Day: August 27, 2018

My green idea: Recycling India’s floral waste

Read the full story from the BBC.

Piles of marigolds, roses, carnations and other flowers are left at temples, mosques and sikh gurudwaras for use in religious ceremonies.

Afterwards, the flowers can prove difficult to dispose of.

Tipping the discarded petals into flowing waters is one option, but this can add to the burdens for India’s often heavily polluted waterways.

Chemical engineer and eco-entrepreneur, Parimala Shivaprasad, thinks she has the solution.

The 26-year-old from Bangalore, currently a postgraduate student at the University of Bath, wants to turn the leftover flowers into a useful product.

Her big idea is to build a social enterprise that will enable temples in India to extract essential oils from the flowers.

The remains, she says, can be used as organic compost for growing vegetables to help feed the poor.

For Illinois Birds, Moving To Urban Areas Key To Survival

Read the full story at WBEZ.

Mike Ward walks through the Rutland Forest Preserve in Kane County holding a pair of binoculars, searching the trees for birds. But he rarely uses the binoculars. Instead, he rattles off which birds are flying by purely by sound.

“That high-pitched call was a cedar waxwing,” Ward explained, swatting away mosquitoes swarming after a recent rainfall. He also easily identifies a robin, a chickadee, and a cardinal calling.

As avian ecologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ward has studied birds for more than two decades. His latest project is among his most ambitious — he and a team of researchers are looking for ways to help save native Illinois birds for decades to come.

They retraced the steps of two ornithologists, Stephen Forbes and Alfred Gross, who conducted the first statewide bird survey in between 1906-1909. Forbes and Gross traveled across the state by train and on foot. They didn’t have binoculars, so they shot the birds to identify them. In their survey, Ward and his team identified birds strictly by sight.

Here’s how many times you actually need to reuse your shopping bags

Read the full post at The Conversation.

The plastic bag ban by the major supermarkets (and Coles’ pivot away from its ban after backlash, then pivot back to the ban after a backlash to the backlash) has left plenty of people scratching their heads.

What are the best replacements for single-use plastic bags? Given that reusable bags are much sturdier, how many times must we use them to compensate for their larger environmental impact?

The simple answer is that there is no simple answer. However, a kind of research called “life cycle assessment” can help us work out the impact of common types of reusable bags.

Study: Human wastewater valuable to global agriculture, economics

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

It may seem off-putting to some, but human waste is full of nutrients that can be recycled into valuable products that could promote agricultural sustainability and better economic independence for some developing countries.

In response: The conflict of interest that is killing recycling

Read the full post at the PSI Blog.

It is time to disrupt the current recycling economic model, which relies on taxpayers and municipal governments to pick up the cost of managing waste products and packaging from which companies reap the profits. To date, U.S. corporations have dodged their responsibility to manage their products after consumers use them.

Scientists Battle Red Tide That Turned Florida Coast Into Wildlife Killing Field

Read the full story from NPR.

Scientists along Florida’s Gulf Coast are working to battle an unusually intense red tide algae bloom, which has killed tons of wildlife, shut down businesses and kept tourists away from beaches this summer.

Attention, Shoppers: Kroger Says It Is Phasing Out Plastic Bags

Read the full story from NPR.

One of the largest supermarket companies in the U.S. has announced it is phasing out single-use plastic bags in an effort to reduce plastic waste.

The Kroger Co. says it plans to stop distributing single-use bags completely by 2025 across its chains.

Kroger includes major chains such as Ralphs, Harris Teeter, Food 4 Less, Pick ‘n Save and, of course, Kroger. As of 2017, the company says it owns more than 2,700 supermarkets in 35 states and Washington, D.C.

In Sicily, A Plague of Cancer Overwhelms an Oil Refinery Town

Watch the video at e360.

The Augusta-Priolo petroleum refinery complex, one of Europe’s largest, has for more than 50 years spewed a toxic brew of pollutants into the air and water of eastern Sicily. In recent decades, the roughly 60,000 residents of surrounding towns have experienced abnormally high rates of cancer, an outbreak that one comprehensive study has shown is tied to emissions from the refineries.

In his new documentary, “Venerable Augusta” — winner of the 2018 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest — Italian filmmaker Francesco Cannavà depicts the crisis in Augusta and nearby towns through the eyes of the local priest, Father Palmiro Prisutto. We follow him and other Augusta residents as they stage a demonstration against government inaction in the face of a deadly epidemic. “The accusation I am making today against the Italian state is this: Our cancer dead have been murdered,” says Prisutto. “For some time, the population has repeated this chorus: ‘Better to die of cancer than of hunger.’ This saying is unacceptable. One cannot trade health and life merely for a job.”

Also featured in the film is Augusta resident and cancer patient Carmelo Miano, who, shortly before he dies, says, “The Fifth Commandment says, ‘Thou shall not kill.’ Here, instead, they are killing everyone.’”

This makeup company is using its supply chain to revitalize the rainforest

Read the full story in Fast Company.

The natural beauty company Lush wants to help reverse some of the effects of deforestation and environmental degradation by encouraging the growth of native crops like vanilla and avocado.

China Wants Only the Cleanest Trash

Read the full story in Bloomberg Businessweek.

China’s Yunnan Xintongji Plastic Engineering Co. not long ago employed 180 people making construction pipes fashioned from the 3 million pounds of plastic trash it imported from the U.S. each year. Then in January, the Chinese government pulled the plug on lots of American junk and demanded exporters send only the cleanest plastic and paper waste, free of contaminants such as grease and broken glass. Without access to raw materials, XTJ had to lay off all but 30 of its workers and began running at 20 percent capacity.

So XTJ and its U.S. exporter, Atlanta businessman Song Lin, got creative. They’re readying their own recycling plant south of Macon, Ga., to collect scrap plastic, clean it, and “pelletize” it before shipping it to China. Two other Chinese companies recently agreed to buy or build U.S. factories to acquire waste materials, some of which will be bound for the mainland, says Bill Moore, an Atlanta-based paper recycling consultant. And, based on his talks with industry contacts, a dozen more deals could be forthcoming, he says.

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