Upstart Hazel finds cachet for innovative sachets that extend produce shelf life

November 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Upstart Hazel finds cachet for innovative sachets that extend produce shelf life Jesse Klein Wed, 11/25/2020 – 01:30 In 2017, Hazel Technologies was a plucky young startup with enough scientific success to raise $800,000 in seed funding and score a $600,000 development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In late 2020, the company is finding early commercial success in its mission to decrease food waste through its innovative packaging. Hazel creates packaging inserts, or satchels, that release ethylene inhibitors and other natural chemicals to slow down the ripening process of many fruits and vegetables. In the past three years, the company has expanded its product line from inserts for tropical fruits such as guava, starfruit and avocado to specialized ones for berries, grapes, plums, broccoli and others. Now, Hazel is in the process of developing commercial pilots in the meat and other protein aisles. Hazel CEO Aidan Mouat said the technology is flexible enough to be optimized for a specific customer’s crop and location while also powerful enough to delay ripening by five to 10 days for many fruits and vegetables.  “We have one production line in which we make the necessary technical adjustments on a crop-by-crop and sometimes even on a country-by-country basis to achieve the end result that we’re aiming for,” Mouat said. “In a way, we’re trying to standardize the shelf life using a single unifying technology platform.”  If you tell any retailer, ‘Hey, I can give you two to three days of added time to sell through fruits,’ that’s a game-changer. The key is Hazel’s time-release technology, according to the company. Hazel’s satchels contain 1-methylocyclopronene (MPC) inhibitors to slow down ripening. But in many fruits such as avocados, the ethylene receptors are replaced every 24 hours, so a one-shot application doesn’t work. The packets treat the fruit over time to continually put the receptors to sleep and slow down ripening.   Hazel said its technology’s ease of use sets it apart from approaches offered other competitors. While coating technologies such as those made by Apeel Sciences have to be applied to each fruit, Hazel’s customers simply toss the baggies in the boxes with the produce, noted the company’s early customers.  “The customer shouldn’t have to interact with the technology,” said Patrick Cortes, senior director of business development at Mission Produce, one of Hazel’s clients. “If they do, we’ve lost. Educating the consumer on interacting with a technology that’s extending shelf life is going to be pushing water up the hill.” Hazel’s new products are breaking barriers in new categories. Grapes, which don’t ripen once picked, weren’t thought to be affected by MPC inhibitors. But Hazel’s customer Oppy, a grower/shipper of berries, grapes, apples and pears from Chile and Peru, saw a profound effect on an often overlooked but important area: the grape’s stems. “The stems arrive much greener and hydrated. Much less dry. And we also see less shrivel on the grapes themselves,” said Garland Perkins, senior manager of insights and innovation at Oppy . “If [a retailer] sees grapes that look like they have a dry stem, they’re going to reject them.” Those rejections usually end up in the trash. Hazel also helped Oppy with the Italian Gold Kiwi. Shipped the traditional way, the fruit was arriving with very low pressure — indicating a riper fruit, meaning the retailer had to sell the fruit quickly. According to Perkins, after applying Hazel, the fruits started coming in with higher pressures, giving grocery stores more flexibility about how long to keep them on their shelves.  “A lot of times with sustainability, it needs to make sense from a business perspective,” she said. “In a lot of cases, no one can make sustainable efforts that aren’t also very good on the bottom line.” Hazel promises an improved product and customer experience, fewer rejections from retailers, a higher-quality product that can be priced higher and less waste along the way. But if less produce is going bad and more is lasting longer, there’s an inherent dichotomy at play for suppliers that could eat into their profits. The longer their fruit lasts, the less consumers and retailers need to buy. “There’s an old adage in produce that one of the best sales tools you have is the dumpster,” Cortes said. “That’s an archaic way of looking at it. Because while that’s the easy way, I think the better way is to give customers a better and more positive experience. That’s going to drive more demand.” And decrease food waste.  Mission Produce consistently has been able to extend the shelf life of a ripe fruit by two to three days with Hazel, Cortes said. Bill Purewal, founder of PureFresh, and Christopher Gonzalez, vice president of sales at WP Produce, also report extended shelf lives of their produce by 20 to 30 percent after using Hazel. The extensions have allowed both companies to ship to farther away destinations such as the East Coast, and allowing some operations to think about shipping to Europe and Asia. I think the industry became very critically aware that it needs more technologies like ours, not just that are sustainable and enhance shelf life but are operationally flexible … “If you tell any retailer, ‘Hey, I can give you two to three days of added time to sell through fruits,’ that’s a game-changer,” Cortes said. 2020 wasn’t a normal year for anyone, especially retailers. Growers and shippers such as PureFresh needed innovative ways to help adjust to the massive changes in demand caused by the pandemic.  “We were worried we would pack all this fruit and it [would] not be able to go anywhere,” Purewal said. “It would just sit in our cold storage because we didn’t know what the demand was going to be lighter.”  At the start of the pandemic, fruit was moving very slowly through the supply chain, he said. So Purewal decided to spend a little more money on a technology such as Hazel to elongate shelf life and protect the fruit against the pandemic’s supply-chain disruption.   That investment also has long-term implications. Mouat insists climate change was a much bigger threat to the produce industry than the pandemic this year. According to him, for example, the U.S. plum crop was one-tenth the volume compared to last year due to warmer temperatures and wildfires.  “We’re here to help,” he said. “I think the industry became very critically aware that it needs more technologies like ours, not just that are sustainable and enhance shelf life but are operationally flexible, because trying to constrain operations to fit certain types of packing motifs or certain types of distribution motifs is going to become more challenging as things continue to change.” Pull Quote If you tell any retailer, ‘Hey, I can give you two to three days of added time to sell through fruits,’ that’s a game-changer. I think the industry became very critically aware that it needs more technologies like ours, not just that are sustainable and enhance shelf life but are operationally flexible … Topics Food & Agriculture Food Waste Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Hazel’s small packages release natural chemicals to slow the ripening process of many fruits./ Courtesy of Hazel

