Patagonia has commenced a new remanufacturing program to continuously recycle its flip-flops, which could reduce production waste by nearly a third.
The clothing company has partnered with small upstart firm PLUSfoam to create flip-flops that are 100 percent recyclable and can be upcycled into new flip-flops at the end of their life with no reduction in performance.
“They are essentially the equivalent of the standard materials in the marketplace today,” said PLUSfoam’s President & CEO Brett Ritter. “Whether you are measuring compression, tear strength, durability or anything like that, we perform as well, if not better than, what is out there. The only real difference is the lifecycle of the product. … It is just not possible today to achieve with EVA or rubber what we can do with PLUSfoam.”
The technology involves a process where various combinations of reclaimed post-consumer materials, post-manufacturing scrap and virgin material are fused with foaming agents and reconstituted into a consistent sheet form ready for remanufacture.
While a majority of flip-flops are made from materials such as rubber, foam or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), the PLUSfoam technology is 100 percent recyclable — though it is still petrochemical-based.
“There is no shortage of waste generated by your typical footwear factory — just think of all the scrap rubber or some such similar material that goes to the landfill or the incinerator after a run of flip-flops or shoe soles are cut out from the original layup sheet,” Ritter added. “We can take all that scrap and simply mash it back up and make more product from it.”
He added that the process results in around a 30 percent reduction in waste on the production side alone.
This initiative is the latest to come out of Patagonia’s Common Threads scheme — which many believe to be a first in the global retail sector to embody mutual responsibility between company and customer for the full lifecycle of a product.
In 2011 the company launched an much-acclaimed marketing initiative aimed at encouraging customers to repair, reuse and recycle items of clothing and equipment bought from its stores, which encouraged them to buy less. Patagonia has also teamed up with eBay to develop its own online resell channel for customers.
In March, Patagonia launched a new venture capital fund of more than $20 million to support eco-friendly for-profit businesses, focusing on energy, food, water or waste-related startups. The investments for each business vary from $0.5 million to $5 million, depending on the scope and needs of the business. Patagonia said it is looking to support companies that already earn more than $1 million annually, and ideally ones that also align with Patagonia’s vision.
Currently based in Washington, D.C, Mike Hower is a writer and strategic communicator helping to drive the conversation at the intersection of sustainable business and public policy. He has spent time working for the United States Congress in Washington, D.C.,… [Read more about Mike Hower]
In posh parts of northern San Diego County, residents on average used more than 580 gallons of water a day in September. During the same month, Angelenos in less-affluent East L.A. used an average of 48 gallons a day, according to data that state water officials released Tuesday, which shows for the first time just how dramatically water use varies among California communities.
Lowest water consumption in California
Hoping to increase conservation, the State Water Resources Control Board released estimates of residential daily water use per person in September, as reported by more than 300 urban water suppliers. The heaviest water users, the data showed, used more than 10 times as much as those who used the least.
Statewide, residents in some water districts used an average of more than 500 gallons per capita a day, while others used as little as 46 gallons. The Santa Fe Irrigation District, which serves residents in an affluent part of northern and coastal San Diego County, recorded the highest average, 584 gallons. Southland water users served by the Desert Water Agency and Coachella Valley Water District, both in desert areas, weren’t far behind, using more than 360 gallons per capita a day.
lRelated In Cambria, rift over water treatment plant is a drain on parched town
In Cambria, rift over water treatment plant is a drain on parched town
See all related
Two water distributors in San Francisco and one in East Los Angeles recorded the lowest average totals, 46, 46 and 48, respectively. In Santa Cruz, which has some of the toughest conservation measures in the state, residents used an average of 49 gallons per person a day.
In Los Angeles County, Beverly Hills residents used 286 gallons per person daily, while Compton residents used only 65. Residents served by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power used 93 gallons a day. About four-dozen water districts did not report per capita data.
Still, water officials and experts said the information will help water districts understand exactly how much residents use and identify areas for improvement.
