Living

ReGeneration Roadtrip: There's no green business like show business

Film Biz Recycling aims to roll credits on the wasteful film industry

When a director yells “cut!” on the set of a TV show, commercial, or feature-length film, the cameras may stop rolling but production is far from over. While editors are looking at raw footage, producers are eyeing premiere numbers, and actors are reading over new scripts, someone else is tearing down the sets and getting props off the lot. But where does this stuff end up? Too often, it’s the landfill, says Eva Radke, founder of Film Biz Recycling. Once tasked with dumping sets herself, Radke knows the business — and the folks in it — from her years of …

Driving down those roads

July sees another sharp drop in U.S. driving

July saw another sharp drop in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) according to the Federal Highway Administration’s monthly report on “Traffic Volume Trends.” Lost in all the news about the financial meltdown and the election is the report that Americans drove 3.6 percent less, or 9.6 billion miles fewer, in July 2008 than July 2007. Okay, maybe it wasn’t lost in all the news — it looks like the FHA didn’t bother issuing a press release (see here). I guess even they are blasé about reductions in driving that just a few months ago would have been record-setting. In any case, …

A tasting of five fall-friendly organic dark brews

According to hippie wisdom, early fall is a delicate time, holistically speaking. The season’s first chill causes sniffly noses and sour moods. To chase the fall blues away, one alternative-medicine-minded friend recently suggested eating plenty of greens. Well, I already eat plenty of greens. What I really need now is a beer — one dark and flavorful enough to take the bitter edge off of summer’s exit. For this tasting, I went looking for organic beers worthy of therapeutic autumnal sipping. While coworkers tease me about the “tough job” of tasting beer, the task of actually finding organic brew really …

Lust

Hot new ergonomic desk chair: 96 percent recyclable

The successor to Herman Miller’s wildly successful Aeron ergonomic desk chair is coming to a lazy, cube-drone posterior near you. It’s called the Embody and … gimme. As a DFH, though, should I be satisfied with a chair that’s only 96 percent recyclable? After last year’s epic hunt for the best ergo chair, I ended up with the Steelcase Think, which is 99 percent recyclable. What up, Herman Miller? Do you hate the earth 3 percent?

Starbucks accused of big-time water-wasting

Starbucks wastes some 6.2 million gallons of water each day through a health policy that requires a constantly running tap at each store, says a breathless indictment in British tabloid The Sun. A Starbucks spokesperson confirms the use of a dipper well, which uses “a stream of continuous cold fresh-running water to rinse away food residue, help keep utensils clean, and prevent bacterial growth.” Dipper wells are common at coffee and ice-cream shops, but the gigantuousness of Starbucks’ global operations is such that, according to the The Sun, the amount of wasted water could sate the thirst of “the entire …

Umbra on aerosols

Dear Umbra, Love the column. Keep up the great stuff! A question: My co-workers and I are suspicious of buying spray cans, even though we know they no longer contain CFCs. We suspect that aerosol cans contain HCFCs — hydrochlorofluorocarbons — which are proving to be dangerous as well, this time as greenhouse gases. Do all aerosol cans contain HCFCs? Can we trust a “green” product like an essential-oils-and-water-based deodorizer that comes in an aerosol can? And what about non-aerosol cans — are their contents safe? Kate Boulder, Colo. Dearest Kate, Thank you for the compliments. In grateful return, I …

ReGeneration Roadtrip: Yeah ... but is it art?

The Wolf Trap Center connects art and nature

    This is a guest post from my travel partner, Todd Dwyer, head blogger for Dell’s ReGeneration.org. —– After our visit to the amazing Philip Merrill Environmental Center in Annapolis, Maryland, Sarah and I hopped in our trusty steed, Cletus the Prius, for a drive to the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in search of the nature of art and the art of nature. Although the Wolf Trap is located in Vienna, Virginia, our contact, Chris Guerre, requested we meet him at a farmer’s market at Ben Brenman Park in Alexandria. Apparently, Chris is a very busy …

Shortages to the left of me, shortages to the right

Demand for green products exceeds supply

My relatives in the D.C. area are on a Prius waiting list. People wanting to build their own electric bikes are on waiting lists for parts. If you’re planning to put up some solar panels, well, get in line. According to Rich Bunch, at Silicon Solar Inc, their next shipment of solar components is due on Oct. 15 and 90 percent of it is already spoken for. I’m guessing that this shipment, like most shipments, is coming from China. Shortages not only trip up building schedules, but they also inflate prices. I recently received an estimate of about $9,000 to …

ReGeneration Roadtrip: A Green Exchange of ideas

Constructing a green space for green biz

Driving along I-90/94W out of downtown Chicago, you can see London, France, the old Vassar Swiss Underwear Company building now under construction. A sign adorning the highway-facing façade tells you this will soon be the Green Exchange, a retail and office facility that will house some 100 businesses, all of them environmentally and socially responsible. To fully see the potential for this place, Todd and I were fitted with hard hats and given the hand-wave tour: you know, “this over here” and “that over there” and “imagine here, if you can.” As we stepped over dust and debris in this …