LEGO responds to kids’ worries about single-use plastics

September 18, 2020 by  
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Kids have spoken, and LEGO has listened. “We have received many letters from  children about the environment asking us to remove single-use plastic packaging,” Niels B. Christiansen, LEGO Group CEO, said in a statement. “We have been exploring alternatives for some time and the passion and ideas from children inspired us to begin to make the change.” The Danish toymaker announced Tuesday that it will replace the plastic bags inside boxed LEGO sets with recyclable paper bags. Over the next five years, the company expects to completely phase out the plastic bags. Related: A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for children Of course, the bag issue is ironic considering LEGO turns about 90,000 metric tons of plastic per year into its iconic bricks. Though the company has tried finding alternative materials, so far nothing else is as durable. Currently, 2% of LEGO pieces — including LEGO trees and bushes — are made from  sugar  cane. The company is working to increase and improve plant-based “bio bricks” and to make all products from sustainable materials by 2030. For now, LEGO stresses that kids can use the plastic bricks forever — no need to put them in the world’s landfills. The bricks manufactured today fit those made 40 years ago. If you don’t have anybody to pass your collection on to, the LEGO Replay program helps customers donate used bricks to LEGO-deprived kids in the U.S. and  Canada . The company plans to expand Replay to other countries. LEGO also added  solar panels  to its factories as part of its goal of a carbon-neutral manufacturing process by 2022. The company has also improved waste handling and reduced water consumption. “We cannot lose sight of the fundamental challenges facing future generations,” said Christiansen. “It’s critical we take urgent action now to care for the planet and future generations. As a company who looks to children as our role models, we are inspired by the millions of kids who have called for more urgent action on  climate change . We believe they should have access to opportunities to develop the skills necessary to create a sustainable future. We will step up our efforts to use our resources, networks, expertise and platforms to make a positive difference.” + LEGO Via CNN Images via LEGO

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LEGO responds to kids’ worries about single-use plastics

Why Plastic Waste is a C Suite Issue

September 9, 2020 by  
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Why Plastic Waste is a C Suite Issue Why is plastic waste a c-suite issue, and how can corporate leaders have a positive impact on plastic waste reduction, while potentially benefiting their businesses? Plastic waste reduction is not only an environmental issue. It is an economic one. Indeed, every C-suite officer has a reason to care about plastic waste reduction, and can benefit by trying to address the problem. Even companies who are not a traditional part of the plastic value chain can play an important role. Last year, Morgan Stanley made a firm-wide commitment, the Morgan Stanley Plastic Waste Resolution, to facilitate the prevention, reduction, and removal of 50 million metric tons of plastic waste from rivers, oceans, landfills, and landscapes by 2030. Across other industries, and all around the C-suite table, business leaders can play an important part in building a more sustainable plastics economy that can deliver benefits for sustainability, for brand and for profits. Speaker Audrey Choi, Chief Marketing Officer, Morgan Stanley Holly Secon Tue, 09/08/2020 – 22:22 Featured Off

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SeaChange uses plasma arc technology to save the oceans from plastic waste

