Trash-monitoring cameras help McDonald’s clean up its waste stream

December 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Trash-monitoring cameras help McDonald’s clean up its waste stream

McDonald’s is one of a growing number of businesses that are installing cameras in dumpsters to give more intel on their waste streams. This data can help each company recycle more efficiently and save money. The idea to place cameras inside dumpsters to track waste comes from Jason Gates, CEO of the San Francisco-based start-up Compology . Since 2013, Compology has used artificial intelligence to process more than 80 million photos from 162,000 trash-monitoring cameras. The system has helped companies cut the volume of non-recyclables thrown in with trash by up to 80%. Related: McDonald’s introduces McPlant, its first plant-based burger “We’ve found that most businesses and people have the right intentions about recycling , but oftentimes they just don’t know what the proper way to recycle is,” Gates said . The Compology system uses a combination of sensors and cameras that take multiple photos per day. Artificial intelligence software alerts the customer when something is in the wrong place, such as a bag of trash thrown in with the recycling. The people onsite then receive a text telling them to move that bag before the recycling truck comes as well as explaining how trash contaminates recycling. Customers can also track how full their dumpsters are. On the individual level, business owners will save money if they only pay for service when the receptacle is full. On the societal level, we all save thanks to fewer emissions and the reduced burning of fossil fuels used for hauling. Brent Bohn, owner and operator of many Phoenix and Las Vegas McDonald’s outlets, is a happy customer. “The cameras have really streamlined that for us and provided accountability for us, but also for our suppliers and the haulers that we work with,” Bohn said. Customers pay between $10 and $20 per dumpster per month. The service can save them thousands annually on the cost of waste hauling. Gates hopes that his company can improve the inconsistent waste measuring and reporting in the U.S. “You’ve been able to measure how much electricity , water, gas you’ve used for decades,” he said. “What we’re doing is being able to meter how much waste you produce.” Via CNN Business Image via RJA1988

Read the rest here:
Trash-monitoring cameras help McDonald’s clean up its waste stream

Bamboo Compression Socks offer support via natural and recycled materials

December 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Bamboo Compression Socks offer support via natural and recycled materials

Life is busy. Sometimes, it is so busy that it becomes difficult to take proper care of ourselves. One tool for handling long days on your feet or sitting at a computer is a trusty pair of compression socks. Now, Ostrichpillow offers the newly released Bamboo Compression Socks that are made to pamper and support your feet. Ostrichpillow has already made a name for itself as a self-care brand with carefully curated, high-quality products focused on improving sleep and offering pain relief. The latest addition to the product lineup, these compression socks aim to prevent problems like blood clots in the legs by improving circulation, even when you’re not moving. Related: These bamboo socks by Flyte are anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic Pablo Carrascal, CEO of Ostrichpillow said, “We noticed how today’s sedentary lifestyle lacks movement, especially for the legs. The recommendation is to walk about 10,000 steps a day, however, in the US that average is lower than 5,000. We spend so much time still: commuting, in front of the computer, the TV, the tablet… This negatively affects blood circulation, increasing foot and leg swelling, fatigue, and the pooling of blood. In the long term that can be a problem. We thought then of a product which could help to supply that lack of movement effortlessly.” The socks incorporate recycled and natural materials into an eco-fiber blend made up of 50% bamboo, 25% recycled polyester, 10% recycled nylon and 15% spandex. The product earned Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification, which means it is free from harmful levels of more than 100 substances known to be damaging to human health . The Ostrichpillow Bamboo Compression Socks are available in two sizes: S-M (shoe size 5-9) and L/XL (shoe size 9-14). They retail for $29.99 with two color options. Well, actually there are two color combination options, because each pair is intentionally mismatched. You can select from pairs of yellow and blue or red and olive green. Bamboo Compression Socks review The company provided a sample pair of compression socks for me to try at home. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I assumed they would be like other compression socks I’ve worn in the past. They’re not — in all the best ways. These socks feel amazing, like a giant hug of support up and down the leg. I’m fairly tactile-sensitive, so I was happy to find that the fabric felt good against my skin. While I wouldn’t describe it as soft, it certainly was less plastic-like than other compression socks I’ve put on. This is also true when crossing my ankles or otherwise rubbing the socks together. There was nothing abrasive in the contact. As for fit, the socks are much longer than I anticipated. For me (5’6” on a good day), they land a few inches above the knee. I thought that would be annoying, but the additional support throughout the knee region is welcome in alleviating the discomfort from joint issues. I appreciate that the fabric doesn’t bunch up behind the knee or crease when I bend the knee. The pressure is snug but not restrictive. This allows for easy movement without any sort of pinching. Although I didn’t hit the trails in them, I didn’t experience any slipping and never had to pull them up after putting them on for the day. I wore the socks on a fairly cold day, with outdoor temps around 36°F. They feel thick, although they are actually quite thin. I would say these bamboo compression socks are thicker than dress socks but not nearly as thick as winter wool socks. They are equivalent to or even a bit thinner than typical athletic socks. This makes them easy to wear with a variety of shoe options. Due to this thickness and coverage, I thought they would be hot. However, there is a noticeable breathable quality in the fabric, especially where the stripes are located. The construction of the socks felt durable, with a cushioned sole and reinforced heel. The toe seam is often an issue for me if it rubs, pinches or sits off-kilter. This toe bed seems very roomy, perhaps in contrast to the snug fit of the rest of the sock. This allows for plenty of wiggle room for the toes. It will be fun to see if the company offers more color options for the stripes in the future. During my conversations with the company, Carrascal had remarked, “somehow they might remind [of] the kinesiological tapes.” That resonated with me, because they really do! Personally, I think the mismatched colors add character without being overly whimsical. However, the two-tone look might not appeal to some. Because I spend much of my day sitting in front of a computer, I expect to get a lot of use out of these bamboo compression socks. They would also be great for air travel and use in jobs that require long hours on your feet. I can’t personally imagine wearing these during exercise , although I can see how they could offer support and a layer of warmth during a morning fall run. Even if you do break them in with a good sweat, bamboo is naturally antimicrobial, which should keep away foot odor. If you decide to gift the Bamboo Compression Socks to the desk jockey, road warrior or respected elder, know the company responsibly packages shipments with recyclable paper . + Ostrichpillow Images via Ostrichpillow and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Ostrichpillow. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own .

