Requirment of precis

Requirment of precis

To write a precis one should have a clear understanding of the passage: only then well one be able to include all the essential points and mian ideas.)
The Précis Format:

1. Be sure to type your name, course number and section (400 or 401) at the top of
the page. Type the précis number: Precis 1, 2, etc.
2. In a single sentence give the following:
a. Name of author(if any), or title of the article, affiliation;
b. Use an accurate verb (such as ‘asserts’, ‘describes’, ‘proves’, etc.)
c. Followed by a that clause describing the core point of the work (ex., Al
Gore asserts that Global Warming is irrefutable)
3. The second sentence gives an explanation of how the authors develop and
support their major claim(s).
4. The third sentence gives a statement of the author’s purpose, followed by an in
order phrase. (ex., Al Gore, an ardent environmentalist, describes the major
causes of global warming in order for decision makers to become aware of the
problem and take action.)
5. The next paragraph should contain your personal conceptual Précis and contain
the following:
a. First sentence(s): A clear statement of the significance and impact that the
article had for you. “Liking” or not liking the text is irrelevant.
b. Second sentence(s): Statement of some of your reasons that explain why
(or why not) this article had some significance for you. . Third sentence(s): What other people may think about the data/concepts
put forward in this article and how this differs or aligns with your
meaning.

The main points of a Précis are clarity and brevity. You should be able to do this in two
or three paragraphs at most but if you wish to write a longer précis, feel free to do so.
You are trying to explain what you have just read and your reaction to it. You will need
to read the article carefully to extract the key arguments. Most articles are easy to
understand but some require more effort and several readings. Take the time to analyze
what you have read before drafting your Précis.

The Purpose of this Book
Have you ever wondered where chocolate comes from, if antibacterial soap is good for your family, or how to recycle an old computer? If you’ve had these or other questions about the environmental and social impacts of the products you buy and use, Good Stuff is for you. It contains many of the tips, facts, and links you’ll need to start making more informed purchases that bene?t your health and the environment.

Table of Contents
1 Introduction 1 Consumption Manifesto: Top 10 Principles of Good Consumption 2 Glossary of Consumption Terms THE STUFF 3 Appliances 4 Baby Products 5 Beverages 6 Cars 7 CDs and DVDs 8 Cell Phones 9 Chocolate 10 Cleaning Products 11 Clothing 12 Coffee 13 Computers 14 Electricity 15 Fast Food 16 Furniture 17 Gold Jewelry 18 Health Care 19 Housing 20 Lighting 21 Meat 22 Paint & Varnishes 23 Paper 24 Personal Care 25 Plastic Bags 26 Shrimp 27 Soap FINAL STUFF 28 Good Stuff Quiz 28 Good Stuff Challenge 29 Sources 30 Good Stuff Partners

About Worldwatch Institute
The Worldwatch Institute (www.worldwatch.org) is a globally focused, independent research and publishing organization based in Washington, D.C. It works to build an environmentally sustainable and socially just world in which the needs of all people are met without threatening the health of the natural environment or the well-being of future generations. Good Stuff is a companion guide to the Institute’s State of the World 2004, which focuses on the consumer society.

Using Good Stuff
• If you plan to print out or copy this guide, please use doublesided settings to conserve paper. If you plan to read only parts of Good Stuff, consider printing just the pages you will need. • All web links in this guide are live and clickable. • Please share Good Stuff with friends and colleagues.

A Behind-the-Scenes Guide to the Things We Buy
FROM THE WORLDWATCH INSTITUTE

© 2004 Worldwatch Institute

www.worldwatch.org

Introduction
Think of the “stuff ” you buy and use in any given day. You might have a chicken sandwich and a soda for lunch. You ?ll your car with gasoline. You call a friend on your cell phone. At school or at the of?ce, you print out dozens of e-mails and other documents. Now multiply these everyday actions by all the days in the year, and by the billions of other consumers worldwide. From gas-guzzling cars to clothes made in crowded “sweatshops,” the result is a signi?cant impact on the planet and the world’s people. The good news is that consumer choices also represent daily opportunities to support alternatives that are better for our health and for the environment. Businesses, governments, and concerned citizens can harness their purchasing power to build markets for less-hazardous products, such as organic foods, chemical-free cleaning products, “green” electricity, and lowemission cars and trucks. Around the world, the consumer class—people with access to products like televisions and the Internet, as well as the culture and ideas that these media transmit—is growing rapidly. Its expansion can be measured by vast global increases in purchases of vehicles, fast food, electronics, and other emblems of modern lifestyles. According to recent estimates, 1.7 billion people— more than a quarter of humanity—have now entered the consumer class. Of that group, roughly 270 million are in the United States and Canada, 350 million in Western Europe, and 120 million in Japan. Surprisingly, nearly half of all global consumers now live in developing countries, including 240 million in China and 120 million in India—numbers that have surged dramatically in the past two decades as globalization has introduced millions of people to consumer goods, while also providing the technology and capital needed to build and disseminate them. In many cases, soaring consumption burdens societies with bulging land?lls, soaring debt levels, and rising obesity. Meanwhile, there are still another 2.8 billion people who consume too little and who suffer from hunger, homelessness, and poverty. The challenge for the twenty-?rst century will be to focus our consumption not on the inde?nite accumulation of goods, but instead on a better quality of life for all, with minimal environmental harm. We at the Worldwatch Institute feel that everyday consumer choices are so important in in?uencing our shared future that we devoted the entire 2004 edition of our annual State of the World report to the consumer society. In that book, we examine how we consume, why we consume, and what impact our consumption choices have on the planet and other human beings. We produced Good Stuff as a stripped-down, action-oriented companion to State of the World. Our hope is that as you learn about the 25 different consumer items described in this guide and take the Good Stuff quiz and challenge, you’ll take a fresh look at your own buying choices and gain a better understanding of the hidden costs behind many of the objects you use daily. In State of the World, we ask whether a less-consumptive society is possible, and then argue that it is essential. In Good Stuff, our goal is to provide the information and motivation you need to rede?ne your own relationship with the “stuff ” you buy and use. —The Worldwatch staff

A Consumption Manifesto
The Top Ten Principles of Good Consumption
Consumption is one of life’s great pleasures. Buying things we crave, traveling to beautiful places, eating delectable food: icing on the cake of life. But too often the effects of our blissful consumption make for a sad story. Giant cars exhaling dangerous exhaust, hog farms pumping out noxious pollutants, toxic trash heaps nudging into poor neighborhoods—none of this if there weren’t something to sell. But there’s no need to swap pleasure for guilt. With thoughtfulness and commitment, consumption can be a force for good. Too long have we consumers been a blushing bride overwhelmed by business suitors. It’s time for the bride to assert herself. We’ve got the dowry; we have the purchasing power. We can require our suitors to comply with our vision of environmental stewardship—or we can close the door behind them on their way out. Through buying what we need, produced the way we want, we can create the world we’d like to live in. To that end and for the future, a Consumption Manifesto: Principle One. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This brilliant triad says it all. Reduce: Avoid buying what you don’t need—and when you do get that dishwasher/lawnmower/toilet, spend the money up front for an ef?cient model. Re-use: Buy used stuff, and wring the last drop of usefulness out of most everything you own. Recycle: Do it, but know that it’s the last and least effective leg of the triad. (Ultimately, recycling simply results in the manufacture of more things.) Principle Two. Stay close to home. Work close to home to shorten your commute; eat food grown nearby; patronize local businesses; join local organizations. All of these will improve the look, shape, smell, and feel of your community. Principle Three. Internal combustion engines are polluting, and their use should be minimized. Period. Principle Four. Watch what you eat. Whenever possible, avoid food grown with pesticides, in feedlots, or by agribusiness. It’s an easy way to use your dollars to vote against the spread of toxins in our bodies, land, and water. Principle Five. Private industries have very little incentive to improve their environmental practices. Our consumption choices must encourage and support good behavior; our political choices must support government regulation. Principle Six. Support thoughtful innovations in manufacturing and production. Hint: Drilling for oil is no longer an innovation. Principle Seven. Prioritize. Think hardest when buying large objects; don’t drive yourself mad fretting over the small ones. It’s easy to be distracted by the paper bag puzzle, but an energysucking refrigerator is much more worthy of your attention. (Small electronics are an exception.) Principle Eight. Vote. Political engagement enables the spread of environmentally conscious policies. Without public action, thoughtful individuals are swimming upstream. Principle Nine. Don’t feel guilty. It only makes you sad. Principle Ten. Enjoy what you have—the things that are yours alone, and the things that belong to none of us. Both are nice, but the latter are precious. Those things that we cannot manufacture and should never own—water, air, birds, trees—are the foundation of life’s pleasures. Without them, we’re nothing. With us, there may be nothing left. It’s our choice. — Umbra Fisk, Grist Magazine

To learn more about State of the World 2004 or the consumption topic, visit the Worldwatch website at www.worldwatch.org/topics/consumption/ 1

© 2004 Worldwatch Institute

www.worldwatch.org

Glossary of Consumption Terms
Ecolabeling
How can you tell if a product is environmentally preferable? Increasingly, manufacturers are relying on seals or logos called ecolabels to indicate that a product has met a speci?ed set of environmental or social standards. Although ecolabeling schemes vary widely, they typically reward a product for its environmental soundness during one or more stages of its life cycle including production, packaging, use, or disposal. Examples of common ecolabels include: organic and fair trade for foods, zero-VOC for paints and varnishes, sweatshop-free for clothing, biodegradable and phosphate-free for cleaners, and low-emissions for cars. Green procurement can play an important role in building markets for environmentally preferable goods and services. If consumers increasingly seek out products and services that are more bene?cial to the environment, producers will have a greater incentive to design and produce them. As markets for these items grow, propelled by the forces of competition and innovation, the resulting economies of scale will eventually drive down prices, making greener purchases more affordable for everyone.

Product Life Cycle
Each day, we use hundreds of products, from paper and clothing to cell phones and compact discs. What are these products made of, and where do their parts come from? What happens to them when we’re ?nished with them? By looking at a product’s life cycle—from the extraction and processing of raw materials, to manufacturing and distribution, to the product’s ?nal use by consumers, recyclers, and disposers—we can better understand the connections between Earth’s resources, energy use, waste, and wider environmental challenges like climate change. We can learn how to reduce the environmental impacts and natural resource use associated with everyday products, and learn to make better environmental choices.

Extended Producer Responsibility
For most manufacturers, responsibility for a product ends when a person buys it and brings it home. A warranty might cover the cost of repairs and replacement, but even warranties end sometime. By the time the product is worn out and thrown away, the manufacturer has no connection to it whatsoever. This lack of responsibility is one reason manufacturers don’t typically design products to be easily repaired, recycled, refurbished, upgraded, and reused. Increasingly, however, many governments are adopting “extended producer responsibility“ (EPR) laws that require companies to take back and assume responsibility for disposal of products they sell, from TVs to toaster ovens. The goal of EPR is to induce manufacturers to assess the full life cycle impacts of their products. Ideally, they will then eliminate unnecessary parts, forgo unneeded packaging, and design products that can easily be disassembled, recycled, remanufactured, or reused. EPR laws also typically ban the land?lling and incineration of products, establish minimum reuse and recycling requirements, specify whether producers are to be individually or collectively responsible for returned products, and stipulate whether producers may charge a fee when they take back products.

Product Take-Back
Product take-back is a form of extended producer responsibility that requires companies to take back their products after the consumer is ready to replace them or throw them away. The approach started in Europe and quickly spread to the rest of the world and to a growing range of products and industries, including consumer electronics and electric appliances, of?ce machinery, cars, tires, furniture, paper goods, batteries, and construction materials. Today, more than 30 countries—from Brazil and China, to Poland and South Korea—have laws requiring companies to take back the packaging materials associated with their products, and over 15 nations have similar laws requiring manufacturers to take back spent batteries.

Fair Trade
Given the economics of global trade, the individuals who actually make the products we buy— from farmers in Colombia who grow coffee to seamstresses in Malaysia who sew t-shirts—often receive only a tiny share of the ?nal price paid for that product. Consider a cup of coffee. Of the $3 that an American might pay for a grand latte at a local coffee shop, the farmer who grows that coffee may receive pennies for the beans that went into the coffee. Enter the fair trade movement. Fair trade arrangements guarantee that the price producers ultimately receive for their commodities is a certain percentage higher than the price on the world market. This “fair“ price not only covers their production costs and assures a decent living, but also carries a range of other social and environmental standards, from the right to organize in unions to certain basic safety requirements.

Zero Waste
Today, factories churn out most products in what you might call a “cradle-to-grave“ fashion. Raw materials are extracted and processed, and the substances not directly useful to a factory become unwanted waste, polluting the air, rivers, and landscape. An alternative “cradle-to-cradle“ system seeks to build integrated, closed-loop systems, in which the byproducts of one factory become the feedstock of another, instead of becoming environmental time bombs. Just as in the natural world, where one organism’s “waste“ cycles through an ecosystem to provide nourishment for other living things, the goal—and the result—is zero waste. One of the better known “zero waste“ success stories comes from Kalundborg, Denmark, where an increasingly dense web of symbiotic relationships among a number of local companies has been woven slowly over the past three decades, yielding both economic and environmental gains. Natural gas previously ?ared off by Denmark’s largest re?nery is being used as feedstock in a plasterboard factory; desulfurized ?y-ash from a coal-?red power plant (also the country’s largest) goes to a cement manufacturer; and sludge containing nitrogen and phosphorus from a pharmaceutical plant is used as fertilizer by nearby farms.

Green Procurement
When an organization “greens“ its procurement, it shifts its purchasing dollars away from goods and services that cause environmental and social harm, and toward products that are more environmentally sound and socially just. These include products that conserve energy and resources, generate less waste and pollution, and are less toxic to human and environmental health.

2

APPLIANCES
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

APPLIANCES
Brian Halweil, Worldwatch Institute

Boosting Ef?ciency, Saving Energy
hether you’re adding a second refrigerator and freezer or buying your ?rst air conditioner, you’re joining a global revolution in appliance ownership. Worldwide, sales of domestic electrical appliances grew by 5 percent in the late 1990s. And the potential for growth is enormous, particularly in developing countries, where appliance penetration rates have until recently been low. Domestic appliances improve quality and convenience in our lives. But they also consume large amounts of resources. Home appliances are the world’s fastest-growing consumers of energy after automobiles—accounting for 30 percent of electricity use in industrial countries and 12 percent of their greenhouse gas emissions. And in rapidly developing China, electricity demand surged more than 400 percent during the 1980s because of purchases of new refrigerators and other items. The good news is that running these products doesn’t have to require high inputs of energy and water. If more consumers demand it, manufacturers will develop new and better products that perform the same services but with less environmental impact: for instance, dishwashers that use less soap and water, or air conditioners that require less energy.

Success stories
? Many countries have adopted mandatory
national energy standards and ef?ciency labeling programs to save energy and other resources and to steer consumers towards appliances that won’t dominate their electricity bills or damage the environment. The U.S. government’s Energy Star label, for example, helps shoppers identify products that exceed federal ef?ciency standards and also result in lower energy costs.

? In the early 1990s, facing a 14-percent
annual increase in electricity demand, the Thai government initiated a partnership with manufacturers to improve the ef?ciency of buildings, lighting, and cold appliances. Between 1996 and 1998 alone, the market share of ef?cient refrigerators in Thailand skyrocketed from 12 to 96 percent.

W

? Technologies available today could
advance appliance ef?ciency by at least an additional 33 percent over the next decade, and further improvements in dryers, televisions, lighting, and standby power consumption could avoid more than half of projected growth in consumption in the industrial world by 2030.

? Since the establishment of national
energy ef?ciency standards in the U.S. in 1987, manufacturers have achieved major savings in appliance energy use, nearly tripling the ef?ciency of new refrigerators between 1972 and 1999, while also saving consumers money.

? A study in the mid-1990s of 18 U.S. cohousing communities, where residents share common gardens, recreational spaces, or other areas, found that members owned 4 percent fewer cars once they moved in to the communities, while their ownership of washers and dryers dropped by 25 percent, and of lawnmowers by 75 percent.

? By 2000, 43 countries had household
appliance ef?ciency programs in place— seven times as many as in 1980. Most of these were in Europe and Asia; North America lags relative to its share of appliance use.

Did you know…?
? The average size of refrigerators in U.S.
households increased by 10 percent between 1972 and 2001, and the number per home rose as well.

