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In China, the true cost of Britain's clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale

In China, the true cost of Britain's clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
This toxic lake poisons Chinese farmers, their children and their land. It is what's left behind after making the magnets for Britain's latest wind turbines...

The reality is that, as Britain flaunts its environmental credentials by speckling its coastlines and unspoiled moors and mountains with thousands of wind turbines, it is contributing to a vast man-made lake of poison in northern China. This is the deadly and sinister side of the massively profitable rare-earths industry that the ‘green’ companies profiting from the demand for wind turbines would prefer you knew nothing about.

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Global Recycling Movement
Big and small efforts worldwide to manage waste
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Used cigarettes given new life ("if you can't stop them, just make something out of their butts")

Used cigarettes given new life ("if you can't stop them, just make something out of their butts") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
MASHANTUCKET — A small mountain of extinguished cigarettes, stuffed in clear sealed plastic bags, piled up Thursday afternoon in the recycling
The plastic filters are recycled into bulk plastics for industrial products like pallets, and the tobacco and paper material is composted.
Since November, the casino has saved about 716,000 butts from the landfill, amounting to about 650 pounds, Foxwoods Environmental Services Supply and Equipment Manager Adam Lewis said.
Lewis said at this point, staff are only collecting cigarettes from its casinos.
“Once we include the hotels, the number could easily double,” he said.
Gamblers and other visitors who smoke at the casino are the first part of this recycling chain.
The cigarettes they throw away, either in ash trays or the special receptacles atop trash cans, are collected throughout the day by casino employees and placed in a small plastic bag. The bags eventually make their way to the casino’s recycling facility to a larger storage box.
Then, they’re picked up by a UPS truck. From Foxwoods, UPS takes them free of charge to TerraCycle’s plant in New Jersey.
TerraCycle accepts the extinguished cigarettes and ash, filters, loose tobacco pouches, rolling paper and the inner foil and outer plastic packaging from a pack.
“They can even make plastic ashtrays out of the cigarettes,” Lewis said.
Shipments to TerraCycle are made every two weeks.
“It’s usually 15 or 16 boxes, at between 5 and 8 pounds per box,” Lewis said.
Bert Guevara's insight:

Since we can't stop people from smoking, we may as well do something about their cigarette butts. Here is an example of how it's done.

 

"The efforts by Foxwoods and TerraCycle have regional benefits. For every pound of cigarette waste Foxwoods sends to TerraCycle, $1 is donated to the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut.

According to the nonprofit Keep America Beautiful, cigarettes are the most littered item in the world. Sixty-five percent of them are disposed of improperly.
While Foxwoods is only supplying discarded cigarettes, TerraCycle got its start in "worm poop," according to the New Jersey company's website.
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It is now illegal in France for supermarkets to throw away food ("affluence can't justify food waste")

It is now illegal in France for supermarkets to throw away food ("affluence can't justify food waste") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
But they can donate it all to charities, or for animal feed.

FRANCE’S PARLIAMENT VOTED unanimously tonight to ban food waste in big supermarkets – outlawing the destruction of unsold food.

Under the new law, supermarkets will have to prevent food waste and will be forced to donate unsold but edible food to charity, or for use as animal feed or compost.

They will also be able to donate products for energy and fuel purposes, France Info radio reports.

Socialist MP Guillaume Garot, who sponsored the bill, said:

It’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods.

Under the new law, all large-sized supermarkets will have to sign contracts with a charity group to facilitate food donations.

According to L’Express magazine, children in France will now also be given be lessons on avoiding and preventing food waste, as part of their school curriculum.

French people throw away between 20 to 30 kilos (44 to 66 pounds) of food per person per year, which costs €12-20 billion annually.

In Ireland, the charity FoodCloud has estimated that at least 1 million tonnes of food are wasted here, every year.

The US state of Massachusetts introduced a similar law in 2014, banning businesses from throwing out food, if they throw out more than a tonne of it every week.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is another "game-changing" policy that will send ripples to other countries with similar scandalous food waste practices.

 

"t’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods."

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The Sad Truth About What Happens To Your Old Gadgets ("e-waste is building monuments of obsolescence")

The Sad Truth About What Happens To Your Old Gadgets ("e-waste is building monuments of obsolescence") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Your iPhone isn't biodegradable. Here's where it goes when you don't recycle it properly.

Your iPhone isn't biodegradable.

Of course, you know that. But what you might not understand is the massive problem that electronic waste represents for our planet. Arecent report from United Nations University in Japan declared that about 46 million tons of e-waste -- discarded phones, computer screens, lamps, microwaves and so on -- were produced in 2014 alone. That amount is only expected to rise in the coming years.

Many of these devices have toxic components. A lot of them could be recycled -- but aren't. Instead, they're shipped to developing countries -- sometimes illegally -- where they end up in landfills, waterways or public spaces.

Since 2013, the jarring photographs of the BIT ROT Project have shined a light on the human price of electronic waste, showing civilians digging through potentially dangerous heaps or struggling to dispose the materials themselves.

"If people would be more conscious about where their electronic trash would finish and in which way they are affecting others, poorest peoples' lives, I think they would act more carefully," photographer Valentino Bellini told The Huffington Post via email.

Take a look at the selections below to see the reality for yourself. For more photographs and information, visit the BIT ROT Project.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The other side of the glitter of modern gadgetry -- the disorganized disposal of obsolete gadgets that leads to toxic pollution. Check out the pictures!

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Waste Recycling and Building Materials | Sustainable Cities Collective ("new building mats from waste")

Waste Recycling and Building Materials | Sustainable Cities Collective ("new building mats from waste") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Can waste have a second life as a building material? This is the question brought to surface through ETH Zurich’s Building from Waste exhibition. Held at Swissnex in San Francisco, the exhibition is based on the book 'Building from Waste: Recovered Materials in Architecture and Construction.'

