Past Presentation | Author and cook David Groß travels through five European countries and cooks exclusively what others throw in the garbage bin. With great thirst for knowledge, he tracks food waste and presents unexpected solutions. In an unusual and humorous self attempt David Groß questions our daily consumer lifestyle.
Now Playing | What if every person could actually make an impact on the world? “Green Waste” takes an in-depth look at the process of recycling and waste management in the community of Flagstaff. From recycling plastic bags, to re-using glass bottles, from recycling hazardous waste to the efforts of local businesses, the film shows how every contribution, no matter how small, can collectively make the difference for a better tomorrow. Filmed and Produced under the Emerging Filmmakers Program for youth filmmakers.
Now Playing | Our garbage accumulates and gives life to a plastic monster. We wish his reign to be short. It is probably time to think over how we produce and consume to pollute less.
The expensive appliances claim to eliminate kitchen food waste by turning it to instant compost. But experts are skepticalMichelle Cehn, founder of the popular Instagram account @vegan, built her reputation around her love for the planet – but food waste was something that she struggled with. “I’ve been wanting to compost, but I’ve always been really overwhelmed by an outdoor compost pile,” she said in a voiceover of a recent post that showed her picking fresh vegetables from the vine. “And so this year I started composting indoors with the Lomi electric composter.” In the short video, Cehn went on to explain how she simply dropped food scraps into the small electric bin on her countertop, pressed the button, and was left with “nutrient-rich plant food” a few hours later that she could use in her garden.Lomi, the device Cehn was hyping, is just one of a new cohort of gadgets claiming they can eliminate kitchen food waste that are starting to gain traction, alongside brands like Mill, FoodCycler and Airthereal. Often marketed as electric “composters”, these appliances, which look a little like trash cans, dry and grind food waste into a mixture that some manufacturers claim can be used as a fertilizer and soil amendment, much like compost. Continue reading...
Past Presentation | As a state becomes overburdened with landfills, passionate individuals argue for recycling as a better way. This film takes an exclusive look at the recycling industry in Alabama, a state that is home to the worlds largest plastic recycler. Ultimately, the film asks why the state is incentivizing landfills, rather than supporting an industry that is both more environmentally friendly and economically beneficial.
It’s almost become a cliche, the many signs that waste is slowly killing us. The footprints are everywhere: from the leaky pipelines and cargo trains that unleash toxic plumes above Ohio one month to explosive chemicals mysteriously disappearing across Western plains the next. Countless communities’ groundwater has been poisoned by “forever chemicals” in firefighting foam and corroding gas station storage tanks. Microplastics have been found in everything from kale, to human breastmilk, to sea creatures at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Perhaps our most damning waste legacy is the carbon emissions that have unleashed extreme weather patterns and species loss. And yet, at this rate, it’s hard to tell if we’ve seen the worst of our garbage crisis.A half-century after the birth of modern environmentalism, cleaning up all of our trash remains an elusive proposition. Despite the seemingly everyday disasters on the news, we’re rarely aware of the mass totality of all of our waste—of the colossal amounts of damaging stuff we’ve created and foisted on the planet. A steady flow of evidence points to the second-order impacts and long-term consequences of pollution, from increased cancer rates and organ damage to endocrine disruption and low fertility. But rather than face hard truths about reorganizing our system to stop waste, policymakers and citizens are falling victim to another pernicious threat: empty and inefficient promises from the tech industry. Over the past decade, the sector has taken off in trying to provide cleanup solutions while doing little to actually stem the tide of garbage. Last year alone, venture capitalists invested over $6 billion into waste management startups.These new ventures can take a myriad of forms. Companies like Loop and Again, for example, are trying to jumpstart consumer demand for reusable packaging by recreating an archaic technology: the glass or aluminum container once provided by the milkman. Advanced recycling startups, meanwhile, are forging new markets for lithium-ion batteries and food waste; one product claims to convert general household waste into “sustainable plastic” feedstock. Even more companies are looking to biology, identifying bacteria or plants and fungi that can absorb petrochemicals and harmful metals. Founders pledge not only a solution to a waste problem, but also hefty returns for investors.