? In 1978, 56 percent of American homes had
cooling systems, most of which were small window units; 20 years later, three quarters of U.S. homes had air conditioners, and nearly half were large central systems.

Challenge yourself and others:
Turning appliances and electronics completely off after use saves a lot of power. Make an effort to turn your appliances off. Educate your work place, school, or house of worship about this by posting information in common areas like kitchens and computer centers.

? More than 65 percent of Chinese citydwellers now own a refrigerator, and more than 90 percent own a clothes washer— both up from less than 5 percent only two decades ago.

? Standby power—the electricity consumed
when appliances are turned “off” but not unplugged—could account for as much as 10 percent of total electricity use in industrial countries by 2020. This will require almost 400 additional 500megawatt power plants that will emit more than 600 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

? In India, sales of frost-free refrigerators
are projected to grow nearly 14 percent annually.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP)
(www.clasponline.org) provides comprehensive information on energy ef?ciency standards and labels around the world.

Simple things you can do:
 When buying new appliances, look for energy ef?ciency labels and consider
models that use less water, detergent, and other resources.

? Alliance to Save Energy (www.ase.org) is a leader in the design and implementation of labeling and ef?ciency standards programs in the U.S. and worldwide. ? American Council for an Energy Ef?cient Economy (ACEEE) (www.aceee.org) is dedicated to advancing energy ef?ciency as a means of promoting both economic prosperity and environmental protection. ? Energy Star (www.energystar.gov) is a U.S. government program that helps businesses and
individuals protect the environment through superior energy ef?ciency.

 Keep your appliances clean and in good working order, to help them run more ef?ciently.  Check the age and condition of your major appliances—especially the refrigerator. You may
want to replace it with a more energy-ef?cient model before it dies.

3

BABY PRODUCTS
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

BABY PRODUCTS
Brian Halweil, Worldwatch Institute

Keeping Our Children Healthy and Safe
or many of us, having a child offers the ?rst motivation to think more critically about the safety of the things we buy. Traditional concerns have been relatively simple: Don’t buy toys that children can ?t easily in their mouths and swallow. Keep paints, cleaners, and other toxic household supplies locked out of harm’s way. Today, however, the list of concerns is lengthening. Parents worried about their babies’ sensitive bodies might buy organic foods for the ?rst time, or seek out non-toxic paint for the nursery. And naturally, any parents concerned about the welfare of their children would want to leave them a planet that is more inhabitable. Although we can’t protect our children from every possible harm, there are simple things we can do to help them develop healthier bodies and better prepare them for the road ahead. One important move is to reduce children’s exposure to environmental toxins such as lead in old paint. Parents can also look for safer and more environmentally sound options for common child-rearing necessities like diapers, baby wipes, bottles, and baby clothes.

Success stories
? The European Union has banned the use
of soft PVC plastic in paci?ers, bite rings, and other teething toys. Mattel Inc., a leading toy manufacturer, also recently pledged to remove PVC from its products and to switch to plant-based plastics.

F

maternity facilities are baby-friendly, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding at four months almost tripled in six years—from 25 percent in 1990 to 72 percent in 1996.

? Organic baby food is one of the fastest
growing segments of the organic food market, and the range of selections is expanding rapidly. U.S. supermarket sales of organic baby food increased nearly 2,200 percent between 1989 and 1995—from $1 million to $25 million—while overall baby food sales grew just 20 percent, to $1 billion.

? In 1991, UNICEF and the World Health
Organization launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) to ensure that all maternities—whether free standing or in hospitals—become centers of breastfeeding support. A designated “baby-friendly” maternity facility doesn’t accept free or lowcost breast milk substitutes, feeding bottles, or teats and implements speci?c steps to support successful breastfeeding.

? The British Soil Association reported in
2003 that 75 percent of British babies now eat organic baby food on a regular basis.

Did you know…?
? The average baby will go through 5,000 diaper changes before he or she is toilet trained.

? Although breast milk is the ideal food
source for newborns and infants, it can contain high levels of contaminants from the mother’s body, including traces of DDT and other pesticides that were banned decades ago in the U.S. and many other countries.

? Since the BFHI began, more than 15,000
facilities in 134 countries have been awarded baby-friendly status. In Cuba, where 49 of the country’s 56 hospitals and

? In the late 1990s, the German baby food
manufacturer Hipp converted all of its production lines to organic—making it one of the world’s leading organic food processors.

? Americans throw away 18 billion diapers
each year, making them the third largest source of solid waste in the nation’s land?lls.

? Some baby bottles and nipples are made of
plastics that contain chemicals that are known to disrupt the hormone system— include phthalates in polyvinylchloride (PVC) plastic, and bisphenol-A in polycarbonate plastics.

? Most people spend 90 percent of their time
indoors. This ?gure can be as high as 95 percent for newborns—a group that is particularly sensitive to indoor air pollution because of their small, developing bodies.

Simple things you can do:
 If you’re expecting a baby or planning on breastfeeding, minimize your exposure to
pesticides, paints, heavy metals, and other toxins that may accumulate in body tissue.

 When changing a diaper, use soaps without strong fragrances, colorings, or detergents,
which can be harsh on skin. Avoid commercial baby wipes that contain alcohol, fragrances, and other irritants.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Children’s Health Environmental Coalition (www.checnet.org) is a U.S. non-pro?t organization dedicated to educating parents and caregivers about environmental toxins that affect children’s health.

 Try using biodegradable diapers or reusable cloth diapers to minimize the burden on land?lls.  When buying baby toys, look for items made without PVC and other plastics.  If you’re buying gifts for new or expecting parents, expose them to the wide array of alternatives to standard baby toys, clothing, and accessories—including sleepers made from organic cotton, toys made from non-dyed wood, or baby soaps made without synthetic ingredients.

? The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (www.unicef.org/programme/breastfeeding/ baby.htm) is a global effort to encourage hospitals around the world to support breast-feeding and other baby-friendly practices. ? The Green Guide (www.thegreenguide.com) offers tips on how to “green” your home and
lifestyle to protect your family’s health and the environment.

Challenge yourself and others:
Commit to making at least two environmental improvements in the baby products you purchase, such as switching to biodegradable diapers or organic baby food.

4

BEVERAGES
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

BEVERAGES
Jenny Gitlitz, Container Recycling Institute

The Price of Quenching Our Thirst
n 2002, thirsty Americans consumed 189 billion sodas, juice drinks, and other beverages packaged in plastic or glass bottles and aluminum cans. That’s over 650 containers per person per year—or almost two containers a day for every person living in the United States. Sadly, fewer than half of these bottles and cans were recycled; the majority were trashed—land?lled, burned, or littered along roads, beaches, parks, and other scenic places. This is a huge amount of wasted resources: a quarter of a million tons of aluminum metal, a million and a half tons of plastic bottles, and nearly 7 million tons of glass bottles—and just for one year in the United States! On a global scale, the quantity of wasted containers—and their contribution to the world’s trash burden—is mounting steadily as sales of throwaway beverages outstrip recycling efforts. Most of us agree that litter is unsightly and expensive to clean up. But how many of us think about how much energy and material is used—and how many pollutants are generated—to manufacture the billions of new cans and bottles to replace the ones we don’t recycle? Often, the impacts of this production are felt elsewhere. In Brazil, which exported about half of the 1.3 million tons of primary aluminum it produced in 2002, rivers and indigenous people in the Amazon basin are increasingly threatened by the development of new aluminum smelters.

Success stories
? In 10 U.S. states, several Canadian
provinces, and some countries in Europe and South America, consumers pay a deposit when they buy a beverage and are later refunded the full amount when they return the bottle or can for recycling. The state of Michigan achieves a 95 percent recycling rate with its 10¢ container deposit law, and Sweden achieves an 86 percent aluminum can recycling rate with its 50 öre deposit system. In India, high recycling rates are achieved by way of a deposit value equivalent to about 50 percent of the price of the beverage.

I

Simple things you can do:
 Re?ll your water bottle at the tap rather
than buying a new one.

 Buy large size containers (2 liters or 64
ounces) for juices, soda, and water, rather than single serving sizes.

 If you have a choice, buy beverages in
re?llable (rather than single use) recyclable bottles.

? At 87 percent, Brazil has one of the
highest aluminum can recycling rates in the world. (The U.S. can recycling rate, in comparison, slipped from 65 percent in 1992 to 48 percent in 2002.) Aluminum can recycling in much of the developing world is not entirely cause for celebration, however, since low wages and poverty make collecting a necessity for thousands of people.

 Recycle! Use the deposit system, curbside
recycling or drop-off programs, or recycling bins found in public places like malls or airports.

 If there’s no recycling program in your workplace or apartment building, organize one!

 Advocate for legislation that favors re?llable containers over single use ones.

Did you know…?
? People in the U.S. consume more packaged
drinks per capita than in any other country—about 350 aluminum cans per person per year, compared to 103 in Sweden, 88 in the United Kingdom, and 14 in France.

? Recycling just one aluminum can saves
enough electricity to run a laptop computer for 4 hours.

Challenge yourself and others:
Form a coalition to advocate for a container deposit-return system in your province or state, either through the legislature or through voter referendum. This is much more effective than a one-time recycling event or awareness day, which ultimately does little to change the infrastructure of recycling.

? Making 1 million tons of plastic bottles
from virgin materials (petroleum and other fossil fuels) generates an estimated 732,000 tons of climate-altering greenhouse gases.

? In 2001, 285 million Americans failed to
recycle some 51 billion cans—enough to encircle the Earth 153 times if laid end-toend. (That same year, 451 million residents of 18 European nations wasted only 8.9 billion cans.)

? Plastic bottles made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) can be recycled into many products, including beverage bottles, plastic strapping, ?eece jackets, sleeping bags, and carpets. Yet in 2002, less than a ?fth of all plastic beverage bottles in the U.S. were recycled.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Container Recycling Institute (www.bottlebill.org and www.container-recycling.org)
serves as a clearinghouse for bottle and can recycling information, and promotes deposit systems.

? Making 1 million tons of aluminum cans
from virgin materials requires 5 million tons of bauxite ore and the energy equivalent of 32 million barrels of crude oil. Recycling the cans, in comparison, saves all of the bauxite and more than 75 percent of the energy, and avoids about 75 percent of the pollutants.

? Recycling glass yields a 10 percent energy
savings and preserves the life of the glass furnace. Yet currently, less than a third of glass bottles sold in the United States are recycled.

? GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) (www.grrn.org) works to achieve the goal of “zero
waste.” GRRN and the Institute for Local Self Reliance co-produced a report on the history of and prospects for re?llable bottles, at www.grrn.org/beverage/re?llables/index.html.

? Tomra (www.tomra.com) is an international purveyor of “reverse vending machines” and other beverage container recycling systems ? Raymond Communications (www.raymond.com) offers a subscriber service for information about recycling laws and policies around the world.
5

CARS
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

CARS
Lisa Mastny, Worldwatch Institute

Barreling Across the Planet
n 2003, some 41 million new passenger vehicles rolled off the world’s assembly lines, ?ve times as many as in 1950. The global passenger car ?eet now exceeds 539 million vehicles, and is growing by as many as 9 million vehicles annually. Every day in 2003, some 11,000 more cars merged onto Chinese roads alone—4 million new private cars during the year. Many manufacturers now market “light trucks,” once used primarily for hauling loads, as passenger vehicles. In 2002, demand for sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and other light trucks outran production by more than 1 million vehicles—almost 9 percent. Due to their large size and low gas mileage, these vehicles are signi?cant polluters. In the United States, where light trucks now account for nearly half of all vehicle purchases, 2001 models emitted 2.4 times more smog-forming pollutants and 1.4 times more climate-altering carbon than passenger cars. One eco-friendly alternative is the hybrid-electric car, in which electric power supplements the internal combustion engine. So far, hybrids and other alternative fuel vehicles account for only a tiny share of the total automobile ?eet. But as consumer demand picks up, the market for “greener” driving options should continue to expand.

Success stories
? By January 2003, some 150,000 drivers
around the world had bought a hybrid car.

I

? In Denmark, where rail and bike infrastructure are well developed and the tax on auto registrations exceeds a car’s retail price, more than 30 percent of families don’t own cars.

Simple things you can do:
 Walk, bike, or take public transportation
whenever possible. Encourage your local community to be more bicycle-friendly by investing in bike lanes, stoplights that favor cyclists, and other infrastructure developments that would make cycling safe.

? In 1992, people in more than 30 Dutch
municipalities voted to eliminate cars from their inner cities. All over the Netherlands, parking for bicycles far exceeds spaces for cars at railway stations.

 If you have a car, combine trips to reduce
total mileage, and keep it well maintained to reduce oil leaks and runoff.

? Bogotá, Colombia, began shifting roadways from cars to bicycles in the late 1980s, and plans to ban private car use during peak hours by 2015.

 Consider joining a car-sharing club if
there’s one in your city, especially if you don’t use your car frequently.

? Car sharing, a concept where members
reserve and drive shared cars, has spread to more than 550 communities in eight European countries and to more than 40 U.S. cities.

 If you’re planning on buying a car, ask
your dealer about the most fuel ef?cient models available. Consider buying a hybrid vehicle, if you have the option.

Did you know…?
? Production of SUVs and other light trucks
increased 6 percent in 2002, totaling a record 16 million vehicles. If current trends continue, half the world’s passenger vehicles will be SUVs or other light trucks by 2030.

? The average American adult now spends 72
minutes a day behind the wheel, often alone.

? Ford Motor Company’s Model T got better gas
mileage nearly a century ago than the average vehicle Ford puts on the roads today.

Challenge yourself and others:
For one month, eliminate as many short car trips as you can. Keep a rough tally on the miles you don’t drive. At the end of the month, calculate the emissions you saved, using a calculator like the Tailpipe Tally described below.

? Chinese auto sales increased by more than
80 percent in the ?rst half of 2003. By 2015, if growth continues apace, industry analysts expect 150 million cars to jam China’s streets—18 million more than were driven on U.S. streets and highways in 1999.

? The U.S. is home to a quarter of the world’s
cars. Most households own two or more vehicles, and there are now more private cars than people licensed to drive them.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Environmental Defense’s Tailpipe Tally (www.environmentaldefense.org/tool_pop.cfm
?tool=tailpipe) allows you to calculate the fuel consumption, fuel cost, and vehicle emissions for any vehicle from model years 1978 to present.

? The average car in the U.S. travels 10 percent more per year than a car in the U.K., about 50 percent more than one in Germany, and almost 200 percent more than one in Japan. The total distance traveled by Americans exceeds that of all other industrial nations combined.

? People who drive gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles rather than fuel-ef?cient cars not only consume about three times more gasoline per kilometer driven, but also indirectly use more water since it takes 18 liters of water to produce just one liter of gasoline.

? EV World (www.evworld.com) is a clearinghouse for information on a wide range of green
transportation options.

? Cars and light trucks account for 40
percent of U.S. oil use and contribute about as much to climate change as the entire Japanese economy—the world’s fourth-largest carbon emitter.

? American Council for an Energy-Ef?cient Economy’s Green Book (www.greenercars.com)
and Clean Car Campaign (www.cleancarcampaign.org) give information on the development and purchase of environmentally friendly vehicles.

? For every kilometer driven by private vehicle, people consume two to three times as much fuel as they would by public transit.

? The Surface Transportation Policy Project (www.transact.org) is a U.S. coalition working to ensure safer communities and smarter transportation choices.
6

CD S AND DVD S
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

CDs AND DVDs
Lisa Mastny, Worldwatch Institute

The Reality Behind the Spin
ou listen to them on your stereo, play them in your computer, or watch movies on them. Compact discs (CDs) and their faster cousin, video discs (DVDs), are everywhere. Only a few millimeters thick, they provide hours of entertainment and hold huge volumes of information. But do you ever stop to think about how CDs and DVDs are made, what materials are used, or what happens to these discs when you don’t want them anymore? Making products like CDs and DVDs consumes natural resources, produces waste, and uses energy. CDs and DVDs are created from many different materials, including metals, plastics, and dyes. The discs are packaged in clear or colored plastic cases or cardboard boxes, wrapped in plastic, and sent to distribution centers and retail outlets around the world. If properly stored and handled, most CDs and DVDs will last for decades, and probably centuries. Depending on their condition, unwanted discs can be reused or recycled instead of thrown away, saving energy and valuable resources.

