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Modular Furniture Made from Recycled Materials Becomes Just about Anything

Modular Furniture Made from Recycled Materials Becomes Just about Anything | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it

"...this design from newcomer TETRAN is particularly impressive for two reasons. The first is its remarkable flexibility, made clear by these photos: the blocks and cushions can become just about anything you can think of. The second is the fact that those basics are made from 100% recycled, and recyclable materials."

"According to its Web site, TETRAN is committed to waste reduction- modular, transformer furniture lets owners change things when they get bored, without buying all new stuff. TETRAN also says that its product is strong and durable. The blocks and cushions come in various sizes and colors, inspired by the LEGO and Transformer toys CEO and founder Ruke Keragala played with as a child."

 

http://www.treehugger.com/interior-design/tetran-modular-furniture-becomes-anything-you-want-it-be.html

 

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Century Foods Achieve Zero Waste to Landfill ("if there's a will, there's a way; so shall it be done")

Century Foods Achieve Zero Waste to Landfill ("if there's a will, there's a way; so shall it be done") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Century Foods International of Hormel Foods reached a recycling rate of 93 percent in 2013 and achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status at all four of its plant locations last October, earning it the company’s 2013 Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best award.

Century Foods International employees combined a number of efforts to achieve these results such as: employee awareness, partnerships with buyers, vendors and local groups, and new in-plant processes.

Each year, Hormel Foods facilitates the companywide internal Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best competition, which rewards company teams that have identified areas for efficiency improvement and implemented changes.

In 2013, entries generated throughout Hormel Foods documented significant resource savings: a 154 million gallon reduction in water use, a reduction of more than 180,000 MMBtu of energy, a 7,900,000 reduction in kWh of electricity, and a reduction of more than 1,000 tons of solid waste.

Last week Diamond Packaging said it has achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill status.

Bert Guevara's insight:

It can be done, so days another corporation.

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What do you know about aluminum? Take our aluminum quiz! : Discovery Channel ("take time to answer")

What do you know about aluminum? Take our aluminum quiz! : Discovery Channel ("take time to answer") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
This aluminum quiz will test your knowledge of one of the most versatile materials found on Earth. Check out this aluminum quiz.

It's neither as tough as iron nor as pretty as silver and it's the most common metal on earth both in prevalence and in stature. Yet, this basic element has defeated the odds to make itself practically indispensable in our daily lives.

Bert Guevara's insight:

For those who drink beverages in aluminum cans, try to take this short quiz and learn new things you thought you knew.

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Where gadgets go to die ("where is your last unused gadget? do you know an eco-friendly disposal?")

Where gadgets go to die ("where is your last unused gadget? do you know an eco-friendly disposal?") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
WHAT to do with old computers, monitors, keyboards, printers, phones and other digital paraphernalia? On no account should anything containing a printed circuit...

Not counting all the other toxic materials used in electronic products, the lead in the soldered joints alone requires such items to be recycled professionally.

According to a United Nations initiative known as StEP (Solving the E-Waste Problem), electronic waste can contain up to 60 elements from the periodic table, as well as flame retardants and other nasty chemicals. Apart from heavy metals such as lead and mercury, there are quantities of arsenic, beryllium, cadmium and polyvinyl chloride to be found. All of these pose hazards to the health of those handling them.

When burned at low temperature, the brominated flame retardants used in circuit boards and casings create additional toxins, including halogenated dioxins and furans—some of the most toxic substances known. These can cause cancer, reproductive disorders, endocrine disruption and numerous other health problems. Meanwhile, the heavy metals released by incineration can accumulate in the food chain (especially in fish) and come back to haunt future generations.

The trouble is that, even with respectable collection centres, there is no guarantee that e-waste will be processed responsibly downstream. What little is known about recycling hazardous waste in America, for instance, suggests that only 15-20% is actually recycled; the rest gets incinerated or buried in landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is no evidence to suggest other countries are any better.

Bert Guevara's insight:
A growing mountain of electronic waste needs to be disposed of responsibly by rich nations rather than shipped to poorer countries to do the dirty work
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Banning food waste: companies in Massachusetts get ready to compost ("best solution to food waste")

Banning food waste: companies in Massachusetts get ready to compost ("best  solution to food waste") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Massachusetts recently enacted the most aggressive mandatory composting program in history. How are companies adapting?

America’s trash stream is stuffed with squandered food – 36m tons of it. According to the federal government, tossed food reaches more landfills and incinerators in America than any other municipal solid waste, and it’s a problem that Massachusetts officials are taking seriously.

Starting 1 October, approximately 1,700 of the state’s biggest food-waste generators – think hospitals, colleges, supermarkets, hotels, nursing homes, prisons and other facilities that produce at least one ton of food waste per week – must divert it away from landfills.

The state’s new commercial food-waste ban will require table scraps, withered fruits, tired vegetables, and expired packaged foods to flow toward food pantries, compost facilities, local farms – or to newly established anaerobic digestion facilities that can transform it into clean energy.

It’s the most aggressive mandatory food recycling program on the books. While Vermont and Connecticut also have both enacted commercial food-waste bans, they have a higher threshold of two tons of food waste per week.

