One of the world’s most remote islands is also the most polluted

May 16, 2017 by  
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There’s a lonely island in the Pacific Ocean that has no human inhabitants, yet it’s completely covered in trash. Henderson Island is so remote, humans only visit it for research every five to 10 years. But the island is also home to the highest density of plastic debris found anywhere on Earth, according to the University of Tasmania . Scientists found the island’s beaches are polluted with around 671 pieces of trash per 10 square feet. No humans live on Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn Islands that are British territories in the southern Pacific Ocean. Henderson Island is 3,106 miles away from the closest major population center. But it’s located near the middle of the South Pacific Gyre ocean current, and waste from South America rolls up on its shores. Jennifer Lavers of the university and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds , with colleague Alexander Bond, recently found an estimated 37.7 pieces of plastic on the remote island. Related: Plankton Pundit video shows exact moment plastic enters the food chain Lavers said, “What’s happened on Henderson Island shows there’s no escaping plastic pollution even in the most distant parts of our oceans .” The research was published online yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America . The amount of trash shocked Lavers, who told The Guardian she’s seen plastic pollution around the world but still expected Henderson’s remote location to provide it some protection. Instead, she found a staggering amount of garbage and hundreds of crabs dwelling in our trash. She told The Guardian, “This plastic is old, it’s brittle, it’s sharp, it’s toxic. It was really quite tragic seeing these gorgeous crabs scuttling about, living in our waste.” She estimates 3,570 new pieces of trash wash up on Henderson Island every single day on just one of the island’s beaches. Around 17 metric tons of plastic has likely been deposited on the island, based on sampling at five different sites. She said 55 percent of the seabirds in the world are at risk – two of the species at risk live on Henderson. Via the University of Tasmania and The Guardian Images via Jennifer Lavers/University of Tasmania and Wikimedia Commons

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One of the world’s most remote islands is also the most polluted

How Old Bottles Are Recycled into Clothing

May 12, 2017 by  
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In 2016, approximately 400,000 graduates across the U.S. wore gowns made from recycled PET bottles. How many used plastic bottles did that take, you ask? About 10.8 million. The first clothing made from recycled PET bottles hit the shelves in 1993….

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How Old Bottles Are Recycled into Clothing

Why Unilever Has Committed to 100% Recyclable Packaging

April 13, 2017 by  
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Large brands often bear the brunt of the blame for plastic waste and pollution, and rightly so. Look at any news story about plastic pollution and you can see their handiwork — single-use plastic water bottles littering roadsides, grocery store…

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Why Unilever Has Committed to 100% Recyclable Packaging

Egyptian scientists turn dried shrimp shells into eco-friendly plastic

March 3, 2017 by  
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Plastic is a plague on this planet, but it doesn’t have to be. A group of Egyptian researchers is developing a kind of plastic won’t languish in landfills for hundreds of years – made with dried shrimp shells. Just six months into a two-year project, the team is already seeing some success. Scientists at Nile University clean and chemically treat shrimp shells, then ground them up and dissolve them in a solution that dries to form plastic. The researchers have utilized chitosan , a polymer made from the compound chitin commonly found in crustacean shells, to make their clear, thin plastic prototype. They’re able to obtain the shells inexpensively, sourcing them from local supermarkets, restaurants, and fishermen at low prices. Project researcher Hani Chbib told Reuters Egypt imports some 3,500 metric tons of shrimp, and is left with 1,000 metric tons of shrimp shell waste. So the project could help alleviate waste and reduce plastic pollution . Related: Harvard Scientists Create Super Strong Degradable Bioplastic from Shrimp Shells The Egyptian researchers are collaborating with a team from Britain’s University of Nottingham , where the professor overseeing the project, Irene Samy, conducted post-doctoral research and began exploring the idea of converting shells into plastic. Samy told Reuters, “If commercialized, this could really help us decrease our waste…and it could help us improve our food exports because the plastic has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.” The team envisions the biodegradable plastic might be used for packaging and plastic bags . They said their technique could potentially work for large-scale industrial production, and while so far they’ve only made small samples, are working to enhance properties like durability and thermal stability so the product could be widely used. The United Kingdom side of the team plans to approach packaging manufacturers in their country. Via Reuters Images via screenshot

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Egyptian scientists turn dried shrimp shells into eco-friendly plastic

Unique asymmetrical home in the Netherlands takes a novel approach to sustainability

March 3, 2017 by  
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Dutch firm Global Architects completed a dream modern villa that breaks from the traditional gabled architecture of the Netherlands. Shaped like a giant boulder, House as a Rock rises from the dunes like a craggy monolithic sculpture that complements the hilly landscape. In addition to its unusual form, the contemporary house stands out for its adoption of sustainable features, including efficient insulation and use of ground heat pumps. Located in Westlandse Zoom in the south of the Netherlands, House as a Rock overlooks a waterway and grassy dunes. The client asked for a modern and minimalist design that maximized natural light and views of the landscape, particularly of the water. To satisfy those requirements, the architects created an asymmetrical home with large windows but nestled it between serrated dunes to provide privacy on the north, east, and west sides. The southern facade is left exposed with the largest windows and an outdoor terrace that extends towards the water. Each facade is distinct in response to different site conditions. “Just as each facade has their own character, there is not a single space inside the house that is quite the same,” write the architects. “This is apparent from the outside through the various sizes of the windows, who are key elements in both the interior and the facade. Light, space, views and unique living are at the heart of this exceptional design. The villa is an eye catcher in the dunes and at the same time blends into the surroundings.” Related: Gorgeous dune-inspired home uses bio-fuel to minimize its carbon footprint To mimic the landscape, House as a Rock was created with a neutral color palette with a brick exterior painted in a light sandy color. The minimalist interior features concrete, timber, steel, stone, and glass to create a muted backdrop for the vibrant artworks displayed throughout the home. The house is equipped with two 135-meter-deep earth thermal ground heat pumps, radiant floor heating and cooling, a solar heater, highly efficient insulation, natural ventilation, and solar shades towards the south. + Global Architects Images © Mirko Merchiori

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Unique asymmetrical home in the Netherlands takes a novel approach to sustainability

Adidas and the mainstreaming of the circular economy

February 23, 2017 by  
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If you read our insights regularly, these three revelations won’t necessarily be a news flash:

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Adidas and the mainstreaming of the circular economy

From Amcor to Dow to Veolia, what the ‘New Plastics Economy’ means

February 6, 2017 by  
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Fifteen global brands pledged to find replacements for polystyrene, expanded polystyrene and PVC. What’s next?

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From Amcor to Dow to Veolia, what the ‘New Plastics Economy’ means

The 5 Most Interesting Things We Learned About Recycling from a Pew Study

January 25, 2017 by  
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Did you know that the gap between the state that recycles the most and the one that recycles the least is a whopping 49 percent? Or that almost every lead-acid car battery in this country gets recycled? We learned this — and a whole lot more — by…

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The 5 Most Interesting Things We Learned About Recycling from a Pew Study

How Head & Shoulders, Unilever are washing beaches clean of plastic

January 23, 2017 by  
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Forty companies from Amcor to Veolia have pledged to recycle 70 percent of plastics. What’s good for the oceans is also good for business.

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How Head & Shoulders, Unilever are washing beaches clean of plastic

Video: Why Plastic Bags Can’t Go with the Regular Recycling

December 22, 2016 by  
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Lots of people have good intentions when they throw their plastic bags into their regular recycling bin, or bundle up a group of recyclables in a bag to toss in a recycling dumpster. The problem with that? Plastic bags don’t play nice with…

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Video: Why Plastic Bags Can’t Go with the Regular Recycling

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