Study shows denim microfibers are polluting our waters

September 9, 2020 by  
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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

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Clean energy and markets are the solution (not scapegoat) for California’s blackouts

September 4, 2020 by  
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Clean energy and markets are the solution (not scapegoat) for California’s blackouts Bryn Baker Fri, 09/04/2020 – 01:00 On Aug. 14 and 15, the California electric grid operator made the incredibly rare decision to proactively shut off parts of the electricity grid, resulting in limited rolling blackouts affecting businesses and homes throughout the state. Forced outages are a tool of last resort, employed in circumstances of incredible stress to the grid and done to protect against more widespread outages. Record heat for several days across parts of the state strained the power grid so much that it started rationing electricity, for the first time in almost 20 years. Notably, temperatures reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley — the hottest recorded temperature on the planet in more than a century.  While the immediate cause is still being investigated, we do know that California’s grid was experiencing multiple, coincident stressors — high demand, generators not performing when called upon and energy imports not showing up. Rather than thinking of these events as a one-off stroke of bad luck, consider that this soon might be the new normal. And not just in California. Climate change is driving more extreme weather events, including heat waves, everywhere, all while the grid faces increasing demand from electrification of cars, buses, businesses and homes. How should businesses and other large customers be thinking about the increasing strains from climate change with an evolving energy resource mix? Some have suggested clean energy is the scapegoat for the recent blackouts. However, not only was clean energy not the source of the problem , it’s the solution. Clean and renewable energy is core to charting a path forward.  Time to ditch fossil fuels-centric planning In the last 30 years, about one-third of coastal Southern California homes added air conditioners. Higher temperatures put more stress on traditional fossil-fired electric generators, reducing plant efficiency and output, and even caused them to temporarily shut down. In fact, the heat wave last month shuttered a 500 megawatt natural gas unit and a 750 MW gas unit was unexpectedly out of service Aug. 14. Outages of dispatchable fossil generation paired with reduced output from renewables, such as the 1,000 MW reduction in available wind power Aug. 15, resulted in an electric grid unable to meet customer demand. The grid of the future should prioritize flexibility and nimbleness, and greater deployment of resources such as batteries and larger demand response programs. California is actively shifting from a fossil-generation-dependent grid to a system that seeks to eliminate carbon emissions by 2045 — an essential step to combat climate change. Corporate customers, cities and governments are lining up behind ambitious clean energy and climate goals. Technological innovation and rapidly declining costs in renewables, storage and other clean energy resources are enabling California’s evolution to a 21st-century reliable , clean energy grid. The state is a leader in solar power, meeting much of the demand during the sunny hours of the day. However, the grid of the future should prioritize flexibility and nimbleness, and greater deployment of resources such as batteries and larger demand response programs.  Despite the finger-pointing and calls to move back toward natural gas, including from business groups , the recent experience in California shows that the energy transition shouldn’t be abandoned in the name of reliability Rather smart policy, planning and market designs are critical so that utilities and customers can improve reliability through accelerated deployment of these advanced clean resources as fossil generators retire.  Markets and regional cooperation: Bigger is better California’s electric system is operated by an independent nonprofit organization — the California Independent System Operator ( CAISO ) — that uses competition among power producers to identify the lowest-cost generators that can be used to reliably meet demand. While recent events have been compared to events we saw 20 years ago in California, flaws and fraud responsible then in California’s market design have since been corrected. This time around, the experience suggests that fully expanding wholesale electricity markets throughout the West will be a critical tool to reliably and cost-effectively meet demand in the face of climate change and the energy transition. California may be tempted to go faster alone, but it could get there more reliably and affordably with other Western states.  California’s grid imports electricity from out of state generators, and California’s utilities plan in advance for energy imports that are complemented by in-state generators to meet demand on the hottest days. CAISO does not control the number of imports, which were affected by the recent heat wave that extended beyond California. A wider, better coordinated western electricity system could have more nimbly responded to large generators tripping offline and would have cost consumers less by reducing spikes in power costs and the need for backup generators. A wider, better coordinated western electricity system could have more nimbly responded to large generators tripping offline and would have cost consumers less by reducing spikes in power costs and the need for backup generators. Efforts are underway to expand the CAISO market through the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM), which allows coordinated real-time operation amongst a number of utilities and already has brought $1 billion in customer benefits, although this is a fraction of the benefits of a full competitive wholesale market. The type of grid event that occurred in August would be best solved by a western regional transmission organization that optimizes electricity generation and demand throughout the West, rationally manages shared operating reserves and plans/promotes interconnected transmission infrastructure. This type of system will be critical to lowering costs to all customers and keeping the lights on, while meeting the clean energy commitments by customers and states. Even CAISO and the California Public Utilities Commission agree that market improvements may well be needed. California’s approach to ensuring enough generation on the system to meet demand on the hottest days is fractured, complex and undergoing revision. As we chart a path forward, we need to embrace creative solutions and use the tools that we know can work. Businesses require reliable, affordable electricity. A growing number of businesses also know that transitioning the grid to clean energy can save money while continuing to provide expected reliability. Embracing innovation and new technology is in California’s DNA; it also could get by with a little help from its friends. By stitching together the West’s electricity system, reliability and a clean energy transition can work in tandem, most affordably for all customers. REBA is organizing related sessions on clean energy markets during VERGE 20. View more information here .  Pull Quote The grid of the future should prioritize flexibility and nimbleness, and greater deployment of resources such as batteries and larger demand response programs. A wider, better coordinated western electricity system could have more nimbly responded to large generators tripping offline and would have cost consumers less by reducing spikes in power costs and the need for backup generators. 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Clean energy and markets are the solution (not scapegoat) for California’s blackouts