The rest is here:
Upstart Hazel finds cachet for innovative sachets that extend produce shelf life

Engineering student turns food waste into renewable energy

November 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

What if those old carrots you never got around to eating could be a  renewable energy  source, rather than something messy you had to clean out of your refrigerator bin? That’s the basic idea — though on a much smaller scale — behind Carvey Maigue’s new AuREUS system. Maigue, a 27-year-old engineering student at Mapúa University in the Philippines, just won the James Dyson Award sustainability prize for his invention. “AuREUS is actually a material, or a technology, that allows other devices to harvest ultraviolet light and convert it into  electricity ,” Maigue explained in an interview on the James Dyson Award website. The green material looks like plastic and can be shaped into different forms. Related: Bioplastic made from fish scales wins international James Dyson Award “Organic luminescent compounds are derived from fruit and  vegetables ,” Maigue said in a video about his project. “These compounds turn high energy ultraviolet rays into visible light. I use solar panels and solar films to convert this light into electricity.” AuREUS can be integrated into many different parts of everyday life, such as clothes, cars and houses. One striking use could be attaching the material to skyscrapers. “We can use AuREUS instead of typical glass windows, so that whole buildings can become vertical solar energy farms.” The James Dyson Award is a prestigious international design award open to current and recent design engineering students. This year, the James Dyson Foundation received a record-breaking 1,800 entries. This year’s top winner was Judit Giró Benet for Blue Box, a home test for breast cancer. Benet is from Spain and studies at the University of California, Irvine. Maigue and Benet will each receive $40,000 in prize money. “It will be great to be able to buy some equipment that can be used to further the manufacturing process,” Maigue said. “Added to that, the money will mean I can finish my time at university!” + James Dyson Award Via  The Guardian Image via Mac321

Originally posted here: 
Engineering student turns food waste into renewable energy

Will gene editing and cloning create super cows that resist global warming?

November 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Will gene editing and cloning create super cows that resist global warming?