Here is the original post: 
Bamboo Compression Socks offer support via natural and recycled materials

Electric tractors, agribots and regenerative agriculture

December 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Electric tractors, agribots and regenerative agriculture

Electric tractors, agribots and regenerative agriculture Heather Clancy Thu, 12/17/2020 – 01:30 Without the benefit of their favorite search engine, I’m certain many readers would be hard-pressed to name the largest, pure-play agricultural equipment company in the world. But digging into innovations being advanced by that organization — AGCO, based in Duluth, Georgia — reveals much about the potential future of technology for cultivating regenerative and precision agriculture. With about $9 billion in annual revenue in 2019, AGCO is behind some of the best-known global brands in tractors, combine harvesters, balers and other farm equipment, including Massey-Ferguson, Fendt, Challenger and Valtra.  AGCO has made many, many acquisitions to amass this portfolio, including the buyout of Precision Planting from Monsanto (now Bayer) in 2017. With new CEO Eric Hansotia poised to step up Jan. 1 , AGCO is sowing the seeds for a global refresh of its mission — including electrified farm machinery, autonomous field robots that swarm through fields and smart tractor retrofits that provide farmers with insights into metrics such as the organic matter in their soil. AGCO is testing the battery-powered Fendt e100 Vario for a range of farming and municipal applications. “It has always been about the economic return for the farmer; now we’re trying to pull sustainability into that,” AGCO’s new (and first) director of global sustainability, Louisa Parker-Smith, told me when we chatted in early December. For perspective, the market for agricultural equipment was sized at $139 billion in 2018, and it’s expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 8.9 percent through 2025. Earlier this year, market research firm IDTechEx predicted $50 billion in sales of electric farm equipment during the next decade — some of these are updates to tractors and other big machinery but others are entirely new autonomous, robotic vehicles, such as agribots that can pick weeds or plant seeds. Parker-Smith, an eight-year AGCO veteran, said enabling sustainable farm production — using less energy and inputs — is a core tenet of future product design. Moving away from heavier equipment, for example, could help reduce soil compaction, allowing fields to absorb and sequester more atmospheric carbon dioxide. And, through its Precision Planting division, AGCO is developing more devices — many of which can be retrofitted to existing equipment from AGCO and competitors — that help farmers track organic matter or water metrics, among other data. “How do we allow a farmer to understand the potential of their field,” Parker-Smith said. One example of how the future looks on the ground is Xaver , a robotic approach to seed planting being developed and tested as part of the company’s Future Farm initiative . The robots, far smaller (maybe the size of a motorized tricycle) than a traditional piece of equipment, can be orchestrated via satellite positioning and a cloud-based software application. In one videos about the technology, AGCO estimates a “swarm” of six robots can cover roughly 7.5 acres in an hour. Parker-Smith notes that not only do the bots have a much lighter footprint, they use 90 percent less energy than a traditional tractor. AGCO is also electrifying some of its larger tractors, notably several from the Fendt division, although the weight of this equipment makes this a tough development challenge — it takes a lot of batteries to get to the horsepower required for certain farming tasks, such as plowing or tilling.  Parker-Smith’s new role is to help the entire company, from designers to dealers, rise to the occasion. “My focus is really to harness the energy of the entire organization. There’s a huge amount that is happening,” she said. “We don’t want just to be caught up with the risk management aspects of this. We are really looking at value creation from the customer perspective.”  Billed as the first fully electric driver-optional tractor, the Monarch will be available in fall 2021 at a pricetag starting at $50,000. Media Source Courtesy of Media Authorship Monarch Tractor Close Authorship AGCO isn’t the only ag equipment provider, of course, that envisions a hybrid, electric future in agriculture. U.K. startup Small Robot Company is developing farmbots that can weed, plant and feed crops; and Japanese company Kubota is pitching an autonomous, electric tractor with four treads instead of wheels that can traverse all sorts of terrain. Just last week, another upstart, Monarch Tractor, introduced a fully electric, “driver optional” smart tractor that carries a pricetag of $50,000. It’s supposed to deliver the first models in fall 2021 and claims “hundreds” of pre-orders. The mammoth John Deere, which had close to $40 billion in 2019 revenue across farming, construction and forestry equipment, is also developing electrified farming equipment, including an autonomous, electric tractor .  It takes a long time for aging farm equipment to be put out to pasture permanently, so convincing farming organizations to invest in these emerging technologies — regardless of the potential benefits they might have for regenerative ag — is definitely a long-term proposition. But given how much the big food companies are banking on convincing their supply chains to invest in regenerative agriculture, it would be a mistake to overlook the role that electric, autonomous vehicles can play in the field. Topics Innovation Food & Agriculture Electric Vehicles Agtech Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off AGCO is testing electrified agricultural robots that can plant seeds, weed or handle other activities using less energy and causing less soil compaction. Courtesy of AGCO Close Authorship

