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China's 'Green Fence' Policy Stalls US Trash Export Industry | Plastic Free Times

China's 'Green Fence' Policy Stalls US Trash Export Industry | Plastic Free Times | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it
China's Operation Green Fence: a blessing in disguise? Encouraging waste reduction & improved processing with policy http://t.co/OtbsCxeNaH

Operation Green Fence, a campaign by Chinese customs to strictly enforce laws governing the import of waste, "could be a game changer," says Doug Kramer, president of Kramer Metals, an international scrap dealer in Los Angeles. "A lot of companies have used China as a dumping ground, getting rid of ... substandard scrap and trash," Mr. Kramer says.

As China's government seeks to raise environmental standards, he says, "I understand China's need to take a hard look" at its imports.

That hard look, involving stepped-up inspections of containers filled with scrap metal, paper, and plastic at Chinese ports and a merciless application of the rules, has intercepted more than 800,000 tons of illegal waste since the campaign began in February, according to the customs agency.

Now nervous traders are refusing to ship consignments of recyclables that might contain unacceptably large amounts of unrecyclable materials (anything from unwashed items to the wrong kind of plastic to random bits and pieces of garbage that get mixed in with the recyclables). And cities and towns across the US and Europe are finding there is no longer a ready market in China for their poorly sorted and often impure bales of plastics, paper, and other waste.

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Global Recycling Movement
Big and small efforts worldwide to manage waste
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The Truth About The Great Pacific Garbage Patch ("let's clear out some myths to get a clear picture")

The Truth About The Great Pacific Garbage Patch ("let's clear out some myths to get a clear picture") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ elicits thoughts of water so packed with plastic that boats can’t pass though, or an island made completely of trash.

There’s a lot of unanswered questions and misunderstandings that surround this part of the world – so we wanted to bust a few of the myths floating around.

1. ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,’ is a plastic island in the middle of the ocean 

‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ elicits thoughts of water so packed with plastic that boats can’t pass though, or an island made of trash. The fact is, much of the rubbish found in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch sits below the surface of the water, hidden from view.

2. There is only one garbage patch 

In the Pacific Ocean alone, there are in fact two patches of marine debris concentration. The Western Garbage Patch, near the Japanese coast, and the Eastern Garbage Patch which is located near Hawaii.

3. The patch is the size of Texas, or twice as big as Texas, or the size of the United States 

The truth is, we simply don’t know the exact size of the patch. Most scientists do estimate the patch to be twice the size of Texas, but because most of the debris sits underwater, and the currents constantly move it around, it is difficult to know.

4. We can clean up the patch 

This is probably the most devastating fact, but there is little we can do to clean up the patch. Partially because the area is so vast and partially because a lot of the debris is so small. 

What we can do however, is prevent it from growing further. The best thing we can do to prevent more plastic ending up in our oceans is reduce our use of it.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Let's get our facts straight about this garbage problem in the oceans. These are four of the myths:

1. ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,’ is a plastic island in the middle of the ocean
2. There is only one garbage patch
3. The patch is the size of Texas, or twice as big as Texas, or the size of the United States
4. We can clean up the patch
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5 Easy Tricks To Reduce Food Waste ("best practical tips for all households")

5 Easy Tricks To Reduce Food Waste ("best practical tips for all households") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Imagine being able to reduce food waste and your grocery bill by 30% in the process. These 5 simple tips will help you do just that.

5 tips to reduce food waste now - - Eat me (first)

Create a bin or drawer labeled “eat me first” that allows you to see (at a glance) what needs to be used up before it goes bad.

- Freeze!

And what if you fail? What if the “eat me first” bin is overflowing and you know you won’t be able to eat everything? Well, freeze it!

- Soup for you!

For the longest time I never considered doing it, but making your own soup stock is the simplest thing in the world to do.

- Smooth operator

Smoothies are a perfect on-the-go meal for those mornings when you don’t have time to cook. They’re also a great way to use less-than-perfect fruits and veggies to reduce food waste.

