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Great Desert Garbage Patches - Discovery News

Great Desert Garbage Patches - Discovery News | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Great Desert Garbage PatchesDiscovery NewsOcean garbage patches get a lot of attention, but a lot of trash is blowing across some of the most treasured and remote parts of America's desert wilderness, according to a new study out of the University...

Biologist Erin Zylstra mapped and added up all the wind-dispersed plastic trash bags and latex balloons in two protected parts of the Saguaro National Park in Arizona. She was surprised to discover that these particular kinds of very mobile trash outnumbered desert tortoises and western diamondback rattlesnakes. Like in the oceans, the bags and balloons pose potential threats to wildlife.

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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This Floating Platform Could Filter The Plastic From Our Polluted Oceans ("listen to daring designers")

This Floating Platform Could Filter The Plastic From Our Polluted Oceans ("listen to daring designers") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
By Vanessa Quirk
(Read the original story here)


Courtesy of Cristian Ehrmantraut

"Plastic is an extremely durable material, taking 500 years to biodegrade, yet it’s designed to be used for an average of 5 minutes, and so it’...

Cristian Ehrmantraut has developed a prototype for a floating platform that filters the ocean and absorbs plastic. Located 4 km from the coast of Easter Island, close to the center of the mega-vortex of plastic located in the South Pacific, the tetrahedral platform performs a kind of dialysis, allowing the natural environment to be recovered as well as energy and food to be produced.

Thus, the project, which would be located 4 km off the coast of Easter island, is a prototype for a floating platform that filters the ocean, absorbs plastic, and protects the island from this ceaseless attack.

The design of the sub-structure is based on the application of the M.E.F. logic, which is similar to the Sierpinski fractal, but in three dimensions in order to achieve the overall coordination of the small, prefabricated elements. Its tetrahedral shape is simple, clean, stable, and static.

At the conceptual level, interesting things also occur, such as the verticality of the space in its natural state; just by being submerged, it’s possible to see the sky from below sea level. Aspects of emergence at a non-invasive, horizontal level were also considered, which results in a volume no bigger than a freighter, with the habitable zone on the surface and the recycling zone underwater. Ocean water is directed toward the recycling zone via gravity filters that separate the water from the plastic, which is later processed into plastic bricks, tiles, or anything that could be used to improve the quality of life of those in need. The habitable zone also has gardens to produce food for its 65 workers, without having to resort to supplies from the Island. The roof is made from photovoltaic cells.


Bert Guevara's insight:

This is an example of taking responsibility for the ocean mess that man has created. This amazingly-designed platform may just be what we are looking for -- a floating plastic recovery and recycling factory.

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Recycled products saved her life - YouTube ("plastic straws are useful when recycled for livelihood")

A cancer patient strives to earn money with the use of plastic straws. She sells bags made out of plastic straws. Watch Mutya ng Masa to know the whole story...
Bert Guevara's insight:

Plastic straws are durable as materials for bag making and other handicraft items, which are life-saving livelihood opportunities for the underprivileged. What will happen to her when plastic straws are banned?

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Integrated approach vital to reduction food waste and loss ("not simple case to solve; need planning")

Integrated approach vital to reduction food waste and loss ("not simple case to solve; need planning") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Governments, international organisations, businesses and community agencies worldwide must create joint programmes to reduce food loss and waste (FLW), if they want to show that they are really committed to developing sustainable food systems. This is the only way to ensure that future populations have ...

Governments, international organisations, businesses and community agencies worldwide must create joint programmes to reduce food loss and waste (FLW), if they want to show that they are really committed to developing sustainable food systems. This is the only way to ensure that future populations have adequate amounts of good quality food. This is the keynote message of an advisory report, released on July 3, 2014, by the UN Committee on World Food Security's (CFS) High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition. Toine Timmermans, Programme Manager Sustainable Food Chains at Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research, and a project team member, was closely involved in developing the report.

The expert panel advises governments and international organisations about how to ensure proper integration of food chains and systems into national and global food and nutrition policies. Food waste should be monitored via agreed and globally-consistent methods and can be seen as a means of making farming and food production systems more efficient and sustainable. Research on direct and indirect causes of FLW is essential. "We need to be able to identify those areas and processes where it would be most efficient to intervene", the panel said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is taking the food waste issue seriously.

