Archives for category: charity



“The impact of the second-hand clothing trade on developing countries” by Oxfam gives some insight into the importance of the second hand clothing trade which can be read in its entirety here:


In summary, second-hand clothing:


Has clear consumer benefits, especially in countries with low purchasing power, and for poorer consumers

Is perhaps a factor in undermining local textile/clothing production and employment

Supports the livelihoods of thousands of people

Is poorly regulated and probably facilitated considerable customs fraud

Is a dominate feature of the clothing market in many sub-Saharan African countries


Companies often have recycle back programs, such as Apple, Nike and LensCrafters although donating used clothing to charitable organizations such as the Goodwill or drop-off bins are also very convenient.

waste tracking wastetracking system everyday is earth day

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.


clean up trash garbage beach green halo waste tracking system

The U.S. Embassy Manila’s Public Affairs Section just released a wonderful guide on how to organize a clean-up:

There are simple guidelines for what to do 1 week before the clean-up, how to organize the clean-up 2 weeks before the date, on the date, and after the date making this quick and easy! Another awesome thing about this document is that it shows you what tags will attract people to help you and to help you gain visibility to spread the word.



beach clean up trash garbage beach green halo waste tracking system


Litter from the streets usually makes its way to the ocean and the chances of litter harming any of the wild life on its “way to the bay” are huge and it’s extremely devastating.

There are trending Twitter, Facebook and Instagram tags right now such as #OurOcean2014 and #PHcares4oceans that can make clean-ups this year different than previous years.

Please Tweet us @wastetracking if we inspired you to clean-up #OurOcean2014 !


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Peruvian researchers have collaborated with an ad agency to create an unusual billboard that generates drinking water from thin air. While the billboard fulfills its traditional role as an advertising tool—in this case for courses at Lima’s University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC)—it harvests moisture directly from the air, which is then processed through a filtration system. Capable of producing 25 gallons (96 liters) of water a day during summer, the billboard has produced 9450 liters of clean drinking water for a nearby community in the three months since it was first installed.

Lima, Peru’s capital city, receives less than one inch of rain each year, forcing some residents to get their water from dirty wells. Despite the lack of rain, the high humidity makes it possible to harvest water directly from the city’s air, providing a sustainable, alternative source of drinkable water.

The researchers at Peru’s University of Engineering and Technology teamed up with Mayo DraftFCB advertising agency to create the billboard. The panel consists of five machines which convert humidity into water through use of air and carbon filters and a condenser. The water is stored in five tanks located at the top of the structure. The filtered water flows into a pipe at the bottom of the billboard, supplying the neighboring community with clean water. In the three months since it was first installed, the billboard has produced 9450 liters of water.


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One of the problems in the green building world is the lack of clarity in the terms used. I have been complaining about the term Net Zero Energy for years, claiming that it had little to do with green building at all, that “you can make a canvas tent net-zero if you have the money to put enough solar panels on it.” There was no real satisfactory definition, no rigorous certification. net zero cert

That is not true anymore; the Living Building Challenge has developed the Net Zero Energy Building Certification and it is rigorous indeed. They note the need for it:

Net Zero Energy is quickly becoming a sought after goal for many buildings around the globe – each relies on exceptional energy conservation and then on-site renewables to meet all of its heating, cooling and electricity needs. Yet the true performance of many developments is overstated – and actual Net Zero Energy buildings are still rare.

The certification verifies that the building actually operates as claimed, “harnessing energy from the sun, wind or earth to exceed net annual demand.” It can’t be a canvas tent, either; there are other requirements from the Living Building Challenge that must be considered:

• Limits to Growth (in part): Curbs the building’s contribution to the effects of sprawled development, which undermines the positive impact of achieving net zero energy building operation.

• Net Zero Energy: Serves as the primary focus of Net Zero Energy Building Certification.

• Rights to Nature: Ensures that the building does not preclude another building from achieving net zero energy operation as a result of excessive shading.

