In Brief - Interesting Snippets
Canada takes aim at waste diversion
Canada to Ban Indcandescent Light Bulbs By 2014
Canada will be among the first countries in the world to ban the purchase of traditional light bulbs as part of the government’s plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The government’s announcement in late April followed the lead of Australia and Ontario and will take effect in 2012. Canadian retailers will be required to stock more efficient light bulbs such as compact fluorescents and halogen. The new generation of light bulbs cost a bit more but last about seven years and use much less energy. The downside is that many of them contain mercury and need to be disposed of like paint and chemicals at special toxic-waste centres.
Update: On Nov. 9, 2011, the federal government delayed the ban until January 1, 2014, when it will become illegal to import incandescent bulbs Canada-wide.
(Source: GlobeAndMail.com in May 2007 WasteWatch)
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Montreal West tries depot collection for kitchen waste
By 2014, all residents of the Greater Montreal area will have access to curbside organics pickup, but the town of Montreal West has decided to take matters into its own hands rather than wait.
The municipality on the west end of the island has contracted with a private company, Compost Montreal, to install 10 large brown bins in public areas. Residents register for the program to get access to the locked bins. They must also provide their own compostable bags to drop off their kitchen waste. Compost Montreal, which collects organics from 1,000 customers on the island, will periodically empty the bins, deliver the contents to its composting plant, and return finished compost to the city.
For Montreal West, this is a low-cost solution to the problem of organics waste disposal. The program is just in its six-month pilot phase, with a budget of only $5000. Contact Compost Montreal, 514-690-5773.
(Source: Recycling Canada in August 2010 WasteWatch).
Vancouver Eastside Recycling Hotel Toiletries for Those in Need
A non-profit Vancouver group, Mission Possible is collecting discarded soaps and lotions from B.C. hotels and hiring at-risk downtown women to repackage them as donations. After being repackaged and re-sanitized, they are sent to homeless shelters locally and worldwide. Some 3.5 million deaths occur every year from respiratory infections and digestive infections in children under five; up to 60% of these can be prevented with proper hand washing.
The women hired will be earning $10 an hour and working 10 to 15 hours a week. Boxes full of soaps, shampoos and lotions have already started arriving from hotels and the goal is to process 10,000 soaps bars a day.
Several hotels, including the Holiday Inn, Delta Vancouver and Alberta's Chateau Lake Louise have signed up, and more are being added.
(Source: RCBC Recap in November 2010 WasteWatch)
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Cities and Countries Around the World
Cities and countries everywhere are making changes to reduce waste.
New project to make 11 islands waste-free
The Cradle-to-Cradle Island Project has been created to join eleven islands from six different countries in a bid to create a waste-free environment. According to the website, "the aim of the project is to contribute to environmental sustainability and economic project of the North Sea region by:
- Applying Cradle-to-Cradle principles to develop energy responsible and sustainable solutions for island environments
- Using islands as labs and testing grounds for sustainable innovations
- Developing networks of stakeholders to ensure transferability and dissemination of project results on the themes water, energy and materials."
Some of their ideas are: energy from wind, waves, and tides; desalination of drinking water; alternative car engines; and design of an Eternal Island Holiday House that is energy producing, made with local materials, easily transportable and degradable, just to name a very few. See the website for more innovative ideas.
(Source: May 2009 Waste Watch)
Connecticut passes food scrap bill
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy recently signed a bill establishing a food scrap composting program for the state. Senate Bill 1116, in effect October 1, 2011, requires food manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and supermarkets that annually generate over 104 tons of organic scraps to separate those materials from other solid waste and send them to a permitted composting facility within 20 miles of their generation. The new law applies to food scraps, food processing residue and soiled or unrecyclable paper.
