Opt out of unwanted catalogs for Earth Day

Catalog Choice offers a way for consumers to opt out of unwanted direct mail

Each year, direct mail advertising – all those circulars, catalogs and coupon books that seem to show up out of nowhere – create ten billion pounds of solid waste.  According to the Environmental Defense Fund, that equals 80,000,000 trees and 33,000,000,000 pounds of CO2!

Catalog Choice, a leading non-profit mail preference service, is calling on consumers around the country this Earth Day to stop unwanted mail at its source.

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Walmart’s Zero Waste program – a guardedly optimistic perspective

After reading an article today by Michelle Mauthe Harvey about Walmart’s progress with their program to generate zero waste, I have to say I was impressed with the way the retailer has continued to seek workable options that will alow it to meet its goal.

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A Texas company rewards drivers for driving less

Car insurance has been around since the 19th century. Surprisingly, auto insurance has its “at fault” roots in the marine industry. The industry’s steady growth has seen it become more adversarial and costly to consumers, with little relief or recognition for those who drive less. 

A Dallas, Texas company that’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, CNN Money and Fox Business News, has designed something that could revolutionize the automobile insurance industry – and give drivers real incentives to cut back on unnecessary driving while doing something good for the environment. 

In 2008, a new insurance carrier – MileMeter Insurance Company – was launched. They are the only company in the U.S. to carry Pay-as-you-Drive insurance. 

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Reusable mug mimics a throw-away

coffeeAccording to a joint study by the Environmental Defense Fund and the  Pew Charitable Trust, Starbucks goes through 1.9 billion coffee cups every year.

Coffee roasteries across the country increasingly face the same issue – how to provide java lovers their morning “fix” in something that keeps the brew hot, keeps costs down and doesn’t harm the environment.

Innovative British designer James Burgess came up with a classy solution.

The “I am Not a Paper Cup” is a thermal porcelain cup that’s an exact-looking replica of the take-out coffee cup. It comes complete with a silicone snap-on lid that helps prevent spills.

Instead of adding to the landfill, says Burgess, the witty, iconic design turns an everyday disposable coffee mug into a long lasting, valuable product you want to keep.

I am not a Paper Cup

"I am not a Paper Cup" - enjoy your java and help the environment too

Made of double-walled porcelain with a hollow cavity in-between each layer, at first glance it almost fools you into thinking it’s a regular toss-type coffee cup.

“I am not a Paper Cup” provides excellent insulation for your drink – hot or cold – without taking on the drastic temperature change of whatever’s inside like regular paper or porcelain cups do. No more burning hands while drinking scalding coffee!

This super useful cup is microwavable and dishwasher safe. The silicone stopper at the bottom of the cup also prevents water from leaking into the cup while you’re washing it. Both the lid and mug are rated to withstand temperatures up to 230C. or 446 F.

Testing out this mug, I was surprised at how well it kept my tea hot. Normal porcelain mugs don’t work half as well. And the flexible lid really sealed tightly.

Silicon was chosen because of its flexibility, said Burgess, so it would tightly grip the ceramic cup, creating the best possible seal while help retain the drink’s heat. Also, he said, “it retains its shape well and comes it lots of cool colors we could try out.”

The sipping hole is a bit smaller than normal but that also helps to prevent spills. About the only thing I can say negative about this is that it holds around 10 ounces versus the larger size I prefer.

Cleaning the lid’s a snap. Soak it in boiling water with three lemon wedges until it’s clean. And don’t use detergent on it. The manufacturer says to use toothpaste to wash it – yet another save for the environment.

“Use (the mug) for your daily coffee,” says Burgess, “so that it can make a difference, no matter how big it is.”

You can find this eco-friendly mug on a number of websites, including Ochelly.com, Amazon, UncommonGoods.com and Target.com, though it’s more expensive at the last site. You can purchase a package of two replacement lids on Amazon. The mug costs from $10 to 16.95 and the lids run under $7.00.