Organic waste, meaning anything that comes from a plant or animal source and is biodegradable, makes up 25% of the Massachusetts’ current waste stream. Some of that is shipped out of state, but much of it ends up in landfills at a hefty $60-80 per ton, where it decomposes, creating harmful and unwanted methane gas.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Attention DENR - this is what we need in the Metro, where more than 50% of landfill waste is compostable. We can do it either centralized (where it becomes viable) or decentralized where it becomes a democratized commodity.

“It’s expensive to get rid of; there’s a whole suite of environmental problems associated with it, and we’re leaving economic opportunity on the table,” says David Cash, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, which will regulate the new law. “That banana peel can be turned into compost. It can be turned into energy. Not-quite-expired food can be directed to food pantries or used to feed agricultural animals.”

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Understanding the Global Problem of Food Waste ("reduction in waste very viable")

Understanding the Global Problem of Food Waste ("reduction in waste very viable") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
This infographic breaks down what we throw away into food groups. (Great food waste infographic by @willyblackmore. Reduction may be key but Hungry Giant can help reuse food waste.

But what exactly does that proliferation of food waste look like? Are we talking about tens of thousands of expired yogurt containers or hundreds of tons of sad, slightly limp heads of lettuce?

Working with global food waste data from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Popular Science has made an infographic that rather beautifully shows where the waste streams across the food and supply chains emanate from. The biggest losers, so to speak, are fruits and vegetables (44 percent lost) and roots and tubers (47 percent lost). Despite all the sour milk we’ve thrown away in our lives, dairy has the lowest amount of loss (16 percent).

As the waste lines frustratingly show, much of the vegetable waste happens on the farm, where harvests can go awry for any number of reasons—including walk-bys, the industry term for a field that’s never picked because the labor costs would be higher than the value of the harvest.

But an equally thick line exists at the consumption end of the spectrum, highlighting the need for a change in attitudes at home (and in retail) to help curb what is globally a 1.4 billion ton problem.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The highest rate of food wastage is in fruits and vegetables, followed by roots and tubers, and then fish. What can we do about it?

While hunger and poverty remains, wasting food is like stealing from the tables of the poor. (Pope Francis)

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Eleen Murphy's curator insight, September 8, 7:07 AM

Great infographic to give us a real sense of what we are wasting. Not surprisingly, fruits and vegetables are at the top of the list.


We need to change our attitudes to food and food waste, not only in the home but in the food and farming industries as well. The truth is that we cannot afford to waste food, and support needs to be available to farmers so they can make the most of their produce.

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When Recycling Becomes a Dirty Business ("single-stream collection not good for recycling")

When Recycling Becomes a Dirty Business ("single-stream collection not good for recycling") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Dumping all your bottles, cans, and paper in one recycling bin is convenient, but those materials may end up in a landfill.

Once collected, recyclables are taken to a materials recovery facility (MRF), where they’re sorted either by hand or using expensive, high-tech equipment. From there, the materials go to buyers of scrap glass, paper, metal, and plastic. High-quality glass can be turned into new bottles. High-grade office paper can become new office paper. The higher the quality of the recyclables, the better the process works—and the more cash the recycler gets from the sale.

That’s the problem. Single-source collection usually delivers lower-grade material than recyclables from multiple-bin collection programs. That means the material gets “downcycled” into less valuable products, if it isn’t discarded entirely.  

But when a single-stream truck dumps its load out onto the concrete floor of a transfer station, many of the jars and bottles in the load will break. That makes it next to impossible to sort the glass, and that means the broken glass can only be used for lower-grade products, such as roadbed fill.

The same goes for plastic. And if single-stream cities find that their income from scrap sales is declining, those losses cut into the money saved on collection. In many cases, that lowers single-stream’s net cost savings to between 1 and 2 percent. Meanwhile, somewhere between 15 and 27 percent of all single-stream collected recyclables end up in a landfill. That undoes the benefit of more people recycling.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Recycling is after the quality, not the quantity. The fad of single-stream collection is causing a decline in the recycling rate.

"Single-stream hasn’t spread in a vacuum. ... Those mega-MRFs mean dirtier conditions on the sorting line, which means more recyclables end up in landfills."

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Eleen Murphy's curator insight, September 1, 4:32 AM

It is imperative to keep our streams seperate and clean.


With 15 to 27 percent of all single-stream collected recyclables end up in landfills, there is no argument that would weigh in favour of single-stream collection from an environmental or sustainable point of view.

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Toronto's Clever Litter-Shaming Ads Could Just Work ("people need to be reminded often")

Toronto's Clever Litter-Shaming Ads Could Just Work ("people need to be reminded often") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
UPDATE: The ads have been pulled, due to complaints from the brands depicted. Read our story here.

For a long time, Toronto has enjoyed a reputation as a safe, clean city — you know, that whole "New York run by the Swiss" idea. And...

For a long time, Toronto has enjoyed a reputation as a safe, clean city — you know, that whole "New York run by the Swiss" idea. And frankly, we prided ourselves on being better than those who simply drop their garbage on the street.

But lately, the streets are looking more and more like, well, New York in the '70s, andLivegreen Toronto has a great idea as to how to correct that.

