Vermont Food Scrap Ban requires residents, businesses to compost

July 10, 2020 by  
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Too lazy to carry your banana peel or avocado pit to your compost bin? You’re breaking the law, at least in Vermont . The Green Mountain State is the first state to pass a law requiring businesses and residents to compost. Anything that was once alive — including orange rinds, bones, egg shells, coffee grounds, grass and leaves — are banned from Vermont landfills as of July 1. In the past, yard debris and food scraps have made up nearly a quarter of the waste from a typical Vermont residence. At cafeterias and restaurants, more than half the waste was food scraps. When all of this old food hits the landfill, it decomposes slowly and produces the powerful greenhouse gas methane. Related: 12 things you should never compost Instead, when food scraps are composted, their valuable nutrients can boost soil health. Unlike smelly food scraps, finished compost is a highly sought-after commodity for use in landscaping, gardens and farms. “Vermont is ahead of the curve because we have such a strong agricultural base, it makes it a no-brainer for us,” Cat Buxton, a Vermont-based compost consultant, told the Valley News . “We have a lot of people who know how to manage organic waste of all kinds and they’ve been doing it for a long time.” The new law, called the Food Scrap Ban, could create more jobs for food scrap haulers and others in the waste industry. However, the state won’t be hiring enforcers to troll people’s bins for peach pits. It is counting on voluntary compliance. Before the law came into effect, 72% of Vermont residents composted at home or saved leftovers for livestock, according to a University of Vermont study. To help people get started, the official Vermont state website offers tips on choosing composting receptacles, containing odors, composting in the yard, cutting down on food waste and keeping your food scraps safe from bears . “From a climate change and greenhouse gas perspective, this is huge,” Josh Kelly of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources said of the state’s efforts to boost composting. “In addition, it puts our waste to work. It puts it into a job-creating system where you are creating a product that is being processed and made into something and it’s not disposed of.” + Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Via Huffington Post Image via Ben Kerckx

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Vermont Food Scrap Ban requires residents, businesses to compost

Vermont Food Scrap Ban requires residents, businesses to compost

July 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Too lazy to carry your banana peel or avocado pit to your compost bin? You’re breaking the law, at least in Vermont . The Green Mountain State is the first state to pass a law requiring businesses and residents to compost. Anything that was once alive — including orange rinds, bones, egg shells, coffee grounds, grass and leaves — are banned from Vermont landfills as of July 1. In the past, yard debris and food scraps have made up nearly a quarter of the waste from a typical Vermont residence. At cafeterias and restaurants, more than half the waste was food scraps. When all of this old food hits the landfill, it decomposes slowly and produces the powerful greenhouse gas methane. Related: 12 things you should never compost Instead, when food scraps are composted, their valuable nutrients can boost soil health. Unlike smelly food scraps, finished compost is a highly sought-after commodity for use in landscaping, gardens and farms. “Vermont is ahead of the curve because we have such a strong agricultural base, it makes it a no-brainer for us,” Cat Buxton, a Vermont-based compost consultant, told the Valley News . “We have a lot of people who know how to manage organic waste of all kinds and they’ve been doing it for a long time.” The new law, called the Food Scrap Ban, could create more jobs for food scrap haulers and others in the waste industry. However, the state won’t be hiring enforcers to troll people’s bins for peach pits. It is counting on voluntary compliance. Before the law came into effect, 72% of Vermont residents composted at home or saved leftovers for livestock, according to a University of Vermont study. To help people get started, the official Vermont state website offers tips on choosing composting receptacles, containing odors, composting in the yard, cutting down on food waste and keeping your food scraps safe from bears . “From a climate change and greenhouse gas perspective, this is huge,” Josh Kelly of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources said of the state’s efforts to boost composting. “In addition, it puts our waste to work. It puts it into a job-creating system where you are creating a product that is being processed and made into something and it’s not disposed of.” + Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Via Huffington Post Image via Ben Kerckx

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Vermont Food Scrap Ban requires residents, businesses to compost

