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Our View: It's better to recycle than to ban plastic bags - Rockford Register Star

Our View: It's better to recycle than to ban plastic bags - Rockford Register Star | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Chicago TribuneOur View: It's better to recycle than to ban plastic bagsRockford Register StarThere are two options to reduce the number of plastic bags: ban them or encourage recycling.

Legislation passed by the General Assembly would create what supporters call the nation’s “first comprehensive, sensible statewide regulation of plastic bag recycling.”

Senate Bill 3442 would require plastic bag manufacturers to register with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and pay a $500 annual fee. They also would have to submit a recycling plan that includes public education.

After 2014, retailers could use plastic bags only from registered manufacturers and, by 2015, bags would have to be made of 30 percent recycled materials.

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Global Recycling Movement
Big and small efforts worldwide to manage waste
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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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Zero waste family- Johnson Family. CA ("it was a family decision to bring their garbage to almost zero")

This is a 2011 video which I reposted to remind everyone that if there is a will, there's a way. Zero Waste is a lifestyle which can be embraced by a family.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Check out this 2011 video and ask yourself if you can begin the same lifestyle conversion. It is a series of realizations and decisions, but it does not take rocket science to do it.
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The Bolivian teenager turning e-waste into robots ("wall E has found a kid partner")

The Bolivian teenager turning e-waste into robots ("wall E has found a kid partner") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

In the rural town of Patacamaya, Esteban makes robots from scrap in the hopes of giving his family a better future.

Seventeen-year-old Esteban Quispe is busy at his computer. Seated in the room his parents have turned into a workshop, Quispe is surrounded by different materials - electrical wires, metal sheets, and bulbs of different sizes and colours - all of which he has collected from a local rubbish dump to make into robots.

Quispe's creations are made from electronic waste and the teenager is entirely self-taught. 

He proudly shows off a toy car with a circuit of bulbs that light from left to right like the KITT car from the 1980s American TV series Knight Rider; an LED cube which displays 3D images; and his most complex and beloved creation - a square-shaped robot that is a replica of, and is named after, the Pixar character Wall-E.

The teenager's knack for building electronic devices caught the attention of local media last year after he won first prize in a high school robotics competition with his robot Wall-E.

He first came up with the idea of making it in 2008 after watching the Pixar film. Quispe began collecting materials to piece together the robot. After several attempts, he completed the final version in 2014. 

"I immediately liked the character because of its intelligence and ecological conscience," Quispe explains. 

"I am a bit like Wall-E," says the teenager, "as I wish Bolivia was a less polluted country."

Bert Guevara's insight:
Someday, this boy will be famous!

"Thanks to the money he made from selling his creations, Quispe's parents were able to buy schoolbooks for their sons. Now, with his father unable to work due to chronic back pain, Quispe hopes to utilise his skills to support his parents and his brother.
"I can now make more sophisticated robots, like Wall-E, and I had a proposal from a person here in Patacamaya interested in buying it. I would be happy to use the money to help my parents and Hernan, especially after all they have done for me," he says as he walks out of his workshop into the garden.
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Julien Munoz's curator insight, March 2, 2:48 AM
Someday, this boy will be famous!

"Thanks to the money he made from selling his creations, Quispe's parents were able to buy schoolbooks for their sons. Now, with his father unable to work due to chronic back pain, Quispe hopes to utilise his skills to support his parents and his brother.
"I can now make more sophisticated robots, like Wall-E, and I had a proposal from a person here in Patacamaya interested in buying it. I would be happy to use the money to help my parents and Hernan, especially after all they have done for me," he says as he walks out of his workshop into the garden.
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Green Effect : The Recycling Industry's Economic Impact ("an underground economy that creates jobs")

The video highlights the recycling industry’s significant contribution to the U.S. economy in terms of employment, tax generation, and overall economic benef...
Bert Guevara's insight:

"The video highlights the recycling industry’s significant contribution to the U.S. economy in terms of employment, tax generation, and overall economic benefit. The 1:36 video keys on the fact that recycling is an economic driver that provides many benefits across the globe beyond just the environmental advantages."

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One Man's Trash: New Technologies, Partnerships Boosting Recycling Around the World | Sustainable Brands

One Man's Trash: New Technologies, Partnerships Boosting Recycling Around the World | Sustainable Brands | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Among the key challenges to the burgeoning recycling market are lack of infrastructure, innovation at scale and funding. But a variety of initiatives — in developed and developing areas alike — are attempting to secure these factors to help spur the development of circular economic infrastructure.