We’re hoping water agencies will look at this list and use it for self-evaluation: How are people in their area doing and how they can do better? – Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board
“We’re hoping water agencies will look at this list and use it for self-evaluation: How are people in their area doing and how they can do better?” Water Resources Control Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said. “It’s not a report card; It’s an instructive thing.”
Experts said higher per capita water usage make sense in areas where lot sizes are larger and in hotter regions of the state where water evaporates faster. A recent UCLA study also found that household income is a primary driver of increased water use.
Just shows as to how much use, abuse and waste in the CA decadent life style is a burden on the rest plus what this nation has become. By all means, if there is plenty of water, conservation takes a back seat. But with the kind of drought that plagues CA the numbers from over 500 to 300 gallons…
at 1:53 AM November 06, 2014
Add a comment See all comments
“If those communities that could do something haven’t done anything [to conserve], we’re missing a huge opportunity to work together as Angelenos,” said Miguel Luna, executive director of Urban Semillas, a community organization focused on food and water issues. “South L.A. and East L.A. have done their part. Now the affluent communities need to ante up.”
The new data come as Californians work to cut water usage to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of a 20% reduction statewide. Since May, the state water board has been reporting water usage reductions. Overall, Californians continued to use less water in September, but the reductions were more modest than in August. The board announced that statewide water consumption dropped 10.3% — about 22 billion gallons — in September, compared with the same month a year earlier. In August, water use fell 11.5% compared with August 2013.
Water officials and other experts have long maintained that Southern Californians have been aggressively conserving water for years, a factor they say accounts for the region’s smaller monthly usage reductions compared with other areas of the state. Many Northern California areas have reported steeper monthly cuts, but officials have warned against drawing comparisons because southern residents already use less water.
Tuesday’s data showed that, on average, Southern California residents used 119 gallons per person a day — the fourth-lowest average among 10 regions the water board tracked.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power saw an 8% decrease in water use in September compared with the same month last year after reporting a similar decrease in August. In a statement, DWP General Manager Marcie Edwards said the September numbers show that DWP customers “continue to watch their water use and do their part during the drought.”
Plastic-bag makers want you to overturn California’s bag ban
Plastic-bag makers fighting California’s ban are “buying their way onto the ballot,” environmental
by David Lazarus, Nov. 4, 2014 for the Los Angeles Times
Listening to the plastic-bag industry oppose bans on their product is eerily similar to what carmakers said decades ago in opposition to seat belts and air bags.
Bad idea, they argued. Bad for consumers. Won’t accomplish what supporters intend.
In fact, seat belts cut the number of crash-related injuries and deaths in half, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the combination of seat belts and air bags reduced fatalities by more than 60%.
And now we have plastic-bag manufacturers claiming that bans at the local and state level hurt the economy, kill jobs, tax the poor and don’t actually help the environment.
“It’s yet another job-killing, big grocer cash grab masquerading as an environmental bill,” Mark Daniels, chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, said of California’s ban on plastic bags that takes effect in July.
It’s yet another job-killing, big grocer cash grab masquerading as an environmental bill. – Mark Daniels, chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance
A ban on plastic bags in Los Angeles County took effect four months ago. A 10-cent fee is charged for paper bags.
The plastic-bag industry, like the auto industry before it, wants people to think it’s fighting the good fight on behalf of personal freedom, individual liberty and common sense.
All it’s really doing is trying to protect its profits.
The plastic-bag industry is now gearing up — and spending heavily — to place a referendum on the November 2016 ballot that would overturn California’s bag ban. It has until Dec. 29 to collect the more than 500,000 signatures needed to put the matter to voters.
lRelated Moves by HBO, CBS could be tipping point for a la carte pricing.
I spotted an ad on Craigslist for people to receive $1.50 for every signature they gather in support of the referendum. “It is basically to reverse the ban,” the ad says, “but the way you pitch is to vote on it whether you want it or not.”
Daniels acknowledged that the industry is employing professional signature gatherers.
Plastics companies recently contributed about $1.2 million toward the referendum campaign, according to public records. All but $50,000 came from companies based outside California.
The largest donation — $566,666.67 — was made by South Carolina’s Hilex Poly, one of the country’s largest plastic-bag makers and the main provider of funds for Daniels’ American Progressive Bag Alliance.