“There’s been a huge boom in research on ways to clean up all sorts of materials, from single-use plastics to wind turbines,” professor Julie Rorrer said in a recent MIT Technology Review article. “There’s valuable things in trash.”While these companies may make money in the short term, few cleanup ventures offer good-faith or coherent solutions for our planet. Successful prototypes capture a mere fraction of the growing volume of pollution unleashed each year. It’s a constant game of catchup—with enormous expenses.Take ocean plastic, which is arguably one of the most visible forms of waste over the past decade. Growing public awareness of plastic’s hidden costs—illustrated by heartbreaking images of remote coastlines littered with mountains of trash, or the stomachs of dead seabirds protruding with bottle caps and toothbrushes—have inspired a wave of bans on specific items like straws and takeaway bags in recent years. But today, we produce more single-use plastic than ever, and shed roughly 11 million tons of plastic waste into the ocean each year. The global economy is on track to triple this annual output by 2060, buoyed in part by Big Oil’s turn to fossil-fuelled plastics production as a hedge against electrification.One self-styled “solution” for plastic waste has won outsized influence. In 2012, Dutch teenager Boyan Slat presented a TED Talk on his concept for cleaning up the ocean with simple mechanisms to sweep up all the trash. While scientists and plastics experts cautioned that his ideas were ineffective, Slat’s non-profit the Ocean Cleanup, founded the year after his talk went viral, has gained millions of followers and big-name backers, including Salesforce, Maersk, KIA, and PayPal’s Peter Thiel. But the venture had one major problem: its first two designs didn’t work, despite the group burning through tens of millions of dollars over the course of a decade. The Ocean Cleanup has since pivoted to work with upstream river “interceptors” that are much more efficient at capturing garbage, but its website still prominently features its latest ocean debris “solution”—essentially a trawl fishing net dragged between two boats that has, to date, collected a comparatively miniscule amount of trash.Tech projects like these are more of a curse than a blessing. Even if the Ocean Cleanup one day somehow beats the insurmountable odds and removes all surface-level traces of plastic marine pollution, it’d still be missing the vast majority of waste that sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor, or breaks up into tiny microplastics. While companies like these bring increased attention to the plastics crisis, they’re ultimately flashy gimmicks that lull our public consciousness into thinking a clever gadget can solve a collective-action problem. These projects also allow consumer brands—like Coca-Cola, an official “Global Implementation Partner” of Slat’s group—to greenwash their continued massive plastic production, while lobbying behind-the-scenes against regulations that would actually help the world break its plastic addiction. “We now know that we can’t start to reduce plastic pollution without a reduction of production,” environmental scientists Imari Walker-Franklin and Jenna Jambeck write in the introduction to their forthcoming study, Plastics. To meaningfully address this crisis and others like it, we need to look upstream, invest in reuse infrastructure, and mandate biodegradable packaging and high material recyclability. At a minimum, we need to start making producers bear the cost for the collection and disposal of their poorly designed goods.Unfortunately, there’s now a plethora of cleanup ventures clouding our better judgement. Miles above our plastic-filled oceans, a crowded wasteland of man-made debris now orbits the Earth. For decades, aerospace companies have shed defunct rocket launchers, abandoned satellites, and millions of stray pieces of machinery that can circulate almost indefinitely in orbit around our planet. Today’s private space ventures are set to increase the number of active satellites tenfold by 2030, even as experts warn about the persistence of space junk and increasing collision risk. Some believe we could soon see a catastrophic chain reaction that renders low-earth orbit unusable, jeopardizing the cosmic infrastructure that undergirds modern life, from GPS and weather monitoring to digital payments. But rather than curtail deployment, or embrace even modest end-of-life guidelines for spacecraft, the industry’s leaders are addressing the trash problem in the silliest ways possible: VCs have invested tens of millions into cleanup ventures that use lasers, spider webs, and harpoons to capture space debris. Our cleanup delusion extends to the grandest environmental stage possible. One of greentech’s hottest sectors is carbon removal, a kind of cleanup for fossil fuel emissions. While the UN’s climate science body asserts that carbon removal is “essential” to curbing catastrophic warming, the question is just how much we’re going to need. If the world immediately begins cutting back its fossil fuel use, we may only need to employ expensive carbon removal technologies sparingly. But instead of focusing on regulations to curb emissions at a fraction of the cost, governments and giant corporations alike have begun funneling billions into various “solutions” to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Accordingly, tech ventures developing massively expensive carbon capture technologies—technologies which may never turn a profit or be truly scalable—have begun pitching themselves as climate