(Source: Resource Recycling in October 2011 WasteWatch)
Dutch ‘Repair Cafes’ keep stuff out of the trash by fixing it for free
By Sarah Laskow of Grist Magazine
In the Netherlands, there are more than 30 “Repair Cafes” — groups that meet once or twice a month to repair (for free!) clothes and gizmos and tools that might otherwise be discarded. The New York Times visited the original Repair Cafe, which began two and a half years ago, and found that people want to keep their stuff — even cheap stuff, like H&M skirts. They just don’t know how to mend it themselves:
“This cost 5 or 10 euros,” about $6.50 to $13, [Sigrid Deters] said, adding that she had not mended it herself because she was too clumsy. “It’s a piece of nothing, you could throw it out and buy a new one. But if it were repaired, I would wear it.”
The group repairs electronics, too — everything from big-ticket items like vacuums and washing machines to the little gadgets that go haywire, like irons, toaster ovens, and coffee pots.
Repair Cafes are mainly driven by the time and efforts of volunteers who pool their skills to fix what needs fixing. But the foundation that oversees these projects has also raised $525,000 from the Dutch government, foundations, and small donors, the Times reports.
This all happening in a country that only puts a teeny portion of its municipal waste (less than 3 percent) in landfills. Who are these dedicated weirdos that are going above and beyond that already insanely good behavior?
Marjanne van der Rhee, a Repair Cafe volunteer who hands out data collection forms and keeps the volunteers fortified with coffee, said: “Different people come in. With some, you think, maybe they come because they’re poor. Others look well-off, but they are aware of environmental concerns. Some seem a little bit crazy.”
Crazy, or crazy like a fox? And can we get something like this going in America? I have a broke-down coffee grinder that’s been sitting on top of my kitchen cabinet for like a year.
(Source: grist.org, May 9/12)
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San Francisco and California
This city, and the state as a whole, are doing so much, they get their own file....
San Francisco becomes first U.S. city to adopt green procurement law
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom signed landmark environmental legislation June 17 that will phase out the city government´s use of toxic products by adopting a green product procurement policy. San Francisco is the first city in the nation to adopt such an ordinance. The city´s Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance requires San Francisco buildings and services to buy more environmentally friendly products, such as greener janitorial supplies. The law also will phase out toxic pesticide use and lumber pressure-treated with chromated copper arsenate in playgrounds. The city will use full-cost accounting to evaluate alternative products, taking into account not only raw materials and transportation costs but disposal and possible environmental and health costs as well. The ordinance will impact some $600 million a year in spending on products and services.
(Source: Recycling Council of Ontario in Sept. 2005 WasteWatch)
San Francisco goes to the dogs for a new source of power
San Francisco has realized that where there's muck there's gas. The dog-loving city has decided to convert the 6,500 tonnes of feces produced each year by its canine population into energy. Within the next few months, Norcal Waste, a company that collects the city's rubbish, will begin a pilot program which uses biodegradable bags and carts to gather droppings at a popular dog park.
The waste will be put in a methane digester, a tank in which bacteria feed on feces for weeks to create methane gas. This can then be piped directly to gas stoves, heaters, turbines, or anything else powered by natural gas. It can also be used to generate electricity.
San Francisco is ideally suited to the project as animal feces account for nearly 4% of its residential waste, nearly as much as disposable nappies. It is also home to 240,000 dogs and cats. San Franciscans recycle more than 60% of their rubbish.
Methane digesters are nothing new. More than 600 farm-based digesters have sprung up in Europe since the technology took off 20 years ago, and the machines are increasingly popular in dairy, chicken and pig farms across the US. However, Norcal Waste is thought to be the first US company to use the digesters to convert pet waste to energy.
(Source: The Guardian in March 2006 WasteWatch)
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San Francisco Area to ban Styrofoam containers
Hoping to get the plastic out of fast food, San Francisco and Oakland are about to ban food establishments from using styrofoam. The cities say it's not a war on fast-food joints, but a common sense step to stem plastics pollution at a time when new biodegradable alternatives are coming to market. Polystyrene foam, better known as styrofoam, is just the start. In Oakland and San Francisco, the new laws not only ban the foam but also encourage food establishments to reduce their use of all plastic in favour of materials that are biodegradable or that can be composted.