California passes landmark rule for zero-emission trucks

July 1, 2020 by  
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California has passed a landmark rule requiring all truck manufacturers to sell more electric trucks starting in 2024. This rule comes amid efforts to reverse climate change’s effects in America.  Several states  are working to reduce carbon emission and improve air quality. Seven more states and the District of Columbia are expected to have similar legislation underway. The decision to require California car manufacturers to sell more electric trucks came on June 25. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) unanimously approved the measure. According to the California ARB, the state has set several objectives for attaining clean air . Key objectives include working toward the state only selling electric trucks by the year 2045. States planning new measures to combat climate change could learn from California. The California ARB stipulates five key targets for attaining clean air. Key goals include reaching a 40% reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2030, a 50% reduction in petroleum use by 2030 and an 80% reduction in GHGs by 2050. Such landmark decisions did not pass without opposition. Though most automakers express interest in making electric vans and trucks, some industry members have opposed the move. Despite this, many companies have been working on electric car technology in anticipation of a zero-emissions future. Jason Gray of Daimler Trucks North America explained that the company has already built 38 medium and heavy-duty electric trucks that work even better than gas-fueled trucks. These electric vehicles produce less noise and no gas emissions. Daimler Trucks has already given drivers several trucks for testing. As it turns out, even drivers favor electric trucks. “They have nothing but great things to say about them — how quiet they are, how, you know, they don’t come home smelling like diesel ,” Bill Bliem, Senior Vice President of Fleet Services at NFI Industries, a logistics company, said. If other states adopt such practices, the clean air conversation may improve in the next few years. As things stand, California’s work is just part of a nationwide revolution towards zero-emission vehicles. + NPR Images via Pexels

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Invasive "murder hornets" arrive in US, threaten honeybees

May 7, 2020 by  
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If you’ve been itching to get back to the outside world, two words might make you think again: murder hornets. For the first time, these gigantic, invasive hornets have been spotted in the U.S., which could be a problem for both humans and honeybees . The Washington State Department of Agriculture verified four sightings of Vespa mandarinia — the official name for the Asian giant hornet — last December. But after The New York Times recently reported on them, murder hornets have moved into the limelight. Related: How to live harmoniously with bees and wasps The black-and-yellow hornets measure up to two inches long and have bulging eyes. “They’re like something out of a monster cartoon with this huge yellow-orange face,” said Susan Cobey, bee breeder at Washington State University’s (WSU) Department of Entomology. “It’s a shockingly large hornet,” Todd Murray, WSU Extension entomologist and invasive species specialist, said. “It’s a health hazard, and more importantly, a significant predator of honeybees.” The hornets are native to the forests and mountains of eastern and southeast Asia, where they feast on large insects . One of their favorite foods is the European honeybee. Scientists in Washington worry that if the hornets spread, they could decimate the state’s honeybees, which farmers rely on to pollinate apple and cherry crops. Invasive species like murder hornets can permanently alter an ecosystem. “Just like that, it’s forever different,” Murray said. “We need to teach people how to recognize and identify this hornet while populations are small, so that we can eradicate it while we still have a chance.” WSU and the state agriculture department are working with beekeepers and volunteers to locate the enormous hornets before they become too active again. April is the month when queens usually emerge from hibernation, so the hornets are just getting started. Obviously, the consequences will be devastating if these creatures manage to spread across the country. While humans are not the hornets’ typical target, the hornets will attack anything if they feel threatened. When a group of hornets attack, they can inject as much venom as a snake bite. Murder hornets kill up to 50 people in Japan every year. + Washington State University Image via LiCheng Shih

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COVID-19 pandemic leads to plastic ban reversals

March 23, 2020 by  
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Health concerns are trumping environmental worries as U.S. states and cities reverse single-use plastic bans . As shoppers worry about catching germs from everything and everyone in grocery stores, and restaurants move from dine-in to take-out, bags and containers have become a big issue. Maine Governor Janet Mills announced on March 17 that the state will delay a single-use plastic bag ban that had been slated to start on April 22. “These emergency measures will support the state’s response to the coronavirus and mitigate its spread in Maine,” Mills told Plastic News . Brookline, Massachusetts has suspended its ban on polystyrene containers, and Nick Isgro, mayor of Waterville, Maine, wants to ban shoppers from bringing their own reusable bags. Related: Discarded face masks now threatening wildlife habitats “These reusable tote bags can sustain the COVID-19 and flu viruses — and spread the viruses throughout the store,” Isgro said on his Facebook page. “Be assured this is not to re-litigate our current ordinance. … This should be seen as a temporary public safety measure.” While some environmental organizations claim that properly washed reusable bags are as safe as disposable bags, experts warn that shoppers seldom follow hygienic protocol. A 2011 study by Loma Linda University and University of Arizona randomly collected bags from shoppers entering grocery stores in California and Arizona. They learned that consumers rarely, if ever, wash their bags. Almost all of the bags collected were covered in bacteria, including E. coli on 12% of bags. Those bags that had carried leaky packets of meat and were stored in car trunks for 2 hours had tenfold the bacterial growth. However, hand- or machine-washing can reduce bag bacteria by 99.9%. Since 2014, eight states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont — have enacted some kind of single-use plastic bag ban. Polystyrene bans have also been on the rise. But COVID-19 could change all that. Via Plastics News , Forbes and Food Protection Trends Image via ToddTrumble