"The expert panel recommends four parallel, mutually-supportive tracks, using an inclusive and participatory approach:

1. Improve data collection and knowledge sharing around FLW;

2. Develop effective strategies to reduce FLW, at the appropriate levels;

3. Take effective steps to reduce FLW.

4. Improve coordination of policies and strategies in order to reduce FLW. Per stakeholder, the panel mentions a number of concrete actions to be taken."

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Luntian Bags: A livelihood program that provides jobs for unemployed women ("going green creates jobs")

Luntian Bags: A livelihood program that provides jobs for unemployed women ("going green creates jobs") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it

(ANC VIDEO:) Luntian Bags: A livelihood program that provides jobs for unemployed women. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

In the quest for "biodegradable" reusable bags, Luntian Bags is a winner. What started as a small handicraft project is now employing 30 women from the local village of San Teodoro, Mabini.

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The strange science behind design: materials from unusual sources ("textile from upcycling & recycing")

The strange science behind design: materials from unusual sources ("textile from upcycling & recycing") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
From clothing made from crab compounds to recycled blue jeans worked into your Ford Focus, innovation in textile manufacture and design is getting weirder – and more sustainable

From as far back as the story of Adam and Eve, who used fig leaves as makeshift clothing in the Garden of Eden, humans have been imagining ways to use natural materials to clothe themselves. Today's textiles are more inventive and technically advanced than ever as new synthetic-natural hybrids with cradle-to-cradle principles make their mark.

Many of the examples here use existing waste streams or manufacturing byproducts to create unique materials. Makers and manufacturers are also increasingly growing a social conscience and moving beyond environmental impact alone. The process of making sustainable textiles and textile-related products requires buy-in at multiple levels – from raw materials, manufacturing and distribution to design, branding and consumer preferences.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Textile upcycling and recycling from unusual sources ...

"But as more companies close the loop, will we see even stranger collaborations? Will there be textiles that never die in an endless circle of old polyester clothing recycled back into new polyester clothing? The future of fabrics is about to get even weirder."

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Indonesia's poor swap garbage for health care ("why didn't i think of this earlier; great exchange")

A new group of clinics on Indonesia's main island of Java are treating patients for free in exchange for rubbish, an innovative approach to broadening access to healthcare for the poorest as...
Bert Guevara's insight:

As long as waste has value, it can be used in so many ways like this. Although health centers are free in the Philippines, medicine is not.

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Eleen Murphy's curator insight, June 23, 5:21 AM

A great example of the many ways we can use "waste" when it is given value and treated as a resource.

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Will New Yorkers Jump on Board with a Composting Program? ("making a dent in garbage volume")

Will New Yorkers Jump on Board with a Composting Program? ("making a dent in garbage volume") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
A pilot program to test out the curbside collection of organic waste was much more successful than officials anticipated, and now they plan to expand it.

The project – which included 30,000 households in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island, as well as over 100 schools and city buildings throughout the city – was much more successful than officials anticipated, and now the city is rolling out the curbside organics collection program to the rest of the Big Apple in phases. This spring, an additional 70,000 households in Queens and Brooklyn received new brown carts where residents can toss in fruit and vegetable trimmings, meat and bones, napkins, and even pizza boxes.

New York City sends about 3.2 million tons of waste to landfills each year, the New York Times reported, and spends around $350 million annually to haul trash as far away as South Carolina, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. By expanding the composting collection program citywide, officials hope to make a dent in that staggering statistic, estimating that organics make up approximately 30 percent of the city’s waste stream.

Composting organic material from the nation’s largest city clearly has environmental and economic benefits, but will the program be successful? Despite the unexpected popularity of the pilot program, New Yorkers have been slow to increase their recycling efforts: Bloomberg Businessweek reported that recycling participation has stalled at 43 percent or less over the past several years, even with a city ordinance mandating recycling. Last year, New York issued 51,000 violations to the city’s recycling program for paper, plastics, glass and metals, according to Bloomberg. While New York City’s organics program is currently a voluntary initiative, it may become mandatory in the next few years.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Food waste composting in New York?; so why not in Metro Manila?

