No More Paper Receipts

‘Rooftopping’ in Dubai
A photo taking at the beginning of ‘fog season’ in Dubai, as fog settles over the marina.
See more of Daniel Cheong’s work on Flickr and Facebook.


It would seem a logical next step to fully adopt e-receipts, and it is happening, slowly but surely. You’ve probably noticed that many retailers offer the option and some even offer the option to not receive a paper receipt. Great idea! Less paper, less toxic plastics.

I just read an interesting article at

Dubai hopes to do away with paper receipts completely to reduce its carbon footprint. Hurray!


Coal Ash and the Environment

Coal ash pulled from the bottom of the Dan River near the site of the Duke Energy spill in Eden, N.C. (Photo courtesy of Dan River Basin Association)

Duke Energy’s Coal ash ponds are unlined, and are always leaching chemicals into our waterways, even when there are not major leaks, like the one that flooded the Dan River in North Carolina last month. Duke is planning to clean up all 33 of its coal ash ponds across the state- their plan… power customers will foot the one billion dollar bill.


Plastics and Endocrine Disruptors

Unfortunately, BPA is not the only endocrine-disruptor in plastics. Many BPA-Free plastics contain endocrine disruptors and some in higher dosage than those containing BPA.

I just keep wondering, how can we solve this problem in a plastic world?

Mother Jones has a great article on BPA and plastics in general.  This article is packed. And frankly, kind of disturbing. The reporter, , touches on everything from health implications to politics of the plastics industry.

Water Changes as Climate Changes

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There are so many factors affecting water. One is global warming. The EPA has an interesting page siting some of the challenges of water in a warming climate.

“Changes in the amount of rain falling during storms provide evidence that the water cycle is already changing. Over the past 50 years, the amount of rain falling during the most intense 1% of storms increased by almost 20%. [1] Warming winter temperatures cause more precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow. Furthermore, rising temperatures cause snow to begin melting earlier in the year. This alters the timing of streamflow in rivers that have their sources in mountainous areas.” Go to the Environmental Protection Agency to learn more:

Desalination in California


I’m ever curious about issues of water- water rights, water conservation and water costs. I’ve often wondered about desalination.

Desalination is the process by which salt is removed from seawater. This is either achieved by reverse-osmosis where water is blown through a filter membrane small enough to shut salt out- or by distillation, when water is heated to steam and salt is left behind.

I recently learned that California is investing in a huge desalination plant- this peaked my interest. What of it?

Apparently Israel has been using desalination for some time now. Israel’s IDE Technologies Ltd. will be building the new plant in southern California. But Israel has been using its desalination plants in combination with water conservation and water recycling. “In Israel, 75% of the country’s sewage is recycled.” Check out this article at

California has not made this step of recycling, and very little towards water conservation.

Why is it so rare that we take a well-rounded, holistic approach in the US?

Anyway, desalination is extremely costly, making it more practical as an adjunct to water recycling and conservation. Desalination emits green house gases through its mega use of energy and it requires pouring highly salted brine back into the oceans, making me thankful that I’m not a fish in San Diego.

Interestingly, wikipedia has some great information on desalination’s pros and cons and also on some less costly alternatives.

Also, the New York Times also has an interesting recent article on the new plant in southern California.

More food for thought.