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COVID-19 pandemic leads to plastic ban reversals

The 10 best tiny homes in California

March 23, 2020 by  
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If you’re looking for some cool tiny home retreats to try out a more minimalist style of living or just looking for a serene vacation spot, well, California is definitely the place to be. We’ve scoured the beautiful coastal state for some of the best tiny homes in California. Take a look! Gorgeous tiny home thrives in the California sunshine Surf’s up in this gorgeous tiny home, which is designed to be both comfy and mobile. One of Canadian studio  Minimaliste’s most recent tiny home builds, the compact 331-square-foot structure was built to perform just as well in warm climates as it does in colder regions. The interior space, although compact, was strategically laid out to provide optimal space, including a cozy sleeping loft made possible by the home’s slanted roof. Related: 8 tiny homes built tough for off-grid living Converted school bus in Malibu Creek State Park This gorgeous glamping retreat is located near Malibu Creek State Park and promises incredible mountain views. The interior is spacious and sleeps up to four people comfortably. Although you’ll most likely enjoy this cozy interior, the outdoor space is what makes this skoolie so special. An open-air deck with ample seating and dining space is a wonderful area to take in the views over breakfast, lunch and dinner. The nearby hammock is a prime napping spot. Young couple build tiny home to avoid sky-high Bay Area housing prices It’s well-known that California’s Bay Area is one of the country’s — and the world’s — most expensive places to live. However, its also an idyllic area to put down roots, or wheels for that matter. When Nicolette and Michael decided to live in the Bay Area so that Michael could stay in college, they had an impossible time finding proper housing. Frustrated at price of housing, the ambitious couple decided to just build their own tiny home . The result is a stunning, 300-square-foot home on wheels that comes with a full kitchen, sleeping loft and even a reading nook. Off-grid eucalyptus tiny home radiates cool Californian vibes Another creation by Canada-based  Minimaliste Houses , the Eucalptus tiny home is a sight to behold. Built for a client who wanted to explore the California coast, the beautiful tiny home on wheels is optimized for off-grid fun. Besides its modern design, the 28-foot-long home is equipped with roof-top solar panels , tight thermal insulation and natural light, all of which contribute to the home’s self-sustenance. Try out tiny home living in San Francisco’s ‘Pavilion’ This tiny home retreat is a perfect place to enjoy the beautiful city of San Francisco. The Airbnb property is just 450 square feet, but its charming cottage-style design, made up of several recycled and repurposed materials , makes it feel so much bigger. The retreat sleeps up to two guests, who can make use of its many amenities such as a light-filled, glass-enclosed living space surrounded by a serene garden with a pond. Relax in this retreat with a hot tub in San Francisco If you’re looking for a tiny home experience in California that is guaranteed to bring a little tranquility to your life, check out this retreat in San Francisco. Located in a spacious backyard of the owner’s home, the minuscule studio sleeps two guests comfortably in its shed-like space. The interior is compact, with just one room fitting in the bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. But, the biggest draw to this retreat is its outdoor space. The home is surrounded by an open-air hardwood deck with a two-person hot tub. Built around a 700-year-old redwood tree that offers as much of a romantic touch as it does shade, the rental also boasts an outdoor shower, where you can bathe under the stars. The ‘Nugget’ in Costa Mesa takes tiny home living back to basics Located just a 10-minute drive to the beach, this beautiful tiny home in Costa Mesa is the perfect place to recharge your batteries. Although it is just 140 square feet, the retreat sleeps up to two guests comfortably. With its large sliding glass door entryway, the home boasts a minimalist feel that makes it just as perfect for a business trip as it does for a relaxing stay at the beach. A private deck wraps around the home and is shaded by bamboo trees. Tiny home getaway near San Diego These days, many travelers are forgoing the excessive displays of luxury in fancy hotels for simpler getaways. Tiny home retreats, like this gorgeous cabin-inspired tiny home near San Diego, offer guests a chance to relax and reconnect with nature. Located near beautiful Mount Laguna, the tiny home sleeps up to four people between a double bed and two sofa beds. Although the living space is more than sufficient, it is the outdoor area that is so special. The glamping retreat is completely immersed in nature, and features a rooftop terrace for guests to take in a bit of stargazing before enjoying a toasty nightcap around the private fire pit. Vintage glamping travel trailer in San Fernando Valley If there’s one iconic image that encompasses California adventure, it’s the gleaming vintage travel trailer, like this 1954 trailer just outside of Los Angeles. The trailer itself sleeps up to four and has a lovely interior. The magic really begins with the outdoor space, which features a covered deck with a romantic canopied double bed, perfect for sleeping under the stars during the long summer months. Additionally, guests can enjoy the incredible views of the San Fernando Valley from the adjacent outdoor lounge space. Off-grid tiny home in southern California Sometimes, you just need to get away from the hustle and bustle. For those times, this off-grid tiny home in Southern California will do the trick. The compact studio is outfitted with a plush, queen-sized bed. The space is tiny, but as an extra bonus, the home features a custom, garage door-style window that can be fully opened to enjoy amazing views of the 20 acres of beautiful private land that surround the tiny home retreat. Images via Minimaliste, Airbnb and Glamping Hub

