BP’s chief economist predicts plastic bans will slash oil demand

February 21, 2018 by  
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Oil giant BP has predicted that increased regulation on plastic pollution around the world will result in decreased demand for petroleum, the key ingredient in most plastic. “We think we’re going to see increasing regulation against some types of petrochemical products, particularly single-use plastics,” BP’s Chief Economist Spencer Dale told Bloomberg . “As a result of that, we have less growth in non-combusted oils than we otherwise would have done.” While petrochemicals are predicted to continue as the largest driver of oil consumption, BP also predicts that oil demand will drop by two million barrels a day as a result of developing plastic regulations. BP also predicts that oil production will continue to rise over the next two decades, apparently peaking in the mid-2030s. Notably, this forecast expects an oil peak nearly a decade earlier than BP’s prediction last year. Despite its estimation that one third of total miles driven will be powered by electricity by 2040, BP does not expect the electric vehicle market to impact oil dramatically. “Selling more EVs will tend to have almost no effect on oil demand because now I can sell a greater number of large cars or I can do less investment in light weighting,” said Dale. This assumes that large, heavy, fossil-fuel-powered cars continue to be profitable. Related: Beer with biodegradable six-pack rings finally hits the market BP also revised its expectations from previous years regarding the growth of renewable energy , with the company now estimating that renewable energy will constitute 40 percent of all energy growth in the near future. “We cannot predict where these changes will take us, but we can use this knowledge to get fit and ready to play our role in meeting the energy needs of tomorrow,” said BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley in a statement. To prepare for a cleaner energy future, BP has purchased a $200 million stake in British solar developer Lightsource Renewable Energy Ltd. and is reportedly considering purchasing Terra Firma’s Rete Rinnovabile Srl, a solar company based in Italy. Via Bloomberg and Treehugger Images via Depositphotos (1)

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BP’s chief economist predicts plastic bans will slash oil demand

Documentary Inspires the Queen to Ban Plastic

February 16, 2018 by  
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Queen Elizabeth may be preparing to turn 92 in a … The post Documentary Inspires the Queen to Ban Plastic appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Documentary Inspires the Queen to Ban Plastic

Ocean Cleanup Project launches San Francisco base in Pacific trash-busting bid

February 14, 2018 by  
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The Ocean Cleanup Project seeks to dismantle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch , guided by an ambitious design concept and the development of new technology to tackle the pollution threat. First conceived in 2013 by aerospace engineering student Boyan Slat, the Ocean Cleanup Project has recently announced the location of its home base, a former naval station in San Francisco Bay . From here, the Ocean Cleanup Project will manufacture, then launch, the first of its giant trash-collecting booms. With any luck, the inaugural trash-busting voyage will set sail in mid-2018. In addition to its strategic location, the former Alameda Naval Station in San Francisco Bay is a location that carries special significance for Slat. “Next to Alameda’s major historical military significance, it was here that the famous car chase scene in The Matrix Reloaded was filmed, and it was home to some of the best experiments of my favorite childhood TV show, MythBusters,” said Slat . “We’re honored to be allowed to use this site as the assembly yard for the world’s first ocean cleanup system. Hopefully, we will make some history here as well.” Related: Could France-sized ocean garbage patch become 196th nation? The Ocean Cleanup Project ‘s 2,000-foot-long system harnesses natural currents to catch trash in passive, strategically located arms, under which wildlife should be able to swim. While some have criticized the project for the potential environmental damage and cost, the group has committed to undergoing environmental impact studies at every stage in development and production. The team has already conducted aerial surveys of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and developed a prototype system in the Netherlands. By the end of this year, we should know more about whether the Ocean Clean Project’s design is an effective tool to fight pollution. Via New Atlas Images via The Ocean Cleanup Project

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Ocean Cleanup Project launches San Francisco base in Pacific trash-busting bid

