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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.

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Safeway, 99 Cents Only Fined for Improper Hazardous Waste Disposal

Safeway has agreed to pay nearly $10 million to settle allegations that its grocery stores improperly disposed of hazardous waste and customers' medical information in California. In a separate settlement, Los Angeles-based 99 Cents Only Stores will pay more than $2 million to settle retail hazardous waste disposal violations in California.

Canadian City Moves Toward First Closed-Loop Organics Waste Management System

The Canadian city of Surrey has chosen Iris Solutions to build what the city claims will be the first closed-loop, fully-integrated organics waste management system in North America.The Surrey Biofuels Processing Facility will process 115,000 tons of residual kitchen and garden waste from Surrey each year. The process will create a renewable natural gas which can then be used to power the city’s natural gas waste collection trucks. The facility will also produce a compost product that will be suitable for landscaping and agricultural applications.

White Coffee Introduces Organic Coffee in Biodegradable, Compostable Single-Serve BioCup

White Coffee Corporation has introduced a new line of single-serve organic coffees in a new BioCup that is completely biodegradable when aerobically composted.Consumers committed to sustainable packaging will have a large selection of blends and flavors, the company says. These certified organic coffees evoke nature and the environment with earthy, deep and aromatic flavors. The BioCup is available in 11 flavors: Colombian, Breakfast Blend, French Roast, Full City Roast, Mexican High Grown, Peruvian, Rainforest Blend, Hazelnut, French Vanilla, Sea Salt Caramel and Chocolate Morsel.

As ‘Internet of Things’ Grows, So Do E-waste Concerns

The Internet of Things (IoT) will include some 30 billion connected devices by 2020, according to analyst firm Gartner. Although the IoT holds promise for promoting global sustainability, there is a growing concern of what becomes of these devices when they reach end of life. Many end up in landfills because, when they are embedded in objects and technologies, it is almost impossible to recycle them.

Reports Find Over 5 Trillion Pieces of Plastic Floating in the World’s Oceans … and 10,000 Times More in the Deep Sea

More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tons, are floating in the world’s oceans and causing damage throughout the food chain, according to new research by the 5 Gyres Institute — but that is apparently a drop in the bucket compared to the amount littering the ocean floor.Data collected by scientists from the United States, France, Chile, Australia and New Zealand estimates a minimum of 5.25 trillion plastic particles in the oceans, most of them “microplastics,” measuring less than 5mm.

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Waste Management's 2014 Sustainability Report Chronicles Journey to Zero Waste

Waste Management’s just-released 2014 Sustainability Report, Creating a Circular Economy, documents the company’s progress on recycling, energy production, transforming waste into valuable resources and helping businesses move toward zero waste.“As our customers have become more focused on waste reduction, so have we,” said David Steiner, Waste Management’s president and CEO. “By finding new ways of extracting value from the materials we manage, we’re making advancements toward our long-term business strategy, and helping others do the same.”

Researchers Turn Old Toothpaste Tubes Into Aluminum and Fuel

Nestlé, Kraft Foods and Mondelez International are helping fund a new commercial-scale recycling plant that can turn old toothpaste tubes into aluminum and fuel in only three minutes.This type of plastic-aluminum laminate waste, often used in drink pouches and pet food packaging, typically ends up in the landfill. Each year, around 16,000 tons of aluminum is wasted in the UK alone.To address this waste problem, researchers at the University of Cambridge have been exploring how laminate packaging would react to intense heating, called microwave-induced pyrolysis.

Survey: 20% of Americans Will Forgo Wrapping Holiday Gifts

One out of five (20 percent) of Americans will forgo wrapping holiday gifts this year to reduce holiday waste, according to a new survey from ecoATM, a nationwide network of device recycling kiosks.More than half (52 percent) of respondents said they will reuse gift wrapping, ribbon and gift bags from previous holidays. Some 17 percent plan to use newspaper or other recycled paper to wrap gifts. Almost three quarters (74 percent) plan to do something this season to reduce their waste.

VWR Tackling Single-Use Garment Waste with New Recycling Program

VWR, provider of laboratory products, services and solutions, has launched a new recycling initiative that allows U.S. customers to recycle a variety of single-use garments.Through "Gown Up, Give Back”, VWR hopes to help reduce the millions of pounds of single-use garments sent to the landfill each year. The plastic waste from these garments is recycled into resin that is used to make permanent infrastructure, including composite decking, railroad ties and drainage pipes. The recycling program provides a waste collection, shipment and recycling solution for most single-use garments as long as they are free from contamination and purchased from VWR.

