Friday, January 31, 2014

The Coastal Environmental Partnership facilities, including the Tuscarora Landfill, the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station, will be open @ 10:00 on Friday January 31.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Coastal Environmental Partnership facilities, including the Tuscarora Landfill, the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station, will monitor our local weather conditions in order to make decisions on our schedule.

For the latest information, please visit our website at Local media outlets will also have the latest information.

Bobbi Waters
Outreach Coordinator
Coastal Environmental Partnership

Monday, January 27, 2014

Major Biomes of the World

Have you visited any biomes lately? A biome is a large ecosystem where plants, animals, insects, and people live in a certain type of climate. If you were in northern Alaska, you would be in a frosty biome called the Arctic tundra. If you jumped on a plane and flew to Brazil, you could be in a hot and humid biome called the tropical rainforest. The world contains many other biomes: grasslands, deserts, and mountains, to name a few. The plants and animals living in each are as different as their climates. Which is your favorite?

Arctic Tundra
The Arctic tundra is a cold, vast, treeless area of low, swampy plains in the far north around the Arctic Ocean. It includes the northern lands of Europe (Lapland and Scandinavia), Asia (Siberia), and North America (Alaska and Canada), as well as most of Greenland. Another type of tundra is the alpine tundra, which is a biome that exists at the tops of high mountains.

Special features:

This is the earth's coldest biome. Since the sun does not rise for nearly six months of the year, it is not unusual for the temperature to be below -30°F in winter. The earth of the Arctic tundra has a permanently frozen subsoil, called permafrost, which makes it impossible for trees to grow. Frozen prehistoric animal remains have been found preserved in the permafrost.

In summer, a thin layer of topsoil thaws and creates many pools, lakes, and marshes, a haven for mosquitoes, midges, and blackflies. More than 100 species of migrant birds are attracted by the insect food and the safe feeding ground of the tundra. Other animals that live in this biome include polar bears, Arctic foxes, caribou, and grey wolves. Plants that you might find include small shrubs and cushion plants, and the lichen which cover the many rocks on the tundra's terrain. The Arctic is also famous for the beauty of its flowers during early autumn.

Coniferous Forest
The coniferous forest biome is south of the Arctic tundra. It stretches from Alaska straight across North America to the Atlantic Ocean and across Eurasia. The largest stretch of coniferous forest in the world, circling the earth in the Northern Hemisphere, is called the “taiga.” It supplies the bulk of the world's commercial softwood timber, which is used to make paper.

Special features:

These forests consist mainly of cone-bearing trees such as spruce, hemlock, and fir, which are well suited to the cold climate. The soil is not very fertile, however, because there are no leaves to decompose and enrich it. Some animals that thrive in this biome are the ermine, the moose, the red fox, the snowshoe rabbit, and birds such as the crossbill and the great horned owl.

Deciduous Forest
This biome is in the mild temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. Major regions are found in eastern North America, Europe, and eastern Asia.

Special features:

Deciduous trees lose their leaves in fall. The natural decaying of the fallen leaves enriches the soil and supports all kinds of plant and animal life. The deciduous forest is a lively place, where oak, beech, ash, and maple trees are typical, and wildflowers, berries, and many types of insect and animal life abound. But the fertile soil is also good for people, and in Europe most of the deciduous forest has been destroyed to make room for farms and homes. In the U.S., the deciduous forest is a home for deer, American gray squirrels, wood mice, rabbits, raccoons, woodpeckers, cardinals, and finches, to name a few.

A desert is an area where little or no life exists because of a lack of water. Scientists estimate that about one-fifth of the earth's land surface is desert. Deserts can be found on every continent except Europe. There are two different kinds: hot and dry (such as the Arabian and Sahara deserts) and cold and dry (such as Antarctica and the Gobi desert).

In North America, there are four major deserts: the Great Basin, the Mojave, the Sonoran, and the Chihuahuan. All but the Great Basin are hot deserts located in Mexico and the southwestern part of the United States. The Great Basin covers parts of Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah, and is considered a cold desert.

Special features:

The lack of water and intense heat or cold make this biome inhospitable to most life forms. Most of the plants you'll see in the desert are species of cactus. You might come across yucca, aloe, octillo plants, or the tall saguaro cacti. A few animals—mainly reptiles, like snakes and lizards, and amphibians, like frogs and toads—are well adapted to the hot desert. Another famous desert animal is the camel, which can make water from the fat it stores in its hump. The Emperor and Adélie penguins are well-known animals living at the edge of the Antarctic desert.

Grasslands are places with hot, dry climates that are perfect for growing food. They are known throughout the world by different names. In the U.S. they are called prairies and extend from the Midwest to the Rocky Mountains. In South Africa, grasslands are called the veld. Hot, tropical grasslands called savannas are found in South America and Africa. In Eurasia, temperate zone grasslands are called steppes; in South America, pampas.

Special features:

This inland biome is made of vast areas of grassy field. It receives so little rain that very few trees can grow. The U.S. prairies are used to graze cattle and to raise cereal crops. There is little variety of animal life. Some original prairie animals like the wolf and bison have come close to being eliminated from the habitat by hunters. Today, some of the most common grassland animals include the prairie dog and the mule deer in North America, the giraffe and the zebra in Africa, and the lion in Africa and Asia.

Mountains exist on all the continents of the earth. Many of the world's mountains lie in two great belts. The Circum-Pacific chain, often called the Ring of Fire, runs from the west coast of the Americas through New Zealand and Australia and up through the Philippines to Japan. The other major belt, called the Alpine-Himalayan, or Tethyan, system, stretches from the Pyrenees in Spain and France through the Alps and on to the Himalayas before ending in Indonesia.