Can waste have a second life as a building material? This is the question brought to surface throughETH Zurich’s Building from Waste exhibition. Held at Swissnex San Francisco, the exhibition is based on the book Building from Waste: Recovered Materials in Architecture and Construction from ETH Zurich and Future Cities Laboratories. Appropriately displayed upon wooden pallets, the exhibit invites visitors to handle, touch, and even smell more than twenty-five alternative construction materials derived from waste.

What does the future feel and smell like? Newspapers, ground husks, and earth with a hint of coffee. Yes, you heard correctly caffeine fiends. A tile created by Raul Lauri Design Lab of Alicante, Spain is composed solely from old coffee grounds and binding agents, giving it a deep brown color. This is just a vignette of the materials on display.

In the near future, we may not be building homes from traditional brick and mortar, but rather “growing” our walls with Mycoworks’ mushroom bricks. Composed of mushroom mycelium and agricultural waste, the fungal brick growing process shares more of a likeness to a prop out of a sci-fi film than a structural element. As a final product, these bricks are extremely lightweight, 100% compostable, and can withstand significant compression. Framing and finishes for housing may eventually be constructed fromNewspaperWood. Fabricated from discarded newspapers which have been soaked in glue and wrapped to form a log, the product can be cut, milled, drilled, nailed, and sanded like any other wood. Even its appearance is strikingly similar to wood grain, mimicking tree rings with subtle hints of color.

Bert Guevara's insight:

New trends in upcycling waste materials into building materials.

 

"A tile created by Raul Lauri Design Lab of Alicante, Spain is composed solely from old coffee grounds and binding agents, giving it a deep brown color.

Other materials include:

- Insulation made from old denim which serves as an effective thermal and soundproofing material.

- A light roofing material, tuff roof, made from Tetra Pak cartons which is water resistant, fire-retardant, corrosion-free, and has a 25% lower heat gain than conventional roofing materials.

- Lightweight Alusion Panels composed of liquified aluminum.

- A structural cube made up of vacuum sealed plastic bottles.

- A maintenance-free slate molded from discarded milk bottles, plastic bags, and limestone waste."

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Ambitious circular economy is within reach but beware the mob! | Circular Materials Economy

Ambitious circular economy is within reach but beware the mob! | Circular Materials Economy | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Nyheter och finansiell information inom gruv- och återvinningsindustrierna. Gruvor, metaller, mineraler, recycling, återvinning, Samhällsbyggnad.

Everyone knows ways for plastic to not become waste. We can set up redesign, sharing, refill, recycling and even composting. When it comes to creating practical possibilities for not making waste, people are super smart. But when it comes to making policy to install this practice throughout the economy, which has been the aim of circular economy for the past 4 decades, we’re consistently collectively stupid. I call this mob thinking.

We have intelligent activists, businesspeople, experts and officials unintentionally thinking like a mob; always bringing forward the same decades old policy weapons. When these weapons don’t work there is a discussion about strategy but not any actual new strategy, just talk about how forcefully to use the same old policy weapons. This is how it’s been possible for waste management, waste regulation and the unsolved waste problem to all grow in tandem for so long.

If the piece of plastic had a voice in the circular economy debate what might it say? It would remind us to beware mob thinking. Today’s problems are solvable only by trying new thinking and new policy weapons. Precycling is an example. The piece of plastic doesn’t mind whether it’s part of a product that’s longlife or refilled or shared or refurbished or recycled or even composted (so long as it’s fully biodegradable). It doesn’t even mind being called ‘waste’ so long as it’s on its way to a new use. Action that ensures any of these is precycling.

Bert Guevara's insight:

It's time to aim higher on solid waste management. The obsolete prescriptions in the past have to be replaced with sustainable programs which promote a circular economy.


"The two possible outcomes for a piece of plastic, remaining as a resource or being dumped as ecological waste, are the same fates awaiting every product. Our economies and our futures depend on our ambition in arranging the right outcome. The old policy weapons of prescriptive targets and taxes, trying to force more of one waste management outcome or less of another, are largely obsolete. Circular economy can be fully and quickly implemented by policy to make markets financially responsible for the risk of products becoming ecological waste. Some everhopeful pieces of plastic would be grateful if we would get on with doing this."

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From Crisis to Myth: The Packaging Waste Problem (3Rs are working on packaging; but volume still up")

From Crisis to Myth: The Packaging Waste Problem (3Rs are working on packaging; but volume still up") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
While trash bags floating down streams still cause environmental headaches, packaging has not become the landfill headache Americans once feared.

Looking at the period from 1994 to 2012, the number of U.S. households rose nearly 25 percent. Garbage — what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls municipal solid waste — typically grows in line with the number of households and all the new "stuff" each household needs. Interestingly, EPA data indicates that waste during that period grew only 20 percent, less than household growth.

Good. That means Americans are generating a bit less waste per household than in the past.

But what's really encouraging is that packaging waste generated during that period did not increase (well, it did by 0.3 percent, basically equal to a rounding error). While overall waste increased 20 percent, packaging waste remained constant. As a result, packaging waste declined from 36 percent of our total waste to 30 percent.

This good news stands in stark contrast to predictions in 1994. Back then, the EPA stated that by 2010, packaging waste would grow by nearly a third to account for 38 percent of waste. That didn't happen. Instead, 24 million tons of annual packaging waste just didn't show up.

Where did it go? Did we start carrying everything home in old boxes and bottles? Hardly. There are two primary reasons for all that missing packaging waste.

First, remember the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle"? Reduce comes first for a good reason: It's the best way to prevent waste in the first place. 

