Oil and plastic industry spent millions to mislead the public about plastic recycling

September 16, 2020 by  
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A new investigation by  NPR  and  PBS Frontline  reveals that for decades, executives in the oil and plastic industries invested millions of U.S. dollars into misleading the public about the recycling of plastics . As a good citizen, you sort your trash, thinking that the plastic will be recycled to reduce pollution. Unfortunately, all that effort might be in vain.  According to the information published by NPR, oil industry operators misled the public into believing that single-use plastic can be recycled. These operators managed to lobby all states into placing a recycling logo on single-use plastic products. This helped convince many members of the public that these products are recyclable when, in reality, the necessary recycling process proves impractical. Increasing plastic pollution in landfills and oceans has little to do with public responsibility. The recent investigation reveals that leading oil and plastic companies sold the public an individual responsibility narrative that they knew was unrealistic. This investigation, which dug into records dating back five decades, noted that oil and plastic industry players chose to sell this narrative despite issues being raised at the time. In a bid to discover the root of this fallacy, NPR conducted interviews with various stakeholders in the industry, including retired members of plastic and oil corporations . Larry Thomas, the former president of the Society of the Plastics Industry (currently called the Plastics Industry Association), said that they had to distract the attention of the public. “If the public thinks that recycling is working, then they are not going to be as concerned about the environment,” Thomas said in an interview with NPR.  The investigation has unearthed documents dating to the 1970s showing that industry executives knew what they were doing. Most of these documents are housed in libraries and universities across the country. For example, at Syracuse University, investigators found a pile of files from a former industry consultant. The files contain a 1973 report by scientists that explicitly told the executives that it was not viable to recycle plastic on a large scale. While some plastics are recycled, they only account for about 10% of all plastics used at home. This is because the cost of recycling single-use plastics is too high. Further, most industry members prefer making new plastics from fracking by-products, which is cheaper and offers higher quality products. + NPR Image via Pexels

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Oil and plastic industry spent millions to mislead the public about plastic recycling

Valani launches debut collection of biodegradable clothing

September 16, 2020 by  
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New fashion house Valani has launched its debut collection of biodegradable separates and dresses inspired by “light living.” These sustainable clothes are made from materials like classic hemp fiber, antibacterial Tencel and banana silk for wardrobe staples that are just as comfortable and eco-friendly as they are stylish. The fashion brand has designed its pieces to reflect sustainability, with soft styles that can be worn throughout the year — regardless of season. Founder Vanni Leung is driven by the interconnectedness of the planet, animals and humankind as well as the recognition that love for the planet and love for ourselves are intertwined. She is a lifelong vegan, breathwork practitioner, a believer in the mind-body balance and an ally for female empowerment. Related: Seaweed Girl explores seaweed as an eco-textile for sustainable fashion Valani uses hemp, Tencel and banana silk in its designs. Hemp makes for a soft and flowy fabric that is hypoallergenic; it is also a carbon-negative crop, uses less water in production and is naturally resistant to bacteria growth. Tencel is made from sustainably managed eucalyptus trees and produced using a closed loop method that reuses 99% of solvents and water. The banana silk is made from a byproduct of agriculture waste; discarded banana stems are harvested to make way for new tree growth and then upcycled into this sustainable silk alternative. Prices for the new collection range from $98 to $398, so adding Valani to your wardrobe will certainly be an investment. However, the clothing is built to last, and your money goes much further than just the garment. Valani offers no-cost breathwork sessions online to its customers and plants a tree for every piece of clothing purchased. The sustainable company has also pledged to donate 10% of its profits to conservation, animal welfare and female empowerment organizations. As an additional sustainability feature, Valani uses recycled materials as well as straw, hemp and jute for its packaging. Pattern designs are strategically created to minimize fabric waste, and any scraps are used for scrunchies, crafts, training purposes or as filling for toys and pillows. Some of the most notable pieces include the faux wrap Sitha Top ($148), the cropped double puff sleeved Sineth Top ($168), the mid-rise pull-on Petra Pant ($188) and the asymmetrical, one-shoulder Sokha Banana Dress ($398). Sizes run from 0 to 12. + Valani Images via Valani

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Valani launches debut collection of biodegradable clothing