This campaign, currently plastered on the sides of buses, in newspaper ads and elsewhere takes a decidedly Canadian approach to the matter. By which we mean, quietly shaming those who litter by telling them exactly what we think of them with the tagline, "Littering says a lot about you."

Yes, that's right — if you litter, you are, in fact, trash.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Check out this clever anti-littering ad campaign.

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Plastics Recycling: You're Doing it All Wrong ("it still depends on the viability of plastic recovery")

Plastics Recycling: You're Doing it All Wrong ("it still depends on the viability of plastic recovery") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Are you still recycling 'by the numbers'? You need to stop. Everything you know about plastics recovery is wrong.

To start off, this    is not an indication of recyclability.   Nor are any of these:   

In fact, just to be clear, these emblems are not indicative of:

RecyclabilityRecycled contentCompatibility with other products of the same numberSustainable Greeny GoodnessWhat they are

In the 1980s, the American plastics industry was feeling a squeeze. Environmentalists were concerned over the abandonment of refillable glass and metal vessels by an increased use of disposable, litter-ready plastic bottles. Scrap businesses were finding it hard to sort look-alike plastics, and state legislatures were pushing for a national, codified system to help recyclers identify all of these plastic bottles.

As a result of these pressures, in 1988 the Society of the Plastics Industry (an American trade association) introduced the Resin Identification Codes (RICs), pictured below.  This was a once-in-a-generation, sector-wide initiative, intended to address the concerns of environmentalists, industrialists and state governments seeking a way to tame and organize the matter of plastics recovery.  Placed on the bottom of plastic bottles,  markings depicting numbers inside a triangle of chasing arrows identified the six most commonly used plastics (also known as resins), with a seventh class as a catchall for everything else.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Very few people understand this coding, much worse, the plastic industry has made so many product combinations that the coding no longer applies to majority of products. 

"The bottom line is: this numbered system so beloved – or hated – by consumers everywhere wasn’t meant for you, the consumer, and fell apart early on.  It’s time to let it go in favor of something better.  And to those of you who continually argue with your spouse – or your local recycling office – over the recyclability of a strawberry container “because it has a number one!” … Cut it out.  Let it go.  It’s over."

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Zero-Waste-to-Landfill Gets Certified ("in the Phil, it's called ZERO BASURA OLYMPICS; recycling credited")

Zero-Waste-to-Landfill Gets Certified ("in the Phil, it's called ZERO BASURA OLYMPICS; recycling credited") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
A zero-waste-to-landfill validation offers US manufacturers a way to demonstrate social and environmental responsibility, as well as boost the bottom line.

When it comes to reducing and managing solid waste streams, the UL ECVP 2799 “Zero-Waste-to-Landfill” validation refines the somewhat nebulous and variously defined concept of “zero waste.” With UL 2799, UL Environment sets out a comprehensive, rigorously-defined and independently-verified set of metrics and processes that a variety of leading companies are using to dramatically cut down the volume of solid waste being sent to landfills. In some cases, landfill waste has effectively been reduced to zero.

UL Environment’s zero-waste-to-landfill initiative began taking shape in 2012, when it started working with roofing and building materials manufacturer GAF.

Working with GAF, as well as other businesses and municipalities aiming to reduce waste and enhance the overall sustainability of their operations, such as Bridgestone Americas, Mayer Brothers Apple Products andWaste Management’s Phoenix Open PGA Tournament, UL 2799 has evolved into a comprehensive, clearly and rigorously defined environmental claims-verification standard and certification.

UL 2799 is comprised of three performance tiers:

Zero Waste to Landfill: Products, facilities and/or organizations that have achieved a landfill waste diversion rate of 100 percent;Virtually Zero Waste to Landfill: Those that have achieved a landfill diversion rate of 98 percent or greater; andLandfill Waste Diversion: For those that have achieved landfill waste diversion rates of 80 percent or greater.

As UL Environment explains, “Each claim validation is clearly defined, carefully reviewed and thoroughly vetted so that businesses and their customers can understand the environmental significance of such a major achievement.”

 

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Just do it!

"Surveying the zero-waste metrics, methods and standards being developed and put to use among businesses and municipalities, UL Environment found a variety in use, “some more narrow than we were looking for.” Its work with GAF, along with industry leaders and government experts, eventually led to development of the UL 2799 waste-diversion standard and environmental claims standard and certification, Mayer recounted."

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Landfill closures result in increased recycling - Casper Star-Tribune Online ("it's mind conditioning")

Landfill closures result in increased recycling - Casper Star-Tribune Online ("it's mind conditioning") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Landfill closures result in increased recycling
Casper Star-Tribune Online
It was the first of many to realize that even if recycling didn't pay for itself, it was cheaper than the alternative.

Three years ago, Sundance’s city council made a bold decision to require all of its residents to recycle household items.

Each house received a blue bag for everything from water bottles to newspapers to be placed on the curb each week. A truck from Gillette came by to collect.

Bills went up $4.35 per month and residents grumbled, but everyone knew the stakes.

“The council’s idea was if we could pay for it up front and get it out of our garbage, we wouldn’t have to increase rates later,” said Kathy Lenz, Sundance’s clerk and treasurer.

