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Better Batteries from Waste Sulfur - Science Daily ("made from abundant oil refinery waste!")

Better Batteries from Waste Sulfur - Science Daily ("made from abundant oil refinery waste!") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
Better Batteries from Waste Sulfur
Science Daily (press release)
Apr. 14, 2013 — A new chemical process can transform waste sulfur into a lightweight plastic that may improve batteries for electric cars, reports a University of Arizona-led team.
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Global Recycling Movement
Big and small efforts worldwide to manage waste
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Incredible possibilities of 'invisible' wood ("game-changing materials now nearing production")

Incredible possibilities of 'invisible' wood ("game-changing materials now nearing production") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Scientists at the University of Maryland, College Park have created transparent wood. The material could revolutionize design concepts.

Over the past year, scientists at the University of Maryland, College Park have worked to develop a superior, transparent version of wood.

The "invisible" wood -- as Dr. Liangbing Hu of the University's Department of Material Science and Engineering describes it -- is sturdier than traditional wood, and can be used in place of less environmentally friendly materials, such as plastics. 

And in a world where modern urban architecture relies heavily on the use of glass and steel, replacing these materials with transparent, biodegradable wood could revolutionize design concepts -- as well as reduce heating costs and help to lower fuel consumption.

Hu describes the process of creating clear wood in two steps: First, the lignin -- an organic substance found in vascular plants -- is chemically removed. This is the same step used in manufacturing pulp for paper. The lignin is responsible for the "yellow-ish" color of wood.

The second step is to inject the channels, or veins of the wood by filling it with an epoxy -- which can be thought of as strengthening agent, Hu says. 

Epoxies are commonly used in adhesives and to reinforce composite materials used for building. The process, which takes approximately an hour, is done to maintain the makeup of cellulose nanofibers. 

"These tiny fibers that form the walls of channels, are what makes wood so robust," Hu explains. 

"We don't disturb these channels -- and so for the first time, we can maintain the backbone structure of the wood, and make it transparent, while simultaneously making it stronger." 

Bert Guevara's insight:
With new materials being developed, the possibilities are enormous for the building industry.

"The material offers large-scale possibilities for architects and engineers, looking for greener building materials. 
"Potentially, the wood could be made to match or even exceed the strength of steel per weight, with the added benefit that the wood would be lighter in weight," explains Hu."
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Shrinking America's Food Waste Mountain ("story is the same everywhere, creative solutions needed")

Shrinking America's Food Waste Mountain ("story is the same everywhere, creative solutions needed") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
A federal government push to cut in half the nation's food waste is adding pressure to a myriad of approaches to tackle this burgeoning problem. Almost half of food produced in the U.S. is destined for landfills. (Aug. 11)
Bert Guevara's insight:
There are more creative ways of handling food waste, in different parts of the food stream. While addressing the landfill problem, it is also an opportunity for hunger reduction. Different countries are applying different methods.
Note: We are not talking of the "pagpag" system.
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Zero Waste Town - Call for Applications ("When can the Phil have its own serious candidate?")

Zero Waste Town - Call for Applications ("When can the Phil have its own serious candidate?") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
The successful project will follow the two existing Zero Waste Towns in Dunbar and Bute, which are currently up and running and are taking forward a wide range of initiatives to increase recycling, tackle food waste, encourage re-use and support local businesses to be more resource-efficient. 
For the third project, we are looking for applications that offer a different geographic setting from the smaller rural locations of the first two towns, with an emphasis on more urban settings. Organisations and community groups are being asked to come forward with innovative ideas, passion and enthusiasm and a strong track record of leading behaviour change in their community. 
The application process consists of two stages: 
Stage One: Interested organisations should submit an application form outlining some information about your organisation, background and an outline of what your project would look to achieve as a Zero Waste Town. You can download the application form and guidance notes. Applications should be submitted by Monday 3 October 2016. These applications will be assessed and funding will be awarded to projects to undertake stage two of the application process. 
Stage Two: The best applications from stage one will be invited and funded to develop their ideas into a full feasibility study and project plan. This stage takes place between October 2016 and February 2017, when a full project proposal would be submitted. These full project proposals and feasibility studies will be assessed and a successful project will be identified. 
The successful project proposals after stage two will be invited to deliver and implement these plans as a Zero Waste Town from April 2017 to March 2020. 
Bert Guevara's insight:
The Philippines can aspire to send a serious contender to this contest. There are many possibilities, but can you name one?

