defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs) a top priority. As a result, the Office for Sustainability was established.

what we do:

Working alongside internal and external partners, the Office for Sustainability focuses on the following areas of environmental stewardship: educational programs and corporate training, energy and natural resource conservation, green buildings and facilities, carbon emissions, recycling and student activities.

learn more:

To learn more about The Office for Sustainability at St. Petersburg College, contact Jason Green, Sustainability Coordinator at green.jason@spcollege.edu

sustainable | SPC