“Success does not happen overnight,” Nutter wrote. “Behavior change is hard business. In San Francisco, when recycling and composting was mandated, we experienced some initial resistance because of the ‘ick’ factor: the idea that composting could be foul smelling and belongs on a farm, not in a city. Overcoming these misconceptions is as easy as reminding people that compostables have been in your kitchen trash can all along. Now, you are separating out your coffee grounds, food scraps, soiled paper and dead flowers and putting them toward a good cause.”

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Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Winner Recycles GHGs into Plastic ("cradle to cradle solution?")

Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Winner Recycles GHGs into Plastic ("cradle to cradle solution?") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Molly Morse has developed a bio-based plastic that is made from waste methane gas and can be recycled over and over again.

The feedstock for Morse’s innovative eco-plastic is waste methane gas from wastewater treatment plants, landfills and agricultural facilities. Classified as a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, methane is potentially 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide and also plays a role in the depletion of the ozone layer. Morse and her team at Mango Materials use bacteria to transform methane into pellets or powder of a biodegradable, bio-based polymer – poly-hydroxybutryate (PHB) – that has similar properties to polypropylene and can be made into a variety of products, including electronic casings, children’s toys, shampoo bottles and packaging.

When the PHB products reach the end of their useful life, they can be sent to a landfill or digester, where they degrade and produce methane – which can be made back into PHB plastic. How quickly the product biodegrades depends on the landfill environment and the material’s thickness, the California-based startup said on its website.

“…The process can be a completely closed loop, cradle-to-cradle solution with a significant impact on the worldwide plastics market,” Morse wrote on a Huffington Post blog. “And, by providing an incentive for methane capture, it will promote the sequestration of millions of pounds of this greenhouse gas.”


 

Bert Guevara's insight:

To ban the use of any material should be preceded by the development of a viable alternative.

Since the ban of traditional plastics became a trend, there has been no commensurate alternative that equals the industrial and commercial properties of plastic. Maybe this bio-plastic made from GHG gases is promising.

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Pristine South Ballina beach now turning into a garbage dump - Northern Star

Pristine South Ballina beach now turning into a garbage dump - Northern Star | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Pristine South Ballina beach now turning into a garbage dump Northern Star Plastic Plague: A National Geographic mini-documentary starring Edward Norton on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the impact of rubbish on the ocean.
Bert Guevara's insight:
With the middle of the oceans already full of garbage, it is not surprising that they are spilling into our fine beaches. The Philippines has so many beaches to protect from man-made garbage. We can begin by not adding to the problem.
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49 Million Tons of Electronic Waste Generated in 2012 - Mashable ("30kg per American per year!")

49 Million Tons of Electronic Waste Generated in 2012 - Mashable ("30kg per American per year!") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
49 Million Tons of Electronic Waste Generated in 2012
Mashable
Researchers at StEP, an initiative for the reduction and proper disposal of electronic waste, have been tracking the amounts of e-waste generated by developed countries worldwide.

It's not just your smartphones, computers and television sets that are considered e-waste. Following definitions set by the European Union, StEP also includes large and small household appliances from microwaves to washing machines, as well as other personal consumer equipment like cameras, printers and Internet routers.

In addition, other electrical and some commercial items such as lighting equipment, certain electrical tools, electronic toys, leisure and sports equipment, monitoring and control instruments, automatic dispensers, and even some medical devices, are classified as e-waste.

Statistics company Statista visualized the StEP initiative's staggering findings in the following chart.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Can you imagine how much is 49M tons per year of e-waste? It doesn't stink that much, although its beginning to fill up our disposal sites.

"These appliances are gradually taking over the world's landfills, leading to a global environmental problem that has so far gone largely unnoticed."

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Sprint is selling iPhone cases made of waste CO2 ("getting closer to the real game changer")

Sprint is selling iPhone cases made of waste CO2 ("getting closer to the real game changer") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Sprint is among the first companies to offer a product made of AirCarbon, plastic created from waste greenhouse gases by Newlight Technologies.