Read the rest here:
Electric tractors, agribots and regenerative agriculture

How two companies are building systems to scale reuse, which is vital for a circular economy

November 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on How two companies are building systems to scale reuse, which is vital for a circular economy

How two companies are building systems to scale reuse, which is vital for a circular economy Deonna Anderson Fri, 11/06/2020 – 01:15 In the past few years, as consumers looked to cut down on plastic waste at the grocery store, more mainstream supermarkets turned to bulk shopping bins as a solution. But scoop bins quickly have become a thing of the past this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For MOM’s Organic Market, a chain of family-owned and operated grocers in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States that has the purpose of protecting and restoring the environment, it was only a small adjustment. “[Our reuse] programs are all still in operation, and we’re minimally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alexandra DySard, environmental and partnership manager at MOM’s Organic Market, during GreenBiz Group’s clean economy conference VERGE 20 last week. The chain has taken an innovative tack: it’s still encouraging its shoppers to use reusable containers for all areas of its stores, but it’s changed the way the bulk shopping operates. While scoopable bins are off limits in its stores, the chain is using gravity bins (the ones pictured above), which have a pull-down lever to dispense food without its having any contact with a person’s hand. It’s easy to use and easy to sanitize. On the B2B side of commerce, there’s another opportunity for reuse. In 2017, when LimeLoop, an IoT solution for sustainable e-commerce shipping logistics, started, it was in response to the amount of waste caused by e-commerce. “Online shopping was resulting in huge waste piles,” said Chantal Emmanuel, CTO and co-founder of LimeLoop. Additionally, she said, the brands that LimeLoop was working with faced challenges in making the transition from in-store experiences to an online one. “We saw an opportunity to solve both of these problems through use,” she said. We knew that we had to have a holistic approach to this solution, because it’s not enough to just drop off 2,000 shippers to a retail company and say, ‘Good luck getting these back.’ In 2017, containers and packaging made up a significant portion of municipal solid waste (MSW), about 80.1 million tons (29.9 percent of total MSW generation), according to the EPA . Reuse can reduce the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators.  “[Reuse] is needed. It is possible. It is beneficial. It can be profitable, and it can work for all sizes of business, small, medium and large,” said Holly Kaufman, president of Environment & Enterprise Strategies, who moderated the session about advancing reuse. How to meet people where they are LimeLoop partners directly with retail companies and provides them with a set of reusable packages made from upcycled billboard vinyl and lined with recycled cotton. The partner companies are able to use those to fill orders in the same way that they would with a cardboard box or plastic poly mailer, except they’re reusable — for an estimated 200 uses — and include a prepaid return label.  When a person receives their package, they pull out the product, flip over the label and return the package by putting it into their mailbox. The package is returned to the retail company, which sanitizes it and then puts it back in rotation for another customer. “We like to remind people that it’s actually easier than recycling a cardboard box,” Emmanuel said. But for retailers, making sure the LimeLoop packages are actually reused also can be a challenge.  “We knew that we had to have a holistic approach to this solution, because it’s not enough to just drop off 2,000 shippers to a retail company and say, ‘Good luck getting these back,’” Emmanuel said, noting that they need the whole logistical system and supply chain technology to make sure that those packages get from point A to point B, then back to point A. “Otherwise, we’re creating more waste than we would have if we were using a disposable cardboard box,” she said. With that in mind, the retailers get access to LimeLoop’s software platform, which acts as an order management system and also as a tool for communicating directly with consumers.  Emmanuel said moving to such a reuse model demands an education process, because you need to let people know what to do with this packaging as it’s so different from a single-use cardboard package. Pushing the goalposts Back in 2005, MOM’s banned single-use plastic bags in its stores to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags. That was nearly a decade before California became the first state in the United States to ban them. And in 2010, the grocery chain banned the sale of plastic flat bottled water in an effort to eliminate even more single-use plastic from its stores. In place of bottled water, it installed bulk water filling stations. We all know that there is actually no such thing as disposable — nothing’s disposable and ends up someplace, right? Everything goes somewhere. In addition to making these changes in its own stores, DySard said MOM’s is very active in local and federal advocacy and policy, by submitting testimony and attending hearings on plastics-related legislation. “I feel like that’s the direction that we need to go [if] we want to continue to grow this movement of reusables and really give it legs,” DySard said. Establishing a reuse program won’t be easy for every company Like the pivot that MOM’s had to make with its scoop bins during COVID-19 — as it works to open more locations, it is designing them to have mostly gravity bins — reuse models will need to be iterated. Emmanuel also shared a hiccup from LimeLoop’s first fleet of 500 shipping packages, which had a solid plastic envelope on the front of it to put the label in. She and her team didn’t realize that it’s customary for USPS to use permanent markers to mark on the labels. That wasn’t ideal. “I had to spend a couple of days literally just like popping out holes in the middle of the plastic so that they could start marking on the labels,” she said. For the next generation of its shippers, the company designed the packages in a way that USPS workers could mark directly onto the paper labels when they needed to. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but reuse is a practice worth working to improve and scale. “We all know that there is actually no such thing as disposable — nothing’s disposable and ends up someplace, right? Everything goes somewhere,” Kaufman said. “We want it to go where we want it to go. And not into the ocean, the soil and bits of them go into our bodies. “Even with dental and surgical equipment — those are the ultimate reuse. And if we can do those safely, we can certainly do all kinds of packaging safely.” Pull Quote We knew that we had to have a holistic approach to this solution, because it’s not enough to just drop off 2,000 shippers to a retail company and say, ‘Good luck getting these back.’ We all know that there is actually no such thing as disposable — nothing’s disposable and ends up someplace, right? Everything goes somewhere. Topics Circular Economy Design & Packaging Reuse VERGE 20 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Photo by  Rosie Parsons  on Shutterstock.