September 8, 2020 by  
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We’ve all heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the continuing flow of oceanbound plastic. But what if something could intercept that plastic before it made it into the oceans? That’s the plan of SeaChange, a new organization that claims to have devised the technology to save our oceans from the plastic pollution crisis. The start of SeaChange SeaChange founders Carl Borgquist and Tim Nett grew up together in Paradise, California, and have been lifelong friends. They went on to have varied careers — Borgquist in renewable energy and as CEO of Absaroka Energy and Nett as a serial entrepreneur in advertising and media. But then their entire hometown burned in the infamous Camp Fire of 2018. Eighty-five people lost their lives and more than 11,000 homes burned to the ground. It was the worst fire in California history up to that point, and the future looked bleak as climate change worsened wildfires throughout the west. Related: Babylegs — the inexpensive, educational way to monitor ocean plastic   “ Climate change stops being theoretical when it destroys everything you’ve grown up with,” Nett said . “When there is no hometown to go back to. We couldn’t in clear conscience stand by and do nothing.” The two men decided to put their considerable life experience and gray matter together to work on climate change. And they’ve made a promising breakthrough. How SeaChange’s technology works SeaChange will outfit its ships with something called the Plasma Enhanced Melter (PEM). The PEM uses plasma arc technology to zap plastic and other trash before it enters the ocean. Plastic is shredded before it enters the Plasma Arc Zone. Instead of leaving harmful residues like conventional waste treatment methods, plasma arc technology uses high temperature and high electrical energy to heat waste , mostly by radiation. Organic material can be burned down into a combustible gas called syngas, which can be used as clean fuel for SeaChange’s ships. Inorganic components wind up as glassy slag. This reusable black glass is said to be nontoxic and safe for marine life. SeaChange will heat the plasma arc to temperatures up to 18,000 degrees. “That’s like dropping it on the surface of the Sun,” SeaChange said on its website. While this may sound like science fiction, the technology has been used on hazardous and medical waste since 1996. Finding the trash Of the 400 million tons of plastic produced every year, 90% is burned, buried or lost in the environment. Only 10% is recycled . Even if plastic is recycled, you could say that’s delaying the problem. Up until now, plastic has been forever-lasting, with no permanent solution to vaporize it. The SeaChange ships will seek the plastic that is lost in the environment. According to the organization’s research, about 10 million tons of plastic trash enters the oceans each year. That equals about one dump truck load per minute. Of this ocean plastic pollution, 90% flows into the sea from the 10 most polluted rivers . China’s Yangtze River gets the trophy for pollution champion, collecting 1.5 million tons of plastic trash before dumping it into the East China Sea near Shanghai. The runner-up is the Indus, which originates in Tibet before winding through Pakistan and then emptying an average 164,332 tons of plastic junk into the Arabian Sea by Karachi. The other eight rivers are the Yellow, Hai, Nile, Ganges, Pearl, Amur, Niger and Mekong Rivers. Eventually, the SeaChange ships — equipped with plasma arc technology — will travel to these polluted rivers to harvest and vaporize plastic trash before it enters the ocean. The crew can process up to 5 tons of plastic on the ship each day, melting it down to about 225 pounds of inert black glass . First stop, Indonesia SeaChange is planning to go on its first mission in 2021. Destination: Indonesia. Currently, somewhere between 0.5 and 1.4 million tons of plastic waste wind up in the ocean around Indonesia every year. SeaChange plans to remove trash to protect a sensitive Indonesian ecosystem full of coral species and mangrove forests. The organization is still sorting out what NGOs, government agencies and individuals it can partner with to make the mission happen. Since planning began, the pandemic has created additional logistical obstacles. It’s also contributing to the plastic problem. A huge surge of medical waste is landing in Indonesian waters after a six-month uptick in single-use gloves and masks. The trash that stays out of the waterways is being burned in open pits, exposing people to carcinogenic clouds of dioxins, which isn’t much better. If all goes to plan, SeaChange will start making a dent in the oceanbound plastic problem next year. This partnership between Borgquist and Nett reminds us of the oft-repeated and inspiring idea that even something terrible can bring about something positive. For example, when your hometown burns, you decide to tackle one of the world’s biggest problems. If the Indonesia mission is successful next year, maybe we’ll one day see a SeaChange ship at the mouth of every polluted river. + SeaChange Images via Kevin Krejci , M.W. and Sergei Tokmakov, Esq.

