E-scrap exports boost China’s battery recycling industry

Read the full story in E-Scrap News.

Global e-scrap flows have helped China dominate lithium-ion battery recycling but have hampered similar efforts in North America, according to a recently published report.

This year, nearly two-thirds of the lithium-ion battery volume recycled globally will be done in China, according to an analysis titled “The lithium-ion battery end-of-life market 2018-2025,” completed by U.K. research firm Circular Energy Storage. The report is for sale on the company’s website.

Thousands of Farmed Salmon Escape Into the Wild

Read the full story in Modern Farmer.

The CBC reports that between 2,000 and 3,000 farmed salmon escaped the confines of Cooke Aquaculture’s Newfoundland location, and are now somewhere in the wild.


An Overview of the Utilisation of Brewery By-Products as Generated by British Craft Breweries

Kerby, Clare and Fraink Vriesekoop (2017). “An Overview of the Utilisation of Brewery
By-Products as Generated by British Craft Breweries.” Beverages 3(2), 24-35. https://doi.org/10.3390/beverages3020024

Abstract: There is a wide range of information available on by-product disposal methods used by large national breweries. However, little information is available on the methods of by-product disposal used by craft breweries. An investigation was carried out in which 200+ British craft brewers were contacted, of which 90 craft brewers provided basic information about their brewery operations and by-product disposal. Representatives of eleven breweries were interviewed to provide an in-depth case study of their by-product disposal methods. The research found that urban craft brewers use a wider range of disposal methods compared to rural craft brewers; urban brewers dispose of more waste through sewage and landfill, as well as using external companies, such as bio-recycling and anaerobic digester plants, whereas rural brewers have relationships with farmers who dispose of the by-products in various ways. Craft brewers tend to have a direct relationship with the by-product users. Even though they do not have all disposal options available to them which the large industrial breweries have, due to their small scale of by-product production, craft brewers appear to find alternative means of sustainability.

Scientists create biodegradable paper-based biobatteries

Read the full story from Binghampton University.

The proposed design is easy to produce, low-cost, flexible and more efficient than previously proposed paper-based batteries.

Product Environmental Footprint Case Studies

Product environmental footprinting – also called product life cycle assessment (LCA) – is a method of evaluating environmental impacts of a product or material across its life cycle, including supply chain, manufacturing, transport, use, and discards. By demonstrating where in the life cycle the largest impacts occur and comparing alternatives, product footprinting can help businesses prioritize their sustainability efforts and invest in actions that result in deeper and more meaningful benefits.

Previous research commissioned by the States of Oregon and Washington documented that some businesses report environmental and/or financial benefits from evaluating the environmental footprints of their products. But not all do. Many businesses report difficulty conducting or understanding product footprint studies.

In response, the Washington Department of Ecology and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, working with the Oregon Sustainability Board, commissioned four diverse case studies of businesses with experience evaluating their product environmental footprints. The businesses have used product environmental footprinting to assess environmental conditions, identify opportunities for improvement, uncover business potential, and communicate with customers.  The case studies highlight benefits, challenges, lessons learned and best practices.

The case studies include:

Millikin student and professor improving local water

Read the full story from Millikin University.

The Sanitary District of Decatur is working hard to clean greater Decatur’s wastewater to return safe water to the Sangamon River, which requires a lot of work with chemistry. Needless to say, chemistry students can learn and grow from improving the water supply. Everyone else can benefit, too.

Dr. Kyle Knust, applied chemist and assistant professor of chemistry at Millikin University, and Saamia Salik, a sophomore pre-med chemistry major, in collaboration with Keith Richard, laboratory supervisor at the Sanitary District, are developing a method to decrease phosphorus levels in the wastewater treated at the Sanitary District of Decatur, something that will help both people and the environment.

Ghost peppers are saving U.S. grasslands—by scaring off hungry mice

Read the full story in Science.

Conservationists trying to restore the United States’s grasslands kept running into a problem: As soon as they planted the seeds meant to bring back native flora, hungry mice would gobble them up. In an effort to deter the rodents, biologists tried coating the seeds with capsaicin, the active ingredient that gives chili peppers their signature fiery taste. It worked: Dusting the seeds with chili powder reduced the number of seeds consumed by deer mice by 86%, researchers report in Restoration Ecology.

The climate impact of the food in the back of your fridge

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Many of us have had the experience of opening the refrigerator door, reaching to the back and pulling out the remains of a dinner spoiled and gone to waste. No one likes to waste food, and the negative emotions we feel when we do stem from a variety of sources.

What may not come immediately to mind, however, is food waste’s impact on the climate. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 30 percent of food is wasted globally across the supply chain, contributing 8 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming.

Recycled paper pulp facing tariff threat

Read the full story in Resource Recycling.

China is proposing tariffs on U.S. pulp made from recycled paper, a material that has received recent attention as a potential export to China to replace recovered paper bales.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce last week proposed new tariffs on roughly $60 billion in imports from the U.S. The list includes more than 5,000 product codes, and a few have relevance for the recycling industry.

Denialism: what drives people to reject the truth

Read the full story in The Guardian.

From vaccines to climate change to genocide, a new age of denialism is upon us. Why have we failed to understand it?