Read more from the original source:
How two companies are building systems to scale reuse, which is vital for a circular economy

Startup tackles decarbonizing industrial heat processes

September 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Startup tackles decarbonizing industrial heat processes

Startup tackles decarbonizing industrial heat processes Myisha Majumder Wed, 09/16/2020 – 01:30 Skyven Technologies, founded in 2013, is a company with a unique proposition for companies in the industrial sector — a way to save money through decarbonizing. Skyven CEO Arun Gupta said the idea came when he applied the thinking behind his Ph.D. dissertation in microelectronics to an entirely different field: climate change. “I was able to figure out how to apply the technological concepts of the work that I was doing for Texas Instruments for a partial solution for climate change, and that inspired me to start working on is basically a technology that captures heat from the sun and uses that heat to reduce fuel consumption,” he said. The component of the industry sector emissions Skyven seeks to decarbonize is process heat — such as the creation of steam — which accounts for a large component of the emissions from the industry sector. In order to manufacture products, companies in the industry sector must burn fuel, typically natural gas, to create heat. Technologies such as geothermal, biomass and solar, which Skyven initially focused on, can provide an alternative to natural gas to generate heat for industrial processes. This is particularly relevant in the sectors Skyven works in: the food and beverage manufacturing industry; pulp and paper; chemicals; pharmaceutical manufacturing; textiles; and primary metals and lumbers. Rather than trying to fit one technology or one solution into every plant, we found that the plants are all unique and they have unique needs. In 2018, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that the three largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions were transportation (28 percent), electricity (27 percent), and industry (22 percent). Even with decarbonizing the electric and transportation sector, to reach long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, the United States would need an 80 percent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide emissions by 2050. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions found five core imperatives to reaching climate neutrality, including electrifying or switching to low-carbon fuels in the industry sector. While providing an alternative using solar technology was the original technological goal for Skyven, the company has evolved significantly, adapting to the individual needs of different companies in the industrial sector, Gupta said. Rather than focusing solely on deploying the company’s initial in-house solar technology, Skyven transformed quickly into a company offering a multipronged approach for decarbonizing the industrial sector. “The need for decarbonization in the industrial sector spans far beyond solar. Rather than trying to fit one technology or one solution into every plant, we found that the plants are all unique and they have unique needs,” Gupta said. “It makes a lot more sense to meet those unique needs with unique solutions.” Typically, in order to determine these needs and gauge applicable solutions, Skyven employs a four-step procedure: initial plant analysis; addressing and mitigating concerns about potential solutions; deployment and implementation of solution; and operations and maintenance (O&M). This highly customizable procedure allows Skyven to determine the best fit solution company-to-company, and within that company, plant-to-plant, rather than deploying a general technology. As part of this process, Skyven’s team completes a thorough initial analysis using its custom platform, asking the customer specific questions and collecting data about where in the plant thermal energy is consumed. From there, Skyven identifies where there are opportunities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, reduce fuel consumption and save money. Interacting with the customer is especially important for the manufacturing industry, where production is profit, Gupta said. Using that analysis, Skyven implements the technologies best suited for the plant, which can include Skyven’s solar technology, but does not always. Because of this, Skyven frequently partners with other startups and technology manufacturers. When the new system is in place, Skyven hires a third-party maintenance contractor with extensive experience with industrial hardware. Typically, Skyven pays for everything involved in the process — from initial analysis to equipment and to O&M, Gupta said. The only cost to the customer is a newly lowered fuel cost amount, he said. These payments cover more cost-efficient and sustainable thermal energy at a cost that is less than the customer otherwise would have paid for fossil fuel, according to the company. While Gupta did not communicate the names of Skyven’s current customers, citing sensitivity around publicly disclosing information about manufacturers, he discussed recent press coverage around the Copses Dairy Farms in New York state.