Clothing company removes 1,000,000 pounds of trash from global waters

February 13, 2018 by  
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Fast fashion is a dirty business, and the apparel industry is considered one of the world’s most toxic, second only to the oil industry when it comes to pollution. Some big labels are keen to tout their greenwashed textiles or “responsible” material sourcing, but few have taken measures to reduce waste. Enter  United By Blue , a sustainable fashion line that not only uses eco-friendly materials in the manufacturing of its products but has made a commitment to removing one pound of trash from global oceans and waterways for every product sold. The model, which was introduced in 2010, has so far led to the removal of 1,039,456 pounds of trash across 27 states—and counting. The initiative is wholly backed by United by Blue’s employees and like-minded volunteers looking to make a difference. Over 200 cleanups have been organized thus far, and everything from  plastic bottles , tires, appliances, to abandoned trucks have been scooped out of rivers, streams, creeks, and beaches. What’s more, United by Blue has budgeted time, resources, and money into its business plan for cleanups, and employees are paid for their contributions. Related: Billions of pieces of plastic trash are sickening the world’s coral reefs As it stands, eight million tons of plastic enter oceans each year with plastic bottles accounting for 1.5 million tons. There is almost no part of the world that has been untouched by the pollution , which endangers sea life and ends up in our food when we consume seafood that has unwittingly ingested plastic. Even scarier, in a recent study , researchers looked at more than 124,000 corals from 159 reefs in Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia, and found that plastic has ravaged the reefs. “We came across chairs, chip wrappers, Q-tips, garbage bags, water bottles, old nappies,” Joleah Lamb, a marine disease ecologist at Cornell University and lead author of the study, told the Atlantic . “Everything you see on the beach is probably lying on the reef.” Nearly 90 percent of corals that come into contact with plastic will get some sort of infection. Lamb and her colleagues reported that almost every time they lifted a piece of plastic shrouding coral, the coral was riddled with disease. Here’s hoping that more clothing companies follow United By Blue’s model so we can end this scourge once and for all. + United by Blue Via Treehugger

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Clothing company removes 1,000,000 pounds of trash from global waters

Snhetta unveils designs for worlds first energy-positive hotel in the Arctic Circle

February 13, 2018 by  
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Snøhetta has revealed designs for the world’s first energy-positive hotel in the Arctic Circle —an incredible proposal given the region’s below-freezing temperatures. Located at the foot of Svartisen, Norway’s second largest glacier, the circular Svart hotel will offer panoramic 360-degree views of the fjord and use solar panels to produce more energy than it needs. The sustainable building is being developed in collaboration with Arctic Adventures of Norway, Asplan Viak and Skanska. Set partly on shore at the foot of the Almlifjellet mountain, Svart also extends into Holandsfjorden fjord’s crystal-clear waters where kayakers can paddle beneath the circular building . Elevated off the ground for low-impact, the hotel’s V-shaped timber structure is a nod to the local vernacular architecture, more specifically the form of the A-shaped fiskehjell, a wooden device used for drying fish and the local fisherman “rorbue” house. A boardwalk built into the timber structure serves as a walkway for guests in summer or as boat storage in winter. “Building in such a precious environment comes with some clear obligations in terms of preserving the natural beauty and the fauna and flora of the site,” said Founding Partner at Snøhetta, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. “It was primordial for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful Northern nature. Building an energy positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor to create a sustainable tourist destination respecting the unique features of the plot; the rare plant species, the clean waters and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier.” Related: Jaw-dropping hotel made of ice and snow opens in Sweden The new hotel aims to reduce its yearly energy consumption by approximately 85% as compared to an equivalent hotel built to modern building standards in Norway. Snøhetta hopes to reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint by topping the rooftop with solar panels produced with clean hydro-energy and by using materials with low-embodied energy like timber over energy-intensive materials such as structural steel and concrete. Extensive site mapping informed the placement and design of the hotel to best exploit solar energy during the day and minimize unwanted solar gain. + Snøhetta Images via Snøhetta

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Snhetta unveils designs for worlds first energy-positive hotel in the Arctic Circle

