Global Recycling Movement
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BPS Research Digest: Passengers litter less on carriages that smell of cleaning product

BPS Research Digest: Passengers litter less on carriages that smell of cleaning product | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Clean smell, less #litter! Have you seen this #research?

Ayon sa isang pag-aaral, mas kakaunti ang nagkakalat kung mabango ang isang lugar kaysa sa hindi. Masubukan nga.....

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Global Recycling Movement
Big and small efforts worldwide to manage waste
Curated by Bert Guevara
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Denmark leads Europe in tackling food waste | Environment ("measure the problem before managing it")

Denmark leads Europe in tackling food waste | Environment ("measure the problem before managing it") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

More than one-third of all food is spoiled or squandered. Led by an activist with a passion for food, Denmark has been working intensively on solutions. Eliminating "UFOs" is just one thing regular people can do to help.

For the environment, reduction of food waste is an urgent cause: agriculture produces nearly one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, uses more than a third of the planet's arable land, and consumes 70 percent of all freshwater used globally. 

With the world population expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, how to feed all these mouths remains an open question. Reduction of food waste helps to prevent potential devastating impacts to the climate, and water and land resources, from a massive increase in agricultural production. 

And the "green kingdom" is taking the lead. Initiatives to reduce food waste combine two great passions of the Danish: to do good for the planet and to save money.

"There's simply no reason that so much food should be lost and wasted," Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, tells DW. 

Working with numerous United Nations, European Union and nongovernmental entities, the World Resources Institute has spearheaded a new strategy: the first-ever global food waste measurement standard. 

The Danish government announced that it would back this new "food loss and waste protocol" during the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) in Copenhagen this past June.

Bert Guevara's insight:
First, MEASURE how much food waste there is. Then, reduce the problem or eliminate it.

"At the moment, food production is very destructive," Steer said. Steer and his institute developed the protocol under the mantra "what can be measured can be managed." 
"It is just like what we did with the greenhouse gas protocol 10 years ago," Steer explains. "To succeed in cutting food waste in half, we must take a systemic approach."
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Mixed Feelings On Mixed Waste, Still - Earth911.com ("segregation at source still works better")

Mixed Feelings On Mixed Waste, Still - Earth911.com ("segregation at source still works better") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

As consumers continue sorting materials into one bin, recyclers themselves grapple with processing mixed waste efficiently. Is it all worth it?

In cities where few residents recycle, proponents say such mixed waste collection and processing automatically increases recycling participation and recovers recyclable materials otherwise lost to a landfill. Yet most efforts to operate such programs to date have been unsuccessful. An Alabama facility, touted as the high-tech model for the future, shuttered after just 18 months, citing low commodity prices for its closure. In 2013, Houston won a $1 million grant to help build a state-of-the-art mixed-waste facility, but that project has since stalled. In Indianapolis, city officials were excited for a new mixed-waste operation that would work in tandem with the city’s existing waste-to-energy facility, but the deal was mired in legal battles. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in February that city officials broke competitive bidding laws by extending a pre-existing contract instead of opening the process to other bidders. Other mixed-waste plants in places such as Ohio also have recently closed.

Despite the closures, proponents say the model offers plenty of benefits if set up correctly. Today’s low commodity prices may have hurt chances for mixed-waste operations to stay afloat, they say, but the concept is still viable for the future, as long as future business models can account for periods of low prices. Opponents, however, say there’s another reason mixed-waste processing facilities have closed: The practice contaminates certain otherwise-recyclable materials because they are commingled with food waste or other refuse, which renders those materials useless for resale as scrap commodities. Because of that, they add, mixed-waste processing does not increase the amount of recovered material that is actually recycled, even if plenty of recyclable material flows through the mixed-waste facility every day.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Mixed waste collection that goes to an automatic waste segregation and processing facility may sound good in the beginning. But the existing ones in the US have closed down or stalled due to several factors.
Conclusion: it still pays to segregate at source. The investment for a recycling facility will be smaller and the quality of resources higher.
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Nova Scotia Employs a Novel Recycling Program To Curb Textile Waste ("they don't give up easily")

Nova Scotia Employs a Novel Recycling Program To Curb Textile Waste ("they don't give up easily") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Nova Scotia is the latest incubator for innovative recycling ideas. And that extends to an innovative public-private partnership model to cut textile waste.

In the province of Nova Scotia, Canada, nonprofits are working to turn that statistic around. Six organizations, Value Village (a subsidiary of Savers) the Canadian Diabetes Association Clothesline, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Salvation Army Thrift Store, Canadian Red Cross and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation have joined forces to promote AFTeRwear. The recycling program is a province-wide network of collection points and donation drives run by the participating sponsors (The Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation work with local recycling organizations, LML Trading and Eastern Recyclers, that help them collect and distribute donated goods.) 

The organizations collect and bring bulk donations to Value Village, where they are sorted according to potential use. Those items that can be resold in the thrift store are prepared for resale. Textiles that aren’t eligible for the sales floor don’t get tossed out; they are sold to other companies that repurpose them into wiping cloths and other secondary products. 

The program not only helps divert textiles from the landfill, but also raises money for some of Nova Scotia’s most important nonprofits, said Tony Shumpert, vice president of reuse and recycling operations for Savers. Organizations are paid for the bulk poundage they bring into the store, providing another revenue stream for things like youth-mentoring programs through Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Bert Guevara's insight:
These orgs are working hard to find new ways in recycling textile. Where many have given up, they move on. 
From 10% of textile going to waste, Nova Scotians have cut this down to 5%, and are hoping to cut this down even further.

"The organizations collect and bring bulk donations to Value Village, where they are sorted according to potential use. Those items that can be resold in the thrift store are prepared for resale. Textiles that aren’t eligible for the sales floor don’t get tossed out; they are sold to other companies that repurpose them into wiping cloths and other secondary products."
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When Is Composting Better Than Recycling? - Earth911.com ("compost or recycle paper?")

