Bottle vs Tap Water

Oregon Dept of Environmental Quality just published a reportLife Cycle Assessment of Drinking Water Delivery Systems: Bottled Water, Tap Water and Home/Office Delivery Water” that compares 48 different methods of delivering drinking water to consumers. It evaluates the  environmental effects across the entire life cycle of single-use, five-gallon reusable and tap water delivery method and determines the variables (recycling rates, recycled content, dishwasher use, transportation distance, water treatment, secondary packaging, to name just a few) that go into the lifecycle.

The conclusion is that tap water has lower environmental impacts than bottled water which we all assume anyway, but  the report views this question through the lens of “reduce, reuse, recycle”.  (The news release from Oregon DEQ has a nice summary of the report. As David Allaway from the Oregon DEQ says:

“We often hear people express some variation of bottled water is bad for the environment because most of the bottles go to the landfill – now we have specific evidence to support this theory. “While recycling water bottles is better than disposing of them, the overall environmental impacts of tap water are much lower than the impacts of drinking bottled water regardless of whether the bottles are 100% disposed or 100% recycled. EX: PET bottle, recycled at a rate of 100%, has greenhouse gas impacts 46 times higher than the “best case” tap water scenario the study evaluated.  Put differently, just because a packaging is recyclable (or recycled) doesn’t make it inherently “good for the environment”. The timeworn hierarchy of “prevent first, then recycle” makes good environmental sense.”

Green Book Festival

Any authors out there? There is a call for entries for books that “contribute to greater understanding, respect and positive action on the changing worldwide environment.” It’s for the 2010 Green Book Festival which will be held at the  Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, CA on April 30-May 2, 2010.

The books can be published, self-published and independent publisher works in the following categories: non-fiction, fiction, children’s books, teenage, how-to, audio/spoken word, comics/graphic novels, poetry, science fiction/horror, biography/autobiography, gardening,cookbooks, animals, photography/art, e-books, wild card, scientific, white paper, legal, business, mystery and spiritual and in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese or Italian.

Grand Prize winner will be the Green Book Festival Author of the Year and receive $1500 and transportation to the (april 2010) Earth Day celebration in Los Angeles OR an equivalent amount donated in your name to the environmental charity of your choice. More details!

WebJunction Green Libraries Group

Started by Tara Matsuzaki, Librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library, the Webjunction Green Libraries Group is for library staff and trustees interested in making our libraries more ecologically sustainable. Currently there are a few documents such as green suppliers, greening your operations and telecommuting. The discussion area has a few threaded discussion topics from librarians sharing ideas from their own libraries.  The more people who join the Webjunction group,  the more information, documents and ideas to be shared by each other.

Open Air Library (in Germany)

Check out the Magdeburg’s Open Air Library made from over 1000 beer cartons and incorporating parts of the facade from the city of Hamm’s demolished Horten warehouse (and with the help of designer  Karo Architekten) It’s both a cultural center and a “pop-up library” where books (which were gathered by residents and donated) are free to take and leave 24 hours a day. The grassy plaza area has a “reading cafe and a stage that hosts elementary school theater plays, public readings, concerts, and other cultural events.”

sustainable name tags

I just attended an event where – instead of plastic or sticker name tags and using markers – we were given pieces of recycled card stock (you could use old card catalog cards) attached with a small binder clip and string.The string was already tied in a circle and then we simply looped it through on edge of the binder clip.  We used crayons to write our names. All easily reusable, recyclable and natural!   Here is photos of my name tag:nametag



Green Directory for Colleges

From AASHE bulletin:

Duke University (NC) has launched a free directory of environmental information at nearly 2,000 U.S. colleges and universities. The directory provides listings of environmental degree programs as well as environmental opportunities and organizations at campuses around the country. The directory was created by student volunteers at 40 campuses nationwide, including undergraduate and graduate students at Duke. It offers information on undergraduate, masters and PhD degree programs and includes links to campus carbon inventories and recycling opportunities, environmentally focused student clubs and organizations, and environmental opportunities in the local community. Duke U Press Release

Energy Efficiency Resource

The US Dept of  Energy has a wonderful web site on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy loaded with lots of tips, news, ideas,  and more. Check out the energy audit section, find out about tax credits and rebates (even specifically on energy star appliances), choose a category such as appliances, lighting, remodeling, heating etc. for more information, read about energy saving possibilities in the workplace, or read the energy savings blog.