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Earth Day Briefing: 3M, Macy’s, Office Depot, Lowe’s

Companies have been announcing environmental initiatives left, right and center this week (and that’s on top of the selection we already ran last Friday.) Here’s some more that caught our eye.

3M launched Scotch Magic Eco-Friendly Tape, made from more than 75 percent renewable or recycled materials. The boxed refill roll, including packaging, is made from more than 65 percent renewable or recycled materials.

Macy’s says it will become the first major department store to pilot the use of self-serve electric vehicle charging stations, through Ecotality’s EV Project. The retail chain plans to install two electric vehicle charging stations this fall outside six Macy’s stores in the San Diego metropolitan area.

It’s just one of a suite of new sustainability actions announced by the company. In 2011, Macy’s plans to install about 280,000 LED bulbs, in addition to more than 130,000 installed this year. By the end of 2011 Macy’s will have eliminated all foam packaging at its in-store restaurants, and this fall it will begin using matte black hangers that it describes as more environmentally friendly than the clear, industry standard hangers.

The company has also become a Recyclebank Rewards Partner, allowing customers across America to earn special discounts at Macy’s when they increase household recycling, reduce household energy usage and practice green lifestyles. Macy’s sustainability principles, goals and progress are detailed online at www.macysinc.com/sustainability.

Office Depot is helping ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA to launch the 2011 Green Business Challenge in Austin, Texas; Bellevue, Wash.; Chula Visa, Calif.; and the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.

The Green Business Challenge seeks to engage local property managers and tenants in a friendly competition to save energy, reduce waste and water consumption, procure greener products, and implement other sustainable activities within their companies. The program was initially piloted in 2010 as the City of Chicago “Green Office Challenge.”

On April 23, Lowe’s will give away one million tree saplings to customers, in partnership with American Forests. When planted, these one million trees will eventually produce more than 260,000,000 pounds of oxygen annually, providing air for more than 670,000 people for one year, the hardware and garden chain said.

Each tree will be bar-coded so customers can register their trees online at Lowes.com/earthday and see where other trees are being planted across the country. Customers will also be able to scan a 2D barcode on the tree bag from a mobile phone for instant access to tree facts and a short informational video on how to plant and care for the sapling.

Lowe’s and American Forests said that they identified species for each region that can grow successfully in the climate conditions and terrain.

And a few more quick snapshots:

The Advertising Specialty Institute released a list of the hottest Earth Day promotional products for 2011, including recycled paper turned into coolers, bike chains crafted into picture frames, billboards made into bags, garden litter transformed into journals, and a planter can that comes ready with seeds and soil (pictured).

Reliant Energy is buying renewable energy credits (RECs) to meet the estimated Earth Day electricity needs of all its residential and small business customers.

Green Earth Technologies, Inc. is giving out mail-in rebate forms (available at www.getG.com and in this morning’s USA Today) valid for a 5-quart bottle of G-OIL, which the company describes as “the world’s first and only American Petroleum Institute (API) Service SM Certified 5W-30 Bio-based Full Synthetic Motor Oil, grown and made in the U.S.A.”

Gazelle, a consumer electronics trade-in service, announced that it kept 264 tons of e-waste, equal to 310,000 pounds gadgets, out of landfills in 2010.

Looking for media coverage for your environmental initiative? This Earth Week we got far more news suggestions than we could possibly use. So reduce wasted press releases – email us at other times of year! All news suggestions should go to news@environmentalleader.com.

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