Success stories
? Several companies in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere now recycle old CDs and DVDs into a
high-quality plastic for reuse in products ranging from automobile parts to of?ce equipment.

Y

? One recycling business in San Jose, California, processes a million CDs every month. In its
second year of operation, the company recovered 20 million CDs, many from software companies disposing of excess inventory. The company also recycles nearly 11,000 tons of manuals and other paper that accompanies software boxes each year.

? A CD recycling company in Merseyside, United Kingdom, not only helps divert old discs from
land?lls, but also employs local prisoners in its plants—generating much-needed work in the region and giving them the chance to learn a skill.

Simple things you can do:
 Find out if the information you’re looking for on disc is available over the Internet. If so,
you may not need to buy the disc at all.

 Prolong the life of your discs by keeping them out of direct sunlight and away from heat

Did you know…?
? The entire process of encoding music onto
a CD takes only about 5-10 seconds. A high-pressure stamper embeds the digital information into tiny indentations on a polycarbonate plastic blank, which is later coated with metal.

? Between 1983 and 1996, the average price
of a music CD in the U.S. fell by more than 40 percent.

and water. To repair minor scratches, rub a mild abrasive (e.g. toothpaste) on the non-label side in a circular motion from the center out—or bring the disc to an inexpensive commercial re?nisher.

 Buy used CDs and DVDs or borrow them from others to help reduce the environmental
impact associated with manufacturing new products.

? The European market for music CDs is
expanding rapidly, with almost 2.9 billion compact discs produced in Western Europe in 1998.

 Dispose of unwanted CDs or DVDs only when you have no other choice. Instead, sell them to
used CD stores, share or trade them with friends, or donate them to schools, libraries, or other organizations.

? In 2000, more than 700 compact disc factories were operating worldwide.

? Each month, more than 45 tons of CDs
become obsolete—outdated, useless, or unwanted.

 As a last resort, drop the discs off at an appropriate recycling center. Check your local phone
book or search the Internet for a list of recyclers.

? When CDs were ?rst introduced in the
United States in 1983, 800,000 discs were sold. By 1990, this number had grown to close to 1 billion.

? Each year, more than 55 million boxes of
software go to land?lls and incinerators, and people throw away millions of music CDs.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Make a Difference Campaign for Students
(www.epa.gov/epaoswer/education/mad.htm) offers a free poster for children on the life cycle of a CD.

Challenge yourself and others:
Organize a CD/DVD reuse event. Set up a disc swap day or create a library devoted to CD/DVDsharing. For unwanted discs, organize a recycling collection at a local school or business for a community service or fundraising project.

? The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (www.svtc.org/cleancc/recycle/cdrecycle.htm) offers information on CD recycling companies in the United States.

7

CELL PHONES
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

CELL PHONES
Molly O’Meara Sheehan, Worldwatch Institute

Making Talk Less Toxic

Success stories
? In Germany, the Blue Angel “eco-label”
is given to phones that meet speci?c standards for reduced toxic content.

require consumers to pay advance disposal fees to fund cell phone recycling.

O

nce limited to a prosperous few, cell phones have rocketed into ubiquity. In 1992, less than 1 percent of people worldwide had cell phones and only one third of all countries had cellular networks. Just 10 years later, 18 percent of people (1.14 billion) had cell phones—more than the number with conventional phone lines—and over 90 percent of countries had networks. Like computers, cell phones are short-lived products that present the clearest threat to humans and the environment when they are being created or destroyed, as they contain toxics-rich semiconductor chips. The biggest hazards are the phone’s chipcontaining circuit board, liquid crystal display, and batteries—followed by the hard-to-recycle plastic casing. The research group INFORM estimates that by 2005, consumers will have stockpiled some 500 million used cell phones that are likely to end up in land?lls, where they could leach as many as 142 tons of lead.

? Starting in 2005, the European Union’s
new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive will make manufacturers responsible for collecting and recycling new electronics products at the end of their useful lives and require all ?rms to be collectively responsible for taking back electronics marketed before that date.

? Sweden’s TCO Development certi?es handsets according to their emissions contributions, as well as ergonomic and other environmental criteria—including whether they are easily recyclable. ? The Finnish phone manufacturer Nokia
has been working with university scientists to develop biodegradable plastics and phones that disassemble for easy recycling when triggered by high temperature.

? In the absence of U.S. national laws, the
state of Massachusetts has banned electronic waste from land?lls and created a fund to recycle electronics. California introduced a limited ban on e-waste and expects local governments to cover recycling costs, while New York recently required vendors to accept and recycle any cell phones they sell.

? Charitable groups in many countries have

Did you know…?
? In Africa, mobile phones outnumber ?xed
lines at a higher ratio than on any other continent. Entrepreneurs selling the use of their cell phones now bring service to villagers who previously had to walk hours to place a call.

? In the United States, the world’s second
largest market for cell phones after China, handsets are cast off on average after 18 months. Competing standards for cellular networks are one reason mobile devices are discarded so quickly in the U.S.; Europe, in contrast, has had a single standard since the early 1980s.

partnered with companies to refurbish used cell phones. Some of these phones are programmed to dial emergency services and given to victims of domestic violence or the elderly, while others are resold in developing countries.

? In late 2002, the secretariat of the international Basel Convention on hazardous waste trade convened major electronics manufacturers to launch a new mobile phone working group to work with industry to tackle the waste problems associated with particular products.

? The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and
Switzerland all have established “extended producer responsibility” programs that

? More Europeans now send and receive short text messages with their mobile phones than use the Internet from personal computers. ? The Philippines leads the world in text
messaging via cell phone. “Txting” by protesters to organize rallies against former President Joseph Estrada was a factor in his recent ouster.

? Cell phone handsets draw radio waves
closer to people’s heads than most other electronic gadgets do, causing potential health risks—though long-term data on the link between cell phone use and cancer are not yet available.

Challenge yourself and others:
Find out if there are any charities or businesses in your area that collect and recycle used cell phones. Organize a cell phone collection among your friends, family, and colleagues.

Simple things you can do:

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? INFORM, Inc. (www.informinc.org) has published extensive research on the environmental
impacts of cell phone disposal as well as trends in phone recycling.

 Plug an earpiece into your phone when using it to avoid holding the handset too close to
your head.

 Don’t let your kids use cell phones. Due to potential health risks, a study group assembled
by the British government has discouraged excessive cell phone use by children.

? The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (www.svtc.org) offers information on the environmental impacts of cell phones and is campaigning for electronics take-back legislation in the U. S.

 Encourage companies to design less-toxic cell phones, and to “take back” or recycle the
phones they sell.

? ReCellular (www.recellular.net) buys and sells used phones in bulk in the United States,
and provides location information for drop-off centers nationwide.

 If you need to buy a cell phone, look for phones that carry labels indicating that the product meets certain standards for minimal toxic content, low emissions, or easy recyclability.

8

CHOCOLATE
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

CHOCOLATE
Chris Bright, Worldwatch Institute

Saving the Rainforest, One Morsel At a Time
he next time you bite into a bar of chocolate, consider that taste as a link to some of the world’s most endangered forests—and to the millions of farmers who live near them. Chocolate comes from the seeds of the cacao, a small rainforest tree native to the Americas. Produced around the world, it is grown mainly on lands that have lost their original forest cover, sometimes to the cocoa itself. Today, all of the world’s major cocoa areas are “biodiversity hotspots”—regions that are unusually rich in biodiversity, but which are also highly threatened. The world’s retail chocolate business is worth an estimated $42–60 billion annually. Yet only about 6–8 percent of this revenue actually makes its way back to the cocoa farmers, many of whom are poorer smallholders. Labor abuse is said to be rife in some cocoa regions, and reports of farmers enslaving thousands of child workers in places like Côte d’Ivoire have sparked widespread criticism of the industry. Fortunately, a number of manufacturers now offer chocolate bars and other products that are more environmentally friendly and socially responsible. These products contain cocoa that comes from farms that conserve forest, that don’t use child labor, or are organic.

Success stories
? In some places, cocoa farming now represents a de facto conservation system where the farms in effect become the forests. In Bahia, Brazil, and in south central Cameroon, cocoa is cultivated under thinned native forest in areas where little other forest remains.

T

Simple things you can do:
 When buying chocolate, look for a brand
with high cocoa content (more cocoa means higher quality and—at least potentially—more farm income). Look also for chocolate that carries a “fair trade” label or the mark of a similar socially responsible producer, and that is organic.

? Cocoa has important social and labor
potential because of its high value and small-scale nature, with farms spanning just 1-3 hectares. Cacao trees respond well to extra care, so skilled smallholders can achieve higher productivity than bigger farms with too many trees to look after individually.

 Encourage your favorite stores or
supermarkets to carry chocolate brands that are certi?ed as being fair trade, organic, or slavery-free.

? In 2002, Côte d’Ivoire rati?ed a treaty against labor abuse of children, and the big chocolate companies launched an initiative to certify Ivoirian chocolate as “slaveryfree” by 2005. ? In November 2003, British chocolate
manufacturer Cadbury Schweppes announced that it would use a cornstarch polymer candy package that dissolves in water for its chocolates sold in Australia, to cut down on waste.

Challenge yourself and others:
The next time you entertain, try to serve a dessert made with only chocolate that is fair trade, organic, or both. Explain to your guests why you chose this type of chocolate and encourage them to reevaluate their own chocolate choices.

Did you know…?
? Cocoa is grown commercially in nearly 60
countries, but production is concentrated in just a few. In 2002, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Brazil accounted for 79 percent of global production.

? Cocoa accounts for more than 13 percent
of the original forestlands of Côte d’Ivoire, and is still chewing up forest in parts of West Africa and Indonesia.

? Although cocoa is sometimes grown alongside other plants, in many cases it is grown as a monoculture in full sun, an arrangement that supports far less species diversity.

? The global area in cocoa production has
expanded by nearly a quarter since 1990 and now totals more than 70,000 square kilometers, an area larger than Ireland.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Anti-Slavery International (www.antislavery.org) and the Child Labor Coalition
(www.stopchildlabor.org/internationalchildlabor/chocolate.htm) both publish information on forced child labor issues on cocoa farms in Africa.

? One of the most common pesticides used
on cocoa in West Africa is lindane, a toxic organochlorine cousin of DDT.

? The Rainforest Alliance (www.rainforest-alliance.org/programs/cap/index.html) has a sustainable agriculture certi?cation program that includes cocoa farms. ? The Fair Trade Federation (www.fairtradefederation.com/memcof.html) is a resource for information on buying fair-trade certi?ed cocoa products. ? Equal Exchange (www.equalexchange.org/products/products.html) is a distributor of fair-trade certi?ed cocoa products in the U.S.
9

CLEANING PRODUCTS
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

CLEANING PRODUCTS
Brian Halweil, Worldwatch Institute

What’s Behind the Shine?

Success stories
? At least eleven U.S. states have banned
phosphate from detergents sold within their borders, though the ingredient is still permitted in most of the country. Other states, cities, and counties have gone a step further by not just banning certain products, but also requiring the use of nonpolluting cleaners.

E

veryone likes a clean home, but few of us like the chore of cleaning. Even worse, we often rely on a cocktail of hazardous substances to make our bathrooms sparkle or our ?oors shine. Dishwashing detergents often contain phosphates that pollute the groundwater; wood polish generally contains ?ammable toxins like nitrobenzene; and laundry detergent may contain bleach and other corrosives. We lock these compounds away in closets or under the sink to keep them from our children—but we often don’t consider what they may be doing to our own bodies. Even as they help us pick up dirt and dust, many modern cleaners irritate our skin, eyes, and lungs. They can also leave toxic residues or pollute the water when we rinse them down the drain. But keeping our homes clean and avoiding toxic cleaners don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Several companies now produce “green” cleaners that avoid ingredients that are toxic or don’t biodegrade. Green cleaners can also be made from a range of safer substances we might already have around the house.

ers with less-toxic options in 15 of 17 product categories, saving 5 percent on annual costs and avoiding the purchase of 1.5 tons of hazardous materials per year.

? The U.S. market for natural household
cleaning products has grown to $100 million annually, according to natural goods retailer Seventh Generation. This represents just one percent of the total household cleaners market, but it’s been growing by 18–25 percent each year for the last ?ve years.

? In 1994, the city of Santa Monica, California, was able to replace traditional clean-

Simple things you can do:
 Stock up on a few safe, simple ingredients that can be used in most cleaning situations.
Soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax, and a coarse scrubbing sponge can take care of most household cleaning needs.

 Instead of using a standard drain cleaner, which likely contains lye, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid, try pouring a quarter cup of baking soda down the clogged drain, followed by a half cup of vinegar. Close the drain tightly until ?zzing stops, then ?ush with boiling water.

Did you know…?
? Cleaning products were responsible for
nearly 10 percent of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers in 2000, accounting for 206,636 calls. Of these, nearly two-thirds involved children under six, who can swallow or spill cleaners stored or left open inside the home.

? The Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project reports that 6 out of every 100 janitors in Washington state have lost time from their jobs as a result of injuries linked to toxic cleaning products, particularly glass and toilet cleaners and degreasers.

 For an effective glass cleaner, use a mixture of half white vinegar and half water.  Baking soda and cornstarch are both good carpet deodorizers.  To clean up mildew and mold, use a mixture of lemon juice or white vinegar and salt.  A paste of baking soda, salt, and hot water makes a great oven cleaner.  In the rare instance you need to use a hazardous product, use as little as possible and dispose of it in a way that will cause minimum harm—for example, by bringing it to a hazardous waste recycling or treatment center.

? In a 2002 U.S. Geological Survey study of
contaminants in U.S. stream water, 69 percent of streams sampled contained persistent detergent metabolites, and 66 percent contained disinfectants.

? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside the typical home is on average 2-5 times more polluted than the air just outside—and in extreme cases 100 times more contaminated—largely because of household cleaners and pesticides.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Environmental Home Center (www.environmentalhomecenter.com) is an online source for green building supplies, including people-friendly cleaning supplies, non-toxic paint, natural carpets, sustainable wood products, and energy-ef?cient insulation. ? Seventh Generation (www.seventhgeneration.com), the leading seller of green cleaning
products in North America, offers tips on green cleaning.

Challenge yourself and others:
Get friends together for an Earth-friendly spring cleaning day. As part of this, replace your conventional cleaning products with items that are biodegradable and safe for children and pets. These products are available at natural foods stores, online, or through catalogues.

? The Green Guide (www.thegreenguide.com) provides consumers with practical, everyday
household- and market-level actions that can yield system-wide environmental, health, and social change.

? The Green Consumer, by John Elkington, Julia Hailes, and Joel Makower (Penguin Books: 1988),
contains useful advice on reducing the environmental impact of all aspects of home life and purchasing.

10

CLOTHING
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

CLOTHING
Emma Pollin, The Green Guide

The High Price of Fashion

Success stories
? Organic cotton growing accounts for only
0.03 percent of the world’s cotton, but is expanding. At one Egyptian farm, organic cultivation has boosted cotton yields by more than 30 percent, and the ?ber is processed into textiles without any synthetic chemicals.

E

veryone needs clothes. They shelter us from the elements and de?ne our personal style. Unfortunately, the shirt on your back may be more expensive than you thought— both for the environment, and for the workers that made it. The conventional way of growing cotton, the most common fabric material, relies on heavy inputs of insecticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers, many of which are known or probable carcinogens. Dyes used in clothing can contain toxic chemicals, while permanent press treatment can release formaldehyde gas, also a likely carcinogen. Most of the world’s clothing is manufactured in sweatshops in poorer countries, where workers earn less than they need to live, face cramped or unsanitary conditions, and are often subjected to physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. First-hand accounts from factories producing for many designer companies report that people often work more than 100 hours a week, and unions are not permitted. As global awareness of the real price of fashion grows, many consumers as well as some clothing manufacturers are leading the push for more eco- and worker-friendly apparel.

Simple things you can do:
 Avoid clothing brands that have been
known to use sweatshops. In the United States, these include Wal-Mart, Gap (Old Navy, Banana Republic), and Target.

? In 2001, the sportswear manufacturer
Nike helped launch Organic Exchange, a network of 55 businesses that aims to expand the use of organic cotton in manufacturing over the next 10 years. More than a third of the cotton clothes Nike produced in 2001 contained at least 3 percent certi?ed organic ?ber.

 Purchase at least some clothing items from
up-and-coming fair trade brands and makers of organic cotton and natural ?ber products.

