The 4 Worst Companies for the Planet

We have looked a lot at how it is the individual’s responsibility to look after their own trash and litter, but today we wanted to have a look at what companies have a terrible reputation for being eco-friendly.

These are companies that need to be aware of their own pollution levels, and the effects that they have on the environment:

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1. Monsanto (MON)

This company is designed to help people grow plants does a lot of harm to the environment? Monsanto is the leading producer of glyphosate herbicides. Glyphosates have been linked to cancer and birth defects. Monsanto also create genetically modified crops. The EPA also listed the company as being “potentially responsible” for over 50 Superfund clean-up sites.

2. Archer-Daniels Midland (ADM)

Archer-Daniels is a company engaged in agriculture. Archer-Daniels is engaged in the procurement and processing of agricultural commodities, and in the process it can do some serious damage. Archer-Daniels has been subjected to a number of federal lawsuits over the years in regards to air pollution at its plants, and it’s also a very active participant in lobbying for price supports and subsidies that can have a dramatic effect on the direction of American agriculture.

3. Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU)

Ah, finally, a coal company. Peabody Energy is actively engaged in coal mining. Very actively. It’s the largest private sector coal company in the world, supplying the coal that produces 10 percent of electricity in America and 2 percent of electricity worldwide, selling some 246 million tons of coal in 2010. The environmental impact of putting all that coal out there, in and of itself, would probably be enough to land Peabody on this list, but it’s also a mining company, which rarely means good things for the environment.

4. Ameren (AEE)

Ameren is a utility holding company that produces electricity through a variety of subsidiaries around the United States. Ameren’s environmental impact derives primarily from the way it produces electricity, which is primarily through coal-fired plants. Ameren was also the company operating the Taum Sauk hydroelectric plan when it breached and sent a 20-foot wall of water down the Black River in Missouri on Dec. 14, 2005. So even their sustainable energy seems to be having a negative environmental impact. Go figure.

James F

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What YOU Can Do To Prevent Litter

Hi all,

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Today we wanted to look at some of the top ways that you are able to prevent littering within your community and environment. It is up to the individual to be accountable for their own rubbish, so here is a reminder of what you can do to avoid littering and help fix the issue.

For the individual:

  • Set an example for others, especially family, co-workers, friends and children by using trash and/or recycling bins and not littering.
  • Always have available a litter bag in your car.
  • If you are a smoker, carry a portable ashtray.
  • If you see litter, pick it up.

For motorists:

  • Carry and use a car litter bag. When these are full, empty them into a trash and/or recycling bin.
  • Use a car ashtray to dispose of cigarette butts.
  • Do not throw any litter out of car windows.

For smokers:

  • Before you smoke, identify where you will dispose of your cigarette waste when finishing smoking.
  • Carry a pocket ashtray with you.
  • Encourage fellow smokers to be responsible for their cigarette waste too.

For pet owners:

  • Pick up your dog as you walk through your neighbourhood. Use scoopers or other eco-friendly bags.
  • Make sure all bags are secured.
  • Be sure to put bags into trash, not recycling bins.
  • Take responsibility for your pet, and their actions.

For community residents:

  • Make sure your trash cans have lids that can be securely fastened, or use cords to hold them in place.
  • Make sure all trash bags are secured.

For business owners:

  • Provide bins at entrances, exits and walkways within building. These should be placed at places where people generally gather.
  • Assure easy access to dumpsters for employees and contractors.
  • Educate your employees on the individual responsibility for keeping a clean and safe workplace.

These are some good pointers that should allow us to keep a clean and safe living and working environment.

James F

6 Eco-Friendly Substitutes for Plastic

Plastic is one of the biggest problems to the littering problem in New South Wales. A huge aspect of this is that plastic is durable, flexible and long-lasting. This means that plastics take a long time to break down, especially when littered. This can be plastic bottles or even plastic bags from the super market. So today we want to recommend 6 eco-friendly substitutes that can be used instead of plastic.

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  1. Re-usable Shopping Bags: Our supermarkets have become very good at offering an alternative to plastic bags – so we should use them! Generally made of canvas or hemp, these bags are able to be used many times at a small cost, and far better for the environment.
  2. Liquid Wood: This is a new promising bioplastic. These materials look, feel and act like plastic. But unlike plastic, they are biodegradable. Because it’s made of wood, it can be recycled as wood too! German scientists have incorporated this plastic into a variety of toys and even speakers!
  3. Chicken Feathers: More than 3 billion pounds of chicken feathers have to be dealt with annually in the United States, so why not develop a use for them? Chicken feathers are almost entirely made up of a very strong protein called keratin. Scientists have worked this to be an alternative to plastic, as chicken feathers are a renewable source.
  4. Glass: Glass is made from sand, unlike plastics, which are made from fossil fuels. This source doesn’t contain chemicals which can leak into your body. They are also easily recycled, and can be reused.
  5. Ceramic: Like glass, they are made by heating raw materials and cooling them until hard. Like glass, ceramics are also traditionally safe and chemical free. Although not typically recycled, ceramics have a far higher reusability factor than plastics do.