And it worked. The town has reduced its garbage by 50 percent, and less garbage means lower bills.

Sundance is one of dozens of Wyoming towns facing landfill closures due to potential groundwater contamination. It was the first of many to realize that even if recycling didn’t pay for itself, it was cheaper than the alternative.

“Anything they divert locally, they miss a tipping fee on the other end,” said Craig McOmie, recycling coordinator with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. “We will see a lot of changes in the next five or so years.”

More than 90 percent of the landfills tested were leaking significant amounts of toxins into the ground, tests showed. So Wyoming DEQ gave most cities and counties an option: line the landfills to prevent leakage, or close and cap them and start shipping garbage to an approved facility.

Bert Guevara's insight:

When landfilling hurts the pocket, citizens realize that recycling makes a lot of "dollar" sense.

"Recycling programs don’t always pay for themselves. But if it costs $30 a ton to recycle, and $100 a ton to truck waste to another landfill, the savings add up, he said.

“Slowly we’ve made changes so we make money,” Holloway said. “We shipped 66 percent more recyclables so far this year than in 2013. That’s stuff that’s not going to the landfill.”

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Eleen Murphy's curator insight, August 25, 12:56 AM

A positive example of how recycling can save money.

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Viva Recycling to open 2nd tire recycling plant in South Carolina - Recycling Today ("Phil needs this")

Viva Recycling to open 2nd tire recycling plant in South Carolina - Recycling Today ("Phil needs this") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Viva Recycling to open second tire recycling plant in South Carolina Recycling Today The company, established in 2011, processes scrap tires to produce recycled rubber products for home, business and recreation at its existing tire recycling...

The company, established in 2011, processes scrap tires to produce recycled rubber products for home, business and recreation at its existing tire recycling facility in Moncks Corner. The used tires it has been recycling are collected from a range of sources throughout the Southeast, including automobiles, light and heavy trucks, landfills, municipalities and tire retailers.

Viva Recycling says the new facility will be capable of recycling more than 4 million tires per year, similar to the number it presently handles at its flagship location.

Under its recycling process, the company will separate the scrap tires and other industrial rubber scrap into their component parts—rubber, steel and fiber. While the steel and fiber are recycled, the rubber is sized, shaped, colored and molded into a variety of products for industrial, commercial and residential applications. End products include landscape mulch, playground safety flooring, artificial field infill, rubber sidewalks, rubber pavers, equestrian flooring and rubberized asphalt.

Bert Guevara's insight:

I like the end products of their recycled rubber:, especially the rubberized asphalt.

"End products include landscape mulch, playground safety flooring, artificial field infill, rubber sidewalks, rubber pavers, equestrian flooring and rubberized asphalt."

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An app that reduces food waste ("a good idea that needs to be tested; will consumers bite?")

An app that reduces food waste ("a good idea that needs to be tested; will consumers bite?") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
The U.S. wastes up to 40 percent of its food. The new PareUp app connects users with restaurants and stores to buy good food it is tossed out.

This New York-based app developer aims to prevent food waste by letting its users connect with restaurants and grocery stores to buy their excess product before it's thrown away. PareUp's online marketplace is launching in early August and the mobile app will be available on Apple Store by mid-September.

"We want to change the cultural conversation around what it means to consume food and the life cycle of food," says co-founder Margaret Tung. "Because we're throwing out a lot more than needs to be."

Using PareUp's platform, food retailers can showcase inventory and indicate excess items together with a discounted price and the time when they'll be ready for sale.

This helps stores and cafés make money by selling products that they could not donate anyway, either because of food safety regulations or because they don't meet the minimum weight required to arrange a pickup with a food bank or shelter.

Still, getting people to eat food that was previously doomed for the trash might take some convincing. Tung admits to a perception problem. "The key is to stop labeling such items as 'leftovers,'" she says, adding that no products are actually expired.

Of course, an app won't end food waste, but it might help reduce the volume. And it easily beats dumpster diving.

Bert Guevara's insight:

A Filipino version of this app is needed urgently in the Philippines to reduce food waste. Why not?

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NRDC: Food is simply too good to waste. ("40% is uneaten in the U.S.; half of that in poor countries")

NRDC: Food is simply too good to waste. ("40% is uneaten in the U.S.; half of that in poor countries") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
NRDC: Getting food to our tables eats up 10% of the total US energy budget, uses 50% of US land, and swallows 80% of freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40% of food in the US today goes uneaten.

Even the most sustainably farmed food does us no good if the food is never eaten. Getting food to our tables eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. That is more than 20 pounds of food per person every month. Not only does this mean that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also 25 percent of all freshwater and huge amounts of unnecessary chemicals, energy, and land. Moreover, almost all of that uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills where it decomposes and releases methane, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Nutrition is also lost in the mix -- food saved by reducing losses by just 15 percent could feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables. Given all the resources demanded for food production, it is critical to make sure that the least amount possible is needlessly squandered on its journey to our plates.

Bert Guevara's insight:

While many Filipinos admit to going to bed hungry, food is being wasted in other parts of the affluent world. Even in the Philippines, food waste has to be minimized.