- Sharing is caring

The preceding suggestions dealt with ways to quickly and easily reduce food waste on your own, but this final option allows you to harness the power of technology and your community, too! A food-sharing app called OLIO connects you with neighbors, stores and community members with surplus food so that extra food can be shared, rather than thrown out. It’s like Craigslist, but for food. Best of all? It’s free!

- Small steps, small bites 

Making the decision to reduce food waste can feel daunting, but all you really need to do is make a series of small, conscious decisions to drastically reduce the amount of good food that ends up in the trash. These decisions quickly become routine and they go a long way to help your grocery budget and the environment, too.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Here are the best tips I have read on how to avoid food waste at home. Check it out.

"Imagine being able to reduce food waste and your grocery bill by 30 percent in the process. By putting these five simple systems in place, you’ll be able to identify need-to-eat foods, save foods from the compost or the garbage, get the most out of waste bits and pieces, and rescue food mangled by evil toddlers. Now that’s a win!"
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7 Ingenious Upcycling Ideas You'll Fall In Love With! ("simple ideas from creative minds")

7 Ingenious Upcycling Ideas You'll Fall In Love With! ("simple ideas from creative minds") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Upcycling comes in many different forms and these seven upcycling ideas are sure to inspire, engage and excite you. What's old is new again.

7 upcycling ideas you’ll love 

1. Upcycle sails into seasonal decor 

Sea Bags has breathed new life to over 500 tons of sails that would have otherwise gone to a landfill. Sea Bags creates fun, functional and stylish totes, bags, wine bags and home goods from reclaimed sailcloth in Portland, Maine. If you’re a seaman (or woman), you can become Sail Trade Partner.

2. Upcycle juice boxes into kids crafts

eed your kids a snack, then create upcycled craft projects with them using the leftover pouches and boxes.

3. Upcycle your TV cable into an HDTV antenna 

A TV industry first, ReLeaf by Mohu is an eco-friendly OTA antenna made from discarded cable set-top boxes and post-consumer recycled paper.

4. Upcycle a pizza box in to plates and storage

GreenBox is truly the 100% recycled and recyclable “Swiss Army knife of pizza boxes.”

5. Upcycle your old makeup into cash

6. Upcycle jeans into home insulation

This denim insulation is not only environmentally friendly, but isn’t carcinogenic, contains no formaldehyde or chemical irritants, offers extraordinary thermal performance and provides 30% better sound absorption than traditional fiberglass insulation. Goodbye pink, hello blue.

7. Upcycle your furniture to benefit veterans

Bert Guevara's insight:
Have you scanned your house lately and allowed your mind to "go crazy" over new upcycling ideas? Check out some ideas from other people.

No act is too small. Let us know your favorite upcycling idea in the comments below. 
“Never underestimate the power of a small group of people to change the world. In fact, it is the only way it ever has.” ~Margaret Mead
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LANDFILL HAS 13 VIOLATIONS ("it's not even a landfill, it's a giant dump site! close it down!")

LANDFILL HAS 13 VIOLATIONS ("it's not even a landfill, it's a giant dump site! close it down!") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-7) has issued a notice of violation against the City of Cebu for its failure to comply with several standards set by the bureau in the operation of its 15-hectare landfill in Barangay Inayawan.

Following weeks of unbearable stench from the dump site, EMB-7 investigators found that the city had violated 13 conditions of DENR’s Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued in April 1998 for its sanitary landfill. 

If the terms and conditions of the ECC remain unmet by the city, EMB-7 director Engr. William Cuñado threatened to close the dump site.

Earlier last August 18, EMB-7 field personnel were sent to Inayawan to monitor the dumpsite amid rising complaints from residents and businesses in surrounding areas about the very strong odor coming from the mountains of seemingly endless garbage.

Based on the team’s Compliance Evaluation Report, it was found that the city violated 13 conditions of the ECC including its failure to secure a discharge permit to check if the effluents (liquid waste or sewage) conform with the standards set by the EMB.

There was also no soil covering for each waste after spreading, compacting and the spraying of insecticide as numerous flies were hovering in the area, read the EMB-7 report.

“This is among the main reasons for the foul odor. There was no soil cover on the waste,” Cuñado told Cebu Daily News in an interview.