saviors, relying on the high end of those UN estimates to make their case. The cycle becomes never-ending: the longer we wait to crack down on pollution, the more trillions in capital, and megatonnes of net-new emissions, we must spend to build an unproven infrastructure—one that may never even deliver the promised returns for its investors.For polluters, cleanup technology not only offers a way to preserve the status quo, but also unlock new revenue streams. Some of the buzziest space cleanup ventures were founded by former SpaceX and Boeing executives. Nearly every oil company has embraced carbon sequestration, thanks in part to expanded tax credits and subsidies folded into the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. “Emitters are recognizing the former trash they were emitting into the air is now a treasure,” carbon-capture CEO Charles Fridge told Politico. “It was previously something they were ashamed of, a byproduct. Now it’s a currency.” Today’s industrial tycoons get to rack up untold profits while making an obscene mess, then turn yet another buck feigning to clean it all up. Call it the Cleanup Industrial Complex. Worryingly, our societal obsession over waste’s obvious consumer forms helps corporations to get away with massive industrial breaches. In the U.S., plants regularly break E.P.A. emissions rules in favor of paying fines as a cost of doing business. For years, BP’s Whiting refinery in Indiana violated pollution thresholds of chemicals and gasses known to cause nausea, cancer, and long-term anemia. In the largest-ever civil penalty under the Clean Air Act, announced by the EPA and the Justice Department in May, BP will be required to pay $40 million in fines—a rounding error in the company’s $5 billion quarterly profits.The scale of our planet’s waste can seem insurmountable—but infrastructure exists to start tackling the problem. We could force modern logistics giants like UPS and Amazon to take the lead on reusability. We could standardize bottle types for household goods and toiletries to make recycling easier, and improve municipal systems to better handle recyclable materials. We could hire a corp of environmental surveyors and litigators to hold industrial polluters accountable in the courts, rather than relying on the slow procedure of legacy programs and government agencies. But mainstream political leaders in the U.S. lack the power or the will to explore even common-sense measures. If it’s any consolation for Americans, few countries have proven able to handle their waste. The vast majority of developed economies are abysmal at recycling, and even the high performers see just over 50% of their household garbage get recycled. Only a handful of countries and U.S. states have piloted extended producer responsibility laws, which make industries share the cost of municipal waste management. France broke new ground this year with a fund to incentivize consumer textile repair, the latest in a series of aggressive measures that also curb food waste and mandate electronics repair. But these are all still marginal cases amid a deregulated patchwork of dumping and scrap recycling schemes, with little scrutiny or liability. An honest appraisal of our situation would require a wholesale rethinking of our relationship to goods and production. We’d have to dispose of our disposable mindset and keep high-quality products in circulation for as long as possible. We’d have to accept more friction, and perhaps some pain, in the flow of our daily chores and habits. But this is antithesis to any system predicated on perpetual growth. Rather than sign legislation that can mandate a more sustainable world overnight, we appear doomed to wait for profitable niche markets to drive some larger behavioral change—if that inflection point ever comes. Rather than stopping pollution upstream, the global economy chugs along, and we pretend that clean-up solutions can feasibly address our many crises—even as the scale of our waste grows exponentially, and incurs irreversible damage.
MIT spinoff Takachar converts agricultural waste into clean-burning fuel, and wins Earthshot Prize.
PhD student Alexis Hocken is working with manufacturers to keep their products from (literally) falling through the cracks in the recycling process.
From CalMatters investigative reporter Robert Lewis: State lawmakers held a joint oversight committee hearing Wednesday to question officials from California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control about how it’s going with various reform efforts. (It was definitely more of an annual teeth cleaning than a root canal.) Among the topics of discussion was an ongoing CalMatters […]
Research study proposes profitable ways to repurpose industrial waste. New research suggests that there is potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make money by...
Basadi E-Waste, an innovative recycling company owned by Kgothatso Ndema, is making waves in South Africa’s e-waste sector. Basadi E-Waste recycling company is driven by a woman who is determined to recycle electronics of Information Technology (IT) equipment. This innovative e-waste company is owned by Kgothatso Ndema (33) from Soshanguve, Gauteng. ALSO READ: City of Ekurhuleni […] The post E-waste company revolutionizes electronic recycling in SA appeared first on SAPeople - Worldwide South African News.