 Donate your old clothes to thrift shops,
or buy inexpensive “recycled” garments from these stores.

? Though it’s illegal in the United States,
hemp farming is permitted in much of Europe and Asia and was legalized in Canada in 1998. Organic wool and linen are also popular natural ?ber alternatives.

 Write to sweatshop-using companies to tell
them you won’t give them your business until they stop outsourcing to sweatshops.

? The growing global movement to end

Did you know…?
? The number of garments bought by U.S
consumers increased 73 percent between 1996 and 2001, while apparel prices have fallen 10 percent over the past decade.

may earn less than $5 for making a garment that will sell for $100.

? A cotton T-shirt blended with polyester
can release approximately one quarter of its weight in air pollutants and 10 times its weight in carbon dioxide.

worker abuse in clothing manufacture has forced many sweatshop users out of hiding. In the United States, student activists have demanded that their schools contract only with “sweat-free” producers, and new companies like American Apparel and SweatX are pioneering the fair trade apparel market.

Challenge yourself and others:
Next time you shop for clothes, check labels before you buy. Educate yourself about how and where these items are manufactured. Buy fair trade and organic/natural ?ber items, or shun the mall altogether and take your next shopping trip to a thrift store.

? By 2001, the average U.S. consumer
bought 48 new pieces of clothing a year. Rates of consumer discard, meanwhile, rose by 10 percent a year throughout the 1990s, according to Goodwill.

? Each 100-percent organic cotton T-shirt
you buy eliminates the use of 150 grams of agricultural chemicals.

? Hemp, which has been used to make
clothing and other products for 12,000 years, contains some of the strongest, longest soft ?bers in existence and can stand up to most weeds and bugs.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org) is an international human rights organization
dedicated to promoting environmental, political, and social justice, including in the global garment industry.

? Sweatshop workers in Mexico earn 85
cents an hour for their labor, while in Indonesia the pay is only 15 cents an hour. Even in the United States, a worker

? BehindtheLabel.org (www.behindthelabel.org) provides information on labor abuses in
the clothing industry and offers a range of consumer tips for buying sweatshop-free apparel.

? Sustainable Cotton Project (www.sustainablecotton.org) works with farmers, manufacturers, and consumers to pioneer markets for certi?ed organically grown cotton.

? North American Industrial Hemp Council (naihc.org) offers information on the hemp industry, with the goal of reestablishing and expanding the use of industrial hemp in North America.

11

COFFEE
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

COFFEE
Brian Halweil, Worldwatch Institute

The Price of Your Daily Fix
egular coffee drinkers know it’s a magic concoction. That seductive aroma. A quickening heartbeat. The feeling of being energetic and alert. When you just want that ?rst cup of coffee, it may be hard to muster interest in where your java or espresso actually comes from. Yet the origin of your coffee has surprising signi?cance for the future of life on this planet. Like cocoa and bananas, coffee is a tropical export that is produced almost exclusively in the developing world, but consumed mainly in wealthier nations. Beans brewed for connoisseurs in Geneva, Los Angeles, and Tokyo are grown in a thin band of rainforests that straddles the Equator. Until a few decades ago, most of the world’s coffee was planted in the understory of these forests, with farmers looking after the trees as a natural outgrowth of managing their coffee. But today, more and more of the beans come from what was once biologically rich rainforest: clear-cut tracts of land, without shade, that give off the dry, burning scent of ammonia fertilizer. Fortunately, more and more java drinkers are demanding that their favorite baristas serve coffee grown in a manner that protects, not destroys, the rainforest. The best choice is coffee that is shade-grown (maintains rain forest), organic (forbids chemical use), and fair-traded (assures a fair price to the farmer). Though the market for this “ethical” coffee is small, it’s growing daily.

Success stories
? Global sales of fair trade coffee grew by
12 percent in 2001, compared with overall growth in coffee consumption of just 1.5 percent. But the fair trade label still only accounts for a small share of the market.

R

Simple things you can do:
 Look for coffee that’s organic, fairly
traded, and/or shade grown the next time you go shopping.

? The Max Havelaar brand of fair trade
coffee is available in 90 percent of supermarkets in the Netherlands and holds over 3 percent of the domestic coffee market—just ?fteen years after the ?rst pack arrived in Rotterdam harbor!

 When meeting friends for coffee, suggest
a place that serves organic, fairly traded, and/or shade grown products.

? Several of the largest U.S. coffee retailers, including Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, have started offering coffee that is shadegrown, organic, and fair-traded.

 Take a moment to educate friends and
family about how coffee is grown, and suggest alternative choices.

 Ask your local coffee shop or supermarket
to carry coffee that is shade-grown, organic, and fair-traded. If the store already offers this option, ask the manager to boost its share of these items.

? Coffee growers in the hills outside El Salvador’s capital city, San Salvador, are being encouraged to reintroduce trees to their farms to help alleviate the city’s water shortage. The trees’ roots and vegetation retain water, reducing ?ooding and landslides and helping to recharge local aquifers.

Did you know…?
? Farmers harvested nearly 7.4 million tons
of coffee beans in 2002—an all-time high and almost double the harvest in 1960.

? Scientists have found that in full-sun coffee plantations, the number of bird species is reduced by half and the number of individual birds is down as much as twothirds. Diversity of insects, plants, and other wild creatures is lower as well.

? One out of every ?ve cups of coffee worldwide is consumed in the United States.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (nationalzoo.si.edu/conservationandscience/
migratorybirds/coffee/default.cfm) conducts research on the connection between coffee production and bird migration and certi?es coffee that is “bird-friendly.”

? Shade-grown coffee requires fewer pesticides and fertilizers than sun coffee; the forest canopy provides habitat for the birds and insects that devour coffee-plant pests, and many native plants add nutrients to the soil.

? More than 40 percent of the coffee area in
Colombia, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean has been converted to sun coffee, and an additional one-quarter is in conversion—a pattern emerging everywhere the beans are grown.

? International Fair Trade Association (IFAT)(www.ifat.org) provides information about
fair-trade co-operatives and associations worldwide and offers a catalog of sources of fair-trade products, including coffee.

Challenge yourself and others:
For one week, make an effort to drink only coffee that is shade-grown, organic, or fair-traded. For an added challenge, choose only options that carry all three labels. If you like what you taste, consider making a wholesale switch.

? Consumer’s Choice Council (www.consumerscouncil.org) is an association of environmental, consumer, and human rights organizations dedicated to protecting the environment and promoting human rights through ecolabeling.

12

COMPUTERS
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

COMPUTERS
Radhika Sarin, Earthworks

When Your Computer Becomes Toxic Trash

Success stories
? In 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton
issued an executive order requiring federal agencies to buy only computer equipment that meets the ef?ciency requirements described under the government’s Energy Star program. Today, largely as a result of this increased demand, 95 percent of all monitors, 80 percent of computers, and 99 percent of printers sold in North America meet Energy Star standards.

W

ith more and more people getting “wired” everyday, electronics has become the world’s fastest-growing manufacturing industry. While computers enable us to access and retain more information than ever before, we may not realize that each of these machines is also a toxics trap. Tiny semiconductors require more material inputs than most traditional goods. Workers in the “clean rooms” where the chips are made are exposed to a host of chemicals that have been linked to cancers, miscarriages, and birth defects. And these facilities generate huge volumes of chemical waste, contaminating groundwater at many high-tech sites. Moreover, as we replace our old computers with the latest models, we’re contributing to a mounting global problem: electronic waste. Despite an international ban on trade in hazardous waste, many old computers from the United States and other industrial countries make their way to “recycling” facilities in Asia and elsewhere. Investigations reveal that these facilities expose workers and the environment to a slew of deadly toxins that can cause damage to the central nervous system, endocrine disruption, interference with brain development, and organ damage.

Simple things you can do:
 When buying a computer, look for labels
indicating that the machine is energy-ef?cient.

 Buy computers that can be easily
upgraded to avoid having to purchase entire new systems as the technologies advance.

? In 2002, the European Union adopted
two “extended producer responsibility” directives requiring electronics manufacturers to phase out the use of hazardous materials and to assume responsibility for the “take back” and recycling of e-waste.

 Recycle old computers by donating them
to charities or to other organizations that can refurbish or reuse the parts.

 Send a letter to electronics companies
urging them to take full responsibility for the life cycle of their products. Learn more at www.computertakeback.com.

? Computer manufacturer IBM began offering
product take-back programs as early as 1989 in Europe, and then initiated a more-restricted program in the United States in 1997.

Did you know…?
? In just over a decade, the number of personal computers worldwide increased ?vefold—from 105 million machines in 1988 to more than half a billion in 2002.

? Prices of personal computers and peripheral equipment in the U.S. have fallen by 81 percent since 1997 as a result of more powerful chips, low wages, and the of?oading of environmental costs.

lead, as well as phosphor, barium, and hexavalent chromium. Other toxic ingredients include cadmium in chip resistors and semiconductors, beryllium on motherboards and connectors, and brominated ?ame retardants in circuit boards and plastic casings.

Challenge yourself and others:
Don’t just throw your old electronics in the trash! Several manufacturers now take back old electronics for a small fee. Find out where you can send your old computers, cell phones, batteries, and other parts. At the same time, urge manufacturers to dispose of these products responsibly and not ship them to countries where they harm workers and the environment.

? Government researchers estimate that
three quarters of all computers ever sold in the U.S. are lying in basements and of?ce closets, awaiting disposal. An estimated 63 million personal computers are expected to be retired in the U.S. in 2005 alone—that’s one computer becoming obsolete for every new one put on the U.S. market!

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (www.svtc.org) engages in research, advocacy, and organizing
around the environmental and health problems caused by rapid growth of the high-tech industry.

? The total mass of secondary materials used
to produce a 2-gram microchip is 630 times that of the ?nal product. (For comparison, the resources needed to build a car weigh about twice as much as the ?nal product.)

? Grassroots Recycling Network (www.grrn.org) advocates corporate, government, and
individual responsibility for waste.

? As much as 50–80 percent of U.S.
electronic waste collected for recycling is sent to Asia (mainly China, India, and Pakistan) where workers are exposed to toxic fumes, lung and respiratory irritants, and other dangerous health threats.

? Santa Clara County in California, the birthplace of the semiconductor industry, contains more toxic waste sites than any other county in the United States.

? Computer TakeBack Campaign (www.computertakeback.com) is working to make computer producers responsible for the safe design, manufacturing, and recycling of their equipment. ? European Environment Bureau’s “Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment” website
(www.eeb.org/activities/waste/weee.htm) provides background on regional efforts to address the environmental impacts of computers and other electronics.

? A typical computer monitor with a cathode
ray tube display contains 2-4 kilograms of

? Basel Action Network (www.ban.org) is an international network of activists that works to
oppose the trade in toxic wastes and technologies from rich to poor countries.

13

ELECTRICITY
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

ELECTRICITY
Carrie Harvilla, Center for Resource Solutions

Green Power: An Electrifying Choice
very time you turn on your lights, watch TV, or use a computer, you rely on natural resources to create your electricity. Most electricity comes from coal, nuclear, or other fossil fuel power plants. These plants contribute to a variety of environmental and health problems, including air emissions, water consumption, solid waste, and noise. In turn, they can affect the environment by altering the global climate, threatening biodiversity, producing toxic waste, and causing human health risks such as cancer and respiratory disease. Renewable energy, or “green power,” is an alternative to traditional polluting electricity sources. Energy generated from wind, solar, geothermal, lowimpact hydropower, and biomass has low or no air emissions. Because these resources are renewable, they will never run out. Many consumers now have the option of purchasing green power either from their utility or from a competitive renewable energy marketer. Making the switch is easy: you don’t need to buy any new equipment, and the quality of the electricity delivered to your home isn’t affected. Buying green power directs your electricity funds to support renewable power plants that help create a cleaner, healthier environment for everyone.

Success stories
? Wind power is now the world’s fastestgrowing energy source. Global wind generation capacity has quadrupled over the past ?ve years, and wind plants now power the equivalent of 7.5 million average U.S. homes —or 16 million average European homes.

? In 2001, the European Parliament voted
to boost the share of renewable electricity production in the region to 22 percent of total electricity consumption by 2010. Germany produces about half the wind power generated in the European Union.

E

? Consumers from California to Kenya are
installing photovoltaic (PV) systems on the rooftops of houses and businesses. In 2002, more than 40,000 Japanese homeowners added 140 megawatts of PV installations, thanks largely to supportive government policies.

Simple things you can do:
 To minimize your electricity use, buy the
most energy-ef?cient appliances and light bulbs available and turn off all lights and appliances when not in use.

? Green power choice is now available to
electricity customers in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

 Find out from your local utility where your
electricity comes from. If they don’t have a green power option, write a letter encouraging them to provide one.

 Switch your home to green power through
your local utility or a green power marketer, or by buying Renewable Energy Credits, also known as Tradable Renewable Certi?cates or Green Tags.

Did you know…?
? World electricity demand is expected to
double between 2000 and 2030, with the greatest increase occurring in the developing world and the most rapid growth in people’s homes.

bene?ting no one and often harming surrounding ecosystems.

? More than 400,000 household and commercial customers in the United States now buy green power, including businesses like Kinko’s, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, as well as the University of Pennsylvania. Some states have passed laws establishing mandatory green power programs for all state utilities.

? Buying green power for the average U.S.
home for one year saves as much carbon dioxide as planting nearly two acres (.8 hectares) of trees, removing a car from the road, or not driving nearly 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometers).

 Start a campaign at your university, place
of worship, or business to switch to green power. Large businesses use larger amounts of electricity and thus can have a greater overall impact on the environment.

? Electricity production is the leading cause
of industrial air pollution in the United States, and is responsible for 40 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change.

? In 1999, Santa Monica, California, became
the ?rst U.S. city to buy 100 percent of its municipal power from renewable sources, including geothermal and wind energy.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? European Network for Green Electricity (EUGENE) (www.greenelectricitynetwork.org)
is an independent, international, and credible labeling scheme for green electricity products.

? At most, 35 percent of coal’s energy in a
power plant converts to electricity. The remaining two thirds is lost as waste heat,

? By 2020, solar power could provide energy
to over a billion people globally and provide 2.3 million full-time jobs.

? Green-e Renewable Energy Certi?cation Program (www.green-e.org) offers an easy way
for U.S. consumers to quickly identify environmentally superior electricity products in their state.

Challenge yourself and others:
Find out if your green power is certi?ed. Third party certi?cation and veri?cation ensures that this power meets widely accepted consumer and environmental standards, and that you get what you pay for—renewable electricity that contributes to cleaner air, soil, and water. Certi?ers include Green-e in the United States, TerraChoice in Canada, and EUGENE in Europe. If your green power isn’t certi?ed, encourage your provider to gain certi?cation so you can be sure you’re receiving environmentally preferred electricity.

? GreenPrices (www.greenprices.com) lists green power options in Europe and shows consumers where to buy it, how much it costs, and how it is produced. ? Green Power Network (www.eere.energy.gov/greenpower) provides news on green power
markets and utility green pricing programs worldwide.

? TerraChoice (www.environmentalchoice.com) certi?es green power products for Environment Canada’s Environmental Choice Program. ? National Energy Ef?ciency Committee of Singapore (www.neec.gov.sg/ELS/sub_lscheme _world.shtm) provides links to green labels and energy labels from around the world.
14

FAST FOOD
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

FAST FOOD
Brian Halweil, Worldwatch Institute

The Global Spread of Food Uniformity
rom onion rings to double cheeseburgers, fast food is one of the world’s fastest growing food types. It now accounts for roughly half of all restaurant revenues in the United States— triple its share in the early 1970s—and continues to expand there and in many other industrial countries. But some of the most rapid growth is occurring in the developing world, where it’s radically changing the way people eat. People buy fast food because it’s cheap, quick, and heavily promoted. But its bene?ts can be deceptive. Meals devoured in the car or at our desks are replacing homecooked fare enjoyed with family and friends. Around the world, traditional diets and recipes are yielding to sodas, burgers, and other highly processed and standardized items that are high in fat, sugar, and salt—fuelling a global epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. Meanwhile, fast food producers require farmers to raise uniform ?elds of crops and herds of livestock for easy processing, eliminating agricultural diversity. Those in less of a hurry are ?nding alternatives. Fresh organic foods are increasingly popular in Europe, Japan, and the United States. And a “slow food” movement founded in Italy in 1986 to promote appreciation of food and the cultural experience of shared meals now claims 100,000 members in 80 countries worldwide.