Special features:

Mountains are usually found in groups called chains or ranges, although some stand alone. A mountain biome is very cold and windy. The higher the mountain, the colder and windier the environment. There is also less oxygen at high elevations.

The animals of this biome have adapted to the cold, the lack of oxygen, and the rugged landscape. They include the mountain goat, ibex (wild goat), sheep, mountain lion, puma, and yak. All of them are excellent climbers, which means they can move freely in the steep, rocky landscape. Types of plants vary depending on geographic location and altitude. Lower elevations are commonly covered by forests, while very high elevations are usually treeless.

Tropical rainforests are found in Asia, Africa, South America, Central America, and on many of the Pacific islands. They are often found along the equator. Almost half of the world's tropical rainforests are in the South American country Brazil.

There are other types of rainforests around the world, too. For example, northern Australia has a “dry rainforest” that experiences a dry season each year, and the rainy Pacific Northwest in the United States has a “temperate rainforest” that is made up of evergreen trees.

Special features:

Tropical rainforests receive at least 70 inches of rain each year and have more species of plants and animals than any other biome. Many of the plants used in medicine can only be found in tropical rainforests. The combination of heat and moisture makes this biome the perfect environment for more than 15 million plants and animals. The thick vegetation absorbs moisture, which then evaporates and completes the cycle by falling again as rain.

A rainforest grows in three levels. The canopy, or tallest level, has trees between 100 and 200 feet tall. They block most of the sunlight from the levels below. The second level, or understory, contains a mix of small trees, vines, and palms as well as shrubs and ferns. The third and lowest level is the forest floor, where herbs, mosses, and fungi grow.

Rainforests are an endangered biome. People have cut the trees and sold the wood for firewood, building materials, and paper. Parts of the rainforest have been burned to make space for grazing and farming. Every minute, approximately 30 acres of rainforest are destroyed. The large amounts of carbon dioxide that are released due to the cutting and burning of rainforests contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Some of the animals of the tropical rainforest are the anteater, jaguar, brocket deer, lemur, orangutan, marmoset, macaw, parrot, sloth, and toucan. Among the many plant species are bamboo, banana trees, rubber trees, and cassava.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Types of Energy

Energy is the power we use for transportation, for heat and light in our homes and for the manufacture of all kinds of products. There are two sources of energy: renewable and nonrenewable energy.

Nonrenewable Sources of Energy
Most of the energy we use comes from fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas and petroleum. Uranium is another nonrenewable source, but it is not a fossil fuel. Uranium is converted to a fuel and used in nuclear power plants. Once these natural resources are used up, they are gone forever.

The process of gathering these fuels can be harmful to the biomes from which they come. Fossil fuels are put through a process called combustion in order to produce energy. Combustion releases pollution, such as carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, which may contribute to acid rain and global warming.

Renewable Sources of Energy

Renewable sources of energy can be used over and over again. Renewable resources include solar energy, wind, geothermal energy, biomass and hydropower. They generate much less pollution, both in gathering and production, than nonrenewable sources.

•Solar energy comes from the sun. Some people use solar panels on their homes to convert sunlight into electricity.
•Wind turbines, which look like giant windmills, generate electricity.
•Geothermal energy comes from the Earth's crust. Engineers extract steam or very hot water from the Earth's crust and use the steam to generate electricity.
•Biomass includes natural products such as wood, manure and corn. These materials are burned and used for heat.
•Dams and rivers generate hydropower. When water flows through a dam it activates a turbine, which runs an electric generator

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Prescribed burn planned

Prescribed burn planned at Raven Rock State Park

RALEIGH – The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation plans to conduct a prescribed burn at Raven Rock State Park in Harnett County in late January or February.

According to Park Superintendent Jeffery Davidson, the specific date of the burn will depend on local weather conditions.

The prescribed burn will be conducted in an area of about 375 acres to the southeast of Raven Rock Loop Trail, between the trail and Moccasin Branch Road. Portions of the Raven Rock Loop Trail and American Beech Trail may be temporarily closed during the prescribed burn.

Prescribed burns are used as a resource management tool in many locations by the state parks system. Some plant communities and animal species rely on periodic fire for their existence. The prescribed burns also reduce the amount of potential wildfire fuel and help protect a park’s resources and neighboring landowners if lightning, arson or carelessness sparks a wildfire.

To minimize smoke and assure the fire is controlled, the low-intensity, prescribed burn will only be carried out under the strictly defined weather conditions of a fire management plan. On the selected day, the burn will begin in the late morning and will likely end by mid-afternoon.

Friday, January 24, 2014

CAMA regional land use planning workshop postponed

MEDIA ADVISORY: CAMA regional land use planning workshop postponed

RALEIGH – Due to the possible winter weather, officials have postponed Wednesday’s regional workshop in Plymouth to discuss future directions for the N.C. Coastal Area Management Act Land Use Planning Program.

The workshop has been rescheduled for 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth.

The N.C. Division of Coastal Management is co-hosting the workshop with theAlbemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, theBusiness Alliance for a Sound Economy and the North Carolina Coastal Federation. The meeting will be an opportunity for local planning staff and elected officials to work with other community leaders and stakeholders, and state planning staff to provide input on the state’s coastal planning program.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Green at the Game with NC State

Rebound and Recycle: Green at the Game with NC State

NC State plays basketball at a pro hockey arena and directly benefits from the green procedures already in place with game day operations.