Bert Guevara's insight:
This is an example of the worsening solid waste management in the country. This is obviously a dumpsite, but for lack of an alternative solution, the city if pressured to keep it open despite the violations.
With the booming economy of Cebu City, the local government cannot imagine the grim scenario of not having a disposal site for garbage.
What happened to R.A. 9003?
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Fixing America's Waste Problem ("current volumes are unsustainable; need shift to circular economy")

Fixing America's Waste Problem ("current volumes are unsustainable; need shift to circular economy") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

3p's Nithin Coca takes a closer look at America's landfill waste problem and how we can begin to shift toward a circular economy.

America’s massive, growing landfills are the result of many decades of bad policies and decisions. And it will take a concerted, society-wide effort to solve this problem. Let’s dive deeper into just how big our landfill waste problem is and how we can begin to shift toward a circular economy. 

This is not just about waste. Landfills are directly connected to the larger sustainability issues facing this country. One of the reasons that America went down the path of throw-it-away is related to the reason we decided to build vast suburbs instead of dense, sustainable, walkable cities. We have a lot of land compared to most other developed countries. The same space we used to build suburbs, roads and an auto-centric culture, we also used to hide our waste as we moved into a throw-away economy. 

Today, we have 2,000 landfills and counting, with our collective waste growing by the day. What began as a simple solution to a changing economy grew into a massive problem. The average American produces an astounding 4.4 pounds of trash every day, according to EPA estimates. This chart from SaveOnEnergy.com shows how many tons of trash are in each state’s landfill, per-person.

Eliminating methane pollution has been cited as a key, short-term environmental goal if we are to achieve future climate goals. So far, little is being done across the country to limit landfill methane emissions. While capturing those emissions is key, it would be better to just eliminate organic waste from landfills altogether, by ensuring we eliminate food waste and compost the rest.

Bert Guevara's insight:
With all the American high-tech systems available, the garbage disposal problems remain. What is wrong with a linear throw-away culture? It is unsustainable!

"In the end, what we need is a circular, closed-loop economy, where all waste is reused or recycled and nearly nothing ends up in landfills. Building a circular economy won’t be easy. In America, though, the greatest challenge may be inertia, as we overcome the burden of so many years of bad planning and limited infrastructure. Regional action is great, but we need a concerted, national effort to really stem the growth of all those landfills."
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The woman turning rubbish into homes in Pakistan ("she made a pledge to God to improve the planet")

The woman turning rubbish into homes in Pakistan ("she made a pledge to God to improve the planet") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Latif has been using plastic to create shelters, reservoirs and mobile toilets. Now, she wants the world to take notice.

So, as her condition improved, Latif started to research ways of making use of that rubbish. 

After a year of research, she created the Gul Bahao (flow the flowers) project. 

With her "team of environmentalists", Latif devises ways of using rubbish to create houses, water reservoirs, fodder for livestock and instant compost. 

"This hasn't been easy," she says. "I realised I had to dedicate my whole life to it. Once you commit, you can't back out." 

"It was also a difficult decision because my father was against it. He told me not to get into this, otherwise, I will be destroyed."

In 2004, Latif established a research centre on government-owned land in front of some shack homes. She recalls how trucks and minivans would roll out of it in those early days. 

Now, the centre is full of unorganised stacks of plastic - and a chandi ghar, a type of shelter that has been used to house those displaced by the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan as well as family members of patients at the Civil Hospital Mithi in the deprived Tharparkar district of the country. 

Latif says that since 2005, more than 150 of these structures have been made and delivered all over Pakistan.

Bert Guevara's insight:
After she survived a near-death episode in her life, she made a pledge to God to improve the planet.
Now Latif is on a crusade to manage solid waste and upcycle them into structures.

"You can make beautiful structures using rejected material. Houses, swimming pools, water reservoirs in areas where there are water issues, little dams even," Latif explains. "I'll be damned if people don't use this to their advantage. One extreme is a wedding banquet, the other a poor man's hut. 
"The plastic inside is not a filling, it's a technique ... You can only make it if you learn how to," she continues, leaning forward and wagging her index finger. "If you make such bricks, it's bye-bye to pollution, climate change and the melting glaciers."
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Broken glass and needles: the waste pickers scraping a living at Jordan's landfills

Broken glass and needles: the waste pickers scraping a living at Jordan's landfills | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

At Al Huseyniyat landfill, Syrian refugees salvage recyclables illegally. Efforts to formalise their work offer hope...