"The successful project will follow the two existing Zero Waste Towns in Dunbar and Bute, which are currently up and running and are taking forward a wide range of initiatives to increase recycling, tackle food waste, encourage re-use and support local businesses to be more resource-efficient.
"For the third project, we are looking for applications that offer a different geographic setting from the smaller rural locations of the first two towns, with an emphasis on more urban settings. Organisations and community groups are being asked to come forward with innovative ideas, passion and enthusiasm and a strong track record of leading behaviour change in their community."
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Take responsibility for electronic-waste disposal ("billions of profits without proper disposal plan")

Take responsibility for electronic-waste disposal ("billions of profits without proper disposal plan") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

International cooperation is needed to stop developed nations simply offloading defunct electronics on developing countries, argue Zhaohua Wang, Bin Zhang and Dabo Guan.

Much of this waste ends up in the developing world, where regulation is lax. China processed about 70% of the world’s e-waste in 20124; the rest goes to India and other countries in eastern Asia and Africa, including Nigeria5. Non-toxic components — such as iron, steel, copper and gold — are valuable, so are more frequently recycled than toxic ones4. Disposal plants release toxic materials, volatile organic chemicals and heavy metals, which can harm the environment and human health.

A global approach to managing the volume and flow of e-waste is urgently needed. This requires: an international protocol on e-waste; funding for technology transfer; firmer national legislation on imports and exports; and greater awareness of the problem among consumers. Researchers and regulators should build a global e-waste flow system that covers the whole life cycle of electrical goods, including production, usage, disposal, recovery and remanufacturing.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Simply put, there is still no sustainable way of handling global e-waste. Successful model companies are very few.
The rate of recycling cannot catch up with massive production of e-gadgets. This is because our hi-tech designers have not factored in recycling and eco-friendly disposal into their designs. What we have is e-waste dumping in poor countries with lax environmental laws.

"Much of this waste ends up in the developing world, where regulation is lax. China processed about 70% of the world’s e-waste in 20124; the rest goes to India and other countries in eastern Asia and Africa, including Nigeria5. Non-toxic components — such as iron, steel, copper and gold — are valuable, so are more frequently recycled than toxic ones4. Disposal plants release toxic materials, volatile organic chemicals and heavy metals, which can harm the environment and human health."
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Basurama transforms landfill trash into playgrounds in Taipei ("a little upcycling creativity needed")

Basurama transforms landfill trash into playgrounds in Taipei ("a little upcycling creativity needed") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Basurama transformed water tanks and street lamps reclaimed from landfills into two playgrounds in Taipei, Taiwan.

You know the old saying: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In the case of Basurama, that trash is transformed into the building blocks of two new playgrounds for kids in Taipei, Taiwan. Commissioned as part of World Design Capital 2016, Basurama’s project, called Re-create Taipei, consists of a pair of play spaces innovatively constructed from water tanks and street lamps reclaimed from local landfills. Keep reading to watch an interview with Basurama design member Mónica Gutiérrez Herrero and to take a video tour of the site as it transforms from trash to playground.

Founded in 2001, the Basurama artist collective has worked around the world developing innovative uses for waste to raise awareness about the benefits of reuse and the ills of a throwaway consumerist society. Re-create Taipei was created in collaboration with Taiwan-based City Yeast as part of an International Open Call program hosted by the World Design Capital, a biennial city promotion project hosted this year by Taipei. The design studios constructed two temporary playground sites in a central location near Zhongxiao Xinsheng. As their name implies (‘basura’ is the Spanish word for trash), Basurama primarily uses locally found, discarded materials as their preferred building medium.

“We always try to work with local materials,” said Mónica Gutiérrez Herrero in an interview with Inhabitat. “So, in this case it is our first time working with water tanks because it’s the first time we’re in a country that uses it. So we are really happy to experiment and learn from new materials because although we have been working now for 15 years, we learn in each project.” The unique and site-specific Re-Create Taipei playgrounds were built in ten days following a nine-month design and planning process that involved site selection, material collection, and community engagement.

