Circular design

Explore a featured selection of my writing work below.

Why Carhartt is expanding its clothing trade-in program

Carhartt last week expanded its resale program to accept worn merchandise by mail in exchange for store credit throughout the United States. The Carhartt Reworked program has accepted trade-ins at 35 stores since July, after launching as a pilot in early 2023.

The jacket and workwear maker is hoping to increase its share of the growing market for secondhand gear and solidify its reputation for sustainability.

The resale market reached $1 billion in revenues in 2022 and could make up nearly a q

Under Armour releases tool for industry to measure microfiber shedding

The soft, cozy properties of fleece jackets have created an uncomfortable problem for the apparel industry: Microfibers that shed from synthetic fabrics as they’re washed, rinsing into sewage systems, and make up as much as one-third of the plastic litter in the oceans, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

To combat that, Under Armour released a tool in December to help its supply chain partners and other businesses assess how much microfiber sheds from their tex

From kicks to compost: Puma’s playbook for circular sneakers

On the surface, Puma’s classic suede sneaker has looked the same since 1968, but the company recently unveiled a version that will biodegrade into farm-ready compost. The RE:SUEDE project is the first from Puma’s Circular Lab. The company published the results of its experiment in November after two years of research.

Footwear production accounts for 1.4 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a 2018 Quantis study — roughly equivalent to the emissions of Canada. Manufact

In the water

5 startups fighting 'forever chemicals'

Like other toxic pollution that inspires outrage and regulation, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — PFAS for short and often referred to as "forever chemicals" because they do not degrade or dissolve over time — offer business opportunities. Startups are rushing to clean up these immortal compounds, which appear in nearly every body and ecosystem where they've been measured.

PFAS pervade products throughout your home — including cookware, waterproof jackets and dental floss — and are tied to

The Great Lakes are awash in plastic. Can robots and drones help?

Robot-like drones are roaming popular Great Lakes beaches in an effort, backed by $1 million from Meijer supermarkets, to filter plastic particles from sand and water while drawing attention to plastic pollution.

A sand-crawling BeBot and a swimming PixieDrone sparked curious stares and questions among passersby at a Muskegon, Michigan, shoreline in August. The machines are conversation starters, for sure.

"A lot of people don't know that there is a plastics challenge or problem in the Great L

Can Bumble Bee and Nestlé hook the world on fishless fish?

Put down that beet-juice burger. The next big wave in plant-based protein is fake fish.

Buoyed by the success of red-meat mimics from the likes of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, a growing number of companies is angling to capture their share of the early market for animal-free seafood.

Large companies including Bumble Bee, Nestlé, Tyson, General Mills and Thai Union are making various plays, whether by investing in upstarts or flexing their research and development muscles to formulate new

State of Green Business: The business of oceans catches a wave

Seventy percent of the earth’s surface is made of oceans, yet only 5 percent of this vast expanse has been explored — and far less than that protected. Businesses are waking up to untapped economic opportunities within these watery regions, which absorb 30 percent of the planet’s carbon emissions.

But as warming, acidification, chemical pollution, waste flows, overfishing and rising sea levels imperil marine sys

Better chemistry

What's in that pill? Two vitamin makers diverge on traceability

Hundreds of millions of people take vitamins to supplement their health, yet few have a clue about what each capsule, tablet or gummy contains and where the ingredients originated.

For example, the Supplement Facts label on a multivitamin bottle typically describes how much one serving of each ingredient, such as Vitamin D, delivers toward the federally recommended daily value. But where did the Vitamin D come from? If it was extracted from fish liver oil, where were those cod swimming and how

Why Google, BASF and Sephora are coming together on safer chemistry

It's probably fair to say that nobody expressly set out to devise a sunscreen to bleach coral reefs or a yoga mat to emit carcinogens. Yet toxic substances circulate in waterways and bloodstreams, leached out from all the consumables of everyday life.

Shortsightedness and paltry data in the cycles of product design and engineering are partly to blame for this collateral damage of modern chemistry. Most product designers are unlettered in chemistry, and the practice of green chemistry remains in

A tale of two snack pouches

Spoon-fed applesauce has become something of a relic of the past in little over a decade, replaced by on-the-go fruit pouches that toddlers can squeeze in one hand and slurp. The pouches are easy to stash in a purse, last for months in a pantry and are relatively nutritious.

But while parents appreciate the convenience of these minimal-mess snacks, many also cringe when they toss the single-use packaging into the trash. Most of these pouches are made of layered films and other plastic materials

How My Green Lab is cleaning up R&D

Solutions to the world's biggest problems, including climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, are studied in research laboratories across the globe. But as sterile as those labs may appear, they have a dirty secret: immense carbon footprints.

