Jubbling Holiday Shopping Guide: Avoid The Gift Card Middleman And Just Give Cash

It’s estimated that 10% of all gift cards are never redeemed – an $8 billion windfall for retailers in 2006. Forgo the unnecessary and quickly disposed plastic this holiday by avoiding the gift card and the 45 seconds of thought that went into buying it and just give cash. Cash is accepted everywhere, never expires and when you use it, you’ll get your change back. Now the possible Starbucks commuter mug that doubles as a gift card would be the only exception.


Cool Idea From Inhabitat.com: Starbucks Reuseable Travel Mug Doubles As Gift Card

Great article from Inhabitat.com. Inhabitat’s coffee drinkers are suggesting that Starbucks could motivate customers to bring in their own mugs, commuter or standard, if they doubled as a gift card. It’s an especially great idea over the next couple years until Starbucks manufacturers their own recyclable cups. The hell with that – it’s a great idea even when they do have the recyclable cups!

Our own Jubbling spin on the idea: maybe as an added incentive, Starbucks could randomly add drinks to the accounts of commuter cup-card users. A little sweepstakes to mix with my daily caffeine would be nice morning jolt.


What Are The Results From China’s 2008 Ban Against Free Plastic Bags?

Only in China could a free plastic bag ban be so easily enacted. As posted in Good and later in Treehugger, China passed a law in 2008 making it illegal for stores to give out free plastic bags. They can only sell them at a price higher than the bags cost and store owners could pocket the difference.

The results? According to a Hoaran He, a researcher from the University of Gothernburg, the ban against free plastic bags has reduced China’s consumption by 40% or the equivalent of 40 billion plastic bags. That’s a huge number and hard to verify. Nevertheless, I’m sure the law reduced plastic bag consumption in China by a number in the billions and that is significant.

What’s more amazing to me is how quickly China’s government can act without the interference of lobbyist and special interest groups pushing them and buying them to vote another way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure corruption is rampant in China, but their ability to act and respond to a problem and develop a nationwide resolution is something to marvel at. It’s no wonder a recent report by Ernst Young stated that China has a clear lead in the pursuit of renewable energy.


Jubbling Holiday Shopping Guide: Avoid Toys That Just Do The Endless Loop

It’s not K’nex fault for creating a looping roller coaster that my son really wanted – it’s kind of my fault for saying “go ahead, use your birthday money to buy it.” We spent one hour building it, 30 minutes watching it loop and within 24 hours, lost a key part so it wouldn’t work. Now it’s an inoperable reminder of what we shouldn’t purchase in the future. I’ve discovered that looping and boring are interchangeable when it comes to kids toys.

New or used Legos/Duplos are different. They make a great holiday gift because they are practically indestructible and every creation can be different. Your kids can construct a castle one day and then build a soon-to-be destroyed voodoo version of their sibling the next.


Freedom Of Speech Violated? Yellow Pages Sues City Of Seattle To Keep Giving Us Phonebooks We Don’t Use

Unfortunately, Jubbling does not have a staff attorney but even I might be able to defend the City of Seattle in this case. The folks behind the Yellow Pages – Dex Media West, SuperMedia LLC and the Yellow Pages Association – are suing the City of Seattle in US District Court to overturn an ordinance that would give consumers the right to opt-out of receiving the business Yellow Pages. You all know the Yellow Pages; it’s the big 500+ page book we get every 6 months that either goes right into a recycle bin or sits by your mailbox for 2 or 3 weeks and then goes in the recycle bin. According to a Seattle Times article, the city estimates the business Yellowpages represent 3 percent of the paper that households dispose of for recycling.

But the groups behind the Yellow Pages are fighting back; they’re using the angle that the ordinance violates their freedom of speech. They might have a case if the ordinance’s sponsor, City Councilman Mike O’Brien, made it “opt-in” for Yellow Pages instead of an opt-out.

The Yellow Page Association has a opt-out page on their website but it looks a little sketchy and guess who is holding the publishers responsible for honoring our requests? They are. The Seattle ordinance has the teeth to hold the Yellow Page publishers responsible with fines and delivery fees and that is what they are afraid of.

What can you do to get rid of unwanted phone books in your town? Probably a good first step is to download a draft of the Seattle Yellow Page Ordinance and read through it. If you agree with it, submit it to your local officials for consideration. More cities moving in this direction with more teeth might finally get the Yellow Page Association to finally act and actually stop distributing unwanted phone books.


Wine Vending Machines Coming To the U.S.?

Astrid Terzian Wine Vending Machine Reserves PrecieusesAn interesting story we found on drvino.com about Astrid Terzian and her idea to change the way wine is distributed. Her company, Réserves Précieuses of France, is installing and dispensing wine in grocery stores via a vending machine. Currently, her machines are in 8 supermarkets in France and are expected in the US some time in 2011.

The idea is trés Jubbling and we think c’est magnifique because it reduces the amount of packaging (wine bottles etc.), reduces transportation costs and need for warehouse space and the dispensed wine could be sourced locally. Consumers benefit because they can get their verre sur (drink on) Jubblingly by using their own refillable container and more cost effectively vs purchasing bottled wine. The price works out to $2/liter but our true love is the precycling with this product! The current machines dispense three types of wine and will print out a receipt stating the type and amount you purchased.

I must confess that I am not a wine drinker but I do purchase wine for housewarming or host/hostess gifts. I look forward to the day that I can deliver a future gift of wine in a half-full, gallon milk jug that when empty, I can bring home with me and use again.