(Source: Recycling Council of Ontario in February 2007 WasteWatch)
San Francisco Bans Bottled Water for City Staff
Thirsty San Francisco city workers will no longer have bottled water to drink under an order by Mayor Gavin Newsom, who says it costs too much, worsens pollution and is no better than tap water. Newsom's executive order bars city departments, agencies and contractors from using city funds to serve water in plastic bottles and in larger dispensers when tap water is available.
In San Francisco, for the price of one 1 gallon of bottled water, local residents can purchase 1,000 gallons of tap water," according to the mayor's order. Newsom estimates San Francisco could save $500,000 a year under his directive, which also addresses environmental concerns over the amount of oil used to make and transport plastic water bottles. "All of this waste and pollution is generated by a product that by objective standards is often inferior to the quality of San Francisco's pristine tap water," according to the order. The ban on the ubiquitous plastic bottles follows a prohibition in March by city officials on plastic shopping bags in large supermarkets because recycling efforts had largely failed.
(Source: Reuters in August 2007 WasteWatch)
California to require 10% recycled carpet in the government offices
California government offices must install carpet containing at least10 percent recycled materials beginning Sept. 1, 2006, according to a standard recently adopted by an interagency task force. The new California Gold Sustainable Carpet Standard is designed to keep material out of the state’s landfills and ensure healthier working conditions for employees, said Ron Joseph, director of the California Department of General Services. The carpet standard is the latest step in the state government’s efforts to implement an environmentally preferable purchasing law.
(Source: Recycling Council of Ontario in Sept. 2006 WasteWatch)
California achieves 50 percent + diversion (finally)
The state of California reports that it has reached a diversion rate of 52 percent, meeting the legislatively imposed level required under the state’s Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989, which called for 50 percent diversion. .
The 1989 Act required individual cities and counties to cut their disposal rates in half, but left the mechanics for doing so largely up to each jurisdiction. In 1990, California diverted just 10 percent of its waste stream, causing broad concern about the dwindling landfill capacity available to meet disposal requirements.
(Source: Recycling Today in Sept. 2006 WasteWatch)
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Another California City Bans Polystyrene
Emeryville , California , City Council passed a ban on all non-biodegradable polystyrene cups, plates and take‑out food containers used by restaurants. The ban will go into effect on January 1, 2008. This ban echoes similar measures passed throughout the Bay Area in recent years and stipulates that restaurants must use biodegradable or recyclable food containers. About 50 businesses will be affected by the law. The ordinance will be complaint-driven with a $100 fine for a first offense and increases up to $400 for repeat offenders.
(Source: Plastics Recycling Update in May 2007 WasteWatch)
California Adopts EPR Position
The California Integrated Waste Management Board has adopted StrategicDirective5 on Producer Responsibility, using the strongest language yet in the US supporting Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The directive embraces producer responsibility as a core value of the agency’s mission. It directs the agency to “seek statutory authority to foster cradle to cradle producer responsibility” and to “develop and maintain relationships with stakeholders that result in producer-financed and producer-managed systems for product discards.” The new strategic directive has received strong support from local governments in California, particularly since a statewide disposal ban went into effect a year ago banning fluorescent lamps, household batteries and many common household electronic products from the landfill.
The California Product Stewardship Council, a group representing municipalities from all over the state, was formed in response to the hazardous products ban to shift California’s product waste management system from one focused on taxpayer-financed waste diversion to one that relies on producer responsibility in order to drive improvements in product design that promote environmental sustainability. For more information visit www.caproductstewardship.org.
(Source:Recycling Council of Alberta in May 2007 WasteWatch)
4.4 Cents and Sensibility— Bay Area initiates first-of-its-kind fee on biz greenhouse-gas emissions
Businesses in nine San Francisco Bay Area counties will pay 4.4 cents for every ton of greenhouse gases they spew, after the district air-quality board voted 15-1 Wednesday to approve the fee. Set to take effect July 1, the fee will affect more than 2,500 businesses; the district estimates that perhaps seven power plants and oil refineries will have to pay more than $50,000 a year, but most businesses will pay less than $1. The fee is modest enough that dramatic emissions reductions are unlikely to occur, but proponents laud the precedent. Businesses were, unsurprisingly, less enthusiastic, expressing concerns about the cost of tracking and reporting emissions, duplication of state efforts to address warming, and the authority of an air-pollution board to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions. The fee is expected to generate $1.1 million in the first year, which will help pay for projects aimed at reducing the region's emissions.
