Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, & Science News Collection

November 28, 2020 by  
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Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, & Science News Collection

More pieces of IKEA’s sustainability puzzle come together

November 25, 2020 by  
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More pieces of IKEA’s sustainability puzzle come together Deonna Anderson Wed, 11/25/2020 – 08:00 Black Friday is upon us. For IKEA, that marks the expanded launch of a program to buy back furniture in an effort to curb consumption . “We don’t want to encourage people to overconsume. That’s one of the challenges we’ve identified that we feel like we can make a big impact on within our whole strategy,” said Jenn Keesson, sustainability manager at IKEA U.S.  As part of the program, the home furnishings company, widely known for its flat-pack packaging and ready-to-assemble furniture, will be taking back a range of IKEA products: bookcases and shelf units; small tables; chairs and stools without upholstery; and chests of drawers. When a customer returns an item, they’ll receive a voucher to use for future purchases. If IKEA can’t resell an item, the company plans to recycle it or donate it to community organizations.  The effort, which will be running in 27 countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia are on the list), is temporary for now, running from Nov. 24 through Dec. 3. But it is part of a larger circular approach being pioneered by the company.  While the U.S. is not on the list of countries for this year’s Black Friday buyback initiative, IKEA U.S. has done some experimenting with such a program in the past, in partnership with Goodwill. And Keesson said the company is working to get a buyback program launched in the country. There are 374 IKEA stores in 30 countries around the world. “We just have a few other complexities when it comes to legislation and around different municipalities that we’re in,” she said about developing the plan to launch in the U.S. Here are a few of IKEA’s other recent waste reduction and circular economy efforts: The retailer plans to remove all non-rechargeable alkaline batteries from its global home furnishing offerings by October 2021. For context, IKEA calculates that if all its customers switched to its rechargeable batteries and charged them 50 times, its global waste could be reduced by as much as 5,000 tons on an annual basis. Earlier this month, IKEA opened its first secondhand IKEA store in Sweden. The store initially will be open for six months, and it is a sort of experiment. According to the news release about the collaboration with ReTuna Shopping Center , a recycling mall, the initiative “will help IKEA understand why some IKEA products are turned into waste, what condition they are in when thrown away, why do people choose to donate or recycle products, and if there’s an interest in buying the products that have been repaired.” And in June, IKEA announced a strategic partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation , which will build on the company’s commitment to become fully circular by 2030. What would it mean for IKEA to be fully circular? “I think in a dream world, it is that every product that you would buy is coming from recycled materials that are closed-loop in our own supply chain. And that [with] everything we’re utilizing in a store, there is no waste going to landfill,” Keesson said. “We’re finding alternate ways to reuse it or we have partners that we’re working with who can reuse the materials or recycle materials in some way. But getting there is a long journey.” But getting there could make a big impact because of how large the company is. There are 374 IKEA stores in 30 countries around the world. Aerial view of IKEA Baltimore location and Maryland solar car park. Photo courtesy of Distributed Solar Development. Beyond circular Over the years, IKEA has made a number of bold commitments to address the impacts of its operations on the environment, outside of its recent circular economy efforts. In 2018 , for example, the retailer pledged to having electric vehicles complete the last-mile portion of delivery to its customers by 2025.  In IKEA’s 2019 fiscal year, its e-commerce sales grew by 46 percent, according to website for Ingka Group, its parent company. And based on current trends — e-commerce revenues are projected to grow to $6.54 trillion in 2022 from $3.53 trillion in 2019, according to Statista — IKEA’s growth is likely to increase.  Ingka announced in September that it was investing more than $715 million over the next 12 months for IKEA to become ” climate positive” by 2030 , in addition to past investments . “We believe it’s good business to be a good business. Despite the significant challenges we’re facing in the world, we still have it in our own hands to change the direction of the climate crisis. We want to be part of the solution, which is why we will continue to focus our future investments to ensure a cleaner, greener and more inclusive recovery,” said Juvencio Maeztu, deputy CEO and CFO of Ingka, at the time of the announcement. Despite the significant challenges we’re facing in the world, we still have it in our own hands to change the direction of the climate crisis. In recent years, Ingka has invested in companies such as Optoro , a software startup that provides reverse logistics for retailers; RetourMatras, a company that makes it possible to recycle more than 90 percent of the materials in a mattress; and Winnow, a company that has developed an artificial intelligence-enabled food waste tracking solution to help reduce food waste in commercial kitchens. Tangentially related to food, this week, the company announced several food-related commitments . One goal: By 2025, IKEA plans for 50 percent of the meals offered in its restaurants to be plant-based and 80 percent to be non-red meat. Because it touches everything from furnishings to food, IKEA’s reach is wide. And with all the commitments the company has set, it still has a lot of work to do to continue its work as a corporate sustainability leader. “We have a lot of goals by 2030. We have the ambition to be climate positive and fully circular,” Keesson said. “We’re super excited and energized to see how we can continue to make impacts and continue to be this leader.” Pull Quote There are 374 IKEA stores in 30 countries around the world. Despite the significant challenges we’re facing in the world, we still have it in our own hands to change the direction of the climate crisis. Topics Circular Economy Retail IKEA Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off IKEA Baltimore location. Photo courtesy of Distributed Solar Development.

