It's hard to maintain a small carbon footprint when you're traveling. Airplanes are one of the biggest emitters of CO2, and hotels frequently guzzle energy while they cater to a traveler's every whim. That being said, there are simple things that eco-conscious travelers can do to reduce their impact on the environment.
National Garbage Man Day is June 17th, and it reminds us to pay our respects to the men and women that keep our country clean. While we frequently take time out to honor police and firefighters (and deservedly so), we sometimes overlook the dangerous job that waste management workers do for our communities. Let's take a closer look at the job that sanitation workers perform and think about some ways we can help them out.
Summer is the busy season for concerts, festivals, and other outdoor events. And while these get-togethers build a sense of community and provide family-friendly activities, they also create a waste management challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of GSA-approved companies that provide specialized equipment for diverting waste from landfills as well as resources for throwing a zero-waste event.
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.
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.