When Is Composting Better Than Recycling? - Earth911.com ("compost or recycle paper?") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

At the end of the day, both recycling and composting have a cost, an impact, and a trade-off. So when is composting better than recycling or vise versa?

Paper products in particular routinely make up a sizable chunk of total waste material.

Yes, when it comes to disposing of paper or cardboard, you can both recycle or compost. Either one would be preferable to contributing to that 16% of landfill waste, but how do you choose? Which is best for the environment, both in terms of resources used and overall benefit? 

When you choose to recycle a piece of paper, you reintroduce it into the production stream and eliminate the need to cut down more virgin trees to produce paper. Paper products are incredibly wasteful and despite technology’s early promise of a paperless world, the world we live in is anything but. Our paper consumption continues to grow, with North America consuming the most paper in the world, year after year. It’s a resource-intensive endeavor, turning trees into crisp sheets of stark white paper. Each piece of standard letter-sized paper requires 10 liters of water to produce, not to mention the millions of acres of land deforested for this purpose.

We can conserve a staggering amount of resources simply by taking paper out of the trash and putting it into the recycling bin, instead.

When it’s recycled, paper is broken down into a pulp and processed into new paper. It comes out ahead when compared to creating paper from trees, but it’s not a zero waste endeavor by any means, and some question whether recycling paper is really worth the effort. An article by Slate examining the issue reminds us that recycling, particularly paper recycling, is not all sunshine and rainbows.

So, although recycling saves resources compared to producing virgin paper, it also takes resources of its own. What if we skipped recycling altogether and simply started composting our paper waste instead? 

A good compost pile relies on a balanced mix of both green and brown waste. Nitrogen-rich green waste is made up of things like fruit peels and vegetable trimmings, while carbon-rich brown waste is comprised of things like leaves. Paper products- and particularly unbleached cardboard – counts in the brown waste column and can be a welcome addition to your compost bin, preventing it from getting moldy, stinky, or slimy.

Bert Guevara's insight:
When is it better to compost paper (but not all paper can be composted) and when is it better to send it to the recycler?

"By composting your paper instead of recycling it, you could completely eliminate the resources needed to break it down and manufacture it back into fresh paper. No recycling bins, no trucks to carry it to the recycling plant, no machinery or sludge or chemical processing agents. Just paper breaking down into its component parts and then fertilizing your garden next year, helping your tomatoes grow. 
"It seems simple enough, but the process we skirt by avoiding the recycling bin also contribute to one of the reasons that composting might not win here. By composting paper, we remove from the recycling stream. In doing so it’s true that we conserve recycling resources but we also now increase the need to deplete forests to make up the difference and create new paper. Our voracious need for paper products means that raw material has to come from somewhere, and reducing the amount of paper being recycled may simply mean an increased demand for new deforestation."
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Plastic roads: India’s radical plan to bury its garbage beneath the streets ("makes better roads")

Plastic roads: India’s radical plan to bury its garbage beneath the streets ("makes better roads") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

In India, roads made from shredded plastic are proving a popular solution to tackling waste and extreme weather

Jambulingam Street, Chennai, is a local legend. The tar road in the bustling Nungambakkam area has weathered a major flood, several monsoons, recurring heat waves and a steady stream of cars, trucks and auto rickshaws without showing the usual signs of wear and tear. Built in 2002, it has not developed the mosaic of cracks, potholes or craters that typically make their appearance after it rains. Holding the road together is an unremarkable material: a cheap, polymer glue made from shredded waste plastic.

Jambulingam Street was one of India’s first plastic roads. The environmentally conscious approach to road construction was developed in India around 15 years ago in response to the growing problem of plastic litter. As time wore on, polymer roads proved to be surprisingly durable, winning support among scientists and policymakers in India as well as neighboring countries like Bhutan. “The plastic tar roads have not developed any potholes, rutting, raveling or edge flaw, even though these roads are more than four years of age,” observed an early performance report by India’s Central Pollution Control Board. Today, there are more than 21,000 miles of plastic road in India, and roughly half are in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Most are rural roads, but a small number have also been built in cities such as Chennai and Mumbai.

Adding flexible materials to strengthen tar roads is not a new idea. Commercially made polymer-modified asphalts first became popular in the 1970s in Europe. Now, North America claims 35% of the global market. Modified asphalts are made from virgin polymers and sometimes crumb rubber (ground tires). They are highly versatile: Illinois uses them to build high-traffic truck roads, Washington State uses them for noise reduction and in rural Ontario they are used to prevent roads from cracking after a harsh winter.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Still wondering where to divert plastic waste (away from landfills) and make them beneficial? 
This idea of using them in road construction is an old Filipino idea which was rejected by the DPWH, obviously because roads will last longer (what a reason!). Now India is using the idea.

"Last November, the Indian government announced that plastic roads would be the default method of construction for most city streets, part of a multibillion-dollar overhaul of the country’s roads and highways. Urban areas with more than 500,000 people are now required to construct roads using waste plastic."
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The big awful truth about biodegradable plastics ("this is not a good substitute; still ocean litter")

The big awful truth about biodegradable plastics ("this is not a good substitute; still ocean litter") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Contrary to what their name suggests, a comprehensive new UN report on marine plastics confirms that most biodegradable plastics don't break down in the ocean.

Plastic is one of mankind’s more confounding inventions; while its innovations have ushered in convenience and advances like few other materials, it’s very nature is rife with contradiction. It’s remarkably durable; it’s cheap and easy to manufacture, making it the first choice for single-use items. Thus we have an incredibly enduring material that is often used just once before being thrown away. 

So with visions of plastic-wrapped sea lions lodged in our heads, many of us reduce our plastic and opt for biodegradable plastic whenever we can. We think that something marketed as biodegradable will actually biodegrade. Alas, we think wrong according to scientists. Last year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) published a report on biodegradable plastics revealing that they rarely actually degrade. As TreeHugger noted when we wrote about the report: "biodegradable plastcs require long-term exposure to high-temperatures (around 122F, or 50C), like those found in large municipal composters, to actually break down. Those conditions are not found very often in nature, and especially not in the oceans.” 