" ... food saved by reducing losses by just 15 percent could feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables."

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Berlin duo launch a supermarket with no packaging (more sense than banning; bring own packaging")

Berlin duo launch a supermarket with no packaging (more sense than banning; bring own packaging") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Shrink-wrapped shallots and polystyrene-packed peppers are a thing of the past at Original Unverpackt, a German concept store selling groceries without the packaging

It works like this. You bring your own containers and have those weighed. Berlin-based supermarket Original Unverpackt labels your containers. You shop. When you get to the till, the weight of your containers is subtracted and you pay for the net weight of your groceries. The label is designed to survive a few washings so you can come back and skip the weighing process for a while.

Founders Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski say there’s a rising demand for products and services that deal with sustainability and that people demand alternatives to the “lavish” handling of our resources.

“Here, the customer only takes what they need,” says Wolf and Glimbovski ahead of the launch of their Berlin-Kreuzberg shop. “We’d like to offer an alternative way of shopping - one where we offer everything you need but you won’t find hundreds of different types of body lotion or olive oil.”

Food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart, says supermarkets have cottoned onto the ‘ethical consumer’. “The food and packaging industry has undergone a strategic rebranding campaign [and now] argues that you can reduce food waste by how it’s packaged. So you get pots of cubed-up mango instead of an actual mango. We then buy supermarket branded reusable shopping bags which we hang in our hallways which turn our homes into billboards for these places. It’s a distraction from the real issue which is turning nature into cash to satisfy unnecessary consumer desires.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Ecological creativity opens idea to behavioral changes in a redundant activity like buying groceries.

"Selling unpackaged groceries is a progressive concept borne out of the bulk buying trends of the 1980s, but it is only part of a solution towards less industrialised consumption. It’s one of the myriad of options pushed out to people as alternative ways of buying. We’re getting better with managing waste - nearly 70% of the UK’s waste is recovered or recycled compared to 27% in 1998. But it is a drop in the ocean when you consider the vast quantities disposed of by China, Russia and the United States."

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Oakville Assembly Plant- Zero Waste to Landfill - YouTube ("they have the correct mindset on waste")

The Oakville Assembly plant now sends zero waste to landfill, an achievement that gives Ford Motor Company the distinction of becoming landfill free at all i...

From 2007 to 2011, Ford reduced its per-vehicle landfill waste by 40%, and by 2016 the Blue Oval hopes to reduced the number a further 40%. It joins the Windsor Engine Plant and Essex Engine Plant, Ford’s two other major factories in Canada, and Oakville becomes Ford’s 21st zero waste-to-landfill factory globally.”Reducing waste is a crucial part of our strategy toward building a world-class manufacturing system,” said Anthony Hoskins, director of manufacturing. “We are leveraging the power of our Ford Production System by applying standard waste reduction processes across our facilities.”

Ford claims that in 2013 alone, the Oakville Assembly plant recycled more than 2,000 metric tons of wood, cardboard, and other refuse that would normally go to a landfill. This saved an estimated 5,000 square-meters of space in said landfills, about the same amount of space needed for the annual refuse of 5,500 average homes. In addition, Ford estimates conservation efforts saved about 32 million gallons of fresh water, a resource that is becoming increasingly important in today’s world. Ford’s committed a lot of resources to bolstering its green image, which includes other recent efforts like Michigan’s largest solar array and installing a “green roof” on its Rouge truck plant.

The Blue Oval is talking the talk and walking the walk on the manufacturing end of things, and their hybrid cars are selling like hotcakes. Now if they’d only show this kind of commitment to the Focus Electric…

Bert Guevara's insight:

Zero waste-to-landfill is achievable. Ask these guys from Ford in Canada.

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Banning food waste: companies in Massachusetts get ready to compost ("innovation to reduce waste")

Banning food waste: companies in Massachusetts get ready to compost ("innovation to reduce waste") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Massachusetts recently enacted the most aggressive mandatory composting program in history. How are companies adapting?

Boston Medical Center is starting with food service first. Using a program called TrimTrax, the 496-bed medical center weighs food waste in their kitchens prior to disposal, creating awareness around what is being wasted.

If you have to carry your own food, you’re less likely to overload. University of Massachusetts dining service has gone trayless across the campus.

Diverting more than 800,000 tons of current food waste will require an infrastructure that can handle it. State officials are encouraging organizations to get creative. That may mean partnering with local food banks to salvage still-edible foods, changing the way cafeterias order, prepare and serve food, and connecting businesses with local farms that may be able to use some of the waste as feed for livestock. The state is also providing technical assistance and $1m in grants, and $3m in low-interest loans to spur development of local composting and anaerobic digestion facilities.

“I’m all for composting,” says Rauch, “But the absolutely best thing is to reduce the amount of food waste generated. Then distribute it to people who need it. Third is to distribute it to animals that we’re going to eat because it’s a better use of what’s already committed in the carbon footprint. Next is composting and anaerobic digestion, and last is landfill which is the worst thing you can do.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

As I said before, this needs to be done here in the Philippines where more than 50% (reaching up to 70%) of landfill waste is biodegradable.