Here is the original post:
Startup tackles decarbonizing industrial heat processes

Shifting your Business Model: How to Rental

September 15, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Shifting your Business Model: How to Rental

Shifting your Business Model: How to Rental How can your company implement a rental business model? While the concept of renting is anything but new, recent years have seen an expansion of products traditionally bought and kept by consumers now available for rent. From formal wear to scooters to furniture, rental products promote access over ownership, providing consumers with an often easier and cheaper alternative to purchasing something outright. In return, rental models allow companies to extend their customer relationship from one-off products to long term service. This paradigm shift requires businesses to evolve in numerous ways, shifting internal operations and financial models alongside external value propositions, communications strategies and sales tactics. Hear from companies at the forefront of the new and improved rental industry as they discuss the benefits, challenges and best-practices for building a successful rental business model. Speakers Hélène Smits, Initiator and Lead, Circle Textiles Program, Circle Economy Gustav Hedström, Business Developer, Houdini Sportswear Amy Kang, Director of Product Platform Systems, CaaStle Holly Secon Mon, 09/14/2020 – 23:22 Featured Off

The rest is here:
Shifting your Business Model: How to Rental

Scaling Circular Fashion in North America: Part 2

September 15, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Scaling Circular Fashion in North America: Part 2

Scaling Circular Fashion in North America: Part 2 What will it take to transition the fashion industry toward circularity at scale? The need for urgent action is clear: While the lifespan of individual garments dwindles, the environmental footprint of the apparel industry continues to grow. But where there’s inefficiency, there’s often opportunity. From renewable and recycled inputs to new business models such as repair, rental and recommerce to end of life management and more — like enabling technologies, policies and partnerships — the apparel industry is ripe for a makeover. Building off the aspirational ‘future of circular fashion’ explored in part one, part two of this two-part session will focuses on redesigning the apparel industry of today, unlocking untapped value and scaling circular fashion in the North American market. A continuation of Part 1: https://youtu.be/_lTD3p5g6rA Speakers Beth Esponnette, Cofounder, Unspun Beth Rattner, Executive Director, Biomimicry Institute Debbie Shakespeare, Senior Director Sustainability, Compliance & Core PLM, Avery Dennison Holly Secon Mon, 09/14/2020 – 23:11 Featured Off

View original here:
Scaling Circular Fashion in North America: Part 2

Electric truck fleets will need a lot of power, but utilities aren’t planning for it

August 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Electric truck fleets will need a lot of power, but utilities aren’t planning for it