In Argentina, a new generation of trash pickers is helping to refine recycling at the street level. Buenos Aires has invested in recycling through the city government’s Ciudad Verde (Green City) plan and now more than 5,000 litter pickers (known locally as cartoneros) collect a base salary for emptying the city’s bell-shaped recycling bins.

“The first big change came in 2002 when Buenos Aires withdrew a long-standing law that made litter picking illegal,” Santiago Sorroche, anthropologist at the University of Buenos Aires, recently told The Guardian. “The second came with the Zero Garbage law [in 2005], which aims to gradually reduce the solid waste going to landfill.”

Sergio Sánchez, president of the Argentine Federation of Litter Pickers and Recyclers, struck a deal with city officials so registered litter pickers receive a monthly salary of $383 to empty recycling bins, in addition to a minimal social security package and a small pension.

“The big difference today is that we’re treated as workers providing a public service for the city,” Sánchez told The Guardian. “Before, people would look down on us and say we created a mess, plus the police would always hassle us.”

In Brazil, New Hope Ecotech is a technology solution company that offers a digital platform to connect manufacturers with waste pickers via trade-able environmental securities (similar to carbon credits, but for recyclables). Refining a process from street collection to reinvestment is innovation at scale.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The key word is to zero waste is "CIRCULAR ECONOMY;" and it does not require rocket science! Check out this Argentinian model.


"Among the key challenges to the burgeoning recycling market are lack of infrastructure, innovation at scale and funding. But a variety of initiatives — in developed and developing areas alike — are attempting to secure these factors to help spur the development of circular economic infrastructure."

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Somali teen earns a free education after wowing his small town by making electronic toys out of trash

Somali teen earns a free education after wowing his small town by making electronic toys out of trash | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
A Somali teenager is making a name for himself by creating electronic toys from trash.

On paper, it would be easy to write off Guled Adan Abdi’s future and miss the latent potential: he’s a thirteen-year-old living in war-torn Somalia and currently learning at the grade level of eight year-old due to missing out on years of formal schooling, family tragedy and upheaval. But this whiz kid is making a name for himself and creating a promising future by upcycling trash to make electronic toys. Abdi, who wants to produce actual cars some day, began by creating plastic toys from discarded bits of trash like old cooking oil containers. According to his mother, a widow who has struggled to provide for herself and her children, assembling plastic items was a way to keep Abdi safely occupied at home while she worked. More recently, Abdi began studying details about cars and trucks and how they work, eventually adding batteries to his inventions to introduce motion. According to the BBC, Abdi has made “four electronic toys, including a truck and a plane, mainly using plastic from old cooking oil containers… [and] he has also invented a fan that can be used as a light at night. Now a sort of local celebrity, Abdi spends his time after school creating airplanes, fans, trucks, and cars while admirers watch and encourage him. Happily, Abdi’s accomplishments have caught the eye of regional authorities, who have promised to fund his education. Meanwhile, the resourceful teen hopes to continue building and eventually sell his inventions.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Amazing!


"But this whiz kid is making a name for himself and creating a promising future by upcycling trash to make electronic toys. Abdi, who wants to produce actual cars some day, began by creating plastic toys from discarded bits of trash like old cooking oil containers."

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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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7 Steps Towards A Zero Waste Lifestyle ("refuse, reuse, reduce, refurbish, recycle")

7 Steps Towards A Zero Waste Lifestyle ("refuse, reuse, reduce, refurbish, recycle") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
There are some inspiring examples of individuals and families that have achieved some dramatic results. The Johnson family in California for example has only generated a handful of trash in six months. Bea Johnson and her family have dubbed their California home the Zero Waste Home. Be sure to also check out the video on the Zero Waste Home at the conclusion of this post.
Follow these tips for getting started on a zero waste lifestyle.
1. Refuse unnecessary items 
Avoid bringing unneeded items into your home by refusing them at the source.
2. Embrace the free movement
Many items that you do not need may be of value to someone else. Some cities have embraced the free movement and have systems in place to promote sharing, such as free piles or swaps. The Little Free Library is a movement that encourages neighborhood literacy and resource conservation through free book exchanges. Community groups and churches can have a sharing closet, where people can swap items such as clothing or household items and unclaimed items can then be donated.
3. Recycle clothing
Did you know that clothing is nearly 100% recyclable? If your clothing is too worn out or stained to be reused, it is a good candidate for recycling.
4. Organize a swap
Do you have clothes that no longer fit or have become unappealing? Do you have lots of books or toys that you no longer use?
5. Use freecycle or craigslist 
Set-up a lending network with friends
Do you have a group of friends or colleagues that share your passion for saving resources and money? Do you only use your ice skates, tent, and rototiller infrequently?
6. Start a work recycling program or compost pile
7. Go paperless
8. Decline paper catalogs and junk mail
Bert Guevara's insight:
Going zero waste is a continuing discovery of ways and means. Every person has preferences and habits. Your determination will determine the changes in your lifestyle.
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Empower Energy Ltd's curator insight, March 11, 4:09 AM
A great article on how you can move towards a zero waste lifestyle and help to create and share a more sustainable way of living with others!
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The world's first food waste supermarket has opened ("why throw when you can still sell discounted?")