Livestock emit about 14.5% of all greenhouse gases , and now their gassy ways are coming back to haunt them. Dairy cattle are increasingly suffering from debilitating heat stress due to global warming. While vegan activists might suggest this would be a good time to lessen our dependence on animal products, scientists have another solution — use gene editing and cloning to produce a heat-resistant race of super calves. Heat-stressed cows eat less, produce less milk and find it hard to conceive. Sometimes, they can even die because of the heat. Heat stress costs the U.S. dairy industry alone at least $900 million a year. On many small farms in the developing world, families don’t have cows to spare. Related: Impossible Foods is testing revolutionary plant-based milk “ Rising temperatures and predicted longer and more intense periods of warm weather can only mean that the problems with heat stress and fertility will increase,” Goetz Laible, PhD, an animal scientist at New Zealand’s AgResearch, told Future Human . Because darker colors absorb more light and heat, Laible and a group of other scientists used genetic engineering to lighten the coats of Holstein-Friesian cattle. These are the iconic white cows with big black spots. The scientists used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to alter a pigmentation gene in cattle embryos. Then, they cloned the embryos and implanted them in 22 normal cows. Only two cows managed to carry their super calves to term. Unfortunately, one died almost immediately and the other lived to be only four weeks old. Laible attributed the deaths to common complications of cloning rather than to the gene editing. Acceligen, a Minnesota-based company, is experimenting with gene editing to give cows a “slick” trait. This is a genetic variant for a sleek, short coat which cools down cows in subtropical heat. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has helped fund this work, hoping to someday introduce these cows to farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists are aware of the possibility of editing mistakes and what they call “off-target” effects of CRISPR. But one wonders exactly how much they’ve learned from the past, as documented in popular entertainment. Film classics like Them!, Night of the Lepus and The Killer Shrews all clearly demonstrate the potentially deadly off-target effects of science on ants, rabbits and shrews, respectively. While we wait for the technology to be perfected, it’s not a bad idea to stock up on oat milk . Via Future Human Image via Michael Pujals

See the original post here:
Will gene editing and cloning create super cows that resist global warming?

New study reveals main sources of light pollution

October 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on New study reveals main sources of light pollution

A new study, published in the journal Lighting Research & Technology , has revealed that much of light pollution, which negatively impacts human health and animal migrations and wastes energy, is not coming from streetlights. Researchers conducted an experiment in Tucson, Arizona, where all 14,000 streetlights in the city were dimmed at 1:30 a.m. for 10 days. Satellite images recorded during this period revealed that even with the lights dimmed, there was still sufficient light polluting the natural look of the sky. “We used a satellite to measure what fraction of the total light emissions are due to the streetlights,” said Christopher Kyba, physicist at the German Research Centre for Geoscience in Postdam. “And late at night, when people are sleeping — that is exactly when we can save a lot of energy.” Related: Switching to outdoor LEDs has made light pollution worse — without saving energy The study indicates that much of the light and energy used at night to illuminate streets and buildings is wasted. Consequently, the wasted light ends up in the sky and disrupts wildlife . Among the sources that cause most light pollution include stadium floodlights, advertisements, facade lighting and parking lots. According to Kyba, controlling light pollution will require concerted efforts from different industry players, including light users and policymakers. According to the International Dark-Sky Association , about 35% of artificial lighting at night is poorly aimed. In other words, the light does not serve the intended purpose and ends up as wasted light. This equates to about $3 billion per year in wasted energy in the U.S. alone. “A lot of people talk about climate emergency but never talk about light pollution,” Kyba said. “But it’s an important part. And at night, when most of us are asleep, all that electricity could be going to do other things — charging electric vehicles , for example.” Although lighting at night is acceptable, light pollution results in a glow in the sky, which interrupts the migration of birds , insects and other animals. Further, the constant lighting denies those who are born in this age the chance of seeing a clear, dark sky with stars. + Lighting Research & Technology Via BBC Image via Hikarinoshita Hikari

Originally posted here: 
New study reveals main sources of light pollution

Plugging into Amazon’s fleet electrification strategy

October 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Plugging into Amazon’s fleet electrification strategy

