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The Environment and Business

PVC gets animated

Sam SudsAs part of their campaign against PVC – polyvinyl chloride – the Center for Health and Environmental Justice has an animated awareness video featuring Sam Suds – a private detective/bar of soap whose mission is to keep toxins out of the Johnson household. The message of the video is loud an clear: PVC is bad, it’s all around you, but it’s easy to spot – just look for the 3 or the V.

The Center for Health and Environmental Justice has called on big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target to phase out PVC sales within their stores. According to a recent CHEJ press release as a result of their efforts, “Wal-Mart has already begun to phase out PVC in packaging and children’s lunchboxes. Last October, in response to health and environmental concerns, Wal-Mart announced plans to phase out PVC plastic in private label packaging over the next 2 years.”

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Christmas Cards – what cost to the environment?

It’s traditional for businesses to say thank you to their customers at Christmas time. Thousands of cards are printed, hours are spent signing them, and then there’s the last minute rush to get them all posted before it’s too late. The financial implications of sending thousands of Christmas cards are expected and planned for, but how many businesses consider the cost to the environment?

The thousands of cards that businesses send their clients each year require a lot of paper to make, and only very few greetings card manufacturers are using recycled paper for their cards. It would be fair to say that recycled paper is not a big focus in the greetings card industry. One tree needs to be chopped down for every 3000 Christmas cards, and in the UK alone, around 1 billion Christmas cards will be sent this year [source: Defra]. That’s over 300,000 trees.

The process of making greetings cards can often include further environmentally damaging processes, such as toxic printer inks and fixing agents. Then there’s disposal of the vast quantities of cards, many of which will end up in landfill. And the carbon emissions created by transporting the cards all over the country are substantial too.

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