The main ingredient in the cases, AirCarbon, comes from startup Newlight Technologies, which calls its product carbon-negative, even after production and end of life are taken into account. The company uses carbon dioxide or methane from farms and landfills as well as from wastewater treatment and anaerobic digester plants. AirCarbon "can then be formed and molded into almost any given design," it says.

Why focus on AirCarbon instead of, say oil-based plastic that's already recycled, or plastic made from the start from plants?

"There isn't one option that is going to change the world. Instead it takes a combination of efforts and innovations to collectively create change," Hargroves said. "We like this option because it removes greenhouse gases from the air — the key contributor to global warming...We aren’t limiting ourselves to just this one technology solution, but see it as a potential game changer."

Sprint's accessories long have been made of recycled PET plastic, and PVC-free. It once sold the solar-powered, handheld Solio charger as an accessory. Sprint's packaging has been fully recyclable since 2009, and it has worked with the San Diego Zoo Centre for Bioinspiration to experiment with packaging that imitates patterns in nature. The AirCarbon-based cases can be recycled at a plastics recycling center, but not via curbside pickup.


Bert Guevara's insight:

This company's R&D is way ahead of the rest, in terms of producing products that are environmental solutions -- not merely less pollutive.

"... And not only does AirCarbon capture greenhouse gases, but it is cheaper to produce than petroleum-based plastics.

"... "the weight of the new cell phone case is the same weight in carbon (as carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas) that has been sequestered and would otherwise be part of the air by making the case, generating a net positive environmental impact."

“AirCarbon offers a new paradigm in which products we use every day, like cellphone cases, become part of the environmental solution,”

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Latest Survey Shows That Our Ocean Floors Are Covered In Garbage ("we'll soon fish back our waste")

Latest Survey Shows That Our Ocean Floors Are Covered In Garbage ("we'll soon fish back our waste") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
The Guardian
Latest Survey Shows That Our Ocean Floors Are Covered In Garbage
io9
A major new survey of the seafloor has found a shocking amount of litter.

A major new survey of the seafloor has found a shocking amount of litter. This garbage, which consists of bottles, plastic bags, fishing nets, and whatever else you can think of, was found throughout the Mediterranean and reaching all the way to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge — a distance of over 2,000 miles.

Litter accumulation in our marine environments is one of the fastest growing threats for the world's ocean health. We dump over 6.4 million tonnes of litter in the oceans each year — and the effects are serious.

Aside from the ugliness of it all, litter can be mistaken for food items and be ingested by a wide variety of marine organisms. Animals can also get caught in fishing gear, a problem faced by various mammals, turtles, and birds.

"We found that plastic was the most common litter item found on the seafloor, while trash associated with fishing activities (discarded fishing lines and nets) was particularly common on seamounts, banks, mounds and ocean ridges," noted Christopher Pham from the University of the Azores in a statement. "The most dense accumulations of litter were found in deep underwater canyons."

The researchers discovered litter at each site surveyed, with plastic accounting for 41% and derelict fishing gear 34%. Glass and metal, wood, paper/cardboard, clothing, pottery, and unidentified materials were also observed. Much of the plastic originates from coastal and land sources, and are carried along continental shelves and slopes into deep water.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The failure of solid waste management on land sends its horrors into the most remote parts of the oceans. 

We will soon be eating our own garbage at the rate we are turning our fishing grounds into dump sites.

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How to Put Food on the Table for 10 Billion People on a Warming Planet ("it makes sense if you focus")

How to Put Food on the Table for 10 Billion People on a Warming Planet ("it makes sense if you focus") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
China, India and the U.S. between them emit more than half of all

Imagine being able to contain greenhouse gas emissions, make fertilizer use more efficient, keep water waste to a minimum and put food on the table for the 10 billion people crowded into the planet’s cities, towns and villages by the end of the century.

This is thinking big: the global view of immediate and local problems. The researchers selected three key areas with the greatest potential for reducing environmental damage while boosting food supply. They thought about water use, food waste, greenhouse gas emissions and polluting run-off from farmland and where fresh thinking could make the most difference in the most efficient way.

The first challenge is to produce more food on existing land. They see an “agricultural yield gap”—that is, a difference between what soil actually produces and what it could produce—in many parts of the world.

