We will close the loop on waste by 2030

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

On Labor Day, a typical American shopper bought a bag of chips, a tub of salsa and a six-pack to bring to a friend’s barbeque. Behind that purchase are a variety of actors, including brands, retailers and packaging manufacturers.

If that shopper does not recycle, instead disposing of the empty bag and tub in the trash, the shopper will add to a growing problem of vast amounts of waste floating in our oceans, littering parks and filling landfills.

Solutions to this problem exist. The development of circular supply chains — closing the loop on consumer packaging and post-consumer waste by connecting consumers, municipal recycling infrastructure and product manufacturing — at massive scale would provide the following benefits annually:

  • Save cities more than $20 billion.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 500 million tons of CO2 (equivalent).
  • Drive revenues of at least half a trillion dollars across multiple industries.

Why Restaurants are Going Straw-less in Seattle by 2018

Read the full story in Waste360.

Around the world scientists, environmentalists and even manufacturers are looking at plastics and their impact on ocean life, the environment and the health of human life as well. While banning plastic disposable straws seems like a rather small step in a complex ecosystem, environmentalists and local government officials are finding it something that can be acted on in a simple way.

The city of Seattle passed a law nearly a decade ago requiring food service vendors to switch to compostable or recyclable wares when available for use. By July 1, 2018, disposable plastic straws and cutlery will be replaced in all Seattle food service venues with compostable or recyclable options.

Waste360 sat down with Sego Jackson, strategic advisor of waste prevention and product stewardship for the city of Seattle’s Public Utilities, to discuss how an ordinance passed eight years ago laid the foundation for replacing the plastic straws and cutlery in city restaurants.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Wasted Food Assessment with the Reducing Wasted Food and Packaging Toolkit

This webinar series, part of U.S. EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Web Academy, provides comprehensive guidance on conducting a tracking assessment using EPA’s Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit. The toolkit includes a guide and a tracking spreadsheet to assist commercial and institutional food services in tracking and reducing their food and packaging waste by implementing reduction strategies. Reducing food and packaging waste saves money, reduces the environmental impacts of waste, and improves organizational image.

For more resources on reducing food waste, visit EPA’s Sustainable Management of Food site. The Tools for Preventing and Diverting Wasted Food page is particularly useful.

Closing the Loop on E-waste: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

Bridgens, B., Hobson, K., Lilley, D., Lee, J., Scott, J. L. and Wilson, G. T. (2017). “Closing the Loop on E-waste: A Multidisciplinary Perspective”. Journal of Industrial Ecology. doi:10.1111/jiec.12645This article is open source.

Abstract: This paper describes the challenges faced, and opportunities identified, by a multidisciplinary team of researchers developing a novel closed loop system to recover valuable metals and reduce e-waste, focusing on mobile phones as a case study. This multidisciplinary approach is contrasted with current top-down approaches to making the transition to the circular economy (CE). The aim of the research presented here is to develop a product service system (PSS) that facilitates the recovery of valuable functional components and metals from mobile phone circuit boards. To create a holistic solution and limit unintended consequences, in addition to technological solutions, this paper considers appropriate component lifetimes; the (often ignored) role of the citizen in the circular economy; customer interaction with the PSS; environmental life cycle assessment; and social impacts of the proposed PSS. Development of enabling technologies and materials to facilitate recovery of components and metals and to provide an emotionally durable external enclosure is described. This research also highlights the importance of understanding value in the CE from a multifaceted and interdisciplinary perspective.

Recycling Solar Glasses After the Eclipse

Read the full story at Earth911. The reuse section of the article is particularly helpful.

Note especially that Astronomers Without Borders and partners are launching a project to distribute eclipse glasses to schools in South America and Asia for eclipses in 2019. Information about where to submit glasses will be featured on the organization’s Facebook page. You can also sign up for their newsletter to receive updates about where to send your glasses.

With the buzz about the exciting event darkening the daytime sky, eclipse glasses equipped with solar filters have sold out at retail stores and online vendors. Some variations are plastic. Others are bamboo. Lots feature relatively inexpensive paper frames.

About 2.1 million paper versions provided by Space Science Institute/National Center for Interactive Learning in partnership with other organizations were distributed by thousands of libraries in the United States. American Paper Optics in Tennessee sent out a press release stating that the firm would be working to produce 100,000,000 pairs of eclipse glasses. American Paper Optics is among various vendors with products meeting safety standards as listed on the American Astronomical Society website.

After enjoying the eclipse experience, lots of observers are likely deciding what to do with their solar glasses. Here’s what you should know:

 

Champaign County Residential Electronics Collection Event Scheduled for Oct. 14, 2017

Republished from the SEI Blog.

The next free electronics recycling collection event for participating communities in Champaign County, IL is scheduled for October 14, 2017. The collection will take place from 8 AM to noon at Parkland College (2400 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign). Use the Duncan Road entrance and follow the signs.

There is a 10 item limit for participating residents, and a 2 TV limit. All sizes, types, and models of televisions are accepted. This is of particular significance, because although there are multiple businesses that do accept various types of electronics for recycling year-round, there is currently no place in Champaign County to recycle older, bulkier cathode ray tube (CRT) tvs. (See the Champaign County Electronics Recycling Guide for information on businesses that accept electronics for recycling, including items accepted and contact information).

Participating communities include:  Bondville, Broadlands, Champaign, Gifford, Homer, Ivesdale, Ludlow, Mahomet, Ogden, Rantoul, Royal, Sadorus, Savoy, St. Joseph, Thomasboro, Urbana, and Unincorporated County. Due to the popularity of these collection events, residents must register at www.ecycle.simplybook.me. Online registration opens on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 8 AM.

See http://www.co.champaign.il.us/ReduceReuseRecycle/PDFS/20171014PC.pdf for further information, including items accepted at the collection event. Questions can be addressed to the recycling coordinator in your community:

  • City of Champaign: 217-403-4780
  • City of Urbana: 217-384-2302
  • Champaign County: 217-819-4035

image of post card announcing residential electronics collection event on october 14, 2017

Electronics Standards Are In Need of Repair

Download the document.

Tech companies are standing in the way of stronger green electronics standards in the US, according to our new report. Device manufacturers are blocking attempts to include strong criteria in electronics standards that would encourage device designs that are easier to repair, easier to upgrade, and easier to disassemble for recycling.