The second reason for all that missing packaging waste should be a source of pride. Of all the packaging waste generated from 1994 to 2012, more than half of it was recovered through recycling or energy recovery. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

It is true that the 3Rs mantra is now stronger than ever, with the improvement of technology. Even if the volume of packaging waste has "plateaued", notwithstanding the increase in population, the municipal solid waste volume continues to increase.

So the problem must be coming from somewhere else, not the packaging!

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The threat of e-waste | Manila Bulletin (serious threat of banned POP-PBDEs found in dumps")

The threat of e-waste | Manila Bulletin (serious threat of banned POP-PBDEs found in dumps") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

POP-PBDEs are human-made chemicals used in flame-retardants that can be found in many items like electronics, automobiles, and even toys.

Banned by the Stockholm Convention in 2004 due to the various environmental and health hazards they pose, POP-PBDEs still find their way into junkyards and landfills in the country. An estimated 11,040 tons of e-wastes and an equivalent of 5,650 tons of POP-PBDEs are accumulated and handled in these sites on an annual basis, posing a threat to the environment.

A team of researchers from De La Salle University’s (DLSU) Br. Andrew Gonzalez College of Education and Gokongwei College of Engineering recently embarked on a project that looked into the proper handling and management of these e-wastes. Headed by Science Education Department professor Dr. Maricar Prudente, she says the team is tracking the chemicals in the country’s solid waste. This initiative is relatively new in the Philippines.

“We are in the infancy stage. Not everyone knows about this, that’s why we’re pushing for more fora so the general public will know,” she says. She notes that while environmental chemists and members of the academe convene about the problem, there is a great need to educate the general public about the issue.

Traces of POP-PBDEs have been found in animals, water, and even human breast milk, a clear indication of how the spreading of this persistent contaminant must be mitigated. Once a critical amount of this substance is absorbed by the human body, it mimics certain hormones and may cause harm to sensitive organs in the central nervous, nervous, endocrine, and reproductive systems.

Bert Guevara's insight:

e-Waste is a relatively new phenomenon and its dangers are known to a few. Reckless handling of e-waste is endangering the public. The problem is that even the government has incomplete data on the extent of the problem.


"No matter how tedious and painstaking, the inventory of e-wastes is a crucial step towards treating a large-scale problem. The problem of e-wastes can be solved if we have a clear idea of what we are truly up against."

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Making paper from poop to preserve rhinos | Environment | DW.DE | 10.04.2015

Making paper from poop to preserve rhinos | Environment | DW.DE | 10.04.2015 | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Rhinoceroses in the jungles of the Indian state of Assam are being ruthlessly poached for their horns. One initiative to save them involves changing attitudes in forest communities - by making paper from rhino dung.

From experience, he also knew that rhinoceroses, like elephants, pass most of the grass they eat without digesting it. In his travels and work, he'd seen jungles being encroached into, which led the animals to eat crops and then defecate in cultivated fields.

All these observations added up and began brewing into a business idea for the active senior.

Rhinos often return to a single location to poop, for up to 10 days. That can result in as much as 400 kilograms (882 pounds) of rhino dung piling up in a hapless farmer's field.

For a month, Bora had also lived in Sanganer, Rajasthan - where every household makes handmade paper from cotton rag. When he returned to Assam, he convinced a senior officer at the Guwahati Zoo to share some rhino and elephant dung. The officer obliged - and Bora took it home.

"First, I washed it in running water. Then quietly I took my wife's mixie [blender] - stole it rather - and made a pulp out of rhino and elephant poop," Bora said with twinkling eyes. He then took a section of the shirt he was wearing, shredded it, and added it to the mixture.

"I made a pulp, then I put it in a wire mesh screen," he said. Bora said he'll never forget the resulting thin, textured, beautiful piece of paper - green like his shirt. And thus, Elrhino Eco Industries was born.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Paper production as a sustainable conservation effort - fantastic advocacy for wildlife protection.

 

"Though the amount of dung used to make the paper is not much compared to all that the local rhino population produces, ElRhino includes advocacy with every item it sells. Nisha Bora says they are seeing an attitude change on the ground, in the villages that collect dung and around the factory, toward perceiving the large animals as more valuable.

"The elder Bora has a much greater vision. "We have a lot of natural raw material in Assam - bananas, pineapples, water hyacinths - which is all fiber. My dream is to see entire villages where they make handmade paper," he says."

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Now we're even recycling cigarette butts in Seattle - Puget Sound Business Journal ("small irritant")

Now we're even recycling cigarette butts in Seattle - Puget Sound Business Journal ("small irritant") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
The newly announced program features 15 places where smokers can deposit their butts to be turned into new products.

The Metropolitan Improvement District, a nonprofit that cleans streets and offers other services in downtown Seattle, has placed 15 cigarette recycling boxes where people can deposit their spent smokes. The butts will be shipped off to a warehouse in Hamilton, N.J., and be turned into industrial products, such as plastic pallets. Even the remaining tobacco is recycled as compost.

Smoking is relatively uncommon in Seattle with Men's Health once naming the city as one of the one of the top 10 smoke-free cities in the nation. But this doesn't mean that cigarette waste is uncommon here. It's a universal problem with cigarette butts the most littered item in the world, according toAmericans for Nonsmokers' Rights.

Now, though, the MID is trying to capitalize on Seattle's passion for recycling and composting to help clean up downtown.

The MID, which collects more than 2,200 gallons of trash downtown on any given day, is working with a company called TerraCycle to recycle the butts. The 14-year-old New Jersey company works with a variety of companies to collect difficult-to-recycle packaging and products and repurposes the material. The programs benefit different charities and other causes.

Bert Guevara's insight:

A partnership between a tobacco manufacturer, a recycling company and an NGO makes a statement about cigarette waste.

 

"Funding for TerraCycle's cigarette butt recycling project comes from Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., which makes American Spirit cigarettes. For every pound of cigarette waste collected, TerraCycle and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., donate $1 toward the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.