PNC ArenaNorth Carolina State University basketball is perhaps best known for its legendary title run in 1983 behind its late, great coach, Jim Valvano. But, the 2013-14 Wolfpack team are not slouches either, tallying an 11-5 record at press time in the always terrific Atlantic Coast Conference.

Though NC State’s Raleigh, NC, campus sprawls more than 2,100 acres, its basketball team plays a few miles to the northeast at the 15-year-old PNC Arena, also home to the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes franchise.

A large, corporate-sponsored arena (PNC holds 19,772 for hoops contests) has its pros and cons for a college team — PNC lacks the intimacy of conference rival Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium a few miles away in Durham, but the arena’s seasoned operations team has put a solid waste-reduction plan in place. Lindsey Hall, PNC Arena’s Marketing Coordinator, filled 1-800-RECYCLING in on the green efforts underway at the arena this season.

“We do have a recycling program in place where we collect bottles and cans from patrons throughout the concourse as well as from all concessions stands, portable carts, suites and restaurant areas,” Hall explains. “We also recycle our cardboard and paper.”

At the moment, arena staff is exploring the option of implementing composting across the arena concourse. With approximately 20 NC State home games and 40-some Hurricanes games (plus concerts, rodeos and other special events) every year, there is a prime opportunity to compost a massive amount of leftover organics within the arena’s confines.

To this point, Hall states, the arena does not quantify its recyclables count on a game-by-game basis, instead tallying its numbers monthly over the past few seasons. Hall says PNC Arena averages average about 7 tons of recyclables per month at this time.

“Nearly every trash can in our public areas has a recycling bin next to it, so we aim to make it extremely easy for patrons to choose to recycle,” Hall continues. She goes on to mention that the arena does not have any specific promotional materials on its recycling efforts, but pregame video in the arena reminds patrons to make the eco-friendly choice when disposing of items. The arena also participated in the NHL’s Go Green campaign and promotional night this season, even running a marketing campaign to create a “green” Hurricanes logo.

As for NC State basketball, the university directly benefits from all of these arena and NHL initiatives as a tenant of the arena. It is really a win-win for the Wolfpack: They get to play in a state-of-the-art professional sports arena while enjoying the green game-time procedures already in place. Perhaps playing off campus is truly the way to go!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

public hearing on proposed temporary changes to state stormwater management rules

Public invited to comment on changes to stormwater management rules

RALEIGH – State officials will host a public hearing on proposed temporary changes to state stormwater management rules in Raleigh on Jan. 23.

The proposed changes aim to define the term “gravel” as it relates to stormwater permitting.

The public hearing is being hosted by the N.C. Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources on behalf of the state Environmental Management Commission. The hearing starts at 2 p.m. in the Ground Floor Hearing Room of the Archdale Building, 512 North Salisbury St. Registration for speakers is at 1:30 p.m. The hearing will be recorded.

Written comments will be accepted at the meeting and may also be submitted until 5 p.m. Feb. 7, 2014. Written comments should be sent to: Julie Ventaloro, Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources, 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1612. Written comments may also be sent by email to

For more information on the proposed temporary rule changes, please visit

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Samsung’s Origami printer can be completely recycled

Samsung’s Origami printer can be completely recycled when it reaches the end of its usefulness.

Home printers have not exactly been hailed as eco-friendly; between the cords, the printer cartridges and the plastic casings, they have plenty of parts that contribute to landfill waste. In fact, many cities have banned them from landfills, asking users to instead participate in recycling programs.

A new Samsung printer in the prototype phase could make that recycling effort even simpler — and it certainly scores points in the “eco-friendly” category. The Origami, a 100 percent recyclable personal printer, was a Gold Award winner at the 2013 IDEA (International Design Excellence Awards) competition.

The foldable printer, made from recycled corrugated cardboard, is completely functional and promises the same level of durability
provided by traditional plastic covers. Designers say that the strength of the cardboard comes from the way it is cut and then folded in sequence to provide a case for the electronic printing engine.

Even better, according to its creators, the Origami can be completely recycled when it reaches the end of its usefulness — presumably to make more paper.

The idea for the Origami struck designer Seungwook Jeong while he was at a donut shop. As he watched how the pastries were packaged to keep them secure until they reached their destination, he realized that a similar concept could be applied to
electronics — and could save money from both a manufacturing and a consumer standpoint.

Although the Origami is still in the prototype phase, its recent win at the IDEA competition and subsequent coverage has created enough buzz that some industry insiders are speculating that it will appear on shelves before long.

Homepage photo: Samsung

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Schedule

Our Administrative offices will be closed Today, January 20 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. The Tuscarora Landfill, Newport Transfer Station and Grantsboro Transfer Station will operate on their regular schedules.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

10 natural cough remedies

10 natural cough remedies

The next time you have an annoying cough, take your grandmother's advice and try one of these natural remedies.

By Melissa Breyer

Coughing happens when viruses, bacteria, dust, pollen or other substances irritate the nerve endings in the airways between the throat and lungs. A cough is the body’s way of trying to clear the passages, and what a valiant effort the body makes in this endeavor. We can cough at speeds up to 60 miles per hour, and the average cough produces enough air to fill a two-liter soda bottle about three-fourths full. The air of a cough sprays out several feet, and is accompanied by some 3,000 tiny droplets of saliva.

While chronic coughs can be a sign of a serious illness, most people consider the common cough to be more of an annoyance than a health issue. Although side effects like chest pain, exhaustion, and incontinence can accompany a cough, the more vexing complaints often have to do with a cough’s ability to interfere with your (and your household’s) sleep and the propensity to be annoying in otherwise quiet places.

