Radon Alert for Homes

Be green from the ground up! Test your home for radon. Radon is a naturally occuring, odorless gas that can seep out of the ground into your home. But as the second leading cause of lung cancer, radon is responsible for over 20,000 deaths a year. Fortunately, a home radon test is easy to do, and homes with high radon levels can be fixed.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/radon/radontest.html
Podcast: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/podcasts


Union Carbide Bhopal Disaster

Cedar Creek Remediation remembers the Bhopal Disaster and our thought and pryers go out the tens of thousand of people directly affect 25 years ago both in India and other parts of the world.

25 Years after the Union Carbide, Bhopal, India Disaster

Cedar Creek Remediation remembers the Bhopal disaster and offers its condolances to those who were affected both in INdia and here on our own continent.  This was truly one of the worst disasters in in the 20th century.  It is hard to imagine what it was like to see the suffering in the streets.  The attached link is a CNN You Tube presentation which will give us more insite to this disaster.

Tim Hortons understands Corporate Social Responsibility.

Rrroll up the rim to sustainability!

By Brad Zarnett | Published: April 27, 2012


Tim Faveri of Tim Hortons will be at TSSS on May 17,  2012 (live and via webcast) click here for more details

Tim Hortons understands Corporate Social Responsibility.  They are proud of their Making a True DifferenceTM initiatives including Tim Horton Children’s Foundation, local programs such as Earn-a-Bike and Timbits Minor Sports, sponsorships of national sports leagues and local community programs, environmental events and their Coffee Partnership.  They issue an annual Sustainability and Responsibility Report.  Clearly, Tim Hortons knows how to talk the talk.  But are they walking the walk of corporate social responsibility?

Customers spend more than $6 billion annually at Tim Hortons. That’s $16.4 million worth of coffee, baked goods, soups and sandwiches per day. Where does that coffee come from?  Where do those cups go?  These are the kinds of questions we must ask to assess whether Tim Hortons is doing more than just talking the talk of sustainability.

When hockey legend Tim Horton opened his first coffee and donut shop (Hamilton, ON, 1964) it was as a way to supplement his NHL salary.  At the time of his untimely death ten years later there were 40 Tim Hortons restaurants.  By 1991 there were 500 stores, growing  to 1000 by 1995, doubling to 2000 by the year 2000, and exploding to 3000 by 2006.   Such growth presents both challenges and opportunities.

Tim Hortons: A Part of our Canadian Identity

The mayor of Yellowknife exclaimed during William and Catherine’s recent royal visit, “You’re on the edge of some of the little remaining, but accessible, wilderness in the world.  Twenty minutes in any direction you won’t be finding any cigarette packages or Tim Hortons cups.”  As quintessentially Canadian and ubiquitous as the Tim Hortons franchise is the Tim Hortons coffee cup, discarded by loyal Tim Hortons customers.  Rrrroll up the Rim to win what?  Litter?  We hope not.

Those discarded cups cannot be ignored.  And the company does not pursue FairTrade or other coffee certifications.  Yet TSSS is promoting Tim Hortons as a “Leader in Sustainability”.  Huh? Before you cancel your membership in our LinkedIn group or unsubscribe from our email list, explore a little deeper.  As with all things in life, the truth lies somewhere in shades of gray.

Eco-labels for coffee don’t always tell the whole story

Tim Faveri, Tim Hortons Director, Sustainability and Responsibility, views certification as an important and commendable movement, but he considers many such programs too one-dimensional.  Some offer a price premium to farmers, without really assessing the social and environmental impacts of the crop production on the farmers and their communities.  Additionally, the premium price is often paid to a co-operative, rather than to individual farmers; there is the potential for some individual farmers not to be paid a fair price.  Faveri advocates for a triple bottom line approach to coffee partnerships with externally verified audit systems in place, rather than certification labeling.   He explains that third party certification can lend itself to blind allegiance to a certification label, without ongoing evaluation of the big picture and changing realities.

“The overall vision of the Tim Hortons Coffee Partnership is to help build sustainable coffee communities by supporting coffee farmers in key areas that will improve their coffee business and their lives.  We focus on improving economic, social and environmental factors.”    Tim Hortons believes that their unique approach goes beyond typical coffee certification programs by working with farmers to overcome the challenges of improving coffee quality and yields, learning sustainable farming practices and finding quality education for their children.  Tim Faveri explains, “We’re on the right path with meeting our stakeholders’ needs and, more importantly, meeting the farmers’ needs.”

