Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, Business and Science News Summarized

October 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco

The Earth911 team combs news and research for interesting ideas … The post Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, Business and Science News Summarized appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, Business and Science News Summarized

Burger King announces reusable container pilot program

October 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Green, Recycle

If the ghosts of fast food containers past are haunting your conscience, Burger King has the solution. The fast food giant has announced a pilot plan to introduce reusable containers. Burger King is partnering with Loop , a circular packaging service owned by TerraCycle, to provide the new containers. Consumers can opt to pay a container deposit when buying a meal. When they return the packaging, they get a refund. Loop cleans the packaging, preparing it for a long life of housing infinite Whoppers and Cokes. The pilot program will go into effect next year in Tokyo, New York City and Portland, Oregon. If it goes well, more cities will soon know the joy of a recycled Whopper box. Related: Swiss grocery store chain will be the first to sell insect burgers “As part of our Restaurant Brands for Good plan, we’re investing in the development of sustainable packaging solutions that will help push the food service industry forward in reducing packaging waste ,” said Matthew Banton, Burger King Global’s head of innovation and sustainability. “The Loop system gives us the confidence in a reusable solution that meets our high safety standards, while also offering convenience for our guests on the go.” Burger King has set a goal of 100% of customer packaging being sourced from recycled, renewable or certified sources by 2025. The company is also trying to improve its waste diversion. By 2025, Burger King restaurants in the U.S. and Canada aim to recycle 100% of guest packaging. The pandemic has focused even more attention on packaging, since so many restaurants are closed for in-house dining. “During COVID, we have seen the environmental impact of increased takeaway ordering which makes this initiative by Burger King all the more important,” said Tom Szaky, TerraCycle and Loop CEO, as reported in BusinessWire . “This enables Burger King consumers to easily bring reusability into their daily lives, and whether they choose to eat-in or takeaway, they will be able to get some of their favorite food and drinks in a reusable container.” Via BusinessWire and Business Insider Image via Burger King / BusinessWire

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Burger King announces reusable container pilot program

Companies in Japan launch edible single-use bags to save Nara deer

October 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Local companies in Nara, Japan have developed single-use bags made from milk cartons and rice bran that are safe if ingested by the city’s iconic deer. In 2019, multiple deer accidentally swallowed trash , namely plastic bags, that were littered by tourists. Several of the deer died, including one that had consumed nearly 9 pounds of waste. This prompted concerned entities to create a safer alternative to plastic packaging that can be digested without harm to the deer. The newly developed bags have been instrumental in saving the lives of the hundreds of deer that roam Nara. The bags are safe for deer, because the milk cartons and rice bran used to make these bags contain easy-to-digest ingredients. While there has been a decline in tourists and their plastic waste during the pandemic, the single-use bags still stand as a positive change to continue into the future. Related: Climate change is killing reindeer in the Arctic Tourists in Nara can purchase treats to feed the deer, and signs are posted warning visitors to only feed the deer approved treats that do not come in plastic packaging. Still, many tourists left behind waste that was consumed by the animals . After hearing of the deer that died from ingesting plastic , Hidetoshi Matsukawa, a local businessman, reached out to other firms with the interest of creating bags and packaging that would be safe in the event that they were eaten by the deer. “We made the paper with the deer in mind,” Matsukawa said. “ Tourism in Nara is supported by deer so we will protect them and promote the bags as a brand for the local economy.” The efforts to market the bags as a safe option for visitors to the city have been fruitful. About 35,000 bags have already been sold to local businesses and Nara’s tourism bureau. Since 1957, Japan has deemed the deer in Nara as national treasures that are protected by law, as they are considered divine messengers in the area. Via The Guardian Image via Matazel

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Companies in Japan launch edible single-use bags to save Nara deer

