Waste Not

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

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Crayola's Colorcycle Program Turning Used Markers Into Clean Energy

JBI, Inc., a clean energy company that recycles waste plastic into liquid fuels, has announced it is partnering with Crayola on its "Colorcycle" program, which converts markers into clean energy.The program will be conducted throughout the United States in participating K-12 schools and encourages students to responsibly dispose of used Crayola markers through an in-school collection process. Markers will be sent to JBI, where they will be used as feedstock to produce diesel and other liquid fuels using JBI's Plastic2Oil® ("P2O") process.

Irish Marine Pilot Project Upcycles Abandoned Fishing Nets

A pilot project to manufacture commercially viable products from recycled polyethylene fishing nets has been completed successfully in a collaboration between Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM - the Irish Sea Fisheries Board) and Liverpool-based plastics recycler Centriforce Products, according to Centriforce’s website.

Researchers Discover Process to Absorb Toxic Metals from Water, Using E-Waste

A team of Hong Kong researchers has found a way to use ground-up circuit boards from discarded cell phones, computers and other gadgets to absorb toxic heavy metals found in water, according to Chemical & Engineering NewsEach year, around 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste is produced worldwide, most of which is incinerated or dumped into landfills. Burning the plastic/metal combo in printed circuit boards releases toxic compounds such as dioxins and furans. In landfills, the metals on the circuit boards can contaminate groundwater.

Nokia Joins O2 Campaign to Ship Cell Phones Without Chargers

Nokia has joined O2’s “Chargers Out of the Box” campaign, which makes the Nokia 301 the first mass-market handset to ship without a charger. The handset will come with just a USB cable, encouraging customers to use existing mains chargers acquired through the purchase of existing mobile phones. Those who want a conventional charger can get one from O2 at a discounted price.While the Nokia 301 is the fifth phone to be included in the program, the other four have all been high-end smartphones. O2 claims that 82 percent of customers who have bought a charger-less phone have decided the USB cable is all they need.

UK Engineers Develop Urine-Powered Fuel Cell

Researchers in the United Kingdom say they have created a fuel cell that uses bacteria to break down human liquid waste to generate enough electricity to charge a mobile phone.Currently, the amount of electricity produced is just enough to make one call on a standard Samsung mobile phone. The researchers say the fuel cell cost around £1 ($1.51) to produce, meaning the devices could provide a new form of cheap power generation. The bacteria used in the fuel cells are the same as those normally found in wastewater treatment plants.While the fuel cell is not much larger than a car battery, the researchers claim they will eventually be able to craft smaller and more portable ones.

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Patagonia Launches New Program to Upcycle Flip-Flops

Patagonia has commenced a new remanufacturing program to continuously recycle its flip-flops, which could reduce production waste by nearly a third.The clothing company has partnered with small upstart firm PLUSfoam to create flip-flops that are 100 percent recyclable and can be upcycled into new flip-flops at the end of their life with no reduction in performance.

Environmental Groups Call on Rayovac to Help U.S. Consumers Recycle Their Batteries

Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE) — a nonprofit, grassroots group known for its advocation of electronic waste recycling — has announced a campaign to press battery manufacturer Rayovac to step up its efforts on recycling and waste reduction. The organization asked Rayovac in May to begin taking back its batteries for recycling; now TCE has been joined by 26 other organizations from across the country calling on Rayovac to provide recycling for its batteries in the U.S., as it does in Europe.

Canadian Coffee Company Releases Guilt-Free Single-Serve Coffee Pods

A Canadian coffee company says it has developed a more environmentally friendly alternative to the ever-popular, single-serve K-Cup pods, made a household name in recent years by the ubiquitous Keurig home coffeemakers.

UK Paper Company Might Just Rid the World of Paper Cup Waste

UK paper company James Cropper has developed technology that enables the recycling of disposable coffee cups into high-quality paper products. Last week, the company opened a £5m reclaimed fibre plant using this technology at its production mill in Kendal, Cumbria, which was inaugurated by the Queen and the Princess Royal, Kate Middleton.In the UK alone, an estimated 2.5 billion paper cups go to landfill. Until now, the plastic content of cups has made them unsuitable for use in papermaking — disposable cups are made of up to 95% high-strength paper with a 5% thin coating of polyethylene; James Cropper's recycling technology separates out the plastic, leaving paper pulp that can be used to make paper.

How Your Leftovers Can Destroy the World – or Save It

Food waste is probably the least sexy of all sustainability subjects. After all, it has to do with what we eat — after we’ve already eaten it. As long as we scarf down grass-fed beef, sustainable seafood and organic fruits and vegetables, we are good to go, right?