Meet Phade, the biodegradable, bioplastic eco-straw

September 14, 2020 by  
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Environmentalists say straws are harmful, and the argument makes a lot of sense. But as an iconic beverage accessory, many people don’t know how to live without straws. Thanks to Phade, they don’t have to. This biodegradable plastic straw looks and fees like a standard disposable straw. There’s just one twist: Phade is way better for the environment. If you’ve ever tried paper straws, you may have a pretty bad impression of biodegradable straws options. Phade straws are different; they’re crafted to have the feel and texture of plastic . The “eco-straw” from Phade accomplishes this by using polyhydroxyalkanoate. Polyhydroxyalkanoate comes from canola oil and is marine and soil biodegradable and compostable. In a marine environment, Phade straws degrade by 88.1% within 97 days. Not bad, considering that standard plastic straws made with polypropylene can take about 200 years to degrade. Polypropylene, made from crude oil , shows up in a staggering variety of products. Used in housewares, furniture, automobiles, appliances and shipping materials, polypropylene is everywhere. Phade hopes to make a change by starting with straws, one of the most common and recognizable single-use plastic products circulated in the market. Straws are ubiquitous — you get them for free with purchase at any gas station, restaurant or bar you visit. You probably have at least one in your silverware drawer right now. When these straws get used, they create a lot of plastic waste. Considering that the world’s oceans already hold an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic, reducing plastic waste via innovations such as the Phade eco-straw could help prevent further pollution. The Phade eco-straws won the 2020 Innovation in Bioplastics Award from the Bioplastics Division of the Plastics Industry Association. Phade is one of the products created by WinCup, a company that makes disposable bowls, cups, lids and other food and beverage items. + Phade Via PR Newswire Image via Phade

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Meet Phade, the biodegradable, bioplastic eco-straw

