Why Ban Foam When it can be Recycled?

Recently, the nestled away town of Brookline, Massachusetts (a cousin city of Boston) has been stricken by a ban on polystyrene foam that would impose strain upon our most useful and necessary facilities, such as our hospitals and firehouses.

Boston’s ban on foam will make it challenging for businesses to safely package all kinds of shippable goods, including food. Most business owners in the area have been using foam for decades as it is both effective and inexpensive. Law changes to the usage practices of this particular packaging instrument would mean alternative packaging would need to be used across several industries.

One reason why many business owners are rejecting the city’s ban is due to the negative economic impact it has on them. In most cases, alternative materials to polystyrene foam like cardboard and paper are significantly more expensive. According to one business owner, it will cost him ten times more to purchase paper cups than his traditional foam cups. As a result, he will be forced to raise his prices and cut his employees’ salaries which will create a financial strain on his business.

Recycling is an affordable alternative with many different, innovative options. To date, there are over 60 cities across the United States that are already successfully offering curbside recycling for polystyrene foam. Rather than ridding the city of polystyrene foam completely, state officials should implement more recycling programs throughout Massachusetts, such as drop off centers and curbside pick-ups so residents can safely dispose of their used polystyrene foam.

People in the recycling industry understand that recycled polystyrene is useful for a number of purposes, ranging from picture frames to building insulation. Businesses can use polystyrene foam and maintain their corporate responsibility values by recycling the material once it has served its purpose. It is not necessary to ban polystyrene foam in order to divert the material from landfills.

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How Harvard has changed green technology

In our technology rich world today, it is more important than ever to acquire a college degree. When choosing a school to attend, there are many factors to take into account. Some of these factors are the history of the institution, successful alumni, and the school’s contribution to our efforts to preserve the earth. When considering all of these factors, the prestigious Ivy League college Harvard University is the perfect school to choose to attend.

Many notable people have attended this prestigious school such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, who became one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States. Holding 3 terms as commander in chief, he influenced the world for decades. Another alumnus from Harvard that was a native to New York was Maxwell Perkins. He was responsible for the discovery of such great literary works as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s manuscripts. Not to be outdone, another famous person coming from Harvard who was native to New York is John Lithgow. His impressive list of works and accreditations are a testament to the quality of the Harvard institution as well as supporting its popularity among the college seeking crowd. The owner of the Empire State Building Anthony Malkin, is also known to have graduated from Harvard.

Through the history of this school, there have been graduates of high public standing and profile. These alumni helped to make Harvard the prestigious school that young adults are preparing themselves all their lives to attend. The popularity of this college is due primarily because of the high quality of professors and classes offered to the students. Founded in 1636, Harvard is the oldest higher learning institution in the United States. By offering a wide variety of subjects that can be studied and the opening of the enrollment to a larger section of the public beyond the wealthy and privileged has increased its popularity. Throughout history the changing and evolving of Harvard continues to attract a large variety of students from all incomes and backgrounds, offering a varied mixture of knowledge to the school’s proven successful curriculum. One of the newest areas that this curriculum has focused on is the development of green technology for our environmental benefit.

Harvard students’ research and accomplishments that have directly affected the green technology of society include landscaping techniques for the conservation of water, and a community driven garden project which provides valuable growing research as well as supplying produce for the school and surrounding community. Research is in development on a battery that can store energy economically for use when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow. This technology uses the quinones that are found naturally in plants such as rhubarb, to store energy for long periods of time when other methods of energy storage are not effective. These are only a few of the examples of technological advancements that the green teams at Harvard are working on to make our world a more sustainable place to live.

Harvard University is the oldest and most trusted institution of higher learning in the United States. The list of honorable and award winning alumni is a tribute to the schools long-standing reputation as the finest of the Ivy League schools. Growing in popularity over the years, this school has evolved and embraced the need for technological advancements in sustainability practices that people can implement in everyday functioning of society.

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Update your Home with a New Entry Door

Your front door is one of the most important parts of your home. It is one of the first things people look at when coming toward your house. It is the main entry point for all visitors and is also the main barrier to keep unwanted guests out. In addition, your front door can be an effective barrier to outside temperature changes; keeping the temperature of your home manageable with the help of your air conditioning system. Lastly, a good front door can help the resale value of your home or detract from it, depending on what shape it is in.