Labs burn through five to 10 times more energy per square foot than offices, an impact that may be magnified tenfold for clean rooms and other specialized facilities. For instance, 44 percent of the energy use of Harvard University is derived from its

Leadership and lists

10 climate NGOs companies should know

Corporate sustainability professionals often speak of "moving the needle." At the risk of mixing metaphors, sometimes industries really need a poke from a different kind of needle to move faster. Nonprofit groups, pursuing a noble cause, setting long-term goals and owing nothing to shareholders, can provide that jab.

No single organization can solve systemic, planetary problems on its own. Green business efforts regularly enlist not-for-profit groups to share resources, bridge gaps among compet

The 2022 GreenBiz 30 Under 30

Transforming CO2 into concrete and plastics. Designing cutting-edge green university campuses. Sourcing circular materials for consumer electronics, cleaning products and fashion. Expanding diverse talent in sustainability professions.

Those are just a few of the ambitious efforts led by the 2022 members of the GreenBiz 30 Under 30.

This seventh year of celebrating 30 young outstanding leaders in sustainability represents four continents and major cities including Amsterdam, Brussels, Hong Kon

12 C-suite sustainability champions for 2022

As the world settles uncomfortably into year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic, environmental and social volatility of this era are coming into clearer focus.

Stock market tickers have been flailing wildly. The lists of extinct creatures and endangered ecosystems have reached dispiriting new lengths. The climate crisis was amplified on the world stage during COP26, and yet with all the convening and clashing among the leaders of nations, businesses and activist groups, the results fr

The business of sustainability

Greenwashing terms to avoid at any cost

Oh, what a tangled web they weave when businesses set out either to deceive consumers or aspirationally advertise green credentials they haven’t earned. Too often, marketers fall into the trap of making unverifiable eco-positive claims, a practice known as greenwashing.

Because some consumers have indicated they will pay more money for products they believe to be environmentally friendly, it’s only natural that corporations depict their goods and services as worth that premium, dousing ads in P

13 essential newsletters for sustainability professionals

You’re refreshing your go-to news sites every few hours, yet the stories remain stale. You’re over the gloom, doom and "both sides-ism" that stymies climate reporting by big-time media outlets. Your favorite climate thought leaders fled Twitter once Elon Musk took over in October.

Where can you find unique takes and data-driven insights and join a greater community to inform your work in sustainability? Check your email.

A newsletter renaissance over the past decade has led to a multitude of o

Tools and solutions that stand out from Climate Week

Is this déjà vu? "Getting it done" was the tagline for Climate Week 2022, just like last year. That's appropriate — although I'd prefer "Getting real." The systemic challenges of the "decisive decade," to cut global emissions in half by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement, are so enormous that they can only be tackled poco a poco. There are only 88 months left.

The Climate Week organizer, The Climate Group, brought together more than 1,000 speakers from around the world in more than 500 event

Green building

In the business of buildings, net zero becomes a towering target

The COVID-19 pandemic reset the business of commercial real estate, with repercussions still coming into focus. Tens of millions of U.S. professionals stopped commuting to work in spring of 2020, laboring from home for months or longer. And in this moment of the Great Wait and the Great Resignation, many companies are dialing back their office reopening plans while others, including tech leaders from Adobe to Zoom, are extending remote and hybrid work options indefinitely.

About one-third of wo

How to lay the foundation for net zero carbon building projects

Designed and executed with care, net-zero carbon goals can offer more than sustainability window dressing for commercial buildings in the decades to come. More real estate owners, operators, developers and investment firms see the appeal of future-proofing properties from climate shocks such as floods and fires; from market shocks such as high prices for scarce fossil fuels; and from policy shocks such as any future laws requiring climate disclosures or that tax or penalize greenhouse gas emissi

How the Just Label elevates equity from the ground up

Over the years, as Rochelle Routman’s work took her to hundreds of contaminated manufacturing sites, it bothered her to find one thing in common: They seemed to be built on the backs of lower-income communities.

"I thought, they would have never put this factory in the backyard of a country club neighborhood," said the trained geologist, whose career launched with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division in the 1980s and matured through roles at Georgia Power and Lockheed Martin Aeronautic

Next-gen transportation

Red tape, costs entangle fans of 'green' fuel

It's not uncommon on California roadways to spot diesel cars with bumper stickers that boast of biofuels in the engine, using slogans such as "Fuel for the revolution."

"This is the largest underground movement in the United States since the Civil War and the underground railroad," said Michael Wittman, an environmental activist and biodiesel user in Los Angeles.