For the waste pickers at Al Huseyniyat, and others working on streets around Jordan, this would mean stable employment and safer working conditions. At present, children, many of whom look younger than their stated age of 14, face the same dangers as adults in this toxic environment. A few wear cotton gloves found in the rubbish, but most go through the bags with bare hands, exposed to broken glass and needles hidden among the coloured cans, wrappers and rotting organic waste. 

During the day, more than 200 tonnes of rubbish will be added to the mounds at Al Huseyniyat, which serves the surrounding Mafraq Governorate, including Za’atari. The swollen site, which has more than tripled in size since the start of the war in Syria, is a physical reminder of the challenges that confront Jordan as public services buckle under the strain of more than 655,000 registered Syrian refugees. 

“Many municipalities were struggling with waste management before and then the population in some areas doubled and they didn’t have the resources to cope,” explains Olmo Forni, humanitarian waste specialist at non-profit Disaster Waste Recovery. “DWR is working with GIZ [a German company specialising in international development] and ACF [Action Contre La Faim] to formalise waste pickers into co-operatives that will allow them to have proper contracts with the municipality and become long-term service providers.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Recovering waste resources for recycling should be given a big economic value, hence the workers should be better organized and supported. 
The Syrian refugee crisis is teaching the Jordanian government a lesson is solid waste management.

“With this approach towards recycling we can create a good level of living for a lot of people,” he says. “We’re also laying the foundations for an industry that can provide responsible and sustainable solutions to Jordan’s rubbish crisis.”
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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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Cleaning-up Bali, making fuel from plastic ("1 kg of plastic = 1 lt. of fuel; smart & simple systems")

Cleaning-up Bali, making fuel from plastic ("1 kg of plastic = 1 lt. of fuel; smart & simple systems") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

In Bali, where fuel is heavily subsidised (at the risk of crippling the national budget), an elderly man cooks his rice with fuel harvested from plastic.

The cacophony of Denpasar’s traffic fades as you enter Pekambingan village, home of a self-taught inventor, Ida Bagus Ketut Atmaja.

Shade trees line the paved alley, roosters scratch inside bamboo cages and children and adults rest in the cool lent by leafy boughs overhead. 

The plastic waste besieging many Balinese villages has been vanquished here. The village is clean — although its river remains choked with rubbish.

“Success to me is that we get on top of the plastic problem, that my grandchildren can play in the river as we old folk did when we were children,” says Ketut of his motivation to build an safe incinerator for plastic waste. He says he never set out to make fuel — it was a byproduct that may prove to be an unexpected reward for communities cleaning up plastic waste.

Expected hikes in gasoline prices following reduced government subsidies would make that reward even greater.

“The idea was how to deal with plastic waste — how to clean up the rivers and streets. Early information was that people were burning plastic and releasing poisonous gasses, so we tried to heat plastic waste in a different way, without open fires,” says Ketut.

The device works like an arak or whiskey still. As plastic burns, gases travel down a water-cooled pipe and condense into a liquid, which drips into bottles — and can be used as fuel that has been successfully used to power motorcycles. “It takes one kilogram of plastic to make a liter of fuel, so two problems are solved in a single application. Each village can have its own furnace to burn waste plastic that is not releasing pollutants, while also yielding free fuel,” Ketut says.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Smart recycling ideas from simple systems.

"The device works like an arak or whiskey still. As plastic burns, gases travel down a water-cooled pipe and condense into a liquid, which drips into bottles — and can be used as fuel that has been successfully used to power motorcycles. 
“It takes one kilogram of plastic to make a liter of fuel, so two problems are solved in a single application. Each village can have its own furnace to burn waste plastic that is not releasing pollutants, while also yielding free fuel,” Ketut says.
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A Better Bottled Water Bottle | DiscoverMagazine.com ("looks promising for recycling & climate")

A Better Bottled Water Bottle | DiscoverMagazine.com ("looks promising for recycling & climate") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Using crop leftovers to make plastic without a carbon footprint.