So have a look at home and see if any of these alternatives are suitable to replace plastics with – they are far better for the environment!

James F

Junk the Junk – Fast Food and Waste

Hey guys!

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Today our blogpost is a collaboration with Junk the Junk. Junk the Junk are a blog that encourage healthy eating and encourage people to avoid fast foods. We thought it would be a good idea to combine and do a post about the negatives of fast food. This is a great topic for us, as not only are fast foods terrible for your body, they are also some of the most littered materials in Australia!

So here are some facts about the negatives of fast food for our bodies, and also the environments:

  • People who eat fast food four or more times a week up their risk of dying from heart disease by 80%.
  • In 2011 fast food garbage made up for 50% of street litter.
  • Eating too much fast food can lead to type 2 diabetes.
  • 80% of marine plastic pollution comes from the land, with fast food packaging making up a large percentage of that.
  • Fast food leads to an irregular patter of eating. A healthy person needs to have set meals throughout the day.
  • Up to 31% of fast food trash collected could be replaced with reusable alternatives.
  • Fast food is far more expensive than home cooked foods.
  • McDonalds rubbish is the most significant contributor to fast food rubbish.
  • Fast food has a lack of essential nutrients that are necessary for healthy human development.
  • Napkins and bags are the most common fast food packaging to be found littered on streets.
  • Foods rich in fat not only cause diseases, but increase stress levels.

So not only are fast foods bad for you, but they are bad for our environment too! It is important that we spread this message, and make it clear to individuals the harming risks fast food can have on your body, and also our environment.

James and Roxy

One in Three Australians Litter, Even if it Bothers Them

Today I wanted to talk about an article that the Huffington Post did about Australian’s attitude’s to littering.

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The article had a few very interesting points:

  • 99% of Australians are opposed to littering, however, only 70% actually follow through and clean up the streets.
  • The research also found that if we saw a friend litter 74% of us would ask them to pick it up. However, if we saw a stranger litter, only 31% of us would intervene.
  • In the research, out of the smokers who took part, 50% of them stated that they drop cigarette butts on the street.
  • Littering has reduced throughout the country this year, except for Tasmania and the Northern Territory where there have been increases.
  • The most common excuses for littering was the rubbish bins were ”very small” and that they thought the litter was biodegradable.

These are very interesting figures, and there is a fair bit of information we can take from this.

Clearly people are more comfortable asking a friend to pick up their litter than they are asking a stranger. Reasons for this could be an individual is scared of being abused by a stranger for telling them to pick up their rubbish. A solution to this could be to go over in a group of people and ask the individual to pick up their rubbish. If this person sees a number of people disagreeing with littering, it may help adjust their attitude.

It is also very clear that smokers dropping cigarette butts are a large part of the littering problem. An idea to prevent this could be to integrate the anti-littering message into smoking signs and packaging. These campaigns could integrate the anti-littering message into the message that smoking is also bad for you and those around you.

James Flannery

5 Minutes With Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon

Here is our quick chat with Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon about the littering issue in NSW, and what we can do to resolve it!

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Is littering an issue in NSW?

Littering is always an issue, not only for visual amenity, but also for the health of our waterways and wellbeing of biodiversity. Marine litter causes terrible and injury on marine wildlife, with plastic debris and plastic bags a well recognised serious issue. It is rarely understood how much terrestrial native animals are injured or killed by litter, with wildlife tangled and dying from injuries caused by discarded rubbish every day.

Has it improved?

If the measure is if the accumulation of litter in the environment and continuing effects on wildlife and land and marine environments – probably not given an exponential rise in packaging and population. However for a researched measurement of data, you would have to direct that question to researchers and bodies that monitor littering, if one exists.

How have you targeted this ongoing problem?

At home and at work I do not litter and I practice recycling. The Greens have taken this issue up locally through councils and community actions. We have regularly targeted corporate responsibility for reducing waste.

THe EPA have recently implemented a litter prevention app, which allows you to report littering from a vehicle. What are your thoughts on this app?

I don’t know that an app addresses the underlying problem, which is shifting corporate behaviour in the first place. Effective education is always an important strategy, and government should be funding and directing its agencies to be more effective in addressing the causes of waste.

Government has the resources, funding and frameworks that can make a real difference – but only if government and all parties agree that the causes of rubbish in our environment should be addressed. For example, legislating to deal with packaging of consumer items is an important factor that both Coalition and opposition governments seem to be disinterested in.

Is it useful?

Whilst perhaps an app is something positive, I refer you to my previous answer.

I refer back to the need to deal with the causes of littering by requiring corporations to take responsibility for the waste their products create. Also education, legislation for packaging and recycling have a role.

James