24

Jan

Bag Count

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized

32 plastic 5 paper 🙂


24

Jan

Green Walmart?

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized

I just finished reading about Wal-Marts attempts to crunch up their image and reduce their impact. I am optimistic and extremely skeptical at the same time.

*They have upgraded their delivery trucks to auxiliary-power systems which apparently reduces the amount of time the engines have to run. No small thing- reduced their greenhouse gas emission by 100,000 tons = 20,000 passenger cars. Can’t really poke too many holes in that. Would it be nice to have more local sources and less time on the road? Of course, but not really practical.

*Switching to CFL, LEDs and natural lighting. They are claiming this will save them 7 million a year in electrical costs. Again- can’t find too much fault.

*Switching to only sustainable fisheries. (This is in the making now.) No complaints.

*Their forth major attempt to go green is misleading. They are focusing on getting companies to focus on creating more concentrated cleaners that would require less packaging. Less packaging sounds great, but there are some flaws here. There isn’t a push to use more biodegradable cleaners or packaging, just less packaging. In fact, concentrated cleaners have more chemicals and don’t often prove to save as much as the manufactures will tell you. People are used to pouring a certain amount into their machines. Over time, perhaps this would correct itself. It would be nicer to see some actual reuse of containers with thin plastic refill bags, like target has done with their eco-friendly Method line.

Wal-Mart always brings one thing to my mind- mass consumption – the very opposite of the environmental movement. How can we begin to talk about reducing our impact without addressing this overwhelming desire to consume beyond our needs. Wal-Mart also makes me think of the squashing of small businesses. What will this mean for your little local health food store? They can’t compete financially with the giants. Will it be another blow to the little guy like when Whole Foods rolled into town? (I still love you WholeFoods- but you have crushed a few little guys under your big green feet.)

I don’t think there is any doubt that a big part of Wal-Mart’s motivation is to improve their image. That doesn’t have to mean that it is all an evil plan. The truth is if they raise the bar for eco-standards, the other giants will have to as well. Wouldn’t it be great for all of the retail giants to be bending over backwards to impress us with how environmental they could be? The sky is the limit for innovation when big business is competing for our dollar. Not to mention testing out new environmental products on such a grand scale could prove to be valuable research. Maybe if the government, which tends to be slow to change and invest, gets wind of how much Wal-Mart is saving with relatively easy energy changes, we will start to see better efficiency in our public buildings. Can you imagine how many tax dollars could be saved if all schools ran on CFLs, wind power, solar and thermal energy? Maybe Wal-Mart can reach the masses. Many earth friendly practices take a little more money- therefore have often not been top on the list of working class Americans. Organic foods and budgeting don’t always work well together and CFLs are pricey next to their their old counterparts. Maybe a mass producer like Wal-Mart can bring those prices down and increase knowledge in a segment of the population that hasn’t been reached.

Will these changes make me shop in Wal-Mart? No. I am hopeful that all of their changes will make them a fortune- inspiring all the others to greedily get on board. Most things in mass are tacky and awful- but maybe there can be an exception for green practices.

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/StockInvestingTrading/Wal-MartJollyGreenGiant.aspx#pageTopAnchor


18

Jan

The joy of swatches

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized

Does anyone out there appreciate the pure joy of new swatches?

Oh- Bag count up to 25 plastic and 5 paper. Anyone else out there counting?


18

Jan

Eco-packaging?

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized

Making happy progress on the designs and materials. Now my big question is how to to package and ship? What is the greenest and yet most practical way to wrap and ship? Obviously hand delivering each item by foot isn’t really going to happen. (Eventually, if things go well, I hope to have a bicycle delivery service for the NYC area – but that is far along in the dream.) My wares are made of fabric, which I want to arrive in pristine condition to my customer’s door. How do you do that without a good ol’ ziplock? I would love any suggestions about this topic. Once I, or one of my nonexistent readers, solve the protecting the product dilemma, I need to decide whether to go with a strong envelope or box for mailing. Both are recyclable- just a matter of volume. I guess that will depend on the size of the order. Is there any difference between shipping USPS, UPS, or FEDEX? Anyone have any eco-dirt on these services/companies?


10

Jan

Inspiration in the checkout line

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized

As I am planning what products to offer my brain has gone into overdrive, noticing all the opportunities to combine style and waste reduction. A big trend is the shopping bag. Now the ones I carry are the generic grocery store offerings, but they could be much more. Now, I am in no way claiming it an original idea, but there is certainly room in the market for yet another interpretation. There has been much chatter about NYC banning plastic bags being used by large stores- could be perfect timing to offer some alternative shopping bags.

Oh and the bag count is up to 17 plastic, 5 paper refused. Why aren’t more stores doing what Trader Joe’s does with the biweekly raffle? What a great way to inspire people.


8

Jan

green suppliers?

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized

I am into the phase of my business plan where I am seeking out reliable suppliers who are also committed to responsible business practices- both to the earth and to the people on it. I would love to use all small suppliers, closely connected to the materials they have created. Easier said then done. My question is how do you trust the name organic? Some products are certified, but many aren’t. And the truth is, how many of us really research the products we buy to see if they are really what they claim to be? There are so many factors to consider: organic, sustainable, local, fair trade. And do we ever really trust that the government is closely watching and testing to see what goes into our food and products? Can we trust products coming in from other countries? It would be so easy to mislead. Some of these materials are coming from 1/2 way around the world. Passed through hundreds of hands. Can I trust what I am buying? Do you?


8

Jan

Progress

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized

I’ve decided to focus on the business idea I have the most passion for -the one that incorporates my creative side with my desire to create greener paths for business. Found a supplier, bought the domain names, ordered my first minibatch of supplies, created a prototype for the first product to be sold. I have even started to make contacts for advertising. Feeling the momentum. Now I need a nap.


5

Jan

Counting Bags – A Small Step Towards Green

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized

Part of my resolutions is always to move in a greener direction. The whole reducing the impact thing. Last year we started using the cloth shopping bags for all shopping. For my own interest, and perhaps to encourage others to try them out, I’ve decided to try and keep track of how many plastic or even paper bags I turn down thanks to using the cloth or even just an old bag. I keep some in my car and one in the stroller all the time to make it easier to remember. You would be surprised how fast it seems to add up.
So far, 5 days into the new year, I’ve turned down 16 plastic and one paper bag. I wonder what the total for the year will be?


5

Jan

Virginia Wolfe Was Certainly Onto Something

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized

A room of my own? I don’t have such lofty expectations. I would settle for 15 seconds and a shelf.