Rice and wheat are the crops that create most demand for irrigation, which in turn accounts for 90 percent of global water consumption. More than 70 percent of irrigation happens in India, China, Pakistan and the U.S., and just by concentrating of more efficient use, farmers could deliver the same yield and reduce water demand by 15 percent.

Crops now grown as animal food could supply the energy needs of 4 billion people, and most of this “diet gap” is in the U.S., China and Western Europe.


Bert Guevara's insight:

This prescription makes a lot of common sense. You will wonder how a simple audit of how we use the planet's resources can result in mega-savings which are good enough in climate change mitigation. I suggest you read this article and give your comments.

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Nuclear waste - the unanswered questions that won't go away ("we are still hoping for safe disposal")

Nuclear waste - the unanswered questions that won't go away ("we are still hoping for safe disposal") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
The recent closure of five US power stations is forcing the industry to confront big questions about radioactive waste, writes Paul Brown. Who is to pay the mounting costs of managing the wastes and keeping them secure? And precisely where will be their final resting place?

Long-term employment is hard to find these days, but one career that can be guaranteed to last a lifetime is dealing with nuclear waste.

The problem and how to solve it is becoming critical. Dozens of nuclear power stations in the US, Russia, Japan, and across Europe and Central Asia are nearing the end of their lives.

And when these stations close, the spent fuel has to be taken out, safely stored or disposed of, and then the pressure vessels and the mountains of concrete that make up the reactors have to be dismantled. This can take between 30 and 100 years, depending on the policies adopted.

In the rush to build stations in the last century, little thought was given to how to take them apart 40 years later. It was an age of optimism that science would always find a solution when one was needed, but the reality is that little effort was put into dealing with the waste problem. It is now coming back to haunt the industry.

Bert Guevara's insight:

There is again the resurrected idea of adopting nuclear power to augment the energy deficiency of the Philippines. The TRUE cost of nuclear power is pricing itself out of the market ... "could no longer compete on cost with the current price of natural gas and increased subsidies for renewables."

"The dilemma for the industry is that the US government has not solved the problem of what to do with the spent fuel and the highly radioactive nuclear waste that these stations have generated over the last 40 years.

"They have collected a levy - kept in a separate fund that now amounts to $31 billion - to pay for solving the problem, but still have not come up with a plan."

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Recycling is Destruction. - iFixit ("repair is better than recycling")

Recycling is Destruction. - iFixit ("repair is better than recycling") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Recycling isn’t the answer; it’s the last resort.


There’s a better way...
The best shot we have at reducing the environmental impact of our electronics is to keep them around for as long as possible.
Repair is the first line of defense against waste. It extends the life of electronics: users can replace broken components, put in a better battery, or upgrade to higher-capacity RAM whenever they want. That means less stuff in landfills and less things in a recycler’s shredder.
And it doesn’t stop with the owner. Manufacturers can repair their products, too. 65% of all cell phones collected in the US are refurbished or repaired, then resold—not recycled. That’s because recyclers make an average of about 50 cents per recycled phone. Resellers, for comparison, average $20 per phone.
Even better, when stuff is repaired, it holds on to all the energy and all the materials it used up during manufacturing. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is lost.

Repair is better than recycling.And we're not the only ones who think so. Leading think tanks, like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, say the best way to support both the economy and the environment is through a Circular Economy, where resources are designed for widespread reuse.In a Circular Economy, repair is the inner loop—making it the quickest, most effective way to get more value out of our resources.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Taking a closer look at the e-waste situation:In a Circular Economy, repair is the inner loop—making it the quickest, most effective way to get more value out of our resources.
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'Use DAP, PDAF to resolve waste management woes' ("Phil has a good SWM law but poor implementation")

'Use DAP, PDAF to resolve waste management woes' ("Phil has a good SWM law but poor implementation") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Lawyer Romulo Macalintal thinks it is high time that some of the billions of pesos involved in the controversial Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) be used to resolve the country’s waste management problem.

Macalintal also cited studies in the United States which, he said, should alarm those who have position in the government.

“In previous research undertaken by the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health between 1980 and 1992, it said that garbage collecting is not only ‘extremely hazardous but it can in fact be both dangerous and even deadly. Unfortunately, the risk of injury and health hasn’t improved much since then. In 2007, the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that refuse and recyclable materials collectors had a fatality rate of 22 per 100,000 workers, placing them among occupations with high fatality rates.’