BIG and CRA break ground on greenery-infused Singapore skyscraper

February 13, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group and Carlo Ratti Associati have broken ground on a new nature-infused skyscraper that’s bringing Singapore a step closer to its ‘City in a Garden’ vision. Located in the heart of the financial district, the 280-meter-tall Singapore Tower will be one of the city’s tallest and offer a mixed-use program including an “office of the future,” residences, and retail. Greenery is integrated into the multiple parts of the building from a public rainforest plaza and park on the ground floor to a multi-level green oasis visible from the outside. Commissioned by CapitaLand, the 51-story high-rise comprises a podium of retail and restaurants beneath eight floors of serviced residences. Residents will enjoy access to a wide variety of facilities and landscaped spaces such as an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, jogging track, and barbecue pits. Offices will occupy the building’s top 29 floors and look out to panoramic views of the Singapore River and Marina Bay. Separate lobbies will service the offices and residences. Sensors, Internet-of-Things and artificial intelligence are embedded into the smart tech building for the benefit of tenants. “BIG’s design seeks to continue Singapore’s pioneering vertical urbanism with the 280m tall diverse community of places to work, live and play inside as well as outside,” said Bjarke Ingels. “At multiple elevations, the facade peels open to reveal urban oases for its users and the surrounding city – animating the elegant smoothness of modern architecture with the ubiquitous tropical nature.” Singapore Tower’s glass-and-steel facade appears to pull open at the base, core, and rooftop to reveal glimpses of tropical greenery within. Related: A rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapore’s Marina One Lush landscaping can be enjoyed at the ground floor park that transitions into the 19-meter-tall City Room in the tower’s mixed use podium. A four-level Green Oasis occupies the core of the building—between the residences and offices—and houses a 30-meter open-air garden with winding walkways, diverse seating, jungle gym, treetop cocoons, sky hammocks, and a cafe. The Singapore Tower is expected for completion in 2021. + Bjarke Ingels Group + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Bjarke Ingels Group, Exterior images by Bjarke Ingels Group and VMW

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BIG and CRA break ground on greenery-infused Singapore skyscraper

Queen of England bans plastic bottles and straws at royal estates

February 12, 2018 by  
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Plastic doesn’t seem to have the royal stamp of approval any more. Queen Elizabeth II recently banned plastic straws and bottles on royal estates with the goal of reducing plastic use. The Independent and The Telegraph quoted a Buckingham Palace spokesperson as saying “there’s a strong desire to tackle this issue” of plastic among the royal household. Some people think the Queen has taken an interest in the plastic problem after working on a conservation documentary with broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough , who recently discussed the particular dilemma of ocean plastic in Blue Planet II – a heartrending clip from the show revealed a mother pilot whale who carried around her dead baby likely poisoned by plastic. Friends of the Earth campaigner Julian Kirby told The Telegraph, “Blue Planet’s reach now extends to the Royal households and shows how much momentum is building behind the war on plastic pollution .” The Queen is tackling plastic use in multiple ways. Buckingham Palace spoke of new waste plans, including measures to phase out straws in public cafes and ban them completely in staff dining rooms. Takeaway food products from Royal Collection cafes will now have to have biodegradable or compostable packaging. Internal caterers at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse will only be able to utilize china glasses and plates, as well as recyclable paper cups, per The Telegraph. Related: Over 200 nations commit to ending ocean plastic waste The Telegraph reported Buckingham Palace is going through a 10-year, £369 million – or around $510 million – refurbishment with a goal of improving energy efficiency in the royal residence. Electrical cabling and heating systems that haven’t been updated since just after World War II will be replaced. Solar panels will line the roof and an anaerobic digestion unit will create biogas from waste. Buckingham Palace has a web page devoted to the environment , which says the royal household “is working hard across operations in the Royal Palaces and Estates to reduce its impact on the environment, using everything from energy efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lighting to hydro-electricity generating plants to ensure efficient running of its sites.” Via The Independent and The Telegraph Images via Depositphotos and PublicDomainPictures.net

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Queen of England bans plastic bottles and straws at royal estates

‘Food in the Nude’ project in New Zealand supermarket reduces plastic use

February 7, 2018 by  
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A New Zealand grocery store, New World Bishopdale , is attempting to slash their plastic use creatively with a new “Food in the Nude” project. And no, it’s not about people getting naked. It’s about serving produce without a pile of packaging. According to SUPERMARKETNEWS , New World Bishopdale has installed a refrigeration shelving system for displaying vegetables and fruit without plastic packaging . New World Bishopdale is having fun with cutting plastic. Owner Nigel Bond told SUPERMARKETNEWS in his 30 years in the grocery store industry, they’ve received the most positive customer feedback ever as a result of the store’s Food in the Nude program. It’s comprises a pretty simple change: display produce sans polluting plastic packaging. Related: 100% biodegradable, edible packaging is so much better than plastic “Customers hailing from the USA tell us that it reminds them of shopping in Whole Foods back home…The new system works by misting the produce with water to keep it fresh. Vegetables are up to 90 percent water and studies have shown that misted produce not only looks better and retains its color and texture, it also has a higher vitamin content,” Bond told SUPERMARKETNEWS. “We’ve also installed a reverse osmosis system that treats the water by removing 99 percent of all bacteria and chlorine, so we are confident that the water we’re misting with remains pure. The misting is electronically controlled and provides great in-store theater; children just love it.” He said because the system helps keep the fruit and vegetables fresh, less are wasted. Other New World stores could follow; New World Wigram has already made the switch. New World Bishopdale is also offering reusable string bags for weighing and carrying produce without plastic. New World hopes to get rid of all single-use plastic bags in their stores by the end of this year. In an October press release , they said they’re taking steps like giving away two million long-life reusable bags to customers, introducing a voluntary donation for plastic bags that will go towards environmental causes, and continuing a rebate for the use of reusable bags in North Island stores which they said “has resulted in a 20 percent reduction in plastic bag use.” Via SUPERMARKETNEWS and New World Images via Depositphotos and New World Bishopdale