The broken system that sends most food waste and organic matter to landfills

September 4, 2020 by  
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The broken system that sends most food waste and organic matter to landfills Jim Giles Fri, 09/04/2020 – 00:15 How about this for a series of maddening statistics? Landfills in the United States generate 15 percent of the country’s emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas with a potential warming impact 34 times that of carbon dioxide. The single largest input into U.S. landfills is food waste, yard trimmings and other organic matter. Sending organic matter to composting facilities rather than landfills dramatically lowers emissions — in fact, expanding composting globally would avoid or capture the equivalent of around 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2050 . Only 4 percent of U.S. households are served by a municipal composting service.  Most commercial food waste is also dumped, meaning that just 6 percent of all U.S. food waste is diverted from landfill or combustion.  In summary: This is crazy. We’re dumping the feedstock for a valuable agricultural resource in landfills, where rather than fertilizing crops it generates emissions that accelerate the climate crisis. I wasn’t aware of quite how broken this system is until I moderated a panel on composting infrastructure at Circularity 20 last week. (Video of the panel soon will be online — sign up for Circularity updates to get notified when that happens.) Afterwards, I called up my fellow moderator Nora Goldstein, editor of Biocycle magazine , in search of solutions.  Goldstein explained that most waste management firms are compensated for every truckload of material they send to landfill. This locks them into the existing model. Some firms might want to move into composting, but doing so would cause a double financial hit: Reduced landfill fees plus upfront expenditures for creating new composting infrastructure. That’s not going to look good in the next quarterly earnings. What can the food industry do to help fix this? Structural change will require government action such as California’s SB 1383 , which commits the state to reducing organic waste by 75 percent by 2025. ( Climate Solution of the Year , according to one industry publication.) But that doesn’t mean the industry can’t take smaller steps without outside help. I heard a bunch of exciting ideas in the panel, during my conversation with Goldstein and in emails I received after the event. Here are a few: Food waste producers should discuss what’s possible with local waste operations, said panel member Alexa Kielty of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. Long-term collaboration between waste producers, local government and disposal companies enables the waste industry to invest in composting solutions. Do due diligence on contractors who offer organics disposal services, advised panel member Kevin Quandt of the Sweetgreen restaurant chain. To see why, read about Quandt’s tussles with less-than-honest contractors in this excellent Los Angeles Times story . Companies involved in the farming end of the food business should incorporate targets for compost use into their regenerative agriculture commitments, Goldstein suggested. Large composting facilities can take years to set up, but food waste producers can investigate smaller-scale options in the meantime, wrote Ben Parry, CEO of Compost Crew, an organics waste collector operating in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.  Speaking of small-scale solutions that companies could collaborate with, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced funding for 13 pilot projects to “develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction.”  I hope that list provides some ideas for how your organization can get involved in fixing this crazy problem. What did I miss? As always, I value your feedback. Email comments, critiques and complaints to jg@greenbiz.com .  Topics Food Systems Waste Management Waste Compost Featured Column Foodstuff Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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The open source movement takes on climate data