Your front door can say a lot about you. A ragged looking, unkempt door may not provide the impression you want to present to visitors. You will want an entry door that is warm and inviting. If your front door is not presenting the image you want or has just gotten to the point that it needs to be replaced, now is the time to act as the weather warms up.

Entry door installation is easy to do and the benefits gained from the new door can be substantial. New designs and manufacturing processes have made the selection of doors vast and have improved the insulation properties, as well as, created unique looks that will make your house pop. A new installation will add to the resale value as an added bonus.

The easiest way to install a new front door is to call a contractor to come do the work for you. This is the way to go if you don’t have carpentry skills or the proper tools for the job. However, if you do have the skills, you can tackle the job with confidence and have it finished before evening guests arrive for the party.

You will want to buy the best door you can afford. Look for steel doors that provide strength for your personal safety and high R-values to reduce your air conditioning and heating costs. You can also get wood and aluminum, but keep in mind what you want your door to say about you and your house.

You can get entry door installation instructions online or can go to your local big box lumber store and use their in store professionals to teach you. Either way you will be making a home improvement that will return big dividends.

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Coordinated Chemistry Yields Green Solutions for More Efficient Gas Storage

Metal Organic Frameworks (commonly called MOFs) are intricate crystal structures that can store or separate individual elements in a highly efficient manner. MOFs are materials made by linking inorganic and organic units together with strong bonds formed through coordination chemistry. MOFs are not only leading the way in providing clean technology solutions, but are actively being explored by the energy, transportation, and pharmaceutical industries to deliver new applications (for energy storage).

Since the technology was introduced, scientists have found applications for gas separation and storage as well as other promising applications within the green industry. Framergy™ is a company on the cutting edge of this industry. Their new class of MOFs has been built from the nano-level to more closely mimic nature thereby leveraging the attributes of MOFs to increase working capacity and stability.

Because MOFs have the highest surface area known to man, extreme amounts of a selected element, like methane, can be separated and stored within them opening up new energy solutions for gas storage at low pressure.

MOFs began as a solution for the hydrogen vehicle. In 2012, framergy’s Chief Scientific Advisor and founder, Hong-Cai “Joe” Zhou of Texas A&M University was awarded his second highly selective ARPA-E award to develop MOFs for low-pressure vehicle storage of natural gas.

Once thought of as impossible, in less than two years, these exclusively licensed materials have increased performance (the selection, storage, and applicability) of MOFs through rational design, while reducing costs 4,000 fold. In addition, framergy has developed water and ACID-stable MOFs for industrial performance.

Source: Enn.com

Read the complete article.

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American Energy Sources

The terms energy and fuel are on our minds constantly, and you might find yourself wondering where does the energy come from.  Here is a quick list of some types of energy we have here in the US and some sources for it.

Nuclear Power

It may sound very scary, and after what happened to Fukushima a few years back, we may be a little apprehensive about it.  BUT, Nuclear Power is actually very clean and rather safe.  The accidents are very rare (one of the lowest if not the lowest in the energy industry) but the media likes to harp on them.  Nuclear Power produces lots of electrical energy for American consumers, such as those who get their power from Nine-Mile Point in New York.

Oil and Gas

One of America’s biggest industries.  Oil and gas are great boosts to the economy, and provide lots of jobs, and of course energy.  Drilling efforts are proceeding all over the United States, in order to provide consumers with energy, with the world’s most efficient source of it.  Companies such as Cunningham Energy drill horizontal shaft oil wells and focus on American drilling efforts and get all their oil from here in the US.

Wind Power

This form of energy has been around for a while (windmills anyone) and is expanding across the Midwest and West Coast of the United States.  Wind Power is used to generate electricity and requires lots of room in order to be able to operate, making it not ideal for urban areas.  Texas has been having an expansion of wind power, with the introduction of more wind farms such as The Roscoe Wind Farm, which is the third largest wind farm in the United States.

Solar Power

The power of the sun.  Solar energy uses sun absorbing panels in order to generate electricity, or heat certain areas.  In a few countries, solar panels are used to heat water for things like hot showers.  California is very involved in incorporating solar power into their energy use, and have just recently finished construction on the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in San Bernardino.


The truth is without it what would we do?  Most other energy sources are specifically used for generating more electric energy.  Whether turning a light on, or your car on, electricity is needed everywhere.