And now the same UN agency has published a new report, "Marine plastic debris and microplastics – Global lessons and research to inspire action and guide policy change," which reiterates the previous findings. 

Right there on page xi of the Executive Summary: “Plastics marked as ‘biodegradable’ do not degrade rapidly in the ocean.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
The biodegradability of "oxo-biodegradable" plastic is still harmful to the ecology. It's time to re-think the whole idea of substituting plastic.
Why do we not just concentrate on preventing waste from reaching the oceans.

"It’s well-intentioned but wrong. A lot of plastics labelled biodegradable, like shopping bags, will only break down in temperatures of 50C [122F] and that is not the ocean. They are also not buoyant, so they’re going to sink, so they’re not going to be exposed to UV and break down. 
"And adding to the abysmal miasma is that some of the additives that help make biodegradable plastics break down make it harder to recycle, and are potentially harmful to the natural environment."
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Can Compost Recycle Our Drugs? ("going back to natural decomposition can neutralize drug disposal")

Can Compost Recycle Our Drugs? ("going back to natural decomposition can neutralize drug disposal") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Antibiotic resistance poses a threat to people and the environment. Now, a Berkeley, California-based scientist has set out to find out whether compost can remediate drugs in our water and waste.

Using compost to break down livestock and human waste quickly brought up the question of pharmaceuticals and antibiotics—the drugs we take when we get sick and the ones some farmers feed cows, chickens, and pigs to make them grow bigger and stay healthy. As a water researcher, Andersen knew that pharmaceuticals pose a major challenge at wastewater treatment facilities. After they’ve gone through our bodies and been flushed down the drain, they end up at treatment plants where, he says, “they go through relatively unscathed.” From there, pharmaceuticals wind up in creeks, rivers, and oceans where they get consumed by fish, shellfish, and bottom-dwelling marine creatures. 

Having these drugs in our environment also poses a problem by increasing antibiotic resistance. When they pass through our bodies or our livestock, and cycle out into the environment in small doses, the bacteria they’re meant to kill can start to develop resistance. Andersen knew microbes were used for bioremediation to break down spills of oil, solvents, or pesticides. But there was little research to show if the microbes in compost could degrade these chemicals from drugs. Could it be done?

The compost pile where Andersen is now up to his elbows has passed the hot stage, but when they’re really cooking, he says, it will get up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Andersen is using the sensors and instruments to optimize these aerobic conditions to create a super-charged compost pile, and in the process, trick those trillions of microorganisms into doing his dirty work for him.

Bert Guevara's insight:
An interesting prospect in composting....

"So what could Andersen’s research mean for the drugs in our environment today? First, it has the potential to get rid of a lot of expired medications.
"Secondly, Andersen’s work could simply create a lot more food-grade compost, a resource that’s in demand from farmers, and which could provide an alternative to chemical fertilizers.
"If Andersen can prove that composting can safely kill pathogens and destroy drugs, it could dramatically increase the stock of available compost, which is also better for the soil than pasteurized fertilizer."
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20 uses for leftover fruit and vegetable peels ("there are better options than to throw them away")

20 uses for leftover fruit and vegetable peels ("there are better options than to throw them away") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Don’t throw your kitchen scraps away; put them to work. The outer skins of fruit and vegetables are filled with flavor and vitamins, and most often have enough matter left in them for another go-round.

Some people are peelers, some people aren’t. Some people swear by the nutrients and fiber found in produce skins, others shy away from the taste or texture, or prefer removing the outer layer to reduce pesticide load. Regardless of your peeling preferences, citrus rinds, potato and other root/tuber peels, scooped-out avocados, and even cheese rinds all have more than one life. 

Aim to use organic produce in these applications, and make sure to scrub well. And if you don’t have time or need for them at the moment, most of them can be frozen for future use.

1. Clean greasy messes

2. Shine your coffee pot

3. Clean your tea kettle

4. Dye fabric

5. Make citrus extract powder

6. Make citrus sugar

7. Make lemon pepper

8. Make zest

9. Make citrus olive oil

10. Make infusions

11. Make potato crisps

12. Make stock

13. Boost soup and stock

14. Add “meat” to greens

15. Keep brown sugar soft

16. Make vanilla sugar

17. Make a banana sugar scrub

18. Refresh your face

19. Moisturize

20. Relieve your peepers

Bert Guevara's insight:
Know your waste and find ways to use them.

"Don’t throw your kitchen scraps away; put them to work. The outer skins of fruit and vegetables are filled with flavor and vitamins, and most often have enough matter left in them for another go-round."
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20 Ways to Upcycle Old Jeans - Dukes and Duchesses

20 Ways to Upcycle Old Jeans - Dukes and Duchesses | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
A couple of weeks ago, I shared a no-sew jeans pocket garland and it got me thinking that there must be some fun things I could do with the rest of those pocketless jeans.  I did some searching and found 20 ways to upcycle old jeans.  Time to hit up the thrift store and clean …
Bert Guevara's insight:
Upcycling can be done in style.
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Pollution risk from over 1,000 old UK landfill sites due to coastal erosion ("time bomb")

Pollution risk from over 1,000 old UK landfill sites due to coastal erosion ("time bomb") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Storms and rising sea levels could break up old rubbish dumps in England and Wales releasing potentially toxic waste, study shows

Over 1,000 old landfill sites on the coasts of England and Wales are at increasing risk of being breached by erosion, according to a new study, posing a serious pollution danger to wildlife and bathing waters. 

Landfill sites before the mid-1990s had few or no restrictions about what rubbish could be dumped in them and little is known about what they contain. But many were on the coast and some were used to raise land levels and even as part of flood defences. Climate change is bringing higher sea levels and stronger storms, putting the old dumps at greater risk of being broken up. 

The new study, the first of its kind and funded by the Environment Agency, assessed two landfill sites in Essex to find out the level of toxic pollutants in the waste they contained. It found large quantities of harmful metals, such as lead, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are carcinogenic.