(Source: Grist in May 2008 WasteWatch)
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Most doing good, others not quite so much...
Patagonia to recycle customers’ underwear
Patagonia Inc ( Ventura, CA) has launched the Common Threads Recycling Program which will convert used base-layers, or long underwear, into new polyester fiber. Canadian consumers can return their old Patagonia clothing via mail.
Patagonia will send the recovered garments to Teijin Group, a Japanese fabric manufacturer that uses recycled material to make new polyester fiber.
Recycling the material could cut energy use by 76 percent and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 71 percent, compared with making the fiber from raw material. See their website for more details.
(Source: March 2006 WasteWatch
Samsung collecting printer cartridges
Samsung has announced its own recycling program in Canada. The program, called Samsung Take Back and Recycling (STAR) Program, will be a free service that lets customers return empty Samsung-branded toner cartridges for laser and multi-function printers.
STAR is supported by Canada Post, and will see returned cartridges safely reprocessed into their major usable component materials, like plastic and metals. These bulk, reprocessed materials will then be made available to the market for re-use in creating a range of other products.
To return an empty Samsung toner cartridge, just visit www.samsung.com/ca/star to print out a pre-addressed, pre-paid Canada Post return shipping label, then return the box to any Canada Post office or red label letter box.
(Source: Recycling Today in Feb. 2008 WasteWatch)
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Fire-safe recycling stockpiles
A fire at Cosmopolitan Industries in Saskatoon, where 430 bales of cardboard (but thankfully no buildings) were destroyed, serves as a reminder to everyone to store recyclables away from buildings. According to the National Fire Code, the distance between stockpiles and buildings should be 1.5 times the height of the stored material - for example, if a bale pile is 10 feet tall, it must be at least 15 feet away from any buildings. It is also a requirement that materials not be stored under power lines. (FYI, that Cosmo fire took 48 fire fighters 15 hours and 2 million litres of water to put out!)
(Source: November 2008 WasteWatch)
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Carrying the Planet
Marisa Ramondo of Montreal launched Eco-Handbags.ca in 2006, "to satisfy the ever-growing need of consumers to purchase eco-friendly products that would benefit the environment." She has designers around the world using a huge variety of waste materials (gum wrappers, chopsticks, soda pop tops and cans, 35 mm slides...) to design handbags and other items, which she sells through her website. She also insists that all products be made under fair-trade conditions.
Eco-Handbags.ca is a member of 1% For the Planet, an alliance of small businesses that voluntarily pay an earth tax and donate 1% of all sales to non-profit, non-governmental environmental organizations. See onepercentfortheplanet.org.
(Source: November 2008 WasteWatch)
Disposable propane cylinders now recyclable
As of May 2008, the mini propane cylinders made by Coleman are now easier to recycle. Coleman came out with their new Green Key technology which releases leftover propane and depressurises the tank. It is then safe for recycling by any scrap metal dealer. Since they are a company that supplies to outdoors enthusiasts, it's about time that they took a step away from disposability.
The Green Key comes with each new cylinder that is purchased. If you would like to get extras for old cylinders that you have lurking around in your garage, they are also available.
Coleman also incorporates about 25% recycled steel into their products. Good job Coleman. Next stop - refillable containers?
(Source: Feb. 2009 WasteWatch)
The Pedal Co-Op: Bike-based Business Hauls Away Compost, Recyclables
The city of brotherly love (Philadelphia, PA) is also home to the Pedal Co-Op, an innovative business that celebrates both bike culture and environmental awareness to fill a unique niche.
