California’s great electric vehicle charging build-out

October 3, 2018 by  
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Electrify America’s new $200 million in funding will include charging for bus depots, ride-hailing services and disadvantaged communities.

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California’s great electric vehicle charging build-out

Thailand bans the import of e-waste

August 17, 2018 by  
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Over the next six months, Thailand will ban the import of 432 types of scrap electronics, or e-waste . E-waste includes any device with an electric cord or battery, and recyclers often mine these trash deposits for valuable metals. But the devices can also contain hazardous and polluting chemicals, such as lead, mercury and cadmium. Thailand has been struggling to deal with overflowing waste deposits following China’s imported trash ban last year. Since then, Southeast Asian nations such as Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam have become dumping grounds for the world’s garbage. While Hong Kong has been expanding landfills and building recycling plants, Vietnam has stopped issuing new licenses for the import of waste and cracked down on illegal shipments of paper, plastic and metal. Since May, a series of raids on factories that have been illegally importing and processing foreign e-waste has prompted the Thai government to finally take a stand. Related: Hong Kong faces ‘growing mountain of waste’ in wake of China’s trash ban In a comment to Reuters on Thursday, an anonymous senior environment ministry official said, “The meeting yesterday passed a resolution to stop importing 432 kinds of electronic waste and to ensure … that this is enforced within six months.” The meeting was chaired by Thailand’s Environment Minister, Surasak Kanchanarat. The minister spoke with Thai media on Wednesday, stating that some imports would still be allowed into the country as long as the second-hand devices had a chance at repair and reuse. Related: China bans ‘foreign waste,’ causing recycling chaos in America While scrap metals are still allowed, aluminum, copper and steel must be separated and cleaned in their countries of origin before they are shipped to Thailand for industrial use. Plastics, on the other hand, are not so welcomed. The country is planning to ban the import of plastic waste within the next two years, and there could also be a tax on plastic bags and plastic bans in tourist destinations, government agencies and businesses. While no official decisions have been made, Thailand has a target to recycle up to 60 percent of plastics by 2021. Via Reuters

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Thailand bans the import of e-waste

Venture capitalists find rising market in rural America: data-loving farmers

July 18, 2018 by  
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Venture capitalists find rising market in rural America: data-loving farmers

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Venture capitalists find rising market in rural America: data-loving farmers

Eating seaweed could reduce cows’ methane production

July 5, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the University of California, Davis have found a surprising food source that could help reduce cows’ methane production: seaweed. A recent study from the university suggests bovines who eat an experimental mix of special food and a specific strain of seaweed produce less greenhouse gas than their peers. According to Pennsylvania State University , agriculture contributes up to seven percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. Each day, ruminal animals (like cows) belch up to 264 gallons of carbon dioxide and methane. As much as 20 percent of agricultural methane emissions comes from animal burps alone. Related: How seaweed eating super cows will save the world To reduce those emissions, UC Davis researchers experimented with new feed combinations for cows. The cows’ hay is mixed with up to one percent of a naturally occurring red algae , Asparagopsis armata. To encourage the cows to eat the new food, molasses is added as a natural sweetener and to mask the salty taste and smell. To measure effectiveness, researchers take the livestock to a special “breathalyzer” chamber three times daily, where cows’ breath is measured for gas content in exchange for a cookie. The cows who ate the seaweed-mixed feed saw a significant reduction in methane production . Across three two-week experiments, cows who ate the highest mix of algae saw their methane production drop by half. The research team called the findings a “dramatic reduction in methane emissions.” But did it change the dairy cows’ milk? Although the seaweed-eating cows produced slightly less milk, the feed didn’t change the milk’s taste. A blind taste-test conducted with 25 people discovered “no off-notes” in the dairy products . Any hints of saltiness or fish did not transfer over to the cows’ milk production. Before seaweed can become a major part of agricultural feed, the industry must overcome several hurdles. This includes changing the seaweed flavor to be palatable to cows and growing enough algae for agricultural purposes. In addition, growing feed must be economically viable for farmers. Using feed to reduce cow emissions is part of a bigger plan to cut greenhouse gases in California. State Senate Bill 1383 mandated that farms must reduce their methane production by 40 percent over the next 12 years. Via NPR

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Eating seaweed could reduce cows’ methane production

Feeding America: Solve Hunger by Reducing Food Waste

June 25, 2018 by  
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Feeding America, the largest food collection and distribution network in … The post Feeding America: Solve Hunger by Reducing Food Waste appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Feeding America: Solve Hunger by Reducing Food Waste