"Cash calls the new ban “a win six ways”: it reduces the need for landfills, saves money on disposal costs, reduces greenhouse gases, provides a source for clean renewable energy, creates clean energy jobs, and produces useful products like fertilizer and compost."

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Daniel LaLiberte's curator insight, September 21, 7:35 PM

Reducing the huge percentage of food waste should be relatively easy. Growing all our food with 100% sustainable practices will take more time, but is absolutely possible.  

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CA approves Obando landfill ("landfilling is not a welcome mode of disposal to many")

CA approves Obando landfill ("landfilling is not a welcome mode of disposal to many") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
The Court of Appeals (CA) has approved the establishment of a sanitary landfill in Obando, Bulacan after it dismissed a petition for a writ of kalikasan fi

In a decision released last Friday, the appellate court said there is no basis to stop Ecoshield Development Corp. (EDC) from pursuing the Obando landfill project in Barangay Salambao.

EDC is owned by businessman and former ambassador Antonio Cabangon-Chua and his son Edgar.

The petition for a writ of kalikasan was filed by the citizens of Obando, led by a certain Maria Theresa Bondoc.

The CA even lauded the project for being “environmentally safer” than other dumps like the Phileco landfill in Navotas, which has been the subject of a health complaint.

The court gave weight to EDC’s argument that while the proposed Obando landfill is an investment, it would also help address the solid waste management problems in the municipality.

The firm has spent P500 million for the landfill project as of June last year.

The CA said the writ of kalikasan is applicable when a project poses a significant risk to life, health, and property of inhabitants and the environment in two or more cities or provinces.

It said such was not the case with the Obando landfill.

The appellate court said the establishment of a pollution control facility like a landfill should not be postponed, as illegal and indiscriminate dumping pose a threat to the environment.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The Court has ruled that this landfill is NOT a significant threat to life, health and property, contrary to allegations by residents. So what now?

“It should be noted that all of the required documents were submitted and the procedure was substantially complied with,” the CA said, adding the landfill is suited for its location, as it was set up on a body of water that has dried up and the area shored and fenced around."

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Recycling of e-waste increasing ("80% improperly disposed; poses increasing danger")

Recycling of e-waste increasing ("80% improperly disposed; poses increasing danger") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Earth Talk looks at efforts to increase recycling to prevent the accumulation of obsolete electronics.

With electronic equipment and gadgets the fastest growing waste stream in many countries, how to deal with so-called "e-waste" may in fact be one of the most pressing environmental problems of the 21st century.

According to BCC Research, consumers around the world purchased 238.5 million TVs, 444.4 million computers and tablets and a whopping 1.75 billion mobile phones in 2012 alone. Most of us discard such items within three years of purchase, and this is driving the global growth in e-waste by some eight percent a year.

Meanwhile, a recent study conducted by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on behalf of the United Nations found that the growth in demand for and manufacturing of new electronics will result in a 33 percent increase in e-waste globally between 2012 and 2017. But why is e-waste any more of a problem than old fashioned garbage?

"Some of the materials in personal electronics, such as lead, mercury and cadmium, are hazardous and can release dangerous toxins into our air and water when burned or deposited in landfills improperly," reports the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council. 

"And throwing away metal components, such as the copper, gold, silver and palladium in cell phones and other electronics, leads to needless mining for new metals."

Today some 80 percent of unwanted electronics are disposed of improperly.

"E-waste is either discarded or exported to emerging nations, where open-air burning and acid baths are used to reclaim precious metals and other elements," reports Maureen O'Donnell in EHS Journal. The lack of proper controls in such countries, she says, has led to elevated lead levels in children and heavy metals pollution of soil and water.

As a result, she adds, "We now stand at the forefront of a growing environmental catastrophe."

Bert Guevara's insight:

What is the national program in the Philippines for e-waste?

"The good news is that many nations have enacted new laws to hold manufacturers responsible for the future e-waste created by their products. The European Union has led the way with its Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, which calls on electronics makers to "take back" their products for recycling when consumers upgrade to something new, and restricts European countries from exporting or importing e-waste. Japan and China are among other countries that have passed similar laws."

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EDITORIAL - Jamaica's obsession with garbage - Jamaica Gleaner ("citizens should own the problem")

EDITORIAL - Jamaica's obsession with garbage - Jamaica Gleaner ("citizens should own the problem") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
EDITORIAL - Jamaica's obsession with garbage
Jamaica Gleaner
Jamaica has been suffering from extreme environmental abuse and degradation for many, many years.

And when television news focused on the debris-choked gullies and general garbage pile-up in the Hanover capital, Lucea, it was most likely met with the same kind of indifference. Graphically written stories about garbage-infested towns could fill many news pages because it is that prevalent.

The first thing to recognise is that citizens must take some of the blame for improper disposal of waste. But it is also clear that none of the parish councils and municipalities is properly equipped to carry out their substantive responsibility of keeping towns and cities clean.

Our streets are littered with non-biodegradable plastic bottles, Styrofoam containers, food wrappers, and 'scandal bags'. Meanwhile, the stench of untreated sewage creates an environmental nightmare. Negligently discarded trash is not only an eyesore; it can do harm to wild and marine life too.

