Day: June 3, 2020

Tackling Waste with Technology

Read the full story at IndustryWeek.

While the word “sustainability” tends to surface thoughts around curbing CO2 emissions and the corresponding targets and goals, there are other aspects of industrial environments that contribute to energy waste and require greater consideration.

Interestingly, technology may be the guiding light for organizations looking to enhance overall energy management and address sustainability targets. Advancements in industry 4.0 technologies certainly offer significant improvement opportunities for the industrial world, enabling new efficiencies and more streamlined operations.

Black environmentalists on climate and anti-racism

Read the full story in the NYT’s Climate:Fwd newsletter.

This week, with the country convulsed by protests over the killing of a black man named George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, we decided we’d talk to leading black climate activists about the connections between racism and climate change.

A clear theme emerged from those discussions: Racial and economic inequities need to be tackled as this country seeks to recalibrate its economic and social compass in the weeks and months to come. Racism, in short, makes it impossible to live sustainably.

Here’s what three prominent environmental defenders had to say in interviews this week about how the climate movement can be anti-racist.

The Plague of Uncertainty: The Pandemic’s Unpredictable Impacts on Recycling and Its Markets (Commentary)

Read the full story from Waste360.

At the end of January, I spoke on recycling markets at the Connecticut Recyclers Coalition Annual Conference. I never uttered the word “pandemic”. So much for my predictive abilities.

In spite of that, they asked me to do a webinar at the end of this month on the pandemic’s impact on recycling markets. Much of its impact on the industry is well known. Residential trash and recyclables are up, commercial trash and recyclables are down. Because businesses, as a whole, generate more of both, overall waste and recycling generation are down. Due to social distancing and other requirements, MRF workers are being separated and line speed has slowed. Worker shortages have been a problem for some collectors and processors.

Our waste and recycling streams have changed because what we buy has changed. We shop online more because so many physical stores are closed. Our use of grocery delivery is up by 400 percent, after spiking at 560 percent. Delivery of meals from restaurants is up 50 percent.  At the same time apparel sales are down 46 percent. I don’t think face masks are included in that category, but they are in demand now. Sales of office supplies went up by six percent because many office workers now work from home.  

Perhaps most importantly, consumer spending peaked on March 11 and was down 25 percent by May 12 (see here for a fascinating look at these changes). As we have less money to spend, we will inevitably buy fewer things.

Recycling coalition asks Congress to pass EPR bill over plastics-backed RECOVER amid relief talks

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

A coalition of more than 100 environmental groups, recyclers, public health advocates and others are adding their voices to a growing effort calling on Congress to prioritize recycling funding in any future pandemic relief legislation. Led by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the coalition includes nonprofit recyclers Eureka Recycling from Minnesota, as well as Eco-Cycle from Colorado and the Ecology Center from California.

A May 29 letter, shared with Waste Dive, emphasized the need to reduce plastic pollution and ensure steep financial losses associated with the pandemic don’t accelerate a crisis for recyclers because “nobody wins when we lose local recycling programs.” The group recommends Congress pass the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, which it states “would reduce waste and help local recyclers.”

A separate coalition of plastics groups and other recycling industry stakeholders previously asked Congress to pass a version of the infrastructure-focused RECOVER Act with $1 billion in matching funds. The new PIRG-led effort opposes RECOVER “as written,” stating “such funds could be used to promote dangerous, unproven, and thriftless technologies that would encourage more single-use plastic production at taxpayers’ expense.” 

Learn Bird ID Basics With 2 Free Courses from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in support of #BlackBirdersWeek

Via the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

At the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, we’ve been moved and inspired by all the people posting for #BlackBirdersWeek. In recognition that some posters are just starting out in birdwatching, we’d like to help people learn the basics of bird ID—so birdwatching can be as fun, rewarding, and challenging as you want it to be.

That’s why we’re offering free enrollment in two ID courses, to anyone who wants them, through the end of #BlackBirdersWeek (Friday, June 6). The courses are Be a Better Birder 1: Size and Shapeand Be a Better Birder 2: Color and Pattern, each a $29 value. The all-online courses feature interactive lessons, videos, and quizzes that you can complete at your own pace. The courses do not expire, so you can come back to them as often as you like. 

Interested? To enroll apply the following coupon code during cart checkout: 


Here’s how:

  1. From the course catalog, select one or both of the courses mentioned above: 
  2. Add them to the cart by clicking the “Enroll Now” button
  3. Enter the coupon code BlackBirdersWeek and click ‘Apply Coupon’
  4. Click ‘Proceed to Checkout’ and your total will now be $0.00
  5. To check out, you’ll need a free Cornell Lab account, if you don’t already have one. You’ll be guided through the process.

Procter & Gamble and Cargill Collaborate to Bring Nature-Powered Innovation, Fueling the Future for more Sustainable Products

[Press release] An innovation developed in the corporate R&D labs at P&G that converts lactic acid into bio-based acrylic acid could be a helpful step to shift everyday goods to be made from annually renewable crops. P&G has granted Cargill an exclusive license that allows Cargill to further develop and commercialize this technology, so that it can ultimately be incorporated in a range of applications from superabsorbent polymers in absorbent hygiene products to thickeners in household paints and beyond. The use of bio-based acrylic acid is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and contribute to greener products for years to come – something that is important to a range of stakeholders, including consumers and business leaders.