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Most Electronics Retailers Getting Failing Grade on Recycling Programs

Only three electronics retailers are making a serious effort to help consumers responsibly recycle their old electronic products, according to a new report card released Wednesday by the Electronics TakeBack Coalition (ETB). The Coalition is calling on the other retailers to step up and do their part to make it as easy to recycle as it is to buy electronics from them.Staples, Best Buy and Office Depot earned high marks on the report card, which graded the top 16 consumer electronics retailers’ recycling programs in the U.S. But more than half of the retailers flunked.

2013 ESPYs Achieve Zero Waste to Landfill, Carbon Neutrality for Fifth Year Running

ESPN has announced that its annual awards show, the ESPYs, will be carbon neutral and achieve zero waste-to-landfill for the fifth and sixth consecutive years, respectively.To achieve carbon neutrality, the sports network says it will apply energy conservation strategies to minimize the use of fossil fuels and prevent pollution. After reducing energy consumption wherever possible through special applications, the remaining greenhouse gas emissions will be mitigated through carbon offsets.Some carbon reduction strategies include:· Solar power to be used on red carpet, press center, golf course.· Multi-passenger vehicles instead of individual limos to reduce vehicle miles driven.· Hybrid and flex fuel vehicles used for other transfers.

Dell Announces Social, Environmental Achievements as Part of 'Powering the Possible'

Dell has announced key corporate responsibility achievements, such as collecting one billion pounds of electronic waste a year earlier than planned, with the release of its Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) Corporate Responsibility Summary Report.The report outlines Dell’s environmental progress and efforts to support communities globally to achieve its sustainability goals, which are based on its Powering the Possible platform, a commitment to put technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet.The strategy focuses on four primary areas: Environment

Remade in the USA: A Conversation with Designer Shannon South

In the world of sustainable fashion, few designers are pulling off the business model with as much style and substance as Shannon South. BBMG’s proprietary community of Aspirational consumers, The Collective, recently partnered with Shannon for the Remake My Leather Challenge, and we sat down with her to discuss what makes Shannon’s line, Remade USA, different from other sustainably designed product lines.How did you get started as a handbag designer?

Carbon Trust Announces New Waste Standard

On Wednesday, the Carbon Trust announced plans to launch the world’s first international standard for organisations to certify that they are managing and reducing waste.The Carbon Trust Waste Standard, to be launched later this year, will require organisations to measure, manage and reduce their solid and hazardous waste. To achieve the standard organisations will need to demonstrate that waste streams are being reduced every year or disposed of more effectively, through increased reuse, recycling or energy recovery.

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Dell Reconnect Provides Five Excellent Reasons to Recycle Your E-Waste

What happens to your used technology when you upgrade? Like most, you may store it away in a closet where it collects dust. Instead, why not recycle it?Dell Reconnect, a partnership between Dell and Goodwill Industries International, takes used computer equipment of any brand, working or not, and puts it back to good use or recycles it responsibly for free (find a location near you).

Celtic Renewables Proving That Whisky Can Actually Help You Drive

Edinburgh-based start-up Celtic Renewables is turning waste matter from whisky production into a “next-generation biofuel” — biobutanol. The whisky distillation process is tremendously wasteful; only ten percent of what comes from a distillery is consumed. The majority of the by-products — known as draff (a residue of grains: barley, rye, wheat and sometimes corn) and pot ale (residue leftover in casks) — are generally discarded, wasting a valuable resource and affecting the distillery’s bottom line. If the new process proves effective, using this renewed resource could result in a $90 million dollar value for the biofuel industry.

Ecovative Foraging Fungi to Displace Plastic Packaging, Setting Sights on Net Positivity

In a global economy infamous for consumer consumption of “things,” Ecovative delivers environmentally responsible solutions with “win-win-win” materials. These materials are a win for our planet, for people and for Ecovative's profit. To achieve these universal benefits, instead of accepting the first, the fastest or the easiest option for production, our approach is to start from scratch and ask how nature accomplishes a task.

Sword & Plough Giving Military Veterans and Fabrics New Life and Purpose

The ancient phrase “to turn swords into plough shares” may not be common today, but Emily and Betsy Nunez are doing their best to keep it relevant. The phrase means to take military technologies and materials (the swords) and apply them to peaceful civilian activities (the plough shares). Their new company, appropriately called Sword & Plough, is repurposing surplus military material into fashionable bags and accessories.

Sainsbury’s Hits Zero Landfill Waste Target Seven Years Early

Sainsbury’s says it has succeeded in diverting all store waste from landfills, reaching its zero-waste goal in just three years — seven years ahead of schedule.As part of its 20x20 Sustainability Plan, the UK supermarket chain said it would put all waste to positive use by 2020.Sainsbury’s says excess food that cannot be used by its charity partners is now processed into animal feed to support local farmers or used to produce energy through anaerobic digestion. The company claims to be the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion which, along with donating food to charity, helped it reach its zero-waste goal.

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