“Our findings show, that in the event of erosion, there would be serious environmental consequences due to the level of contaminants,” said Kate Spencer, an environmental geochemist at Queen Mary University of London, who led the research. “You would be likely to see significant effects on local animals and plants, from mortality to reductions in fertility. There would also be consequences for bathing waters.” 

There are 1,264 historic landfill sites in the coastal zone where the risk of flooding has been previously estimated at 1-in-200 years. Of these, 537 are in or near bathing water catchment areas and 406 are in or near sites of special scientific interest.

Bert Guevara's insight:
In the Philippines, this problem is also a threat with so many illegal dump sites located near the coasts. Since the Philippines is under serious threat from sea level rise, this problem has to be addressed soon.

"There are 1,264 historic landfill sites in the coastal zone where the risk of flooding has been previously estimated at 1-in-200 years. Of these, 537 are in or near bathing water catchment areas and 406 are in or near sites of special scientific interest."
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Cagayan de Oro dump site turns into a tree park ("this is an attempt to convert dump into tree park")

Cagayan de Oro dump site turns into a tree park ("this is an attempt to convert dump into tree park") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

On Friday (April 15), environment officials of Cagayan de Oro City and underprivileged individuals planted about 2,000 tree seedlings in a former dump site at Upper Dagong, Brgy. Carmen, to turn the vicinity into a tree park.

On Friday (April 15), environment officials of Cagayan de Oro City and underprivileged individuals planted about 2,000 tree seedlings in a former dump site at Upper Dagong, Brgy. Carmen, to turn the vicinity into a tree park. The 17-hectare dump site was closed in 2010 on orders of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in compliance with the Ecological Waste Management Law. Elvisa Mabelin, coordinator of the City Social Waste and Management Board (CSWMB) said the tree planting activity is part of the second phase of the dump site's P98 million closure and rehabilitation project. She added that officials are conducting an inspection of a sanitary landfill replacement. Mabelin said a total of five hectares will be covered by the second round of the tree growing project as part of the city's tree adoption program, which covers varieties of teakwood, acacia, narra and golden shower trees. The first tree planting was conducted last October, when one thousand trees were planted.

The rehabilitation also covers the construction of a drainage system for garbage leachate. The liquid substances will be collected and processed to water the plants around the dump site. Flammable gases emitted from the refuse will go into vents for safety and containment.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is a good idea, but it's too early to make a judgment if the city can execute the program until completion. 
The basic question is whether the ecological solid waste management program in place to handle waste from the source?

"... the tree planting activity is part of the second phase of the dump site's P98 million closure and rehabilitation project. She added that officials are conducting an inspection of a sanitary landfill replacement."
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Our wasted food is a huge environmental problem – and it’s only getting worse (why do some go hungry?)

Our wasted food is a huge environmental problem – and it’s only getting worse (why do some go hungry?) | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Humans produce more food than they need, and there are environmental costs to that.

The more scientists study the issue of food waste — and its worrying implications for both the environment and global food security — the clearer it becomes how much of a problem it is. Now, new research is giving us a few more reasons to clean our plates. A study just out in the journal Environmental Science and Technology concludes that we’re already producing way more food than the world actually needs — but a lot of the excess is being wasted, instead of used to feed people who need it. That’s a big problem for global food security as well as for the climate, given the huge amounts of greenhouse gases that go into producing the extra food — and the study suggests that the problem will only get worse in the future. Scientists are already aware of how bad food waste is for the environment. Just last week, we reported on the staggering carbon footprint associated with wasted food — the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization reported that, in 2007, the emissions required to produce all the food that went to waste in the world amounted to at least 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, more than most countries emitted. This estimate included all the emissions required to produce the uneaten food, including emissions from soil, livestock and the energy required to run a farm.

Bert Guevara's insight:
You don't have to be a genius to connect food waste and hunger. It boils down to balanced production and proper distribution.

"The study found that the global food surplus increased overall between 1965 and 2010 from 310 extra kilocalories per person per day to 510 extra kilocalories, with the greatest surplus growth rates generally observed in developed nations. As of 2010, 20 percent more food was being produced worldwide than was actually needed to feed the world’s population, and overall the researchers estimated that the global surplus could be used to feed an extra 1.4 billion people. The UN estimates that about 800 million people worldwide suffer from undernourishment, meaning there’s currently enough wasted food in the world to solve the world’s hunger problem nearly twice over — it just isn’t reaching the people who need it."
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Teenager brings poop power to Kenyan school ("the advantage of knowing & doing; boy changes paradigm")

Teenager brings poop power to Kenyan school ("the advantage of knowing & doing; boy changes paradigm") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

When Leroy Mwasaru's school in western Kenya faced a sewage problem, the teenager and a group of friends set out to fix it.

When Leroy Mwasaru's school in western Kenya faced a sewage problem, the teenager and a group of friends set out to fix it.

It all started after tractors clearing land for the construction of a new dorm at the Maseno school near Kisumu encountered pit latrines. During the building process faeces started leaking into a nearby stream. 

"There was uproar from the local community," Mwasaru recalls. "It was the only source of fresh water, and nobody wants faeces in their water." 

At the time, the school was using firewood in the kitchen. Forests around the school were being eroded by the school's growing demand for timber, and smoke was damaging the lungs and eyes of the cooks. 

Mwasaru came up with a plan to solve the problem by using human waste to power the gas stoves -- all whilst keeping up with homework and exams. 

"There were some people who thought it would not work -- the attitude was very negative," says Mwasaru, who is now 17. "We came up with workshops in the school and in the community to convince people, and the response became more positive."

In total, it took about a year for the "Human Waste Bioreactor" to go from idea to working facility.

Storage pits had to be dug, and the team had to collect cow dung and food waste which they used instead of human waste during the prototype phase.

The team's idea impressed Innovate Kenya, who awarded the teens funds to purchase a digester, which helps with the process. Gas produced in the pit was then filtered through a pipe into the kitchen, and used on the stoves to cook food. 