In a national survey conducted by Wythe Consumer Healthcare, six out of 10 people said they would tough it out instead of treating their cough. But when you consider those 3,000 droplets of saliva per cough, and that a host of diseases – including influenza, pneumonia, chicken pox, whooping cough, smallpox, tuberculosis, polio and measles – are all spread through the air, it seems like treating your cough is the kindest thing to do.

While many people reach for over-the-counter medicines, experts say that many of them are a waste of money. A report from Harvard University notes, "According to American College of Chest Physicians guidelines, many of the active ingredients in over-the-counter cough remedies are ineffective.”

So, how to quell that cough without resorting to over-the-counter medicines that are possibly ineffective and may offer a host of their own side effects? With natural remedies, of course. Here are some favorite folk ways to relieve a nagging cough.

1. Homemade honey cough “syrup”
There is scientific evidence that honey can be effective in treating coughs and sore throats. You can take it straight, or mix honey with coconut oil and lemon juice for extra benefits. You can also try many a grandmother's old standby before bedtime: a shot of bourbon mixed with honey.

2. Thyme tea
In Germany, thyme is an officially approved treatment for coughs, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis and whooping cough. The herb’s little leaves pack a potent punch of cough-calming compounds that work to relax tracheal and ileal muscles, and reduce inflammation. You can make a thyme tea by steeping two teaspoons of crushed thyme leaves in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes, then strain. Adding honey and lemon rounds out the flavor and adds extra soothing power as well.

3. A hot shower
Crank up the hot water, close the windows and turn off the exhaust fan. Steam can be a cough’s worst enemy, and thus, your best friend. Steam works to soothe the airways and loosen sinus congestion and phlegm in your throat and lungs. (Although take note, WebMD warns that steam may exacerbate coughs caused by asthma.)

4. Black pepper and honey tea
For a wet cough, you can try a black pepper and honey remedy that is said to work because the pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow and the honey is a natural cough reliever. Use one teaspoon of freshly ground pepper and two tablespoon of honey in a mug, and fill with boiling water. Cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes, strain and sip.

5. A lot of liquids
Drinking a lot of liquids, whether any of the teas listed here or even just an increase in your daily water consumption can be helpful for a cough. Fluids help thin out the mucus in postnasal drip and keeps the membranes moist, which can help to reduce the need to cough.

6. Cough drops
Menthol cough drops work to numb the back of the throat, which can help tame the cough reflex.

7. Suck a lemon
Pucker up and suck a lemon? Indeed, this popular remedy calls for sprinkling a section of lemon with salt and pepper and sucking on it. (If nothing else, you will probably be so distracted by having a mouthful of lemon that you may forget to cough.) And if the idea of sucking on a lemon lacks appeal, you can try a hot-buttered lemonade ... and swap the sugar with honey for good measure.

8. Commercial tea blends
Most health food stores have a wide array of teas to suit your home-remedy needs. The Traditional Medicinals brand offers Gypsy Cold Care Tea, an effective remedy that is made from 92 percent organic pharmacopoeial-grade herbs like elder flower, yarrow flower, peppermint leaf, hyssop herb and other organic herbs and flowers.

9. Licorice
If you think licorice has a medicinal taste … two points for you! Licorice root, the flavor from which licorice candy originated, has long been used to treat coughs. Real licorice — or candy made from it — can help soothe inflamed and irritated throats and help to ease coughing. Slice one ounce of candy licorice (that contains real licorice) and steep it for 24 hours with a quart of boiling water; sip as needed.

10. Ginger
Ginger has a lot of secret powers and it has been used for its medicinal properties since antiquity. Practitioners of Eastern medicine commonly prescribe ginger to treat symptoms of colds and flu because of its antihistamine and decongestant capabilities. You can make ginger tea by adding 12 slices of fresh ginger in a pot with three cups water. Allow it to simmer for 20 minutes and remove from heat. Strain, add 1 tablespoon of honey and a squeeze of lemon, and taste; if it’s too spicy, add more water.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

What is oil pulling?

What is oil pulling?

ByMelissa Breyer

To a culture obsessed with fresh minty gels and tonics to brighten the smile, the idea of swishing oil around in our mouths seems counterintuitive at best. What Pepsodent girl in her right mind would dull that gleaming grin with vegetable fat?

But at least as far back as 500 B.C., oil pulling – as the practice is called – has been an important part of Indian traditional medicine. In the ancient Ayurvedic text "Charaka Samhita," which dates back to around 500 BC, the practice is called Kavala or Gandusha, and is said to cure some 30 systemic diseases such as headache, migraine, eczema, diabetes and asthma. The premise is that the oil “pulls” toxins out of the body. As well, it has been used extensively for whitening teeth, preventing tooth decay, treating bad breath, bleeding gums, dryness of throat, cracked lips and for strengthening teeth, gums and the jaw.

While science has yet to back up many of the overall health claims, there have been a number of studies suggesting that oil pulling for oral health is beneficial.

One 2009 study found that oil pulling resulted in a reduction in the plaque index, modified gingival scores, and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis. Another study, this one from 2011, concluded that oil pulling therapy was equally effective as mouthwash containing chlorhexidine for treating halitosis and tackling the organisms associated with halitosis. While a 2008 study found that oil pulling resulted in reducing the Streptococcus mutans (a bacterium that contributes to tooth decay) count in the plaque and saliva samples; the study concluded that oil pulling can be used as “an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health.”