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‘Food in the Nude’ project in New Zealand supermarket reduces plastic use

Microplastic pollution poses particular threat to filter-feeding rays, sharks and whales

February 6, 2018 by  
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Microplastics pose a huge threat to aquatic life, particularly large filter feeders such as whale sharks, manta rays, and baleen whales . A new study by an international team of researchers led by the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) and Murdoch University identifies risks faced by these marine giants from an insidious form of plastic pollution known as microplastics. Filter feeders are at particular risk because of their constant sifting through ocean water to capture their micro-plankton prey. These large creatures play an important role in oceanic ecosystems and huge problems in the food chain could arise if they were to become threatened or even extinct due to escalating threats. While much remains unknown about the specific impacts of ingesting microplastics, evidence suggests that plastic ingestion, whether directly or through eating animals that have consumed plastics, can lead to toxicity in fish and birds. The effects on large, filter feeders is even less understood, a knowledge gap that the study authors urgently sought to address. “Understanding the effects of microplastic pollution on filter-feeding megafauna is imperative because nearly half of the mobulid rays, two-thirds of filter-feeding sharks , and over one quarter of baleen whales are listed by the IUCN as globally threatened species and prioritized for conservation,” wrote the study authors . Related: Over 200 nations commit to ending ocean plastic waste Incorporating a review of data from related research, the new study identifies microplastic “hotspots,” such as the Gulf of Mexico, the Bay of Bengal, the Coral Triangle, and the Mediterranean Sea , as areas where filter feeders gather in high numbers likely due to plentiful food sources. This unfortunate confluence of plankton and plastic pollution has led to filter feeders consuming significant amounts of microplastics, with fin whales estimated to consume up to 2,000 plastic particles per day. While a greater understanding of the problem is helpful, this new research also emphasizes the sorely needed action needed to prevent further harm from plastic pollution to ocean life, large and small. Via IFLScience Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Microplastic pollution poses particular threat to filter-feeding rays, sharks and whales

46 tons of Mardi Gras beads found clogging New Orleans catch basins

February 1, 2018 by  
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In New Orleans , clean-up crews have found 46 tons of Mardi Gras beads in the catch basins on St. Charles Avenue between Poydras Street and Lee Circle. These festive plastic staples were clogging 15,000, or fully one-quarter, of the city’s basins, which are used to drain and protect the city from flooding . As part of a $7 million contract, crews from Baton Rouge-based EnviroSystems used nearly two-dozen vacuum trucks to extract 7.2 million pounds of debris, of which 93,000 pounds were Mardi Gras beads. “This is a staggering number,” interim director of the New Orleans Department of Public Works Dani Galloway told the Times-Picayune . In response to the massive amount of Mardi Gras beads posing a threat to the city’s ability to drain itself in case of flooding, the Public Works and Sanitation departments are currently brainstorming ways to prevent further damage from beads, including installing temporary “gutter buddies” to keep the beads out. During a press conference, Galloway also emphasized the need of ordinary citizens to step up and clear catch basins in their own neighborhoods. Dozens of residents in every city district have already received training on how to properly clean the catch basins. Related: New Orleans doesn’t need a hurricane to be inundated with water The clean-up operation comes after extensive flooding during the summer of 2017, which was blamed in part on the city’s backlog of clogged catch basins. This backlog existed despite $3 million having been allocated to deal with the problem. Following last summer’s flooding, the New Orleans City Council approved a $22 million emergency plan to address the issue . Although external contractors were hired to do the work, much of the labor was sourced within the city. “They are our own people doing this work,” said Galloway . “This is important because it maximizes economic impact on the city’s contracts for the people that live and work here.” Via the Times-Picayune Images via Depositphotos and Flickr/Infrogmation of New Orleans

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46 tons of Mardi Gras beads found clogging New Orleans catch basins

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