Earth Day 2011: eBay's Cash-For-Apple-Clunkers, Whole Foods Goes Bagless

Earth Day 2011: eBay's Cash-For-Apple-Clunkers, Whole Foods Goes Bagless

Broken iPhone - CC license by magic_quote/Flickr

It's Earth Day, and the promos are streaming in. Here is Part 2 of our 2011 Earth Day round-up. You can read Part 1 here.

Bucks For Bits

During the month of April, eBay is offering special pricing to people selling broken or damaged iPods, iPhones and iPads through its Instant Sale program. An idea born from eBay's sustainability team, Instant Sale was created to give people an easy and quick way to sell old or unwanted gadgets while making sure functioning gadgets can be reused or broken ones don't get dumped in the trash.

The program previously offered little money, but free shipping, for busted items. Now eBay is offering $150 for broken iPads, $100 for broken iPhones and $50 for broken iPods. In addition, for every device sent in, eBay is making a $5 donation to Global Green USA.

Sign of the Times

Bioplastic producer Cereplast yesterday announced the winner of a contest it held to determine, as it said on its website, "the next universal green design -- a symbol to represent bioplastics." The contest drew 1,500 entires and the winner received $25,000. 

Although Cereplast reused the method for choosing what would become the universal symbol for recycling (a design contest), it turns out the new bioplastics symbol will only be used by Cereplast's customers to put on their products to show they are made of bioplastic. The symbol won't be in the public domain, but Cereplast said in the future, it may be used by other companies or players in the bioplastics industry through partnerships.

Bag the Habit

Three years ago on Earth Day, Whole Foods Market eliminated all plastic bags from its stores, and this year it's going one day with no paper bags. Stores are encouraging customers to bring their own bags, purchase reusable bags, or take their items home in any empty boxes that stores have laying around.

The company also launched this week its own rating system for cleaning products. The Eco-Scale rating system will give household cleaning goods a red, orange, yellow or green rating based on environmental and sourcing criteria. Products will also have to list all ingredients on their packaging. Any product that earns a red rating will be phased out of Whole Foods by next Earth Day.

Sustainability Underfoot

Interface, the carpet company that has embraced sustainability since founder Ray Anderson's "spear in the chest" moment, announced that in 2010, 40 percent of the raw materials that went into its products were recycled or bio-based. Six years ago, that figure was at 4 percent.

Also last year, the company's ReEntry 2.0 carpet recycling program took in 28 million pounds of carpet and the company pushed its greenhouse gas emissions at manufacturing sites down 35 percent compared to 1996.

Charge It

Macy's will give some customers in southern California a way to charge up electric vehicles while racking up credit card charges. The company will install two self-serve charging stations at six stores in the San Diego area. 

The retailer also continues its switch to LED lights with plans to install 280,000 LED bulbs at 200 stores this year, building onto the 130,000 bulbs swapped in last year. And with solar power systems planned for the roofs of nine stores this year, Macy's is looking to have 49 solar systems at stores and facilities by the end of the year.

Green Sleeves

Threadless, an online company that prints user-submitted T-shirts based on community voting, held a contest for "Acts of Green" themed shirts. The winner will be available starting on Earth Day, with 25 percent of the purchase price going to the Earth Day Network.

The company is also recycling a previous promotion with its Buy a Tee, Plant a Tree program, which gives $1 from every shirt sold to The Nature Conservancy's Plant A Billion Trees effort.

Put a Lid On It

Tetra Pak, maker of drink cartons, set down new carbon, recycling and sourcing goals for the next decade. Tetra Pak aims to cap its carbon emissions at where they were in 2010 by the end of 2020. The goal extends beyond Tetra Pak's own operations to include its suppliers as well.

The company also wants to double the global recycling rate for its cartons in the next 10 years, which would mean some 100 billion cartons would need to be collected in 2020. Lastly, Tetra Pak wants to increase the amount of Forest Stewardship Council certified paperboard in its cartons to 50 percent by 2012, and eventually to 100 percent.

Broken iPhone - CC license by magic_quote/Flickr