Fetzer Becomes First Winery to Receive Platinum Zero Waste Certification

Mendocino County-based Fetzer Vineyards recently announced that it has received platinum level Zero Waste certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC). Platinum certification, the highest level offered by the USZWBC, recognizes the company for successfully diverting 97.7 percent of its waste from landfill, incineration and the environment.

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Novelis to Convert All Beverage Can Sheets to High-Recycled Content evercan™ Aluminum by 2017

Novelis, producer of aluminum rolling products, has announced a new commitment to convert all of its beverage can body sheet production to its evercan sheet by the end of 2017.

Levi’s, 49ers Collaborate to Reduce Waste with ‘Field of Jeans’

Sunday, November 2, was not one of the finer days for the San Francisco 49ers, as the team lost a close game to the St. Louis Rams and fell further behind in the NFL playoff chase. But while the score on the field was disappointing for 49er fans, another event that day offered an example of how professional sports teams can partner with brands to raise awareness on how simple acts can do a lot for social good. On that Sunday afternoon, Levi’s and the 49ers partnered on a “Field of Jeans” initiative to highlight progress on both waste diversion and job training.

CA Plastic Bag Ban Spurs Hiring Boom For Reusable Bag Manufacturer

California’s recent ban on single-use plastic bags has, as one might expect, led to a boom for reusable bag manufacturers in the Golden State. One manufacturer, Earthwise Bag Company, says it increased the number of U.S. workers employed in the production of its bags by 300 percent in 2014, and has plans for further expansion in 2015 and beyond.

Southwest Airlines Upcycles 80,000 Old Seat Coverings in U.S. and Kenya

Southwest Airlines has announced the distribution of products made in Kenya and the U.S. as part of its global upcycling initiative LUV Seat: Repurpose with Purpose. The distribution in Kenya completes the second phase of the multi-year environmental program, which will upcycle around 80,000 former airline seat coverings into new leather products to provide training and jobs in several communities in addition to keeping these materials out of a landfill.

Living Packaging Keeps Produce Fresh with Built-in Roots

A student in the United Kingdom has developed an innovative form of food packaging that incorporates the living roots of fruit and vegetables to allow them to continue ripening until they are ready to eat.Called Nurture, the packaging takes the form of a bowl made of organic material woven with the roots of plants bearing fruits such as tomatoes, cherries or figs. By keeping the bowl moist, the plants can continue to live even while being transported.

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e-Stewards Launches Online e-Waste Trading Platform

The Basel Action Network (BAN) has announced they are bringing to market an online trading platform that will allow businesses to easily recycle used electronics with some of the world's most responsible electronic waste recyclers — those certified to the e-Stewards® Standard.The e-Stewards® Marketplace, developed in cooperation with industry leaders and Seattle-based technology company Retrace, has been enthusiastically supported by e-Stewards recyclers and companies such as LG Electronics, as well as the data protection services firm Tabernus, which have expressed their intent to use the site for their electronic asset disposition or services.

Chevy's New Bi-Fuel Impala Can Be Powered by Everything from Sewage and Food Scraps to Beer

As more and more organizations are finding ways to create fuel from waste — case in point: Italy is about to become the first country to require cars and trucks to run on biofuel made from agricultural waste — Chevrolet says its 2015 Bi-fuel Impala will be able to run on leftovers, table scraps and, oh, yeah, grains from brewing beer (welcome to the present, Back to the Future fans!).

Italy Will Be First Country to Require Cars, Trucks Use Biofuels from Ag Waste

Italy will soon become the first country in Europe to legally require "advanced biofuels" in cars and trucks, the BBC reports. The new fuels are made from agricultural waste such as straw rather than crops, and reduce the amount of land taken out of food production.The first commercial scale plant making fuel from straw opened in Italy last year. Beginning in 2018, all fuel suppliers in the country will have to include 0.6 percent advanced biofuel in gasoline and diesel. This will rise to 1 percent by 2022.

Closed Loop Fund Offering Zero-Interest Loans to Help Cities Develop Recycling Infrastructures

The Closed Loop Fund plans to invest $100 million over the next five years to support the development of recycling infrastructure and services in cities across the country.Municipalities across the country can now apply for zero-interest loans to build recycling infrastructure for their communities. The zero-interest loans are repaid from either landfill-diversion savings or revenue generated from the sale of recyclable material. Companies that service municipalities may also apply, and interest rates will be below market rates.

Plastic Bag Lobby Launches Attack on California Ban

Plastic bag manufacturers have begun collecting signatures for a referendum vote to overturn California’s recent ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. If the law’s opponents submit more than 500,000 signatures by January, the ban would not take effect until voters weigh in on the November 2016 ballot.

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