Bert Guevara's insight:
I am sure Filipinos can also be as creative when they put their minds into it. The first item that they must remove is the "throw-away mentality." Up-cycling ideas begin with a determination to find a new purpose for a used item.

"You know the old saying: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In the case of Basurama, that trash is transformed into the building blocks of two new playgrounds for kids in Taipei, Taiwan."
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England's plastic bag usage drops 85% since 5p charge introduced ("free plastic is the culprit")

England's plastic bag usage drops  85% since 5p charge introduced ("free plastic is the culprit") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Number of single-use bags handed out dropped to 500m in first six months since charge, compared with 7bn the previous year

The number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in England has plummeted by more than 85% after the introduction of a 5p charge last October, early figures suggest. 

More than 7bn bags were handed out by seven main supermarkets in the year before the charge, but this figure plummeted to slightly more than 500m in the first six months after the charge was introduced, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said. 

The data is the government’s first official assessment of the impact of the charge, which was introduced to help reduce litter and protect wildlife - and the expected full-year drop of 6bn bags was hailed by ministers as a sign that it is working. 

The charge has also triggered donations of more than £29m from retailers towards good causes including charities and community groups, according to Defra. England was the last part of the UK to adopt the 5p levy, after successful schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Retailers with 250 or more full-time equivalent employees have to charge a minimum of 5p for the bags they provide for shopping in stores and for deliveries, but smaller shops and paper bags are not included. There are also exemptions for some goods, such as raw meat and fish, prescription medicines, seeds and flowers and live fish.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The English formula of putting a price on single-use plastic addresses the behavioral aspect of plastic pollution and waste management. The clincher is to complement this with a total plastic redemption program to make sure that all plastic goes back to recycling factories.
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Denmark leads Europe in tackling food waste | Environment ("measure the problem before managing it")

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"So what could Andersen’s research mean for the drugs in our environment today? First, it has the potential to get rid of a lot of expired medications.
"Secondly, Andersen’s work could simply create a lot more food-grade compost, a resource that’s in demand from farmers, and which could provide an alternative to chemical fertilizers.
"If Andersen can prove that composting can safely kill pathogens and destroy drugs, it could dramatically increase the stock of available compost, which is also better for the soil than pasteurized fertilizer."
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Rancid dumpsites prompt Ombudsman probe of 40 Cavite local execs ("3 lgu's who caused illegal dumps")

Rancid dumpsites prompt Ombudsman probe of 40 Cavite local execs ("3 lgu's who caused illegal dumps") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

The Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday said a fact-finding investigation is underway on 40 local officials in Silang, General Trias, and Kawit for possible criminal charges in connection with the operation of open dumpsites.

In a press conference, Environmental Ombudsman Gerard Mosquera said the 40 officials in the three Cavite municipalities were part of the 50 complaints filed by the National Solid Waste Management Commission against local government units operating open dumpsites. 

“The time of accountability has come. The Ombudsman is aggressively investigating complaints (for) violations of the law, particularly the maintenance of open dumpsites na walang pakundangan ng mixed garbage in an open pit, which is of course, bad for local community and has adverse health effects for the community,” said Mosquera, also a Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon.

Mosquera said the officials may also be held liable for criminal charges of graft, violations of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Local Government Code, among others. 

They also face administrative charges before the Ombudsman for gross neglect of duty that may result in their dismissal from service, forfeiture of benefits and perpetual disqualification from public office, Mosquera added. 

Declining to name the names of the officials, Mosquera said the investigation covered the mayors, vice mayors, Sangguniang Bayan, and the municipal environmental and natural resources officer. 

“Theoretically, one of the provisions in the anti-graft law; if the party causes undue injury to any party in government, in this case the local community, that would be a possible ground. We’re not there yet. This is still fact-finding,” Mosquera said. 

Bert Guevara's insight:
Mosquera said it’s about time the law is implemented to hold officials operating open dumpsites accountable.

According to R.A. 9003, “no dump sites shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any person, including LGUs (local government units), which constitutes the use of open dumps for solid wastes, be allowed after the effectivity of this Act, every LGU shall convert its open dumps to controlled dumps.”
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Italy's new laws aim to cut food waste by 1 million tons per year ("easier to donate food for charity")

Italy's new laws aim to cut food waste by 1 million tons per year ("easier to donate food for charity") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

It's an ambitious yet promising plan that focuses on getting rid of roadblocks and red tape, making it easier for people to donate food to those in need.