“If garbage collectors in the US would still belong to the job with high fatality rates despite all the protective gears given to them by their government and their high salary rates, then Filipino garbage collectors are now in so pathetic and pitiable condition because of the apparent lack of concern by our government officials over their welfare and benefit,” he said.

Unlike the sanitary engineers in the US, Macalintal noted that Filipino garbage collectors “do not have the luxury of wearing heavy gloves, shoes or protective gears while collecting garbage. Some even use their bare hands, some without shoes nor slippers. Some in sleeve-less shirts; others have no clothing at all. And they are not paid that much, sometimes even underpaid.”

As such, Macalintal is urging government officials to immediately act on the “very poor waste management system in our country,” and be more mindful to all the potential hazards to the lives of Filipino garbage collectors.

Bert Guevara's insight:

There are so many things to fix if we are talking of a sustainable solid waste management program. In fact, the system requires a major overhaul beginning with the people calling the shots.

“It is sad to note that our government officials seem unmindful or have no concern at all over the health and sanitation of the truck drivers and the garbage collectors who are exposed to the hazard and danger in collecting garbage,”

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Massachusetts is taking a new approach to food waste - The Boston Globe ("take full range of options")

Massachusetts is taking a new approach to food waste - The Boston Globe ("take full range of options") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Starting Oct. 1, food waste from large institutions and supermarkets — not residents — will be collected in Massachusetts. And only some of that will go to bugs.

Massachusetts’ new food waste ban, which was a decade in the making, puts the commonwealth among leaders in the United States in addressing an indulgence that is unique to our modern existence: throwing away large quantities of food. But the US is behind cities in Canada and Europe, where such organic waste already is collected and converted to good use. In Germany alone, there are 6,800 food waste processing plants.

“We want to find alternatives, and disposing of solid waste is expensive,” said Greg Cooper, who is head of commercial recycling for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. “We are starting to see a shift from throwing everything away.”

“We want to look at the full menu: Are you ordering the right amount of food? Can you reduce the amount you buy to ensure less ends up going in the trash?” Secondly, he said, he expects more supermarkets and institutions will donate edible food to soup kitchens and food banks. And some businesses will build facilities to handle the waste on-site: Stop & Shop is doing that in Freetown, which will handle the unbought returns from 213 of its stores.

Much of the remainder will be made into compost. WeCare Environmental composts trash, sludge, and food waste in Marlborough and sells the result to farmers, sand and gravel mixers, and other users.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is an example of how food waste should be tackled from both ends of the consumption cycle. The Philippines should learn from this model.

“When we understand the stuff going out the door is actually a valuable resource, we start to treat it differently,” he said. “Organics are way, way too precious to dispose of.”

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Brighton's Lovely 'Waste House' is 100 Percent Rubbish - Curbed National ("great achievement")

Brighton's Lovely 'Waste House' is 100 Percent Rubbish - Curbed National ("great achievement") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
TakePart Brighton's Lovely 'Waste House' is 100 Percent Rubbish Curbed National Up close, it's probably readily apparent that the University of Brighton's new "Waste House" is made entirely from recycled material ("garbage" if you want to be frank...

Of course, any fan of garbage-based adaptive reuse projects knows that they're only as good as their lists of materials are mind-boggling. In that vein, the long list of items that comprises the Waste House includes 19,800 toothbrushes, 2 metric tons of denim scraps, 200 rolls of wallpaper, 4,000 VHS tapes, 4,000 DVD cases, 600 sheets of second-hand plywood, 500 bicycle inner tubes, 600 vinyl banners, 2,000 used carpet tiles, and 10 metric tons of chalk.

As architect Duncan Baker-Brown explained to Dezeen, this upcycled collection of junk was all about proving that "you can build something with other people's stuff, and that you can make a permanent building out of rubbish. There have been a lot of other projects where people have built sheds or temporary things out of rubbish, but to get full building regulations and planning approval is a first." The finished building will serve as a combined research center and teaching tool for students from the university's Sustainable Design course, as well as a community center.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Trash resources will always find better uses once we put our minds into it. If there is a will; there is a way.