September 3, 2020 by  
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The open source movement takes on climate data Heather Clancy Thu, 09/03/2020 – 00:15 As GreenBiz co-founder and Executive Editor Joel Makower wrote earlier this week, many companies are moving to disclose ” climate risk ,” although far fewer are moving to actually minimize it. And as those tasked with preparing those reports can attest, the process of gathering the data for them is frustrating and complex, especially as the level of detail desired and required by investors becomes deeper. That pain point was the inspiration for a new climate data project launched this week that will be spearheaded by the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit host organization for thousands of the most influential open source software and data initiatives in the world such as GitHub. The foundation is central to the evolution of the Linux software that runs in the back offices of most major financial services firms.  There are four powerful founding members for the new group, the LF Climate Finance Foundation (LFCF): Insurance and asset management company Allianz, cloud software giants Amazon and Microsoft, and data intelligence powerhouse S&P Global. The foundation’s “planning team” includes World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Ceres and the Sustainability Account Standards Board (SASB). The group’s intention is to collaborate on an open source project called the OS-Climate platform, which will include economic and physical risk scenarios that investors, regulators, companies, financial analysts and others can use for their analysis.  The idea is to create a “public service utility” where certain types of climate data can be accessed easily, then combined with other, more proprietary information that someone might be using for risk analysis, according to Truman Semans, CEO of OS-Climate, who was instrumental in getting the effort off the ground. “There are a whole lot of initiatives out there that address pieces of the puzzle, but no unified platform to allow those to interoperate,” he told me.  There are a whole lot of initiatives out there that address pieces of the puzzle, but no unified platform to allow those to interoperate. Why does this matter? It helps to understand the history of open source software, which was once a thing that many powerful software companies, notably Microsoft, abhorred because they were worried about the financial hit on their intellectual property. Flash forward to today and the open source software movement, “staffed” by literally millions of software developers, is credited with accelerating the creation of common system-level elements so that companies can focus their own resources on solving problems directly related to their business. In short, this budding effort could make the right data available more quickly, so that businesses — particularly financial institutions — can make better informed decisions. Or, as Microsoft’s chief intellectual property counsel, Jennifer Yokoyama, observed in the announcement press release: “Addressing climate issues in a meaningful way requires people and organizations to have access to data to better understand the impact of their actions. Opening up and sharing our contribution of significant and relevant sustainability data through the LF Climate Finance Foundation will help advance the financial modeling and understanding of climate change impact — an important step in affecting political change. We’re excited to collaborate with the other founding members and hope additional organizations will join.” An investor might use the platform, for example, to run projections focus on portfolios or specific investment opportunities. Governments might consult the resource while evaluating resilient infrastructure projects and policies. The main buckets of historical and forward-looking information that the LFCF group hopes to make available include research and development spending, policy response scenarios, or historical data about fires, floods and droughts. One example of a tool that data hounds will find there is a Finance Tool related to the Science-Based Targets Initiative. There also will be industry-specific data, likely starting with the energy, transport and industrial sectors, Semans said. Early beta versions of various pieces of the platform will be available this fall, with certain elements of the data commons available first, followed by modeling and analytics resources. Just because the data is “open” doesn’t mean it’s entirely free. Companies need to be a member of the foundation to participate in the governance process (although there will be seats on the board for non-fee paying members from academia, NGOs and intergovernmental organizations). Talk to your CIO about the power of open source, and consider this your call to action. Pull Quote There are a whole lot of initiatives out there that address pieces of the puzzle, but no unified platform to allow those to interoperate. 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Renewable energy lab glows like a lantern in Germany

