Category: Waste Management & Recycling
Filed in Sustainability , Waste Management & Recycling , October 4 2017
Imagine that 100 percent of the recyclable materials that are currently headed for landfills are captured and re-processed into new products. This dreamy vision of the future is often referred to as “the circular economy,” and we aren’t there yet. Today, most countries with robust recycling programs have reached only around a 30 percent recycling rate (34.6 percent in the United States).
But let’s say it could be done. Would it really help the world become more sustainable? Johann Fellner and his team at the Technical University of Wien in Austria are skeptical. They calculate that even if the world achieved 100 percent recycling, our total carbon footprint would be reduced by less than 1.6 percent (from 9,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per person annually to 8,856 kilograms). Considering that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “safe” scenario for 2050 requires a more than 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions, this can seem like a drop in the bucket.
Other researchers have similar doubts about the success of the circular economy. Nancy Bocken, a professor at Delft Technical University in the Netherlands, mined 10 years’ worth of press releases from 101 companies listed on the S&P 500 stock index to identify ... Read More
Filed in Environment & Climate , Oceans, Fisheries & Aquaculture , Waste Management & Recycling , Water Quality & Water Pollution , July 12 2016
“I came to the ocean to heal, but found an ocean that needed healing.” That was the realization that inspired artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi to dedicate her life to saving the sea. Her medium? Trash.
When Pozzi suddenly lost her husband, she took time to look for something meaningful and constant. Her search led her back to the Oregon shores of her childhood. There, she expected to find the familiarity and predictability of crashing waves. Instead, her life found new meaning and change.
As Pozzi walked along the Pacific shores, she found piece after piece of plastic littering the sand. Passers-by collected shells nearby, leaving the pieces of trash untouched. At that moment, Pozzi decided that the problem of ocean pollution could not be left ignored. She had been an art teacher—she knew how to motivate and educate. She decided to develop the Washed Ashore project to show that the plastic problem was real.
From Trash to Art
Washed Ashore is a massive undertaking. Pozzi works with a team of only nine people. Over the year, over ten thousand independent volunteers collect scraps of trash along 160 kilometers (100 miles) of the Oregon coast. ... Read More
Filed in Eco-Innovation , Energy , Waste Management & Recycling , Water Quality & Water Pollution , September 4 2014
Sweden is moving toward zero waste by making it possible to recycle 99% of all household waste. Since 1975, the country has moved from being able to recycle only 38% of its household waste to turning the entire country’s household waste into energy.
By imposing new regulation for recycling stations to be located within 300 meters from any residential area, citizens are taking part by collecting and separating their recyclable waste in their homes and drop off other items to nearby recycling stations.
Today, there are 32 incineration plants in Sweden which burn more than 2 million tonnes of waste to produce heat for over 800,000 households and generate electricity for 250,000 homes. Since 1985, 99% of heavy metal emissions have been reduced despite the fact that Sweden emits three times more waste today than in 1985.
‘We are trying to “move up the refuse ladder”, as we say, from burning to material recycling, by promoting recycling and working with authorities’, Weine Wiqvist, CEO of the Swedish Waste Management and Recycling Association (Avfall Sverige) says.
Meanwhile, Swedish households keep separating their newspapers, plastic, metal, glass, electric appliances, light bulbs and batteries. Municipalities in Sweden encourage people there to separate food waste beside plastic, glass, ... Read More
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