Episode 242: Responsible mining, the politics of clean energy

October 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Episode 242: Responsible mining, the politics of clean energy Heather Clancy Fri, 10/23/2020 – 02:00 Week in Review Stories discussed this week (7:25). Microsoft, Tiffany help carve out new responsible mining standard Green 2.0: Corporate advocacy and the environmental movement’s racial justice reckoning How big-time investors think about deforestation: Q&A with investment manager Lauren Compere Features 5 questions with renewable fuels company Neste (20:40)   Jeremy Baines took on his role as president of Neste U.S. a little more than a year ago. He joins us to answer five questions about the organization’s strategy. The clean energy voting bloc (27:50)   GreenBiz senior energy analyst Sarah Golden offers an inside view to Clean Energy for Biden, which is raising visibility for the economic potential of clean energy industries ahead of the presidential election.  *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere: “More On That Later,” “Night Caves,” “New Day,” “Curiosity” and “Sad Marimba Planet” *This episode was sponsored by WestRock and MCE, and features VERGE 20 sponsor Neste. Resources galore Lessons in resilience from the produce industry. Subject matter experts from Kwik Lok, Walmart and Second Harvest Food Bank join us at 1 p.m. EST Nov. 10 to discuss responding to disruption and how to balance food safety and security to minimize food waste. Behavior change and the circular economy. How innovation and new business models alter people’s relationship with waste. Join the discussion at 8 p.m. EST Nov. 12.  Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Sarah Golden Topics Podcast Renewable Energy Supply Chain Policy & Politics Mining Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 37:26 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 242: Responsible mining, the politics of clean energy

Parsing Panera’s plan to nudge consumers toward low-carbon meals

October 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Parsing Panera’s plan to nudge consumers toward low-carbon meals Jim Giles Fri, 10/23/2020 – 01:00 Something changed recently in America’s fast-casual restaurants. It involved only a single company, but it could herald the start of a fundamental shift in the choices that diners make. I’ll get to what happened in a minute, but first take a step back and consider the information available when you buy food. At the grocery store, you’re bombarded with labels: organic and its new extension, regenerative organic; various competing fair trade standards; certifications relating to animal health and so on. Notice that these widely used labels tell you nothing about the climate change impact of your choices. If you’re eating out, you might find calorie information on menus and, typically at more boutique restaurants, notes on where ingredients were sourced from. Again, you’re unlikely to see anything relating to climate. This matters, because the greenhouse gas emissions generated by different kinds of food vary widely. Here’s a useful summary, courtesy of the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan: The reluctance of brands to use climate labels may be partly because it isn’t clear what consumers would do with emissions information. In 2007, for instance, PepsiCo added a label to its Walkers potato chips noting that each bag generated 80 grams of carbon dioxide . A few years later, the label was gone. “With consumers not having enough points of comparison to make the label a useful tool at the time, it was discontinued,” a PepsiCo spokesperson told me. There’s been little progress since, but 2020 looks to be the year when things started to change. In June, Unilever announced ambitious plans to attach carbon labels to its products . Now restaurants are acting, too. The change I referred to earlier is happening at Panera Bread, where many menu items now have a “Cool Food” badge attached to them.  The label, developed by the World Resources Institute , indicates that the emissions generated by the item are in line with the institute’s recommended dietary carbon footprint. This is 38 percent smaller than the U.S. average, a cut that WRI research has found is needed by 2030 to help avoid the worst impacts of climate change. There are two reasons why I think this could be the start of something meaningful. First, the Panera Bread brand isn’t built around environmental values, as you might expect from an early mover in this space. Panera and the WRI seem to have recognized this by making it easy for consumers to make low-carbon choices. Contrast that with the Walkers experiment: PepsiCo deserves credit for being ahead of its time, but the information consumers saw on the chips — 80 grams of carbon dioxide — wasn’t meaningful to anyone aside from climate experts. (For experts and anyone else who wants more details on what qualifies as a Cool Food Meal, Panera has provided a breakdown of emissions associated with each menu item .) It’s also critical that Panera is not going it alone. The badge is based on extensive WRI research and builds on work that the institute has been doing with foodservice operators. The hope is that other restaurants will adopt the badge, making it easier for people to find climate-friendly options whenever they eat out. One quick aside before sign off. I described Panera as an early adopter, but the first mover here might be the Just Salad chain, which introduced carbon labels last month . After I mentioned the Panera announcement a couple of weeks back, Just Salad emailed to argue that items on its menu generate less carbon than comparable offerings at Panera. I’d like to dig into this in the future, but for now, I’ll just note that it’s awesome to see chains competing on carbon.  Topics Food & Agriculture Food & Agriculture Featured Column Foodstuff Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Quality HD Close Authorship

