September 11, 2008

A Word or Two on Paperboard

My good friend Gigi just accomplished a very green beautiful thing. Our little community will now have a paperboard recycling bin behind city hall. The closest drop off available to us before this momentous green Gigi moment was downtown Indianapolis…about 10 miles away... very difficult to travel with paperboard boxes tied to your back while peddling your bicycle. Personally I just drive my fuel burning automobile downtown to deliver the paperboard…also a very difficult thing to do, difficult on my conscience anyway.

So what is paperboard? Paperboard is flat, not corrugated like cardboard. We are talking about cereal boxes, granola bar boxes, 6 pack beverage cartons, etc. Not the waxy finished products like milk cartons.

Over 57% of Americans have easy access to paperboard recycling, up from 46% in 2000. Additionally, the number of communities collecting paperboard for recycling increased to 41% in 2005. Paperboard is circling back around.

Paperboard is rather green since it is 100% recyclable. The extended list of brands using recycled paperboard is as obvious as Tom’s of Maine all the way to giants aka Xerox Corporation. See

Better than plastic? Paperboard Materials are made of sustainable materials using specially-raised crop trees, waste products like sawdust and wood chips, and recycled paper/paperboard fibers. Sustainable wood fibers from farm-raised trees are the primary raw material in paperboard packaging. The forest products industry plants 1.7 million trees a day – which exceeds the number of trees harvested.

I have to mention the reuse factor of paperboard too…those school projects…the mock up cereal box villages with double-decker buses created out of animal cracker cartons and Creamette Thin Spaghetti smoke stacks.

When will a generation of children consider the smoke stack a relic synonymous to a phone booth? I don’t have the answer to that question…yet.

September 5, 2008

UBS (United Bicycle Service)…We Don’t Do Brown

UPS discovered that waiting for left-hand turns cost its delivery truck drivers huge amounts of fuel and time (idling). By creating routes that led to an average of four right-hand turns for every left, the company saved 51,000 gallons of fuel and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 558 tons over 18 months. UPS tested this strategy with everyday people running a series of errands, and it still worked (excerpt from National Geographic).

Burning a gallon of gas produces about 25 pounds of CO2, right? Right.

A few days ago a very dear friend of mine placed an order with It was Saturday, it was a beautiful sunny day, and I felt like riding my bicycle…and so did my daughter. This friend lives about three miles away. So my daughter suggested United Bicycle Service, the green deliver service. We filled up backpacks with the Celerystreet order, put on our green shorts, shirts, and socks (just kidding) and used peddle power to deliver the order (including a metal water bottle and a blank leather journal). I didn’t have to track percentage of right turns versus left turns. That was one of the best bike rides I have ever had. And the look on my friend's face when we arrived with all her goodies was priceless. We won’t be doing this for all of our orders, but it was a very unique green experience which I hope to try again.

Did I mention the wind in my hair, sun on my face, and bonding with my daughter part of this? Okay, a little corny maybe. But, green is good.