Flawed recycling results in dangerous chemicals in black plastic

May 31, 2018 by  
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Unsafe recycling of electronic waste has resulted in the distribution of dangerous chemicals into new products made out of black plastic . Published in Environment International , a new study documents the presence of bromide and lead in 600 consumer products made out of black plastic and clarifies its potential negative impact on human and ecological health. “There are environmental and health impacts arising from the production and use of plastics in general, but black plastics pose greater risks and hazards,” explained study lead author Andrew Turner in a statement . “This is due to the technical and economic constraints imposed on the efficient sorting and separation of black waste for recycling, coupled with the presence of harmful additives required for production or applications in the electronic and electrical equipment and food packaging sectors.” Although black plastics compose fifteen percent of domestic plastic waste in the United States , they are particularly difficult to recycle. As a result, hazardous chemicals that were originally used as flame retardants or for color are being processed back into new products. “Black plastic may be aesthetically pleasing, but this study confirms that the recycling of plastic from electronic waste is introducing harmful chemicals into consumer products,” explained Turner. “That is something the public would obviously not expect, or wish, to see and there has previously been very little research exploring this.” Related: Biotech company Nanollose could offer plant-free alternatives for the textile industry Of particular concern is black plastic’s wide usage in food service, with the majority of black plastic being used in food trays or packaging. The black plastic also risks poisoning marine life as its dangerous chemicals seep into the ocean through microplastics. However, the presence of dangerous chemicals, such as the potentially cancer-causing bromine, is not limited to food products; it is also found in plastic jewelry, garden hoses, Christmas decorations, coat hangers and tool handles at high, and possibly even illegal, levels. Given the health risks, the industry must reform. “[T]here is also a need for increased innovation within the recycling industry to ensure harmful substances are eliminated from recycled waste and to increase the recycling of black plastic consumer products,” said Turner. Via Ecowatch Image via Depositphotos

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Flawed recycling results in dangerous chemicals in black plastic

Makeover artists: How the beauty and personal care industry enhanced its sustainability

May 16, 2018 by  
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It started with Target and Walmart, and is progressing with more retail giants after three years of conversation, conflicting priorities and compromise.

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Makeover artists: How the beauty and personal care industry enhanced its sustainability

The Powerhouse movement seeks to inspire net-positive buildings

May 16, 2018 by  
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It’s another holistic way of looking at total impact.

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The Powerhouse movement seeks to inspire net-positive buildings

Why biotech innovator Novozymes uses the SDGs as a catalyst for growth

May 14, 2018 by  
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And it compensates top managers accordingly.

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Why biotech innovator Novozymes uses the SDGs as a catalyst for growth

How sustainable designer Bill McDonough is re-fashioning the fashion industry

May 14, 2018 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: William McDonough and Katrin Ley of Fashion for Good on how they take sustainability in fashion to the molecular level.

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How sustainable designer Bill McDonough is re-fashioning the fashion industry

5 golden rules for investors on good governance and safer chemicals

April 30, 2018 by  
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Heed the example of Lumber Liquidators.

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5 golden rules for investors on good governance and safer chemicals

5 golden rules for investors on good governance and safer chemicals

April 30, 2018 by  
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Heed the example of Lumber Liquidators.

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5 golden rules for investors on good governance and safer chemicals

Why protecting the Earth’s ozone layer requires faithful vigilance

April 27, 2018 by  
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Levels change naturally from year to year, which makes it difficult to calculate the exact, short-term impact of industrial activities.

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Why protecting the Earth’s ozone layer requires faithful vigilance

Covestro’s manifesto for a sustainable, clean economy

April 12, 2018 by  
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Richard Northcote, chief sustainability officer at the chemicals giant, proves it’s not the size of the carbon reduction, but what you do with it, that counts.

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Covestro’s manifesto for a sustainable, clean economy

The public health impact of Hurricane Harvey is worse than we’ve been told

March 22, 2018 by  
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More than six months since  Hurricane Harvey decimated much of Central America and the American Gulf Coast, the public still doesn’t have the answers it needs regarding the full public health impact of the powerful storm. This is of particular concern for Texas, in which the nation’s most substantial energy corridor is based. 500 chemical plants, 10 refineries and more than 6,670 miles of oil, gas and chemical pipelines are located in the impact area of Hurricane Harvey. And investigations by the Associated Press and the Houston Chronicle have found that the toxic impact of the storm is far worse than authorities reported. The investigators documented more than 100 specific instances of toxic chemical release into the water, the air, or land as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Nearly half a billion gallons of industrial wastewater flooded out of one chemical plant outside of Houston alone, mixing with storm water and surging across the sprawling urban environment. Hazardous chemicals such as benzene, vinyl chloride, butadiene and other carcinogens were released into the flood waters during the storm. In the case of two major contamination events, officials publicized the potential toxic impact as less extensive than it actually was. Related: Houston Bike Share offers free bicycles to people who lost cars to Harvey While Texas regulators claim to have investigated at least 89 instances, they have not said whether they will take any enforcement action. Alarmingly, state and federal regulators only tested water and soil for contaminants in areas near Superfund toxic waste sites, ignoring the potential runoff of toxic chemicals during the unprecedented flooding of Houston and surrounding areas. During and after the storm, authorities only notified the public of dangers posed by two events: the explosions and burning at the Arkema chemical plant and an uncapped Superfund site by the San Jacinto River. “The public will probably never know the extent of what happened to the environment after Harvey,” Harris County supervising attorney Rock Owens told the Associated Press, “but the individual companies of course know.” Via NBC San Diego Images via Texas National Guard and  Depositphotos

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The public health impact of Hurricane Harvey is worse than we’ve been told

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