COVID-19 disrupts recycling programs across the US

July 7, 2020 by  
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The pandemic is impacting yet another part of our world: recycling programs. The recycling industry is being riddled by budget shortfalls, an increase in single-use items and a shortage of centers open to receive reusable items. Since people have become more cautious about person-to-person transfer of COVID-19, single-use items are increasing. Many stores have banned reusable bags, and places, like Starbucks, aren’t refilling customers’ personal coffee cups. Restaurants have upped their use of plastic takeout packaging. Related: Starbucks suspends personal cup use because of coronavirus But most people are staying home, where they generate more garbage . The Solid Waste Association of North America noted a 20% average increase in solid waste and recycling in March and April, and some cities have reported even higher increases. Chicago’s waste has gone up by almost 50%. People are suddenly finding it harder to recycle and reuse. Spring cleaning became a popular pandemic activity, but charity stores weren’t open to accept donations of household goods. Meanwhile, many municipalities responded to severe budget shortfalls by axing their recycling programs. The U.S. recycling problems predate the pandemic. Since 2018, when other countries stopped buying poorly sorted recyclables and dirty food packaging from the U.S., recyclers have been strapped for customers. China used to buy up to 700,000 tons of scrap from the U.S. every year. Compounding that, oil prices are at the lowest they’ve been in decades, pushing the cost of virgin plastic down and making it less profitable to recycle plastics like PET (#1) and PE (#2 and #4). COVID-19 has also changed waste collection. Waste companies have come up with new procedures to protect workers from disease exposure while handling trash and recyclables. Recycling requires hands-on sorting, because machines aren’t as skilled as people at making sense of the collection stream. As companies try to minimize germ contact, they’re slowly improving automation. While recycling is down, the full picture of the pandemic and waste is not yet clear. “Historically, waste output from the commercial and industrial sectors has far outweighed the municipal stream,” co-authors Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland, a professor of materials science and engineering and a PhD candidate in macromolecular science and engineering, respectively, wrote on EcoWatch . “ With many offices and business closed or operating at low levels, total U.S. waste production could actually be at a record low during this time. However, data on commercial and industrial wastes are not readily available.” Via EcoWatch Image via Manfred Antranias Zimmer

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COVID-19 disrupts recycling programs across the US

Appalachian Trail spared from Atlantic Coast Pipeline

July 7, 2020 by  
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Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy Inc. have canceled the controversial 600-mile-long Atlantic Coast Pipeline that the companies planned to build under the Appalachian Trail. The  energy  giants called off the $8 billion project “due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty which threaten the economic viability of the project.” This news comes as a win for the environmentalists who have spent years fighting this disruption to the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The pipeline’s route was supposed to start in the gas fields of Harrison County,  West Virginia , then travel southeast through Virginia, ending in Robeson County, North Carolina. This route would have crossed both the Appalachian Trail and Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway. Related: Dakota Access Pipeline placed under environmental review Anti-pipeline activists took their battle to the Supreme Court, striving to preserve nature and protect local  endangered species . In June, the court ruled in favor of the utility companies. So, the pipeline cancellation announcement came as both a surprise and cause for celebration. “Its effective defeat today is a huge victory for  Virginia’s  environment, for environmental justice, and a testament to the power of grassroots action, the hundreds of driven, determined, frontline advocates who never stopped fighting this misguided project,” Michael Town, executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement. Greenpeace also weighed in. “Duke and Dominion had hoped to carve up beautiful mountains, ignore catastrophic climate change, and delay a just transition to renewable energy to build this pipeline, but, thanks to the courageous activists who stood up to them, they have failed,” the organization said. But not everybody was rejoicing. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) issued a statement of regret, insisting the pipeline would have been safely constructed and that the surrounding areas would have been protected. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce also lamented that the estimated 17,000 jobs the  pipeline  project would have created will not come to fruition. “Unfortunately, today’s announcement detrimentally impacts the Commonwealth’s access to affordable, reliable energy,” the chamber said in a statement. “It also demonstrates the significant regulatory burdens  businesses  must deal with in order to operate.” + Huffington Post Images via Fibonacci Blue

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Appalachian Trail spared from Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Your EV Battery: Its Life and Afterlife

February 4, 2020 by  
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The past decade brought us the commercial availability of electric … The post Your EV Battery: Its Life and Afterlife appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Your EV Battery: Its Life and Afterlife

Earth911 Quiz #78: Commercial Composting Reality Check

November 7, 2019 by  
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Organic waste, from food scraps to yard trimmings, can be … The post Earth911 Quiz #78: Commercial Composting Reality Check appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #78: Commercial Composting Reality Check