Earth Day Op-Ed Contest Winner: 4th Place More than 100 high school and middle school students across California submitted opinion pieces to CalMatters’ inaugural Earth Day contest. The contest theme was “How have changes in climate impacted your community?” Guest Commentary written by Jesse Morris Jesse Morris is a high school student from Tulare County. He […]
Inside, large, green bins were filled with surplus food from 450 supermarkets in the region. Soon, a conveyor belt would move them toward a giant metal claw. As the claw lifted each bin, the lid would swing open. Bruised apples, watermelon rinds, unsold hot dogs, and stale bagels would fall into a chute, initiating the […] The post Can This Chicken Company Solve America’s Food Waste Problem? appeared first on Civil Eats.
Those who grow their own food in gardens and allotments waste less and eat more healthily – but not everyone has the chance to do so.The post People who grow their own fruit and veg waste less food and eat more healthily, says research appeared first on SAPeople - Worldwide South African News.
Amazon generated 709 million pounds of plastic waste in 2021, an 18 percent increase from 2020, according to a new report from environmental group Oceana. About 26 million pounds of the company's plastic waste flowed into the world's waterways and oceans last year — up from 23.5 million pounds in 2020 — despite Amazon's repeated pledge...
In Puerto Rico, cheap labor and generous tax breaks—since 2017, more than $100 billion worth—have made US-based pharmaceutical firms the biggest economic players in town. Drug manufacturers have brought in tens of thousands of jobs, albeit with a tax-break price tag of more than $1 million each. But a new report by the nonprofit Center […]
Environmental groups fault the Railroad Commission for lax oversight, warn of health impacts. The post Texas’ Methane Waste Accelerates Climate Change While Squandering State Revenue appeared first on .
Reducing food waste at home is an action that anyone can take to help slow climate change
Japan wants to release Fukushima's waste water into the ocean - and a lot of people are not happy.
Mandatory reporting for large and medium-sized businesses would lower prices and help climate, say campaignersThe government has been criticised for binning food waste legislation that campaigners say could have reduced food prices and curbed climate change.The policy would have made food waste reporting mandatory for large and medium-sized businesses in England. Continue reading...
The retail giant says it generated 214 million pounds of plastic waste last year. An advocacy group says it produced three times as much.
This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. High-income countries have long sent their waste abroad to be thrown away or recycled—and an independent team of experts says they’re inundating the developing world with much more plastic than previously estimated. According to a new analysis published last week, United […]
Is there any day of the year that tests the capacities of affluent Americans’ French-door refrigerators as much as Thanksgiving? When else do you need to stuff a giant bird carcass, cranberries, pie crust, a wide array of vegetables, and more into a fridge already containing regular groceries? Then there’s the matter of storing the leftovers.In the past century, artificial refrigeration has completely transformed the American food system. Home refrigerators allow people to keep perishables for longer, and the artificial “cold chain”—meaning the use of refrigeration for processing, transporting, and holding items in the store prior to sale—has allowed food to be transported farther than ever before. As a result, refrigeration has often been praised—particularly by refrigerator manufacturers—for reducing food waste.Food waste is a huge problem not just for food security but for climate change. By some estimates, the emissions from food waste—not just the wasted inputs from growing, processing, and transporting, but also the methane as food decomposes in landfills—are triple those from aviation. And almost 15 percent of food-related emissions, according to the U.N. Environment Program, come from transport problems like inefficient refrigeration.But figuring out whether refrigerators are good or bad for the climate is surprisingly tricky. Aside from the energy the devices require, the hydrofluorocarbons used in refrigerators are far more powerful in the short term than CO2 when it comes to global warming. One 2018 study out of the University of Michigan modeled the effects of establishing a refrigerated supply chain where none currently exists, for example in sub-Saharan Africa, and found that the savings in food waste were overwhelmed by the emissions from the chain itself, resulting in a 10 percent jump in emissions overall. That’s not a reason not to establish that chain, of course—reducing food waste and enhancing food security are objectively worthy goals, and cold chains are also vital for some medications and vaccines—but it complicates the story of refrigerators’ beneficence a bit. And the picture is particularly complicated when it comes to home refrigerators in affluent societies. Somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of