The co-op uses a fleet of trailers mounted to 80s- and 90s-era steel frame mountain bikes to service the recycling and compost needs of their 80-85 clients, who range from small businesses to larger supermarkets. Other services include package pick-up and delivery and even delivering croissants to coffee shops every morning from a local bakery. See pedalcoop.org.
(Source: Recycling Council of Ontario in May 2010 WasteWatch)
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Company asks consumers to recycle old toothbrushes
Preserve, which makes household products from recycled materials, has launching a new campaign to allow customers to mail back their toothbrushes for recycling.
The initiative is being launched with the help of consultancy firm Continuum, which helped Preserve roll out its "Gimme 5" #5 plastics recycling campaign at Whole Foods markets and other retailers.
In addition to the mail-back option for the toothbrushes, the product packaging was made lighter and now doubles as a mail back container when consumers are done with the toothbrush. Preserve recycles the toothbrushes into plastic building materials.
For more information on the company, visit www.preserveproducts.com.
(Source: Waste & Recycling News in August 2010 WasteWatch)
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Starbbucks aims to recycle cups
For Starbucks to achieve its goal of ensuring that the 4 billion cups its consumers use every year are recyclable or reusable by 2015, it’s going to take help from other retailers, including competitors, and especially consumers.
Despite the mounds of paper cups Starbucks produces every year, paper company Georgia-Pacific could process all of them in four days at its Green Bay, Wisconsin mill, said Jim Hanna, Starbucks Director of Environmental Impact .
To get the needed scale, according to Hanna, Starbucks will need to work with other companies, including competitors such as Tim Hortons, which initiated a similar cup recycling project in 2008 in Toronto.
According to Tim Hortons Environmental Affairs Manager Carol Patterson, the company worked with other retailers in the area to build the needed volume for their successful cup recycling initiative.
Customers will be an important piece of making this all work because if the cups are contaminated they’ll be harder to market.
(Source: Resource Recycling in October 2012 WasteWatch)
Package-less store opening in Texas
Forty percent of the 1.4 billion pounds of waste generated in the US every day is single-use packaging, and one grocery store opening soon hopes to correct the problem.
In.gredients, the first completely waste-free US grocery store, will sell food from local vendors in bulk to customers who bring their own containers or purchase compostable containers in the store and fill them with local food produce.
The store is expected to open its doors in early 2012 once they receive their building permit, and there are plans for a coffee shop and lunch space.
(Source: Dec. 2011 WasteWatch)
New Schick razor made from 100% recycled plastics
Feb. 1/12 -- Schick and NextLife Resin have come together to create what the companies say is the first razor made from 100% recycled plastic.
The handle and packaging for Schick´s Xtreme3 Eco disposable razor uses only post-consumer plastic waste, made by Boca Raton, Fla.-based NextLife, according to a news release. The plastic is collected from a variety of sources and products that would have been sent to a landfill. The items recovered include hangers, buckets and pails.
"Here at NextLife, we believe this is yet another turning point for sustainability within the consumer products industry," Ronald Whaley, president and CEO of NextLife, said in a statement. "If you can use a product that has a better impact on the environment, yet performs the same and looks the same as its original counterpart, the sustainable choice should always have the advantage."
Schick said production of the razor will save more than 103,000 pounds of virgin plastic materials and 15,500 pounds of virgin paper from going into landfills each year.
The razor is manufactured and shipped out of Schick’s 99.9% landfill-free facility in Milford, Conn.
(Source: Waste & Recycling News, Feb. 2012)
Other Interesting Stuff
Weird sometimes, but definitely interesting...
Coffee that warms you inside & out
Robustion Products (Ottawa) makes a fireplace log from used coffee grounds called the Java-Log, which is now available nationally. The main feedstock source is Nestle's instant coffee plant in nearby Chesterville. They also get spent coffee grounds from two waste haulers that service coffee shops in the Toronto area. The coffee grounds are air-dried and mixed with wax and molasses before being formed into logs. It takes about 400 eight-ounce cups of coffee to make a Java-Log. Robustion says that Java-Logs produce three times as much flame and generate 25 percent more energy than conventional fire logs, which are typically made of sawdust. See http://www.java-log.com/
(Source: Recycling Canada in December 2003 WasteWatch)
Branson Offers $2Million in Greenhouse Gas Competition
British entrepreneur Richard Branson and former US Vice-President Al Gore are offering a $25 million prize for an individual or group able to develop a viable technology for removing at least 1 billion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide equivalent per year.