Recycling a plastic bottle may provide a fleeting sense of green philanthropy, but the process of making that bottle is still pretty eco-unfriendly. Now, chemists at Stanford University have developed a new plastic-making method that could leave no carbon footprint. 

Most of the 270 billion plastic bottles used in the U.S. each year are derived from petroleum. And that manufacturing contributes to a global greenhouse gas hit of more than 200 million tons of carbon dioxide each year — the same amount about 150 coal power plants generate annually. Some plastics companies are attempting to cut that footprint by substituting corn-based sugar for petroleum. But planting, fertilizing and harvesting corn generates significant carbon emissions, too, says researcher Matt Kanan. 

Instead of sugar, Kanan’s team developed a process that uses carbon dioxide and furfural, a compound derived from corn harvest waste. First, they converted furfural into furoic acid, a common food preservative. Next, they had to break the furoic acid’s strong hydrogen-carbon bond. Normally this requires an expensive base (the chemical opposite of an acid) that’s reactive and unstable — considerable hurdles to eco-friendly mass production. But the team discovered a workaround by heating the acid to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, carbonate (a weak, non-hazardous base) can break the hydrogen-carbon bond. So when they mixed the hot furoic acid, carbonate and CO2, the result was a compound that could be turned into plastic. 

Another plus? This technique, published in the journal Nature, not only uses existing plant waste but consumes large amounts of CO2 and could be applied to other types of chemical manufacturing as well — a boon to our increasingly CO2-saturated atmosphere.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"Instead of sugar, Kanan’s team developed a process that uses carbon dioxide and furfural, a compound derived from corn harvest waste. ...
"This technique, published in the journal Nature, not only uses existing plant waste but consumes large amounts of CO2 and could be applied to other types of chemical manufacturing as well ..."

"Most of the 270 billion plastic bottles used in the U.S. each year are derived from petroleum. And that manufacturing contributes to a global greenhouse gas hit of more than 200 million tons of carbon dioxide each year — the same amount about 150 coal power plants generate annually."
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Next-Wave Recycler Sources Scrap, Solutions - Earth911.com ("taking a new perspective")

Next-Wave Recycler Sources Scrap, Solutions - Earth911.com ("taking a new perspective") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

You could say CASS wants to elevate scrap recycling, setting a new industry standard along the way. They’re well on their way but not without challenges.

What Blue Bottle is doing for coffee, he explains, is precisely what CASS intends to do in scrap processing and aluminum remelting: take a simple process and approach it from a new perspective. After getting his order, Kangeter even snaps a photo of the beautiful design in the coffee froth. It’s an attention to detail he admires, an elevation of the coffee art. 

You could say CASS wants to elevate recycling—to set a new standard for quality, efficiency, customer service, professionalism, sustainable operations, community involvement, and employee care. That’s an ambitious corporate vision, but Kangeter sees it as a necessary survival step for his company and the scrap industry as a whole.

CASS began life in 1969, when entrepreneur Chal Sulprizio bought Associated Metals in Oakland and rechristened it Custom Alloy Scrap Sales. The small nonferrous scrap processor and aluminum melter had six employees and 1.5 million pounds of annual production. “Custom Alloy Scrap Sales was a one-man show,” Kangeter says. “Chal designed, operated, and fixed the equipment; he ran production; he was the commercial guy; he did everything.” 

That all changed when Kangeter joined the company in 2006. Although he had no metals or recycling experience, he had business management experience and knew how to grow companies, having established more than 400 points of sale in North America for an Italian fashion brand. He wanted a new professional challenge—and more time at home with his family—so it was opportune when Sulprizio, his father-in-law, offered him the CEO post at CASS. He agreed, with the understanding that if the job didn’t work out, Sulprizio should fire him with no hard feelings. 