NASA International Space Station funding could end by 2025 under Trump administration

January 26, 2018 by  
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The International Space Station (ISS) was launched in 1998, and since then astronauts from around 18 countries have visited. Now,  Donald Trump’s administration  could be aiming to end NASA funding for the two-decades-long effort.  The Verge reported they reviewed a draft budget proposal that included plans to stop support for ISS by 2025. 2028 is the date many people consider to be the end of the ISS’ operational lifetime, according to The Verge. Barack Obama’s administration approved an extension of the space station until at least 2024. The Verge also said many people in the commercial space industry have hoped for another extension until 2028, so NASA could transition ISS operations to the commercial sector, or companies could “establish a commercial module in lower Earth orbit” – which they might not be able to accomplish by 2024. Related: NASA is returning to the moon – but they don’t know how The Trump administration proposal doesn’t seem to give them a lot of time. The Verge pointed out the draft could be altered before the official budget request – although they spoke with “two people familiar with the matter” who said the directive would be included in the final proposal. Then Congress would have to approve the budget proposal. This is a bad idea. Let's decide when to deorbited #ISS based on the readiness of its successor, not by picking a date and crossing our fingers. https://t.co/lUkUmgWh2b — Michael L-A (@CommanderMLA) January 25, 2018 Former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria tweeted the move would be a bad idea. The Verge said an intention to cancel funding could signal to international partners the United States isn’t interested in the program’s continuation – and many of those partners haven’t yet decided if they’ll keep working on the effort after 2024. The ISS costs NASA around $3 to $4 billion a year, and some people in Congress seem to think that money would be better spent on deep space vehicles. But according to The Verge, “canceling the ISS too early without a viable replacement could lead to a gap of human activities in lower Earth orbit.” Via The Verge Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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NASA International Space Station funding could end by 2025 under Trump administration

Energy analytics firm WegoWise buys Melon Power

December 19, 2012 by  
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WegoWise plans to extend its Web-based energy management platform for multi-tenant building owners to the commercial market with Melon Power's software to benchmark energy usage.

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Energy analytics firm WegoWise buys Melon Power

5 steps to making the business case for solar

July 12, 2012 by  
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A new report is designed to help corporate decision makers objectively evaluate the economics of solar power for every property in their commercial real estate portfolios.

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5 steps to making the business case for solar

Air Canada Launches First BioFuel Commercial Flight from Toronto to Mexico City

June 20, 2012 by  
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Air Canada has joined the growing number of airlines currently investing in green technology, launching their first biofueled plane this past Monday. The flight traveled from Toronto to Mexico City, powered on a combination of recycled cooking oil and traditional jet fuel. The flight kicks off an eco-conscious initiative by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for the Rio +20 conference . Read the rest of Air Canada Launches First BioFuel Commercial Flight from Toronto to Mexico City Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Air Canada , biofuel , commercial biofuel flight , eco design , green design , green transportation , recycled cooking oil , Rio +2- Conference , sustainable design

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Air Canada Launches First BioFuel Commercial Flight from Toronto to Mexico City

BIG+FREAKS Unveil an Urban Living Room To Serve as MÉCA For Art in Bordeaux

June 20, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of BIG+FREAKS Unveil an Urban Living Room To Serve as MÉCA For Art in Bordeaux Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , arts center , big , bjarke ingels , Bjarke Ingels Group , bordeaux , cultural center , Daylighting , eco design , freaks , freaks freearchitects , green architecture , Green Building , green design , Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Aquitaine , meca , outdoor living , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , urban room

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BIG+FREAKS Unveil an Urban Living Room To Serve as MÉCA For Art in Bordeaux

DarwinTunes Creates ‘The Perfect Pop Song’ Through The Laws Of Natural Selection

June 20, 2012 by  
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The likes of McCartney, Springsteen and Dylan could soon be composers of the past as a team from the Imperial College London have programmed a computer to write the ‘perfect pop song’ by adopting the laws of natural selection. The system, known as DarwinTunes ,  writes tunes from random noises and would seem to indicate that you don’t need a composer to make music—it is all down to mathematics. Read the rest of DarwinTunes Creates ‘The Perfect Pop Song’ Through The Laws Of Natural Selection Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: composition , darwintunes , Imperial College London , mathematics , natural selection , perfect pop song

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DarwinTunes Creates ‘The Perfect Pop Song’ Through The Laws Of Natural Selection

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