Ovie’s ‘Smarterware’ smart food storage aims to help reduce food waste

May 22, 2018 by  
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Around 40 percent of food goes to waste in America yearly, which costs the average family of four about $2,000 a year. Luckily, Chicago startup Ovie has an answer to this problem: Smarterware. Ovie’s Smart Tags, which keep track of food items’ freshness, can be clipped on food, placed on six-cup containers, or attached to bottles or take-out boxes. According to the company, their system essentially transforms any regular refrigerator into a smart fridge, but without the steep price tag — and they’re crowdfunding on Kickstarter right now. Ovie’s Smarterware aims to change how people eat by helping them keep track of their food’s freshness level. Rings around their Smart Tags light up as green, yellow or red to let people know if food is safe, about to spoil, or has gone bad. Using the technology is simple: you just press the button on a Smart Tag, and your food is tagged via Amazon Echo or an app. Related: New refrigerator camera takes aim at food waste The app aims to help users really take advantage of what’s in their fridge, letting them see items they’ve tagged or even search for recipes that will use the tagged ingredients. The app notifies users when the light ring hits yellow and offers recipe suggestions. Ovie also plans to send a personalized recap every month to let users know how they’ve been doing and provide tips based on their consumption trends. Ovie CEO and co-founder Ty Thompson said in a statement, “People don’t want to waste all of this food — it just happens. We’re busy, we invest time and resources to make a great meal, and then we end up throwing away a large amount of food simply because we forget about it. We wanted to help solve this problem by creating a product that would be simple to use and bring a more mindful approach to food storage .” You can snag early bird discounts on Ovie’s Kickstarter , which ends June 21. The company plans to start shipping in early 2019. + Ovie + Ovie Smarterware Kickstarter Images courtesy of Ovie

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Ovie’s ‘Smarterware’ smart food storage aims to help reduce food waste

Missouri approves legislation to ban labeling plant-based ‘meat’ as meat

May 22, 2018 by  
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Plant-based meat substitutes or meat grown in a laboratory — think the Impossible Burger or the Beyond Burger — won’t be able to be marketed as meat under new legislation recently approved by  Missouri  lawmakers in a 125 to 22 vote. Representative Jeff Knight, a Republican who backed the change, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , “We’re not trying to mislead anyone. We’re just trying to protect our product.” Legislation outlawing companies from calling lab-grown or plant-based meat substitutes ‘meat’ is headed to the governor’s desk in Missouri. Senate Bill 627 is a package of changes to conservation and agriculture laws, including a provision stating, “This act also prohibits misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” If the bill becomes law, Missouri will be the first state in America to address this issue. Related: TGI Fridays to sell Beyond Meat’s plant-based burger in hundreds of stores Mike Deering, the executive vice president of the  Missouri Cattlemen’s Association said in a statement , “This isn’t a Missouri issue. This is about protecting the integrity of the products that farm and ranch families throughout the country work hard to raise each and every day. I never imagined we would be fighting over what is and isn’t meat. It seems silly. However, this is very real and I cannot stress enough the importance of this issue…This legislation does not stifle technology , but it does ensure the integrity of our meat supply and reduces customer confusion.” Representative Deb Lavender, a Democrat, said we should be embracing the future, and that many people “are eating differently than they used to.” Representative Tracy McCreery, also a Democrat, said she found the bill somewhat disrespectful to consumers, saying, “You guys are just trying to protect your marketing money.” The bill did find bipartisan support. Democratic representative Greg Razer agreed with the policy and said, “I love me a pork chop.” Via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and EcoWatch Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Missouri approves legislation to ban labeling plant-based ‘meat’ as meat