So although science hasn’t proven the practice to be the cure-all as Indian tradition suggests, at the very least it does seem to provide some positive benefits for the mouth.

If you’re interested in trying it, you can use a few different types of oil; most people use sunflower, sesame, or coconut oil. When you wake up, drink a glass of water and place about one tablespoon of oil in your mouth. Swish it around for about five minutes when first starting the practice, and work your way up gradually to 20 minutes, which is the recommended amount of time. Afterwards, spit out the oil the trash, rinse with water, brush your teeth, and who knows, maybe you’ll notice a decline in headaches and eczema along with your healthier teeth.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Green Fashion Essentials For Men

We’ve made some fashion picks for the ladies before, but it can be equally tough for men to find dapper eco duds. Sure, you want your garments to be green, but a recycled hemp hoodie isn’t exactly ideal for the office or lunch with your father-in-law. Check out these seven essentials that are so well-cut and comfortable, you’d never know they were recycled. With 54 percent polyester made from shredded bottles for hidden eco flair.

An added green bonus – this suit is machine washable (seriously). Meaning you can ditch the dry cleaning trips and still keep your pants perfectly creased.

This is one of the many picks on our list that may be available at your local mall or shopping center. Whenever possible, pick one up on your next trip to the store rather than buying online to save on packaging waste.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Shoes Made From Cork

Lighten Your Footprint with Shoes Made from Recycled Cork
Feature from Maria Carter

Used wine corks are transformed into hip shoes for men and women. Photo: ReCORK
Boots, ballet flats and sandals made from old wine corks are coming to a store near you in the future.

Manufactured by SOLE — a Vancouver, B.C.–based footwear company known for its orthopedic shoes and footbeds that conform to the wearer’s feet — the shoes feature eco-friendly leather and midsoles, fabric linings and footbeds made entirely from natural, recycled cork.

SOLE’s designers had been tinkering with ways to use cork in their products when they heard about ReCORK, a cork-recycling initiative sponsored by Amorim Cork, the world’s largest producer of cork bottle stoppers, in 2009.

At the time, ReCORK had been collecting thousands of used wine corks from wineries in Napa Valley, Calif., with no concrete recycling plan in mind. SOLE reached out with their ideas and product concepts; Amorim took the bait.

“They decided it would be a great story for the cork,” says Matt Hughes, the brand manager of ReCORK and former national account manager for SOLE.

As Mike Baker, founder and CEO of SOLE, pointed out in a recent press release, “natural cork is already one of the world’s most sustainable and environmentally friendly products.”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NC CAMA Meeting in Plymouth

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Release: Immediate
Date: 2014-01-13
Contact: Michele Walker
Phone: 919-707-8604
N.C. Division of Coastal Management helping host planning workshop in Plymouth

RALEIGH – The state Division of Coastal Management is co-hosting a regional workshop to discuss future directions for the N.C. Coastal Area Management Act Land Use Planning Program.

The workshop will be from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth. The meeting will be an opportunity for local planning staff and elected officials to work with other community leaders, stakeholders, and state planning staff on the state’s coastal planning program.

The state coastal agency is co-hosting the workshop with theAlbemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, theBusiness Alliance for a Sound Economy and the North Carolina Coastal Federation.

Local governments in Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties and their respective municipalities are invited to participate. Elected officials and local professional planning staff will have an opportunity to discuss past experiences with the Coastal Area Management Act Land Use Planning Program under existing state planning guidelines. Participants will work with staff from the state Division of Coastal Management to consider new opportunities for technical assistance, streamlined plan reviews, and reduced local planning burdens through improved coordination with other planning requirements and activities.

The workshop is free, but registration is required. Visit to register and download an agenda.

Monday, January 13, 2014


N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources files suit against the EPA over air quality regulations

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has filed a lawsuit challenging how the Environmental Protection Agency plans to regulate particulate matter, a plan that would largely ignore the historic gains that North Carolina has made in reducing air pollution since the state’s law known as the Clean Smokestacks Act was passed in 2002.

“We recognized more than a decade ago that we needed to do something about air pollution in North Carolina, and we have made great strides that put us well ahead of other states,” said Sheila Holman, director of the N.C. Division of Air Quality. “All we ask the EPA to do is recognize North Carolina’s unique position and reward what we have done instead of putting us at an economic disadvantage compared to states that have done less.”

The Clean Smokestacks Act obligated the state’s largest utilities to reduce substantially nitrogen and sulfur emissions from coal-fired power plants. Under the law, power plants were to reduce their nitrogen oxide emissions by 77 percent by 2009 and sulfur dioxide emissions by 73 percent by 2013. All targets were met ahead of schedule by retrofitting older plants with emission controls and building new, cleaner plants. The utilities spent more than $2.8 billion on the modernization program, and their customers pay higher power bills now and will for years to come due to the upgrades.

DENR’s lawsuit challenges parts of the EPA’s PM2.5 Increment Rule, which required states to adopt regulations satisfying the new increment requirements for particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns. EPA’s rule treats PM2.5 as a new pollutant, setting a baseline year of 2010 instead of retaining the 1975 baseline date used in previous particulate matter regulations. The baseline date is an important part of the regulatory program because it defines the baseline above which future growth is limited by what is called the increment. States can require reductions in emissions after the baseline date in order to expand the increment, thus allowing for increased economic development.

In January 2013, a federal court struck down two of EPA’s PM2.5 rules. One of those rules was remanded because the court found that PM2.5 is not a newpollutant under the Clean Air Act but rather a continuation of PM10 (the earlier regulatory scheme for controlling particulate matter that set 1975 as the baseline year).