Bert Guevara's insight:
Waste-to-fuel in its most basic level can lead to greater things.

"Progress has been made in extracting biogas, but Mwasaru has gone back to using cow dung rather than human waste whilst working on the next step.
"When urine is mixed with solid waste, acid in the urine breaks down the biogases," Mwasaru explains. "We need to develop the most cost-effective way and energy efficient way to use the human waste." 
"To achieve this, the team has designed a toilet which separates solid and liquid waste. While it's just on paper at the moment, the team is working with iHub Kenya to develop a prototype which they hope to build in March."
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Bam files Zero Food Waste Act ("to divert food waste from restaurants to charities to help hungry")

Bam files Zero Food Waste Act ("to divert food waste from restaurants to charities to help hungry") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Sen. Bam Aquino is hoping that private enterprises, particularly those in food-related businesses, would share the load in the government’s anti-poor programs

Sen. Bam Aquino is hoping that private enterprises, particularly those in food-related businesses, would share the load in the government’s anti-poor programs by donating their spare food to food distribution charities or food banks for the benefit of the country’s poorest Filipino families. 

Aquino has filed Senate Bill No. 357 or the Zero Food Waste Act to address food wastage which seems to be prevalent in cities and major communities. 

The senator said the measure is aimed at eliciting cooperation among restaurants and food companies to “ultimately end the cycle of having food end up in the trash instead of stomachs.” 

“With high prices of basic necessities and food these days, wasting food is unjustifiable,” Aquino said. 

Citing a Social Weather Station 2016 first quarter report, Aquino said the number of families that experienced involuntary hunger rose to 3.1 million from 2.6 million in the last quarter of 2015. SWS also said the total hunger rate accelerated to 13.7 percent during 2016’s first quarter from 2015’s fourth quarter with 11.7 percent. 

The bill seeks to create a National Anti-Food Waste Scheme with the Department of Social Welfare and Development as coordinating agency between food businesses such as food manufacturers, supermarkets, restaurants, cafeterias and hotels, and food banks. 

NAFWS would be responsible in setting up guidelines and standards for the collection, storage, and distribution of edible food donated to food banks and promoting linkages between food banks and local government units to create a community-based food distribution system for the beneficiaries. 

It would also establish a Self-Sufficiency Program that provides the food insecure with skills training on managing food banks and livelihood programs to avoid dependence on donations. 

Under the bill, food-related businesses would shoulder the costs of transporting edible left over food from business location to the food bank’s warehouse or distribution center and ensure its good condition upon arrival. 

Bert Guevara's insight:
Here is one concrete step in addressing the food waste issue. The problem here is that the employees of restaurants and food establishments themselves have hungry relatives. I wonder if the "good quality" excess food will reach the DSWD.

"Aquino has filed Senate Bill No. 357 or the Zero Food Waste Act to address food wastage which seems to be prevalent in cities and major communities. 
"The senator said the measure is aimed at eliciting cooperation among restaurants and food companies to “ultimately end the cycle of having food end up in the trash instead of stomachs.”
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From field to fork: the six stages of wasting food ("the wasteful procedures that increase garbage")

From field to fork: the six stages of wasting food ("the wasteful procedures that increase garbage") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

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Every second, an amount of food equal to the weight of a sedan car is thrown away in the US – about 60m tonnes a year. It starts at the farm. The potato that grew to the size of a brick. The watermelon with the brown slasher marks on the rind. The cauliflower stained yellow in the sun. The peach that lost its blush before harvest. Any of those minor imperfections - none of which affect taste or quality or shelf life - can doom a crop right there. If the grower decides the supermarkets - or ultimately the consumer - will reject it, those fruits and vegetables never make it off the farm. 

Then there are the packing warehouses, where a specific count must be maintained for each plastic clamshell or box - and any strawberry or plum that does not make it is junked, if it can’t immediately be sold for juice or jam. 

Most of our food travels a long journey before it gets to our plate. From farm and pack house to wholesale distributor, cardboard cartons can take a tumble and dent, rendering the contents unsaleable. One traffic jam too many and pre-washed lettuce can wilt in the plastic bag. 

Last - and maybe the most wasteful of all - are the supermarkets, restaurants and all of us, the ordinary consumers who faced with expanding portion sizes inevitably leave behind meals when we eat out and somehow always manage to forget those pots of flavored yoghurt in the back of the fridge. 

We trace the lifecycle of six popular foodstuffs from farm to fork to get to the root of why so much is wasted.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Because of our commercial consumption, there are a lot of food that don't end up on our plate. They are thrown away because of the screening process that goes into our food distribution and consumption patterns. 
Check out this article and find out.
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Waste Reduction Is A Resource Too - Earth911.com ("waste to resource, good way to reduce")

Waste Reduction Is A Resource Too - Earth911.com ("waste to resource, good way to reduce") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Focused on waste reduction, this collaborative spirit and innovative process would come to embody the heart of what eventually became The Resource Depot.

Located in Palm Beach, Florida, The Resource Depot is a unique sort of place, a warehouse where odds and ends come to be collected and sorted, piled and categorized. The end result of all this effort is waste reduction — and wonderful things being created from all these little pieces of life which would have otherwise been discarded. 

I had the opportunity to speak with the executive director of The Resource Depot, Jennifer O’Brien, to get a little more information on her organization and its mission. 

Ms. O’Brien tells me that the Resource Depot began as a way to collect and redistribute waste products to teachers and non-profits who could use them for art projects, crafts, and other creative endeavors. The primary goal was waste reduction, she said, but they also strive to be a source of inspiration, too. “We want to become a destination,” she says, “A place to not only get materials but ideas.”

It seems that so far, they’ve got the materials part of things down pat. The Depot collects excess materials from both businesses and individuals, things like office supplies, containers, wallpaper sample books, clean yogurt containers, bottle caps — anything and everything you could possibly think of. In fact, when detailing the list, O’Brien finds that it’s easier to specify what they don’t accept. 