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IKEA’s Green Efforts Lead to New Business Opportunities

The big, blue, reusable shopping bag is a nearly iconic symbol of greenness, but far beyond its long-standing policy of not using throw-away plastic bags, IKEA has also committed to aggressive measures to make itself as green as possible. Its strategy includes 100% reliance on sustainable, clean energy sources by 2020. IKEA also plans to provide affordable means for its consumers who are also interested in living greener lifestyles.

When IKEA looked into the future, it saw itself with a huge carbon footprint. It saw it was tied to energy sources with prices and availability that could neither be controlled nor accurately budgeted. So it tightened up.

IKEA warehouses became energy efficient by replacing HVAC units with newer, less wasteful ones. It also recycled construction materials, and made a major commitment to the LED light bulb by becoming the first major retailer to quit selling incandescent light bulbs. LED bulbs are now the bulb of choice because LEDs have a three-time greater life expectancy than even compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA sells the LEDs at a moderate price because it feels sustainability should be financially in reach of everyone and that going green should not carry a premium.

Beyond the warehouse measures, IKEA also committed to protecting the wood forests from which it got supply. It now grows more trees than it uses. And IKEA has been educating its wood suppliers on sustainability and helping them maintain their forests. IKEA tries to manufacture more laminated wood furniture now than solid wood. While the look is the same, the price and carbon footprint are much lower.

To reach its goal of being more sustainable, IKEA has begun transitioning its stores to renewable energy sources. As the second largest private commercial solar owner in the United States, IKEA says that it will potentially have excess energy to sell to its consumers by 2020. Although becoming an energy supplier was not the reason for seeking energy self-reliance, IKEA sees the potential excess as an added bonus.

IKEA firmly believes the only companies that will survive the next 30 years are those that embrace resource sustainability. It is taking a firm stance and in doing so is creating new business opportunities for itself. This year customers in the U.K. can purchase solar cell panels in IKEA U.K. stores. If that market test is successful then U.S. customers will be next in line.

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Home Remedies to Get Rid of Spiders

Most people would rather not deal with a spider infested home. However, when an infestation occurs, it is important to know how to get rid of spiders. In addition to calling an exterminator, you also have the option of trying a number of different home remedies.

You may think that a vacuum cleaner is nothing but a noise maker, but if you really want to get rid of that family of spiders, crank up the sucking machine and point it in the direction of those unwanted guests. Insect repellant does not have to be expensive. In fact, you could easily put together your own concoction of 5 tablespoons of liquid soap, 5 tablespoons of citronella with a quart of water to create a spray that has been known to wipe out any spiders it comes in contact with.

If you prefer to work with a spray, you might want to try putting 1 quart of white distilled water and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a spray bottle. There are certain oils that react negatively to insects, so when you really need to get rid of spiders you might want to give them a try.

In case you did not already know, the powder known as Borax is extremely poisonous to pests. Therefore it serves as an excellent solution for getting rid of these long legged insects when sprinkled around certain areas of the home.

Although it may not kill them, it appears that spiders do not like certain kinds of citrus such as Osage Oranges. This may not work for every spider, however, a few slices of this particular kind of citrus has been known to send some spiders in the opposite direction.

If you appreciate the smell of Eucalyptus, then you are in luck, because this will not only make future spiders avoid your home like the plague, it also makes everything around you smell great. Considering the fact that this is nothing but a great smelling leaf, it is good to know that it has more than one purpose.

The smell of kerosene is as unpleasant for human beings as it will be for two generations of spiders, so if you are serious about finding new home remedies to get rid of spiders, do not forget to include this option. Remember that kerosene is flammable, but after a while the fumes will dissipate into thin air and you will no longer be at risk of starting a fire.

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Innovation in US Aerospace

The aerospace and aviation sector in the United States is one of the most advanced in the world. While NASA has a long history of space exploration, these days there are numerous American companies beginning to experiment with space travel. Aerospace engineering companies like AERA, Armadillo Aerospace, Bigelow Aerospace, Blue Origin, Interorbital Systems, Orbital Sciences Corp. and others are now all involved in creating aircraft which are capable of safe and efficient space flights.

The U.S. is even holding a competition among private companies for the contract to deliver supplies to the international space station. The vision is that soon space travel will be a commercial enterprise completely funded by private companies and individuals. This has created a lot of excitement in the American aerospace industry.

More students are beginning to dream up new and better ways to go further into space and visit far away worlds. With the aging of the shuttle fleet, companies and private individuals are working on several simple, more cost-efficient ways to make round trips to the space station and other short jaunts into space. It is a great time to be a student of space travel in the U.S. After of few tragedies there is renewed interest and new successes to build on. Now traveling to other planets and exploring distant galaxies is again on the minds of American youngsters.