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SeaChange uses plasma arc technology to save the oceans from plastic waste

rePurpose

August 9, 2020 by  
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rePurpose saracefalu2 Sun, 08/09/2020 – 14:59 rePurpose Global is a movement of conscious consumers & businesses going Plastic Neutral by financing the removal of ocean-bound plastic worldwide. We are here to reinvent the wheel of the world’s resource economy – one where our duty to protect the planet is ethically shared among manufacturers, consumers, and recycler Sponsor Website https://repurpose.global/

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Flow of plastic waste in the ocean could triple by 2040

July 24, 2020 by  
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New research by The Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ has found that the plastic flow into the oceans could triple by 2040 without immediate action. But the study, “Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution,” also outlines solutions that could cut this plastic waste by more than 80%. According to the researchers, the methods currently used to deal with plastic pollution are less effective unless they are consolidated and accompanied by new technology and more research. The report shows that if governments continue addressing plastic waste as they are currently, the amount of plastic waste flowing into oceans could only be reduced by 7% in the next 20 years. With no intervention, the plastic waste entering the ocean could grow from 11 million to 29 million metric tons by 2040. Because plastic lasts for hundreds of years, the cumulative amount pf ocean plastic could reach 600 million tons (the equivalent weight of 3 million blue whales) by that point. Related: Record high amount of microplastic found on seafloors “Breaking the Plastic Wave” identifies eight measures that could reduce plastic waste by 80%. The proposed measures include reducing plastic production and consumption, substituting plastics with biodegradable alternatives, designing product packaging for recycling , increasing recycling, increasing waste collection rates and reducing plastic waste exports. More technological advancements, business models and research and development are needed to completely eliminate plastic waste in the oceans, according to the study. Although many of these methods are already being applied by some governments, the report proposes a more consolidated approach. The researchers estimate that governments could save up to $70 billion and reduce plastic-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2040 by adopting these measures together. According to Martin Stuchtey, SYSTEMIQ’s founder, the plastic pollution problem is solvable if action is taken now. “Our results indicate that the plastic crisis is solvable,” Stuchtey said. “It took a generation to create this challenge; this report shows we can solve it in one generation.” + Breaking the Plastic Wave Image via Sergei Tokmakov

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Flow of plastic waste in the ocean could triple by 2040

Flow of plastic waste in the ocean could triple by 2040

July 24, 2020 by  
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New research by The Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ has found that the plastic flow into the oceans could triple by 2040 without immediate action. But the study, “Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution,” also outlines solutions that could cut this plastic waste by more than 80%. According to the researchers, the methods currently used to deal with plastic pollution are less effective unless they are consolidated and accompanied by new technology and more research. The report shows that if governments continue addressing plastic waste as they are currently, the amount of plastic waste flowing into oceans could only be reduced by 7% in the next 20 years. With no intervention, the plastic waste entering the ocean could grow from 11 million to 29 million metric tons by 2040. Because plastic lasts for hundreds of years, the cumulative amount pf ocean plastic could reach 600 million tons (the equivalent weight of 3 million blue whales) by that point. Related: Record high amount of microplastic found on seafloors “Breaking the Plastic Wave” identifies eight measures that could reduce plastic waste by 80%. The proposed measures include reducing plastic production and consumption, substituting plastics with biodegradable alternatives, designing product packaging for recycling , increasing recycling, increasing waste collection rates and reducing plastic waste exports. More technological advancements, business models and research and development are needed to completely eliminate plastic waste in the oceans, according to the study. Although many of these methods are already being applied by some governments, the report proposes a more consolidated approach. The researchers estimate that governments could save up to $70 billion and reduce plastic-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2040 by adopting these measures together. According to Martin Stuchtey, SYSTEMIQ’s founder, the plastic pollution problem is solvable if action is taken now. “Our results indicate that the plastic crisis is solvable,” Stuchtey said. “It took a generation to create this challenge; this report shows we can solve it in one generation.” + Breaking the Plastic Wave Image via Sergei Tokmakov

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Flow of plastic waste in the ocean could triple by 2040

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

Are you up for the Plastic Free July challenge?