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Animal welfare expert Temple Grandin: Creative problem-solving takes visual minds

January 28, 2020 by  
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Instrumental in designing more humane practices for McDonald’s, the Colorado State university professor chats about the promise of regenerative agriculture and the state of sustainability in slaughterhouses.

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Animal welfare expert Temple Grandin: Creative problem-solving takes visual minds

Will California say bye to diesel-burning trucks and hello to zero-emissions ones?

October 9, 2019 by  
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A new rule in the state could tackle one of its largest sources of pollution.

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Will California say bye to diesel-burning trucks and hello to zero-emissions ones?

4 simple and collaborative business models to unlock Nigeria’s $1 billion undergrid minigrid market

October 9, 2019 by  
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The opportunity to invest is massive, and new ownership models from subcontracting to cooperatives can help communities get in on the action.

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4 simple and collaborative business models to unlock Nigeria’s $1 billion undergrid minigrid market

Washington’s wolf population is down to 122 after a pack is shot by state hunters

August 21, 2019 by  
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Washington’s wolf population has dropped to 122 after a pack of four were killed by state hunters on August 16 near a ranch in rural Ferry County. The incident has environmentalists up in arms as they believe the deaths of these wolves benefit this particular ranch. Sam Montgomery, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, said that the hunters were inside a helicopter when they shot and killed the wolf pack. Related: Trump administration wants to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list “It’s unbelievably tragic that this wolf family has already been annihilated by the state,” Sophia Ressler of the Center for Biological Diversity, which tried to stop the incident, told the AP. “It seems like Washington’s wildlife agency is bent on wiping out the state’s wolves.” The ranch where the wolves were recently killed is no stranger to this particular pack of wolves — originally a group of 7 — as its livestock have been attacked, killed and hurt at least 29 times since 2018 as well as another nine times in the past four weeks, the state agency reported. Before the wolves were killed on Friday, the owner of the ranch tried using horse riders to scare the wolves before the choice was made to shoot them, the agency said. Wolves in Washington nearly disappeared entirely in the 1930s, primarily because of the growing cattle industry. They began returning about 15 years ago. Many of the gray wolves today are said to live in rural and mountainous regions of northeastern Washington. They have also been seen roaming the Cascade Range. In the past, Washington has approved the killing of wolf packs if they have attacked cattle, but activists believe annihilating the animals won’t protect livestock. In the end, conservationists suggest other control methods, such as better management systems, to deter the wolves from preying on cattle. Via The Guardian and Associated Press Image via Krystal Hamlin

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Washington’s wolf population is down to 122 after a pack is shot by state hunters

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