“We don’t take clothing, furniture or electronics” she says, with the exception of lightly used office furniture, and goes on to add that if individuals donate, depot staff prefers that they save up a bunch of one item to drop off at once — dozens of egg cartons for example, or hundreds of maps. Mass quantities of things help when people come shopping for supplies, and make it far easier to categorize and sort, too.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This Resource Depot idea is similar to my Recovery & Recycling Depot (R&R Depot) concept, which was later renamed by the DENR into the Resource Recovery Facility.
Call by any other name, it has the same common sense.

"Ms. O’Brien tells me that the Resource Depot began as a way to collect and redistribute waste products to teachers and non-profits who could use them for art projects, crafts, and other creative endeavors. The primary goal was waste reduction, she said, but they also strive to be a source of inspiration, too. “We want to become a destination,” she says, “A place to not only get materials but ideas.”
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A Whole New Kind Of Grocery Store Is Coming To The U.S. ("Pre-empt waste by not offering them")

A Whole New Kind Of Grocery Store Is Coming To The U.S. ("Pre-empt waste by not offering them") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Zero-waste retailers imagine a world with much less garbage.

In recent years, a spate of no-waste markets have popped up across Europe. In cities like Berlin, Vienna and Barcelona, shop owners have a simple philosophy: Pre-empt waste from bags and packages by simply not offering them. 

Now the trend is heading across the ocean. 

Sarah Metz is working to open a zero-waste grocery store in Brooklyn, New York, where customers could bring their own reusable containers to measure out just the right amount of food items and other household products.

At the Fillery, which Metz hopes to open sometime this year, shoppers would be able to pack dry goods like grains and spices into their own glass jars or cloth sacks. Dispensers would be filled with oils, vinegar, honey and syrup. The store would sell milk from Ronnybrook Farm, in upstate New York, in glass bottles, which shoppers could then bring back on their next grocery trip. Shoppers could even get dish soap in refillable screw-top bottles. 

The goal is to encourage shoppers to buy only what they need, an approach that helps cut down on the amount of both unused food and unnecessary packaging. If you only need one cup of sugar for a cake, why buy an entire 4-pound bag?

Bert Guevara's insight:
A new paradigm in retail marketing in Europe and US to avoid waste. Why not do it in the Philippines?

"The goal is to encourage shoppers to buy only what they need, an approach that helps cut down on the amount of both unused food and unnecessary packaging. If you only need one cup of sugar for a cake, why buy an entire 4-pound bag?
"Shop owners say they want to undo the huge amounts of waste that are a by-product of a retail culture that emphasizes customer convenience. It’s much easier to grab that plastic bag (or two or three) at your local corner market than to remember to carry around your own tote in case you do a grocery run."
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700 year-old fertile soil technique could mitigate CC & revolutionize farming ("basic composting")

700 year-old fertile soil technique could mitigate CC & revolutionize farming ("basic composting") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

A global study, led by the University of Sussex, which included anthropologists and soil scientists from Cornell, Accra, and Aarhus Universities and the Institute of Development Studies has for the first-time identified and analysed rich fertile soils found in Liberia and Ghana.
They discovered that the ancient West African method of adding charcoal and kitchen waste to highly weathered, nutrient poor, tropical soils can transform the land into enduringly fertile, carbon-rich black soils that the researchers dub ‘African Dark Earths’.
From analysing 150 sites in northwest Liberia and 27 sites in Ghana researchers found that these highly fertile soils contain 200-300 percent more organic carbon than other soils and are capable of supporting far more intensive farming.
“More work needs to be done but this simple, effective farming practice could be an answer to major global challenges such as developing ‘climate smart’ agricultural systems which can feed growing populations and adapt to climate change.”
Similar soils created by Amazonian people in pre-Columbian eras have recently been discovered in South America – but the techniques people used to create these soils are unknown. Moreover, the activities which led to the creation of these anthropogenic soils were largely disrupted after the European conquest.
Encouragingly researchers in the West Africa study were able to live within communities as they created their fertile soils. This enabled them to learn the techniques used by the women from the indigenous communities who disposed of ash, bones and other organic waste to create the African Dark Earths.
“The discovery of this indigenous climate smart soil-management practice is extremely timely. This valuable strategy to improve soil fertility while also contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation in Africa could become an important component of the global climate smart agricultural management strategy to achieve food security.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is very doable, inexpensive and effective soil management, that also becomes a waste management strategy.

"They discovered that the ancient West African method of adding charcoal and kitchen waste to highly weathered, nutrient poor, tropical soils can transform the land into enduringly fertile, carbon-rich black soils that the researchers dub ‘African Dark Earths’."
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Nike Closes the Loop with Shoes Made From Trash ("let's keep on doing it and show others the way")

Nike Closes the Loop with Shoes Made From Trash ("let's keep on doing it and show others the way") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

More than 70 percent of Nike footwear is made from its own trash, the company announced this month.

It’s highly likely that your most recent pair of Nike shoes had a previous life. Earlier this month, the athletic apparel giant announced that a whopping 71 percent of its footwear is made with materials recycled from its own manufacturing process. In 2015, the brand recovered 92 percent of its trash. 

In addition to doubling down on waste diversion, Nike’s sustainability report reveals a continued and concerted effort to achieve zero-waste in its supply chain, invest in technologies to drive 100 percent renewable energy within its factories, and reduce toxic chemical output from dying processes from entering the environment.

Recycled materials are derived from old shoes, plastic bottles and factory scraps branded Nike Grind. Through a “slice-and-grind” technique, shoes are split into three sections — separating the rubber from the outsole, foam from the midsole and fiber from the upper sole — before they are put through a grinder and transformed into fabric pellets for future use in another pair of shoes, a track court, a playground or another athletic padding surface. 

Parker goes on to share Nike’s vision of accomplishing their goals by the fiscal year 2020, achieved in part by completely eliminating footwear manufacturing waste from landfills or incineration.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Nike adopts the right paradigm shift: waste to resources!!!

