Top 10 Headlines of 2010

As Managing Editor of Earth911, one of my favorite parts of the holiday season is diving into our archives, brooding over the events of the past 12 months.

Quick look at the news headlines of 2010: Haitian Earthquake, Gulf Oil Spill, Plastic Bans, Health Care Reform, FTC Green Guides and more. (Stock Photo)

Ten years from now, I will remember 2010 as a year of environmental hardship – the Haitian earthquake, Gulf Coast Oil Spill and the devastating Nashville flood. But while these events essentially shaped 2010, our reaction defined them.

Reading through the most popular articles we published this year, the comments, high traffic and tens of millions of searches on our recycling database mean one thing: action is progression.

Consumers are connecting with real-world activities, like recycling. They’re demanding greener options in the market. And as a result, companies and manufacturers are innovating their practices, production and mindset.

So, dearest reader, I invite you on a trip down memory lane through Earth911’s perspective. These are your favorite 10 of ’10.

Health Care Reform’s True Eco Impact

February, 2010

American hospitals generate approximately 6,600 tons of waste daily. As much as 85 percent of that is non-hazardous solid waste, such as paper, cardboard, food waste, metal, glass and plastics. We consulted industry experts to find out what new health care legislation would mean for the environment.

Inside Plastic Bans

March, 2010

San Francisco made history when it became the first city to officially ban plastic shopping bags in 2007, making it a pioneer of a rapidly growing trend – the outlawing of common to-go plastic products, such as bags and foam polystyrene containers. But do these bans actually accomplish the ultimate goal of reducing litter?

Rebuilding a Sustainable Haiti

April, 2010

The earthquake exacerbated Haiti’s long-time struggles of severe poverty, but it also galvanized many organizations already working in Haiti to help the country recover in a way that would empower its residents to rebuild with an eye towards a more sustainable future. These are the people that committed months to making Haiti whole again.

How Kids Are Saving the Planet

April, 2010

An inspiring, heartwarming look at five kids who made a real difference. These children, teens and young adults have done more than their fair share for their communities and the environment, proving that age doesn’t coincide with the amount of potential impact. If this group is any indication of what to expect in the future, rest assured we’re in good hands.

365 Days, 365 Dresses, $365

June, 2010

Marisa Lynch was on a mission: upcycle 365 dress in 365 days for 365 dollars. Little did she know she would become a Web celebrity in her own right, inspiring other reuse challenges and reminding us that there really is more than meets the eye to that thrift store fashion disaster.

Operation Deepwater Clean

July, 2010

Three months after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion caused the largest oil spill in United States’ history, several organizations and volunteers dug deep into their communities to restore the Gulf Coast to its natural state. This from-the-ground look at cleanup efforts is a reminder of how far we’ve come since April 20, 2010.

Is Burning Trash Bad?

August, 2010

It’s a question we get a lot. With the growing popularity of modern waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities in Europe and Asia, we took the time to really find out what it means for the environment to burn your trash. Spoiler alert: It’s catching on in the U.S. The majority of our waste is buried in landfills, while 31 percent is recycled, but there are currently 90 waste-to-energy facilities operating in the country that torch 14 percent of our trash and convert the heat into electricity.

The US Open You Didn’t See

September, 2010

Three years ago, the US Tennis Association took on the tall order of greening one of the largest tennis event in the world. On a humid September afternoon in Queens, N.Y., we got to see, firsthand, the start-from-scratch process of making a resource-intensive event less draining on the environment – from napkins at the concession stand, to the tennis balls on the court.

Oops! Eco Intentions Gone Wrong

September, 2010

Local businesses, big-box chains, national media, small-town shops…almost every market we interact with daily is pushing the “going green” slogan. But even the most educated greenie with the best intentions can miss the fine print. We found some common mistakes to look for when embarking on your own eco journey.

The FTC Green Guides: What You Need to Know

November, 2010

Shopping for the “greenest” product can be tricky as the grocery aisles are filled with a slew of “eco-labels.” In order to protect consumers and keep marketers honest, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes a series of marketing guidelines called the Green Guides. The Guides are currently going through an extensive review process, and updates will be published early next year, but here’s the information you need in your back-pocket now.

Why People Don’t Recycle

October, 2010

Yes, we can count. There are 11 articles on our list, but we had to give you one for the road! (11 for ’11, get it?). This exclusive look at five non-recyclers was the most popular article ever published on Earth911. The candidness of those interviewed gave us an inside look at what consumers really think about an activity that many of us consider second nature. Their answers prove that recycling isn’t finished – there are still major hurdles to overcome in order to increase America’s 33-percent recycling rate.

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