The government’s goal is to make it easier for retailers and consumers to prevent food waste by creating easier avenues for donation and incentives for doing so, and to prioritize the redistribution of excess food to those who really need it. It also hopes to reduce food waste by 1 million tons annually, since Italy currently wastes around 5.1 million tons of food each year.

What will the new set of laws do? It will create incentives for donors. The goal is to simplify the bureaucratic process usually required for food donations to be made to charities, and to get rid of roadblocks that discourage people from donating. Up until now, all restaurants and supermarkets in Italy have had to issue a declaration five days prior to making a donation; instead, the new law will allow businesses simply to issue a statement of consumption at the end of each month. 

The laws will allow people to donate food that has passed its expiry date, with the understanding that expiry dates are almost always arbitrarily assigned by manufacturers and reflect more a fear of liability than actual concern over a food’s safety. Volunteers will be allowed to collect leftover food from fields, with the farmer’s permission, and businesses will receive a reduction on their disposal fees in relation to the amount of food they have donated. Pharmaceuticals can also be donated, as long as they have not passed their expiry date.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The government’s goal is to make it easier for retailers and consumers to prevent food waste by creating easier avenues for donation and incentives for doing so, and to prioritize the redistribution of excess food to those who really need it. It also hopes to reduce food waste by 1 million tons annually, since Italy currently wastes around 5.1 million tons of food each year.
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Would you buy patched up clothes to tackle textile waste? ("move to reduce textile waste practical")

Would you buy patched up clothes to tackle textile waste? ("move to reduce textile waste practical") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

The Renewal Workshop aims to cut down on textile waste by repairing clothes that would otherwise be thrown away, keeping them out of landfills

A new venture called the Renewal Workshop aims to reduce some of that waste by repairing clothes that customers have returned to stores as well as items that are damaged during manufacturing. While it’s difficult to find current estimates on just how big of a problem this is, clothing makers toss out around 10%-12% of garments with simple flaws such as broken zippers, according to a 2006 estimate from the book, Apparel Manufacturing: Sewn Product Analysis. By correcting light damage on clothing that ordinarily wouldn’t make it to sales racks – think jackets with ripped linings, pants with holes and stained shirts – the Renewal Workshop hopes to head off the inevitable garbage dump.

The workshop is the latest in a number of secondhand clothing websites that have popped up in recent years, including San Francisco-based thredUp, which allows customers to buy and sell used clothing online and donates or recycles the items that don’t pass muster. Twice, a similar Bay Area-based company for buying and selling secondhand clothes, was acquired by eBay in 2015.

The factory can process hundreds of thousands of garments per year, according to Denby. “When we get the product, it’s pretty low value, but it allows us to flow it through our system in a way that’s really efficient,” he said. “We’re able to capture a margin off that that makes the business sustainable.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
The Renewal Workshop aims to cut down on textile waste by repairing clothes that would otherwise be thrown away, keeping them out of landfills.

"A new venture called the Renewal Workshop aims to reduce some of that waste by repairing clothes that customers have returned to stores as well as items that are damaged during manufacturing. While it’s difficult to find current estimates on just how big of a problem this is, clothing makers toss out around 10%-12% of garments with simple flaws such as broken zippers, according to a 2006 estimate from the book, Apparel Manufacturing: Sewn Product Analysis. By correcting light damage on clothing that ordinarily wouldn’t make it to sales racks – think jackets with ripped linings, pants with holes and stained shirts – the Renewal Workshop hopes to head off the inevitable garbage dump."
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Waste of resources is biggest threat to planet, warns Scottish envi agency ("worse than pollution")

Waste of resources is biggest threat to planet, warns Scottish envi agency ("worse than pollution") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Scotland’s industries and farmers must cut energy, greenhouse gas emissions and resource use as waste overtakes pollution as the major environmental threat, says head of regulator ...

Scotland’s environment agency has warned the country’s industries and farmers that their waste and inefficiency is now the biggest threat to the environment, overtaking pollution. 

In a marked shift in strategy, the regulator’s chief executive, Terry A’Hearn, will urge businesses, farmers and manufacturers to adopt a “one planet prosperity” policy designed to cut their energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste and resource use. 