"Money also will come back to the MID for its participation.

"TerraCycle collects cigarette butts from more than 6,000 locations, according to its website, and calculates it has diverted more than 23.4 million butts from the waste stream.

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Seoul City to build first upcycling centre ("a giant step in waste recycling; creates new jobs")

Seoul City to build first upcycling centre ("a giant step in waste recycling; creates new jobs") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
The country's first-ever upcycling centre will be opened in Seoul in 2017 in an aim to boost green industries, officials said Thursday.Seoul Metropolitan Government broke ground for the Seoul Upcycling Plaza (tentative name) in Janganpyeong, eastern Seoul, as part of the project to stimulate the culture of reusing, recycling and upcycling.

The country's first-ever upcycling centre will be opened in Seoul in 2017 in an aim to boost green industries, officials said Thursday.

Seoul Metropolitan Government broke ground for the Seoul Upcycling Plaza (tentative name) in Janganpyeong, eastern Seoul, as part of the project to stimulate the culture of reusing, recycling and upcycling.

In contrast to reusing and recycling, upcycling uses waste materials to convert them into new products. It has been a rising global trend, especially in the European fashion market. In Korea, only about 30 upcycling companies exist as of this year, the city said.

Spread over 16,500 square meters, the five-story building will consist of workspaces for upcycling-focused social start-ups and artists, and a large market for upcycling products, processed waste materials and secondhand items, the city said.

Once the facility is opened, the Janganpyeong area will transform into an environment-friendly town with the existing Jungnang water treatment facility, used car market and water sewage museum, the city said.

This is part of the city government's long-term environment project aimed at using the waste as a source for the green industry.

Along with the nation's largest upcycling centre, Seoul City vowed to make efforts to expand the number of upcycling companies to 1,000 and create about 20,000 fresh work opportunities with new jobs such as upcycling material planner and eco-designer, the city officials said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This should be replicated in the Philippines!

"It will also raise the recycling rate from the current 64 per cent to 75 per cent by 2017, which will be the highest in the world. The city will also improve the food garbage-turned-biogas rate to 100 per cent. The current rate is around 30 per cent, they added."

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Watch Your Dead Tech Get Demolished at an E-Waste Recycling Plant - YouTube ("this is how it ends")

It's called e-waste, and it's made of millions of broken, dead, and obsolete gadgets. But often, it's too toxic (and too valuable) just to toss in a dumpster...

It's called e-waste, and it's made of millions of broken, dead, and obsolete gadgets. But often, it's too toxic (and too valuable) just to toss in a dumpster. So it gets recycled. We visited an e-waste recycling facility in upstate New York to see the afterlife of dead tech for ourselves. This video captures what we saw.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is a good and simple example of how to handle e-waste. Watch the video.

With the Filipino's crazy appetite for new gadgets, our country needs facilities like this.

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Canada’s Largest Food Retailer To Sell Ugly Produce At Low Prices To Cut Food Waste

Canada’s Largest Food Retailer To Sell Ugly Produce At Low Prices To Cut Food Waste | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Most food waste ends up in landfills, where it decomposes and releases methane, a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide.

Loblaws, the country’s largest food retailer, launched a campaign last week to sell misshapen, “ugly” produce at a discounted rate in an effort to curb the country’s food waste problem (annually, Canadians waste some 40 percent of their food).

The campaign, called No Name Naturally Imperfect, offers aesthetically displeasing apples and potatoes at a discount of up to 30 cents in select Loblaws-owned stores in Ontario and Quebec. “We often focus too much on the look of produce rather than the taste,” said Ian Gordon, senior vice president, Loblaw Brands, Loblaw Companies Limited, in a press statement. “Once you peel or cut an apple you can’t tell it once had a blemish or was misshapen.”

According to the U.N. Environment Program, between 20 and 40 percent of produce is thrown away by farmers simply because it isn’t pretty enough for grocery store shelves. The produce being sold under Loblaws’ new campaign would have been used for juices or soups, or might not have been harvested at all, due to their appearance. Though the campaign is beginning with apples and potatoes, company officials hope that the program will serve as a springboard for the sale of other ugly fruits and vegetables in the future.

The move offers savings to both the consumer, who can access healthy produce at lower costs, and the Canadian government, which loses some $31 billion dollars annually on food waste. Globally, food waste costs nearly $400 billion annually, but according to a February report released by the U.K.-based Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP), countries could save between $120 and $300 each year by focusing on reducing food waste.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Who says that the world doesn't produce enough food? Check this out and discover that there are many ways of curbing food waste, even in the Philippines. With the proliferation of supermarkets, I wonder how much is wasted because of appearance?

"In developed nations, food waste happens most often at the retail and consumer level. Grocery stores often adhere to strict quality guidelines that place too much emphasis on appearance, leading to the disposal of produce that is nutritionally sound but not aesthetically pleasing. Each year, enough unspoiled food is thrown away in developed nations to feed the world’s 870 million hungry people."

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Slimming down food waste could save European businesses £7bn a year ("need smarter ways to avoid")

Slimming down food waste could save European businesses £7bn a year ("need smarter ways to avoid") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
New Rabobank report urges supermarkets to work with their suppliers to encourage the use of innovative new technologies to reduce waste

The biggest losses occur in the market for fruit and vegetables, where the supply chain accounts for 72 per cent and 66 per cent of waste respectively, and leads to total losses worth around €28bn (£20.1bn) per year. Wasted starchy root vegetables also account for around €8bn (£5.8bn) in industry losses.

The report highlights how a range of new packaging technologies, such as It'sFresh! and PerfoTec, which prolong the life of fruit and vegetables, new harvesting machinery that can reduce damage to crops and the use of new food storage systems, can all help slash waste levels.