all food in the U.S., which has a relatively robust cold chain, is still wasted, and home waste accounts for nearly 40 percent of that—a problem that’s getting worse, not better. Some research in the United Kingdom has suggested lowering the temperature of home refrigerators from the national average of 45 degrees Fahrenheit to about 39 degrees Fahrenheit, so items don’t spoil as quickly, would save 300,000 tons of CO2 emissions from food waste. But in the U.S., the FDA already recommends keeping the temperature below 40 degrees, so that wouldn’t help much over here. Meanwhile, other papers have suggested that refrigerators themselves increase food waste among affluent consumers by encouraging them to buy more than they can actually consume in time and leading them to put off using an item until it inevitably spoils.The Washington Post this week ran an informative piece about how to “feng shui your fridge,” interviewing behavioral scientist Jiaying Zhao for tips to cut down on food waste. Solutions involve putting your fruits and vegetables at the front, rather than hidden in drawers that theoretically keep them fresh but where you can’t see them. “It’s a trade-off,” reporter Nicolás Rivero wrote, “between extending the life of your perishable items or boosting the chances that you’ll remember to eat them.” Or consumers could organize their fridges by “first in, first out” principles, ensuring that the oldest items are in the front. These are good suggestions, although they also require people to make an extra effort to counteract the behavioral promptings of an industry-designed device—a problem that is common to a lot of advice on sustainable living. Another way to do it would be to design fridges better—or, if not better, smaller. As with another emissions-heavy device Americans love (cars), the size is part of the issue: If it’s possible to lose something in your refrigerator, maybe the device is just too big.Smaller refrigerators could save people money while simultaneously reducing food waste. It would, of course, be tricky to fit a giant turkey or a Christmas roast into a smaller fridge. But then again, that might have the effect of reducing consumption of another big emissions driver in the American diet: meat. Good News/Bad NewsThe European Parliament this week voted for their delegates at next week’s U.N. climate talks) to support ending all fossil fuel subsidies at “national, EU and global levels,” in addition to tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency by 2030. The vote on its own doesn’t do much, but it’s noteworthy because sometimes governments focus on that last part—increasing renewables—while shrinking away from direct discussion of fossil fuels.Brazil recorded its hottest-ever temperature on Sunday (two days after a 23-year-old Taylor Swift fan died at a concert in Rio de Janeiro, where the heat index hit nearly 140 degrees Fahrenheit).Stat of the Week2.9 degrees Celsius (5.2 degrees Fahrenheit)Even if countries completely follow through on their current pledges (a big “if”), the planet would currently be on track to warm by 2.9 degrees Celsius, a new report from the U.N. Environment Program warns. For context, climate experts have previously urged nations to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. With considerable angst and regret, many have now admitted that hitting that target is unlikely. But limiting warming to 2 degrees—which would still cause severe and deadly disruptions—is considered an urgent priority.Elsewhere in the EcosystemEPA considers approving fruit pesticide despite risks to children, records showMost people know, in theory, that lobbying is a force in government. But it’s a different thing to see the details. Environmental Protection Agency emails acquired by the Center for Biological Diversity show that lobbying and political pressure may have led the agency to go easy on Aldicarb, a pesticide that poses risk to children’s developing brains and has been banned in over 100 other countries. The Guardian reports:The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering approving a pesticide for use on Florida oranges and grapefruits despite the fact that agency scientists have repeatedly found the chemical does not meet safety standards designed to protect children’s health, internal agency records show.EPA emails indicate how for years, agency scientists have wanted to deny new uses of aldicarb, but appear to have not done so because of persistent pressure from chemical industry lobbyists, politicians, and political appointees. The records indicate how, during the Trump administration, the agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs approved the pesticide, moving from a position favoring public health to one that critics say prioritized the interests of a North Carolina-based company called AgLogic that is seeking to expand sales of the insecticide. The EPA’s approval was later rejected by the state of Florida and a federal appeals court. Aldicarb is still, however, being considered for approval by the Biden-era EPA.Read Nat Lash’s and Janet Wilson’s report at The Guardian.This article first appeared in Life in a Warming World, a weekly TNR newsletter authored by deputy editor Heather Souvaine Horn. Sign up here.