Success stories
? Governments and corporations are beginning to respond to widespread concerns about fast food. The U.S. state of California now taxes junk food, helping to reduce overall consumption while also generating potential additional revenues for health education. More recently, a new law phased out the sale of all junk food (including soda) in the state’s public elementary schools by early 2004.

F

Simple things you can do:
 Avoid buying sodas and other junk foods
that have low nutritional value and are high in fat, sugar, and salt.

 Keep healthy snacks in your car and home
to defeat the urge to stop at fast food joints.

? Kraft, the world’s largest food company, plans to cut advertising directed at children, to shrink its portion sizes, and to eliminate some of its most unhealthy products. ? In 2002, bowing to pressure from
animal rights and public health groups, McDonald’s announced that it would stop buying eggs from chickens confined in battery cages and forced to lay additional eggs through starvation—practices already banned in Europe. By 2004, McDonald’s will require chicken suppliers to stop giving their birds antibiotics to promote growth and will choose indirect suppliers who don’t use antibiotics over those who do.

 Try to cook at least one big meal a week
and save your leftovers so you’re not compelled to buy takeout for the next few nights.

 Join the growing Slow Food movement by
contacting the local chapter in your area or by attending one of their events.

Challenge yourself and others:
Start a dinner club with friends in which you each take turns preparing and hosting a monthly dinner. Or get together with friends to cook a month’s worth of dinners that can be frozen as an alternative to takeout.

Did you know…?
? At many fast-food restaurants, a single
meal gives a disproportionate share— sometimes more than 100 percent—of the recommended daily intake of fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar.

ald’s drive-thru was more than 10 kilometers long.

? India’s fast-food industry is growing by 40
percent a year and is expected to generate over a billion dollars in sales by 2005. Meanwhile, a quarter of India’s population remains under-nourished—a number virtually unchanged over the past decade.

? In the United States, an estimated 65 percent of adults are overweight or obese, leading to an annual loss of 300,000 lives and to at least $117 billion in health care costs in 1999.

? China is now home to 800 KFCs and 100
Pizza Huts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Slow Food (www.slowfood.com) is a worldwide movement for the protection of the “right
to taste” that organizes food and wine events and initiatives, raises the pro?le of products, and promotes local artisans and wine cellars.

? Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, the world’s two
largest soft drink companies, are the thirteenth and twentieth largest advertisers in the world; together, they spent $2.4 billion on ads in 2001.

? A recent study showed that children who
drink sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks are more often obese and that this risk increases another 60 percent with each additional beverage consumed.

? Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust (www.oldwayspt.org) is a non-pro?t organization that promotes sound nutrition and translates complex food science into a consumer-friendly tool for consumers, health professionals, chefs, farmers, journalists, and the food industry.

? Coca-Cola sells more than 300 drink brands
in over 200 countries and employs 60,000 people in Africa alone. Its net revenues reached $19.6 billion in 2002—with more than 70 percent of its income originating outside of the United States.

? McDonald’s, which operates 30,000 restaurants in 119 countries and serves 46 million customers each day, earned $15.4 billion in revenues in 2002. On opening day in Kuwait City, the line for the McDon-

? Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser (Houghton Mif?in: 2001), provides a fascinating—and alarming—glimpse into the fast food culture in the United States. ? The Eat Well Guide (www.eatwellguide.org) is a national online resource that lists sustainable farmers, restaurants, and stores in the United States.

15

FURNITURE
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

FURNITURE
Diane di Costanzo, Green Guide Institute

Comfort Without Consequences
e may spend days considering the style of furnishings we want for our homes, yet we rarely give a thought to where these items originate, or what they’re actually made from. The wood for a bookshelf or table, for instance, could come from a tree grown on a large farm or plantation. But it’s equally likely—particularly if the item is made of an “exotic” wood like teak or mahogany—that it originated in an endangered old-growth forest in Brazil or Indonesia. The Earth’s tropical forests are now disappearing at an alarming rate, yet they remain vital to our everyday lives—sheltering diverse plant and animal species, preventing soil erosion, and moderating global climate. Much of the more inexpensive “wood” furniture (usually made from particleboard) isn’t especially good for people or the planet either. These products often contain toxic substances that can off-gas into your home—including formaldehyde, a suspected carcinogen used in adhesives, paints, and varnishes. Furniture with foam-?lled cushions poses another peril. Foam is commonly treated with ?re-retardant chemicals called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs. Exposure to PBDEs, which are chemical cousins to the banned PCBs, is particularly harmful to fetuses and can cause brain and reproductive system disorders.

Success stories
? Consumers in many countries can now choose wood carrying the “FSC” label, guaranteeing it was cut from a sustainably managed forest. The independent Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has certi?ed more than 39 million hectares of such forest worldwide. ? Home Depot, the largest wood retailer in the United States, has vowed to buy wood only
from sustainably managed forests. Furniture retailer IKEA has made a similar pledge, and avoids using ?ame-retardant PBDEs and many other toxins in its products.

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? In 2001, the European Union recognized and banned the use of certain PBDEs in manufacturing. The U.S. is starting to follow suit: in 2003, California voted to ban the manufacture and use of two types of PBDEs starting in 2008.

Simple things you can do:
 Opt for second-hand furniture whenever possible. This not only saves trees and other materials, but also prevents useful items from taking up space in land?lls.

 Look for the FSC label on all wood products you buy. If you don’t see it, ask your local
retailers to carry items with it.

 If you’re making your own furniture, use recycled or salvaged wood products. In the United
States, SmartWood’s Rediscovered Wood Program certi?es wood that would otherwise be chipped up or carted to a land?ll.

Did you know…?
? The planet has lost nearly half of its
forested area in the past 8,000 years, with the majority of this loss occurring in the 20th century. Between 1980 and 1995 alone, at least 2 million square kilometers of forests were destroyed, an area larger than Mexico.

illegally cut and pull endangered tree species out of forests to sell on the international market at high prices.

 When buying foam-?lled furniture, including mattresses, ask whether ?ame-retardant chemicals were used in their manufacture. Safer substitutes include the wool batting used to encase mattresses—which is naturally ?ame-retardant.

? Pressure-treated lumber, a material
frequently used for playground equipment, often contains arsenic, a toxin that can rub off onto skin and leach into soil.

 Get involved when your schools or communities make large wood-product purchases. For
outdoor furniture, distribute information about recycled plastic picnic tables, lumber (for playgrounds, for instance), and other products.

? A recent study revealed high levels of the
chemical compounds PBDEs in the breast milk of North American women.

? Poaching of trees is a common practice in
“protected” forests. Stealth loggers

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Greenpeace’s Forest Campaign (www.greenpeace.org) raises awareness and applies political pressure to save natural forests. ? Forest Stewardship Council (www.fscoax.org) trains, accredits, and monitors lumber certi?ers and awards its stamp of approval to sustainably harvested wood. ? The Green Guide (www.thegreenguide.com) offers consumers advice about environmentally friendly wood and upholstered furniture purchases. ? ForestEthics (www.forestethics.org) campaigns to raise awareness about endangered forests.
16

Challenge yourself and others:
When you see teak or other endangered wood species being sold in the marketplace, ?nd out if the retailers know where the wood was cut—and encourage them to seek more environmentally sound alternatives. For more information on endangered wood species, go to www.cites.org.

GOLD JEWELRY
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

GOLD JEWELRY
Radhika Sarin, Earthworks

From Open Pit to Wedding Band

Success stories
? In December 2003, Peru’s mining
ministry blocked a Canadian mining company’s proposed open-pit gold mine in Tambogrande. This decision was a major victory for the local farming community, which had voted against the mine in June 2002.

W

here did the gold in your ring come from? Most likely, it came directly from the Earth. Of all the gold in use or storage today, two-thirds is newly mined. About two-thirds of this was extracted from immense, open-pit mines in places as far apart as Canada and Papua New Guinea. Once it’s extracted, the mine ore is crushed, piled into heaps, and sprayed with cyanide to separate out the gold. Years later, the abandoned waste piles can still release acid and toxic heavy metals into streams, rivers, and groundwater. This is no small matter: the gold produced for a single .33 ounce, 18 karat gold ring leaves in its wake at least 18 tons (20 short tons) of mine waste. Most gold isn’t used for essential services. While a small amount is bought by investors or used in electronics, more than 80 percent is made into jewelry—a lucrative pursuit. In the United States, a piece of gold typically sells for at least four times the value of gold. Yet few jewelers can tell you where the gold in their products originated. As a result, it’s currently impossible to know if the gold we buy comes from a mine that dumps toxic waste in rivers, violates workers’ rights, digs up wilderness areas, or evicts communities under the threat of violence.

Simple things you can do:
 Take the No Dirty Gold consumer pledge
(www.nodirtygold.org) to demand an alternative to gold that wasn’t produced at the expense of communities, workers, and the environment.

? The International Finance Corporation,
the private arm of the World Bank Group, decided in October 2002 not to back the controversial Rosia Montana gold mine project in Romania, which would displace local people and pose a high environmental risk.

 Buy recycled or vintage gold. (About one
third of the gold in use or storage today comes from scrap or recycled sources.)

? Costa Rica’s president declared a moratorium on all open-pit mines in June 2002, noting that, “the true fuel and the true gold of the future will be water and oxygen.” Similarly, Cotacachi county in Ecuador has banned all forms of mining in order to protect its cloudforest and people.

 Ask your jeweler to tell you the source of
the gold they sell, as a way to encourage them to offer more environmentally sound and socially just alternatives.

Did you know…?
? Between 1995 and 2015, approximately half
of the gold produced worldwide has or will come from the traditional territories of indigenous peoples, whose land rights are often not clearly recognized. Even when indigenous groups hold legal title to surface lands, some governments sell off the subsurface rights to mining corporations.

gold mines in Nevada. The Betze-Post mine alone pumps out 380,000 cubic meters (100 million gallons) of groundwater per day.

Challenge yourself and others:
If you have investments such as mutual funds or a retirement account, ?nd opportunities for shareholder activism, such as ?ling a shareholder resolution calling on mining companies to clean up their act. Learn more from the Northwest Corporate Accountability Project (www.scn.org/earth/wum) and the Social Investment Forum’s Shareholder Action Network (www.shareholderaction.org).

? The Baia Mare toxic spill in Romania in
2000 prompted both the Czech Senate and the German Parliament to ban gold mining using cyanide leaching methods.

? Bingham Canyon, the world’s largest open
pit mine, is visible from outer space. This Utah mine, which produces copper, gold, silver, and molybdenum, measures 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) deep and 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) across.

? In 1998, a citizens’ initiative in the
U.S. state of Montana led to a ban on the use of cyanide leaching for new mines or expansions of existing mines in the state.

? In 2001, the world’s top 5 gold producers
were South Africa, the United States, Australia, Indonesia, and China.

? A single gold mine in Papua New Guinea—
Ok Tedi—daily generates 200,000 tons of waste per day, more than all of the cities in Japan, Canada, and Australia combined.

? Smelting—a process that removes gold’s
impurities once it’s separated from the ore—uses large amounts of energy and releases signi?cant air pollution. The world’s smelters add 142 million tons of sulfur dioxide to the atmosphere every year—13 percent of global emissions.

? Between 1990 and 1998, more than 30,000
people were displaced by gold mining operations in the district of Tarkwa in Ghana.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? No Dirty Gold (www.nodirtygold.org) is a consumer campaign seeking to change the way gold is mined, bought, and sold. ? Earthworks (www.earthworksaction.org) is a nonpro?t organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mining.

? 120,000 tons of toxic waste spilled from
the Baia Mare gold mine in Romania in 2000, contaminating the drinking water of 2.5 million people and killing 1,200 tons of ?sh.

? Metals mining is the number one toxic
polluter in the United States, responsible for 96 percent of arsenic emissions and 76 percent of lead emissions.

? Mines and Communities (www.minesandcommunities.org) provides links to mining
activist sites and information about mining companies and affected communities.

? In 1996, Pik Botha, then South Africa’s Minister for Mineral and Energy Affairs, estimated that in his country, each ton of gold mined costs 1 life and 12 serious injuries.

? The U.S. Geological Survey reports that
water tables have dropped by as much as 300 meters around some large open-pit

HEALTH CARE
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

HEALTH CARE
Stacy Malkan and Charlotte Brody, Health Care Without Harm

When Health Care Does Harm

Success stories
? Today, thousands of hospitals are learning how to reduce both the amount and the toxicity of what they throw out—in part by paying closer attention to their purchasing practices.

T

he Hippocratic Oath promises to “?rst, do no harm.” So whether health care providers are our family doctor or a manufacturer of hospital equipment, they have a responsibility to eliminate practices that harm the environment and people’s health. Yet unfortunately, some health care products and waste disposal practices can actually contribute to pollution and disease. The incineration of health care waste is a leading source of hazardous air pollution, particularly mercury and dioxins. Mercury, found in some thermometers and blood pressure devices, can harm the brain and nervous system. And dioxin—created from the burning of waste that contains chlorine—is linked to reduced fertility, immune system disorders, and many forms of cancer.

Simple things you can do:
 Inventory your house for products containing mercury or vinyl. If your fever thermometer has a silver ?lling, carefully dispose of it as hazardous waste and buy a safer digital thermometer.

? In the United States, more than 1,400
medical institutions have pledged to be mercury-free by 2005. Major U.S. chain drug stores like CVS, Kmart, Safeway, Rite-Aid, and Wal-Mart no longer sell mercury fever thermometers.

 Replace household products containing
vinyl with safer alternatives, including food containers made of non-vinyl plastic or glass, canvas or nylon shower curtains, cloth car seats, and toys made of nonvinyl plastic or wood. (In the U.S., a “3” inside the recycling symbol indicates the presence of vinyl.)

? Government agencies in several
countries—including the U.S., European Union, and Japan—have issued warnings that vinyl medical products containing the phthalate DEHP may harm some patients, particularly boys and pregnant women.

Did you know…?
? The amount of mercury in just one fever
thermometer is enough to contaminate ?sh in a 20-acre lake.

? The manufacturing and incineration of
medical devices made of vinyl plastic (also known as PVC) creates dioxin. Health care products made of PVC also contain the phthalate DEHP, a chemical that may cause birth defects of the reproductive system.

 Don’t burn your garbage and yard waste,
and minimize your ?replace use—these activities add to the dioxin problem.

? Leading health care institutions around
the world, including the Vienna Hospital Association and Kaiser Permanente, are taking steps to minimize their use of vinyl products.

 Through careful purchasing and recycling,
try to minimize the amount of garbage you throw away.

? In the United States, as many as one in
eight children are born at risk of learning disabilities because their mothers ate ?sh contaminated with mercury.

? Medical waste incinerators are closing
around the world due to health concerns. In the U.S., some 4,800 medical waste incinerators have closed since 1994. Ireland, the Philippines, and the Canadian province of Ontario have all switched to safer non-burn technologies for nearly all medical waste disposal.

 Ask your local hospital to stop using mercury-containing thermometers or other products. In the U.S., encourage the facility to join Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, a national effort to reduce waste and eliminate mercury from health care waste.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Health Care Without Harm (www.noharm.org) is an international coalition of 427 organizations in 52 countries that works to transform the health care industry so that it’s no longer a source of harm to people and the environment. ? Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (www.h2e-online.org) offers useful tools to help hospitals in the U.S. reduce their environmental impact and sponsors a listserv where health care professionals can share resources. ? CleanMed (www.cleanmed.org) is an annual health care conference on environmentally
preferable products and green buildings.

 Inform hospital staff about government
warnings about DEHP-containing medical devices. Recommend a speaker, present information to committee meetings, or share case studies of other hospitals that are going DEHP-free.

Challenge yourself and others:
Spend a month checking out the type of plastic used in everything you buy, including the product’s packaging. Don’t buy any items labeled “3” (in the U.S.) or PVC, or that don’t specify the type of plastic being used.

 Don’t burn it! Find out if your hospital is
minimizing, segregating, and recycling its waste. If the facility is burning waste onsite or sending it away to be burned, encourage safer alternative technologies.