However, current business models do not always reward this kind of efficiency. For example, why would a wholesaler want to reduce food waste in a way that means a customer will buy less? Bosch said retailers needed to work with growers, packagers and wholesalers to overcome these challenges and incentivise them to invest in new technologies.

"Overcoming this 'split incentive', where costs and benefits fall to different parties, requires an innovative approach to supply chain partnerships and business models," said Bosch.

Benefits would not only include increased shelf life, but also opening up new geographical markets and reducing the cost of dealing with stock that has passed its use by date, the report argues.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

This food waste problem is the same in the Philippines.

Calling on our economic geniuses or guys with better common sense to figure out this problem. The benefits of minimizing food waste is not always a "win-win" for all stakeholders, but definitely a "must-win" for the environment.

"... why would a wholesaler want to reduce food waste in a way that means a customer will buy less? Bosch said retailers needed to work with growers, packagers and wholesalers to overcome these challenges and incentivise them to invest in new technologies.

"Implementing innovations for food waste reduction should start with selecting partners that understand and attach a value to all of the potential benefits of reducing waste – partners that are willing to work towards realising these benefits,"

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As Electronics Shrink, Challenges for Recyclers Rise ("upgradability of small gadgets should be designed")

As Electronics Shrink, Challenges for Recyclers Rise ("upgradability of small gadgets should be designed") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
As laptops displace PCs in popularity, the level of standardization dropped, increasing the challenges for recyclers. But gold may be their saving grace.

But, like most big human-induced changes, there were unintended consequences, primarily in the form of the mountains of waste that resulted as products quickly became obsolete and tossed out only to be replaced by others with an equally short lifespan. (One study showed that 25 percent of electronic devices were used less than 500 hours before being discarded.) This is exacerbated by the fact that electronic waste can contain dangerous materials including lead, mercury and cadmium.

Indeed, numerous entities have taken action on the problem. There are now take-back laws in several European countries and American states, as part of an extended producer responsibility (EPR) movement. Many manufacturers and retailers have gotten on the bandwagon, and some have found ways to do it profitably.

Cade told me that things were easier when desktop and tower configurations were the norm, because those platforms were larger, designed for disassembly, and because they had reached a certain level of maturity. “They were pretty simple to carry on into a second use,” said Cade, who serves as CEO of PC Rebuilders & Recyclers in Chicago.

Standards (at least in the PC world) were eventually developed for things like hard drive interfaces and form factors, bus interfaces for printed circuit boards, CPU sockets, and memory. That meant that old PC’s could be upgraded by simply pulling out one component and replacing it with a newer one. The machines were also easier to disassemble, as screws or snap-fits were often used to hold them together.

As laptops displaced PCs in popularity, the level of standardization and upgradeability dropped.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The potential for upgrading and recycling of smaller gadgets is becoming more difficult. It will need an industry-wide initiative to standardize components for upgrading to happen.


"The relationship between standardization and innovation is really an interesting sideline. Because it’s only when innovation has slowed down enough for standards to be applied that third parties can get involved in the market. When they do, there is tremendous additional innovation and competition in that space. In the PC world, there was a huge aftermarket in peripherals. Laptops could still work with a wide array of standard USB devices. Now, in the mobile world, most of that innovation has migrated into software apps. It’s because of published software standards that apps can migrate from one phone to the next, while none of the hardware can, except possibly chargers and headsets."

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Waste Management and Disposal Sustainability | Sustainable Cities Collective ("feedstock competition?")

Waste Management and Disposal Sustainability | Sustainable Cities Collective ("feedstock competition?") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Incinerating waste has always polarized communities into advocates and critics. In the old days it was about air pollution as the filtering system was never sufficient. Now, however, as incineration technology has advanced, the worries are more about the effects of too many incinerators and running out of feedstock.

According to this fellow, waste to energy providers are under contractual obligations to sell a certain amount of electricity to the grid. If they fail to meet their targets they can be fined. Here's the problem: incinerators are now running short of "fuel" ie., garbage.

So the operators will pay more for recycling material than the recyclers. Further, he told me, that in the older incinerators still in operation, in order to moderate the temperature of the stuff being burned, they have to add wet organics to keep the temperature from getting too hot.

So there is a double whammy created:

in some cases organics that are supposed to be bound for anaerobic digesters are diverted to incinerators, andmaterial that should be getting recycled is being burned.

As for the companies that sell recycling sorting equipment? "It's killing our business," he said.

There are plenty of articles out there highlighting how Norway and Sweden have run out of material to burn and are now importing garbage from other countries to fuel their incinerators.

And this is the point. Sometimes policies intended to solve a problem, do it a little too well. Running out of feedstock and poaching from other sources isn't a progressive way of handling waste; once it's burned, the energy and resource is lost forever. When a product is recycled it extends its life and saves energy and resources.

While researchers are working on infinite recycling loops, for now we can get two, sometimes three uses out of a product before it's reached the end of its useful life, but it's better than it going up in a puff of smoke after its first life.

Bert Guevara's insight:

To recycle is still more sustainable than incineration, even after the pollution issues have been addressed. Experience from other countries have shown that the contractual obligations of incineration companies will lead to the burning of what should go to recycling and composting.

 

"In this case, while burning waste is full of good intentions (waste to energy, less landfill) and technology has advanced far enough that emissions issues are (potentially) a thing of the past, in reality, incinerating material misses the target of the circular economy (something the EU is striving for) and encourages societies to consume more stuff to provide waste for the incinerators to power the grid."