Supported gold nanoparticle catalyst can upcycle polyester and biomass. Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have found that gold nanoparticles supported on a zirconium oxide surface...
Gleaning, the act of harvesting unused or surplus produce and distributing it to food insecure people is one solution to the interconnected challenges of hunger and food wasteAs the Mar Vista Farmers Market in Los Angeles came to an end, a small team of volunteers in bright orange aprons handed out large cardboard boxes to be filled with unsold heirloom tomatoes, apricots, berries, green peppers, lettuce and eggplants that would have otherwise gone to waste. After being weighed and cataloged, the boxes were stacked into neat piles and picked up by three local organizations that serve people in need.The event was hosted by the North Hollywood, California-based Food Forward. Founded in 2009, the nonprofit aims to fight hunger and prevent food waste by rescuing surplus produce from backyards, public orchards, farmers markets and the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. The group gleans and donates an average of 250,000lb of food each day to more than 340 hunger relief partners throughout 12 California counties, six adjacent states and tribal lands, feeding 150,000 people their five daily servings of fruits and vegetables in the process. Continue reading...
Mining electronic waste for rare-earth elements while isolating the remaining toxic chemicals could help solve the global e-waste crisis
How poor methane rules are costing tribes and taxpayers.
In a world trying to move towards an environmentally sustainable model, what to do with millions of spent batteries? A pioneering company recycles this waste in Costa Rica in search of a circular economy future. Phones, laptops, tablets, electric vehicles and solar receivers need lithium batteries to operate. The question is what to do with […] The post Lithium battery recycling, an endless cycle for waste in Costa Rica appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.
Companies are recruiting black soldier flies and mealworms as a protein source in animal feed, fertilizer, biofuels and even as ingredients for burgers and shakes
Their enzymes can break down plastic in a matter of hours
Over a decade later, Adler is back with the Everlasting Meal Cookbook: Leftovers A-Z—a guide on how to turn meager leftovers into new and tastier dishes that will appeal to everyone who prides themselves on making use of all the food they buy. Adler’s creative salvaging knows no bounds. In her entry for almond butter is […] The post Tamar Adler Teaches Home Cooks to Turn Food Waste Into Dinner appeared first on Civil Eats.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan took aim Friday morning at states that have sought to block hazardous waste from the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment, calling such efforts potentially illegal. Regan, speaking to reporters on a call to provide updates on cleanup efforts, said the agency “has not imposed any conditions that have...
By Clare Baldwin and Helen Reid(Reuters) - Waste from at least 19 international brands including Adidas and Walmart is being used to fuel kilns in...
Increasingly, she has had to contend with extreme weather: early frosts threaten her fall crops. False springs have caused her winter crops to bolt too soon. Rain comes all at once and then not at all. “Over the past 12 years, it does feel like the seasons are getting less predictable,” she said in early […] The post Climate Change Is Walloping US Farms. Can This Farm Bill Create Real Solutions? appeared first on Civil Eats.
Current estimates only cover “the tip of the plastic waste iceberg.”
Researchers have developed a new method to recycle plastics, such as those from milk cartons, food containers, and plastic bags, into soap. The method: Heat...
More than 200 million face more intense and frequent floods due to plastic pollution blocking drainage systems, report findsA devastating 2005 flood that killed 1,000 people in the Indian city of Mumbai was blamed on a tragically simple problem: plastic bags had blocked storm drains, stopping monsoon flood water from draining out of the city.Now a new report, attempting to quantify this problem, estimates that 218 million of the world’s poorest people are at risk from more severe and frequent flooding caused by plastic waste. Continue reading...
The vaping craze sweeping the globe is leaving a legacy of contaiminated e-waste in landfill while waste management authorities scramble to set up recycling schemes.
California sends toxic soil to landfills in Utah and Arizona, including sites near Native American reservations. Will lawmakers step in to keep the waste in state?
