Day: April 9, 2020

Glass Recyclers Struggle to “Feed” Beverage, Food Packaging Manufacturers

Read the full story at Waste360.

A look at how glass recycling has taken some knocks through the coronavirus pandemic.

Beauty Brand Turns to Sugarcane- and Corn-Based Packaging

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

Beauty brand Each & Every is making the switch from plastic and launching a new sugarcane packaging to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

Each & Every is introducing sugarcane packaging for its natural deodorants. Made from a 100% plant-based renewable resource, the new packaging is net carbon negative and recyclable

Plastic packaging: Hero or villain in the coronavirus era?

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

Coronavirus has provoked the food packaging debate, with some using the crisis to hammer home the message that plastic is vital for protecting food from germs and extending its shelf life, while others stress that the pandemic highlights the fact that disposable plastic is unsustainable and a carrier of harmful bacteria.

Crops could face double trouble from insects and a warming climate

Read the full story at The Conversation.

For millennia, insects and the plants they feed on have been engaged in a co-evolutionary battle: to eat or not be eaten. Until recently, the two antagonistic sides have maintained a stalemate of sorts. With climate change, however, warmer temperatures could tip the balance in favor of the insects and spell danger for crops and the farmers that tend to them.

Our research team at Michigan State University’s Plant Resilience Institute watched what happened in hotter weather when hornworm caterpillars attacked a tomato plant. The tomato lost. We saw a surprising trade-off by the plant during the heat wave: It defended itself against the caterpillars but this effort prevented it from dealing with the harmful effects of heat. This caused the plant to overheat, which strengthened the caterpillars’ hand.

A study by researchers in 2018 predicted that each degree of global warming will increase crop loss from insects by 10% to 25% because insect populations and their appetites surge in warm temperatures. Other climate-related variables, including prolonged droughts or floods, are likely to compound those losses.

But although scientists have identified these varied challenges to food production, they still don’t know much about how the combination of heat and insects will affect the plants’ built-in defense systems.

How to read coronavirus news like a science writer

Read the full story in Quartz.

In the current climate of Covid-19, health and science news dominates headlines everywhere.

It’s arguably the first “infodemic,” as news spreads literally virally across social media and media outlets. In a time of uncertainty, we hunger for information. Yet even though internet access means much news is at our fingertips, it’s not always easy to evaluate the quality of what we’re reading—and what it actually means about the state of science.

If you’re being bombarded with facts about Covid-19 and aren’t sure whether to trust them, think like we do here at Quartz. Questioning new information with a measured sense of skepticism and a little digging can help you avoid taking in sensationalized information. The following is good advice not just during this pandemic, but any time you pick up the health and science section of a given publication.

Baking industry leads EPA Energy Star program

Read the full story from Food Business News.

Four baking plants gained Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Certification for the first time, and an additional 37 gained recertification. This roster of plants recognized by the EPA was announced April 3 by the American Bakers Association.

Explained: Cement vs. concrete — their differences, and opportunities for sustainability

Read the full story from MIT.

Concrete is the world’s most consumed construction material. Yet there’s a lot the public doesn’t know about it or its environmental impact.

UF Health anesthesiology team devises respirator mask made from existing hospital materials

Read the full story from UF Health.

With respiratory masks used by health workers battling the coronavirus in short supply, the University of Florida Health’s department of anesthesiology has developed masks that can be produced in large quantities using materials already found in hospitals and medical facilities.

Single-use plastic bag supporters cite coronavirus risks in reviving sanitation concerns over reusables

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

States are changing policies as an old debate gains new traction. Research shows consumers could wash reusables more, but there’s no clear proof single-use bags are less likely to spread coronavirus.

Enhanced Extraction of AFFF-Associated PFASs from Source Zone Soils

Anastasia Nickerson, Andrew C. Maizel, Poonam R. Kulkarni, David T. Adamson, John J. Kornuc, and Christopher P. Higgins (2020). “Enhanced Extraction of AFFF-Associated PFASs from Source Zone Soils.” Environmental Science & Technology Article ASAP DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c00792

Abstract: Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) derived from aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) are increasingly recognized as groundwater contaminants, though the composition and distribution of AFFF-derived PFASs associated with soils and subsurface sediments remain largely unknown. This is particularly true for zwitterionic and cationic PFASs, which may be incompletely extracted from subsurface solids by analytical methods developed for anionic PFASs. Therefore, a method involving sequential basic and acidic methanol extractions was developed and evaluated for recovery of anionic, cationic, and zwitterionic PFASs from field-collected, AFFF-impacted soils. The method was validated by spike-recovery experiments with equilibrated soil-water-AFFF and analytical standards. To determine the relative importance of PFASs lacking commercially available analytical standards, their concentrations were estimated by a novel semiquantitation approach. Total PFAS concentrations determined by semiquantitation were compared with concentrations determined by the total oxidizable precursor assay. Finally, the described method was applied to two soil cores from former fire-training areas in which cations and zwitterions were found to contribute up to 97% of the total PFAS mass. This result demonstrates the need for extraction and analysis methods, such as the ones presented here, that are capable of quantifying cationic and zwitterionic PFASs in AFFF-impacted source zone soils.

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