“The major threat to the environment now is that humanity is overusing the planet as a resource base,” he told the Guardian.

Those were 20th-century problems, he said. But developed economies such as the UK’s are now consuming resources at a rate close to three times the planet’s actual capacity. “I’ve been extremely clear that if we have only one planet, we have to be really, really smart about how we use it,” he said.

A’Hearn, an Australian who took over as Sepa chief executive last year after running Northern Ireland’s environment agency, said there were still sectors with “significant challenges”, particularly the fish farming industry.

“Our statutory purpose, to deliver environmental protection and improvement in ways which also create health and wellbeing benefits and sustainable economic growth, means that Sepa must undertake a very different role if we are to help create prosperity within our planet’s capacity to support it,” he states. 

The aquaculture sector would be among the first to be approached by A’Hearn to establish new “sustainable growth agreements” which he said will be central to his new one planet strategy.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Waste management in all economic activities becomes urgent as waste overtakes pollution. It goes beyond traditional garbology.

"Scotland’s industries and farmers must cut energy, greenhouse gas emissions and resource use as waste overtakes pollution as the major environmental threat, says head of regulator."
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Watch America’s trash problem keep getting bigger ("what will the map look like in another 100 years?")

Watch America’s trash problem keep getting bigger ("what will the map look like in another 100 years?") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

This map shows where landfills have sprung up over the last 100 years.

The United States is positively glowing right now. Too bad it’s glowing with dumps. As our population grew over the last century, so did our mountains of trash. This map from SaveOnEnergy (pointed out by CityLab) reveals where landfills sprung up in response to that growth. The circles dotting the landscape indicate the size and status of each dump: Closed landfills are indicated with green dots and operating ones with red. Today, more than 2,000 landfills are operating around the country. Check out SaveOnEnergy’s site for a nifty interactive map that locates landfills near you.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The consequence of a throw-away culture is a world of dump sites. Land filling is not sustainable because space is a finite commodity.
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Think You Know the Three Rs of Waste Management? Think Again! ("reduce, reuse, recycle")

Think You Know the Three Rs of Waste Management? Think Again! ("reduce, reuse, recycle") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Think of it as a comprehensive way to deal with waste in a way that is better for the planet and the people who dwell on it.

The three Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle — probably ring a bell from your childhood. But most people don’t know these repeating consonants represent the waste management hierarchy. Think of it as a comprehensive way to deal with waste in a way that is better for the planet and the people who dwell on it. 

Reduction is the key to waste management 

Reduction is first in the hierarchy for a reason. Reducing the amount of waste at its source is key to cutting impact.

Reuse to give new life to old products There is an old saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That is certainly true when it comes to waste management. For individuals, thrift stores are a prime example. They sell stuff that other people have deemed unusable, but instead of throwing the stuff away, they bring it to thrift stores. Clothing is a common item that winds up in shops like these, making them a vital component in the fight against textile waste.

Recycle to avoid landfill waste 

Some products just can’t be reused. But they can be recycled. Patagonia’s Worn Wear program is a good example. Through the program, Patagonia accepts all of its worn-out garments. Customers can bring their old, worn-out Patagonia gear to any of the company’s stores or mail them to the company. Patagonia has recycled over 82 tons of clothing since 2005.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The formula to waste management stays the same. Only the hierarchy varies.

"For both individuals and businesses, it’s great to start with the basics when it comes to reducing waste. But landfill space is dwindling and the planet is already being impacted by climate change. So, it’s vital to move beyond that first stepping stone, look past commonly-recycled items (and even recycling itself), and rethink how we manage waste in every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s an office memo, your favorite gadget or the shirt on your back, there’s always a better option than the landfill."
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Bam files Zero Food Waste Act ("to divert food waste from restaurants to charities to help hungry")

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the day’s top news headlines from the world’s best news publishers. Try Inkl for free.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the trend is heading across the ocean. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We envision a transition from linear to circular business models and a world that demands closed-loop products – designed with better materials, made with fewer resources and assembled to allow easy reuse in new products.[…] We are re-imagining waste streams as value streams, and already our designers have access to a palette of more than 29 high-performance materials made from our manufacturing waste.”
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