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Waste Not

The latest in the growing number of efforts directed at reducing, repurposing and ultimately eliminating waste in all its forms.

Recyclebank Program Helps City Increase Recycling 323%

RecycleBank announced this week that, through recycling innovations and incentives programs, it has helped the city of Rochester Hills, Mich., increase its pounds of materials recycled by 323 percent since 2008.The company has worked with Republic Services and Rochester Hills to reward residents for taking more sustainable actions, such as recycling, with discounts and deals at local and national businesses. Rochester Hills also expanded its household recycling program and implemented single-stream collection, which allows residents to put all types of recyclable materials into a single bin.

Chevron Plant to Turn Fat, Oils and Grease into Energy, Save $27M

Chevron Energy Solutions has announced it will design and build a waste-to-energy plant at Broward County, Fla.’s wastewater treatment facility.The project will generate electricity from fats, oils and grease and is expected to generate almost 2 megawatts (MW) of power, reduce electricity usage by over 30 percent and save the county nearly $27 million in its first 17 years of operation.Chevron says the energy produced by the project will offset utility-purchased power and help achieve county-wide carbon-reduction benefits.

Sarda Helping Equip Dell, Master's Students to Continue to Lead for Sustainability

Bruno Sarda is Director of Sustainability Operations at Dell, where he oversees business integration, information strategy, measurement and reporting, as well as supporting advocacy, policy and objective-setting. He also manages Dell’s groundbreaking partnership with TGEN (Translational Genomics Research Institute) and leads the Global Context thread at Arizona State University’s Executive Master’s for Sustainability Leadership (EMSL) program.

British Companies Develop New Adhesive System That Makes Circuit Boards 90% Recyclable

Three British companies have created a circuit board that is 90 percent recyclable and reusable, with components that can be easily separated by soaking in hot water.The three companies — National Physical Laboratory (NPL), In2Tec and Gwent Electronic Materials — have developed an adhesive that helps manufacturers take apart electronic circuit boards and reuse their components to make new components. The three firms, which have received funding from the UK government's Technology Strategy Board with a view to help industry conform to European electronic waste regulations, call the innovation ReUse — Reusable, Unzippable, Sustainable Electronics.

Strategic Sustainability: Turning an Insurmountable Issue Into a 'Decision Challenge'

George Basile is a professor in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University (ASU), a Senior Sustainability Scientist in ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and affiliate professor in the School of Public Affairs. He co-developed ASU’s new Executive Masters in Sustainability Leadership, where he serves as faculty lead in strategic sustainability. We spoke with him about his work across various sectors and reframing sustainability as a “decision challenge."

HP’s Recycled Plastic Ink Cartridges Helping Company, Customers Reduce Impact

HP announced last week that more than 75 percent of its ink cartridges and 24 percent of its HP LaserJet toner cartridges are now manufactured with “closed-loop” recycled plastic.The company says this represents a 50 percent increase in the number of HP ink cartridges manufactured with recycled content in the last year, giving customers more options for purchasing cartridges made with recycled content.As part of the company’s Living Progress strategy for driving human, economic and environmental progress, HP is helping customers reduce their environmental impact and reduce the overall environmental impact of product use.

ASU, Mayo Clinic, City of Phoenix Assisting Local School District with Waste Diversion

As one of the largest school districts in Arizona, Paradise Valley Unified School District (PV Schools) generates nearly 1,500 tons of waste per year.

Bacardi Reusing 2,300 Tons of Concrete Rubble to Build New Warehouses

Spirits giant Bacardi Limited announced it has built three new warehouses at its rum distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico using recycled concrete. The waste was derived from the demolition of six older structures on the 127-acre campus.“We took all the rubble from the demolition and reused it as backfill material in building our new warehouses,” says Julio Torruella, project director for Bacardi in Puerto Rico. “This was a zero-waste project designed to reuse steel and concrete, rather than sending material to the landfill.”Bacardi called it “a major cost- and environment-saving move” as construction crews recycled more than 2,300 tons of rubble, amounting to 153 truckloads of concrete, eliminating the need for the company to buy equivalent new material for construction.

Record Amount of Electronics Recycled in 2013

The consumer electronics (CE) industry recycled a record 620 million pounds of electronics in the United States in 2013, according to a new report by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).The total is more than double the amount (300 million pounds) of three years ago, as stated in the report, the Third Annual Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative. The 2013 U.S. ecycling total is an increase of 35 million pounds over the 2012 level (585 million pounds).