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More pieces of IKEA’s sustainability puzzle come together

Earth911 Reader: Sustainability, Recycling, & Science News, Summarized for You

November 21, 2020 by  
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The Philippines halts coal proposals to explore green energy

November 13, 2020 by  
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The Philippine government has halted the country’s coal exploration. While announcing this news, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that the government is seeking alternative, green energy sources as it steps away from coal power. The moratorium means that investors intending to pursue any projects related to coal power will have to look into alternatives. Currently, coal is the dominant source of energy in the Philippines , accounting for over 41% of the country’s total energy. With the world shifting gears towards clean energy, the Philippine government faces pressure to shift its energy policies and adopt cleaner energy. However, even the coal moratorium may not yield instant results, according to Cusi. With renewable energy sources such as hydropower and solar accounting for just 29% of the country’s energy and natural gas accounting for 13.5%, the Philippines could continue relying on coal for a long time. Still, the government now banks on the available energy to continue running its industries before exploring other sources for the future. “We see that we have enough supply for baseload power and we’re looking at a more flexible source like gas, geothermal , hydro and others,” Cusi said in a briefing. Further, the moratorium issued by the government does not affect existing coal-based projects or proposals already submitted. In other words, such projects will likely continue even though the government has stopped new applications. The Philippine government now intends to invest more in natural gas exploration. Although not a renewable source of energy, natural gas pollutes the environment significantly less than coal. The current state of coal power dominance in the Philippines has been instigated by a rush of coal power project approvals in recent years. As the government hits the brakes on coal use, experts anticipate other sources of power will take the number one spot in the coming years. Nevertheless, the country must maintain clear policies if it wishes to turn away from coal power for good. + Bangkok Post Image via Pixabay

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The Philippines halts coal proposals to explore green energy

Earth911 Reader: The Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, Business and Science News In A Nutshell

November 7, 2020 by  
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Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, Business and Science News Summarized

October 24, 2020 by  
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Earth911 Reader: Sustainability, Recycling, Business and Science News

October 17, 2020 by  
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ASOS launches first circular fashion collection

September 28, 2020 by  
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This fall, online retailer ASOS is launching its first collection of circular fashions . A collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion , the 29 women’s, men’s and unisex styles aim to prove that eco-friendly clothing can also be chic. Circular design refers to a constant recycling loop, with no materials ending up in the landfill. Instead of waste, ASOS aims to create an endless series of new fashions. According to ASOS, each style from the autumn collection meets at least two of these three goals: designing out waste and pollution; keeping products and materials in use; and regenerating natural systems. Related: The Redress Design Award is making sustainable fashion an industry standard To create the new Fall 2020 collection, ASOS designers put together a set of goals. First was to attain a zero-waste collection, or at least to minimize waste. When possible, they chose materials that were already at least partially recycled, yet still durable. The designers also aimed for versatility, so that each garment could be styled in multiple ways. The collection also makes use of upcycling , or turning something old into something new. Using one recyclable material for the entire product, called a mono-material approach, means that at the end of each garment’s life, it will be easier to recycle. The fashions were also created with eventual ease of disassembly in mind. Some of the new collection’s items include oversized dresses, pants, blouses, shoes and denim. Black, white and lavender are some of the line’s recurring colors. The new line is a direct response to ASOS’ promise at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2018 to train its designers in circular design by 2020. In the last two years, ASOS has started a training program in conjunction with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, which is part of London College of Fashion, to educate all ASOS designers on sustainable fashion principles. + ASOS Image via ASOS

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No new gas-powered cars by 2035, California governor says

September 25, 2020 by  
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California Governor Gavin Newsom’s new executive order bans the sale of all new gasoline-powered cars and passenger trucks by 2035. After that, only zero-emissions new cars will be sold in the state of  California . Californians will still be able to own, drive, buy and sell used cars that run on gas. Over half of California’s current carbon emissions come from transportation. The governor’s office foresees a 35% drop in  greenhouse gas  emissions once the new policy goes into effect. Related: 17,000 Tiehm’s buckwheat, rare wildflowers of Nevada, destroyed “I don’t know of any other state in this country that’s been more forceful and forthright in establishing and anchoring a consciousness around  climate change ,” Newsom said in a press conference Wednesday. “We just want to fundamentally reconcile the fact we’re no longer living in 19th century, and we don’t need to drill things or extract things in order to advance our economic goals and advance our mobility needs.” Priorities stressed in the executive order include setting new health regulations around oil extraction and the communities affected by it, stopping hydraulic  fracking  permits from being issued by 2024 and planning a statewide rail and transit network. The California Air Resources Board is formulating regulations for medium and heavy-duty vehicles to be zero emissions by 2045. “This is an economic opportunity: the opportunity to transform our  economy across sectors, the opportunity to accelerate innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit, the opportunity to bring more companies here into the state of California,” said Newsom. Not everyone favors this turn away from gasoline, and Newsom will likely face political, legal and commercial challenges. In the past, President Trump has objected to California setting its own auto  emission  standards that differ from federal rules. The California New Car Dealers Association released a statement saying that the state’s citizens should have more of a say in this matter. While electric cars are better for the environment than those fueled by gasoline, the lithium necessary for electronic vehicles’ batteries causes another set of problems. Mining for  lithium  affects communities and ecosystems from northern Tibet to the salt plains of Chile to Nevada’s desert. Hopefully, better batteries and the planned statewide rail and transit network catch on and drive down demand for every person to own a private car. Via ABC7 and Salon Image via Pexels

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No new gas-powered cars by 2035, California governor says

Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Essential Sustainability News And Actions You Can Take

September 19, 2020 by  
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