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‘Degradable Plastic Bag’ Manufacturer Makes False Claims About Product

8684816959_c34f62f0be_kRecently, our dog chewed up our 10-years-old family compost bin. The new, metal bin we purchased came with “degradable” (e.g., not “BIOdegradable”) bags by a company called Norpro. The Norpro bags claim to be safe to throw into your compost pile, where they degrade. But degrade into what exactly? Won’t the bag simply break down into small plastic particles that then contaminate the compost, which in turn we use to fertilize the vegetables we eventually eat? Or are we missing something here?

So, we contacted Norpro to see what we could find out. First, we called the company’s customer service line (877-879-1360), and were told that we needed to contact their corporate number (800-722-0202). We called them at that number and asked the same question. We were told that they weren’t able to answer the question, and that we should email their sales department.

Before we did that, we checked Norpro’s website, where the company presents its bags as being “[m]ade of 100% degradable and compostable material” and “[e]ndorsed by ISAB and OPI” (note: there’s no indication on the Norpro website what ISAB and OPI might be, exactly). We then emailed the company, told them our understanding is that degradable plastics are still petroleum based, and asked whether these plastics wouldn’t still pollute the environment and potentially harm our health, especially if used for composting purposes?

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Oops: Gas Industry Study on Industry “Economics” Omits Costs of Water Contamination

Despite spending massively to position itself as “clean,” the natural gas industry has a serious pollution problem it doesn’t want getting more public and regulatory attention. Not only is the industry’s climate disruption footprint potentially heavierthan coal, the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) practice the current gas boom depends on is contaminating our water supplies. The industry wants you to trust that when it drills toxic chemicals through our water supplies, injects them beneath our water supplies, and dumps them on top of our water supplies, everything will be fine. Except that it isn’t. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently linked fracking with “high levels of …

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Can Obama go back to political base(ics)?

An Obama 2012 rally in Chicago in April.Photo: Barack ObamaCross-posted from the Great Energy Challenge blog. President Obama made a smart move this month by putting the Keystone XL pipeline project into the deep freeze. It had been poor politics for him -- and it would have been even worse policy for the country, especially when you consider the aggressive retooling of our world energy sources demanded by the International Energy Agency findings in its latest World Energy Outlook. But for the president's staff, the question that lingers is whether it will relearn what it had mastered so well in 2008 -- that while you have …

Read more: Election 2012

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Solar Industry Executives Talk About Massive Solar Jobs Growth

In mid-October, my Tigercomm colleague Mark Sokolove and I took Scaling Green’s Communicating Energy lecture series on the road to the Solar Power International 2011 (SPI) conference and trade show in Dallas, Texas. With so many articulate, knowledgeable, clean energy thought leaders and company representatives in attendance, the opportunity to interview several of these folks on the state of the solar industry today and its prospects for the future was tremendous. So, we took advantage of it, specifically by speaking with: Rudy Wodrich, Commercial VP - Americas, Schneider Electric Renewable Energies (global specialist in energy management) Janet Hughes, Executive VP, Ontility (solar products distribution and training) Aaron Block, Director of …

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Mr. Morriss gets acquainted with Irish Confetti

Merriam-Webster: Irish Confetti - "A rock or brick used as a missile." We recently wrote about professional clean energy critic Andrew Morriss being schooled by Center for American Progress’s Kate Gordon before a friendly crowd at the fossil industry-funded CATO Institute. Back in April, Mr. Morriss couldn't answer Ms. Gordon's inconvenient points about the huge government welfare checks received by the dirty energy industries that fund him while he rails against pro-clean energy policies. Morriss, you see, is a front man for the front group, the Koch-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University; the Koch-funded Property & Environment Research Center; and the ExxonMobil and Koch-funded Institute …

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NY Times lets dirty energy soil its op-ed page

Robert Bryce.Cross-posted from The Great Energy Challenge. Just as the traditional news media began its current freefall of layoffs, staff cuts, closures, and substitution of ideology for journalism, The New York Times, thank goodness, decided to double down on good (albeit not perfect) journalism. That's why it’s baffling to see a dirty-energy front-group operative, Robert Bryce, getting a seat last week next to Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof on the Times’ opinion page, with a piece of pro-dirty energy propaganda, without having to say if he’s paid by dirty energy. I remember from journalism school that opinion pages are run separately from the news …

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Clean energy advocate gives a 'how to' clinic on rebutting fossil energy disinformation

Cross-posted from The Great Energy Challenge blog Over the past few months, I've made the case that dirty energy lobby plays a full contact game against clean energy, using lobbying and disinformation as business weapons to drive the idea that clean energy is "expensive, unreliable and not ready." Cleantech, I've said, needs to step up its advocacy game dramatically, including driving an honest debate about who is really "expensive." At the WINDPOWER International trade show this week, I spoke on a panel that fielded a number of questions about how to do that. It's hard to find a better place …

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Lessons from PFC Restrepo’s Mother

The incredibly brave work of the U.S. Special Forces team that killed Osama bin Laden brought some badly needed, uplifting news. It gave Americans welcome, if temporary, relief from steady news of American lives lost in the Middle East. You can really feel that weight of the sacrifice our people are making to defend America watching Sebastian Junger’s moving film, “Restrepo.” The film documents the service and sacrifice of the U.S Army’s Second Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. The film is named after Private First Class (PFC) Juan Sebastián Restrepo, one of the first in …

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National coal expert: ‘Mining is a loser’ in practically every way

Anytime coal's cost to America is discussed, the coal industry reflexively talks about what an economic lifeline it is for the states in which it operates. Headwaters Economics, a Bozeman-based think tank focusing on natural resource issues, has a solid new study that's getting national attention for undercutting those claims. For instance, the Headwaters study finds that "fossil fuel production has not insulated energy-producing states from fiscal crisis," that "fossil fuel extraction has a limited influence at the state level on economic indicators such as GDP by state, personal income, and employment," and that "the volatility of fossil fuel markets …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Coal

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Gambling when we don’t have to

Two weeks ago, I visited the office of a friend of mine, a partner at a top cleantech Silicon Valley law firm. He and I shared a concern about the increasingly hostile, anti-clean-energy propaganda from dirty-energy-funded critics who are trying to position clean energy as expensive, subsidy-dependent, and “not ready.” The good news, my friend said, was that he’s increasingly hearing from cleantech executives and investors concerned about these growing attacks on their investments. The bad news was that many of those concerned don’t connect the attacks with the dirty energy money that’s funding them. “Now what cleantech needs to …

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