Electric truck fleets will need a lot of power, but utilities aren’t planning for it Stephen Nadel Tue, 08/04/2020 – 01:11 As more electric buses and trucks enter the market, future fleets will require a lot of electricity for charging. While some utilities in California and elsewhere are planning for an increase in power demand, many have yet to do so and need to get started. This issue is critical, because freight trucks emit more than one-quarter of all vehicle emissions. Recent product developments offer growing opportunities to electrify trucks and buses and slash their emissions (see our recent white paper ). And just last week, a group of 15 states plus D.C. announced plans to fully electrify truck sales by 2050. Utilities will need to be ready to power electric fleets. Electric truck fleets need substantial power Power for trucks and buses is generally more of an issue than for cars because trucks typically have larger batteries and because trucks and buses are often parts of fleets with many vehicles that charge at the same location. For example, a Tesla Model 3 battery stores 54-75 kWh; a Proterra transit bus battery stores 220-660 kWh. In Amsterdam, a 100-bus transit fleet is powered by a set of slow and fast chargers that together have a peak load of 13 MW (megawatts). This is equivalent to the power used by a typical large factory. And they are thinking of expanding the fleet to 250 buses. California utilities are finding that grid capacity is often adequate in the short term, but that upgrade needs likely will grow in the medium term. Many other fleets also will need a lot of “juice.” For example, a rough estimate of the power needed to serve a fleet of 200 delivery vans at an Amazon fulfillment center is about 4 MW. And for electric 18-wheelers, chargers may need up to 2 MW of power each; a recent proposal calls for charging stations every 100 miles along the U.S. West Coast’s I-5 corridor, each with a peak load of 23.5 MW. Utilities need distribution planning These examples show the need for more power at a given site than most utilities can provide without planning and investment. Meeting these needs often will require changes to primary and secondary power distribution systems (feeders that deliver power to distribution transformers and to end customers) and substation upgrades. For large loads, a new substation may be needed. A paper recently released by the California Electric Transportation Coalition estimates that for loads over 5 MW, distribution system and substation upgrades will be needed most of the time. According to the paper, typical utility costs are $1 million to $9 million for substation upgrades, $150,000 to $6 million for primary distribution upgrades, and $5,000 to $100,000 for secondary distribution upgrades. Similarly, Black and Veatch, in a paper on Electric Fleets, also provides some general guidance, shown in the table below, while recognizing that each site is unique. Now is the time to begin understanding where such upgrades will be needed and start planning for them. California policy pushes utilities toward planning In California, state agencies and a statewide effort called CALSTART have been funding demonstration projects and vehicle and charger purchases for several years. The California Air Resources Board voted in June to phase in zero-emission requirements for truck sales, mandating that, beginning in 2024, manufacturers must increase their zero-emission truck sales to 30-50 percent by 2030 and 40-75 percent by 2035. By 2035, more than 300,000 trucks will be zero-emission vehicles. California utilities operate programs that work with fleet owners to install the necessary infrastructure for electric vehicle fleets. California utilities operate programs that work with fleet owners to install the necessary infrastructure for electric vehicle fleets. For example, Southern California Edison operates the Charge Ready Transport program for medium- and heavy-duty fleets. Normally, when customers request new or upgraded service from the utility, there are fees associated with the new upgrade. With Charge Ready, the utility generally pays these costs, and it will sometimes pay half the cost of chargers; the customer is responsible for the other half and for charger installation costs. Sites with at least two electric vehicles are eligible, but program managers report that at least five vehicles are often needed for the economics to make sense for the utility. One way to do this is to develop and implement a phased plan, with some components sized for future planned growth and other components added as needed. Southern California Edison, for example, has 24 commitments so far, and has a five-year goal of 870 sites, with an average of 10 chargers per site. The utility notes that one charger usually can serve several vehicles and that cycling of charging, some storage, and other load management techniques can reduce capacity needs (a nominal 10 MW load often can be reduced below 5 MW). Through this program, utility representatives are regularly talking with fleet operators, and they can use these discussions to help identify needed upgrades to the utility grid. For example, California transit agencies are doing the planning to meet a California Air Resources Board mandate for 100 percent electric or fuel cell buses by 2040; utilities are talking with the agencies and their consultants as part of this process. California utilities are finding that grid capacity is often adequate in the short term, but that upgrade needs likely will grow in the medium term (seven to 10 years out). They can manage grid needs with good planning (school buses generally can be charged overnight and don’t need fast chargers), load management techniques and some battery storage to address peak needs. Customer conversations drive planning elsewhere We also spoke with a northeastern utility (wishing to be unnamed) that has been talking with customers about many issues, including fleets. It has used these discussions to identify a few areas where grid upgrades might be needed if fleets electrify. It is factoring these findings into a broader grid-planning effort underway that is driven by multiple needs, including fleets. Even within an integrated planning effort, this utility is struggling with the question of when to take action to prepare the electric system for fleet electrification: Should it act on state or federal policy? Should it act when the specific customer request is submitted, or is there something in between? Recognizing that any option has scheduling and cost allocation implications, it notes that there are no easy answers. Many utilities need to start paying attention As part of our research, we also talked with several other utilities and found that they have not yet looked at how fleets might relate to grid planning. However, several of these companies are developing plans to look into these issues in the next year. We also talked with a major truck manufacturer, also wishing to remain unnamed, that views grid limitations as a key obstacle to truck electrification.  Based on these cases, it appears that fleet electrification can have a substantial impact on electric grids and that, while these impacts are small at present, they likely will grow over time. Fleet owners, electric utilities, and utility regulators need to start planning for these impacts now, so that grid improvements can be made steadily as electric fleets grow. Fleet and grid planning should happen in parallel, so that grid upgrades do not happen sooner or later than needed but are in place when needed. These grid impacts can be managed and planned for, but the time to begin this planning is now. Pull Quote California utilities are finding that grid capacity is often adequate in the short term, but that upgrade needs likely will grow in the medium term. California utilities operate programs that work with fleet owners to install the necessary infrastructure for electric vehicle fleets. Topics Transportation & Mobility Clean Energy ACEEE Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Concept of a Tesla Semi truck. Shutterstock Mike Mareen Close Authorship