We need look no further than the markets to recognise the high level of resigned indifference to the state of Jamaica. Market vendors and the shoppers who patronise them carry on a lively trade surrounded by mounds of debris and the flies they attract, and sometimes there are pools of stagnant water. It does not seem to bother anyone.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Proper disposal of garbage should be a natural part of our lives as stewards of planet Earth.

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Global Trash Burning Far More Polluting Than Expected (around 5% of total man-made CO2 emissions")

Global Trash Burning Far More Polluting Than Expected (around 5% of total man-made CO2 emissions") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it

NEW DELHI (AP) — Rampant trash-burning is throwing more pollution and toxic particles into the air than governments are reporting, according to a scientific study estimating more than 40 percent of the world's garbage is burned....

While many governments tally emissions from incinerators, trash that is burned in backyards, fields and dumps is mostly unregulated and unreported.

Researchers pulled together existing data on population, per capita production of trash and official reports on waste disposal to calculate how much garbage is burned around the world each year. The answer: 41 percent of our global 2 billion-ton annual output goes up in flames.

China and India were found to have the most trash burned by residents, while China, Brazil and Mexico burned the most at garbage dumps.

Much of the world's air pollution can be blamed on burning garbage, including discarded plastics, busted electronics, broken furniture and food scraps.

 

China's trash-burning emissions, for example, are not reflected in official data for slightly larger PM10 particulate matter, though the study shows those emissions are equal to 20 percent of what's reported.

 

The study also showed that global trash burning releases about 5 percent of the world's man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas.

 

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Bert Guevara's curator insight, August 30, 9:43 PM

Is trash-burning still happening in your neighborhood? 

"In India, where burning trash is illegal, hundreds of thousands with no garbage pickup have no other choice for disposal. And as temperatures dip in winter, they often have few other options for keeping warm, and many spend their nights huddled around noxious blue flames coming off humble pyres of burning plastic bags, rubber tires and whatever else they can find handy to burn."

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Indian Scientists Convert Plastic into Petroleum, Testing Economic Viability ("not new in the Phil")

Indian Scientists Convert Plastic into Petroleum, Testing Economic Viability ("not new in the Phil") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun is looking for economic viable ways of conversion of plastic waste into petroleum products. IIP is looking for ways to make the technology cheaper and efficient. It’ll help the technology to become more useful as it’ll reach out to the masses.

Another feature of the technology is that liquid fuel produced i.e. gasoline and diesel, meets Euro-III fuel specifications and different products can be obtained from the same raw material by simply changing the catalysts and operating parameters.

“We have applied for a patent. We developed this after nearly a decade of intensive research. We are now planning to commercialise the technology although we are still engaged in the process of engineering to design heavy machinery and processes,” IIP Director M.O. Garg IIP Director M.O.

“The current prices of petrol, which is derived from crude hydrocarbons, range between Rs 70 to Rs 80 per litre. Petrol in this case costs Rs 30 to Rs 40 per litre, inclusive of the cost of plant, operations, manpower and land cost,” Garg said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Similar technologies exist in the Philippines, but aren't getting that much support.

“The current prices of petrol, which is derived from crude hydrocarbons, range between Rs 70 to Rs 80 per litre. Petrol in this case costs Rs 30 to Rs 40 per litre, inclusive of the cost of plant, operations, manpower and land cost,” Garg said.

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Upcycle your way to unique furniture and décor - Albany Times Union ("check out over 30 pic ideas")

Upcycle your way to unique furniture and décor - Albany Times Union ("check out over 30 pic ideas") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Upcycle your way to unique furniture and décor Albany Times Union A bench that was once an antique headboard; a dress made from plastic grocery bags or jewelry made from silverware: These are just a few examples of upcycling — the art of taking...

Creative minds do best at upcycling because it's such a formative process. Sure, you can use Pinterest for inspiration, but original ideas can be the most rewarding.

"I don't throw away something till it really has no value any more," says Steven Kroeger, from Albany. Kroeger sells his creations on Etsy at etsy.com/shop/stevenrolfkroeger. "I look at it and think how is it useful again. I learned that from my grandfather. He had quite a few children during the Depression."

Not only is upcycling good for the environment and, oftentimes, your wallet, but it's also more fun than buying new, says Sarah Trop, owner of FunCycled in Troy. At her store, they not only create furniture out of items they find, but they also build and refurbish items from a customer's collection.

Bert Guevara's insight:

"We realized [upcycling] was a great way to repurpose and reuse old materials and make things functional," says Houle. "Once we started making different things such as the dress and the table, we just kept going because it was so much fun."

"We throw a ton of stuff away in landfills every year, so if we can show people we can repurpose garbage people can do that and the landfills will be less full," says Houle.
Like Trop, Houle encourages people not to get discouraged, or intimidated — and to have good tools. "Always have a power drill. Power tools are essential," she says. "If you're trying to resurface wood ... things don't work if you don't have power tools."

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Is falling recycling rate due to 'green fatigue'? ("change in packaging or too many bins?")

Is falling recycling rate due to 'green fatigue'? ("change in packaging or too many bins?") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Phys.Org
Is falling recycling rate due to 'green fatigue'?
Phys.Org
It's been suggested that a recent fall in recycling rates is due to green fatigue, caused by the confusing number of recycling bins presented to householders for different materials.