Plugging into Amazon’s fleet electrification strategy Mike De Socio Fri, 10/30/2020 – 00:30 When Ross Rachey set out to electrify Amazon’s fleet of last-mile delivery vehicles a few years ago, he thought it would be a matter of matching the company’s needs to the right vehicle on the market. It was not that simple. “We were a little underwhelmed at the vehicles that were available to us when we looked across the industry. It’s not for lack of trying, lots of really smart companies working hard, but we couldn’t find a vehicle that suited our need,” said Rachey, director of global fleet and product logistics for Amazon. The existing models didn’t live up to Amazon’s range and payload demands. And if the company’s fleet team did find something they liked, they couldn’t purchase it in the quantities they needed. “We realized we needed to take an active role in accelerating the products and the technology,” Rachey said. The reality is that charging infrastructure, electricity and utility connections — it’s the longest lead, probably the most challenging part of this equation. So Amazon finds itself, through a partnership with Rivian , designing its own delivery vehicles and playing a large role in scaling up the electric vehicle market. “We’re at the point now where we’re really comfortable placing big, bold bets. We’re comfortable being a first mover. And I think we’ve gotten to a point where we’re really comfortable taking risks,” Rachey said. Amazon’s Rachey spoke this week with GreenBiz Senior Writer Katie Fehrenbacher during a session VERGE 20. Here are a few takeaways on what we need to rapidly scale EVs. We need big players to take the lead There aren’t many motivators as large as a 100,000-unit order for electric vehicles. But that’s the challenge facing Amazon’s partner Rivian right now, and it’s pushing the industry to think a lot bigger. For scale, Amazon’s order is 100 times larger than similar orders from FedEx or UPS. And Rachey said more large-scale moves such as that could ignite this nascent industry. “We as corporations and fleet purchasers and auto manufacturers — we have the ability to make it easier for consumers to adopt electric vehicles. We do that by advancing the technology on more aggressive timelines. We do that by building great products so that people can purchase more products,” Rachey said. More fleet operators are likely to start moving in the same direction, but Rachey says the private sector should pick up the pace before government mandates make it non-negotiable. “I’m in favor of any policy that makes consumer adoption easier, but we can’t sit around and wait for that. We as the corporate customers, manufacturers, battery suppliers, we need to move this curve faster,” Rachey said. Brake lights surround the backend of Amazon’s custom electric van. Courtesy of Amazon We need to design (and retrofit) infrastructure with EVs in mind Rachey’s goal is to make Amazon’s electric fleet as easy to drive and fuel as the gas fleet. That means building out a robust charging infrastructure at Amazon facilities long before it will be needed. “The reality is that charging infrastructure, electricity and utility connections — it’s the longest lead, probably the most challenging part of this equation,” Rachey said. The first thing Amazon has done is design all new buildings with the ability to handle multiple types of fueling, with stronger energy connections to the grid and space onsite for eventual energy storage needs. “Make sure that when you build a site, you haven’t created a one-way door that is going to be painful later to electrify,” he said. For existing sites, Amazon is figuring out how to retrofit and already has started the work at thousands of locations across Europe and North America. We need to develop strong relationships with utilities Rachey says Amazon — and all early movers in this space — have an obligation to be good partners to regional utility companies. The earlier these private companies communicate their infrastructure needs, the sooner utilities can try to meet them. “We are both an exciting customer, because we’re going to have very large energy demands, but it’s not lost on us that we’re a challenging customer, given the scale and the timelines,” Rachey said. It’s likely that Amazon’s demands will outpace the utilities — Rivian is aiming to put the new delivery EVs on the road by the end of 2021 — but Rachey says the company is being as transparent as possible with its plans. He’s encouraged by the fact that everyone at the table, including policymakers, utilities, corporations and auto manufacturers, has the same goal: decarbonization. “Our goals are all aligned, and that’s a really powerful jumping-off point,” Rachey said. Pull Quote The reality is that charging infrastructure, electricity and utility connections — it’s the longest lead, probably the most challenging part of this equation. Topics Transportation & Mobility Clean Fleets VERGE 20 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The interior of an Amazon Rivian van. Courtesy of Amazon

Read more from the original source:
Plugging into Amazon’s fleet electrification strategy

Fleet leaders share four recommendations for driving toward zero emissions

October 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Fleet leaders share four recommendations for driving toward zero emissions