But many drivers who began using biofuels to reduce their carbon emissions and save money fear that little-known government regulati

How the Urban Freight Lab seeks to fix the last 50 feet of shipping

The very last step of shipping packages in a city ⁠— not the end mile but the "final 50 feet" ⁠— bedevils delivery drivers. Every day, they face the task of driving and parking safely and legally in urban environments not built for the brick-and-asphalt end journeys of e-commerce.

For these workers every hour is rush hour, and unavailable parking, jammed traffic and tight alleys are just a few hurdles. Once they reach an office or apartment tower, they may have to sprint through loading docks,

Personal, 'green' airplanes propel forward

The idea of personal planes may conjure up dark visions of Blade Runner, but the first batch of two-seater aircraft to fly on electricity rather than fossil fuels could reach more than a dozen buyers by year's end.

And if some fans of experimental air travel have their way, that's a step closer to a gridlock-free future when relatively ordinary folks will hop to work in small, carbon-neutral planes.

A cozy crowd of several dozen engineers, venture capitalists, and members of clean-tech compani

Diesel dealers provide a pipeline to rare, green cars

Around the country, dealerships hawking "green" diesel cars are attracting middle-class drivers motivated by high gas prices and the threat of global warming. More than a dozen of these businesses are concentrated along the West Coast, where the biodiesel subculture is breaking into the mainstream.

Most of these clean-diesel entrepreneurs rely exclusively on the Internet for advertising, using their own Web sites and Craigslist classifieds to lure potential buyers, while a minority also showcas

Tech and culture

Can a 'carbon coin' save the world? It may be put to the test

As the novel opens in the near future, a heatwave extinguishes millions of lives in a matter of weeks, but it's a utopian story. Its happy ending features humanity rapidly decarbonizing a multitude of systems, maintaining a livable planet.

In the genre of cli-fi, or climate fiction, "Ministry for the Future" has attracted an avid following — and not mainly for its visions of a post-fossil-fuel future through which airships and solar-powered ocean transport ships glide.

Instead, the book's wonk

Jennifer Granholm: 'Send us proposals for the big, bold clean energy projects'

There's never been a better time to work in climate tech, and business leaders need to get moving to push opportunities forward and help the government meet its major climate goals, according to U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

"Send us proposals for big, bold, clean energy projects, proposals with maximum potential to create good-paying jobs and deliver environmental justice and make an impact in the fight against climate change," she said in a video streamed Wednesday at the VERGE

How green was Burning Man?

The majority of the nearly 50,000 celebrants at the Burning Man counter-culture event have been re-adjusting for two weeks to the real world of running water, cubicles and commutes. With the week-long party in the Nevada desert in the rearview mirror, how green was the burn?

Supporters and critics of the festival of radical self-expression anticipated that this year's Green Man theme would set the ephemeral city apart from those of the past. Many hoped that Burning Man would clean up its act, s

Believe it or not: Ghost hunters go high-tech

With those gizmos and many others in tow, Leong treks to reputedly haunted homes, battlefields, bars and hotels, gathering what she thinks may be evidence of a world beyond this earthly one.

The pursuit of ghostly evidence has been a popular pastime for centuries. Now, instead of Ouija boards, ghost hunters are increasingly turning to high tech gear to assist in their search.

Such ghost hunters rely upon digital equipment to document potential signs of hauntings. Cameras and voice recorders pi

Synthetic diamonds still a rough cut

Synthetic-diamond makers received a boost in January when the Gemological Institute of America--the organization that invented the color, cut, clarity and carat diamond standards 50 years ago--began grading the quality of lab-grown diamonds.

"It gives validity to what investors and manufacturers of gems have been saying for a number of years," said Stephen Lux, CEO of Gemesis Diamond in Sarasota, Fla. "The alternative of lab-grown diamonds is a reality, and these diamonds are a nice value as co

Q & A

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo: 'This is where the action is'

In 1850, San Jose was the first city to be incorporated in California. Fast forward 180 years, and it will be the nation’s largest carbon neutral city, if Sam Liccardo has his way. The mayor, reelected in 2018 with 75 percent of the vote, has partnered with businesses to advance a mix of policies to decarbonize and densify San Jose. The 10th-largest U.S. metropolis has a disproportionate share of high-tech headquarters — Adobe, Cisco, eBay, Netflix and PayPal, to name a handful.

Under Liccardo'

Ryan Panchadsaram: Follow these steps to 'save the world'

Ryan Panchadsaram’s career arc bends toward tackling systemic problems of increasing size, choreographing big sets of data for the public good. The industrial engineer in his 20s helped to mend a botched national system — the 2014 launch of the federal "Obamacare" signup website.