When it comes to aviation the United States has led the world in flight ever since Orville and Wilbur Wright took off in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The aviation industry is in near constant flux. Older airlines are merging and newer airlines are innovating to ensure the traveling public can get to distant cities quicker, safer and more economically. This has helped the U.S. aviation industry remain a world leader.

Aviation has long been an American strong suit. While other countries have focused on bullet train technology, in the United States people have long loved air travel. This is important because of the size of the American continent and the tendency of Americans to travel from one end of the country to the other for business and pleasure. The aviation industry makes it possible for college and professional athletes to compete in games all over the country and return home within hours after the games are over. Air travel is perfectly suited for extended families and the nomadic, rugged individual who has helped to build America.

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Don’t Bring Back Bed Bugs from Your Hotel Stay!

Traveling can be a great break from everyday life and provide much needed rest and relaxation, but beware that you don’t bring home more than you bargained for when you return to real life.  Bed bugs are have unfortunately made a comeback in recent years and can be found in many hotels, despite efforts to exterminate the pests.  The first difficulty that they are tiny, less than a quarter of inch long as adults, and they love to hide in mattresses, bedding and furniture.  They only leave these clever hiding places at night, when they emerge to feed on humans, leaving itchy red and white welts.

Regrettably another one of their skills is hitching rides in clothing and suitcases, meaning a night in an infested bed could have lasting consequences.  To avoid this exact occurrence, University of Florida urban entomologists Phil Koehler and Roberto Pereira have come up with a list of travel tips:

  • Inspect your hotel room when you arrive. Check mattress seams and folds. Look for blood spots the size of a pencil point. Check behind the headboard as well. They can even lurk in a picture frame or in a popcorn ceiling.
  • If you see signs of bed bugs, demand another room, and inspect that one as well.
  • In the room, keep your suitcases away from furniture and walls until you finish your inspection. Keep your suitcase closed overnight and inside tightly sealed plastic garbage bags when you’re not using them. Keep your shoes and socks inside the plastic bag while you sleep. Bedbugs are attracted to the odor of feet.
  • When packing to leave, check your clothing and luggage for signs of the small insects. Check seams and folds carefully.
  • Back at home, immediately wash all your laundry from the trip in hot water, then machine dry on the highest setting for at least 20 minutes. Even if you don’t wash, putting possibly infested items into the dryer on high heat will kill bed bugs. Even dry-cleanable clothing can be put in driers if you don’t wet it first.

If these tips still fail you or you’ve already brought home some unwanted visitors, there are many companies that will help you get rid of bed bugs.  Unfortunately, there is nothing really available over the counter to handle the infestation because every bug has to be sprayed directly and it’s very hard to kill the eggs, so reinfestation is common. So as is the case with many things, prior prevention is the best method to ensure a safe and bed bug-free home.

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Bedbug Problem on the Rise

According to US News & World Report, bedbug infestations are increasing in the US, as well as other locations around the world. While bedbugs are clearly attracted to us, experts claim that the pests are actually difficult to detect.

The National Pest Management Association reports that about one in five people in America have either had a bedbug infestation in their home at some time, or know someone else who has.

Dr. Jorge Parada, medical director of the infection control program at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Illinois warned that even if you haven’t seen bedbugs in your home, you should not assume that they aren’t there.

“Look closely because bedbugs are very hard to see,” Parada said in a university news release. “Bedbugs love to hide in the cracks and crevices associated with mattresses, cushions, bed frames and other structures. They are rarely seen out in the open or on the resting surface of beds or chairs.”

Parada added that bedbugs aren’t always visible when you look for them, so it’s important to look for signs of an infestation. Sometimes they are “described as appearing like an apple seed.” Young bedbugs are as small as one-sixteenth of an inch, and adult bedbugs typically measure less than a quarter of an inch.

Finding bedbug bites on your body is a clue that you may have an infestation. Bites are red and itchy, and may appear in a line on the skin. Still, some people do not develop an immediate reaction to bites, and others may not develop a reaction at all. The surest way to detect and eliminate an infestation is to call in the pros.

It is difficult to get rid of bed bugs on your own. Parada said that, “bedbugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate and there is good reason to get professional help from qualified pest professionals with expertise in treating bed bugs.”

Source: US News Health

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