What Biden could do about plastics

December 14, 2020 by  
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What Biden could do about plastics Lauren Phipps Mon, 12/14/2020 – 01:00 Most environmentally oriented eyes on the Biden administration are focused — appropriately — on mitigating climate change, creating jobs and transitioning to a clean energy future. Count me among them. So, I’m not holding out hope for a federal circular economy policy any time soon (I’ll let the EU take the lead on that front). However, I will pay close attention next year to the administration’s stance on everyone’s favorite entry point into the circular economy: plastics. More specifically, the potential to weave together or harmonize our current patchwork of city- and state-level regulations into a coordinated federal effort to chip away at the U.S.’s outsized plastics footprint . The most ambitious bill that could come across Biden’s desk is the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act , introduced earlier this year by Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-California). The sweeping legislation would establish a nationwide container deposit system (a.k.a. extended producer responsibility); set post-consumer recycled content minimums for plastic packaging that gradually would increase to 80 percent in 2040; and ban a number of single-use items including plastic bags, polystyrene foodservice containers and disposable utensils and straws. It’s controversial, to say the least, with predictable divisions between industry lobbying for voluntary commitments and activist groups demanding regulatory action and accountability.  This week, a coalition of 550 environmental groups, including many of the bill’s supporters, released the Presidential Plastics Action Plan , a proposed framework for the president-elect to reduce plastics entering the waste stream and regulate their management — with or without the support of Congress. Here’s what makes me optimistic: Plastic pollution has become a bipartisan issue. Although Biden’s emphasis on infrastructure, climate and environmental justice feels perfectly poised for an intersectional challenge such as plastic pollution, I’m not feeling confident that this is where Biden will spend his political capital with executive action, at least any time soon. But I’m hoping to be surprised. On the international stage, I’ll be tracking two major opportunities for the Biden administration: a global treaty on plastics pollution and the Basel Convention, a United Nations treaty that regulates the transboundary movement and disposal of hazardous waste, amended in 2019 to regulate the global plastic waste trade.  More than two-thirds of United Nations member states have declared they are open to a new agreement to tackle plastic waste and harmonize policy efforts among signatories, akin to a Paris Agreement for plastics. And while the U.S. has remained predictably silent on the treaty, WWF, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Boston Consulting Group recently released a manifesto calling for businesses to support such a treaty, garnering early support from major global brands including Coca-Cola, Nestlé and PepsiCo, among other top global plastic polluters , signaling potential for broader support to enter into negotiations.  Although the U.S. is not a party to the Basel Convention, come next month, many shipments of plastic waste from the U.S. to other countries will be prohibited or complicated , increasing the strain on domestic recycling markets.  I’m not wildly optimistic that the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act will become the law of the land while the president’s ambition for environmental action is tempered by Republican control of the Senate. I’m also not filled with confidence that the U.S. quickly will become a global leader in the fight against plastics pollution.  But here’s what makes me optimistic: Plastic pollution has become a bipartisan issue.  If the historic influx of recycling legislation in Congress over the past few years tells us anything, it’s that recycling and materials management are on the national agenda. The education-focused RECYCLE Act and infrastructure-oriented RECOVER Act both received some bipartisan support before stalling amid the pandemic. And President Donald Trump signed the updated Save Our Seas 2.0 Act recently passed by both chambers of Congress. Among other things, it will provide $55 million in funding each year through 2025 to improve “local post-consumer materials management,” including municipal recycling programs (which could use the additional support these days). That’s a pittance compared to what’s needed, but we’ll take it. Indeed, when it comes to solving the plastics waste problem, these bills are woefully inadequate. They underscore the key distinction between tackling plastic pollution and addressing the problem at its root: Are we turning off the plastics tap, or bailing out the bathtub with a thimble? However insufficient, some federal action is certainly better than none.  Pull Quote Here’s what makes me optimistic: Plastic pollution has become a bipartisan issue. Topics Circular Economy Recycling Plastic Waste Plastic Featured Column In the Loop Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Person searches through plastic trash in a waterway near the Las Vegas Strip.  Shutterstock John Dvorak Close Authorship

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What Biden could do about plastics

How a green-roofed shopping center is redefining ‘reuse’