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Parsing Panera’s plan to nudge consumers toward low-carbon meals

Pennsylvania scientists develop 100% leather waste fiber made from scraps

October 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

After five years and $3 million worth of research and development, two Pennsylvania scientists have developed a proprietary process to create a brand new, 100% leather waste fiber. The company, Sustainable Composites, is turning leather scraps into a new product called Enspire Leather to replicate the look, feel, performance and even smell of traditional tanned hide at a significantly lower financial and environmental cost. According to Sustainable Composites, producing ordinary leather typically wastes 25-60% of product in the tanning process because of the defects and limited dimensions of hide. Because of this, an estimated 3.5 billion pounds of leather scraps end up on the cutting room floor and eventually in incinerators or landfills each year. Instead, Enspire Leather reclaims those discarded scraps, grinds them up and presses them into sheets to process the material into a new fiber. The resulting fabric has the same pliability, durability, sew-ability, fold properties and abrasion- and stain-resistance as traditional leather. Related: Oliver Co. makes vegan leather wallets from apple waste and wood The material is then made into uniform rolls of 54 inches that are free from defects to help maximize yield and reduce cost. From a business standpoint, product manufacturers for items like furniture, footwear and handbags gain 40-60% material cost reductions. Footwear manufacturing company Timberland has already taken advantage of the new leather alternative for select products as part of its commitment to environmentally responsible development. Although the new material is made from scraps, Sustainable Composites can ensure a wide range of design options for color, texture, thickness and finish thanks to its unique composition and forming procedures. Because Enspire Leather is made using recycled materials , it reduces the amount of trash produced from more conventional methods. The patented process offers an exciting update to the leather product industry, combining the traditional art of leather-working with the contemporary technology of a new age. + Sustainable Composites LLC Images via Sustainable Composites LLC

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Pennsylvania scientists develop 100% leather waste fiber made from scraps

Missing Pieces of Decarbonization Puzzle Realized

October 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Missing Pieces of Decarbonization Puzzle Realized Date/Time: November 19, 2020 (1-2PM ET / 10-11AM PT) The process to decarbonize power systems is complicated. Grid operators are tasked with balancing affordability and reliability as more renewable energy comes online. Utilities must find the right mix of energy resources to decarbonize while planning for extreme weather events. Meanwhile, the imperative to increase renewable energy and take bold action on climate change grows more intense by the day.  In this webcast, experts will discuss how to assess the economic, scientific, and political nexus to find the optimal path to decarbonize the electricity sector. Join us to learn about the missing pieces of the decarbonization puzzle and how 100% renewable power can practically, affordably and quickly become a reality. Moderator: Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair, GreenBiz Speakers: Jussi Heikkinen, Director, Growth & Development, Americas, Wärtsilä Bruce Nilles, Executive Director, Climate Imperative If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and resources, available to you on-demand after the webcast. taylor flores Thu, 10/22/2020 – 11:29 Sarah Golden Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair GreenBiz Group @sbgolden Jussi Heikkinen Director, Growth & Development, Americas Wärtsilä Bruce Nilles Executive Director Climate Imperative @brucenilles gbz_webcast_date Thu, 11/19/2020 – 10:00 – Thu, 11/19/2020 – 11:00

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Missing Pieces of Decarbonization Puzzle Realized