Excerpt from:
Electric truck fleets will need a lot of power, but utilities aren’t planning for it

How TerraCycle’s safety and cleaning practices can be adopted across industries

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

Comments Off on How TerraCycle’s safety and cleaning practices can be adopted across industries

How TerraCycle’s safety and cleaning practices can be adopted across industries Deonna Anderson Fri, 05/22/2020 – 00:05 The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the safety of reuse into question. But Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, thinks when the crisis is over there will be even more opportunity for reusable packaging and containers to become more commonplace, if done right. “Recycling is going to take a real punch to the face, to be quite fair,” Szaky said during GreenBiz Group’s Circularity 20 Digital event this week, pointing to the continued decrease in oil prices and the pressure that’s putting on the economics of using recycled plastics. “That’s disastrous for the recycling industry, which creates its revenue by selling recycled plastics, which are hedged against, in many ways, the price of oil.” Many recycling activities have been paused as the pandemic has raised health and safety concerns, which could lead to a waste crisis post-pandemic, he said. Recycling centers have closed temporarily or indefinitely, across California and in parts of Ohio, Oregon and Alabama. “That, I think, will benefit waste innovations,” said Szaky, whose company is in the business of recycling and eliminating waste. “It will especially benefit the reuse movement because that is sort of the next step up in waste innovation.” Szaky acknowledged that reuse is not a silver bullet solution to addressing the waste problem, but if life cycle assessment is considered , he said that reuse can be better than single-use options in a significant number of cases. It plays a role in reducing waste and TerraCycle’s e-commerce program Loop  — which features items in reusable containers — plans to be part of that, while being affordable and convenient. We’re still very focused on trying to create a reusable system that has the same convenience as disposability … “We’re still very focused on trying to create a reusable system that has the same convenience as disposability because [while] disposability has a lot of negatives, it is the gold standard, by far, for convenience,” he said. “That is our holy grail, to get to the exact same convenience you get when you throw something in the garbage, with no thinking, no thought and off you go.” While Loop is still working toward the convenience factor, it’s also working toward building trust with consumers outside of its core following. As Szaky wrote in a piece for GreenBiz recently, “Reusable packaging is faced with proving its trustworthiness alongside disposables in a world that is standing six feet apart in the grocery aisle.” In the time that comes after COVID-19, TerraCycle’s Loop and other companies that are working on launching or improving their reuse models must do it right. That means consumers need to be able to know that the reusable packaging they are using was thoroughly cleaned and doesn’t pose a health risk to them. During the Circularity 20 Digital conversation, Szaky described the cleaning process for the packaging in the Loop program, between when it leaves one consumer’s possession and ends up with another. First, the customer either will drop off their Loop tote at a retailer or have it picked up and shipped. (TerraCycle recently announced that it would expand its reuse platform Loop across the contiguous United States including in physical retail stores.) Earlier this year, the company announced partnerships with Walgreens and Kroger that would allow consumers to drop off totes in bins within their stores, starting this fall.  Once the tote reaches a Loop distribution center, it is checked in and the packages inside it are sorted based on the contents and type of packaging material. Then each type of packages is stored until there are enough to start cleaning, which takes place in a proper cleanroom where people are in full gear. “The process to clean — which is what chemistry is used, dwell times both in drying and washing and temperatures, and all those different types of knobs and dials on the cleaning protocol — are set to be specific to that content and the type of material that content was in,” said Szaky, noting that both factors have meaningful effects on the cleaning process. Once the packages are cleaned, it is immediately shipped to the manufacturer, which has protocols for maintaining cleanliness for the packaging. Szaky noted that each time the cleanroom is used it is reset — pipes flushed for potential allergens and air vented — for the next batch of cleaning. Lauren Phipps, GreenBiz Group’s director and senior analyst for the circular economy, who led the conversation with Szaky, asked if there was an opportunity for retailers and restaurants to implement similar practices for their reusable items and how they could communicate their practices with consumers. Szaky responded by sharing that he’s been working with the group Consumers Beyond Disposability — which is housed under the World Economic Forum and includes the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, City of Paris and PepsiCo — to develop guidelines for companies that want to put reuse in play. The group plans to share those guidelines during the Davos gathering in January. But for now, Szaky gave an example of how safe reuse could work in a coffee shop. “I would recommend that there’s some process that when you give your cup to the barista, maybe the barista looks at the cup and only accepts certain types of cups … then has some process that is consumer-facing, that you can see and that you can be proud that that process is strong and you can trust it,” he said. “Trust is a critical commodity that we have to build with individuals right now, or in fact almost re-earn.” Pull Quote We’re still very focused on trying to create a reusable system that has the same convenience as disposability … Topics Circular Economy Circularity 20 Circular Packaging Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock warut pothikit Close Authorship