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New Tips for a Sustainable Waste Management Program - Sustainability: business, life, environment | Taiga Company

New Tips for a Sustainable Waste Management Program - Sustainability: business, life, environment | Taiga Company | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it

In a recent GreenBiz post, 8 New Ways to Reduce Waste at Your Business, our sustainability consulting practice finds insights from business sustainability programs from around the world.  Herein, the author leverages new and often strange sounding strategies that are actually producing results.  Here is the complete list.

Compost: Organic waste is typically the heaviest portion of the waste stream. Heavy waste is costly to remove.  Hundreds of office buildings are composting as well, and composting service is available in more than 40 major U.S. markets. Audit your facility: Take a look around your facility and evaluate the supply chain of items that become waste. What consumables do you stock? Can you switch to compostable or at least recyclable products? How are waste bins placed?Make sure that recycling and composting containers are more convenient than landfill-bound containers, and that labels are easy to read. Signage with photos showing what goes where are highly effective, and hauling companies often provide free templates.Reduce packaging: One third of waste in developed countries comes from packaging alone.  Evaluate the packaging used in your business. Eliminate bottled water:  Ditch the bottles in favor of filters and glasses.Give food waste to pigs: No kidding! This age-old strategy is applicable today and offers significant cost savings.Go paperless: Technology offers cheaper and better alternatives to using paper.Measure it: You can't manage what you don't measure. Make sure your hauler is weighing your waste, then calculate the amount per day, or per person per day.Collect e-waste every day: Offer a bin where employees can put e-waste — from either home or work — and promote it as a benefit to employees. In additional, make sure that your e-waste vendor is actually recycling, as many sell the waste to overseas entities that do not follow through with recycling.
Bert Guevara's insight:

Practicing sustainable waste management at the office ... 

"At Taiga Company, our own sustainability consulting approach emphasizes that changing habits is the key to a low waste culture.  Once you have raised your eco awareness in one area of waste reduction, it's easy to find new ways of reducing waste in other areas of your life."

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This Ocean Art Is Beautiful And Horrifying At The Same Time ("calling attention to ocean garbage")

This Ocean Art Is Beautiful And Horrifying At The Same Time ("calling attention to ocean garbage") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
They’re beautiful from a distance -- and appalling upon closer inspection.

A styrofoam coral reef, a water bottle jelly fish and a plastic whale ribcage are some of the giant sealife sculptures featured in Washed Ashore -- a traveling exhibi...

“I've created something I hope is beautiful and horrifying,” lead artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The display, sponsored by Pozzi’s Artula Institute for Arts and Environmental Education, is the product of years of collecting more than 11 tons of beach trash to raise awareness of how plastic pollution affects the species featured.

“We’re thrilled that the Zoo is bringing this important art and educational message about ocean pollution to a wide audience in the Bay Area,” Pozzi said in a zoo press release.

Bert Guevara's insight:

A message of  urgent concern!

"The display is the product of years of collecting more than 11 tons of beach trash to raise awareness of how plastic pollution affects the species featured."

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90 ways to 90% less waste - City of Edmonton

90 ways to 90% less waste - City of Edmonton | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
City of Edmonton sponsors the 90 Ways to 90 campaign, reducing waste in landfills by sharing grasscycling, composting, recycling and waste-reduction tips.
Bert Guevara's insight:
This campaign got my attention. I wish we can replicate it here. It uses practitioners to contribute their ideas through video.
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Clothes for the Cause: Upcycling Your Old Outfits For a Good Cause ... ("this is not garbage at all")

Clothes for the Cause: Upcycling Your Old Outfits For a Good Cause ... ("this is not garbage at all") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
In the world of fashion, being environmentally conscious is in. With companies like Warby Parker or Nice Laundry actively trying to make a difference, it is quite easy to find brands that align with some environmental or socially ...

A new charitable organization, Clothes for the Cause takes your used items (and in many cases even your very used items) and repurposes them into rags, fiber for home and shelter insulation, and more. In this way, all of our old garments do a great deal of good for people who need raw materials to make everyday items to keep warm and clean.