Love trees? Prioritize wildfire restoration and fighting deforestation

October 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Love trees? Prioritize wildfire restoration and fighting deforestation Heather Clancy Thu, 10/22/2020 – 02:00 Back in my former life as a tech journo, my coverage was informed by the infamous ” hype cycle ” phrase coined by research firm Gartner to describe the arc of emerging technology adoption from the spark of innovation to mainstream adoption. Lately, I’ve been mulling that framework a great deal in the context of a much-ballyhooed nature-based solution for removing carbon emissions: planting trees. Heck, even the climate-denier-in-chief loves the idea . Right now, we are clearly in the “peak of inflated expectations” phase of the tree-planting movement, with new declarations hitting my inbox every week. Pretty much any company with a net-zero commitment has placed tree projects at the center of its short-term strategy, often as part of declarations related to the Trillion Trees initiative.   As a verified tree-hugger, I’m encouraged. But, please, it’s time to refine the dialogue: While tree-planting events in parks or schoolyards make for great photo opps, we should devote far more time to acts of restoration and conservation. That’s where we really need corporate support, both in the form of dollars and any expertise on the ground your team can provide.  That’s the spirit of the Wildfire Restoration Collaborative launched this week by the Arbor Day Foundation along with AT&T, Facebook, FedEx, Mary Kay, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Target. The first order of business: digging in to support the restoration of 8,000 acres in the burn scars of the 2018 Carr and Camp Fires. Projects in Australia, Canada and other affected U.S. forests are on the future agenda. This translates into roughly 8 million trees. Wildfire restoration is more important than ever, given the intensity of blazes fueled by climate change in the form of hotter, drier weather, according to Arbor Day Foundation President Dan Lambe. It’s critical for rebuilding forest ecosystems and watersheds.  “What we’ve seen lately is tree seed source being destroyed by usually hot and long-burning fires, making it difficult for forests to fully regenerate,” he told me in written remarks. “Meanwhile, shrubs and brush are being left behind to act as fuel for the next megafire. Our local planting partners help determine the species, number and space of trees to promote regeneration while preventing fires of this drastic severity in the future.” P&G actually has partnered with Arbor Day on wildfire restoration since 2019, when it became the lead support for the foundation’s activity in Northern California. So far, the Family Care division of the consumer products giant has planted 50,000 trees there and 25,000 in Saxony, Germany, where forests are being damaged by storms, drought and beetle infestations. A P&G spokeswoman said this is a long-term commitment, because restoration takes years, and the company is prioritizing sites near its operations. (One of P&G’s Charmin and Bounty paper plants is in Oxnard, California.) The replanting for these two fire sites will take place over four years. In written responses to my questions, Tim Carey, vice president of sustainability at PepsiCo Beverages North America, which has provided a $1.5 million grant to support restoration, pointed to water replenishment as a key benefit. “Our investment will not only reforest the burn scars, it will result in 458 million gallons of water being replenished annually — which will be desperately needed as wildfires continue to ravage California,” he wrote. “This grant is just one of our many commitments to reforestation and water replenishment. Our goal is to replenish 100 percent of the water we use in manufacturing operations in high-water-risk areas by 2025 — and ensure that such replenishment takes place in the watershed where the extraction has occurred.” When I asked Arbor Day Foundation’s Lambe how the collaborative will prioritize restoration in the future, he said it will be a combination of factors: the damage done; how difficult it will be for the forest to regenerate on its own without intervention; how restoration might help prevent future fires. Just as important is the role the forest plays in human lives. In the months to come, I’d love to see the trillion-trees get far more sophisticated: lasering in on the vitally important nature of this restoration work, as well as importance of encouraging regenerative forestry practices.  And here’s a challenge: I’d love to see every company that jumps onto the tree-planting hype train double down on their strategy for authentically fighting deforestation. As I reported back in February, big business has a terrible track record on deforestation. Very few companies that embraced a strategy actually have accomplished that goal.  A few weeks back, Mars stepped out as a rare exception, declaring a “deforestation-free” palm oil supply chain. It managed this by cutting hundreds of suppliers, which makes me wonder where those businesses are selling their wares, and by requiring the ones that are left (just 50 by 2022, down from 1,500) to commit to specific environmental practices.  I can guarantee you institutional investors are paying more attention than ever, especially as deforestation maps directly to horrific human rights abuses all over the world — from the Amazon to Indonesia. Banks, on other hand, have fallen way short on scrutinizing deforestation risks, as I reported in February. That needs to change. Rant over, I promise. Want an early view into my weekly rants? Subscribe to the VERGE Weekly newsletter, and follow me on Twitter: @greentechlady . Pull Quote What we’ve seen lately is tree seed source being destroyed by usually hot and long-burning fires, making it difficult for forests to fully regenerate. Topics Carbon Removal Forestry Wildlife Deforestation VERGE 20 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Love trees? Prioritize wildfire restoration and fighting deforestation

