Day: August 20, 2019

Report on Beckham stadium site shows soil contaminated by unsafe levels of arsenic

Read the full story from the Miami Herald.

The proposed site for a Major League Soccer stadium and mall in Miami is far more toxic than previously expected, with arsenic contamination levels reaching more than twice the legal limit and surface-level soil samples containing debris that poses a “physical hazard.”

Cyanide from a steel plant trickled into Lake Michigan for days before the public was notified

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

John Cannon, the mayor of Portage, Ind., told The Washington Post that his office didn’t know about the spill until days after it happened, a delay for which he blames the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. But ultimately, he said, he “holds ArcelorMittal responsible” for the spill and the damage it caused.

New database to boost the visibility of women in STEM

Read the full story from the Australian Academy of Science.

Australian women in STEM will be more visible thanks to a new resource showcasing the depth of talent of those working in the field.

STEM Women is an online directory of women in Australia working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The Australian Academy of Science developed the directory in partnership with the CSIRO, Science & Technology Australia, and the Australian Science Media Centre, with financial support from the Australian Government.

Confessions of a Recovering Recycler

Read the full essay at Waste360.

We are facing a resource conservation crisis. Asia has rejected millions of tons of American cardboard and plastic due to contamination problems. Contamination in the U.S. is high since recyclables are often dumped into one bin instead of multi-streamed or separated from the source. Now, China has strict standards for recycling materials it will accept, requiring contamination levels in a plastic bale, for example, contain one-tenth of 1 percent. The situation is dire for many localities as recycling costs have skyrocketed. Many municipalities have stopped recycling, greatly increasing disposal. 

For more than 40 years, I championed marketing secondary materials as a recycling coordinator, working in towns, cities and regions. I have helped recycle a wide variety of reused products, from tennis balls to motor oil. I have worn many hats to promote secondary end markets. Without finding new economic opportunities for recyclables, it may be discarded. Incorporating some type of lifecycle value to these materials will best manage Cradle to Cradle opportunities.

Being a vanguard for recyclables in a throwaway culture has been challenging. Like lessening climate change, the consequences of not doing so are enormous.

Compost key to sequestering carbon in the soil

Read the full story from the University of California-Davis.

In a 19-year study, scientists dug roughly 6 feet down to compare soil carbon changes in different cropping systems. They found that compost is a key to storing carbon, a strategy for offsetting carbon dioxide emissions.

Greener, faster and cheaper way to make patterned metals for solar cells and electronics

Read the full story from the University of Warwick.

An innovative way to pattern metals could make the next generation of solar panels more sustainable and cheaper.

Cool roofs can help shield California’s cities against heat waves

Read the full story from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

A new study shows that if every building in California sported ‘cool’ roofs by 2050, these roofs would help contribute to protecting urbanites from the consequences of dangerous heatwaves.

Installing solar panels on agricultural lands maximizes their efficiency

Read the full story from Oregon State University.

A new study finds that if less than 1% of agricultural land was converted to solar panels, it would be sufficient to fulfill global electric energy demand.

When invasive plants take root, native animals pay the price

Read the full story from Virginia Tech.

Biologists have completed a comprehensive meta-analytic review examining the ecological impacts of invasive plants by exploring how animals — indigenous and exotic — respond to these nonnative plants.

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