Six states held primaries on Tuesday, and the results were good for the GOP establishment. Host Michel Martin learns more about the results from NPR Politics Editor Charles Mahtesian.
A recent episode of FX show Louie raised some controversial questions about women, weight and body image. Did the episode miss the mark? Our panel of writers and bloggers weigh in.
An overwhelming win for India's conservative opposition party could profoundly change the direction of the world's largest democracy. But what do Indian Americans think?
Five weeks after hundreds of Nigerian school girls were abducted by the extremist group Boko Haram, bomb blasts have hit two cities. Journalist Chika Oduah gives an update on the volatile situation.
The Catholic and Orthodox churches split in 1054. In the Holy Land this week, the pope and Orthodox leaders will meet to try to start restoring unity. But not everyone is eager for reconciliation.
Fancy drinks—your lattes, mochas and the like—have been getting fancier cups lately. Double-walled paper, compostable, recycled... you name it. As a result, the paper cup industry is on the rise, and it’s edging out the old go-to in to-go cups, polystyrene, usually known as styrofoam.
At an International Paper factory in Kenton, Ohio, 16-ounce coffee cups fly through tubes along the ceiling and land in neat stacks. The paper giant plans to spend over $60 million to expand its plant floor in central Ohio and add 125 jobs by mid-2015.
“It’s very exciting, we’re in a growth business right now, there is increased demand for our products and there has been for a number of years running,” says Michael Lenihan, director of sales for food services at IP.
The buzzword: sustainability.
“Right now, it seems like the consumer is saying, 'We want sustainably-sourced products that are made from renewable resources',” Lenihan says.
The interest in renewable resources has been bad news for foam products: lately some big names like McDonald's and Jamba Juice have tossed polystyrene cups and gone to paper, under pressure from environmental groups. In 2013, New York City banned polystyrene food packaging.
Meanwhile, demand for paper cup stock has risen to fill the gap. According to the American Forest and Paper Association, production for domestic use of cup stock rose 16 percent in the last five years. Containerboard production is also growing due to the increasing popularity of online shopping and the associated shipping. Good old-fashioned paper and newspaper have taken a hit, but International Paper is making up for it in other areas.
International Paper’s various products have a lot of green labels: The company works with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to use certified sustainable forests for some products, and they produce compostable EcoTainer cups and 10 percent post-consumer recycled cups. All that could make you feel vaguely good about your double macchiato, to go.
“Most of this is really a perception issue,” says Michael Westerfield, the head of recycling for Dart, a major foam cup producer. Polystyrene foam is known for being hard to dispose of. But Westerfield says foam is mostly air, so it actually takes less energy than paper to produce and ship. And it can be recycled in some places; Dart even runs a few recycling plants itself.
“There’s no doubt that foam has environmental attributes that are very favorable when compared to paper,” Westerfield argues. Dart recently acquired Solo, which makes paper, plastic and foam cups, and Westerfield says the company is working on recycling solutions in all areas.
How to sort through all this potential garbage? Product safety company UL is one of several companies that do independent sustainability analyses for companies, making its own business out of sorting through green claims.
“Some of these debates, like paper versus plastic or paper versus styrofoam always somewhat amuse me,” says Scot Case, director of markets development for UL Environment. He says foam has well-known issues, but paper has hidden costs—it does take a lot of water and energy to make paper. So when you look at the whole life cycle, says Case, the answer is: bring your own cup.
“A reusable mug, a reusable glass tends to trump either of those options,” Case says, even accounting for the water and energy used to manufacture and wash the reusable cup.
With both foam and paper, there's also the matter of where all those billions of cups end up. Over at Rumpke Recycling in Dayton, marketing director David Schwendeman points at a giant pile of bottles, cans, paper—birds are picking through for food.
“We’re a middleman,” he says. “We don’t have a magical black box to take things and make ‘em into something.”
To recycle a product he needs to be able to sell it to someone, and a lot of paper cups are coated in plastic or contaminated with liquid residue. In most (but not all) U.S. Cities, they are no more recyclable than foam. In addition, compostable cups generally have to be composted in an industrial composting facility; unless you live in a city that does pick-up for a composting facility, your compostable cup is probably headed to a landfill, where it may never actually break down.
A promise by Starbucks to make all of its cups recyclable in Starbucks stores by 2015 has been delayed; Starbucks acknowledges on its website that it has “struggled to implement this single solution.”
So your coffee cup might seem greener than the next disposable thing, but here at Rumpke Recycling, it’s just clogging up the system.
“It’s probably a percentage... that end up in the mix,” says David Schwendeman, “but there’s also a percentage that end up in the landfill.”
Who doesn't like a contest, especially if it lets you prove that you're smarter than your peers? When doctors played a game that tests their knowledge, patients' blood pressure control improved.
Anybody found to have manipulated Veterans Affairs records "will be held accountable," President Obama said Wednesday. He also defended Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.
A map of public radio stations that had been given licenses as of 1951.
Where did your public-radio station come from? If it acquired a license in the 1940s or 1950s, there's a good chance it was started for instructional purposes. Many stations created educational programming that was used by students in the classroom.
As reporter Adriene Hill chronicles in her story on the roots of public radio, over-the-air education fizzled out after television came along.
The map above shows nearly 100 radio stations that had been granted a broadcasting license as of 1951. They include universities, school boards, trade schools and even a public library. The stations were required to have an educational purpose. It could be anything from teaching broadcasting, to creating programs to be used in the classroom (some stations broadcast only during school hours), to simply playing classical music (apparently it had more to teach us than other types of music).
The red markers show stations that are now defunct; the green ones are still broadcasting; and yellow is for stations broadcasting under different call letters.
By clicking on a marker, you can read a little more about the station's history
In general, most stations that were run by school boards are gone. Many of the stations that were licensed to universities have become NPR member stations, and are only nominally affiliated with the institution that was granted the license.
At the college level, there are still some student-run stations and some are still creating instructional material. There are even a few high-school radio stations that have survived.
We know there's a lot more public-radio history that we've missed, so please fill us in. We'd also love to hear from you if your station is not on the map, but was founded for over-the-air instruction.Loading... by Dan AbendscheinStory Type BlogSyndication PMPApp Respond NoBranded story type Visualize
By creating a Google Alert for a mysterious meeting of the world's powerbrokers, we came to know that there is a lot we don't know.
Chairman of the New York Fed William Dudley has spoken out saying his Federal Reserve needs to be especially careful about real estate at the dicey moment when interest rates start going up as a result of their stimulus cutbacks. To help us with this, we turn to Philip Swagel an economist at the University of Maryland who used to work at the Fed and the White House.
And from our broadcast in London this week, we visit London's Borough Market, where's there's been food for sale for an even one-thousand years.
Plus, some good news for London this week: the British capital came top in Price Waterhouse Cooper's sixth annual league table of international cities. London was rated the world's foremost "economic powerhouse and centre for culture, education and innovation." The accolade should go some way to soothe this city's wounded pride: London recently lost its number one slot in the prestigious Global Financial Centre Index.