Day: December 16, 2019

U.S. States Have Eliminated Thousands of Environmental Protection Jobs Since 2008

Read the full story at e360.

Over the past decade, U.S. states eliminated 4,400 jobs at agencies responsible for protecting the environment, according to a new report from the Environmental Integrity Project, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. From 2008 to 2018, 30 states also cut funding for environmental agencies, with more than half of those slashing budgets by at least 20 percent.

Instead Of Fossil Fuels, This Startup Uses Mirrors And Sunlight To Mix Cement

Read the full story from WBUR.

If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third-largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world behind only China and the U.S.

The process used to mix cement not only gives off carbon dioxide as a byproduct, but it also requires a tremendous amount of heat that normally comes from fossil fuels.

Now, a startup solar power company called Heliogen has developed a new technology that could make industrial manufacturing renewable by using the power of the sun.

Now small brands compete with Amazon by offering sustainable same-day delivery

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Ohi is a new delivery service offering small businesses an ultra-fast, low-emissions solution for the delivery arms race.

How To Reduce Food Waste

Read the full story from NPR.

Food waste is a huge problem in the United States. The good news: Each of us can help solve it.

Consider this: A typical household of four tosses out about $1,600 worth of food annually. Up to 40% of the food that’s produced never makes it to our mouths, and all this waste is enough to fill the highest skyscraper in Chicago 44 times a year, according to an estimate by the Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, 1 in 8 Americans struggle with food scarcity.

Our discarded food often ends up in landfills, where it rots and then starts to emit methane — a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide. A recent report from the United Nations panel on climate change estimates food waste accounts for as much as 10% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

While many environmentally friendly practices — say, buying an electric car or installing solar panels — require an upfront investment, you can start saving immediately once you put in place these tips to reduce food waste.

Here are five simple ways to start reducing your food waste at home today.

‘It’s pretty staggering’: Returned online purchases often sent to landfill, journalist’s research reveals

Read the full story from the CBC.

Do you order different sizes of clothing online, knowing you can return the one that doesn’t fit?

Did you know the ones you return are sometimes sent straight to landfill?

Online shopping has created a boom in perfectly good products ending up in dumpsters and landfills, according to Adria Vasil, an environmental journalist and managing editor of Corporate Knights magazine.

Amazon has faced accusations of destroying returned items in both France and Germany.

The issue also affects unsold products. Burberry admitted in 2018 that it had incinerated £90 million worth of clothing and accessories in the previous five years. The company stopped the policy last year after a public outcry.

Vasil spoke to The Current’s Laura Lynch about how consumers can fight the rise in waste. Here is part of their conversation.

Researchers In Iceland Can Turn CO2 Into Rock. Could It Solve The Climate Crisis?

Read the full story at WBUR.

Strokkur in Iceland’s Haukadalur valley is one of the world’s most active geysers, erupting like clockwork every 10 minutes or so, sending plumes of steaming hot water up to 65 feet into the air. Like other geysers, Strokkur is propelled by underground magma, an intense heat source close to the Earth’s surface.

All over Iceland, steam rises up from underground. The nation’s geothermal plants tap into this source to heat water and homes. Tourists who have been to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon pools bathe and luxuriate in the runoff water from a nearby geothermal plant.

But it’s what’s being done at the sleekly modern Hellisheiði geothermal plant, sitting on a bleak and black volcanic plain half an hour outside of the capital Reykjavík, that’s creating buzz among scientists around the globe.

A team of young researchers there is capturing carbon dioxide emissions from the plant and infusing it into basalt rock that lines these volcanic plains.

Unlike previous capture and injection attempts, these emissions don’t leak out. Instead, it becomes a non-polluting organic part of the underground landscape.

Powered By Faith, Religious Groups Emerge As A Conduit For A Just Solar Boom

Read the full story from NPR.

Minnesota winters are long, brutal and gray. Minneapolis resident Keith Dent has endured 38 of them. But over the last several years, he’s experienced what he calls a “reintroduction to the sun.”

In 2017, Dent helped install, and later subscribed to a massive community solar garden mounted atop Shiloh Temple — a majority black church in north Minneapolis. Today, the 630-panel array provides Shiloh itself, the nearby Masjid An-Nur Mosque and 29 local households with green energy.

The Shiloh project is among hundreds of community solar gardens cropping up nationwide working to solve an obstacle many face when trying to go green: the cost of installing rooftop panels, which for a typical household, runs north of $10,000. The project is also among a growing cluster of initiatives affiliated with faith-based institutions seeking to advance their missions of justice by bringing renewable energy to low income communities.

There’s another reason to buy green products, and it’s totally selfish

Read the full story in Fast Company.

The Sony MDZRX110 headphones are nothing special. They’re your typical, bulky, black, plastic headphones. They retail for $15 on Amazon. But when nearly 200 people listened to the same clips of music on these headphones, scientists discovered something interesting: Half the people liked the music just fine, and half the people liked it more than fine—or even a lot.

Why did the music sound better to some people? Because they were told that their headphones were made from recycled plastic. That blatant lie literally changed the way people perceived music.

As it turns out, when people think a product is green, they’re not just more likely to buy it; they actually enjoy the experience of that product more than they would if the product were not green.

These findings—dubbed the “greenconsumption effect”—come out of a new paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research, from the John Molson School of Business in Concordia. 

Buxton bottles to contain 100% recycled plastic

Read the full story from Beverage Daily.

Multinational food giant Nestlé has announced plans to make all packaging in its Buxton water brand from 100% recycled materials.

Floral foam adds to microplastic pollution problem: Study

Read the full story from RMIT University.

As the cut flower industry hits one of its busiest periods, new research has shown that the water-absorbing green floral foam used by florists is contributing to the world’s microplastic problem.

A study by RMIT University published in Science of the Total Environment found the plastic foam, which breaks into tiny pieces, can be ingested by a range of freshwater and marine animals and affect their health.

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