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Pinoy Teen’s Coconut Plastic Bag Invention Wins In World Competition ("we need to enhance coconuts too")

Pinoy Teen’s Coconut Plastic Bag Invention Wins In World Competition ("we need to enhance coconuts too") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Start 'em young, indeed! Photo Credit: The Philippine Star The invention of a biodegradable plastic bag made out of coconuts, made by the teenage son of ARMM governor Mujiv Hataman, won third place among 462 entries in an international inventions contest held in Houston Texas, according to a report by The Philippine Star. Amin Hataman,…

Amin Hataman, a high school student of Fountain International School in Manila, reportedly competed amongst young inventors from different countries in the  International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering and Environmental Project (I-SWEEEP) Olympiad, an annual competition for high school students that focuses on inventions that help protect the environment.

The teenage Amin reportedly invented a plastic bag, made of coconuts, that disintegrates after several days of exposure to elements.

Amin’s invention also won a gold medal from another invention contest last year, the International Young Inventor’s Olympiad held in Georgia.

Congratulations, Amin! Another classic Pinoy pride case.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Impressive! We can't wait for the launching of the commercial product.

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Gardening 101: How to Use Eggshells in the Garden: Gardenista ("don't throw those eggshells away")

Gardening 101: How to Use Eggshells in the Garden: Gardenista ("don't throw those eggshells away") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
You've heard of the "incredible edible egg." For gardeners, the shells are just as useful—as mulch, pest control, and fertilizer. And more. Here are five ideas for using crushed eggshells in the garden:

Though nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are most vital for healthy growth, calcium is also essential for building healthy "bones"—the cell walls of a plant. Composed of calcium carbonate, eggshells are an excellent way to introduce this mineral into the soil. To prep the eggshells, grind with a mixer, grinder, or mortar and pestle and till them into the soil. Because it takes several months for eggshells to break down and be absorbed by a plant's roots, it is recommended that they be tilled into the soil in fall. More shells can be mixed into your soil in the spring.

By the same token, finely crushed shells mixed with other organic matter at the bottom of a hole will help newly planted plants thrive. (Tomatoes especially love calcium.) For an exciting recycled garden cocktail: try mixing your eggshells with coffee grounds, which are rich in nitrogen.

Finally, eggshells will reduce the acidity of your soil, and will help to aerate it.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Check out these uses of egg shells:

- Eggshell Fertilizer

- Eggshell Seed Starters

- Eggshell Pest Control

- Eggshell Bird Food

- Eggshell Mulch

 

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Food Waste is a Massive Problem. Here’s How to Fix It. ("we can address hunger by good distribution")

Food Waste is a Massive Problem. Here’s How to Fix It. ("we can address hunger by good distribution") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
A new film highlights the food waste problem. Here are some things we can do to fix it.

While the industrial agriculture industry claims we need to scale up production to feed a growing population, the incredible level of wasted food suggests that having better policies in place could go a long way. As the U.N. noted in its report on world hunger, we grow enough food to feed the entire world population of 7 billion people—a lot of it just isn’t getting to them.

One of the first thing policymakers can do is take on the confusion caused by “sell by,” “use by,” or “best by” food labels. According to a report called The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America, most people don’t know that these dates are currently neither regulated nor standardized. Other than for infant formula, there are no federal or state laws regulating the length of time between when a food can be produced and/or packaged and the date on the package. And while these dates are not necessarily linked to food safety, they can have a major impact because many consumers throw away food they perceive as having “expired.” 

The European Union is aggressively moving to reduce food waste by addressing these “best before” labels. As Bloom has noted, the shift could also prompt action on date labels here in the U.S. If that happens, American lawmakers could help trim million of tons annually from our collective household food waste. 

There are other policies taking place nationwide, with several cities and states taking matters into their own hands. San Francisco passed the first city ordinance in 2009 that makes composting food waste mandatory. It’s now illegal to throw food and food waste in the trash in Seattle. In Massachusetts, businesses or institutions which throw out more than a ton of food a month are prohibited from sending it to a landfill. Vermont, Connecticut, Portland, and New York City are all reducing or working on sending less food waste to their landfills. As Gunders told me, while this on its own doesn’t ensure that people will eat all the food they buy, it does help make the huge volume of food going to waste more visible, which in turn can lead us to use it better.

Bert Guevara's insight:

We use up so much natural resources, like land and water, to grow enough food for 7 billion people, but 40% of it does not reach our stomachs. There is a way of solving this, if we are serious enough.


"Towards the end of “Just Eat It,” activist and author Tristam Stuart of Feeding the 5000 says poignantly that wasting food “is one of the most gratuitous acts of humans culture as it stands today. We’re trashing our land to grow food that no one eats.” 

In a country so blessed by agricultural abundance, it’s a shame to allow for such an embarrassment of wasted riches. There are many social environmental problems which are monumental, but, as Gunders puts it, “Food waste we can handle. We can do something about it now.” 

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How Food Waste Costs Our Cities Millions | World Resources Institute ("city dwellers take food for granted")

How Food Waste Costs Our Cities Millions | World Resources Institute ("city dwellers take food for granted") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
It would take a Mexico-sized area of farm land to grow the amount of food people waste every year.

It would take farm land the size of Mexico just to grow the amount of food that humans produce, but do not eat, every year.

More food goes uneaten at theconsumption phase of the supply chain—in places like homes, restaurants and cafeterias—than at any other stage. Almost all urban areas experience high levels of food waste—food that is fit for consumption when it reaches consumers but is discarded before or after spoiling. While food waste presents significant challenges, addressing waste also provides an opportunity for growing cities to reduce their carbon emissions, curb deforestation, and mitigate water withdrawals caused by agriculture.

If current trends continue, the world will need to increase food production by 70 percent by 2050. Growing that amount of food will put a significant strain on the planet. Food production is emissions-intensive because it converts lands—such as forests and savannas that store carbon and preserve ecosystems—into pasture or crop land. For example, farmers are chopping down Indonesia’s rainforests to grow crops like palm oil, making Indonesia the world’s largest carbon emitter per unit of GDP. In addition, 13 percent of the world’s 2010 carbon emissions came from agricultural activities like raising cattle, using tractors, and producing and using nitrogen fertilizers. Including land conversion,agriculture contributes 24 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, uses 37 percent of Earth’s land, and accounts for 70 percent of water withdrawals worldwide.