The world's first food waste supermarket has opened ("why throw when you can still sell discounted?") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
A charity has opened Denmark's first ever food surplus supermarket.

The store in capital city Copenhagen called Wefood will sell produce at prices 30 to 50 per cent cheaper than normal supermarkets.

Per Bjerre from the NGO behind the market, Folkekirkens Nødhjælp, said: "WeFood is the first supermarket of its kind in Denmark and perhaps the world as it is not just aimed at low-income shoppers but anyone who is concerned about the amount of food waste produced in this country.

"Many people see this as a positive and politically correct way to approach the issue."

Wefood have deal with Føtex (one of the biggest supermarket chains in Denmark) for bread and other products.

The surplus store also has agreements with an importers of citrus fruits, a butchers, and a producer of organic fruit and nut bars.

Volunteers pick up the produce from the suppliers.

Wefood is hoping to help reduce the 700,000 tonnes of food waste Denmark produces every year.

The Danish Minister for Food and the Environment, Eva Kjer Hansen said: "It's ridiculous that food is just thrown out or goes to waste.

"It is bad for the environment and it is money spent on absolutely nothing.

"A supermarket like WeFood makes so much sense and is an important step in the battle to combat food waste."

In the last five years, Denmark has reduced the amoung of food waste it produces by 25 per cent.


Bert Guevara's insight:

A creative way to address food waste -- will it work in the Philippines?

Actually, local supermarkets are repackaging food waste. Be observant and find out how.


"WeFood is the first supermarket of its kind in Denmark and perhaps the world as it is not just aimed at low-income shoppers but anyone who is concerned about the amount of food waste produced in this country.

"Many people see this as a positive and politically correct way to approach the issue."

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Ombudsman probes local gov’t execs over illegal dump sites ("failure in implementing the SWM act")

Ombudsman probes local gov’t execs over illegal dump sites ("failure in implementing the SWM act") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday officially started its probe of around 600 local government officials throughout the country over illegal dump sites and other violations of the Ecological

The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday officially started its probe of around 600 local government officials throughout the country over illegal dump sites and other violations of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

During the ceremonial filing of affidavit-complaints of the National Solid Waste Management Commission at the Ombudsman central office, the complainants led by commissioner Romeo Hidalgo of the Ecowaste Coalition said the officials violated Republic Act No. 9003.

A total of 50 complaints were filed, covering local officials in 50 local government units over 13 administrative regions.

The complainants said mayors, vice mayors, and local legislative officials “conspired in committing the violations of R.A. No. 9003,” noting that they have “the mandate to establish policies and having control over the funds of the city.”

The filing was part of the Environmental Ombudsman’s program launched in 2013, in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau. The Ombudsman launched a three-year campaign “to increase awareness of, and promote voluntary compliance with R.A. No. 9003,” directing LGUs to conduct “respective self-assessment as to their compliance status and to voluntarily implement corrective actions.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

The finger-pointing begins!


"A total of 50 complaints were filed, covering local officials in 50 local government units over 13 administrative regions.

"The complainants said mayors, vice mayors, and local legislative officials “conspired in committing the violations of R.A. No. 9003,” noting that they have “the mandate to establish policies and having control over the funds of the city.”

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E-waste - A priority emerging policy issue (a chemical-free world by 2020?")

Hazardous Substances in the Life Cycle of Electronics and Electrical Products (HSLEEP)/E-waste - one of five priority emerging policy issues in the sound man...
Bert Guevara's insight:

E-waste 101.

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