The Role of Innovation in Changing Behavior Towards a Circular Economy

October 21, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The Role of Innovation in Changing Behavior Towards a Circular Economy Date/Time: November 12, 2020 (8-9PM ET / 5-6PM PT) By 2030 plastic waste is expected to increase by more than 50% to 330 million tons per annum if business continues as usual. Not only is this unsustainable for communities and the environment, it also makes little sense economically. Recent figures show $120 billion is lost each year because plastic waste is mismanaged. This hour-long webinar will explore how innovation and new business models can help transform the relationship between people and waste, redefining value and driving a circular economy.  Topics include:  The business and environmental case for shifting from a linear to a circular economy for plastics Opportunities to leverage innovation, beyond new technologies and materials to affect behavior change  Exciting new solutions to tackling plastic waste leakage For more reading on the Alliance: https://endplasticwaste.org/progress-report/ Moderator: Lauren Phipps, Director & Senior Analyst, Circular Economy, GreenBiz Speakers: Jacob Duer, President & CEO, Alliance to End Plastic Waste Jeff Kerscher, Founder & CEO, Litterati John C. Warner, Distinguished Research Fellow, Exploration and Discovery, Zymergen Corporation If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and resources, available to you on-demand after the webcast. taylor flores Wed, 10/21/2020 – 12:45 Lauren Phipps Director & Senior Analyst, Circular Economy GreenBiz Group @laurenfphipps Jacob Duer President & CEO Alliance to End Plastic Waste Jeff Kerscher Founder & CEO Litterati @jeffkirschner John C. Warner Distinguished Research Fellow, Exploration and Discovery Zymergen Corporation @johnwarnerorg gbz_webcast_date Thu, 11/12/2020 – 10:00 – Thu, 11/12/2020 – 11:00

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The Role of Innovation in Changing Behavior Towards a Circular Economy

Oil companies use cooling technology to continue Arctic drilling

October 21, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Big oil companies are now turning to technology to protect their business from the effects of climate change. Companies that have been exploring the Arctic for oil drilling are now fighting with the effects of thawing and unstable permafrost. However, even the impacts on their infrastructure are not enough to stop these companies from exploring further. While they might have to pay more to steady their infrastructure, many fossil fuel companies are now developing and using technology to keep permafrost from melting in order to continue drilling. ConocoPhillips is one of the leading oil companies exploring for oil in the Arctic. The company developed special technology that would prevent permafrost — upon which its infrastructure is anchored — from melting. With plans to pump 160,000 more barrels of crude oil daily from its new project in Alaska’s North Slope, the company had to find a way of retaining its resources in the fast-melting region. So ConocoPhillips developed devices that will cool the ground beneath its structures . Related: Arctic permafrost already thawing at a rate not expected until 2090 Many would expect that due to the visible effects of climate change in the Arctic, the government would bar oil companies from further drilling. However, the Trump administration has made it even easier for oil corporations to expand into protected regions. While other countries are also advancing oil exploration in the region, the U.S. has gone so far as to finalize plans to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. The plans include allowing companies to operate at Teshekpuk Lake, a unique and important habitat that is also used by local Indigenous communities for fishing and hunting. While the U.S. government is promoting oil exploration in the Arctic, those who rely on these natural ecosystems are already feeling the pain of climate change. Last year, fishing crews in Utqiagvik had to wait several weeks longer than usual for the arrival of bowhead whales due to rising temperatures. Given that the community relies on the whales for their diet, continued exploration may mean that the locals will face food scarcity in the future. As locals struggle to deal with the changes caused by greenhouse gases , oil companies are changing their tactics to be able to continue drilling, which only worsens climate change and its detrimental impacts on the Arctic. Via The Guardian Image via Florence D.

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Oil companies use cooling technology to continue Arctic drilling

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