Despite Kangeter’s dearth of industry knowledge, he says he was confident in his ability to “scale the business.” To do so, however, he needed to assemble a dedicated group of employees who could divide the responsibility of running it. “My responsibility was to find talented people who are passionate and committed to excellence to drive the business to the next level,” he says.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Recycling needs new blood, new ideas. The entrepreneurial bar of recycling has to be raised a notch. This guy is doing it the right way.

"And drive it they have. In the past decade, CASS has grown to a 120-employee company, its revenue has more than tripled, and its profitability has more than doubled, Kangeter says. The company’s scrap processing operations have expanded beyond nonferrous to handle a “respectable amount” of ferrous, and its aluminum melting output now exceeds 50 million pounds a year. From the solid foundation Sulprizio established, CASS has “evolved and matured as a business model that became more disciplined and more profitable,” Kangeter says. 
“As we became more profitable, we were able to reinvest in the business. That allowed us to develop new ideas and execute them—and that’s what we’re still in the process of doing.”
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California's Recycling Industry is in Rapid Decline ("people & industries need retooling for success")

California's Recycling Industry is in Rapid Decline ("people & industries need retooling for success") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

California is struggling to recycle its waste, including single-use disposable containers that are a lifeline for some of the state's poorest residents. Meanwhile, more trash is finding its way into the Golden State's landfills.

California has long basked in its reputation as a sustainability leader. From its booming solar sector to its cap-and-trade program, the Golden State sets environmental standards that others strive to follow. But a series of trends threaten to have California fall far short of its 2020 goal to recycle 75 percent of its municipal waste. And as is the case with the rest of the country, the state is struggling to recycle the easiest items, such as single-use disposable containers. 

After several years of a steady decrease, the amount of garbage sent to California’s landfills spiked to over 33.2 million tons last year, an increase of approximately 2 million tons. The Los Angeles, San Diego and Inland Empire areas saw the largest spikes in waste disposal tonnage, though most of California saw recycling decline while landfill disposal increased. The bottom line is that after several years witnessing the state recycle over half of its trash, that rate fell to 47 percent, the lowest in several years. 

The state’s population has gradually increased, after taking a dip during the aftermath of the 2008-2009 fiscal crises. Meanwhile the economy improved, motivating more Californians to buy more goods. The results: 44 million more tons of trash ended up in landfills, while 24 million fewer tons were recycled in 2015 than in the previous year. And in environmental terms, that means 200,000 more metric tons of carbon emissions were emitted into the atmosphere.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Economic trends have changed and they are bad for recycling. In the long run, this will be burdensome for the citizens.

"Several forces are contributing to this reversal. 
- First, as mentioned earlier, more residents are enjoying the benefits of a recovering economy, so they are buying more things. 
- But the slump in oil prices also means that companies are not motivated to buy materials such as plastic resins derived from recycled material if conventional options are cheaper. 
- Meanwhile, after years of a commodity boom, other raw materials are at their lowest prices in years. With virgin materials cheap, the bottom has dropped out of the recycling market, even in the eco-conscious Bay Area. 

"The effects were felt across the state as hundreds of recycling centers closed. Even before the mass closings, materials such as glass and plastic have never compensated for the expenses incurred in collection, so the state of California has long subsidized those costs. Many recycling centers therefore chose to close their doors, which puts even more pressure on the state’s waste-diversion agenda. California has the luxury of sending less than 1 percent of its garbage to landfills out of state, and that option is not slated to see an increase at any point soon.
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A car made from tequila? Ford Motor Co says it's good for the planet ("improved bioplastics are good")

A car made from tequila? Ford Motor Co says it's good for the planet ("improved bioplastics are good") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

Ford plans to introduce a new type of bioplastic for some of its car parts using waste materials generated by Jose Cuervo, the tequila manufacturer...

When you put tequila and cars side-by-side, the story doesn’t usually end well. But Ford is trying to change the narrative. The car manufacturer has plans to introduce a new kind of plastic for some of its automobile parts using waste material generated by Jose Cuervo, the tequila manufacturer. Tequila is made by juicing the heart of an agave plant, a spiky desert succulent with a core composed of very strong fibers. These fibers are left over during the juicing process, and are usually thrown away or burned. 

