Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ahh to spend time in the City of Bikes....

You can guess where this came from, there is an article about how Paris is becoming the "City of Bikes" by creating an easy bike share program with special bike racks. An interesting experiment as an alternative to cars and mass transit. It'll be interesting if there are health effects from such a program in the population.

Amsterdam is a city of bikes, but the program is a little less official with the apocryphal story that a bike in Amsterdam is stolen an average of 5 times in it's lifetime. People believe it so much that they assume it's natural. Or so I've been told.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Learning how to share....not bikes but Segways?

The New York Times (who else? -- I do tend to hit a rut) has a great article about an experiment in New York City with Bike Sharing, where you use a community bike to achieve your errands and get around. A nice alternative to taxi and subway. Successful trials in Barcelona bode well.

A friend of mine in college told me about his experiences in Geneva where community bikes eventually got absconded and become private bikes so they use to paint them ugly colors. In Amsterdam supposedly a bike is stolen on average 5 times. Apocryphal? Maybe.

It's a neat idea, people will sweat a lot, smelly cities, but once people get healthy, it won't be so bad. I just repatriated one of my bikes (it was not treated well) We get addicted to convenience, so it will work for short distances. I think given human nature, changing this to "Segway Sharing" with deposits might work better.

Share your thoughts in the comments?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Being ready for reuse...

My last post, I talked about Ikea saying you should bring your own bag. Some tips for being prepared and ready are the following.

1) Keep extra bags in the trunk of your car so when you need them, they are there. Also be sure to take them back to the car when they are in your kitchen. I put my bags right by the door.

2) If you have only one or two items, skip the bag entirely. You have hands, especially if the trip it just to your car.

3) For coffee, keep a few resusable cups around, leave one in the car. Peet's will rinse it out with hot water so don't worry about it getting too grungy. If you have a bag with a water bottle pouch, keep one there too.

It doesn't take too long for it to become second nature....Good Luck... "Let's be carbonfree out there. " (sic) Sgt. Esterhaus

100 billion and counting....

The LA Times has a story about Ikea's challenge in charging for plastic bags at their stores and the gripes they are getting for their policy. According to Ikea, 100 BILLION (your eyes do not decive you) bags are used in shopping every year in the United States and less than 1% get recycled. I can vouch for how incredibly difficult it is to not get plastic bags. I do my best when shopping to use my canvas bags that I get from trade shows, but for some reason bringing canvas bags into a grocery store is OK, but into a Target seems odd.

But it go me thinking, we have deposits in California for Containers like soft drink cans and bottle watered, and people don't seem to mind. And when you shop at most grocery stores they give you a discount (or at Trader Joe's they enter you in a raffle) and people don't mind. But the argument can be made that you are getting a rebate so maybe it's not conscious.

An interesting experiment where you could really see how people think about money and it's relationship to the environment is for coffee. At most places if you bring a cup they'll give you a dime off. So for all intent and purposes you are paying for the cup if you don't bring your own. It's just built into the price as the default. What would happen if changed the default pricing model, say Starbucks lowered their prices by a dime and charged a dime if you used a take away cup instead. Would people complain? Economists say no, but my bet is they would. It's all in the framing.