This story was originally published by Slate and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Eighteen years ago, discarded plastic was common on the streets of Bengaluru, India. Strong winds carried loose plastic bottles and packaging, which piled up in drains after the rain. Indumathi, who uses only her given name, remembers the scene well, […]
Head of Clean Up Australia says disposing of vapes is ‘a new and serious environmental issue’Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcastEnvironment groups have called for urgent clarity and regulation to respond to an increase in hazardous waste from e-cigarettes, as vaping becomes more popular.The number of people using e-cigarettes doubled between 2016 and 2019, according to the federal government, with a survey showing more than 30% of 14- to 17-year-olds have tried vaping.Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup Continue reading...
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is cracking down on contamination from toxic coal waste at power plants that have been closed for several years — requiring them to take actions to prevent their coal ash from leaking out and contaminating groundwater. The rule, if finalized, would hold the handling of this “legacy” waste from plants...
PITTSBURGH — A landfill company based in Pittsburgh has applied for a permit to open the first hazardous waste landfill in the state of Pennsylvania, which some fear could threaten waterways and increase air pollution. Hazardous waste includes anything potentially dangerous or harmful to human health or the environment. It includes things like cleaning chemicals, paint and solvents, corrosive or toxic industrial waste, sludge from air pollution control units and waste from the oil and gas industry, including potentially radioactive substances. Federal regulations require these waste products to be handled and disposed of with special care. The company that would build the new hazardous waste landfill, MAX Environmental Technologies, Inc., is headquartered in Pittsburgh and operates two landfills in the nearby communities of Yukon and Bulger. The Yukon facility, which is about 29 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, stores and treats this type of waste, but isn’t permitted to dispose of it on site, so any waste that remains hazardous after treatment must be transported out of state for disposal. If MAX’s permit is granted, the company will construct a new hazardous waste landfill on its Yukon property, which is within one mile of 485 homes and about two and a half miles from the Yough School District. Residents in the area have spent decades fighting to close the existing landfill due to concerns that it’s too close to homes and schools and fears that the hazardous pollution it emits is causing health problems. “We moved there as newlyweds in our first home in the 1980s, and shortly after we moved there my husband and I started to experience all kinds of health problems,” Diana Steck told EHN, noting that at the time, the landfill was owned by a different company, Mill Services. “My husband developed this terrible rash that was on his face and his back and arms, and I had problems with asthma and started to have issues with unexplained joint pain.” After Steck’s children were born, they started experiencing unusual health issues too. She saw orange plumes rising from the site and said the acrid smells gave her family blisters in their nostrils and mouths. After reading a news story about the landfill releasing toxic pollutants like heavy metals, arsenic and chromium compounds into the air and water, she joined a group of residents who were also worried about the health impacts, and spent the next several decades unsuccessfully fighting to see the landfill closed. Steck has since moved about 10 miles away, but remains worried. “The community has been deemed a sacrifice zone,” she said. “This new landfill would be even closer to homes, and it would be closer to Sewickley Creek, a tributary of the Youghiogheny River, which is a drinking water source for many people downstream. Everyone who lives in this area, even those who are further away from the landfill, should be concerned about this.” More recently, public outcry erupted when MAX Environmental petitioned to have some of the waste it handles reclassified as non-hazardous. Environmental advocates say the company hasn’t been a good neighbor. “The existing facility is chronically noncompliant,” Melissa Marshall, an attorney and community advocate at the Mountain Watershed Association, told EHN, adding that the facility ranks among the top facilities in the state for violations of its water discharge permit. “A company that can’t follow regulations designed to keep our waterways safe shouldn’t be trusted to become the first hazardous waste landfill in the state.” Meanwhile, the plant’s operators told EHN that they run the site safely and take all the precautions necessary to protect the environment and surrounding communities. “We’re obviously aware there have been exceedances of our discharge limits in the past,” said Carl Spadaro, who previously worked as an engineer for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and now serves as the environmental manager for MAX Environmental Technologies. “Over the last few years, we’ve increased the maintenance of our wastewater treatment system so we’re keeping it as clean as possible.” What’s next, and how can residents weigh in?The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is holding a public meeting and public hearing on the first stage of the permit application on the evening of Thursday, Dec.1. The agency will also collect public comments about the proposed landfill until Jan. 20, 2023. DEP spokesperson Lauren Camarda noted that this hearing marks the beginning of a lengthy and comprehensive permitting process and said only topics related to siting regulations will be discussed at this first hearing. “The review process for a hazardous waste disposal facility is a prescriptive and multi-phase process and we are in phase I,” Camarda told EHN. “It is important to stress that if the phase I application is approved, there is still a phase II application that must be submitted that comes with its own comprehensive review process, including a public participation process.” If the application makes it through the first two phases without being denied by DEP, the agency will publish a notice of draft permit or intent to deny, and there will be additional public hearing and comment periods. “Normally they try to put sites like this as far away from people as they can,” Marshall said. “It’s very unusual to try and put a hazardous waste landfill this close to people’s homes… so it’s really important for the community to come participate in these hearings.”