So is this really a cause for concern, if the drop in recycling rates is down to there being less waste generated in the first place? Well, yes, if this means the 2020 target of 50% household recycling is not met. In that case, the UK government will be fined, and this may affect householders indirectly through higher taxes or lower provision of public services. However, this concern may be misplaced and perhaps is more to do with the way the target is defined, rather than recycling levels.

The relationship between recycling and the waste we generate implies that a drop in the amount of waste produced or an increase in less-recyclable material will lead to a fall in recycling volumes and possibly a drop in the recycling rate. The former should be recognised as a welcome development, whereas the latter reflects changing patterns of consumption. This should prompt new innovation in the waste sector to deal with these types of waste. For example, by developing improved recycling methods or technology to deal with different types or combinations of ,ateroals.

Research indicates that there are several factors that underpin the rate of recycling, from the way the service is provided, to whether recycling is considered a social norm among families, communities or groups banded by age, ethnicity or location. Perhaps the role for government in tackling any dip in the recycling rate is to highlight the prevalence of recycling among certain groups as a way to demonstrate the existence of that recycling norm – and by doing so, encourage it in others.

Bert Guevara's insight:

So the current preoccupation with the headline recycling rate may be unhelpful. If the concern is the impact that excessive waste is having on the environment, then less recycling due to less waste being generated in the first place should not be a cause for concern. If the drop in recycling reflects changing consumption patterns, any penalties should be aimed at generating incentives to innovate in terms of packaging and new and better ways to deal with different types of waste. We need better analysis to identify the true causes of any change in recycling patterns, and the legislation – designed to drive greater recycling – should recognise why these two situations are different.

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5 Myths (and Truths) About Plastic Pollution in Our Ocean ("all solutions needed; no single approach")

5 Myths (and Truths) About Plastic Pollution in Our Ocean ("all solutions needed; no single approach") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
As the Director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Program, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people who care about the ocean and are making a difference for the communities that depend on it. However, I’m always surprised by the number of misconceptions about ocean plastics.

Fact: Most of the plastics in the ocean come from items we use every day—bags, bottles, caps, food containers, etc. By limiting single-use plastics in our everyday lives and disposing of these items properly, we can reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean.

Fact: Plastic particles are now found inside animals and throughout the ocean food chain—frommussels to fish to turtles to whales.

Fact: Bans, fees, recycling nor product redesign alone can fix this. The ultimate solution is a combination of all of these and more. The biggest impact will come from stopping the massive amounts of plastic litter before it travels over land, and into our waterways and ocean.


Bert Guevara's insight:

We need all approaches: bans, fees, recycling, product redesign, etc. -- all are needed to be put in place.

"Cleanups alone can’t solve this problem, but volunteers are instrumental in helping us assemble ourOcean Trash Index. This provides us with a snapshot of what’s trashing our ocean so we can work towards preventing the most abundant and problematic items of trash from reaching the water in the first place."

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Voluntary Bag Reduction Program Moves MV Toward Zero Waste ("behavioral approach")

Voluntary Bag Reduction Program Moves MV Toward Zero Waste ("behavioral approach") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
According to a statement, since the program went into effect, The Market at Mountain Village has reduced the number of bags it distributes by 72 percent – or 129,900 less bags.

Pursuant to a resolution passed by Mountain Village Town Council in July 2012 establishing The Town of Mountain Village Disposable Plastic Bag Reduction Program, shoppers who bring their own bags will be rewarded with a 25 cent credit per bag, while those who need a bag will pay 25 cents for each bag the store provides.

“The program started after we were approached by the Town of Telluride and David Allen to impose bag regulations in Mountain Village similar to those in Telluride. But it was our own town council that decided to make it a voluntary measure instead of a strict governmental mandate,” explained Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew. “I believe we are the only town in the nation that actually monitors the progress of this bag-reduction program, and keeps track of how many bags are kept from the waste stream on an annual basis. In 2009 we adopted a ‘zero waste or darn close’ goal. This is part of how we’re striving to meet that goal.”

According to the language in the resolution, the program is “a cooperative program between the Town of Mountain Village, the Grocery Stores, and the Retail Merchants. The Program supports the Town’s goal of Zero Waste and is a step toward a significant reduction of plastic bags in the town’s waste stream starting with the grocers and eventually including all merchants.”

The resolution sets out program requirements, allowing grocers and retail merchants to collect a fee for each bag provided to shoppers and including provisions for  installing visible signage about the program; providing reusable bags for sale; supporting the Zero Waste Task Force in its development of a commercial composting facility for the community; and ensuring that both grocers and merchants “shall be recognized and celebrated publicly in Town communication vehicles for their voluntary participation.”


Bert Guevara's insight:

Check out this successful zero-waste model of voluntary compliance! Change of behavior cannot be achieved by dictatorship. Providing a choice for the consumer to reuse and recycle results in a longer lasting imprint on overall "zero-waste" behavior.

I definitely like this approach to zero-waste than banning left and right, which only creates a false sense of achieving a green consciousness.

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