Green shipping

The shopping frenzy that accompanies the holidays is about to begin. Many gifts will be ordered online and shipped to far-off places—or shipped to nearby places from faraway. All that shipping takes energy. But just how much?

ShipGreen ( offers online retailers a way to provide shoppers with the ability to calculate and offset carbon emissions produced by each product that’s shipped. The calculation model was developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

ShipGreen installs a module on interested retailers’ sites. When customers make a purchase, they have an option to see how much CO2 their shipment will generate. For about 50 cents, the customer can decide to invest in a variety of carbon offset projects. Examples of these include a wind farm in New Zealand, a hydropower plant in Indonesia, a biomass project in India and protecting biodiversity in China. These projects are inspected and certified according to the Kyoto Protocol and the Gold Standard of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance.

Having just launched in September, only a handful of businesses carry the ShipGreen option: Clothing company BTC Elements, Yoga Mates and Destino magazine. Now if big shipping strongholds like could just get on board. But then, maybe customers would realize it’s far greener to go to the local bookstore than to ship books from New York to Reno.Reno, Sparks and Washoe County are going to battle again. No, not about who gets to bilk the citizens out of their tax money—this is serious. The three entities are seeing who can collect the most phone books in order to plant the most trees. It seems AT&T will donate 17 trees for every ton of phone books collected. According to a press release from the city of Reno, for every 355 books recycled, 17 trees, 6,953 gallons of water, 463 gallons of oil and enough landfill space to occupy a Volkswagen Beetle are saved. Citizens may take books to Bartley Ranch Regional Park, Rancho San Rafael Park, Lazy 5 Regional Park, Neil Road Recreation Center, Northeast Community Center, Moana Swimming Pool, Alf Sorensen Community Center, Sparks Parks and Recreation Deaprtment, Sparks City hall, all Solari’s and Sak ‘n Save Food stores and last but not least, those regular green and yellow recycling bins. The competition runs through Dec. 31. Call (800) 953-4400 for information.