There are an estimated 20 million waste pickers across the world, an informal army of street cleaners whose work goes largely unrecognised. Yet to some they are environmental stewards, clearing away the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life, often in countries where regular waste collection services are non-existent.
The new ordinance bans the distribution and sale of expanded polystyrene products, which are commonly referred to by the trade name Styrofoam.
The global recycling capacity is unable to keep up with the relentless cycle of resource extraction, production, and waste generation. Recycling was once considered the obvious solution to the excessive amount of new (or virgin) plastic produced each year. This is no longer realistic. Global recycling capacity simply cannot keep up with the taking, making […] The post Plastic recycling is failing – here’s how the world must respond appeared first on SAPeople - Worldwide South African News.
Estimate in new EPA analysis is probably ‘dramatic’ undercount because ‘forever chemical’ waste is unregulated in USUS industry disposed of at least 60m pounds of PFAS “forever chemical” waste over the last five years, and did so with processes that probably pollute the environment around disposal sites, a new analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data finds.The 60m pounds estimate is likely to be a “dramatic” undercount because PFAS waste is unregulated in the US and companies are not required to record its disposal, the paper’s author, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer), wrote. Continue reading...
Some call it a missed opportunity to push for plastic production cuts.
Yes, you already have a million things to think about when moving to a new house or apartment. But some simple tweaks can make the process climate-friendlier.
Encouraging sign for river that suffered as dumping ground for waste from nearby factoriesDolphins have been spotted frolicking in New York City’s Bronx River, an encouraging sign of the improving health of a waterway that was for many years befouled as a sewer for industrial waste.A pair of dolphins was seen gliding through the river’s waters on Monday, the New York City parks department confirmed, near a small park in the city’s Bronx borough. The Bronx river rises north of New York City and cuts through the Bronx before terminating in the East River, the estuary that separates the Bronx and Manhattan from the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. Continue reading...
This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Last month, the American Chemistry Council, a petrochemical industry trade group, sent out a newsletter highlighting a major new report on what it presented as a promising solution to the plastic pollution crisis: using “recycled” plastic in construction materials. At first blush, […]
It's unclear whether this solution helps the environment — or that infrastructure infused with used plastic is structurally sound.
One month after the derailment of a train carrying hazardous chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio, the Environmental Protection Agency-led cleanup is underway — but officials in other states have questioned the waste disposal plans. A number of hazardous chemicals were spilled in the derailment, most notably vinyl chloride, a carcinogenic compound used in production of...
The state requires that yard waste and kitchen scraps be separated from other trash. But some of us are still waiting for a quick and easy way to segregate our organic waste.
Limits on NGO numbers at environment conference in Paris mean some voices from developing countries won’t be heardScientists and NGOs have accused the UN’s environment programme (Unep) of locking out those “most needing to be heard” from upcoming negotiations in Paris aimed at halting plastic waste.Last-minute restrictions to the numbers of NGOs attending what the head of Unep described as the “most important multilateral environmental deal” in a decade, will exclude people from communities in developing countries harmed by dumping and burning of plastic waste as well as marginalised waste pickers, who are crucial to recycling, from fully participating, they said. Continue reading...
North Carolina residents push back against environmental agency bringing 4m lbs of ‘forever chemical’ waste to regionThe federal US government has paused the importation of millions of pounds of toxic PFAS “forever chemical” waste from the Netherlands following intense backlash from residents near a North Carolina facility that would receive the substances.Local media last month revealed the Environmental Protection Agency had quietly approved a permit for chemical manufacturer Chemours to import about 4m lbs of waste over the next year, sparking fears of further pollution in a region already thoroughly contaminated by the company’s operations. Continue reading...