Pollution

New York may join crackdown on plastic bags
October 29, 2007 10:57 PM - Edith Honan, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City may follow an international trend and crack down on plastic shopping bags, seeking to cut their use with a plan officials hope will be a model for other cities.

A proposal introduced on Monday requires stores larger than 5,000 square feet to set up an in-store recycling program and sell reusable bags.

Some 700 food stores plus large retailers such as Target and Home Depot would have to collect used bags and provide a system for turning them over to a manufacturer or to third-party recycling firms.

U.S. consumer group flags more toys with lead
October 29, 2007 07:23 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dishes, toys, jewelry and backpacks that have not yet been recalled all carry "worrisome" levels of lead, the nonprofit Consumers Union said on Monday.

The group's Consumer Reports magazine staff recommended that people immediately stop using some of the products tested.

"Our lab tests detected lead at widely varying levels in samples of dishware, jewelry, glue stick caps, vinyl backpacks, children's ceramic tea sets and other toys and items not on any federal recall list," the group wrote in a magazine report.

German carmakers blast motorway speed limit idea
October 29, 2007 11:27 AM -

HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Imposing a standard speed limit of 130 kph (80 mph) on German motorways would have scant impact on the environment and only hurt domestic carmakers, the country's VDA auto industry group said on Monday.

"Such fixed speed limits would be an ecological zero-sum game and would damage the German auto sector," VDA President Matthias Wissmann said in a statement to Reuters.

Germany is unusual in that stretches of its motorways still have no speed limit, and the country's influential car industry has lobbied hard against any national rules.

U.S. Air Force Turns to Alternative Fuel, Slashing CO2
October 27, 2007 11:44 AM - Jim Wolf, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The world's most powerful air force is seeking to wean itself from foreign oil and nearly zero out its carbon dioxide output as part of a sweeping alternative energy drive, a senior Pentagon official said on Friday.

By early 2011, the U.S. Air Force aims to make sure its entire fleet of bombers, fighters, transports and other aircraft can use a domestically produced 50-50 blend of synthetic and petroleum-based fuel.

William Anderson, an assistant Air Force secretary, said the goal was to reduce energy demand, look for cleaner power sources and to reuse captured carbon commercially, for instance to enhance the growth of biofuels or improve oil well production.

"We can get ourselves very close to a zero carbon footprint," said Anderson ahead of talks on the issue with counterparts in Britain and France next month.

"Not today. Not tomorrow. But maybe a decade or so down the road," he told a briefing at the State Department's Foreign Press Center.

Green Savings are in the Bag
October 26, 2007 05:51 PM -

GUILDFORD, England, October 26/PRNewswire/ -- An innovative new range of reusable supermarket shopping bags has been launched to help shoppers reduce their consumption of disposable plastic carrier bags, estimated to be 220 per year for every shopper. The launch comes as London considers a tax or even a complete ban on disposable plastic bags in the capital.

Geccobags.co.uk argue that small lifestyle changes by large numbers of people can have a major impact in reducing waste and the creation of carbon, the main cause of global warming. The Geccobag, which holds the equivalent of three plastic carrier bags, opens out to clip inside a supermarket trolley. This, say the makers, not only cuts the average shopper's consumption of plastic carrier bags, but also reduces customer checkout time by up to 20%, making for a less stressful shopping experience. "The majority of plastic carrier bags go straight to landfill. Although these make up only a small percentage of total plastic waste, tackling the issue will help raise people's awareness of wider issues surrounding our unsustainable 'throw away' society", says Geccobags managing director Georgina Tuson-Little.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dutch car wins Australia's outback solar race
October 26, 2007 12:44 PM -

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Dutch solar car Nuna4 won the 20th World Solar Challenge, a 3,000 km (1,864 mile) race through the Australian outback, race officials said on Friday.

"Non-Flying Dutchmen" Push Climate Awareness
October 26, 2007 12:21 PM -

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch environment group launched a campaign on Friday called "Proud to be a non-Flying Dutchman" to get the travel-happy Dutch to reduce their air miles for the sake of the climate.

"We want to discourage Christmas shopping in London, disco nights in Ibiza, Milan weekends and stag nights in Barcelona," Dutch Friends of the Earth said on Friday.

Children kept indoors as Beijing fog turns to smog
October 26, 2007 12:17 PM -

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing's weather office warned children and the elderly to stay indoors on Friday as heavy fog blanketed the host city of the 2008 Olympics, exacerbating its chronic air pollution, Chinese state media reported.

Fog caused severe delays at Beijing airport and reduced visibility in the centre of the city to less than 200 meters.

"The fog will not only affect the traffic but also harm humans' respiratory system. I suggest old people and children avoid going outdoors or wear a mask," Sun Jisong, the city's chief weatherman, told the official Xinhua news agency.

Canada sets largest freshwater conservation area
October 25, 2007 07:55 PM -

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The largest freshwater marine protected area in the world is being set up off the northern shores of Lake Superior, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Thursday.

The national marine conservation area will encompass more than 10,000 sq. km (3,900 sq. miles) of Lake Superior, the biggest of the Great Lakes, including lake bed, islands and north shorelands.

Sarkozy promises a green revolution for France
October 25, 2007 07:48 PM - James Mackenzie, reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - President Nicolas Sarkozy promised a green revolution on Thursday, unveiling a mix of tax measures and investment pledges that he said would put France in the vanguard of the war against global warming.

"France isn't late but France wants now to be in the lead," he said in a speech wrapping up a special environmental policy conference seeking ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and help change attitudes to the environment.

The congress was one of the highest profile green initiatives ever launched in France and fulfilled an election campaign promise by Sarkozy, who has said his government will emphasize sustainable development.

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