From Cup to Carry-Out Tray

But what about those cups?  A Sierra Club representative was quoted as saying, “The Tim Hortons cup is easily the No. 1 recognizable item of litter in the country.” But that quote was from 2005.  What has Tim Horton’s done since then?  They have developed customized recycling units for their restaurants; by 2011 more than 800 of their restaurants had them in place to recycle hot drink cups rather than sending them to landfill.   Further, Tim Hortons became the first “quick-service” restaurant company in North America to use a waste material (hot drink cup) and manufacture it into another product in their restaurant (carry-out tray).  They have an educational initiative, the Litter Awareness Program, and they partner regularly with local community clean-up programs.  They offer a 10-cent discount to customers who bring in a reusable mug.  They use washable china tableware in their restaurants; this is the exception, rather than the rule, in the quick-service restaurant category.

From GRI to Green Building

Many other programs illustrate the Tim Hortons sustainability commitment.  Their annual Sustainability and Responsibility Report is developed using Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.  They constantly integrate green building initiatives (e.g., 100% FSC certified wood, solar, daylight harvesting, heat exchangers and recovery units) within both their newly constructed and renovated restaurants.  They have 6 restaurants designed as ‘Learning Labs’, where LEED and other green building principles are explored and best practices are determined to include in future restaurant design.  Their ‘Innovation Centre’ encourages and nurtures a creative approach to all aspects of the business, including supply chain and operations. Efforts to green their business resulted in a 6.7% increase in the fuel efficiency of their distribution fleet and a 9% reduction in corporate water usage in the past year.

When selecting new owner/operators they consistently value the prospective franchisee’s  interest in the local community over business experience.  Tim Hortons raises and invests millions of dollars each year for initiatives like Tim Horton Children’s Foundation summer camps and Timbits sports, and donates millions of dollars to diverse local charities in communities across Canada and the US.

“One of the biggest opportunities with this role at Tim Hortons, one of Canada’s most recognized brands, with such pervasive market penetration, is to educate and raise awareness of today’s broader sustainability issues,” says Tim Faveri.

Join us on May 17, 2012 either in person in Toronto or by webcast to hear more about Tim Hortons

HistoricalAbuse of our Planet

A Superfund Site by Any Other Name, Is Still a Superfund Site

By: Duane Craig

It is no doubt a dubious honor to have a Superfund site named after you. This usually happens to corporations, but not so in the case of Dewey Loeffel, who was once associated with the Loeffel Waste Oil Removal and Service Company.

According to a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Record of Decision, the current contamination at the Dewey Loeffel Landfill site is largely the work of General Electric, Bendix Corporation and Schenectady Chemicals (SI Group Inc.). Still, the site bears Dewey’s name.

GE and SI Group recently agreed to collect and properly dispose of contaminated groundwater and liquid leaching from the landfill to try to prevent some nearby drinking water wells from being contaminated with waste oils, polychlorinated biphenyls, scrap materials, sludge and solids. This site was added to the Superfund list in May 2011, after numerous state investigations and cleanups, according to a press release from the Environmental Protection Agency. In late 2011, the EPA started operating the groundwater and leachate collection systems the state had installed.

Loeffel Waste Oil Removal and Service Company disposed of waste at the site from 1952 to 1968. The process was pretty simple. The company collected hazardous materials in 55-gallon drums and brought them to the landfill, where they were either dumped into an oil pit or one of two lagoons. One lagoon covered about an acre, and another one covered five acres. Drums that came in full, but couldn’t be reused, were either dropped into the lagoon or buried in the soil. The company separated recyclable oily wastes in the pit and then pumped the non-recyclables into the lagoon. Sometimes, waste materials were simply burned.

Needless to say, this caused quite a mess, according to the EPA’s narrative about the site. PCBs migrated into aquifers and downstream waterways and are now concentrated in groundwater, surface water, sediments and species of fish. Two fisheries had to be closed, and there were documented cases of fish and cattle kills.

The NYSDEC figured there were 37,530 tons of waste brought in from GE. Other sources contributed another 8,790 tons. A judgement against Loeffel Waste Oil Removal and Service Company in 1968 required it to stop operating the way it was and to take some remedial action, which it did. After that, the company operated as a waste transfer operation until 1980. During this time, a number of industrial companies brought their own waste to the site, where it was stored in above-ground storage tanks.

Eventually, GE signed an agreement with New York state, called the Seven Sites Agreement, that included the Dewey Loeffel Landfill site as one where it would investigate and undertake remedial actions. And somewhere along the way, perhaps unknown to Dewey at the time, his name was donated.