Fleet leaders share four recommendations for driving toward zero emissions Mike DeSocio Thu, 10/29/2020 – 01:45 The transportation industry is at a turning point: Ever-more ambitious climate goals are combining with the dropping cost of electric and low-carbon vehicles to make sustainable fleets more of a reality. It’s still early days, but public and private sector organizations alike — all recognized on our top 25 most sustainable fleets list this week — are making the transition, and solving thorny infrastructure and workforce challenges along the way. “It’s tough to do, it takes a huge concert of effort to do it, but it’s been able to happen,” said Philip Saunders, deputy division director of the green fleet program for the city of Seattle, at VERGE 20 conference. We felt it was important to walk the talk, to spend the money, to go through the pain of the transition really, because the infrastructure is the biggest issue even as costs come down on the vehicle side. Seattle’s fleet is already 80 percent electrified, driven by a mandate to be fossil fuel-free by 2030. Saunders joined experts from municipalities and corporations around the country to discuss the strategies of these top sustainable fleets. Here are four takeaways from the conference: 1. Combine near-term efficiency with long-term electrification Even for Seattle, where Saunders has managed to electrify a majority of the city’s fleet, the path to carbon reduction isn’t simple. “At this point, it takes a combination of everything to reach that sustainable goal. We’re electrifying first, as always, but it takes quite a bit. We’re still using renewable diesel … We’re also using renewable gasoline,” Saunders said. He’s not alone in that strategy. Zach Freeze, senior director for sustainability at Walmart, is also looking at renewable natural gas and efficiency improvements on the road to broader electrification. “We have to be able to make our fleet as efficient as possible while we still make those long-term bets on what the technology will be,” Freeze said. Walmart has set a goal for zero emissions companywide by 2040, which means tackling a huge fleet of long-haul trucks that are not easily electrified right now. “While we think that that is absolutely part of the solution, it’s hard to tell if that’s going to be the only solution to play out,” Freeze said. Seattle’s new EV charging stations, powering the city fleet with electricity provided by the nation’s greenest utility. Courtesy, city of Seattle 2. Make it about the total cost of ownership Describing the financial case for sustainable fleets is essential for both executive boards and city councils. Angie Slaughter, vice president of sustainability, logistics, SVC and capabilities procurement for Anheuser-Busch InBev North America, is learning to find the right metrics — beyond just fuel savings — to create buy-in for a more sustainable fleet. “In every situation you have to be very careful to take a total cost of operation approach and make sure that you’re drawing the box big enough,” Slaughter said. In Seattle, Saunders baked that total cost of ownership into his green fleet plan from the beginning. He includes upfront capital investment, electricity costs and vehicle replacement cycles into his budget. 3. Remember, it will take a village Designing a strategy and buying the vehicles isn’t where the challenges end. “There’s really this huge change management and workforce development piece of the transition that we’re sort of living through. I think first-movers especially are starting to help work out some of the kinks,” said Christine Weydig, director of environmental and energy programs at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. For example, some of the agency’s vehicle maintenance partners are unfamiliar with the new technology, which means it’s difficult to make timely repairs on the Port Authority’s fleet of electric buses in particular. “Having an executive order, leadership at the top is fantastic, but if you really don’t have that whole ecosystem that’s prepared to support the fleet owners, than that can certainly be an issue,” Weydig said. On the corporate side, biotech firm Genentech is using its progress on electrifying commuter vehicles to help smaller companies in its own business district who can’t afford to do so. “As we start opening up our programs, and we’ve started sharing our shuttles to the local transit stations, as well as actually selling the surplus seats we have on our off-peak buses, these other companies are starting to participate in this. And it’s a win-win,” said Andy Jefferson, director of transportation for site services at Genentech. One of Genentech’s electric commuter buses. Media Source Courtesy of Media Authorship Genentech Close Authorship 4. Build on the examples of big players At the Port Authority, which operates five airports and eight seaports, one of Weydig’s big motivations for electrifying the fleet was to blaze a path that the agency’s partners could follow. “We felt it was important to walk the talk, to spend the money, to go through the pain of the transition really, because the infrastructure is the biggest issue even as costs come down on the vehicle side,” Weydig said. That gives the Port Authority the credibility to encourage air and marine terminal operators to start electrifying their equipment, too. Andrew Savage, vice president and head of sustainability at Lime, sees his company’s efforts along similar lines. Lime is best known for its global network of 100,000 electric scooters and bikes, but it also manages a fleet of vehicles tasked with repairing and rebalancing those units. While Lime works to electrify most of those vehicles, it’s encouraging its partners to do the same by sharing their total cost of ownership model — and even their purchasing power — to show the financial benefits of electrification. “It’s thinking one step beyond our scope to the partners that we work with, and how do we get them to electrify as well?” Savage said. Pull Quote We felt it was important to walk the talk, to spend the money, to go through the pain of the transition really, because the infrastructure is the biggest issue even as costs come down on the vehicle side. Topics Transportation & Mobility Shipping & Logistics VERGE 20 Clean Fleets Zero Emissions Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is began operating 36 electric buses at Laguardia, Newark Liberty and JFK airports this month. Courtesy of the PA of NY and NJ