The Virgin Earth Challenge was created to encourage development of a technology that could reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases for at least 10 years without harmful side effects. The competition initially will run for five years. For more information, see their website at virginearth.com
(Source: Waste News in May 2007 WasteWatch)
Blue jeans turned into green insulation
This is the summer of the dress. A recent New York Times story even claimed that girls are chucking their jeans in favour of flirty summer frocks. That instead of having 18 pairs of jeans, they've downsized to one favourite pair.
And where does all this denim go to die? Well, it could be made into insulation. Ultra Touch insulation, made by Bonded Logic, uses 85 per cent recycled cotton fibres and is fire, mould, mildew and corrosion resistant. It has neither carcinogens nor formaldehyde and is environmentally safe.
The Conestoga Mall in Waterloo, ON recently held a "Green" denim drive to collect jeans to be transformed into insulation destined for Habitat for Humanity houses in Ontario.
(Source: Recycling Council of Ontario in August 2007 WasteWatch)
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Back to School with a Solar Backpack
Solar backpacks can power or recharge small portable devices using solar panels while still being handy and reliable. Most aren’t cheap, but these backpacks can be fun and practical for the busy student, the casual hiker or anyone seeking stylish sustainability.
While they can’t charge large devices such as laptop computers, these sleek, durable bags can re-juice smaller electronics such as cell phones, BlackBerrys, PDAs, MP3 players or handheld GPS (one device at a time). The solar panels are lightweight and instantly convert sunlight to electricity. You don’t even have to be outside to harvest sunlight; propping your bag up next to a window works just as well.
(Source: Mother Earth Living in August 2007 WasteWatch)
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"Precycle" new green buzzword
According to a recent Brandweek Magazine ( Boston) article, market research and trend consulting firm The Intelligence Group ( New York) has published information on a new trend: precycling.
Published within a recent issue of the company's Cassandra Report, officials stated that precycling is becoming more popular with individuals who want to do more than "just toss cans and bottles in the recycle bin and let waste management sort it out." According to the report, precyclers avoid products that create excessive waste, such as plastic water bottles and polyethylene shopping bags. For example, The Intelligence Group reported that, over the last six months, 45 percent of trendsetters and 14 percent of mainstream consumers lessened their purchases of bottled water, while 49 percent and 16 percent, respectively, diminished their use of plastic carryout bags during the same period.
Additionally, the report noted that precyclers look for ways to reduce or repurpose packaging, donate or resell electronic gadgets, plus they remove themselves from junk mail lists in hopes of lessening paper waste.
(Source: The latest recycling news in August 2008 WasteWatch)
Kyoto stove wins $75,000 FT climate change innovation competition
We all hate packaging, but the Kyoto box is that rare thing - a cardboard carton that's part of the solution. It's also the winner of Forum for the Future's Climate Challenge competition with HP and the Financial Times to find the year's best climate change-tackling innovation. After voting by FT readers and mulling over by an eminent panel including Eileen Claussen and Rajendra Pachauri, it's the Kyoto box, a solar-powered cardboard cooker that will take away the $75,000 prize.
It's aimed at the 3 billion people who use firewood to cook, and in the words of Kenya-based Jon Bohmer, the entrepreneur behind the scheme, "We're saving lives and saving trees. I doubt if there is any other technology that can make so much impact for so little money.'
The box costs about $6 to make, and ironically uses the greenhouse effect to boil and bake. It consists of two boxes, one inside the other, with an acrylic cover, which lets solar energy in and traps it. Black paint on the inner box and silver foil on the outer help concentrate the heat, while a layer of straw or newspaper between the two provides insulation. By making it possible to boil water cheaply, Bohmer believes the box will save some of the millions of children who die each year from water-borne diseases. It should also halve the need for firewood, saving an estimated two tonnes of carbon per family per year.