“We envision a transition from linear to circular business models and a world that demands closed-loop products – designed with better materials, made with fewer resources and assembled to allow easy reuse in new products.[…] We are re-imagining waste streams as value streams, and already our designers have access to a palette of more than 29 high-performance materials made from our manufacturing waste.”
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Zero Waste Grocery Experience Goes Worldwide ("no bags or food wrappers; just reusable containers")

Zero Waste Grocery Experience Goes Worldwide ("no bags or food wrappers; just reusable containers") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

As it turns out, a pair of food purveyors are proving that a zero waste grocery shopping experience is possible.

One of the prevailing themes of the store is BYOC (bring your own containers). in.gredients strongly encourages customers to bring in reusable containers from home, although reusable containers are sold at the location. Even charging a modest price for plastic containers discourages people from using as many, compared to free containers at most grocery stores. 

The containers are then weighed, with the scale creating a printed sticker to put on the container. The tare weight is removed from the price of the goods. Shoppers can then write the item number of what is inside the container, using a grease pencil, which can later be easily erased. This allows even the sticker to be reused, and reduces the need to weigh the container on the next shopping trip. in.gredients will then donate $.05 to a non-profit organization for every reusable container customers fill.

Interestingly, some of the items in the bulk bins have not been popular with shoppers. in.gredients is working on swapping these items out for more popular alternatives. Perhaps this is due in part to the lack of packaging, which promotes the positive attributes of a product. 

“Let’s face it, branding and marketing works,” states the in.gredients website. “How a product is packaged definitely helps sell the product, particularly if it is something new or unfamiliar to the customer. Plus, some products that are very popular with customers aren’t available or feasible package free (chips, for example).”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Zero waste is possible. 
A couple of new zero waste grocery stores have taken on the challenge of food packaging waste, serving as pioneers in reducing waste in the industry. These stores have no bags or food wrappers, and virtually all food is purchased with reusable containers.

"Considering how much packaging you commonly find in a grocery store, it is quite remarkable to have a store that is virtually free of disposable packaging. in.gredients is located in the Cherrywood neighborhood of East Austin, Texas-and is a grocery store offering anything from personal care products to local produce to prepared foods — even bug spray in bulk. They also offer wine, soda, kombucha, and beer on tap, and source many items locally."
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TVs ending up in the dumps because they are too expensive to recycle ("problem with unrecyclability")

TVs ending up in the dumps because they are too expensive to recycle ("problem with unrecyclability") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

There are so many of them, and the glass is full of lead.

If only life were like an SCTV show where one could just heave your old television set or "There really isn't a viable option for recycling CRT TVs, at least in the state of West Virginia," said Young, the Kanawha County waste agency executive. Kanawha County is home to Charleston, the largest city in the state. It costs the city about $40 a pound to process a ton of trash, a cost that skyrockets to $360 a pound for electronics waste. Many small towns in the county are unable to cope with the cost of recycling, he said. And with few companies and no landfills willing to take CRT TVs, residents sometimes just leave their old sets on the side of the road.computer monitor out the window. In many parts of the country, people are doing the next best thing, which is dump them wherever they can. TVs are supposed to be recycled, but there is no market for the tons of glass that the cathode ray tubes are made of; it is full of lead to keep those rays inside the tube. 

In West Virginia, they even changed the laws so that TVs could be dumped in landfills again.


Bert Guevara's insight:
CRT TVs are a disposal problem globally. What is the viable way to get rid of them? We need better e-waste recycling ideas.

"There really isn't a viable option for recycling CRT TVs, at least in the state of West Virginia," said Young, the Kanawha County waste agency executive. Kanawha County is home to Charleston, the largest city in the state. It costs the city about $40 a pound to process a ton of trash, a cost that skyrockets to $360 a pound for electronics waste. Many small towns in the county are unable to cope with the cost of recycling, he said. And with few companies and no landfills willing to take CRT TVs, residents sometimes just leave their old sets on the side of the road.
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How One Massachusetts Grocer is Converting Food Waste to Energy ("40% of energy needs from waste")

How One Massachusetts Grocer is Converting Food Waste to Energy ("40% of energy needs from waste") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Grocer Stop & Shop has partnered with Divert Inc. to turn food waste to energy in Massachussetts.

“It recreates the natural process of anaerobic digestion, a process in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material, to convert the carbon in edible food into a natural biogas, a clean, renewable and local energy source that can be used to generate electricity,” says Philip Tracey, Stop & Shop manager of public relations. “The process is carried out in an enclosed, oxygen-free environment, which means it generates no odors.” 

The Stop & Shop Green Energy Facility is expected to process an average of 95 tons of inedible food per day, an estimated 34,000 tons per year. The energy produced by the 12,000-sq.-ft. facility will provide up to 40 percent of the Freetown distribution center's energy needs. That's enough power to operate the facility for four months out of the year. Once fully operational, the facility will create approximately 1.25 megawatts of clean electricity. 

“The food waste used to power the facility is made up of products that go unsold and are unable to be donated to regional food banks or local farms," says Tracey. "Once onsite, the inedible food material is turned into usable energy within 24 hours.” 

The Green Energy Facility was created and is operated by Divert. A $400,000 grant was provided by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center for the creation of the facility. Additionally, Stop & Shop received funding from Eversource Energy, New England’s largest energy provider.

Bert Guevara's insight:
I just love this idea!

"The Stop & Shop Green Energy Facility is expected to process an average of 95 tons of inedible food per day, an estimated 34,000 tons per year. The energy produced by the 12,000-sq.-ft. facility will provide up to 40 percent of the Freetown distribution center's energy needs. That's enough power to operate the facility for four months out of the year. Once fully operational, the facility will create approximately 1.25 megawatts of clean electricity. ...
“The system allows Stop & Shop to vertically integrate our business to by allowing trucks return inedible food to Freetown on their regular trips, reducing diesel truck traffic, helps Stop & Shop save money, and lessens our environmental impacts,” he says. “We are turning the unsold, inedible products into energy in less than 24 hours.”
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At The Age of 15 She Invented Building Material From Indian Rice Waste ("she saw resource from waste")

At The Age of 15 She Invented Building Material From Indian Rice Waste ("she saw resource from waste") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

After seeing the environmental hazards that burning rice waste was causing at her family farm in North India, then-15 year old Bisman Deu saw an opportunity to create something useful, and developed an environmentally sustainable building material out of the farm’s biggest waste product.