Given the staggering effect that food production has on the environment, reducing food waste and easing the growing need for food production can move us toward a more sustainable world.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The food waste numbers are staggering and scandalous to a hungry population. There has to be widespread action to combat it.

 

"According to The Royal Society, consumers in developed economies waste more food due to the low cost of food relative to disposable income, high standards for the appearance of food, and a lack of understanding of the realities of food production. Urbanization introduces these three factors into consumer behavior because urbanites earn more money than rural workers, buy more food from supermarkets that have high food appearance standards, and live further from where their food grows."

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Seaman barred at NAIA for anti-littering case ("litterers deserve the delay") The Phil Star Digital

Seaman barred at NAIA for anti-littering case ("litterers deserve the delay") The Phil Star Digital | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

For not settling his P500 fine with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for an anti-littering case two years ago, a seaman bound for Singapore was stopped by immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and missed his flight last week.

Raul Samson was apprehended on April 25, 2013 for dropping a cigarette butt at the Metro Rail Transit EDSA-Guadalupe station, according to the MMDA.

Samson was charged with violation of Republic Act 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act before the Makati Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) for failing to settle his fine within the prescribed period.

Makati MTC Branch 67 Judge Jackie Crisologo Saguisag issued a warrant for Samson’s arrest on Oct. 8 last year after he failed to appear in court for his arraignment.

MMDA senior health program officer Rose Blay said Samson may now be able to leave for Singapore after he showed up at the MMDA office in Makati City on April 6 and paid his penalty.

The MMDA had informed the Makati court that it would no longer pursue the case against Samson, Blay said.

Blay explained that a litterbug apprehended by the MMDA is given three days, from the time of his apprehension, to pay a fine of P500 to P1,000 or to render community service for a maximum of 16 hours. Should the litterbug fail to do either penalty within three days, the MMDA will file a case before the court.

Bert Guevara's insight:

For not settling his anti-littering fine, this seaman wasn't allowed to board his plane to Singapore. A simple cigarette butt littering case can cause major bother, but the law is the law.

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Borderlands Food Bank: Cutting Food Waste at The Border - Food and Environment Reporting Network

Borderlands Food Bank: Cutting Food Waste at The Border - Food and Environment Reporting Network | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Just across the border from Nogales, Ariz., rows of north-bound trucks line up for inspection. Over half of the produce that’s grown in Mexico and imported — $4 billion worth — comes through this border crossing. Most gets distributed to all parts of the U.S. and Canada, but some fruits and vegetables get rejected before… » Read More

Yolanda Soto is determined to give that produce a second life, by redirecting it to needy families across the country. She runs Borderlands Food Bank, which rescues between 35 and 40 million pounds of safe, edible fruits and vegetables headed for the landfill each year. That’s about one serving of produce for every child in the U.S.

Three miles north of the border, at the Borderlands warehouse on Produce Drive, Soto walks purposefully through stacks of fruits and vegetables, pointing out eggplant, Roma tomatoes, cucumbers. Forget about the usual worker’s uniform of boots and heavy jackets: Soto is wearing bright pink, head to toe.

Reaching into a cardboard box, Soto pulls out a Mexican gray squash, pointing out a tiny bit of surface scarring. “It’s perfectly good, but because it had some scarring, they couldn’t sell it. Who’s going to buy it?” she asks.

Many U.S. consumers think tasty produce has to look perfect on the outside – though, as The Salt has reported, food-waste fighters across the country are working to change that perception.

“We are crazy,” Soto says. “The waste is enormous, and it’s just not right.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Fantastic common sense leads to an underground distribution of rejected food that feeds a lot of hungry people.


“At the U.S. border, all our fruits and vegetables, and whatever we’re importing, can be subject to inspection by about 40 different government agencies” searching for anything from drugs to pests, Chamberlain says.

"As for fruits and vegetables too ripe for much travel, Borderlands can distribute them to individuals and agencies in southern Arizona and northern Mexico within hours. Thousands of people also show up for POW-WOW: Produce on Wheels Without Waste, weekly distributions near Nogales and in Phoenix and Tucson.

"Soto has lots of future plans for Borderlands. “I could rescue millions’ more [pounds of] product,” she says. “I could also do composting, I could do juicing, I could do dehydration and canning.”

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How you can practice closed loop recycling ("example of earth day practice to make a difference")

How you can practice closed loop recycling ("example of earth day practice to make a difference") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
There's more to recycling than just bringing items to the curb. Find out how to incorporate all levels of recycling into your life.
If you're a regular recycler, hauling your bottles, cans, and paper to the curb or to dedicated drop-offs, more power to you. You are working hard to keep our planet green. However, this effort addresses just a part of the recycling equation. For the process to work as it's intended, someone (or, more likely, some corporation) has to be ready to pick up the materials and transform them into usable goods, which, in turn, consumers must choose to buy. This entire multi-step process, encompassing the entire product lifecycle, is referred to as closed loop recycling. Why recycle?Proponents of recycling tend to emphasize the importance of creating a cleaner planet. That's an excellent reason to recycle, but there are many additional benefits, which may appeal to members of your household who are less idealistic. Here are some of the advantages of recycling. Reduces need for landfillsLandfills are ugly. In addition, many of them are, to put it bluntly, simply running out of space, with remaining capacities of perhaps another 30 years or less. And if you look at it in terms of dollars and cents, recycling tends to be a less expensive means than landfill dumping for local governments to manage waste.
Bert Guevara's insight:

"Proponents of recycling tend to emphasize the importance of creating a cleaner planet. That's an excellent reason to recycle, but there are many additional benefits, which may appeal to members of your household who are less idealistic. Here are some of the advantages of recycling.