September 2, 2020 by  
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On a site formerly used for experiments on solar energy , Stuttgart-based architectural practice Behnisch Architekten has completed Building 668 (KIT Energy Lab 2.0), a massive testing lab for new energy systems as part of a scheme to move Germany toward greater adoption of renewable energy. Located at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) campus near Stuttgart, the KIT Energy Lab 2.0 is also remarkable for its eye-catching design — the timber-framed structure is wrapped in translucent polycarbonate cladding and topped with a dramatic sawtooth roof as a nod to the industrial character of the neighboring buildings. Its polycarbonate exterior allows a consistent amount of light into the simple, low-carbon building, which lights up like a lantern at night. Related: Sustainable RAUM Pavilion can be continually reused or recycled in Utrecht Completed over the course of four years, the KIT Energy Lab 2.0 spans an area of 18,621 square feet over two floors with simple layouts conducive for flexibility. The ground floor is centered on a large, double-height test hall with work areas — including the test hall and an office, meeting and IT/server room — lining the north side of the building, while the transformer rooms and control station are located on the southern end. A central stairway and elevator lead up to the second floor, which consists of additional office space, a small staff kitchen, a meeting room, lab room, control station, test preparation room and a bridge over the column-free test hall that connects to large gallery spaces. The interiors echo the simple and industrial look of the exterior. Exposed timber trusses, unpainted wooden surfaces, lofty ceiling heights and oversized lighting fixtures emphasize the industrial motif. Natural light floods the test hall, which accommodates the areas “Power-Hardware in the Loop” (PHIL) and “Smart Energy System Control Laboratory” (SESCL) as well as assembly areas for tests. The KIT Energy Lab 2.0 was created in partnership with the Helmholtz Centres, the National Aeronautics and Space Research Center of the Federal Republic of Germany (DLR) and Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ). + Behnisch Architekten Photography by David Matthiessen via Behnisch Architekten

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New green technology could harvest body heat as energy

September 2, 2020 by  
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Scientists have created thermocells, energy-efficient devices, that can harvest excess heat and convert it into renewable energy . They hope to create portable batteries that could be applied to many types of surfaces to harvest excess heat — including clothing to utilize heat from the human body as energy. The group of 11 scientists who worked on this project published their study in the journal Renewable Energy . They are affiliated with The National University of Science and Technology in Moscow [NUST MISIS]. Related: MIT moves toward greener, more sustainable artificial intelligence Thermoelectricity is the type of electricity that is generated by temperature differences, called temperature gradients. These are found everywhere, including around the human body. While this is an area of green energy with untapped potential, previously developed thermocells have a low output power. But the scientists may have solved this problem. “We have shown the possibility of using a nickel oxide electrode based on hollow nickel microspheres in a thermocell,” said Igor Burmistrov, one of the study’s authors. “A record for aqueous electrolytes hypothetical Seebeck coefficient has been reached. In addition, we have found a nonlinear change in current-voltage characteristics, which is not typical for thermocells , which ensures an increase in the device’s efficiency.” The new thermocell appears to potentially be a safe and cost-effective way to generate renewable energy. The scientists are exploring the possibility of one day using this technology to create a supercapacitator that would stay charged for a long period of time. Even non-chemists who have a hard time grasping the exact process of how the thermocell works will immediately begin to ponder its applications. What if our body heat could power air conditioners? Could we charge our phones with body heat while we go for a run? The possibilities for a greener future are endless. + NUST MISIS Via CleanTechnica Image via Melk Hagelslag

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New green technology could harvest body heat as energy

Arctic wildfires are emitting 35% more carbon compared to 2019

September 2, 2020 by  
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Wildfires are releasing more carbon emissions in the first eight months of 2020 than they did in all of 2019. According to a recent report by the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service , carbon emissions in the Arctic have surpassed last year’s emissions by 35%. The latest data shows that about 245 megatonnes of CO2 have been released in 2020 so far. This is a far higher figure than the entirety of last year, when 181 megatonnes of CO2 were released as a result of wildfires. The data further shows that the peak month for wildfires in 2020 was July, with over 600 wildfires reported in late July as compared to 400 wildfires in the same time frame last year. More devastating is the fact that similar periods from 2003 through 2018 experienced an average of 100 wildfires. Related: Arctic wildfires rage through Siberia The surge in wildfires is associated with climate change . In July alone, a heatwave saw temperatures rise to 30°C (86°F) in some parts of Siberia. However, there are no major differences between the temperatures experienced this year and last year. According to the researchers, the main difference has been the number of fires that occurred over this period. “In some respects [the data] has been similar to 2019 in terms of the dry and warm conditions in the Siberian Arctic,” said Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at Copernicus. “This year, the difference was a large cluster of fires that burned through July for many days leading to higher estimated emissions.” Arctic wildfires have grown into a serious concern in recent years. In June, the Aerial Forest Protection Service of Russia reported that in Siberia’s forests, over 3.4 million acres of land had burned. Unfortunately, most of these fires occurred in areas that cannot be accessed by firefighters. In 2019, the Arctic wildfires caused a huge cloud of smoke that could cover the entire EU landmass. These fires are also destroying well-known carbon sinks , peat bogs. As peat bogs burn, they release megatonnes of stored carbon into the atmosphere. + Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service Via The Guardian Image via Pixabay