North Carolina regulators in the N.C. Division of Air Quality and the Environmental Management Commission, or EMC, were wary of promulgating rules that were inconsistent with the court decision. Regulators hoped to see the EPA amend the PM2.5 Increment Rule consistent with the court ruling to redefine the baseline date to 1975.

DENR Secretary John Skvarla wrote EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy a letter on Aug. 22, 2013, asking for guidance on the issue. He cited the state’s “exceptional record as a leader in the fight for clean air and responsible economic development,” and expressed concern that the 2010 baseline “could place our state at a significant economic disadvantage simply because North Carolina required emission reductions earlier than other states.”

In October, the EPA reiterated its commitment to the 2010 baseline date. In response, DENR took three actions in the last three months of 2013:

1. DENR submitted a state PM2.5 increment rule, passed by the EMC, to the EPA for approval. This state rule includes a 1975 baseline date consistent with the January court decision;

2. DENR filed a petition for reconsideration asking the EPA to reconsider the baseline date in light of the January court decision; and

3. DENR filed suit against the EPA for continuing to insist on a 2010 baseline year in the face of the court decision.

If EPA either approves DENR’s state PM2.5 increment rule or grants DENR’s petition for reconsideration, the lawsuit against EPA may not be necessary.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

State park deer relocation project

State park deer relocation project will benefit Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

RALEIGH – Morrow Mountain State Park will participate in a long-term project to relocate white-tailed deer from the park to reservation lands of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

Partners in the initiative are the state parks system, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, biologists from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Fisheries and Wildlife Management program.

The agencies intend to augment the reservation’s sparse population of white-tailed deer, an animal that figures prominently in Cherokee lore and cultural traditions. The deer will be gradually released onto the 56,000-acre Qualla Boundary, in habitat improved for browsing and currently off-limits to hunting.

In each of the next three years, between 25 and 50 deer will be relocated, primarily females in small family groups. Initial collections will begin in January, with biologists using darts to tranquilize the animals, collecting data on age and health, and fitting each with a tag and radio collar. The deer will be kept in a large pen on the reservation and closely monitored for about four weeks before being released.

“We’re pleased that the state park can fulfill this request for white-tailed deer on the Cherokee reservation in a way that’s consistent with wise natural resource management, “ said Carol Tingley, acting director for the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. “Morrow Mountain State Park sustains an abundance of healthy native deer that can readily be identified and collected.”

A 2013 herd health study by the state park and the Wildlife Resources Commission suggests that such a project will benefit the remaining herd and habitat at Morrow Mountain in Stanly County. The relocation project will be carried out under specialized scientific protocols developed by the wildlife agency.

“Environmental protection of the Natural Resources of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has been paramount for my administration,” Cherokee Principal Chief Michell Hicks said. “The Cherokee Fisheries and Wildlife Management program has worked to protect those resources and has worked to restore native species to the region. The white-tailed deer restoration continues this important tribal work and demonstrates the tribe’s commitment to work with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources in collaboration. These efforts will have lasting effects on our tribal community and on the region.”

A byproduct of the relocation project will be a unique research opportunity that can offer insight into white-tailed deer health and best practices for rebuilding and sustaining healthy herds. This type of information will benefit wildlife management agencies as well as private, nonprofit groups involved in deer rehabilitation.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Living on a Plastic Island

Gather plastic bottles that are polluting our oceans and turn them into...a giant floating island? This is happening.

Friday, January 10, 2014

2015 World’s Fair Will Focus on Sustainability

2015 World’s Fair Will Focus on Sustainability

News from Megan Malone The next World’s Fair will take place in Milan, Italy, from May 1 to Oct. 31, 2015. Planet, Energy for Life,” and the event is expected to be as green as they come, with a focus on universal sustainable development.

The Expo is set for May 1 to Oct. 31, 2015, in Milan, Italy, and will cover more than 250 acres. The event is expected to attract around 30 million visitors. Topics to be discussed include the promotion and communication of sustainable initiatives as well as education, nutrition, science and technology. It was also recently announced that the Czech pavilion for the Expo will be made from 100 percent recyclable materials.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The How2Recycle Label

Green Label Guide: The How2Recycle Label
Quick Bit from Mary Mazzoni A package with a How2Recycle Label.

Think every piece of food and product packaging that bears the chasing arrows recycling symbol can be tossed in the blue bin? It’s a common misconception.

While these items are technically recyclable, they may not be accepted in every recycling program. This can cause confusion and frustration among consumers and may even lead some to skip recycling altogether.

For example, a container made from plastic #5 (polypropylene) may bear the chasing arrows symbol no matter where it’s sold — making people believe that they can recycle it, even if their community’s curbside recycling program accepts only PET and HDPE plastics.

To clear up the chasing arrows confusion once and for all, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition — an industry working group dedicated to environmentally friendly packaging — developed its How2Recycle Label, a straightforward label that gives consumers detailed information about the packaging materials and their proper disposal.

A How2Recycle Label includes recycling information for each element of a package.

The How2Recycle Label program finished its soft launch in 2013 and now has more than 20 participating companies and brands. You may have already noticed the label on products from top names like REI, Kellogg’s, Minute Maid and Seventh Generation.

In easy-to-understand language, the label breaks down what material each piece of packaging is made from and how to recycle it. For example, the label for an HDPE plastic pouch identifies the package as a plastic bag and suggests store drop-off locations as the most prevalent recycling solution. It also advises consumers to make sure the bags are clean and dry before recycling.

