Posts filed under ‘Environment’

Plastic Bag Tree

Posted by Ed Maurer:

I took this photo this morning on my way past the local landfill. This Tree never had a chance against the attack of the plastic shopping bags. High winds always create a mess for the owners of this landfill, and when it happens plastic bags attach themselves to everything from trees, bushes, fences, and even nearby businesses. The landfill owners do a good job of cleaning up the mess, but imagine what it would be like if these bags didn’t exist in the first place. Just another reason to use reusable bags as much as possible.


December 1, 2007 at 10:36 am 1 comment

Starbucks & Itunes Environmentally Unfriendly

Itunes Unfriendly Environment
Posted by Ed Maurer:

Today when I was enjoying my Carmel Macchiato at my local Starbucks and I noticed this display up front and center next to the cash register. I use iTunes to download music and love the fact that I am not increasing the amount of plastic used to make the CD and CD jewel case. The digital data goes right on my computer and then into my mp3 player. (i.e. No oil used to produce plastic.)

Now I see that iTunes is using a bunch of plastic to produce these useless cards. The card you see in the phono provides the ability to download an album that you already have the opportunity to download in the first place. And, Starbucks is promoting this sale by introducing it right near the cash register. A quote from the Starbucks website “Starbucks is committed to minimizing our environmental impacts throughout our entire supply chain.”

I think this part of the supply chain is not doing so well in the environmentally friendly department. What do you think?

October 5, 2007 at 1:42 am Leave a comment

The Green Tax Podcast, Show #7

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The Green Tax Podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License. More information about The Green Tax, news and views about being green in today’s world by Joe Hershey and Ed Maurer, can be found here.

September 18, 2007 at 1:50 pm Leave a comment

Sierra Nevada Green Beer

Posted by Ed Maurer:

I knew that I loved Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for a reason, and today I have another one. Jennifer Barker of published an article saying that “by the end of September, the Seirra Nevada Brewing company will be almost entirely self-sufficient.” They already utilize fuel cells for electricity, and by the end of the month they will have solar panels picking up the rest of the required electricity to be 100 percent self-sufficient during peak hours and 80 percent during off-peak hours. Check out the Sierra Nevada website for all of their green efforts. I’d tell you more, but I think I’m going to get a beer.

September 14, 2007 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

Emission Checks = Another Green Tax

Posted by Ed Maurer:
Tailpipe Emissions

I recently spent 20 minutes behind this vehicle while I was waiting in line at a fast food drive through lane. There were 8 people in this van and they had quite a lengthy convoluted order that I was sure the cashier would mess up. While waiting for their order to be rectified, I noticed a huge amount of smoke coming from this offending vehicle. So much smoke that I had to shut my windows, and even that didn’t help much. First off, they could have shut off their car completely to save gas, the environment, and my lungs. The time I spent waiting I was pondering the fact that not a lot of states have an emissions check requirement. According to, Ohio (the state I was in at the time of this photo,) does not have a state-wide emissions check requirement. Only 7 of the state’s 88 counties have an emissions check requirement.
My own state (Michigan) has no such requirement either. Unfortunately, the economy needs to be doing very well in order to get an emission check mandate to become law. And the people that owned this vehicle would most likely not be able to afford the green tax if they were required to.

September 3, 2007 at 1:02 am 4 comments

BP Credit and Credibility

Posted by Joseph Hershey:

BP credit card application

A “pre-approved” credit application in the mail from BP.

I got this in the mail today, and I thought, “Oh, another way to pay higher interest on a card I don’t need. ”

And then I thought, “Hey, aren’t these the guys dumping above level mercury, ammonia, and silt in my back yard? (lake michigan)”.

Uh huh, they are.

Well, how does this match up with their active media marketing campaign to come across as an environmentally conscious energy company?

I don’t know.

Have a look at their site for their comment on their relationship to the Environment and Society.

I find it all very interesting to see how a major corporation, one of the world’s largest oil, gas and petrochemical companies with operations in over 100 countries, can say they’re for the environment, but then take actions against the environment like dumping excessive levels of mercury and other “suspended solids” into one our greatest resources for fresh water.

So here’s my question: Doesn’t BP lose credibility as an environment conscious corporation when it dumps above level pollution into my lakes?

And even better, if they lose on the eco credit scale to me, am I willing to pay the extra money, the green tax, to buy from a different vendor?

Seems to me that BP is applying for credit from me every time I hear their pre-approved marketing message, every time I see their green and yellow flower energy burst logo, every time I bear a 30 second happy green colored TV commercial, or short authoritative sounding PBS station endorsement, about what they’re doing toward research and development of renewable energy sources, every time I see a billboard sign on the highway, every time I toss an unwanted piece of their junk mail…

Every time they are YELLING at me their pre-approved marketing message that they’re good and green.

But, I don’t think they get it.

It just takes one little whisper of mercury dumping in Lake Michigan, and I gladly throw their credit application into the trash, along with their logo, and name.


BP has recinded their poor publicity act of dumping increased levels of mercury, ammonia, and other “suspended solids” into Lake Michigan from their Whitting, Illinois location. They now state that they will hold to previous permit levels even if the state wants to let them do more. See this article for more information.

Seems like the public spotlight can do some good. Let’s keep it on!

August 21, 2007 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

Sideways forest

Posted by Ed Maurer:

Sideways forest

Originally uploaded by thegreentax

Ever wonder what an entire forest looks like when it is stacked on it’s side? This photo was taken as I was driving over the international bridge from Sault St. Marie Canada. These trees will be used by the St. Mary’s Paper company for use in magazines and other paper products. Seeing an entire forest laying on it’s side like this really makes you think the next time you hit the print button on your computer. I’m sure this company does it’s share of replanting, but imagine the wildlife that once used these trees for shelter and food. Another reason to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

August 21, 2007 at 3:02 am Leave a comment

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