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Arctic wildfires are emitting 35% more carbon compared to 2019

Prefabricated, luxury eco-pod sits high in the Swiss Alps

September 2, 2020 by  
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With sweeping views of the Rhône Valley just south of Lake Geneva, the Zen Suite is the latest addition to the Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel. Designed by Montalba Architects, the minimalist-meets-luxurious pod immerses guests in the Dents-du-Midi mountain range of Switzerland. A creative combination of natural materials and sustainable construction, the hotel’s series of pods is aimed at creating spiritual harmony with the surrounding alpine ecosystem. The architects minimized environmental impact by raising the pods on platforms and leaving the surroundings mostly untouched. The eco-pods are positioned on elevated, stadium-style deck platforms along the side of the mountain, giving guests private and unobstructed views of the stunning landscape from almost every angle. Related: Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment The Zen Suite’s central circle is surrounded by curved wooden walls that are finished with fine details and tatami floor mats. The entire pod measures about 150 square feet, with an additional 220 square feet provided by the connected terrace. The platform, pod and bath box are all prefabricated elements of the structure. Hidden closets and storage compartments add to the contemporary feel of the space. In the simple bedroom, a sunken bed faces the front of the pod to make the most of the views. The wooden bathroom is constructed locally to minimize waste and transportation. The bathroom also utilizes an Ozone system to filter water without the use of harmful chemicals. A bathtub centers the distinct, circular design. The zen concept found throughout the design is inspired by the Wu Xing movement, which states that all things are connected and made up of energy. The five elements connected to the Chinese philosophy are represented through earth, water, wood, metal and fire. Each corner and space of the Zen Suite is meant to revolve around simple human ritual and self-reflection based on this theory, resulting in a transformative experience. Prices range from 650 to 1,250 Swiss Francs ($670 to $1,287) per night. +Montalba Architects Via An Interior Magazine Photography by Delphine Burtin via Montalba Architects

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Circular economy startups compete at Circularity 2020, taking on shoes to shelf-life