View original here:
Fleet leaders share four recommendations for driving toward zero emissions

Startup Phood tackles food waste at the top of the food chain

October 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Startup Phood tackles food waste at the top of the food chain

Startup Phood tackles food waste at the top of the food chain Jesse Klein Thu, 10/29/2020 – 01:00 Picture your local salad bar either at your school, grocery store or office. There are many options between the greens, toppings and dressings. At the end of each day, it’s the job of a kitchen worker to perform a “shrink analysis” on each ingredient — manually identifying, weighing and recording the leftover volume of each item. By comparing that number to initial inventory amounts, the kitchen tracks its food waste.  The process is a big hassle for the prepared food sector, but food waste is an even bigger problem for the planet, accounting for 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Phood CEO Luc Dang hopes to solve both.  Phood’s main product, PhoodX, is a combination scale and camera that uses artificial intelligence and enhanced analytics to cut down on the time it takes to record data about the leftovers. The system uses that information to recommend changes within foodservice operations aimed at reducing food waste.  The technology is most appropriate in places where items are sold by weight, such as dining halls or the prepared food sections of grocery stores. The Phood system is integrated directly with the inventory system so it can use the data to calculate waste compared to the sold volume. Phood’s devices have been used in dining halls at Yale and Rhode Island School of Design, and in K-12 cafeterias. The company also has devices installed at 10 Whole Foods locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  Even before Dang was infiltrating the foodservice industry of the North Atlantic region, he had a deep understanding of the agricultural supply chain from growing up on a small Connecticut farm. After working a few years in the financial sector, he read a statistic estimating that 40 percent of food is wasted. Dang couldn’t believe that headline: During his childhood on farms and near restaurants, he hadn’t noticed anything like that kind of waste. But when Dang called friends and restaurants that used to buy from his family farm, they told him they composted everything but didn’t and couldn’t actually track waste empirically.  Is it an operational management issue? Is it overproduction? Is it a weekend or weekday issue? Or expiration issues? Or a spoilage issue? We can identify each of those key areas and really drill down and cut back. According to Dang, the time-consuming, arduous and convoluted traditional method of tracking food waste is standard in about 85 percent of foodservice operations. The headline was right: According to data from Phood, most foodservice organizations throw away between 35 and 65 percent of their ingredient purchases.  According to Dang, Phood can reduce that food waste by 50 percent with a bonus of saving the kitchen staff time. The company said the algorithm, trained using millions of food items recognized by Amazon Rekognition and Google Cloud Vision, can identify food items with 98 percent accuracy in two to three seconds.  Aside from the relationships mentioned earlier, Phood recently started a partnership with two large food giants, Cargill and Gordon Food Service, which will see the system used in more kitchens, giving it access to more data to improve its artificial intelligence. The real value of Phood’s device isn’t the time-saving AI, it’s the data harvested from the device, which helps uncover habits that contribute to a business’s food waste issue, Dang said. “Is it an operational management issue? Is it overproduction? Is it a weekend or weekday issue? Or expiration issues? Or a spoilage issue?” he said. “We can identify each of those key areas and really drill down and cut back.” Many foodservice businesses tout their composting policies and donation rates for leftover food, but that doesn’t really address the bigger issue — wasting food in the first place. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , composting isn’t much better than sending food to the landfill. Phood is helping companies attack the problem at the top of the food chain — source reduction — by helping operations become better informed about consumption habits. According to Dang, many parts of an industrial kitchen are siloed. The person ordering ingredients is different from the chef doing the cooking, which is not the same person recording the leftovers at the end of the day. And rarely are these individuals informed about the details of each other’s step in the process, so the purchasing and production habits never get adjusted.  Phood becomes a centralized system that connects each step. Dang suggests a three-week period of baseline analysis when customers first start using the system, but often they start making changes to their ordering earlier, he said.  “They start leveraging those insights and changing their ordering by week two,” Dang said. “We’ve seen waste reductions occur from the first week.” The food and restaurant business has extremely thin margins, and few companies have had access to this degree of detail before. Aside from cutting back on waste, Phood can help operations save money, which is often the impetus for an investment. Because source reduction has such strong economic benefits, the sustainability aspect gets to tag along. According to Dang, Phood can save up to 10 percent on annual food costs.  Pull Quote Is it an operational management issue? Is it overproduction? Is it a weekend or weekday issue? Or expiration issues? Or a spoilage issue? We can identify each of those key areas and really drill down and cut back. Topics Food Systems Food & Agriculture Information Technology Food Waste Food & Beverage Artificial Intelligence Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Phood’s all-in-one scale and AI can identify food waste and make recommendations to kitchens to save money and reduce waste.  

