Small plastic bottles don't always make for easy material handling, as any manufacturer could tell you. Bottles themselves are small enough, but the caps prove especially difficult to move in bulk. Too often, these difficulties are passed onto employees, who might have to engage in ergonomically risky movements — repeated motions, lifting heavy loads to transfer product — to keep the line moving.
The use of lithium batteries to power our ever-shrinking electronics is growing at a rate of 1.63 batteries per person, per year, reports recycling service RRS. Increasingly, these lightweight, power-dense batteries power everything from our phones to our cars. One report projected a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent in the lithium-battery market by 2021.
When recyclables make it into landfills, they contribute to a problem that many in the environmental community don't necessarily connect with the failure to recycle: air pollution. After all, landfill gas is usually at least half methane and half carbon dioxide, both of which are major greenhouse gases. Of the two, the former is by far the most destructive in terms of global climate change; methane traps heat in the atmosphere at a rate of 28 to 36 times that of carbon dioxide over a 100-year timespan, reports the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report.
Animal care workers face unique material handling challenges; ergonomics for veterinarians is an ongoing concern within the industry. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) first addressed the issue in 2002, when the AVMA Executive Board created an Ergonomic Task Force to develop guidelines for preventing workplace injuries at the vet's office.
Zoos and aquariums face tremendous opportunities (and expectations) for creating eco-friendly waste management programs. The public expects these institutions to offer comprehensive recycling and compost programs to demonstrate their commitment to the Earth. Thankfully, America's zoos and aquariums are up to the challenge. Let's take a look at some innovative institutions to see what they're doing and how they're doing it.
In honor of "Be Kind to Animals Week," we're taking a moment to appreciate the zoos and aquariums that make animal welfare their top priority. These institutions have passed rigorous inspections by American Humane, the country's oldest animal-welfare group, to ensure best practices are followed in all aspects of the animals' treatment.
North American Occupational Safety & Health (NAOSH) Awareness Week is a great time to perform an ergonomics assessment to improve worker morale and production. This simple OSHA Ergonomics checklist identifies trouble spots that can be eliminated by making changes to scheduling, techniques, or equipment. Let's take a look at some common jobs in manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution centers to see how better ergonomics can reduce injuries and improve productivity.
Community composting provides significant environmental and financial benefits. By diverting waste from landfills and turning it into fertile soil, communities can save money and sustain gardening efforts. This collective project can take place across a whole city, or within a smaller group. People who occupy multi-family communities, whether that's a senior living facility, a university, an apartment complex, or even an office complex, have a unique opportunity to try community composting in their own backyards.
Air pollution causes cancer, bronchitis, and other major health problems while exacerbating existing conditions like asthma, making clean air a crucial public health issue. The World Health Organization estimates that three million people die prematurely from poor air quality worldwide. Air pollution also harms the environment through acid rain, particulate soot, and other harmful pollutants.