Indeed, when he isn’t defending “progressive” bags, which are more friendly sounding than plastic bags, Daniels is Hilex Poly’s vice president of sustainability and environmental policy.
Consumer Confidential: Most Reliable Cars, Windowless Passanger Plane, Airline App
Caption Consumer Confidential: Most Reliable Cars, Windowless Passanger Plane, Airline App
Cable-Cutting Consumers Force Media Outlets Online
Caption Cable-Cutting Consumers Force Media Outlets Online
Consumer Confidential: Airfare Prices, Free Shipping, Starbucks New Drink
Caption Consumer Confidential: Airfare Prices, Free Shipping, Starbucks New Drink
Consumer Confidential: More Men Grocery Shopping, Gas Prices Going Down
Caption Consumer Confidential: More Men Grocery Shopping, Gas Prices Going Down
Consumer Confidential: New Tesla Model, Red Bull False Advertising, Drones
Caption Consumer Confidential: New Tesla Model, Red Bull False Advertising, Drones
California’s ban, Daniels told me, is not about the environment. “It’s about a backroom deal to scam Californians out of billions of dollars.”
By the industry’s reckoning, he said, state lawmakers bowed to pressure from grocery stores and unions to require that consumers pay extra for paper or reusable bags.
“We’re getting inundated with calls from Californians thanking us for doing this,” Daniels said of the planned referendum. “It’s very encouraging for our industry.”
Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, which spearheaded the statewide bag ban, said he very much doubted that bag makers are being swamped with calls of support from state residents.
About 60% of voters said they support the statewide bag ban, according to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Friday.
Kill the ban! I’ve questioned why the bag ban only targeted plastic grocery bags, but yet there is no ban against the Hefty or GLAD plastic trash bags we all use every day. Makes no sense. Stupid leftists and union leaders! In anticipation of the ban (I live in Riverside where the ban…
at 12:46 PM November 04, 2014
Add a comment See all comments
Murray said the industry’s claims of broad support mirror its insistence that plastic bags are environmentally safe. “They don’t have a real argument, so they’re using bogus arguments,” he said.
A plastics industry website, BagTheBan.com, says that “studies show banning plastic bags could increase global warming, put more carbon in the air, require more trucks on the road and use up more water because consumers would be forced to use resource-heavy alternatives like paper and reusable bags.”
The reality, Murray said, is that plastic bags are a blight on the landscape after being discarded by careless consumers or blowing from trash cans, garbage trucks or landfills.
The Natural Resources Defense Council reported last year that California communities spend more than $428 million a year trying to prevent litter from entering the state’s waterways.
Plastic bags make up as much as a quarter of all that trash, the group found. They pose a threat to wildlife, clog storm drains and threaten vital industries, such as tourism and commercial fishing, it said.
“The environmental cost of this product far exceeds its utility,” Murray said.
He said California’s bag ban was the result of many hours of public hearings and negotiations with interested parties. But because the industry didn’t get its way, Murray said, “they’re now just buying their way onto the ballot.”
It’s a fair point. If Californians were clamoring for an end to a law that hasn’t even taken effect yet, they’d be signing petitions at a grass-roots level, not at the behest of mercenary hustlers making $1.50 a signature.
The California Legislature passed a bill in 2011 that would have prohibited petition circulators being paid on a per-signature basis, but it was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. He said the legislation was “a dramatic change to a long-established democratic process in California.”
Contrast that with Oregon, which in 2002 required that petition circulators be paid by the hour, not per signature gathered. Since then, the state’s initiative process hasn’t died. It’s just become more representative of the public’s wishes.
Both Daniels and Murray predicted that a referendum on California’s bag ban will come before voters in 2016. Even if it fails to pass, it would likely delay implementation of the ban for months.
And that would translate into additional profit for the bag industry.
For those of you who don’t know who Art Buchwald is, you could consider him a sort of Jon Stewart of his time. He made many a sardonic comment about the state of politics and life in the world, and this is one of his most poignant.