Now, Ford hopes to use these agave fibers to create a so-called bioplastic to replace synthetic materials, such as fiberglass, which are used to strengthen plastic components in cars – things such as storage bins, air-conditioning ducts and fuse boxes. Would you wear wool shoes to save the environment?

Bioplastics are an old class of materials, invented after Anselme Payen, a French chemist, discovered cellulose in 1838 – a compound in many plants that can be made into fibers. By the late 1800s, cellulose from plants was being used to make rayon and viscose fabrics, as well as cellulose acetate photographic film, or safety film, designed to replace highly flammable nitrate film. Carmaker Henry Ford became an early champion, developing soybean-based plastic auto parts in the 1940s.

Agave fibers will serve the same purpose in a new hybrid plastic. The fibers are extremely strong and resilient, and have been used for centuries by indigenous people in both the US and Mexico for sewing and weaving, and for making rope.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Recycled material from tequila waste - a brilliant idea!

"Darby Hoover, a senior resource specialist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, praised Ford for focusing on agricultural waste, rather than virgin materials. There are 5bn metric tons of agricultural waste produced globally every year, Hoover says, so reusing more of this is important to the planet. It is also preferable to growing a plant specifically to make plastic, which takes land and other resources out of food production.
“It’s absolutely true that you’re avoiding impacts that likely would happen if that agave waste were not repurposed,” Hoover says. “All of that would create near term carbon emissions. So finding ways to repurpose those into products is commendable.”
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2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Medals May Be Made from E-Waste ("making a statement for gadget freaks")

2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Medals May Be Made from E-Waste ("making a statement for gadget freaks") | Global Recycling Movement | Scoop.it

The 2020 Summer Games medals could be derived from electronic waste, mostly from computers and smartphones.

The Nikkei report estimates that small consumer electronics such as smartphones included 315 pounds (143 kgs) of gold, 3,451 pounds (1,556 kgs) of silver and 1,112 pounds (2,452 kgs) of copper, the material used in part to mint bronze medals. Contrast that amount with the metals used to produce the 2012 London medals: 21 pounds of gold, 2,668 pounds of silver and 1,543 pounds of copper. 

Japan’s voracious appetite for consumer electronics contributes to what a university study says is its citizens’ disposal of 2.2 million tons of e-waste annually. The Nikkei report claims that the amount of precious metals found in Japan’s total electronic waste, or “urban mine,” is equivalent to the country holding 16 and 22 percent of the world’s total gold and silver reserves, respectively. Therefore, a group of Olympic organizers, government officials and businesses leaders met earlier this summer in Tokyo to find ways to ramp up e-waste collection and therefore help contribute to a more sustainable event that expects to host 12,000 athletes and hundreds of thousands of visitors four years from now. 

If the Tokyo Games’ organizing committee can follow through on its commitment to source materials for the event’s medals from the recycling waste, it would follow a strong precedent set by this year’s Games in Rio. That city’s organizers claimed that 30 percent of the materials used for the silver and bronze medals awarded during the Rio Games were from recycled metals. Rio 2016 also claimed that the gold used to mint those games’ gold medals was extracted without the application of mercury. The ribbons from which the medals dangled contained materials in part manufactured out of plastic water bottles. In addition, the wood cases that winning athletes received for storing their medals was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Rio raised the bar of recycling ... now Japan wants to raise it higher.

"That city’s organizers claimed that 30 percent of the materials used for the silver and bronze medals awarded during the Rio Games were from recycled metals. Rio 2016 also claimed that the gold used to mint those games’ gold medals was extracted without the application of mercury. The ribbons from which the medals dangled contained materials in part manufactured out of plastic water bottles. ...
"Considering Japan’s citizens disposed an average of 38 pounds (17.3 kgs) of electronic waste per capita in 2013, there should be plenty of low-hanging fruit for Tokyo’s organizing committee to follow through on its promise for an “eco-friendly” event with more responsible materials in its medals. ... Hence, this promise to include e-waste in the 2020 medals offers an opportunity for the Japanese government and the private sector to find new and innovative ways to extract precious metals from waste instead of extracting them in dirty mines abroad."
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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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