November 4, 2020 by  
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Now that eco-friendly building and reuse projects are on the rise, there have been some pretty amazing transformations. Many architects and designers are embracing the adaptive reuse trend, breathing new life and new purpose into old buildings rather than demolishing them. A new design by Herzog & de Meuron that transforms an old depot into a shopping center is truly inspirational, showcasing innovative ways to approach reuse projects while still adding creativity and functionality to a design for the betterment of a community. The building in question used to be a customs depot in Basel, Switzerland. But it will soon become a shopping center, in a project called Dreispitz Nord, that even has a school onsite. Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron headed the project, a mixed-use district that will expand Basel’s downtown. Herzog & de Meuron is no stranger to innovation. The firm first began the project in 2017, when it won a competition for a massive redevelopment plan for Basel. The goal in this project is to create an urban building with “large, public green space,” according to a statement released by the firm, which recently shared more details and updates on its original design. Related: BIG weaves green roofs into a mixed-use development on stilts in Miami The Dreispitz Nord project includes three mixed-use, high-rise towers surrounded by mid-rise buildings; these mid-rise buildings will add more affordable housing to the city. In addition to the shopping center, there’s also a public park and the school, which is big enough for about 600 students. The school and its accompanying gymnasium will be prefabricated to save time and construction waste. A flourishing green roof will serve as another public park, where a DIY and garden center will welcome Basel residents to get creative. There will also be playing fields, community gardens and a youth center. The project’s blend of adaptive reuse and newly added high-rise towers will transform the Basel skyline while also adding plenty of public amenities for the community to enjoy. + Herzog & de Meuron Via Archinect Images via Herzog & de Meuron

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How a green-roofed shopping center is redefining ‘reuse’

Swiss police to replace diesel fleet with 7 Tesla Model X-100Ds

March 19, 2018 by  
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The Swiss police are electrifying! The Basel-Stadt canton announced in a recent press release that they plan to replace their fleet of diesel vehicles with seven Tesla Model X-100D electric vehicles. Although the purchase will be expensive, at about $147,000 a piece, the police are convinced their overall costs will fall. Plus, they expressed concern about reducing their environmental impact . In addition to lower maintenance costs, the police expect the resale value of Tesla vehicles to be greater than that of their existing fleet. And they aren’t concerned with running out of juice while on a high-speed chase. “With a current charge the Tesla drives at least 500 kilometers,” they wrote in their press release. “Vehicles of the alerting patch cover an average of 200 kilometers per day per day.” Related: Dubai police unveil electric hoverbikes Dutch security firm Force Pro have customized the Basel city police’s new vehicles, according to regional daily the Basellandschaftliche Zeitung . Force Pro sales director Theo Karanfantis told the paper cited connectivity and communication as among the Tesla vehicle’s key benefits. “A conventional car brings a police officer from A to B,” he said. “What Basel police are now buying is a laptop on wheels”. Two charging stations will be installed at Kannenfeld and Clara police stations, according to the press release. Lastly, the police said the Tesla X-100D is the only electric vehicle on the market that is capable of meeting their needs. + Basel Police Via The Local Images via Tesla

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Swiss police to replace diesel fleet with 7 Tesla Model X-100Ds

Diamond-shaped Casa Forest house in Switzerland makes the most of a wooded lot

August 19, 2016 by  
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The house features a double-height central space that connects the ground floor dining area and kitchen with a lounge located on the upper floor. Two bedrooms and bathrooms are located next to the living spaces on the ground and first floor, while the auxiliary spaces occupy the basement. The crystalline form of the house allowed the architects to make the most of the plot and create windows that blend the interior and exterior into an immersive environment dominated by nature. Related: HHF Architects’ House D Floats Upon a Daylit Glass Volume in Switzerland “Breathtaking views into the dense, deep-green foliage in the summer and the leafless and airy branch structure in the winter were a decisive factor in calibrating the daylight and arranging the spaces in this home,” said Juan González and Rubén Daluz, principals of Daluz Gonzalez Architekten. + Daluz Gonzalez Architekten Via Dezeen Photos by Alexandra Kreja and Philippe Wiget

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Diamond-shaped Casa Forest house in Switzerland makes the most of a wooded lot

Digital Grotesque: World’s First Full-Size 3D-Printed Room to be Unveiled Next Month

June 18, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Digital Grotesque: World’s First Full-Size 3D-Printed Room to be Unveiled Next Month Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3D printing , 3d-printed architecture , 3D-printed building , 3D-printed room , basel , Benjamin Dillenburger , Digital Grotesque , Materializing Exhibition , michael hansmeyer , Swiss Art Awards        

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Digital Grotesque: World’s First Full-Size 3D-Printed Room to be Unveiled Next Month

Volvo Unveils New Noiseless Electric Buses for Gothenburg, Sweden

June 18, 2013 by  
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Volvo just unveiled a new line of silent electric buses that will hit the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden in 2015. The buses are part of a new service initiative called ElectriCity, which is being launched in cooperation with the City of Gothenburg, Göteborg Energi, Västtrafik, Lindholmen Science Park, and Johanneberg Science Park. Read the rest of Volvo Unveils New Noiseless Electric Buses for Gothenburg, Sweden Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bus , electric public transportation , Electricity , green bus , green transportation , public transportation , volvo , Volvo bus , Volvo electric bus        

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Scribe’s House is a Life-Size Apartment Made From Reams of Recycled Paper

December 4, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Scribe’s House is a Life-Size Apartment Made From Reams of Recycled Paper Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: anthropologie , Argentinian artist , Art , Art Basel Miami , cutout art , Design , eco design , eco-art , green design , Literature , Pablo Lehmann , paper apartment , paper room , Recycled Materials , sustainable design

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Scribe’s House is a Life-Size Apartment Made From Reams of Recycled Paper

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