A quiet cabin and outdoor adventures in Montana’s Seeley-Swan Valley

September 14, 2020 by  
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As Andy Aldeen strides across his Montana land, a can of bear spray stuffed in his back shorts pocket, you’d never guess the Midwestern-born hay farmer had spent 25 years working in finance in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Now, his three-generation family is rooted here in the Swan Valley, haying and running three VRBO units for visitors craving clean mountain air far from cities. A homesteader cabin That’s what brings my husband, dog and me here. With COVID-19 numbers rising, we hesitated to plan ahead. Then, we got lucky and snagged a last-minute reservation for a socially distant getaway at what was described as a pioneer homesteader cabin . So here we were, briskly touring Aldeen’s land with his black lab, Sis, acting as hostess and leading our dog Rudy through bushes and brambles. Related: 5 cozy getaway cabins that are perfect for fall The cabin has been thoroughly redone since a Norwegian fur trapper built it in the early 1900s. He surely didn’t have a hot water shower, a full kitchen and such a comfortable bed. Aldeen decorates in what he calls “Victorian explorer” style, which means a fun mix of cheery and unpredictable items, including a red-and-white-checked table cloth on the kitchen table downstairs, a cow-spotted plant stand and a sequined rainbow pillow on a daybed in the cabin’s attic library. Aldeen has scoured used bookstores all through the valley, furnishing his VRBO units with thousands of books of all genres. Best of all was the big front porch strung with Christmas lights. You can sit on an easy chair with a view of hay bales sitting in front of the Mission Mountains. In the morning, you may hear migrating sandhill cranes purring as they hunt for critters or see deer bounding by. Down the road, the ranch’s horses congregate under their favorite shade tree. With two bedrooms and a small, cozy living room, the homesteader cabin is the mid-range option among Aldeen’s VRBO units. The Lazy Bean is a 2,000-square-foot cabin that sleeps up to eight and has the most extensive library . Then, there’s a more primitive, 300-square-foot cabin with twin bunk beds. The Seeley-Swan Valley The cabins sit in the Seeley-Swan Valley in northwestern Montana, on the edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and just off of Highway 83. This is known as one of Montana’s most scenic roads and is a popular route to Glacier National Park . But it’s also a destination in itself for people seeking outdoor adventures. Seeley and Swan are actually two back-to-back valleys. We were in Swan, the northern of the two, near the tiny town of Condon. The Mission Range of the Rocky Mountains towers to the west, the Swan Range to the east. This is an unusually wet part of Montana, with significantly higher rainfall than most of the state, which accounts for the greenness and abundance of water. Rivers, lakes, ponds and bogs left by long-ago receding glaciers cover about 16% of the Swan Basin — compare that to only 1% wetland habitat for the rest of the state. This is the part of the state to visit if you want to get in the water or if you like scenic hikes with dazzling lake views. With average July and August highs in the mid-80s, the lakes and rivers get lots of summertime use. “Be Bear Aware” One of the things I hadn’t realized until I got to Montana was how many bears call it home. “Greatest concentration in the Lower 48,” Aldeen told me proudly while I shook in my hiking boots. As we set out one morning for the Glacier Lake Trailhead , our route took us on a long stretch of gravel road. When we finally arrived at the parking lot, I was relieved to see other cars. Wilderness is great, but sometimes I gravitate toward safety in numbers. Still, there’s no guarantee that the presence of humans equals the absence of bears. Bears are big, and they go where they want. Signs at just about every trailhead exhort visitors to “ Be Bear Aware .” As we followed the Glacier Lake Trail, I took the information to heart. Bear spray on front backpack strap, check. Talking or singing before turning blind corners, yep. The mountains were gorgeous, and the trail was lined with huckleberries ripe for the picking. I relaxed and enjoyed it, as long as I didn’t think too much about who else loves huckleberries. Paddler’s paradise Bears swim, too. But at least it’s easier to see them coming over open water. This part of Montana is an absolute dream if you like to kayak , paddleboard or swim. Highway 83 has signs for lakes every couple of miles. If you favor motors on your watercraft, a big lake like Seeley will give you lots of space to explore. But if you prefer human-powered vessels, you can also find a quiet lake without motor traffic. The most touristy lake we visited was Holland Lake. This 400-acre glacial lake is popular for good reason, with its well-used campground, Swan Mountain views and easy access to the Holland Falls trailhead . You can rent a canoe, kayak or SUP from the Holland Lake Lodge . My favorite thing about Holland Lake was the cordoned off swimming area. Some of the lakes we visited were nice for paddling but mucky for swimming. Not Holland. You don’t have to worry about putting your feet on the bottom and having them disappear under questionable slime. Van Lake is too small to be of much interest for those with fast boats. A leisurely paddle around the perimeter took less than hour, including stops for wildlife viewing. From my SUP, I saw a bald eagle dive down and nab a fish off the line of somebody fishing from a rowboat. Watching bald eagles swoop, fish and fly above your SUP, and loons swimming alongside you, is a dream come true for any wildlife-enthusiast. The most remote lake we visited was Clearwater. It’s about a 0.7 mile walk from the road. The trail is mostly flat and would be easy an easy trip, if not for dragging an inflatable SUP. But it was worth it, as it was the only time I’ve ever been the only watercraft on a lake, accompanied only by electric blue damselflies. September average high temperatures for Seeley-Swan are in the 70s. There’s still time to get your Montana lake fix before the temperatures dip down and the snow begins falling, although that is another trip full of nature’s beauty. So if you get the chance to escape to a remote Montana cabin, grab your bear spray and go. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: We recommend taking the utmost care to keep those around you safe if you choose to travel. You can find more advice on travel precautions from the CDC and WHO .

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A quiet cabin and outdoor adventures in Montana’s Seeley-Swan Valley

We Earthlings: We Can Eliminate Single-Use Plastics

June 2, 2020 by  
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We can all make an effort to reduce our consumption … The post We Earthlings: We Can Eliminate Single-Use Plastics appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: We Can Eliminate Single-Use Plastics

Can You Recycle Number 5 Plastics?

May 6, 2020 by  
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Recycling isn’t the same as it used to be. A … The post Can You Recycle Number 5 Plastics? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Can You Recycle Number 5 Plastics?

A surge of new plastic production is on the way

January 17, 2020 by  
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Major oil companies, facing the prospect of reduced demand for their fuels, are ramping up their plastics output.

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A surge of new plastic production is on the way

Telecommuting has benefits, but here’s why employers aren’t more flexible

January 17, 2020 by  
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One of the benefits is getting workers off the road.

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Telecommuting has benefits, but here’s why employers aren’t more flexible

Episode 203: Conversations about the State of Green Business

January 17, 2020 by  
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Plus, an interview with John Schulz, director of sustainability integration at AT&T, and outtakes from the State of Green Business webcast.

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Episode 203: Conversations about the State of Green Business

Predicting Sustainability Trends for 2020

January 6, 2020 by  
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A year ago, we made some guesses about what the … The post Predicting Sustainability Trends for 2020 appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Predicting Sustainability Trends for 2020

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