The former U.S. deputy chief technology officer has since pivoted to "save the world," pushing for collective climate action. Panchadsaram is technical adviser to John Doerr, chair of legendary venture capital firm Kle

Newsom: 'Green' tech promises not good enough

San Francisco may have shaken some flowers from its hair since hosting the first Earth Day 38 years ago, but the city continues to be named one of America's greenest. Satirists mock its politically correct "smug cloud" of eco-hipness, but many other regions tend to follow the city's environmental lead. For instance, more than a handful of U.S. cities are now mulling a ban on plastic grocery bags, first passed in San Francisco last March.

Fresh into his second term, San Francisco Mayor Gavin New

Ocean Conservancy's CEO on sea change and spawning solutions

Borders are elusive when it comes to the oceans, whether in the public imagination, business or the law.

Naturally, much of Janis Searles Jones' work as Ocean Conservancy CEO is to transcend borders; she finds that passion for the oceans is bipartisan and building partnerships among "unusual bedfellows" is essential. The 46-year-old advocacy group's focus areas are vast: ocean acidification; smart planning; sustainable fisheries; "trash-free seas"; and regional protection of the Arctic and Gulf

Engineering USGBC's 'Amazon' goals: Mahesh Ramanujam

The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating is the brand to beat for any business seeking a sustainability showpiece in its headquarters or offices. The force behind the Greenbuild events is at a crossroads, entering its 24th year with Mahesh Ramanujam as the new president and CEO.

He's both a fresh face and an insider, transitioning from the COO role while continuing to head up Green Business Certification Inc., which administers LEED. Ramanuja

For Chicago chef, it's prepare, print, serve

Usually found in an operating room or welding shop, a Class 4 laser is just one of the tools Moto chef Homaro Cantu uses to bend diners' expectations of what's edible.

A thick confidentiality agreement prohibits this reporter from describing more about this culinary rabbit hole where meals are printed on edible paper, frozen instantly in liquid nitrogen, and baked in polymer ovens that fit in the palm of your hand. (Foodies often fly into town and shell out $165, plus wine, for a taste of the f


What’s your obsolete tech really worth on eBay?

Just like cars, old electronics are considered classics after 25 years. But how can you tell which products are valuable collectibles, and which ones won’t appreciate at all? Should you drag your old IBM computer or Nintendo console to an e-waste center? Or does it make more sense to sell it today? Some collectors of vintage tech aren’t looking for objets d’art. No, they actually want to use your discarded PCs. On the other hand, says Jim Griffith, eBay’s dean of education, “If you had an origin

Building a better business backup system

As with buying insurance or taking vitamins, committing to data backup is a hard sell. Everyone knows that storing records safely in more than one place protects the health of a business, but many companies fail to establish backup systems that will keep them running if disaster strikes.

Unfortunately, often it takes a crisis–such as a natural disaster, a theft, or a system failure that wipes out a legacy of data–to motivate action.

Realizing that you need a new storage strategy sometimes come

Choose the right tech support for your business

Managing technology comes last on the to-do list for many small companies. You want to focus on front-end business while hardware and software magically work behind the scenes.

For your tech backbone to function, however, it needs steady support. Finding the right IT expert can not only save money over the long run but also make the difference between merely surviving an emergency and powering ahead for growth.

Many mom-and-pop or home-based ventures rely on family and friends for tech help. I

The most dangerous jobs in technology

In the world of information technology, some professions are particularly perilous. Whether you’re risking psychological stress or your very life, these fields aren’t for the faint of heart. Some people in these roles thrive on adrenaline, climbing thousands of feet to fix communications towers. Others risk only emotional damage, getting paid to consume disturbing Internet content.

Workplace deaths in the United States have dropped in recent years, along with the employment rate. In the develop

On campus

Rollins Students Collaborate on Great Migration Research Project

Legendary voices like Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes are household names, but what about Rita Dove and Countee Cullen? These Black poets are among hundreds of influential figures being explored by Rollins faculty, staff, and students for a groundbreaking new project from the famed British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare.

Commissioned by Barbara ’68 and Ted Alfond ’68, the final artwork will be part of the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art and will be installed in 2022 in Kathleen W. Rolli

Preserving Local LGBTQ History at Rollins College

A beloved bookstore. A go-to local cafe. A softball team. The varied places where queer communities have flourished in Central Florida is the focus of groundbreaking new research by Rollins students.

In history professor Claire Strom’s History of American Sexuality course, students have been uncovering little-known local history about places of import in the LGBTQ+ communities through a partnership with the LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida, where Strom sits on the board. For their final

Rollins College Global Links Initiative: Global Citizenship in Action

Female entrepreneurs are critical to solving some of the world’s greatest challenges, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to advance gender equality and eliminate poverty. In emerging economies, however, businesswomen often lack resources and support.

An innovative program through Rollins’ Crummer Graduate School of Business, the Global Links Initiative (formerly known as the Global Links Scholar Program) is in its 10th year of building bridges across cultures to n