Original post:
How TerraCycle’s safety and cleaning practices can be adopted across industries

The farm-to-food-bank movement rescues pandemic-related food waste

May 18, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Comments Off on The farm-to-food-bank movement rescues pandemic-related food waste

Farmers are burying onions, destroying tomatoes and grinding up heads of lettuce to return to the soil. Dairy workers are dumping milk. These images of food destruction have horrified Americans during the pandemic . Farmers shouldn’t have to destroy the crops they’ve poured their money, energy, time and strength into. Hungry people shouldn’t witness the destruction of food that they could cook for their families. But farmers and organizations are working to save this food and bring it to those in need. COVID-19 has hurt people in many ways, but the food supply chain has been hit especially hard. Since restaurants, hotels, schools and cruise ships have shut down, farmers have lost about 40% of their customer base on average. Some farms have lost their main outlets. For example, RC Hatton Farms in Florida has had to disk — that is, grind up and recycle into the soil — hundreds of acres of cabbage since the crop has lost its future as KFC slaw. Related: How to volunteer during COVID-19 Meanwhile, with the U.S. unemployment rate stretching toward 15% , more Americans could make use of those crops. The question is, how can the food supply chains be rerouted before all of the vegetables and milk spoil? Worldwide food insecurity may double this year because of COVID-19. In relatively affluent America, people are waiting in line for hours to get to food pantries. Fortunately, the world is full of clever and helpful people. From individuals to large organizations, people are devising ways to redistribute food to those who need it. From farms to food banks Food banks are nonprofit organizations that store food donated from retailers, restaurants, grocery stores and individuals. This food is then distributed to food pantries, where people can take home food to eat. Food pantries provide millions of free meals per year. With their restaurant and institutional clients closed by COVID-19, more farmers are trying to donate crops straight to food banks. But donation doesn’t come free. While most farmers would vastly prefer to donate their vegetables than to let them rot in fields, those crops don’t harvest themselves. Nor do they pack themselves for shipping or drive to the nearest food bank. Some states are working hard to facilitate getting crops to the people. At the end of April, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $3.64 million expansion to the state’s Farm to Family program. By the end of the year, he expects this campaign to reach $15 million. The Farm to Family program is a partnership between the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Association of Food Banks. The USDA has approved redirecting $2 million in unused Specialty Crop Block Grant funds to the California Association of Food Banks. This will help cover costs of picking, packing and transporting the produce to food banks. “Putting food on the table during this pandemic is hard for families on the brink,” Newsom said in a press release. “It’s in that spirit that we’re expanding our Farm to Family program while also working to connect low-income families with vital resources and financial support. We thank our farmers for stepping up to donate fresh produce to our food banks . And we want families struggling to access food to know we have your backs.” In New Mexico, the state chapter of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) launched its own Farm to Foodbank program. The group will fund farmers to continue producing organic produce, which will be routed to food pantries. AFSC is also helping farmers buy supplies, such as seeds, masks, gloves and irrigation systems. In return, the farmers sign contracts promising produce to community members suffering from food insecurity. For example, farmers at Acoma Pueblo requested seeds and promised to donate a part of their crops to the senior center. Help from private companies Some companies are also assisting in moving surplus crops to food banks. Florida-based Publix Super Markets has long been donating food to Feeding America’s member food banks and other nonprofits. In the last 10 years, Publix has donated about $2 billion worth of food, or 480 million pounds. Now, the supermarket chain is stepping up its efforts and buying unsold fresh milk and produce from Florida and regional producers and donating these goods to Feeding America food banks. “As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Todd Jones, chief executive officer of Publix, told NPR . Other supermarket chains have announced large monetary donations to food banks during the pandemic, including $50 million from Albertsons. Kroger Co. set up a $10 million Emergency COVID-19 Response Fund. To celebrate Earth Day , Natural Grocers donated $50,000 in gift cards to food banks. Individual giving Some farmers have taken direct action to get their crops to families. Idaho potato farmer Ryan Cranney invited the public to help themselves to his millions of unsold potatoes. “At first I thought we’d have maybe 20 people,” Cranney said in an interview . He was amazed when thousands of people drove to his town, with a population of 700, and hauled away potatoes. “We saw people from as far away as Las Vegas, which is an 8-hour drive from here,” he said. Of course, most of us don’t have millions of potatoes to spare. But we can still help food banks. In better times, food banks appreciate shelf-stable foods like peanut butter and tomato paste. But right now, the best thing you can do as an individual is to give money. Feeding America, the biggest hunger relief organization in the U.S, has about 200 member food banks. If you’re able to spare a few dollars, you can donate to its COVID-19 Response Fund . Via CBS 8 , Santa Fe New Mexican and Politico Images via Philippe Collard , Hai Nguyen , U.S. Department of Agriculture and Dennis Sparks

Read more from the original source: 
The farm-to-food-bank movement rescues pandemic-related food waste

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 3215 access attempts in the last 7 days.