August 31, 2020 by  
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Circular economy startups compete at Circularity 2020, taking on shoes to shelf-life Holly Secon Mon, 08/31/2020 – 01:00 A circular economy is urgently required for the shift to a more sustainable planet. But it will take new, innovative ideas to build a global system that uses and reuses all of the resources within it and moves us away from the deeply entrenched extractive system under which the modern world functions. At Circularity 20, GreenBiz’s online circular economy event, five startups presented their potentially world-altering ideas during the Accelerate competition. This GreenBiz tradition began in 2012 at its VERGE events, offering a venue where startups make a 2.5-minute pitch of their technology to the audience. During last week’s event, the online audience voted on its favorite, and an expert panel of Taj Eldridge, senior director of investments at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), and Monique Mills, with the Startup Catalyst at the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Institute of Technology, offered thoughts on the startups and their potential. Mills said that he considering new ideas, she looks to make sure that a startup will be able to establish itself and stay relevant in a changing business environment. “Our main focus is to make sure they’re able to become a sustainable business model, and one that can be supported into the future of how things will be done,” she said.  For Eldridge, one exciting thing about circular startups is that they’re working with communities that otherwise might not be thinking about environmental issues. “This is the opportunity to really get all the communities that have not been able to have the conversation about sustainability involved now,” he said. In order of presentation, here’s what the contenders had to offer. Borobabi Borobabi CEO Carolyn Butler took the virtual stage to pitch the sustainable children’s clothing rental startup. The early-stage company, based in New York, focuses on the $16 billion children’s clothing market, which, like the entire apparel space, suffers from a significant amount of waste. Children’s clothing, especially, often gets thrown away because children grow out of pants, shirts, shoes and other garments so quickly. Borobabi uses a circular model to serve as a platform where parents can rent clothes for children aged 0-6. The most unique feature is that the brand prices its clothes based on how durable they are. “We achieve true circularity by hitting on all three pillars of the circular economy. On the supply side, we only partner with ethical and sustainable brands who manufacture natural toxin-free clothing using organic agricultural practices, which regenerate natural systems,” Butler said. “We keep our products in circulation for as long as possible by renting only the highest-quality most durable items, ensuring they can be worn multiple times and retain like-new quality. Also, we helped design clothes with natural and monofibers that are recyclable. Our recycling partnerships are local here in the U.S. and help to keep our clothes out of landfills.” Infinity Goods The startup Infinity Goods has created a zero-waste grocery delivery service in Denver, Colorado, with plans to expand soon. CEO Ashwin Ramdas tried to go zero-waste — and then realized that he had to give up some of his favorite foods, such as ice cream and pasta, and lug around containers to stores every time he tried to shop. He realized that convenience and sacrifice was often a barrier, even for eco-conscious shoppers. So he founded Infinity Goods to connect those who want to go zero-waste but have found it too difficult. “It’s like the milkman, but now for a wide selection of food from fresh produce to tofu eggs pasta ice cream bread,” Ramdas explained. The company serves as a delivery service where groceries come in reusable containers, then get retrieved, cleaned and reused in future deliveries, cutting out the plastic packaging waste and relieving the customer of doing any work themselves. Infinity Goods has partnerships with local Colorado producers, which have agreed to reuse their packaging through the platform, fostering a local, waste-free circular economy. Salubata Salubata is a Nigerian startup that creates modular shoes from recycled plastic waste. The team of environmental scientists has figured out a way to knit together recycled plastic to create parts of a shoe that fit together — which then also can be taken apart at the end of life. The recycled plastic material also comes in different shapes and colors, which can be zipped into the same sole so consumers essentially can design their own low-carbon shoe. The global shoe market is valued at $264 billion per year, said CEO Fela Buyi. This product serves both shoe enthusiasts and eco-conscious shoppers. Mimica Mimica is a startup that aims to make the food system more sustainable with smart-design labels that extend the shelf life of fresh food. One major challenge for sustainable food systems is that there’s waste along every part of the food supply chain. Mimica’s labels are an intervention at the retail and consumer level to prevent edible food from being thrown out. “Expiration dates are set at the worst-case scenario, but the reality is that we keep our food much better than that. Dates are shortened to protect consumers in the rare case of problems in the supply chain or in our homes,” said Mimica CEO Solveiga Pakštait?. “And this actually hurts retailers’ bottom lines, because this hurts their ability to be able to sell produce in their stores. Add back just two days, and we can see food waste being cut in half in our stores, more than that in our homes, and sales go up when shelf life is extended. With products like juice and beef, the shelf life doubles.” The label, Mimica Touch, shows consumers exactly when food spoils. They just run their fingers over it, and if the label is smooth, the food is fresh. If it has bumps, it has spoiled. Resortecs Resortecs is a Belgium-based startup that provides a solution to the lack of apparel recycling. Only about 1 percent of garments are recycled — and one major reason is that garments aren’t designed to be recycled, because they have several components such as zippers or buttons that need to be separated. Resortecs has created a new material that can be used to sew together these components that breaks down at a high heat, allowing the components to separate easily and removing a major obstacle to reusing these parts. Plus, this heat-sensitive material only breaks down at extremely high temperatures, so it doesn’t affect the garment itself when people are wearing clothes.  “Garments made can be washed and ironed,” said Resortecs CEO Cédric Vanhoeck. “The material is not damaged in the process.” The audience voted on the online platform to ultimately select Mimica as the winner of this year’s Circularity Accelerate. Topics Circular Economy Innovation Circularity 20 Food Waste Fashion Food & Beverage Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The Mimica label shows consumers exactly when food spoils. If there are bumps, the food has spoiled. Courtesy of Mimica Lab Close Authorship

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In the next round of stimulus aid, corporate America needs to stand up for climate science