• Beauty + Spirit and Inspiration + Education: Underscore the notion that renewable energy systems can be incorporated into a building in ways that are attractive and inspiring. the david lucile packard foundation bldg

A good example of a Net Zero Energy Certified building is the The David and Lucile Packard Foundation in Los Altos, California. The building was predicted to consume 247 MWh/yr; adding a safety factor, the system was designed to supply 277 MWh/yr. In fact they used more at 351 MWh, and generated more at 418 MWh, delivering back to the grid more than they consumed by 66.73 MWh in the full year ending July 31, 2013, conclusive proof that it was truly Net-Zero.

Reducing the demand side took a lot of good green design, with extensive daylighting, very efficient mechanical systems and a clever cooling system:

In warm weather, water is cooled at night by a compressor-free cooling tower and stored in two 25,000-gallon underground tanks. During the day, the cool water is pumped into the pipes that run through the chilled beams. Three major air handling units pull in 100% outside air, then filter and dehumidify it. Air flowing across the beam is sufficient to cool the interior spaces.

The building complies with the “Right to Nature” requirement by avoiding the shading of any neighbours, and the Beauty + Spirit criterion by hiring a talented architect (EHDD) to design a building that fits. They don’t automatically put energy first:

Early on, the design team chose to conform the building to the street grid – which is oriented 40 degrees off true north — in order to be good neighbors and affirm that sustainable buildings don’t have to stand apart from their neighbors. The energy penalty associated with being off the solar axes was accepted in favor of a massing that contributed to the urban fabric of the community.

The Living Building Challenge is the toughest label in green building. The Net Zero Building Certification is much more approachable, almost an LBC Lite. That’s one of the wonderful things about it; notwithstanding its name, it actually is about more than just energy, that you have to do it right. Furthermore, you have to prove it.

Like the Passivhaus/ Passive House, the Net Zero Energy Building Certification has, in my opinion, a lousy name that doesn’t truly reflect how differently the term is used. I am not sure co-opting a name in common use was the best approach. Nonetheless it is a great step forward in defining and refining the concept of a building that gives back more than it takes. I suspect that it is going to attract a wide following.

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Salons are cutting away 135 million pounds of hair on an annual basis, and all of this excess has been ending up in landfills. Recycling hair is not only a great way to help relieve environmental pollution, but it also provides an excellent opportunity to help those who are less fortunate. There are many people who suffer from extreme hair loss due to severe medical treatments and diseases like cancer. Donating your own hair to causes such as these can help both the environment and the person who is enduring the hair loss.

Hair 1

For those who might be interested in helping the environment, recycling hair to help clean up an oil spill is one of the many options out there. When you send your clippings to an organization like Matter of Trust, the hair will be manufactured into a “boom”, or oil mat, that incorporates such fibrous materials as feathers, wool and seeds. These mats are earth-friendly and make a great alternative to the dangerous chemicals that corporations use for their oil spill cleanups.

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In the past, when shoes became unwearable, they were thrown away or taken to the landfill where they added to the existing piles. Today, recycling is a friendlier solution for getting rid of worn-out footwear. Not only does this create a cleaner environment, but the components produced through recycling can be used to create new products. This process prevents landfill overflow and creates an atmosphere of stewardship and sharing among societies. How do people get started?

Shoes 1

The easiest way to recycle footwear is through a program like Nike’s ReUse a Shoe, which breaks them down and uses the resulting nylon, rubber, and foam to create products like Nike Grind, a component in athletic mats, or even new footwear to donate to others. Nike’s website lists over 200 drop-off locations around the world where people can bring athletic shoes and LIVESTRONG wristbands to be recycled or donated.

Shoes 2

While Nike focuses mainly on preserving a trash-free environment, other programs such as Crocs Cares, Soles4Souls, and the Cinderella Project focus on donating. These organizations collect worn Crocs, athletic footwear, and high heels to donate to impoverished communities across the globe. For example, Crocs Cares donates Crocs to developing nations to prevent the spread of disease; the Cinderella Project donates formal evening wear and accessories to teenagers who cannot afford them for proms and formal dances. Websites for each of these groups list locations and contact information for donating gently used pieces.

Finally, for those who wish to recycle within their local communities, provides a free application for computers and mobile devices so people can search for nearby facilities. Plenty of options exist for turning shoes into usable materials or for donating them to a worthy cause, both of which keep them out of the landfill and on people’s feet where they belong.

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