July 1, 2020 by  
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How hard would it be to say no to single-use plastics for an entire month? People who sign up for Plastic Free July are about to find out. The global movement is asking people around the world to be part of the plastic pollution solution. Plastic Free July started back in 2011. Last year, about 250 million people from 177 countries took part in the movement. A survey about Plastic Free July found that participants reduced their household waste about 5% per year and made changes that became long-term habits. Related: How to replace single-use and plastic items in the kitchen Brought to you by the Plastic Free Foundation Rebecca Prince-Ruiz founded the Plastic Free Foundation as a not-for-profit in 2017 along with a team of committed folks in Western Australia. Now, the organization promotes Plastic Free July. The foundation’s ambassador, musician Jack Johnson, is instrumental in spreading the word. “Plastic Free July inspires me to step up my commitment to reducing single-use plastic in my daily life and on tour,” he said on the organization’s website. “A great first step is to commit to using reusable water bottles . I’m also working with the music industry (artists, venues, festivals and fans) to reduce plastic waste through the BYOBottle campaign.” The foundation’s website is its most accessible resource for people around the world. It inspires visitors with stories about ordinary people trying to escape the siren song of convenient plastic. A section called “What others do” features — and invites readers to submit — their stories about alternatives to plastics they use in their everyday life. For example, a mother of two in New Zealand has found strategies for working toward a zero-waste household, and another woman managed to talk her hospital coworkers out of using 70,000 single-use cups each year. You can download posters from the website urging people to avoid single-use straws , takeout containers, plastic bags and other pitfalls of modern life. The posters are suitable for hanging at work, school or local businesses. Ways to avoid single-use plastic People who take the Plastic Free July pledge probably figure they can do without straws for a month or more and remember to bring their reusable cloth bags to the market. But some plastic products are harder to avoid. The web page called “What you can do” provides solutions to many of these problems. For many people, menstruation seems to bring an unfair burden: cramps, moodiness and the responsibility for plastic tampon applicators and used sanitary napkins piling up in landfills or blocking sewage pipes and even causing ingestion issues for marine animals. Instead, the Plastic Free Foundation recommends using menstrual cups, period underwear or reusable pads. Worldwide, people struggle with what to do about bin liners. While putting a plastic bag in your trash can is exceedingly convenient, plastic stays in the landfill forever, eventually breaking down into microplastics that can harm animals. Instead, you can line your bin with newspaper, or let your bin go “naked” and wash it frequently. Of course, composting all your food scraps will cut down on the bin’s ickiest contents. Audit your bin Before you can improve, you need to know how bad the problem is. The Plastic Free Foundation recommends auditing your bin. Doing a bin audit will help you understand what kind of waste you’re creating and how you can minimize it. You can do a bin audit at home or in your workplace. Try to get your family or coworkers onboard to help with the audit and to implement changes based on your findings. Choose an auspicious day for the bin audit. This should be long enough after trash day so that some stuff has accumulated in your bin but not long enough for it to stink. Find a sheltered outdoor place with good airflow. Spread a tarp on the ground and dump your bin. Separate your trash into categories, such as paper , food, cans, batteries, plastics, etc. Estimate the volume and percentage of each category and write it down in a notebook. Later, after cleaning up, you can assess your findings. Some things will be obvious, like if you’ve been too lazy to carry your apple cores and potato peels to the compost and have been chucking them in the bin instead. Or maybe you’ll notice lots of food packaging and realize you could be buying more of those items in bulk instead. Focus on one or two behaviors that will be the easiest to change. Do another bin audit about six months later, check your improvement and pick a new goal. Take the plastic-free challenge Ready for a meaningful sustainability challenge? You can sign up on the Plastic Free July website. The web form asks for your name, email address, country and post code. You’ll get weekly motivational emails in your inbox with tips for avoiding plastic and news on the global movement. The form also gives you choices about the level of your participation. You can commit to going plastic-free for a day, a week, the whole month of July or indefinitely. You can also select whether you’re taking part in the challenge in your workplace, at your school or at home. + Plastic Free July Images via Laura Mitulla , Volodymyr Hryshchenko , Jasmin Sessler ( 1 , 2 ) and Good Soul Shop

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Are you up for the Plastic Free July challenge?

Free Yourself From Single-Use Plastic in July

July 1, 2020 by  
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Plastic-free July starts today. Even if you only reduce your … The post Free Yourself From Single-Use Plastic in July appeared first on Earth911.com.

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