Each year in the US, billions upon billions of clothes are needlessly and thoughtlessly tossed like any other garbage into landfills and dumps. This is not only tragic because they aren’t being used for the hundreds of thousands of adults, children, and infants they could clothes, but also because of the space they take up in garbage heaps, which are growing exponentially and harming our environment. Upcycling clothes in this manner is much like recycling aluminum cans or plastic—it’s the right thing to do, helps our environment, and helps us reuse materials to keep the costs of certain items lower.

And it isn’t just t-shirts and sweatpants that Clothes for the Cause will take off your hands—your old work ensembles, button-downs—even children’s plush toys, terrycloth rags and towels, handbags, and even draperies! The level of versatility means you as a consumer with clothes and other textile items in your home have the chance to give back in a way you had probably never heard of or considered while freeing up space in your home.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is "up-cycling" taken to the next level.

There are just so much clothes and textile materials for upcycling, that we only have to look in our closets and look beyond ourselves. Upcycling for a cause can go a long way for any organizer.

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British Airways wants to fly garbage-powered planes from NYC to London in 2017 - Treehugger

British Airways wants to fly garbage-powered planes from NYC to London in 2017 - Treehugger | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Treehugger
British Airways wants to fly garbage-powered planes from NYC to London in 2017
Treehugger
While most land-based transportation can be electrified and powered be clean energy, things are a little more complicated with airplanes.

Solena uses the gasification-Fischer-Tropsch process and has invested big bucks ($600 million) into the technology

After the trash is cleaned of hazardous and recyclable materials, it will be combusted in a low-oxygen environment that produces a synthesis gas of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, a process known as gasification:

"What we get from that is a very pure, high-quality fuel," said Counsell, at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference in National Harbor, Md., Wednesday. Turning trash into fuel yields twice the energy that incinerating the waste for electricity would provide, he added. Recent life-cycle analyses indicate that the fuel could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 95 percent compared to fossil fuels, said Counsell. This doesn't include the avoided methane emissions -- a gas with 30 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide -- that result from trash decomposing in a landfill.

Bert Guevara's insight:

It's Back to the Future!

British Airways has partnered with Washington, D.C.-based Solena Fuels to make 50,000 metric tons of jet fuel per year from... municipal solid waste. Yep, garbage.

"Who knew trash could be this useful? Don't use that as an excuse to produce more waste, though, it's not like there's a shortage... (except maybe in Norway)

"If everything goes according to plan, British Airways could be able to fuel flights from London to New York with trash-based-fuel in 2017."

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One Artist's Inspiring And Unconventional Response To Homelessness ("homes for the poor from scrap")

One Artist's Inspiring And Unconventional Response To Homelessness ("homes for the poor from scrap") | Zero Waste World | Scoop.it
Artist Gregory Kloehn is giving new meaning to the tired adage, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Except in the case of his ongoing project, Homeless Homes, the word "treasure" should be replaced with the phrase "e...

For the past several years, Kloehn -- a California-based artist specializing in "social irony" -- has been transforming gently used garbage and salvage into the building blocks of portable homes. Chalk it up to the rise of the Tiny House Movement, the project aims not to put a bandage over the epidemic of homelessness, but to provide an essential tool that can help individuals in the long uphill battle against poverty -- a safe place to reside.

The shelters are no larger than a sofa, crafted from reclaimed wood and plastic found on the street by Kloehn and his volunteers in Oakland, usually over the course of two or three days. Equipped with wheels and a roof, and built on a foundation of discarded wood pallets, the mobile houses differ in size and shape but all supply the same overall benefit of creative shelter.

"Our goal is to bring together imaginative people and discarded materials to make sturdy, innovative, mobile shelters for the homeless people," Kloehn writes on theHomeless Homes Project website. "By sourcing our materials from illegal street dumping, commercial waste and excess household items, we strive to diminish money's influence over the building process."

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Mobile homes for the poor, from scrap!

“Stuff people just throw away on the street can give someone a viable home,” Kloehn explained in an interview with NBC News. “Does it have merit as a solution to homelessness? As far as giving people a shelter, yeah, definitely. Is it a solution to homelessness? It’s an answer. An attempt.”

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