Labels on packaging with more than one material clearly identify the elements (such as the paper box and plastic overwrap) and provide recycling guidance for each element. Consumers are also directed to for more information.

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition hopes to make How2Recycle a nationally harmonized label that enables the industry to clearly convey to consumers how to recycle a package. The coalition set up a How2Join page to recruit more companies and hopes to have the label on the majority of consumer goods by 2016.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How to Plan a Sustainable Event

How to Plan a Sustainable Event
Tips from Megan Malone

There are several steps you can take to make your next event eco-friendly. Whether you’re planning a large community event or a simple birthday party, you can take steps to make sure the occasion is an eco-friendly experience for all involved.

Sustainable Communities Online offers numerous tips for how to keep your events as low-waste as possible. Our favorites:

Host the event at an easily accessible location. By walking, biking or taking public transportation to the event, you and your guests can conserve resources. Be sure to publicize alternative transit options in your invitations (digital ones, of course. See next tip.).

Keep invites and RSVPs digital. To cut back on paper, email “save the dates” and invitations, and offer online registration or ask people to RSVP by email.

Discuss food options with your caterer or event staff. To minimize food waste, pay attention to the number of attendees and discuss the lowest-waste options with your food provider. Put out compost bins at the event for people to toss their leftovers, then schedule a local farmer to pick up the excess food to use for compost.

Educate participants and evaluate results. Be sure to publicize that your event is sustainable to encourage attendees’ low-waste behavior. Take it a step further by giving appreciation certificates or reusable gifts to those who helped make the event sustainable. Afterward, ask attendees to fill out a survey evaluating the sustainable aspects of the event. Use this information to help plan your next green get-together.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hawaii County Set To Begin Plastic Bag Ban

Imagine a future where endless balls of plastic bags aren't jammed underneath the kitchen sink, where the idea of a "plastic bag holder" is as quaint as a CD rack, and where that famous scene in "American Beauty" prompts children to ask their parents about the bygone days of plastic bag pollution.

For Hawaii, such a future is just around the corner. All three of the counties in Hawaii have passed legislation banning plastic bags at checkout counters, making it the first state in the country to pass such a ban. On the Big Island, where consumers have been paying for plastic bags at checkout lines for the past year, the ban officially begins on Jan. 17 at grocery stores, restaurants and retailers.

Consumers can opt for paper bags or bring their own, reusable bags. Plastic bags will still be available for bulk items such as nuts, fish, meat, grains, and fresh produce.

The islands of Kauai and Maui already enforce such a ban, with the most populated island, Oahu, set to join them in July of 2015.

"Being a marine state, perhaps, we are exposed more directly to the impacts of plastic pollution and the damage it does to our environment," Robert Harris, director of the Sierra Club's Hawaii chapter, said in 2012. "People in Hawaii are more likely to be in the water or in the outdoors and see the modern day tumbleweed -- plastic bags -- in the environment."

According to the Surfrider Foundation, Hawaii's success came from its local, grassroots movements. The state-wide ban, they note, "was not done by the state legislature, but instead by all four County Councils."

The Foundation also notes that the plastic bag ban is only the first step: if the state enacted a fee for paper bags, it would further reduce the use of disposable products.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Food Cowboy

Food Cowboy Diverts 300,000 Pounds of Food from Landfill

Quick Bit from Megan Malone

Food Cowboy aims to reduce the amount of leftover food going to landfills by encouraging stores to donate expired food to charities. According to a report (PDF) by the National Resource Defense Council, 40 percent of food made for sale in the U.S. goes uneaten — and we’re not just talking about your dinner leftovers.

Just as those cowboys in Westerns rode in to save the day, Food Cowboy is here to lasso a solution. The start-up based in Washington, D.C., is working to reduce the amount of wasted food by encouraging grocers to give their expired edibles to food banks instead of Dumpsters. The organization’s website helps connect food companies, charities, truckers and caterers. According to NPR’s The Salt, in just three months, Food Cowboy has diverted approximately 300,000 pounds of food from landfills, a number that is expected to grow rapidly now that the program launched nationwide.

Now that’s worthy of breaking out your best spurs and doing the Boot Scootin’ Boogie.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

'Shower of the Future' Recycles, Cleans Water

'Shower of the Future' Recycles, Cleans Water
Quick Bit from Maria Carter

The average American family uses almost 40 gallons of water per day just for showering.The bathroom may be the smallest room in the house, but it’s one of the biggest drains on water and energy.

For proof, look no further than the shower: It accounts for close to 17 percent of the indoor water use at home.

A typical showerhead dispenses 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Multiply that number by the eight to 10 minutes each person spends in the shower on a daily basis and it’s not surprising that the average household uses almost 40 gallons of water per day just for showering. Over the course of a year, that adds up to nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of shower water used in the United States — or enough to supply the H2O needs of New York and New Jersey for 12 months.

What can be done about all that agua going down the drain?

Sweden-based technology company Orbital Systems has just the solution. Dubbed the “Shower of the Future,” Orbital’s OrbSys Shower reduces water usage by 90 percent, saves 80 percent in energy and dispenses water that is cleaner than your average tap. Not only is the unit more eco-friendly and sustainable than your old shower, it’s also wallet-friendly. Orbital predicts that it could save the average person more than $1,000 on his or her water bill.