Kyoto box was amongst 300 projects from around the world that entered the competition. The runners-up were:
- Mootral, developed by Neem Biotech in the UK - a feed additive, derived from garlic, which cuts the methane in cow, sheep and other ruminant burps and farts by at least 5%, and up to 25% with optimum dosage. Methane from ruminants is estimated to be responsible for 20% of global warming;
- Evaporating Tiles developed by Loughborough University, an indoor cooling system which works by using exhaust air to evaporate water within hollow tiles built into a false ceiling. It halves the energy use of air-conditioning systems and can be used as a standalone.
- The other finalists were Carbonscape, a joint New Zealand/UK venture to fix biomass carbon by turning wood into biochar -a kind of charcoal that can be used as soil conditioner, buried as a carbon sink, or burnt as a highly-efficient fuel; and Deflecktor, created by ADEF in the USA, an inexpensive, lightweight aerodynamic cover for truck wheels reduces drag and can cut fuel consumption by 2% on an eight-wheel rig.
We're very pleased with the way the Climate Challenge has shown how green innovation can tackle climate change, and hope all the finalists will now find a faster route to market. Bohmer says publicity from the competition has already generated opportunities for his venture with a number of companies and academic institutions interested in the stove. He is planning to use the prize to conduct mass trials in ten countries and is also developing a more robust cooker in corrugated plastic, which he says can be mass-produced as cheaply as the cardboard version.
Carbon credits should help the project scale up: Bohmer says they will cover the cost of the boxes as well as a package of other affordable low-carbon products including a solar torch. Distribution will be critical if the stove is to overcome cultural barriers to cooking without flames. Bohmer plans to distribute the package free on condition that families use it, and aims to work with women's groups in each community to build acceptability.
(Source: wwww.grist.org, June 2009)
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No Trays Cuts Food Costs, Waste
As a measure to cut food costs and reduce the amount of wasted food, many college and university dining programs are "going trayless".
Foodservice managers have found that when trays are eliminated from all-you-can-eat cafeterias, students take less food. As a result, less food also goes uneaten and ends up in the trash. Additional environmental benefits come from eliminating the need to wash the trays, resulting in less use of detergents and savings in energy and water.
The solution makes sense in the same way that Dr. Brian Wansink has shown how the size of a plate can influence portion size and how much a person eats. It begs the question as to whether going trayless may not only eliminate waste, but also lead students to cut back on their calorie intake. Could traylessness even spell the end of the dreaded "freshman 15"?
Aramark Higher Education, a provider of dining services to colleges and universities, claims that those schools which have removed their trays have seen a 25% to 30% drop in food waste per person. The company estimates that half of its 500 campus partners will be trayless by spring 2009.
[Source: Recycling Council of Ontario in Feb. 2009 WasteWatch]
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Ohio University installs energy-producing workout equipment
Students working out at an Ohio University recreation center will be able to produce a little bit of alternative energy while working up a sweat. The Athens, Ohio, university has installed 20 elliptical machines that will produce electricity from the students' use of the equipment. The kinetic motion of aerobic exercise is captured in an efficient and cost-effective way and converted into renewable energy that feeds back into the local utility's power grid.
The ellipticals were self-powered and using only 10% of the energy created so with the ReCardio system the other 90% is being converted into electricity. A typical 30 minute workout produces 50 watt hours of clean, carbon-free electricity. That's enough electricity to run a CFL bulb for 2 1/2 hrs; an incandescent bulb for 45 min; a laptop for 1hr; or a desktop computer for 30 min.
"Installing the ReCardio system allows us to demonstrate how energy is created and used," said Assistant Dean for Recreation and Wellness Douglas Franklin. "I think it's important to create an environment that actively models best practices regarding sustainability rather than just talking about it."
Ohio University is one of nine universities in the country using the ReCardio system.