August 31, 2020 by  
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In the next round of stimulus aid, corporate America needs to stand up for climate science Mindy S. Lubber Mon, 08/31/2020 – 00:45 With Congress gearing up for another trillion-dollar round of economic relief that will set the strategic direction of the U.S. economy for years to come, it’s time for corporate America to stand up and be clear about the economy it wants and needs to prosper.  That means getting serious about advocating for a recovery plan that helps us build back better from the current pandemic, while tackling another global systemic threat: climate change.  The climate crisis is worsening, and it is playing out in real time as we grapple with COVID-19. Despite the temporary decline in greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere hit an all-time high in May. Triple-digit temperatures in June in the Arctic Circle led to another warmest month on record, tying with June 2019. The dry spring and hot summer has unleashed more raging fires in California this month, while residents across the American West are bracing for the worst megadrought in 1,200 years.  Climate change is a systemic risk , and its impacts are felt across corporate America. In a survey last year , 215 of the world’s largest publicly listed companies reported nearly $1 trillion at risk from climate impacts — most of it in the next five years. The severity of these intensifying risks requires a response of proportional ambition.  You may have heard of science-based targets. Today, we are calling for science-based climate advocacy. This moment calls for bold leadership. Companies must take action and ensure that all of their actions, especially their direct and indirect advocacy, are in lockstep with the latest climate science.  So what does science-based climate advocacy mean?  Companies must take action and ensure that all of their actions, especially their direct and indirect advocacy, are in lockstep with the latest climate science. A new blueprint from Ceres, the Blueprint for Responsible Policy Engagement on Climate Change , lays out a science-based action agenda for companies in the U.S. that comes down to two basic steps.  First, advocate for science-based climate policy. Business voices are influential in policy debates, and companies must use their voices to advocate for targets and policies that will limit global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius and ensure we reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.  Right now is a prime opportunity. We can build back better. Other countries are already opting for climate-smart recoveries, seeing their pandemic aid as a chance to gain competitive advantage and economic stability. Through our actions to tackle one crisis, we can avert another. We can invest in a resilient and inclusive economy that builds jobs, infrastructure, growth and stability for the long term. More companies are speaking up. In May , executives from 330 companies, including Microsoft, Mars Inc. and Nike, descended virtually on Capitol Hill, dialing into video calls with congressional leaders to ask for climate-smart policies as a part of the economic recovery. Globally, more than 1,200 companies have called on governments to ensure recovery efforts address COVID-19 and climate together.  Second, ensure that indirect advocacy and influence is also aligned with science. This includes ensuring trade associations a company may belong to are not promoting policies that are not based on science. While large trade associations represent companies on a number of issues, many have had a poor record in advocating for science-based climate policy.  Companies must keep in mind the risk they face from a fractured policy environment that exacerbates risk. They should ask themselves: “Is my association engaging in my best interest?” Often, the answer is “no.” Mars, Nestle and Unilever helped put a stake in the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the food industry’s largest lobbying group, after they left over differences on climate change to form the new Sustainable Food Policy Alliance . Meanwhile, UPS disclosed that it doesn’t support the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s opposition to the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and joined one of the Chamber’s committees to assert its position on climate. Turning taxpayer dollars into stranded fossil fuel assets is no way to fuel a real economic recovery. Why do more companies need to step up on science-based climate advocacy? New research shows that the oil and gas sector’s lobbying has dominated climate-related policy battles during the pandemic, notching twice as many wins as climate advocates.  Even if many fossil fuel companies struggled financially for years before the pandemic, they are getting billions in federal aid. Supported by strong lobbying, oil companies reaped a stealth bailout of more than $1.9 billion inserted into the CARES Act. Turning taxpayer dollars into stranded fossil fuel assets is no way to fuel a real economic recovery. Taxpayer money should be invested in the future economy, one that is powered by renewable energy — one that creates more jobs, one that makes our economies more resilient.  Companies are recognizing the strategic imperative to take action on the climate crisis. In the face of COVID-19, corporations’ commitment to climate action has not waivered — it has increased. Their actions are reducing emissions, reducing costs and driving job creation, innovation and competitiveness.  However, to enable change at the pace and scale required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the whole economy must shift, and the economic stimulus, which represents some of the largest government spending in a generation, must support that shift. If it doesn’t, we risk further damaging the economy and public health rather than improving them — and making the climate crisis even worse.  It’s time for the rest of corporate America to be bold about its ambitions and demonstrate the science-based climate leadership that this time demands.  Pull Quote Companies must take action and ensure that all of their actions, especially their direct and indirect advocacy, are in lockstep with the latest climate science. Turning taxpayer dollars into stranded fossil fuel assets is no way to fuel a real economic recovery. Contributors Maria Mendiluce Topics Climate Change COVID-19 Policy & Politics Finance Policy & Politics Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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In the next round of stimulus aid, corporate America needs to stand up for climate science

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