To understand Deu’s product, one needs to understand the levels of dire pollution that the entire North India region suffers as a result of two major burning seasons for farmers. The first round is in May, during the heat of summer when wheat chaff is burnt and rice crops are sown, and the second in November when rice paddy is burnt and wheat crops are sown. 

Deu’s family farm in the North Indian city of Amritsar grows both wheat and rice. 

After seeing the burning of the waste products during evening walks with her dad, Deu, who had moved back to India with her family after spending most of her formative years in the U.K., realized that everyone around her was suffering from breathing problems as the air clouded over with the smoke. 

“I started researching pollution,” she says, “then I researched the properties of rice husk; it has a high silica content, is waterproof, and termite resistant,” she says.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is the kind of mentality we need to address the garbage problem. She saw the resource, not the clutter.

"With research in hand she went on to experiment in her mother’s kitchen, mixing the leftover rice husk with resin and baking it – to form a prototype product, which she named Green Wood. She saw this particle board forming the base building block for housing in rural communities."
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Listen Up! Recycling Can’t Support a Circular Economy Alone ("more research needed until end of life")

Listen Up! Recycling Can’t Support a Circular Economy Alone ("more research needed until end of life") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

To establish a genuine circular economy we must capture the value of resources on the front end through renewable materials and sustainable sourcing..

We should all strive to keep resources in use for as long as possible and regenerate materials and products at the end of their lifecycle, but it is known that we can only recycle something for so long before it begins to disintegrate. Therefore, establishing a genuine circular economy includes capturing the value of resources on the front-end of the lifecycle as well. This can be achieved through renewable materials and sustainable sourcing. What I mean by “renewable materials” is natural resources that can be replenished overtime such as paperboard made from trees or bio-based plastics derived from plants like trees or sugar cane. While some of these are not perfect solutions, they are a step in the right direction.The linear take-make-dispose model is no longer viable in the face of rapid population growth, a burgeoning global middle class and the skyrocketing consumption that will inevitably follow. Our resource base is dwindling while greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. It’s now safe to say that if we continue with business as usual, companies will face an unpleasant future of price volatility, inflation of key commodities and an overall decline, and in some cases, depletion of critical material inputs. This is why businesses are turning to the circular economy to successfully tackle these challenges. 

Considerable attention is being paid to capturing resources at the post-consumer stage of the product lifecycle. But even with advanced systems and technology, how practical and realistic is it to truly create a circle that constantly re-uses? How do we address the fact that there will always be a need for at least some virgin material inputs? How do we address the limitations of reusing and recycling? What role can renewable materials and responsible sourcing of raw materials play in addressing these challenges and what role can it play in a circular economy? 

Even if the recycling system was perfect, the fact still remains that 100 percent of feedstock cannot come from recycled content alone and we will always rely on a portion of virgin input materials. This is why renewable materials and sustainable sourcing are critical to the circular economy. Certainly value-innovation should ensure that product/packaging is still designed with recyclability in mind because the end-of-life cannot be compromised. The strength of the circular economy model lies in this restorative lifecycle approach and adding renewability to recyclability will create a new leading edge in the evolution of products/packaging.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"We should all strive to keep resources in use for as long as possible and regenerate materials and products at the end of their lifecycle, but it is known that we can only recycle something for so long before it begins to disintegrate. Therefore, establishing a genuine circular economy includes capturing the value of resources on the front-end of the lifecycle as well. This can be achieved through renewable materials and sustainable sourcing. What I mean by “renewable materials” is natural resources that can be replenished overtime such as paperboard made from trees or bio-based plastics derived from plants like trees or sugar cane. While some of these are not perfect solutions, they are a step in the right direction."
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Bacteria found to eat PET plastics could help do the recycling ("nature just redefined biodegradable")

Bacteria found to eat PET plastics could help do the recycling ("nature just redefined biodegradable") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

A newly discovered microbe uses just two enzymes to break down plastic, and may help us develop new ways of clearing landfill and recycling  

So how do the bacteria do it? They link to the PET with tendril-like threads. They then use two enzymes sequentially to break down PET into terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol, the two substances from which it is manufactured and that are not harmful to the environment. The bacteria then digest both substances. This could mean they would be useful for getting rid of polluting plastics in the environment. Their ability to reconstitute the starting materials also lends them to recycling strategies. But the process takes a long time – about 6 weeks at 30°C to fully degrade a thumb-nail-sized piece of PET. “We have to improve the bacterium to make it more powerful, and genetic engineering might be applicable here,” says Oda, whose team is already experimenting with this. One way of speeding things up would be to transfer the genes that make the two enzymes into a faster growing bacterium like Escherichia coli, says Uwe Bornscheuer of Greifswald University in Germany. Given that E.coli secretes the first breakdown product -terephthalic acid – instead of consuming it, this would also make it more practical prospect for recycling, he says. Bornscheuer says it’s encouraging that nature has evolved a natural consumer of PET, just 70 years after the plastic began accumulating in the environment. So far, only a few fungal species have been reported to biodegrade PET. “I’m sure we’ll find more microbes in nature that have evolved to degrade other plastics,” he says. “It’s just a matter of searching properly and having patience like the Japanese group to narrow the search down to a single bacterium.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
"Nature has beaten us to it again. It has taken just 70 years for evolution to throw up a bacterium capable of breaking down and consuming PET, one of the world’s most problematic plastic pollutants. 
"Japanese researchers discovered and named the species, Ideonella sakaiensis, by analysing microbes living on debris of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastics they collected from soil and wastewater. 
"The bacterium seems to feed exclusively on PET and breaks it down using just two enzymes. It must have evolved the capability to do this because the plastics were only invented in the 1940s."
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