Apple Offers Free Recycling, Makes Clean Energy Commitments

In honor of Earth Day on Tuesday, Apple announced it is now offering free recycling of all of its used products, and has pledged to power all of its stores, offices and data centers with renewable energy to reduce the pollution caused by its devices and online services.To accompany the announcement, Apple unveiled a revamped environmental responsibility website and an introductory video narrated by CEO Tim Cook."Better. It's a powerful word, and a powerful ideal," Cook says to open the video. "It makes us look at the world and want more than anything to change it for the better. To innovate, improve, to reinvent. To make it better."

New Toolkit Helps US Businesses Cut Food Waste

An alliance of food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators has announced the release of a toolkit aimed at helping businesses in the food sector reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfill.The Best Practices and Emerging Solutions Toolkit focuses on strategies food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators can employ to keep food out of landfills, and to reduce food waste at the source. The toolkit was produced by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), a cross-sector industry initiative led by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

Unilever Fines Helping Improve Water Quality in Connecticut

In December, Unilever pled guilty to two counts of violating the Clean Water Act, for an incident on December 5, 2008 in which it illegally discharged thousands of gallons of wastewater from its former Clinton, CT, manufacturing facility.The company said the incident involved two non-managerial wastewater operators who bypassed portions of the facility’s wastewater treatment system. While Unilever voluntarily reported the bypass, it did not notify the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection within two hours of becoming aware of the bypass, as required by the facility’s discharge permit.

Over 75% of Unilever's Factories Achieve Zero Waste to Landfill

Unilever announced today that all of its European factories have joined those in North America in achieving zero non-hazardous waste to landfill. Along with similar achievements in countries from Argentina to Indonesia, this means more than three-quarters of the company’s global factory network no longer sends such waste to landfill, up from 20 percent just three years ago.

Portuguese Researchers Developing Waterless Process for Biofuel Production

According to the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), the global production of biofuels has increased by over 600 percent in a decade, to more than 100 billion litres in 2011. Sounds like good news, except for the fact that the overall sustainability of biofuels as a renewable energy source has been hampered by, among other things, the water-intensiveness of their production.

SC Johnson Achieves Zero Landfill Status at 8th Manufacturing Facility

SC Johnson announced this week that it achieved zero waste-to-landfill status at its eighth global manufacturing facility, demonstrating progress toward its ambitious goal of reducing its global manufacturing waste by 70 percent by 2016. From 2000-2012, the company says it has reduced its global manufacturing waste by 62 percent as a ratio to production.

Lowe's Must Pay $18 Million in Hazardous Waste Lawsuit

Lowe's has been ordered to pay $18 million for illegally disposing hazardous waste, including pesticides, batteries, fluorescent bulbs and other toxic materials, as a result of a civil enforcement action filed Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court, San Jose Mercury News reports.

Desso Joins Healthy Seas Initiative

Desso, the global carpets, carpet tiles and sports pitches company, today announced its participation in 'Healthy Seas, a Journey from Waste to Wear,’ the multi-industry initiative aimed at removing marine waste, particularly fishing nets, for the purpose of creating healthier seas. Desso says it will turn the recycled marine litter into ECONYL® yarn for use in new carpets.

New Feasibility Studies Using Social Innovations to Tackle European Food Waste

European food-waste prevention project FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimizing Waste-Prevention Strategies) — a four-year project (July 2012 – August 2016) funded by the European Commission framework program 7 — is working towards achieving a more resource-efficient Europe by significantly reducing food waste. Along with UK partner WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), FUSIONS has launched a series of feasibility studies around using social innovation to tackle food waste.

Levi's Water<Less Jeans Have Saved 770 Million Liters So Far

In celebration of World Water Day (March 22), Levi Strauss has released new stats about how much water can be saved by changing the way it makes its products: A new infographic illustrates the amount of water the company has saved through the production of its Water&lt;Less jeans collection — designed to reduce the water used in the finishing process by up to 96 percent — and its 100% recycled water standard, a first for the apparel industry.

On Top of Everything Else, Palm Oil Production Creating Methane-Rich Wastewater

The fact that palm oil production — as the biggest driver of deforestation in Southeast Asia and parts of Africa and South America — is responsible for the rampant release of carbon emissions and the destruction of vital habitats for endangered species such as orangutans and the Sumatran tiger is more than enough cause to drive NGOs into action against the culprits. But now researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder (CUB) have discovered yet another reason to be concerned about palm oil’s environmental impact.

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