- Reduces need for landfills

- Saves natural resources

- Reduces pollution in air and water

- Is more energy-efficient

- How to make wise purchasing choices

- Building materials

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New York’s trendiest restaurant is serving you garbage (and it’s awesome) - ("a menu paradigm shift")

New York’s trendiest restaurant is serving you garbage (and it’s awesome) - ("a menu paradigm shift") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Waste is the quintessential American diet, says renowned chef Dan Barber. But it doesn't have to be that way

It begins to make sense, though, once you begin to consider how much of what we see as disposable actually has value. Or can have value, in the hands of the right person. Stepping up to the challenge is Dan Barber, the chef and co-owner of Manhattan’s Blue Hill, who transformed the high-end restaurant, for two weeks only, into wastED, a pop-up experiment that just might change the way we think about food waste.

I first spoke with Barber before the release, last year, of “The Third Plate,” his nearly 500-page attempt to push the farm-to-table movement even further, into a full-fledged food revolution. It was through his research for the book, Barber recently told me, that he made the connection that led to wastED. The history of diet and cuisine, he realized, is based on preventing waste: “You couldn’t afford waste when these recipes and expectations for meals were being developed; you didn’t have the luxury of waste,” Barber explained. It’s a principle, though, that’s been lost in our modern way of eating.

“Waste, in so many ways, is the American experience,” he said. “It’s the American diet.”

If that’s the case, then the meal I enjoyed this past weekend at wastED was the most exotic I’ve ever had.

Here I should note that I attended WastED, on Barber’s invitation, in order to better understand the project — and not in the capacity of a food reviewer. To be honest, I wouldn’t know the first thing about doing that — although, an actual food reviewer who was sitting next to me at the bar (and who seemed to enjoy his experience) told me it’s easier than I think: All you have to do, he said, is say whether the food tasted good or not.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Actually, you may be surprised at what ingredients are in your fast food and junk food. At least, this chef explains it in his menu through a glossary. I like the idea.

"That was to be expected from the moment I saw WastEd’s menu, which comes complete with its own glossary. I learned, before putting anything into my mouth, that there’s edible grain left over from the brewing and distilling process; that “unlaid eggs…are sometimes discovered in the oviducts of slaughtered laying hens”; and that laying hens, which are slaughtered in old age, when their egg production slows, typically end up in pet food — but can also be used to make a mean chicken soup."

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Island residents start Facebook page to shame illegal garbage dumpers ("the social media weapon")

Island residents start Facebook page to shame illegal garbage dumpers ("the social media weapon") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
A few residents have banded together on social media to start the Facebook page 'Stop Illegal Garbage Dumping - Vancouver Island'.

Some residents are continuing to dump garbage illegally on the nature trails and in the forests and Guilfoy wants it to stop.

She, along with a few other residents, have banded together on social media to start the Facebook page ‘Stop Illegal Garbage Dumping – Vancouver Island‘. It only started six days ago and already has more than 3,500 likes.

“I was so sick of somebody dumping [garbage] up the road from my house,” says Guilfoy. “When it gets cleaned up, it is dumped there again.”

The garbage includes household items, furniture, car batteries, tires, bikes and lots of mail, with names, addresses and personal details clearly visible.

Gilfoy says they have contacted people whose mail has been found in the garbage but they have decided against putting the details on the Facebook page. “I don’t want to destroy someone’s life,” she says, as they don’t know if the person whose mail is dumped is the person who dumped it there.

“We just want to bring awareness of how big the issue is, to show people there are repercussions, the [Regional District of Nanaimo] is following up,” she says.

“We also want to bring awareness to identity theft. We found credit card statements, insurance papers, it’s crazy.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

This community is using social media to shame the illegal garbage dumpers. In the Philippines, this can be a good idea to mobilize citizens.

"She, along with a few other residents, have banded together on social media to start the Facebook page ‘Stop Illegal Garbage Dumping – Vancouver Island‘. It only started six days ago and already has more than 3,500 likes.

“I was so sick of somebody dumping [garbage] up the road from my house,” says Guilfoy. “When it gets cleaned up, it is dumped there again.”

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How expiring fruits and veggies can help end hunger ("preserving food before it rots extends use")

How expiring fruits and veggies can help end hunger ("preserving food before it rots extends use") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
How do you feed 9 billion people by 2050? Graduate students propose to extend the life of about-to-expire fruits and vegetables

.

Freeze-drying food can preserve micronutrients, thus helping people, especially children, reduce the risk of hunger and malnutrition.

No complex machinery is needed aside from the one used in freeze-drying the product, making it less expensive compared to other consumables used by several organizations. The target price for selling is only $2 (P80).

FoPo will take advance of the strict regulations requiring companies to sell their expiring produce by buying these from them at a cheaper price and transporting them to the processing facility to freeze-dry them.

Before selling to retailers and organizations, the freeze-dried products are put through a simple pulverizer to convert them into powder form.

Once purchased, consumers can use these powdered fruits and vegetables in making food products such as healthy juices, porridges, and even sandwich spreads.

The concept won in the recently concluded Thought For Food Challenge on February 14, 2015 in Lisbon, Portugal. The event encouraged members of the food industry to come up with social entrepreneurship business ideas to help address the problem of food insecurity.

Gerard Marin, one of the two Filipino members of the team, said that the concept is also effective especially in emergency situations.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Another great idea that can be used to reduce food waste.

"The creators of FoPo emphasized that food insecurity does not come from the lack of food. To address hunger, the problems in the existing food system should be fixed.

“The world does not need to produce more food to feed the population,” Marin said. “People just have to see the value from the inefficiency of the current food system, and create a sustainable, innovative, and socially relevant business out of it.”

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