Day: November 22, 2019

What Could Happen if a $9.4 Billion Chemical Plant Comes to “Cancer Alley”

Read the full story at ProPublica.

In St. James Parish, Louisiana, a Taiwanese industrial giant seems likely to be granted a permit to build a billion-dollar plastics plant. Its proposed emissions could triple levels of cancer-causing chemicals in one of the most toxic areas of the U.S.

US Solar Panel Prices Continue Dropping, Solar+Storage Increasing — Tracking The Sun Report

Read the full story at Clean Technica.

Tracking the Sun is an annual report from Berkeley Lab on installed solar panel prices and other trends among grid-connected, distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. Primary authors of this year’s report were Galen Barbose and Naïm Darghouth.

The focal points are on systems installed through year-end 2018, with some emphasis also on preliminary trends for the first half of 2019. The scope of 1.6 million systems, representing 81% of all distributed PV systems installed in the United States through the end of 2018, accurately feeds the analysis based on project-level data.

EPA: National recycling rate 35% in 2017, composting at record high

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

The U.S. EPA reported a slight increase in the national recycling rate, from 34.6% in 2015 to 35.2% in 2017, in a newly released edition of the Advancing Sustainable Materials Management report. Overall MSW generation increased from 262.1 million tons to 267.8 million tons during that same period, while per capita generation held steady around 4.51 pounds daily.

Among the more notable shifts, the volume of material composted (excluding backyard composting) reached a record high of 27 million tons in 2017 – up from 23.4 million tons in 2015. Yard trimmings comprised the vast majority of this increased activity and overall volume.

Products with the highest recycling rates in 2017 included lead-acid batteries (99.1%), corrugated boxes (88.4%), steel cans (70.9%), newspapers/mechanical papers (76.8%), major appliances (60.3%), aluminum cans (49.2%), mixed paper (48.3%), tires (39.9%) and certain consumer electronics (35.9%).

This plastic-like packaging is made from fish skin and algae

Read the full story from Fast Company.

Unlike some “compostable” plastics, which need to be processed in an industrial composting facility to break down, the new material can break down in a backyard compost bin.

Goodbye, Snails

Read the full story from the Atlantic.

Once, snails decorated the forests of Hawaii like Christmas ornaments. There were more than 750 unique species, which descended from ancestral mollusks that arrived on the islands millions of years ago. Hawaii’s snails were exemplars of evolution’s generative prowess.

But in recent decades, Hawaii’s snails have become notorious for the opposite force: extinction. Due to habitat loss and invasive predators, more than half of the snail species on the islands have gone extinct. Of those that remain, many have only a few dozen members left in their total populations. Some are endlings, the last of their kind.

Nespresso just spent $1.2 million to fix a problem it created by existing

Read the full story in Fast Company.

The coffee pod company is investing the money to help New York City’s recycling centers better recycle their coffee capsules (and, to be fair, a lot of other small pieces of metal)

Many Native Americans Can’t Get Clean Water, Report Finds

Read the full story from NPR.

For many people, turning on the tap or flushing the toilet is something we take for granted. But a report released Monday, called “Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States,” shows that more than 2 million Americans live without these conveniences and that Native Americans are more likely to have trouble accessing water than any other group.

Zappos Launches ‘Goods for Good’ Sustainable & Charitable Shopping Platform

Read the full story from Footwear News.

Zappos has created a new platform for customers seeking purpose-driven product.

Called Goods for Goods, the curated experience features items from over 150 brands, all of which promote meaningful causes.

The Goods for Good platform includes products in five categories: Recycled, Organic, Sustainably Certified, Vegan and Give Back.

Indian designers dismiss “design-school propaganda” as they decolonise their work

Read the full story at Dezeen.

Designers in India are rejecting the western canon and instead searching for home-grown approaches to their discipline.

The movement to decolonise design in India comes as practitioners question the way they were taught about the subject. Design education in the subcontinent has until now largely focussed on overseas examples.

Opinion: Current proposals to plant trees to fight climate change are badly misguided

Read the full story at Ensia.

Reforestation and afforestation can play a role in reducing carbon emissions — but “what” and “where” are critical considerations

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