Court in Germany paves the way for the immediate ban of older diesel vehicles

May 22, 2018 by  
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The top administrative court in Germany has issued a ruling that empowers municipalities to ban older diesel vehicles, effective immediately, in pursuit of cleaner air. This decision comes only one day after the European Commission filed a complaint with the European Court of Justice, the highest court in the European Union (EU), that cited Germany for its cities’ continued failure to meet EU standards on nitrogen dioxide (NO?) levels. “Such restrictions, in their intensity, do not go beyond other passage and stopping bans as justified by road law requirements, which motorists always have to reckon with and which they principally have to accept,” the court said in a 30-page statement. The recent ruling and how cities respond will have significant consequences for European automakers such as Volkswagen , which have invested heavily in diesel vehicles. Diesel is known to create less greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change while emitting greater amounts of other pollutants that can cause respiratory disease. In Germany, a more dramatic diesel ban may undermine the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, which has been criticized for its closeness to the industry. “This ruling is a disaster for the government which one-sidedly stands in for the greed for profit by the carmakers while leaving 10 million owners of manipulated diesel cars alone,” Juergen Resch, managing director of Germany’s DUH environmental lobby, told Eco News . Related: Rome is banning all oil-burning cars by 2024 Once imposed, diesel bans could remove millions of vehicles from the road almost immediately. Only 2.7 million of the 15 million active diesel vehicles in Germany meet the EU emissions standards. The court recommended gradual implementation of bans, starting with the removal of the most polluting vehicles. The court’s decision is the most recent policy change following the 2015 Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal . Via Eco News Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Court in Germany paves the way for the immediate ban of older diesel vehicles

California becomes the first US state to require solar energy for new houses

May 10, 2018 by  
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It’s official — California is the first state in America to mandate solar for new homes. Yesterday, the California Energy Commission voted unanimously to approve the building standards, which will go into effect on January 1, 2020. The New York Times quoted Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich as saying, “There’s…this real American sense of freedom of producing electricity on my rooftop. And it’s another example of California leading the way.” Homes built in California in a couple of years will have to be equipped with solar energy systems. Called the 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, the requirements “will increase the cost of constructing a new home by about $9,500 but will save $19,000 in energy and maintenance costs over 30 years,” according to a frequently asked questions document from the California Energy Commission. The New York Times quoted commission member Andrew McAllister as saying, “Any additional amount in the mortgage is more than offset. It’s good for the customer.” Related: California to become the first US state to require solar panels on new homes The commission said in a press release the standards would lower greenhouse gas emissions as much as if around 115,000 fossil fuel cars left the streets. They said the standards zero in on four areas; in addition to residential solar power, those areas are “updated thermal envelope standards (preventing heat transfer from the interior to exterior and vice versa), residential and nonresidential ventilation requirements, and nonresidential lighting requirements.” There are people who wonder if California’s new mandate is the best path forward to clean power. MIT Technology Review linked to an email from University of California, Berkeley economics professor Severin Borenstein to commission chair Robert Weisenmiller early yesterday morning; Borenstein said he, along with most energy economists, “believe that residential rooftop solar is a much more expensive way to move towards renewable energy than larger solar and wind installations.” + California Energy Commission Via The New York Times Images via Deposit Photos ,   Wikimedia Commons and mjmonty on Flickr

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Maryland just banned the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores

April 24, 2018 by  
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Maryland just became the second state in America to ban pet stores from selling puppies and kittens. Animal rights advocates say the move will help cut demand for animals from puppy mills . The bill, HB 1662 , also encourages pet stores to work with rescue groups and animal shelters to promote the adoption of homeless animals, according to The Humane Society . Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan signed the legislation into law with bipartisan support. The state already has regulations in place requiring stores to reveal breeder information, and stores cannot use breeders that the United States Department of Agriculture has cited in the last two years. But delegate Benjamin Kramer, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation, told The Washington Post the regulations aren’t enough to protect animals. Related: California bans puppy mills and requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals Pet store owners fought against the law, hoping Hogan would veto it. Just Puppies co-owner Jeanea Thomson said her store doesn’t want animals from puppy mills, and that she and her husband visit their breeders, most in Iowa and Missouri, to vouch for conditions. But Kramer said the farms that store owners describe are abominations, telling The Washington Post, “There is not a single one that is this righteous, beautiful, loving, caring facility where there is room for puppies to roam and for breeding dogs to play.” Humane Society Maryland state director Emily Hovermale described the ban as a lifesaving measure that would close the state’s pet store market to puppy mills. She said, “Maryland has set an important precedent with this rejection of animal abuse that other states will surely follow.” Emily McCobb, a professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, said a ban could result in a dog shortage, and people might not be sure where to go to get a pet. “There’s a lot of messaging around ‘adopt, don’t shop,’” she said. “But we haven’t done a good job of messaging about how to find responsible breeders.” The law will fully go into effect in 2020. It follows a bill passed in California last year that requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals. + The Humane Society Via The Washington Post Images via Depositphotos and Lydia Torrey on Unsplash

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