Here is the original post:
Startup Phood tackles food waste at the top of the food chain

Zeabuz is launching a self-driving electric ferry in Norway

October 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Zeabuz is launching a self-driving electric ferry in Norway

Norwegian company Zeabuz has announced that it will be launching a self-driving ferry next year. This zero-emission ferry was first developed in 2018 by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The ferry is expected to carry 12 passengers and will operate like an elevator, with passengers able to call the ferry to their location by pressing a button. The launch of the first self-driving electric ferry in Norway just goes to show the strides the country is making in developing water transport . In 2015, Norway was the first country to launch the world’s first electric car and passenger ferry . Related: 100% electric passenger vehicle and cargo ferry could help decarbonize sea travel According to Narve Mjøs, the director of DNV GL — a company that advises the maritime industry and organizes the Green Shipping Program in Norway — the country is on the right track when it comes to pioneering new technologies in water transport. Mjøs said that the use of new boats, like the one being launched by Zeabuz, provides a greener alternative to road transport. Further, he said that the process of automation via self-driving helps cut down operation costs. The newly launched ferry will operate along the canal that connects the port and the city center of Trondheim. Passengers will have a 1-minute travel time, rather than the 15 minutes it typically takes to walk between the two locations. The ferry also has the capacity to transport passenger bicycles, and it is designed to charge while docked. Riding the ferry will be free of charge, at least in Trondheim. Many countries are turning back to water transport, which was a popular means of travel before the invention of cars. For instance, Bangkok intends to launch 30 new electric ferries and 5,000 electric water taxis come next year. In July 2020, Uber announced plans to launch boat taxis along the Thames River in London. If such plans are actualized, we are likely to see a future with fewer cars and more zero-emission boats. + Zeabuz Via CNN Images via Zeabuz

Original post:
Zeabuz is launching a self-driving electric ferry in Norway

Get ready for the next wave of GMOs

October 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Get ready for the next wave of GMOs

