Materials from 49ers’ Candlestick Park score a second life

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

San Francisco 49ers fans may cringe at the sight of Candlestick Park being demolished after 40 years as the football team’s home field, but perhaps some consolation can be offered with the knowledge that the stadium’s materials will find a sustainable second life.

American recycling is stalling, and the big blue bin is one reason why

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Once a profitable business for cities and private employers alike, recycling in recent years has become a money-sucking enterprise. The District, Baltimore and many counties in between are contributing millions annually to prop up one of the nation’s busiest facilities here in Elkridge, Md. — but it is still losing money. In fact, almost every facility like it in the country is running in the red. And Waste Management and other recyclers say that more than 2,000 municipalities are paying to dispose of their recyclables instead of the other way around.

Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures 2013

The Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures 2013 Report was previously named Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures. The report’s new name emphasizes the importance of sustainable materials management (SMM). SMM refers to the use and reuse of materials in the most productive and sustainable way across their entire life cycle. SMM conserves resources, reduces waste, slows climate change and minimizes the environmental impacts of the materials we use.

New this year is additional information on source reduction (waste prevention) of municipal solid waste (MSW); information on historical tipping fees for MSW; and information on the Construction and Demolition Debris generation, which is outside of the scope of MSW.

The full report, which is released every two years, contains data on:

  1. MSW generation, recovery, and disposal from 1960 to 2013;
  2. Per capita generation and discard rates;
  3. Source reduction (waste prevention);
  4. Materials and products that are in the waste stream;
  5. Aggregate data on the infrastructure for MSW management, including estimates of the number of curbside recycling programs, composting programs, and landfills in the US; and
  6. Trends in MSW management from 1960 to 2013, including source reduction, recycling and composting, and disposal via combustion and landfilling.
  7. Construction and demolition debris generation (starting with Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures 2013)

Reports from previous years are also available.

This Alaska Startup Is Making Nice Luxury Items From Stinky Seafood Byproducts

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Alaska produces billions of pounds of seafood each year, only a small fraction of which actually ends up on our plates. Millions of pounds of waste goes to pet food and fish oil, or, if a secondary use can’t be found, is simply ground up and dumped out in the ocean.

Now, a Juneau-based startup is finding fresh uses for that waste, using environmentally sensitive processes to make products like salmon leather wallets and chitin T-shirts.

Recycling in America: In the bin

Read the full story in The Economist.

To placate shareholders and shoppers, American companies are promising to use more recycled materials in their products. It’s a nice idea, but surprisingly hard to achieve. Coca-Cola committed to using at least 25% recycled plastic in its containers by 2015, but revised this downwards owing to scarce supply and high costs. Walmart is struggling to find the material to meet its goal to use 3 billion pounds of recycled plastic in its packaging and products by 2020. “The problem is supply,” explains Rob Kaplan of Walmart.

New campus recycling bins aim to bring waste awareness

Read the full story in the Daily Illini.

In an effort to make campus more eco-friendly and closer to a zero-waste initiative, 20 new recycling bins with standardized signage were installed on the Quad this month, making 30 total recycling/landfill stations.

The project was completed by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC). According to the project’s leader Bart Bartels, technical assistance engineer at ISTC, the center makes recommendations and completes projects aiming to reduce waste emissions on campus.

This zero-waste initiative is part of the goal of the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), the University’s mission to make campus carbon neutral by 2050.