(Source: Waste & Recycling News in August 2009 WasteWatch)
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New App for Recycling Calculates Environmental Savings
Two leaders in comprehensive recycling and waste management solutions introduce The Green Machine Conservation Calculator for iTunes and Apple users, available FREE on iTunes Store. To measure environmental impact, the calculator converts recyclable tonnages for paper, metal, plastic and wood into positive environmental savings measures, such as avoided landfill airspace, gallons of oils, kilowatts of electricity, and more. The developers, Integrity Recycling and Cardella Waste, collaborated to address their clients' needs and to remain in the forefront of their industry. There are also talks of further development for use among other mobile devices, such as Blackberry and Droid.
(Source: August 2010 WasteWatch)
GUMDROP aims to clean up the world, one piece of gum at a time
A company in England has come up with a unique recycling idea - take old chewing gum, and turn it into a plastic polymer than can be used to make new things -- such as bins for collecting chewing gum! The company, GUMDROP Ltd, is the brainchild of Anna Bullus, who noticed that discarded chewing gum was becoming a problem in the world. After 4 months in a lab, she created the polymer the company is using to make the bins into which people can toss their gum! Check out their website for more info.
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Ox Box Debuts Recyclable Weatherproof Boxes
Ox Box, a corrugated box and pallet manufacturer based in Addison, Ill, has introduced Eco-Shield Corrugated Crate Boxes, reusable containers designed to replace nonrecyclable wax-coated corrugated boxes, Recycling Today reports. Eco-Shield is a corrugated fiberboard material that incorporates plastic from recycled water bottles to enable the boxes to withstand exposure to the elements.
The company says lab tests show the boxes can tolerate days of exposure to rain, snow and direct sunlight and yet still are able to withstand as much as 5,000 pounds of vertical compression. Unlike waxed corrugated boxes that go to landfills, Eco-Shield boxes can be recycled with standard corrugated materials, Ox Box says.
The reusable boxes are FDA-compliant for direct food contact, offer a moisture vapour, allow hot and cold release, are oil- and grease-resistant, and can be used in freezer storage applications.
(Source: Official Board Markets in April 2012 WasteWatch)
DanCof Sustainable Coffin
Brahe Design, a Danish design company, has produced what it’s calling a “green way to heaven,” with its DanCof coffins and urns made from long-fibre recycled paper pulp. Conventional coffins are often heavy – over 75 pounds – and are made from more expensive materials, like chipboard or medium-density fibreboard. Brahe boasts a much lighter coffin, at about 13 pounds. It contains no formaldehyde or other pollutants found in typical coffins, and is biodegradable. The material used to produce the coffins and urns has been treated so as not to dissolve in water.
In designing the coffin, Brahe looked into how funerals are conducted around the world to make sure it could be used for local customs. For instance, its interior bottom has a fold in the middle so that deceased Muslims can be placed on their sides, in accordance with tradition. The colour scheme of the coffin can customized, including the lid and bottom. Ornaments, like a cross for a Christian, or an anchor for a sailor, can also be added.
Brahe has plans to mass produce the coffins for export, and hopes they will become as well-known as another Danish product: Legos.
(Source: Resource Recycling in April 2011 WasteWatch)
Group promotes textile recycling
A coalition of clothing brands, retailers, municipalities, charitable organizations and recycling companies have launched a new website to accompany a public outreach campaign focused on the importance of recycling clothing and textiles.
The Council for Textile Recycling has launched a website called www.weardonaterecycle.org that seeks to advance the organization's slogan of "Wear. Donate. Recycle." The website aims to educate consumers on the importance of recycling all clothing and textiles, not just those that are gently worn. The organization also hopes to highlight how 95 percent of clothing and textiles are recyclable.
"Our goal is to have zero post-consumer textile waste going into landfills by 2037," said Eric Stubin, CTR chairman of the board, in a prepared statement. "In the U.S., the average person discards 70 pounds of their old clothing, shoes and household textiles in their local landfill each year. We're educating people that clothing and textiles are among the most recyclable items in their home."
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