Get ready for the next wave of GMOs Jim Giles Fri, 10/02/2020 – 02:00 One summer day almost 20 years ago, a group of protestors arrived at a plot of genetically modified corn growing near the town of Montelimar in southern France. They were led by José Bové , a left-wing activist famous for his skirmishes with the law and his tremendous moustache. Using machetes and shears, the protestors uprooted the crops and dumped the debris outside the offices of the regional government. I thought about Bové this week as I read a new report on the next generation of genetic food technology . The techniques in the report make the processes that Bové opposed look clunky. The GMOs he destroyed were created by inserting genes from other organisms — say a stretch of DNA that confers resistance to a particular herbicide — into a plant’s genome. This brute force approach is time-consuming and hard to control. Now scientists are using a new suite of gene-editing techniques, including a process known as CRISPR, to rapidly and precisely control the behavior of specific plant genes.  Gene-edited crops already exist. Scientists at the biotech firm Corteva, for example, have developed a high-yield strain of a variety of corn used in food additives and adhesives. Yet these initial advances belie the technology’s potential. Is there a way that civil society, government and businesses can come together to prioritize development of gene-edited crops that deliver social and environmental benefits as well as economic ones? The power of gene editing can be wielded to modify plants and, among other things, achieve significant sustainability wins. Here are a few potential outcomes explored in the new report, published by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation , a pro-technology think tank: Dramatic reductions in waste, made possible by engineering crops to produce food products that last longer on the shelf and are less susceptible to pests.  Lower greenhouse gas emissions from cattle, after CRISPR is used to alter the genetic activity of the methane-producing microbes that live in the animals’ stomachs. Reductions to the hundreds of millions of tons of methane emitted annually from rice production, thanks to new gene-edited rice strains. Increases in the carbon-sequestering power of crops, made possible by engineered arieties that put down deeper root systems. This potential is thrilling, and there are signs that it will arrive soon. In China, where the government has made a big bet on gene-editing technology , numerous labs are working on crop strains that require less pesticides, herbicides and water. In the United States, a small but growing group of gene-editing startups is bringing new varieties to market, including an oilseed plant that can be used as a carbon-sequestering cover crop during the winter .  Yet when I read the ITIF report, I thought of Bové. Not because I agree with everything he said. Twenty years and many studies later, we know that the anti-GMO activists were wrong to say that modified crops posed a threat to human health. (The demonization of GMOs had profound consequences nonetheless: Fears about the risks posed by the crops are one reason why the crops are highly restricted in Europe and viewed warily by some consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.) The reason I thought of Bové is that, at one level, he and other activists were pushing society to take a broader view of GMOs. They wanted people to ask who and what the crops were for, because they believed, rightly, that the crops were produced mainly with the profits of ag companies in mind. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing for ag companies to be profitable. But our food systems affect so many aspects of our lives — from the composition of the atmosphere to the prevalence of disease. When GMOs first began to be planted, there hadn’t been enough debate about how the technology might affect these things. No wonder people were angry. That’s a lesson I hope we can remember as gene editing shapes agriculture. Is there a way that civil society, government and businesses can come together to prioritize development of gene-edited crops that deliver social and environmental benefits as well as economic ones? If they can, we might end up with crops that everyone wants. This article was adapted from the GreenBiz Food Weekly newsletter. Sign up here to receive your own free subscription. Pull Quote Is there a way that civil society, government and businesses can come together to prioritize development of gene-edited crops that deliver social and environmental benefits as well as economic ones? Topics Food & Agriculture GMO Featured Column Foodstuff Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Andriano Close Authorship

Go here to see the original:
Get ready for the next wave of GMOs

Study shows denim microfibers are polluting our waters

September 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Study shows denim microfibers are polluting our waters

A new study shows that jeans are releasing up to 56,000 denim microfibers per wash into lakes and oceans. The study, which was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters found that denim microfibers have infiltrated waters all the way from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean. The study was conducted to show the extent of human-caused pollution . “It’s not an indictment of jeans — I want to be really clear that we’re not coming down on jeans,” said Miriam Diamond, environmental scientist at the University of Toronto and one of the authors of the study. Related: Wear jeans on your eyes with these funky sunglasses made of upcycled denim Scientists and environmentalists have known for some time that microplastics from synthetic clothing find their way into the oceans. One study estimates that about two trucks’ worth of microplastics drain into waters around Europe via wastewater from washing machines every day. Scientists have found microfibers in the stomachs of marine creatures, although the impact of these tiny plastic particles is still unknown. Much of the world is wearing denim at any given moment. To determine the effect of this popular garment, scientists carried out research on lake and ocean waters. The research looked at samples of water collected from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, suburban lakes around Toronto and the Great Lakes. According to the American Chemical Society, the samples tested revealed that the lakes near Toronto had the lowest percentage of denim microfibers at 12%. The Arctic waters had 20% denim microfiber pollution, while the Great Lakes had 23%. The researchers also found that new jeans release more microfibers — up to 56,000 denim microfibers — per wash than used jeans. “They’re called ‘natural’ textile fibers,” Sam Athey, coauthor of the study, explained. “I’m doing air quotes around ‘natural’ because they contain these chemical additives. They also pick up chemicals from the environment, when you’re wearing your clothes, when they’re in the closet.” The impact of denim microfibers on the environment requires more research, but the study authors recommend buying used jeans, installing a filter on your washer and washing denim less frequently to cut back on the amount of microfibers released into waterways. + Environmental Science and Technology Letters Via EcoWatch Image via Stux

View original here: 
Study shows denim microfibers are polluting our waters

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1945 access attempts in the last 7 days.