P&G scientists were recently announced as winners of the American Chemical Society (ACS) 2020 Award for Affordable Green Chemistry for this groundbreaking proprietary technology. While the conversion technology is considered a breakthrough, it will take several more years of development before impacting consumer products in the marketplace.

“This new technology demonstrates that we can leverage the best materials science with new bio-based solutions to deliver sustainable innovation in consumer goods production. By investing in advancing bio-based solutions, we can and will help reduce the carbon footprint of various industries. This is consistent with P&G’s stated Ambition 2030 sustainability goals to look to new, renewable sources of raw materials for conversion into everyday products,” says Dr. Annie Weisbrod, Principal Scientist, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability at Procter & Gamble.

“Manufacturers and brand owners have been seeking viable pathways to bio-based acrylic acid to reduce the environmental impact, and P&G’s conversion technology brings us closer to a solution,” says Mr. Asheesh Choudhary, global business development director for Cargill’s bioindustrial business.

“We are thrilled that P&G granted Cargill an exclusive license to this technology that converts lactic acid into bio-acrylic acid,” says Dr. Jill Zullo, strategic marketing and innovation leader for Cargill’s bioindustrial business. “By using annually renewable crops, we’ll be able to contribute to farmer prosperity while delivering more renewable solutions that are estimated to have less than half the GHG footprint versus the petroleum-based equivalent.”

About Cargill

Cargill’s 155,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive.

We combine 154 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side-by-side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture. For more information, visit and our News Center.

About Procter & Gamble

P&G serves consumers around the world with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Always®, Ambi Pur®, Ariel®, Bounty®, Charmin®, Crest®, Dawn®, Downy®, Fairy®, Febreze®, Gain®, Gillette®, Head & Shoulders®, Lenor®, Olay®, Oral-B®, Pampers®, Pantene®, SK-II®, Tide®, Vicks®, and Whisper®. The P&G community includes operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide. Please visit for the latest news and information about P&G and its brands.


Jennifer Patel, Global Communications Lead, 612-644-1891,
Maria Burquest, P&G Communications, 513-680-5977,

ReUSE Minnesota’s Virtual Conference July 13 & 14, 2020

It’s impossible to say where things will be by October, but we’re shifting gears for the 2020 conference. ReUSE2020 is going virtual (!) and moving up from October to July.

Reuse, rental, and repair play an essential role in supporting and stabilizing sustainable, local economies and communities. Now more than ever, we’re seeing the limitations of our existing supply chains and the harmful impacts of our consumption patterns. We need to move away from the linear status quo to a circular, regenerative model.

While a virtual conference wasn’t the original plan, it opens the opportunity for broader connection, and access to information and speakers from around the country. ReUSE Minnesota is excited to bring an interactive and energizing experience to you and continue efforts to grow the national reuse movement.

There is still time to submit a session proposal. The deadline is Monday, June 8.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will ReUSE Minnesota also have a conference in October?
    No, the October in-person conference is switching to a July virtual conference. Reuse2020 will now be hosted on Monday, July 13 and Tuesday, July 14. The conference will be 3.5 hours each day, and include similar elements as an in-person conference: plenary key notes, break-out sessions, and interactive discussions.
  • Will the conference be free to attend?
    The conference will not be free, but given the switch to virtual it will be a reduced registration fee. ReUSE Minnesota also knows how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting reuse businesses and organizations, and is committed to working with you on options to ensure the registration fee isn’t the barrier for your attendance. Please contact us at to discuss further.
  • With ReUSE Minnesota as the conference host, will the sessions only be relevant to Minnesota?
    Reuse2020 is a national conference, and intended to offer information that is useful for reuse businesses, organizations, and passionate individuals regardless of where you’re located

Circularity 20 becomes complimentary online event

Given the evolving viability of in-person convenings, Circularity 20 will now be a complimentary online event, streamed live from Atlanta from August 25-27. It will feature engaging and informative plenaries, breakouts, tutorials, tours, networking opportunities and a solutions-oriented showcase.

This time of unprecedented challenges requires systemic solutions and radical new ways of doing business. Circularity 20 will empower participants to employ circular economy principles that navigate disruption, increase resilience, respond to shifting consumer demand and unlock new business opportunities. Join industry-leading speakers and more than 10,000 professionals participating from around the world to learn, connect and accelerate the circular economy.

Equity in Design and Construction: Seven Case Studies

Read the full story in Building Green.

From an affordable multifamily building to an iconic museum, these projects are designed and built to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Fortress Charleston: Can a Wall Hold Back the Waters?

Read the full story at e360.

Officials in Charleston, South Carolina have endorsed a $2 billion plan to wall off the historic downtown from rising seas and surging storms. It is the latest in a growing number of extravagantly expensive seawalls and barriers being proposed to defend U.S. coastal cities.

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