Installing smarter showerheads could save the average American family more than 2,300 gallons per year, according to WaterSense, a partner of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The OrbSys shower works by diverting water that would normally run into your house’s drainage pipe and recycling it into drinking-water quality through a special filtration system. A special shower tray beneath the floor of the unit collects the wastewater; it is then filtered and pumped back up a shower head that offers water pressure up to 6.3 gallons per minute. Basically, it’s a closed-loop recirculating system that reuses the same water over and over again for the duration of your showering time.

Early evaluators of the OrbSys are calling it a “real-time water filtration system packaged as a recycling shower” and say it is similar to the way that astronauts aboard the International Space Station reuse their wastewater.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

U.S. Composting Council Grows More Than 1 Million Tomatoes

U.S. Composting Council Grows More Than 1 Million Tomatoes
News from Kathryn Sukalich

The U.S. Composting Council successfully completed its Million Tomato Compost Campaign by harvesting more than 1.2 million tomatoes at community gardens this growing season.

You’ve probably heard the benefits of using compost in your garden, but the U.S. Composting Council (USCC) recently completed a campaign that shows just how useful compost can really be. The council launched the Million Tomato Compost Campaign last April to help community gardens nationwide improve their soil and provide fresh produce for local food pantries, and this fall the campaign reached its goal, harvesting more than 1.2 million tomatoes at 100 gardens.

The USCC facilitated the donation of 540 dump trucks’ worth of compost from 85 compost manufacturers to get the project started. Tomatoes can be particularly difficult for new gardeners to grow, and having high-quality soil amended with compost is important to success. Using compost can help soil retain water and can even reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, according to the USCC.

Celebrity chef Nathan Lyon, author of the cookbook Great Food Starts Fresh, served as spokesperson for the campaign, encouraging gardeners and providing tomato-based recipes.

“The Million Tomato Compost Campaign has proven that people
across the country are hungry — not only for fresh, healthy sustainable food, but also for the tools they need to grow healthy food on their own. That starts with good soil and compost,” Chef Lyon said in a press release. “Starting with the soil is so important because healthy soil leads to healthy food, which builds healthy people and communities.”

The campaign successfully brought many parties together to produce local food. Compost manufacturers, community gardens and food pantries all played important roles in providing healthy options for families in their communities.

For information about where to buy compost for your garden and how to use it, visit the USCC’s website

Friday, January 3, 2014

Recycling Mystery: Mattresses

Recycling Mystery: Mattresses
from Mary Mazzoni

Don’t kick your old mattress to the curb! Opt for reuse or recycling instead to cut down on environmental impact. Photo: Shutterstock
Mattresses are one of those ubiquitous household items that can be a huge headache when it comes to recycling. Many thrift and secondhand stores don’t want them, and it can be tough to track down a recycling program that accepts them.

That said, sending your used mattress to the landfill can come with a hefty impact on the planet. An estimated 40 million mattresses are disposed of in the U.S. every year, and a mattress can take up as much as 40 cubic feet in a landfill — making it that much more important to recycle your old one.

Despite the difficulties, it can be done! Read on for the lowdown on reusing and recycling your old mattress to help keep landfills empty.

Choose Reuse
If your mattress is still in very good condition, it may be easiest to look for a new owner within your own social circles. Ask friends and family members if they know anyone who needs a mattress and offer up yours for free, or check with churches, homeless shelters and community centers in your neighborhood.

If that doesn’t pan out, you may also be able to give your mattress away through Freecycle or sell it on sites like Craigslist.

Still no luck? While many thrift stores don’t accept used mattresses for sanitary reasons, there are some options out there. Most Salvation Army stores accept used mattresses, and some will even pick up your mattress to save you the trouble of lugging it to your nearest branch.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

NC Park of the Year

Crowders Mountain State Park is the North Carolina 2013 Park of the Year
RALEIGH – Crowders Mountain State Park in Gaston County has been named the North Carolina 2013 Park of the Year by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

The park was chosen for its “exemplary contribution to the North Carolina state parks mission of stewardship, public service and education,” and specifically recognized for initiatives in natural resource management, volunteerism and expanded recreation opportunities

“Crowders Mountain has developed into one of our busiest state parks with more than 300,000 visitors each year, yet the staff has found time to develop new ideas in recreation, protection of natural resources and involvement with the community,” said Lewis Ledford, state parks director. “This exemplary performance led to its selection as Park of the Year.”

During the year, Crowders Mountain arranged regular volunteer workdays to expand its 20-mile system of hiking trails, enlarged and improved a popular family campground and safely hosted about 10,000 rock climbers. Its central parking area was doubled in size, yet consistently fills on weekends. The park developed aggressive plans to remove invasive species and schedule prescribed burns, and partnered with nearby Belmont Abbey College to complete a comprehensive plant survey.

The state parks system began choosing a Park of the Year in 2010 with nominations from each of four districts. Each of 40 state parks and recreation areas submits an annual report that is objectively scored on progress in recreation, natural resource protection, sustainability, public safety and environmental education. Final judging is by senior and peer administrators. To honor the Park of the Year, a medallion is attached to a hiking staff that is passed to the current award recipient each year. Hanging Rock State Park in Stokes County was honored in 2012.

Crowders Mountain State Park was authorized in 1971 following a citizen-led campaign to protect the Crowders and Pinnacle summits from mining, and is under the direction of Superintendent Larry Hyde. The park encompasses 5,126 acres and reported 321,448 visitors in 2012.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Day Schedule

The Tuscarora Landfill,the Grantsboro Transfer Station and Newport Transfer Station will be closed New Year's Day. The Administrative offices will be closed will also be closed New Year's Day.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

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