18

HOUSING
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

HOUSING
Lisa Mastny, Worldwatch Institute

Give Me a Home and Let the Buffalo Roam
ates of home ownership are rising steadily around the world, yet the number of people per household continues to decline. This boom in ownership is spurred in large part by government policies and incentives that encourage it: in the United States, for instance, a full tax deduction on home mortgage interest enables people to buy houses of all sizes, encouraging larger homes in sprawling communities. In 2002, Americans alone erected 1.7 million new private homes, many in areas that were once forest or farmland. In the European Union, building construction accounts for more than 12 percent of economic activity, though more than half of this is for retro?tting existing buildings. Houses—especially larger single-family homes—can be extremely land- and resource-intensive. Homeowners typically use large quantities of water for their sinks, showers, dishwashers, washing machines, and lawns. Homes also require high energy inputs—not just during construction, but over their lifetimes for heating, cooling, and lighting, and for powering refrigerators and other appliances.

Success stories
? The world’s ?rst green “high-rise,” in the
heart of New York City, will use 35 percent less energy and 65 percent less electricity than an average building during peak hours, with photovoltaic cells meeting at least 5 percent of the demand.

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sustainable lifestyles through ecological design and construction, renewable and passive energy use, community building spaces, and local, organic agriculture.

? Since 1997, all toilets, urinals, faucets,
and showerheads installed in the U.S. have been required to meet federal water ef?ciency standards. By 2020, these ef?ciency standards are projected to save some 23–34 million cubic meters per day, enough water to supply four to six cities the size of New York City.

Simple things you can do:
 If you’re building a new home or making
improvements or repairs, ask your supply store or contractor to seek out “green” building products, such as less-toxic paints or wood that has been reclaimed or sustainably harvested (look for the Forest Stewardship Council—FSC—label).

? Homeowners in many countries are realizing substantial water savings by planting native and drought-adaptive grasses, groundcovers, wild?owers, and plants. Planting rooftop gardens and painting roofs can reduce energy consumption by 10–50 percent as well.

 Replace your aging washing machine,
dishwasher, furnace, or other home appliances with more energy- and water- ef?cient models—you’ll not only save resources, but cut your utility bills as well!

Did you know…?
? People can live in a typical house for 10
years before the energy they use in it exceeds what went into its components— steel beams, cement foundation, window glass and frames, tile ?oors and carpeting, drywall, wood paneling or stairs—and its construction.

space of the average person in Africa.

? People in the U.S. and Canada consume
2.4 times as much energy at home as those in Western Europe.

? Home improvement retailer Home Depot
announced in 1999 that it would phase out all purchases of old-growth wood by the end of 2002. As of January 2003, it had reduced its purchases of Indonesian lauan by 70 percent and shifted more than 90 percent of its cedar purchasing to second-and third-generation forests in the United States.

? People living in the United Kingdom use
only about 70 percent as much water as the most water-thrifty Americans do.

Challenge yourself and others:
Create a community list serv or cooperative that makes it easier for you and your neighbors to share tools, lawnmowers, and other household items you may use less frequently.

? While the total number of households
worldwide increased between 1970 and 2000, the number of people living under one roof fell from 5.1 to 4.4 in developing countries, and from 3.2 to 2.5 in industrial countries—mostly as a result of rising incomes, urbanization, and smaller families.

? Indoor water use in U.S. homes is
estimated to average 262 liters per capita a day. Several ?xture manufacturers are promoting tower-like shower stalls with multi-headed nozzles that deliver over 300 liters of water per minute—more than most people in the world use in a day.

? People living in “ecovillages” in more
than 40 countries are working to achieve

? The irrigation of U.S. lawns and
landscapes daily claims an estimated 30 billion liters of water—a volume that would ?ll 14 billion six-packs of beer. The average irrigated lawn uses about 38,000 liters per summer.

? Shrinking household size alone accounted
for a 20-percent increase in energy use per person in industrial countries between 1973 and 1992.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Environmental Construction Out?tters (www.environproducts.com) is a source for information and materials on environmentally conscious construction. ? Environmental Home Center (www.environmentalhomecenter.com) provides information on green building supplies including non-toxic paint, natural carpets, and sustainable wood. ? American Council for an Energy Ef?cient Economy (ACEEE) (www.aceee.org) is dedicated
to advancing energy ef?ciency as a means of promoting both economic prosperity and environmental protection.

? New houses in the U.S. were 38 percent
bigger in 2002 than in 1975, averaging 210 square meters (2,265 square feet). This is twice the size of typical homes in Europe or Japan and 26 times the living

? One resident of water-strapped Orange
County, Florida, was billed for 15.9 million liters of water one year—a volume roughly equivalent to what 900 Kenyans use in a year.

19

LIGHTING
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

LIGHTING
Marycel Tuazon, American Council for an Energy-Ef?cient Economy (ACEEE)

Make the Switch, Save the Planet
ighting plays a fundamental role in our lives. We use lights to illuminate most of our daily activities and to create a safe, comfortable environment. Most households around the world use incandescent bulbs for lighting. They are readily available and inexpensive to buy. However, incandescent bulbs are inef?cient light sources, converting 90 percent of electricity directly to heat and only about 10 percent to visible light. In a typical American household, lighting sources consume a lot of electricity—nearly 2,000 kilowatt-hours per year, or 15 percent of the household’s electricity consumption. If electricity is produced by burning coal (as is half of the electricity in the United States), each kilowatt-hour releases over two pounds (nearly 1 kilo) of carbon dioxide (CO2). The buildup of CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere is contributing to global climate change, which is predicted to result in more frequent and severe storms and droughts, the rapid spread of infectious diseases, rising sea levels, and other adverse effects that could harm humans and other life on Earth.

Success stories
? Global sales of CFLs surged nearly 13-fold
between 1990 and 2001, to some 606 million units.

L

? In 1996, the Chinese government started
a Green Lights Program to promote the use of energy-ef?cient lighting products. By 1999, a survey of households in several Chinese provinces found that 60 percent of homes had at least one CFL installed—a signi?cant increase from 10 percent just two years earlier.

Simple things you can do:
 Turn off all lights when you’re not using
them.

 The next time one of your often-used light
bulbs goes out, replace it with a compact ?uorescent, preferably one with low mercury content.

? Consumers in Brazil have purchased more
than 48 million ef?cient lighting products since the government started an energy conservation program in 1985. As a result, Brazil avoided a 12 percent increase in its lighting electricity use.

 Replace all of your often-used incandescent bulbs with compact ?uorescents.

 Consider reducing your lighting energy use
in areas of your home that receive plenty of natural light.

 For tasks where you need more concentrated light, such as reading in the living room or working at your desk, rely on localized lamps rather than general room lighting.

? In the western United States, consumer

Did you know…?
? Lighting consumes up to 34 percent of
U.S. electricity.

and 20 pounds of sulfur dioxide from being pumped into the atmosphere.

? If every household replaced its most
often-used incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, electricity use for lighting could be cut in half.

programs developed through business and utility partnerships have pushed sales of CFLs. Between 2000 and 2001, CFL sales grew 4 percent in California and 10 percent in the Northwest.

 Encourage your friends and family to do
the same.

? Compact ?uorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are
an energy-saving alternative to incandescent bulbs—they produce the same amount of light, use one third of the electricity, and last up to ten times as long.

? While ?uorescent lamps save energy, they
need to be disposed of properly because they also contain mercury, a highly persistent and toxic chemical that builds up in the tissue of ?sh, wildlife, and people.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? ENERGY STAR® (www.energystar.gov), a joint project of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, works to promote energy-ef?cient lighting and appliances. ? Germany’s Blue Angel (www.blauer-engel.de) provides consumers in Europe with
information on environmentally preferable products, including lighting.

? Where electricity is produced from coal,
each CFL used prevents 1,300 pounds (nearly 600 kilograms) of CO2 emissions

Challenge yourself and others:
Ask your local power provider how the electricity that lights up your neighborhood or town is produced. How does the electricity production affect the air you breathe, the water you drink, people’s livelihoods, and the animals that live near your surroundings? Present your ?ndings to your family, friends, and work or school colleagues, and encourage them to reduce their own lighting energy needs.

? American Council for an Energy-Ef?cient Economy (ACEEE) (www.aceee.org), a group dedicated to advancing energy ef?ciency in the United States and other countries, offers consumer resources on energy-ef?cient lighting. ? INFORM, Inc’s fact sheet on mercury-containing lamps (www.informinc.org/fact_P3mer
cury_lamps.php) offers useful tips on choosing lighting with the lowest mercury content.

? U.S. Department of Energy’s Of?ce of Energy Ef?ciency and Renewable Energy (www.eere
.energy.gov/consumerinfo) provides good energy-saving tips for lighting.

? Consumer Federation of America (www.buyenergyef?cient.org) provides useful information on what you can do in your community to increase awareness about energy ef?ciency.
20

MEAT
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

MEAT
Christina Salvi and Diane Hatz, GRACE Factory Farm Project

This Little Piggy Went to the Global Market
eat production has increased by 500 percent since 1950. Today, most animals are raised on industrial “factory farms” that are displacing sustainable family farms. Thousands of animals are crowded in unsanitary conditions, spending their entire lives indoors without sunlight or pasture. To prevent disease from these inhumane practices, antibiotics are added to feed, contributing to the worldwide growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Vast amounts of manure pollute rivers and streams, causing toxic pollution of air and water and endangering human health. Community opposition has prompted corporations to move their mega-farms to developing countries where environmental regulations are less strict. Because the time to ship from farm to store takes longer, industry “nukes” our meat with irradiation—prolonging “shelf-life”—despite evidence that irradiation is unsafe and dangerous. One day soon, you may ?nd that your hamburger was raised half way around the world, irradiated, and ?own thousands of miles before landing on your dinner plate.

Success stories
? Sustainable farming, a method of farming that is good for animals, people and the environment, has grown into a $15.6 billion business worldwide.

M

? Local communities are organizing to
oppose factory farms—and winning! Manitowoc County, in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, prevented a 5,000 head feedlot from locating in a residential area; residents of Saskatchewan, Canada, kept out six hog con?nement buildings; and Klamath County in Oregon successfully prevented the construction of an 11,000-head hog factory.

Simple things you can do:
 Get to know local farmers who raise
sustainable meat in your area.

 Buy sustainable meat at your local health
food store or farmer’s market. (When you add in environmental and health costs, “inexpensive” factory farmed meat is actually more expensive than sustainable meat.)

? Sow gestation stalls/crates on factory
farms, which are so narrow that pregnant pigs cannot turn around, are now banned in the United Kingdom and Sweden, and will be illegal in the European Union in 2013.

 If necessary, cut back on your meat
consumption.

Did you know…?
? Global meat consumption is expected to grow 2 percent each year until 2015, especially in developing countries where eating meat is seen as a sign of wealth and prosperity. Half of the world’s pork is now eaten in China, while Brazil is the second largest consumer of beef, after the United States. ? Forty-three percent of the world’s beef is
raised on factory feedlots, and more than half of the world’s pork and poultry is raised on factory farms.

pensate for the unsanitary and con?ned conditions on factory farms. By volume, livestock in the country consume eight times more antibiotics than humans do.

 Read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
(Houghton Mif?in: 2001), to give yourself more background on the factory farm issue.

? More and more people—including some
150 million people in Europe alone—are either becoming vegetarians or reducing their consumption of meat.

? With its high meat content, the average
U.S. diet requires twice as much water per person per day as an equally nutritious vegetarian diet. A meat-rich meal made with imported ingredients also emits nine times as much carbon as a vegetarian meal made with domestic ingredients that don’t have to be hauled long distances.

Challenge yourself and others:
Invite friends over for a locally grown, sustainable meal. All ingredients must be raised or grown within a certain radius, e.g., 30 miles of your home. (Even residents of New York City can do this!) Discussion at the meal will revolve around the food—what you learned about locally grown food, how easy or dif?cult it was to ?nd everything, etc. To make it more fun, ask your friends to provide some of the local food.

? A diet high in grain-fed meat can require
two to four times more land than a vegetarian diet.

? Animals raised in feedlots accumulate
Omega 6 fatty acids (the bad fats), which have been linked with cancer, diabetes, obesity, and immune disorders.

? A study in 2002 found that 37 percent of
the broiler chickens found in major grocery stores are contaminated with antibioticresistant pathogens.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? GRACE Factory Farm Project (www.factoryfarm.org) has information on the environmental, economic, health, well-being and social aspects of factory farming, as well as sustainable meat. ? The Eat Well Guide (www.eatwellguide.org) is a national online resource that lists sustainable farmers, restaurants, and stores in the United States.

? Belching, ?atulent livestock emit 16 percent of the world’s annual production of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

? In 1995, 25 million gallons of hog waste
spilled from an 8-acre lagoon into a river in the United States, killing 10 million ?sh.

? Since it was ?rst reported in the United
Kingdom in 1986, BSE (mad cow disease) has been detected in 33 countries, and health of?cials estimate that 139 people worldwide have succumbed to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a related illness in humans.

? An estimated 70 percent of all antibiotics
in the U.S. are fed to pigs, poultry, and cattle merely to promote growth and com-

? Public Citizen (www.citizen.org/cmep/foodsafety) has information on the hazards of irradiated food and the use of irradiation as a tool for globalization.

21

PAINT & VARNISHES
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

PAINT & VARNISHES
Paul McRandle, The Green Guide

The Freshest, Greenest Finish

Success stories
? Many concerned consumers are switching from conventional “low-VOC” paints to paints labeled “VOC-free,” “no-VOC,” or “zero-VOC,” which are virtually free of a wide range of chemical solvents, preservatives, and biocides (though some do contain synthetic ingredients like acrylic and vinyl). Options include natural paints made from citrus and other plant ingredients, milk protein, or clay, as well as simple whitewashes made from lime paste, water, and salt.

N

othing brightens up a space like a fresh coat of paint. All too often, however, the “clean” smell of new paint is actually vapor released from the toxic ingredients used as solvents in conventional paints. Known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), these include benzene, formaldehyde, kerosene, ammonia, toluene, and xylene, all of which are known carcinogens and neurotoxins. The more VOCs the paint contains, the stronger the odor. Exposure to VOCs can worsen asthma symptoms and cause nose, skin, and eye irritation; headaches, nausea, convulsions, and dizziness; respiratory problems; nerve damage; and, in some cases, liver and kidney disease. The VOCs emitted by paint solvents also contribute to indoor air pollution and the formation of ground level ozone. A study conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showed that VOC levels indoors can be 1,000 times higher than outdoor levels when an indoor paint is drying. Another study found that the application and drying of paint releases VOCs at a higher rate than any other product used indoors. In sunlight, some organic solvents used in paint react with nitrous oxides in the atmosphere to form smog.

Simple things you can do:
 When renovating or doing home
maintenance, avoid exposing your family, neighbors, or pets to lead-based paint hazards. Test for lead residues, keep surfaces clean of dust and chips, and if necessary hire a person skilled in correcting lead problems.

? In 1978, the U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission banned the use of lead in all household paints. (In homes built before 1978, however, lead from paint chips and dust still poses serious health hazards if not taken care of properly.)

 For your home painting jobs, choose VOCfree, no-VOC, or zero-VOC paints. Ask your of?ce or building manager to use these paints as well.

 Avoid alkyd- or oil-based paints, even if
they are labeled low-VOC, and seek latex paints instead.

? California ‘s South Coast Air Quality Man-

Did you know…?
? Paint made its earliest appearance about
30,000 years ago, when cave dwellers used crude paints to sketch images of their lives on ancient rock walls.

ally, according to the National Paint and Coatings Association.

? Latex paints produce fewer VOCs than oilbased paints, but because they are used in such large volume—accounting for up to 87 percent of all indoor paint sold in the United States—they remain a major source of indoor air pollution.

agement District has developed legislation limiting the amount of solvents used in paint, as a way to address the role of VOCs in smog formation. Clean Air Counts, an initiative to reduce ozone-causing emissions in Chicago, also recommends using paint that meets the California VOC limits.

 Ask your local hardware store or paint
store to carry low-toxicity paints. Many leading paint companies now offer full lines of these paints.

? Today, virtually every product created on
an assembly line—from wood furniture to the latest big-screen television—uses paints and coatings to beautify, protect, and extend the lives of goods.

? Milk paints, once common in households
before commercial paints were available, are an environmentally sound alternative to conventional paints and are made from old curdled milk or cottage cheese, lime, and earth pigments.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Environmental Construction Out?tters (www.environproducts.com) is a source for information and materials on environmentally conscious construction. ? Environmental Home Center (www.environmentalhomecenter.com) provides information on green building supplies including non-toxic paint, natural carpets, sustainable wood products, energy-ef?cient insulation, and people-friendly cleaning supplies. ? U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov/lead/) offers information on the hazards of lead-based paints as well as tips on avoiding these dangers.

