News of the Green 
We’d venture to say that Wal Mart possibly is one of the largest “consumers” of plastic bags on the planet. Not that Wal Mart itself uses the bags, or course, but gives them to customers at checkout.

Well, on September 25, Wal-Mart announced that the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) will serve as the retail giant’s “environmental partner in the Global Plastic Shopping Bag Waste Reduction Commitment.... “EDF will help Wal-Mart develop reduction, reuse and recycling strategies as well as monitor efforts to reduce plastic shopping bag waste by an average of one-third per store from 2008 levels by 2013.”

What that means, should Wal-Mart and EDF succeed, is that 9 billion plastic shopping bags will be eliminated. Gone. Disappeared. Never again to waft across highways, litter beaches and fill up landfills.

As good as this news is – and don’t get us wrong, it is good news – it’s estimated that humans use four trillion plastic shopping bags worldwide each year.

(To get an idea of the massiveness of that number, here are some fun facts: One billion is the equivalent of 1,000 millions. One thousand millions. And one trillion is equal to 1,000 billion. To put it in some human perspective, a million days have yet to pass since Jesus Christ was born more than 2000 years ago: 2008 times 365 equals 732,920 days.

We’re a little late on this, but a big shout out to the U.S. Green Building Council’s 2008 Green Building grant competition for awarding $2 million in grants to 13 companies on September 11. The winners will share a $2 million pool of grant monies, with individual grants ranging from $90K-$250K.

Grant winners included competitors whose projects included “a green roof energy calculator [and] and improved porous pavement system for stormwater management.”

To see the complete list of grant winners and their projects, check out this list.

Lastly, we just know you’ve got a hankering to know which American city Fast Company believes the “greenest” in the nation. Are you ready to the news?

Grand Rapids, Michigan gets top green honors!

According to an article on the USGBC’s website, the magazine says Grand Rapids

leads the nation in the number of LEED-certified buildings per capita. In 2005, Mayor George Hartwell pledged that more
than 20% of the city’s power would come from renewable sources by 2008; it hit that target a year early, and Heartwell
upped the target to 100% by 2020.

The municipal government's energy use has been cut by more than 10%. The public-transit fleet features hybrid buses. And
here, in the heart of the Rust Belt, manufacturers are leading the greenification charge. Office-furniture heavyweights
Herman Miller and Steelcase both have LEED-certified buildings in the area, as do industrial firms such as Cascade

Well, then, a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Grand Rapids! Not that we’ll be moving there anytime soon. After all, today, October the high was 70 degrees. Grand Rapids? 69. But by January, we expect highs around 68 degrees. Grand Rapids? The average January temperature is 29 degrees.

Still, big congratulations are in order for Grand Rapids. Cities can cut down their carbon footprint!

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