? Americans spend roughly $17 billion on
paint each year, equivalent to about 1.3 billion gallons (5,100 billion liters) annu-

Challenge yourself and others:
Educate yourself about low-VOC paints by visiting websites like Chicago’s “Clean Air Counts” (www.cleanaircounts.org), which offers a free fact sheet on this topic. Use your ?ndings to make smart purchases the next you have a painting project. Share the information you gather with your school, work, or place of worship.

22

PAPER
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

PAPER
Dave Tilford, Center for a New American Dream

Painless Paper Cuts

Success stories
? In 1991, Germany passed a law requiring
packaging producers and distributors to take back certain packaging materials for reuse or recycling—including paper. Within three years, wastepaper recycling shot up to 54 percent, after stagnating at 45 percent for nearly 20 years.

F

or most of its history, paper existed as a precious and rare commodity. Today, it covers the planet. From the contents of our in-boxes to the currency in our wallets to the containers for our frozen dinners, paper is never far from reach. Global paper use increased more than six-fold over the latter half of the 20th century, and has doubled since the mid-1970s. About 93 percent of today’s paper comes from trees, and paper production is responsible for about a ?fth of the total wood harvest worldwide. A sheet of writing paper might contain ?bers from hundreds of different trees that have collectively traveled thousands of kilometers from forest to consumer. Though invented as a tool to communicate, about half the paper in today’s consumer society serves another purpose—packaging. This and other rapidly discarded paper now represents a big chunk of the modern waste stream, accounting for roughly 40 percent of the municipal solid waste burden in many industrial countries.

the market include hemp, kenaf (a leafy member of the hibiscus family), agricultural residues (cereal straws, cotton linters, banana peels, coconut shells), and even denim scraps.

? The European Union Parliament recently
adopted a law requiring member governments to set waste paper recycling goals of 60 percent by 2008.

Simple things you can do:
 Buy paper with at least 30 percent postconsumer recycled content, and encourage your school or workplace to do the same.

? A pulp and paper mill on the Androscoggin River in Maine dramatically reduced its hazardous waste generation from 6 million pounds in 1990 to 300,000 pounds in 1998, and slashed the amount of solid waste going to land?lls by 91 percent, largely through pollution prevention measures.

 Seek out nonwood paper alternatives made
from kenaf, cotton, or other ?bers. Many “agri?bers” yield more pulp-per-acre than forests or tree farms, and they require fewer pesticides and herbicides.

Did you know…?
? The United States produces and uses a
third of the world’s paper. Forests in the southeastern U.S. now supply a quarter of the global total.

? The pulp and paper industry is the world’s
?fth largest industrial consumer of energy and uses more water to produce a ton of product than any other industry.

? In November 2002, more than 50
environmental groups across North America agreed on a set of common environmental criteria for environmentally preferable paper, and released detailed guidance to advise paper buyers about their choices.

 Recycle your junk mail, and tell vendors to
stop sending it. For an overview of how to get off junk mail (as well as e-mail and telephone) lists in the U.S., go to www.newdream.org/junkmail

? Making paper from recycled content rather
than virgin ?ber creates 74 percent less air pollution and 35 percent less water pollution. Yet the share of total paper ?ber coming from recycled material has grown only modestly from 20 percent in 1921 to 38 percent today.

? The average U.S. citizen uses more than
300 kilograms of paper annually, and the average Japanese uses 250 kilograms. People in developing countries, in contrast, use only 18 kilograms of paper a year on average—in India, the figure is 4 kilos, while in 20 countries in Africa, it’s less than 1 kilo. (The United Nations estimates that 30–40 kilos is the minimum needed to meet basic literacy and communication needs.)

 Encourage your local or national
government of?cials to introduce legislation requiring manufacturers to take back the packaging waste from their products.

? On a limited scale, paper is returning to
its nonwood roots. Alternative ?bers now on

? The group Environmental Defense
estimates that if the entire U.S. catalog industry switched its publications to just 10-percent recycled content paper, the savings in wood alone would be enough to stretch a 1.8-meter-high fence across the United States seven times.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Conservatree (www.conservatree.org), an organization dedicated to building markets for environmentally sound papers, offers useful tips on buying recycled, tree-free, and chlorine-free papers.

? Producing one ton of paper requires 2-3
times its weight in trees. Newly cut trees account for 55 percent of the global paper supply, while 38 percent is from recycled wood-based paper, and the remaining 7 percent comes from non-tree sources.

? The Gutenberg Bible, the ?rst and second
drafts of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and the original works of Mark Twain were all printed on hemp-based papers.

? The U.S. government’s Web-Based Paper Calculator (www.ofee.gov/gp/papercal.html)
allows users to compare the environmental impacts of papers made with different levels of recycled content, from virgin paper to 100% recycled.

? Rethink Paper (www.rethinkpaper.org) is an organization dedicated to rethinking and replacChallenge yourself and others:
See if you can go a week without printing out any new e-mails. Try instead to archive your emails and other information electronically, using a computer-based ?ling system. ing current paper consumption and production practices with environmentally preferable alternatives, including nonwood papers.

? ForestEthics’ Paper Campaign (www.forestethics.org/paper/) is a U.S. campaign that aims
for systemic change in the paper industry by targeting the largest retail paper sellers via pressure, protests, and other grassroots efforts.

23

PERSONAL CARE
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

PERSONAL CARE
Diane di Costanzo, The Green Guide

Are Your Cleansers Really “Clean”?

Success stories
? Some manufacturers have started using organically grown botanical ingredients in their personal care products, a move that supports organic farmers who are drastically reducing the use of toxins on their farms.

N

ot long ago, the only beauty products available to most of us were ordinary soaps for our hair and bodies, toothpastes, and a few simple cosmetics. Today, in the United States alone, personal care products represent a $20 billion a year industry—and one that has changed dramatically in recent decades. The potions and lotions lining our shelves have morphed into chemical powerhouses pumped with dyes, preservatives, detergents, and antimicrobials, to name just a few of the agents promising cleaner, brighter, and diseasefree living. Contrary to their billing, however, many of these products have damaging effects on our health, as well as to our water and wildlife. Some of these impacts can occur during use, particularly to young children or to those of us with more sensitive bodies. Other consequences are felt far away, occurring only after the products are ?ushed down the drain. And almost all of these products come with extensive packaging that is quickly discarded, contributing to mountains of plastic and paper waste.

? Some manufacturers have voluntarily stopped testing their products on laboratory animals, a
process that subjects rabbits and other mammals to irritants and sometimes lethal doses of chemicals.

? Scientists are pressuring manufacturers to stop using antibacterial agents in their products,
except in items targeted at hospitals and other facilities where the presence of germs can be life threatening.

? Responding to strong activist and consumer pressure, the European Parliament adopted a
resolution in January 2003 that prohibits the use of certain phthalates in cosmetics.

Simple things you can do:
 Look for product labels that indicate the presence of organic ingredients, or that note that
the product was not tested on animals. Avoid using products labeled “antibacterial.”

 Choose products with the smallest numbers of listed ingredients, avoiding entirely products

Did you know…?
? Phthalates, chemicals commonly used in
nail polishes and to fragrance personal care products, have been shown to cause birth defects in animals. Tests in the United States indicate that phthalates are being retained in human tissue at much higher levels than was previously believed.

tants, while others contain lead acetate, a heavy metal that is toxic to the nervous system.

that contain phthalates, detergents, and antimicrobial agents.

 Consider the size of an item’s packaging in relation to the size of the item. Opt for the
paper-wrapped bar of soap, for instance, over a liquid cleanser packaged in a bottle that must be tossed out or recycled when the product is used up.

? Because our skin is permeable, chemicals
applied to the outside of our bodies eventually make their way inside and are circulated by the bloodstream—one reason to be wary of the chemicals we put onto our skin.

 Ask your favorite stores to stock organic lines of personal care products.  Ask your local schools, workplace, and other institutions to think more critically about the
cleansers and other products they buy. Large-scale purchasing can have large-scale bene?ts!

? Toxic preservatives—including compounds
that release formaldehyde, a probable carcinogen—are used to prolong the shelf lives of many personal care products. Dermatologists rank preservatives as the second most likely category of ingredients to cause skin reactions.

 If the labels on your favorite products aren’t clear about what’s in the products and how
they are tested, contact the company and express your concerns.

? As many as two-thirds of all hand
cleansers on U.S. store shelves are labeled “antibacterial,” designed to ?ght germs on contact. But scientists are increasingly concerned about the link between these products and the spread of drug-resistant “super-germs.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Environmental Working Group (EWG) has launched a campaign to raise awareness about
the hazards posed by phthalates in cosmetics, at www.nottoopretty.org.

? Certain coloring agents and dyes used in
cosmetics are common allergens and irri-

? OurStolenFuture.org (www.ourstolenfuture.org) is a source for a wide range of scienti?c Challenge yourself and others:
Spend an hour going through your home to identify any personal care products that may be hazardous to your health or your family’s health—particularly products containing a wide range of potential toxins. The next time you go shopping, try to replace these items with safer alternatives that are free of these compounds. If they aren’t available, encourage your retailer to carry them. research about the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals, including phthalates, on humans and wildlife.

? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) (www.peta.org) offers information about how animals are used for testing, alternatives to animal testing, and lists of companies and their testing policies. ? The Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (www.apua.org) provides information about the overuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents, including in ordinary household products.
24

PLASTIC BAGS
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

PLASTIC BAGS
Brian Halweil, Worldwatch Institute

A Necessary Eyesore?
lastic shopping bags are among the most ubiquitous consumer items on Earth. Their light weight, low cost, and water resistance make them so convenient for carrying groceries, clothing, and other routine purchases that it’s hard to imagine life without them. Weighing just a few grams and averaging a few millimeters in thickness, plastic bags might seem thoroughly innocuous— were it not for the sheer number produced. Factories around the world churned out a whopping 4–5 trillion of them in 2002, ranging from large trash bags to thick shopping totes to ?imsy grocery sacks. Compared with paper bags, producing plastic ones uses less energy and water and generates less air pollution and solid waste. Plastic bags also take up less space in a land?ll. But many of these bags never make it to land?lls; instead, they go airborne after they are discarded—getting caught in fences, trees, even the throats of birds, and clogging gutters, sewers, and waterways. To avoid these impacts, the best alternative is to carry and re-use your own durable cloth bags.

Success stories
? In January 2002, the South African government required manufacturers to make plastic bags more durable and more expensive to discourage their disposal—prompting a 90-percent reduction in use.

? The organizers of the 2000 Olympic
Games in Sydney, Australia, were able to collect 76 percent of the food waste generated at the sports venues and athletes’ village by using biodegradable utensils and plastic bags that composted as easily as the food and eliminated the need to separate the garbage.

P

? Ireland instituted a 15¢-per-bag tax in
March 2002, which led to a 95-percent reduction in use.

? In the early 1990s, the Ladakh Women’s Alliance and other citizens groups led a successful campaign to ban plastic bags in that Indian province, where the ?rst of May is now celebrated as “Plastic Ban Day.” Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom also have plans to ban or tax plastic bags. ? Supermarkets around the world are voluntarily encouraging shoppers to forgo plastic bags—or to bring their own bags—by offering a small per-bag refund or charging extra for plastic.

Simple things you can do:
 Think twice about taking a plastic bag if
your purchase is small and easy to carry.

 Keep canvas bags in your home, of?ce,
and car so you always have them available when you go to the supermarket or other stores.

Did you know…?
? Plastic bags start as crude oil, natural gas,
or other petrochemical derivatives, which are transformed into chains of hydrogen and carbon molecules known as polymers or polymer resin. After being heated, shaped, and cooled, the plastic is ready to be ?attened, sealed, punched, or printed on.

? North America and Western Europe account
for nearly 80 percent of plastic bag use— though the bags are increasingly common in developing countries as well.

 Ask your favorite stores to stop providing
bags for free, or to offer a discount for not using the bags.

? Some manufacturers have introduced
biodegradable or compostable plastic bags made from starches, polymers or poly-lactic acid, and no polyethylene—though these remain prohibitively expensive and account for less than 1 percent of the market.

 Encourage your local politicians to introduce
legislation taxing or banning plastic bags.

? A quarter of the plastic bags used in
wealthy nations are now produced in Asia.

? Each year, Americans throw away some 100
billion polyethylene plastic bags. (Only 0.6 percent of plastic bags are recycled.)

? The ?rst plastic “baggies” for bread, sandwiches, fruits, and vegetables were introduced in the United States in 1957. Plastic trash bags started appearing in homes and along curbsides around the world by the late 1960s.

? The Irish have been known to call the
ever-present bags their “national ?ag”; South Africans have dubbed them the “national ?ower.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? International Biodegradable Products Initiative (www.bpiworld.org) is an association that
promotes the use of biodegradable polymeric materials, including bags.

? Grassroots Recycling Network (www.grrn.org) works to eliminate the waste of natural and
human resources—with the goal of achieving zero waste.

Challenge yourself and others:
Try to go at least one week without accumulating any new plastic bags. If every shopper took just one less bag each month, this could eliminate the waste of hundreds of millions of bags each year.

? Film and Bag Federation (www.plasticbag.com) is an industry group that serves as the
“voice” of the plastic ?lm and bag industry.

25

SHRIMP
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

SHRIMP
Dave Tilford, Center for a New American Dream

A Jumbo-sized Impact in Every Bite
hrimp has long been on the menu of coast-dwelling humans. But today’s multibillion-dollar industry bears little resemblance to shrimp harvests of old. Today, huge quantities of shrimp are produced in developing countries for consumption in Japan, the United States, and Western Europe. In 2001 alone, more than four million tons swam into the global marketplace. Roughly three quarters of the shrimp on the market is “wild captured”—mostly by fishing boats dragging huge conical nets (trawls) over estuaries, bays, and continental shelves. Trawlers scour the seabed in a manner likened to forest clearcutting, destroying habitat and scooping up whatever lies in the paths of the trawls. Any turtles, fish, and other marine species swept up in the nets are considered unprofitable “bycatch” and are generally deposited— dead—back into the ocean. Shrimp aquaculture has been no more ecologically benign. A typical shrimp farm produces large amounts of waste, some of it highly toxic. Chemicals and fertilizers used in the farms seep into local water sources and estuaries, while farmers dump much of the waste directly into the ocean.

Success stories
? Grassroots environmental groups in
farmed areas are teaming up with international activists to promote more ecologically sound shrimp farming. In Asia, the Small Fishers Federation of Sri Lanka and the Mangrove Action Project bring ?shing communities together to promote conservation and work with shrimp farmers to curb mangrove destruction and protect ?sh habitat.

S

Simple things you can do:
 Avoid buying shrimp to ease the burden
on both ecosystems and people.

 Ask your local restaurants and food stores
to stop supplying shrimp, or encourage them to seek out trap-caught shrimp.

? The California-based Sea Turtle Restoration Project is among several groups working with the shrimp industry to develop and promote devices that drastically reduce bycatch.

Challenge yourself and others:
Pledge to avoid eating shrimp. View an online tally of the cumulative positive effect of doing so by joining the Center for a New American Dream’s Turn the Tide program (www.newdream.org/tttof?ine). For every 1,000 people who stop eating shrimp, this can save more than 5.4 tons of sea life per year.

? A consortium involving the World Bank,
the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Wide Fund for Nature is exploring environmental certi?cation standards for aquaculture.

Did you know…?
? China produces more shrimp than any other
country, hauling in over 1.2 million tons in 2000, more than double its total from a decade before and over three times as much as each of its nearest competitors— India, Thailand, and Indonesia.

ing accounts for one third of the world’s discarded catch, while producing less than 2 percent of global seafood.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Industrial Shrimp Action Network (ISA Net) (www.shrimpaction.com) works with communities worldwide to address the impacts of large-scale shrimp aquaculture and supports and encourages sustainable, responsible shrimp farming.

? Nearly one quarter of the world’s remaining tropical mangrove forests were destroyed over the past two decades, in major part to make way for shrimp farms.

? By 2001, shrimp had displaced canned
tuna as the top seafood choice on U.S. dinner plates. But Japan is still ?rst in per capita shrimp consumption.

? Indian physicist and environmental advocate Vandana Shiva has estimated that the average shrimp farm provided perhaps 15 jobs on the farm and 50 security jobs around the farm, while displacing 50,000 people through loss of land and traditional ?shing and agriculture.

? Mangrove Action Project (www.mangroveactionproject.org) is dedicated to reversing the degradation of mangrove forest ecosystems, including from shrimp farming and aquaculture. ? Shrimp Sentinel (www.earthsummitwatch.org/shrimp) is an online forum for discussion and dialogue on the environmental and social impacts of growing global shrimp production. ? Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch (www.mbayaq.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch) offers
information on sustainable shrimp choices.

? In tropical areas, the bycatch-to-shrimp
ratio is roughly 10:1, and it can run even higher in some ?sheries. All told, shrimp-

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SOAP
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute
www.worldwatch.org

SOAP
Mindy Pennybacker, The Green Guide

Antibacterials? Here’s the Rub
or most of human history, soap got rid of germs by making surface dirt and oils slippery enough to be rubbed and rinsed off. Since World War II, however, human-made chemicals have altered the traditional recipe. Manufacturers increasingly fortify liquid soaps, shower gels, and body washes with a wide range of fragrances and other inputs—including germ-?ghting “antibacterial” properties—and tout the bene?ts of doing so. But studies show that antibacterial soaps are not signi?cantly more effective at combating germs than regular soaps. Even worse, their popularity is contributing to the growing problem of drug-resistance—creating greater opportunities for the emergence of deadly “super-bugs” that are immune to germ-?ghting agents. As a consequence, many antibiotics and other compounds used to ?ght life-threatening infections like malaria and tuberculosis are no longer as effective as they once were. When it comes to germ prevention, there’s really no substitute for plain old soap and water.

Success stories
? To fight growing drug resistance, groups
like the World Health Organization and the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics have launched global campaigns against the misuse of antimicrobials, with the aim of informing individuals, health care workers, and manufacturers about this growing problem.

F

Simple things you can do:
 Stop buying soaps and other home products that contain triclosan and other antimicrobial agents—including toothpaste, cosmetics, carpets, plastic kitchenware, sponges, and even toys. Urge your family, friends, and workplace not to buy them either.

Challenge yourself and others:
Spend an hour going through your home to identify any products that may have antibacterial properties, in particular hand and dish soaps and bathroom cleansers. The next time you go shopping, replace these items with plain soaps and cleansers that are free of these compounds. If you don’t ?nd them in a store, let your retailer know what choices you want them to carry.

 Wash your hands by rubbing thoroughly
with ordinary soap and warm water before preparing food and after using the toilet, as this is still the best way to prevent colds and food-borne disease.

 Encourage your doctor and other health
care professionals to use alcohol-based hand-rub gels to stop the spread of germs, rather than antimicrobial products.

Did you know…?
? Although labeled antibacterial, most germ?ghting soaps are actually antimicrobial, attacking viruses as well as bacteria.

same enzyme as the antibiotic isoniazid, used to treat tuberculosis.

 Ask your supermarkets and drug stores to
stop carrying antibacterial products and to educate shoppers about the risks involved.

? In the United States, 75 percent of liquid
soaps and nearly 30 percent of bar soaps now contain triclosan and other germ?ghting compounds, whose prevalence can foster the growth of bacterial resistance.

? The global market for soap is projected to reach $6 billion by 2008. Growth is fastest in Asia, where demand for enhanced soap products—including antimicrobials—is rising rapidly. ? Triclosan, the leading germ-?ghting compound in antimicrobial soaps, acts by destroying enzymes in bacteria cell walls so they cannot replicate; it targets the

? A 2002 study by the U.S. Geological Survey found that triclosan and phthalates from antibacterial soaps and other detergents were polluting water bodies across the U.S. in low concentrations through wastewater.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
? Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (www.tufts.edu/med/apua) is an international organization that helps educate consumers and doctors about the risks associated with antibiotic resistance. ? World Health Organization (www.who.int/health_topics/drug_resistance/en) provides links to worldwide activities, reports, news, and events related to the topic of drug resistance. ? U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/drugresistance) offers a wide range of information on the risks of antimicrobial resistance.

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© 2004 Worldwatch Institute

www.worldwatch.org

the Good Stuff Quiz!
Do you know your good stuff from your bad stuff? Take this quiz to test your eco-IQ when it comes to buying and using environmentally friendly products. Good Luck! 1. What makes the air in U.S. homes an average of 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside? 2. A cotton T-shirt blended with polyester can release about 10 times its weight of what pollutant? 3. What plant has been used to make clothing for 12,000 years but is illegal to farm in the U.S.? 4. To get the most eco- and socially-responsible cup of coffee possible, your brew should have what three qualities? 5. What is the world’s fastest growing energy source? 6. How much mercury is enough to contaminate ?sh in a 20-acre lake? 7. Name two ways to cut down on household water use. 8. Name one of the simplest ways to save energy. 9. What kind of light bulb lasts up to 10 times longer than a regular incandescent? 10. Sixteen percent of the world’s production of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, comes from what? 11. Washing your hands with antibacterial soap can contribute to what unhealthy side effect? 12. Known for being small, what popular seafood is creating BIG problems for the health of ocean habitats and wildlife? 13. Eating less meat will save big on what resource? 14. What kind of furniture can save trees AND space in land?lls? 15. Name two things you can do to make your computer use more eco-friendly.

The Good Stuff Challenge
Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of Good Stuff. We hope you’ve learned two important things as you’ve read through this guide: First, every product we use, from a CD to a plastic bag, has a lifecycle—it’s produced, used, and eventually disposed of. Because of this, our purchases can have real impacts on the health of our planet and its people, even when we can’t directly see or feel them. Second, each of us has an opportunity to improve the health of the environment through our own buying habits. Good Stuff contains many examples of ways we can “green” our purchases. Before you put Good Stuff down, we’ve got a challenge for you. Try to take three actions that change the way you buy, use, or dispose of your “stuff,” or that encourage society at large to be more environmentally responsible. Changes could include buying more eco-friendly cleaning products, eating less or no meat, urging a company to support environmentally friendly practices, organizing an event in your community, or donating to an organization that promotes environmental causes. Flip back through the pages of Good Stuff for more ideas, and then decide on three actions that are right for you!
OK! I’m going to take the Good Stuff Challenge by taking the following three steps:

1.

2.

3.

How did you do!?
• 1-5 questions right: Looks like you may need a little more help recognizing your good stuff.
Don’t worry, this guide will boost your eco-IQ in no time!
SIGNED: DATE:

• 6-10 questions right: Not bad! You are on your way to living right by planet Earth! • 11-15 questions right: Excellent! You’re the Good Stuff teacher’s pet. Now it’s up to you to keep
spreading knowledge about the hidden costs behind the things we buy, and to support the alternative choices now available.

Good Luck! Keep in Touch

Answers 1. Household cleaners and pesticides (see Cleaning Products, page 10). 2. Carbon dioxide (see Clothing, page 11). 3. Hemp (see Clothing, page 11). 4. It’s shade-grown, organic, and fairly traded (see Coffee, page 12). 5. Wind power (see Electricity, page 14). 6. The amount in one fever thermometer (see Health Care, page 18). 7. Two answers from Good Stuff: replace aging dishwashers and washing machines with newer models; landscape your home with plants that are native to your area (see Housing, page 19). 8. Turn off the lights when you’re not using them (see Lighting, page 20). 9. Compact ?uorescent (see Lighting, page 20). 10. Belching, ?atulent livestock (see Meat, page 21). 11. Resistance to antibiotics (see Soap, page 27). 12. Shrimp (see Shrimp, page 26). 13. Water (see Meat, page 21). 14. Second-hand (see Furniture, page 16). 15. Two answers from Good Stuff: buy an energy-ef?cient model; donate your old computer (see Computers, page 13).
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The staff here at Worldwatch wants to learn how your challenge goes. We’d love to hear stories and see photos of you taking action for a healthier planet. You can fax us this page or send us an e-mail describing the Good Stuff challenges you’re taking on. Please e-mail us at worldwatch@worldwatch.org or fax us at 202.296.7365. We’ll send out reports over our e-mail listserv describing the different, exciting ways Good Stuff readers are doing their part to build a more sustainable world. To receive these updates, go to www.worldwatch.org and sign up for our listserv by entering your e-mail in the box on the blue menu bar to the left of your screen.

© 2004 Worldwatch Institute

www.worldwatch.org

Sources
Much of the data in Good Stuff is found in Worldwatch Institute, State of the World 2004 (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2004) and Worldwatch Institute, Vital Signs (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., various editions). Additional sources include the following: Plastics Council, at www.plasticsresource.com/ s_plasticsresource/docs/1200/1131.pdf; A. Choate, S. Brown, H. Ferland, and E. Lee, Waste Management and Energy Savings: Bene?ts by the Numbers (Washington, DC: U.S. EPA, 2001); U.S. EPA, Of?ce of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 2000 Facts and Figures (Washington, DC: June 2002); Mark Murray, State Treasurer, Michigan, “Report to the Legislature,” submitted 26 June 2000; Hans Funke, Returpak, Sweden, personal communication, 6 June 2003; Ravi Rebbapragada, Mines, Minerals & People, Hyderabad, India, personal communication, 30 October 2003. of Air and Radiation, Indoor Environments Division, “Why Study Indoor Air Quality???” www.epa.gov/NE/eco/iaq/whyiaq.html; Dana W. Kolpin et al., “Pharmaceuticals, Hormones, and Other Organic Wastewater Contaminants in U.S. Streams, 1999–2000: A National Reconnaissance,” Environmental Science and Technology, 15 March 2002, pp. 1202–11; John Elkington, Julia Hailes, and Joel Makower, The Green Consumer (New York: Penguin Books, 1988), p. 117.

Gold Jewelry
Earthworks/Mineral Policy Center, Dirty Metals: Mining, Communities and the Environment (Washington, DC: 2004).

Housing
Green Guide Product Report

Baby Products
The Green Guide, “Product Report: Baby Bottles” and “Product Report: Diapers,” available at www.thegreenguide.com/reports.

Lighting
American Council for an Energy Ef?cient Economy; DOE, Energy Information Administration; US EPA; Michael Aucott et al., “Release of Mercury from Broken Fluorescent Bulbs,” Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, February 2003; H. Geller et al., Update on Brazil’s National Electricity Conservation Program (PROCEL), 1999; V. Fulbright, A. Jacob, and C. Calwell, Compact Fluorescent Light Programs Shine Through the West Coast Power Crisis, E Source Report ER-03-11 (Boulder, CO, Platts Research & Consulting, 2003).

Beverage Containers
Estimate of 189 billion excludes milk and beverages packaged in aseptic drink boxes, foil pouches, and gable-top cartons, per the Container Recycling Institute (CRI), “Internal Market Data Analysis” (Arlington, VA: January 2004); sales and recycling rates for aluminum cans, PET and HDPE plastic bottles, and glass bottles compiled using data from the Aluminum Association, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), the American Plastics Council, the National Association of PET Container Resources, the U.S. EPA Of?ce of Solid Waste, the Beverage Marketing Corporation, and Beverage World magazine; “Brazil Is the World Champion in Recycling of Aluminum Used Beverage Cans for the Second Time,” Brazil Aluminum Association, www.abal.org.br/wingles/noticias_abal/ index.cfm?frame=notic_1jul2003, viewed 6 October 2002; Glenn Switkes, “Aluminum Companies Press for Dams on Amazon,” World Rivers Review, October 2001; per capita consumption derived by CRI using data from the Aluminum Association, DOC, and European Aluminum Association; Jennifer Gitlitz, “Trashed Cans: The Global Environmental Impacts of Aluminum Wasting in America,” (Arlington, VA: CRI, June 2002); U.S. EPA, Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Management of Selected Materials in Municipal Solid Waste (Washington, DC: September 1998); R.W. Beck, 2002 National Post Consumer Plastics Recycling Report, prepared for the American

Clothing
The Green Guide, “Product Report: Clothing,” available at www.thegreenguide.com/reports

Cars
U.S. Department of Energy, Of?ce of Transportation Technologies, “Fact #230: August 19, 2002, Hybrid Electric Vehicles in the United States,” at www.eere.energy.gov/ vehiclesandfuels/facts/favorites/fcvt_fotw230 .shtml and “Fact #251: January 20, 2003, Hybrid Vehicle Sales,” at www.eere.energy.gov/vehicle sandfuels/facts/2003/fcvt_fotw251.shtml.

Electricity
PACE Law School Energy Project, Power Scorecard Website, www.powerscorecard.org/ elec_env.cfm; U.S. EPA, Power Pro?ler Website: www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/powerpro?ler.htm; U.S. EPA, Green Power Partnership Website: www.epa.gov/greenpower/details.htm#santa monica; European Photovoltaic Industry Association and Greenpeace, “Solar Generation: Electricity For Over 1 Billion People and 2 Million Jobs by 2020,” at archive.greenpeace .org/climate/climatecountdown/solargenera tion/solargenback.pdf; U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2003 (Washington, DC: May 2003); American Wind Energy Association, Global Wind Energy Market Report (Washington, DC: February 2003); Green-e , “Green-e Renewable Energy Certi?cation Program,” www.green-e.org/pdf/switch .pdf, Database of Renewable Energy Incentives website, www.dsireusa.org; German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, German Environmental Report 2002 (Berlin: March 2002).

Paint and Varnishes
P.W. McRandle and Andreea Matei, “Paint,” Green Guide 96, May/June 2003, at ssl.thegreen guide.com/docprem.mhtml?i=96&s=paint; The Green Guide, “Product Report: Paint” and “Product Report: Wood Finishes,” available at www.thegreenguide.com/reports; National Paint and Coatings Association Website, at www.paint.org/ind_info/facts.cfm.

CDs and DVDs
U.S. EPA, Of?ce of Solid Waste, “The Life Cycle of a CD or DVD,” poster available at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/education/mad.htm; “Recycling 101: Compact Discs,” Green Star ENews, 21 October 2002, at www.greenstarinc .org/enews/enewsv3n10.htm; Polymer Reprocessors Limited, “The Bene?ts,” at www.poly mer-reprocessors.co.uk/bene?ts.html; Recording Industry Association of America, “Cost of a CD,” at www.riaa.com/news/marketingdata/ cost.asp.

Personal Care Items
The Green Guide, “Product Report: Lip and Eye Makeup,” “Product Report: Nail Products,” “Product Report: Shampoo,” “Product Report: Sunscreen,” and “Product Report: Deodorants and Anti-Perspirants,” available at www.the greenguide.com/reports.

Cleaning Products
The Green Guide, “Product Report: Household Cleaning Supplies,” available at www.the greenguide.com/reports; American Association of Poison Control Centers, Toxic Exposure Surveillance System Annual Report 2001, at www.aapcc.org/annual.htm; U.S. EPA, Of?ce

Furniture
The Green Guide, “Product Report: Wood Furniture,” available at www.thegreenguide.com/ reports.

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© 2004 Worldwatch Institute

www.worldwatch.org

Good Stuff Partners
American Council for an Energy-Ef?cient Economy 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 801 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: (202) 429-8873 Fax: (202) 429-2248 www.aceee.org Center for Resource Solutions Presidio Building 97 P.O. Box 29512 San Francisco, CA 94129 Phone: (415) 561-2100 Fax: (415) 561-2105 www.resource-solutions.org Container Recycling Institute 1911 North Fort Myer Drive, Suite 702 Arlington, Virginia 22209-1603 Phone: (703) 276-9800 www.container-recycling.org Earthworks 1612 K Street NW, Suite 808 Washington, DC 20006 Phone: (202) 887-1872 www.earthworksaction.org Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE) 215 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1001 New York, NY 10016 Phone: (212) 726-9161 Fax: (212) 726-9160 www.factoryfarm.org The Green Guide Institute Prince Street Station P.O. Box 567 New York, NY 10012 Phone: (212) 598-4910 Fax: (212) 410-0184 www.thegreenguide.com Grist Magazine 811 First Avenue, Suite 466 Seattle, WA 98104 Phone: (206) 876-2020 Fax: (253) 423-6487 www.gristmagazine.com Health Care Without Harm 1755 S Street, NW, Suite 6B Washington DC 20009 Phone: (202) 234-0091 Fax: (202) 234-9121 www.noharm.org

Center for a New American Dream 6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 900 Takoma Park, MD 20912 Phone: (301) 891-3683 or (877) 68-DREAM www.newdream.org

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