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California bans microbeads to protect marine life

California governor Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday requiring Californiato phase out the use of microscopic exfoliating beads in personal care products sold in the state starting in 2020 to protect fish and wildlife.

The tiny plastic beads found in soap, toothpaste and body washes are so small that they are showing up in the bodies of fish and other wildlife after passing through water filtration systems without disintegrating. Read more

Peeping into the Future of Waste

Waste management is an important tool for curbing climate change and for keeping our environment clean and healthy. Methane generated from biodegradable wastes is a powerful greenhouse gas, and when it’s not captured and used as a fuel it contributes to rapid warming of the atmosphere. Estimates suggest that biodegradable waste in dump sites and uncapped landfill sites are contributing far more methane to the atmosphere than previously thought. What’s more, urban food waste is predicted to increase by 44% from 2005 to 2025, and with no proper management in place, will significantly add to global greenhouse gas emissions. Read more

Why is recycling important? You asked Google – here’s the answer

Every day millions of internet users ask Google some of life’s most difficult questions, big and small. Our writers answer some of the most common queries.
3872Recycling is not about rubbish: it’s valuable commodities you’re chucking in your wheelie bin, according to sustainability expert Marcus Gover, not rubbish.
“It feels like you are disposing of things, but really the things we’re putting out in the bin are raw materials and commodities: they’re plastic and paper, steel and aluminium, and they’re all quite valuable,” says Gover, a director at the British waste agency Wrap. “Aluminium is worth somewhere between £800 to £1,000 a tonne. Old Guardians [newspapers] are worth about £80 a tonne. It’s not rubbish in any way.” Read more

Biodegradable plastics not breaking down in ocean, UN report says

A new report from the United Nations says plastics labelled biodegradable rarely disintegrate in the ocean because they require industrial composters and prolonged exposure to high temperatures to break down.

Plastic waste is a serious concern in the world’s oceans, where as much as 20 million tonnes of plastic ends up each year, according to recent estimates from the United Nations Environment Programme.

  • ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ researchers devastated by sight
  • Plastics dumped in world’s oceans estimated at 8M tonnes annually

Biodegradable plastics were created to help reduce waste. However, the report released this week says some polymers need to be exposed to prolonged temperatures of above 50 C to disintegrate. Read more

The 7 Worst Things to Happen to the Ocean in 2015

The year is over, ladies and gentlemen. And what a year it was. We passed some major environmental milestones (COP21, the Clean Power Plan, the Pope’s climate change encyclical) and waded through plenty of environmental disasters (bomb trains, oil spills and species extinction). As we push onward into 2016, Planet Experts looks back at the stories we reported on and brings you the very best and worst of the year. Without further ado, here are the Seven Worst Things to Happen to the Ocean in 2015.

7) Dead Zones Were Discovered in the Atlantic Ocean.

globaldeadzonesIn February, a study published in the journal Global Change Biology predicted that climate change will cause the number of ocean dead zones to increase. A few months later, marine biologists reported on the first-ever observed dead zones in the Atlantic Ocean. Unlike dead zones formed from toxic algal blooms, the Atlantic zones were the result of large, underwater cyclones that can spin for months. Propagating westward off the West African coast, the cyclones rapidly deplete the oxygen content in their core. Researchers warn that this can flood coasts with low-oxygen water, putting severe stress on coastal ecosystems. Read more

43% Of Beverage Cartons Recycled In Europe In 2014

Some 420.000 tonnes of beverage cartons were recycled in paper mills in 2014, according to industry-wide figures, released by the The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE).

The figure represents a recycling rate of 43% in Europe (EU-28, Norway and Switzerland) and is evidence of the continuing upward trend in recycling performance over the last two decades, according to ACE.

The total recovery rate (recycling and energy recovery) in 2014 reached 76%.

“Beverage carton recycling continued its long term growth trend also in 2014”, Bertil Heerink, director general of ACE, said. Read more

Waste Management Training Remains Priority Across Sectors

Waste Management Training Remains Priority Across Sectors

 

 


screen-shot-2015-12-21-at-09-41-16-472x372The recent 2015 training, education and development survey shows businesses across a range of sectors are committed to investing in sustainability, resources and waste training.

The survey was undertaken by CIWM in order to gain insight into the current trends and demands in sustainability, waste and resource management training. Over 100 responses were collected from professionals working across eleven different industry sectors and from small businesses to large multi-national companies.

 

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The results showed a positive trend in the amount of individuals and organisations that are still committed to investing in resources and waste training, with 66% reporting that their employers had provided them with formal waste and resource training, and over 63% identifying that this training had been undertaken in the last 12 months. Read more

Fracking, Methane and Paris

The newly-minted Paris climate agreement calls for limiting global temperature increase to 2°C, and leaves in the preamble the more aspirational goal shared by many countries of 1.5°C. It’s clear to observers around the world that meeting this goal is going to require steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and leaving most of the world’s remaining fossil fuels in the ground.

And that includes natural gas, particularly fracked natural gas.This target is particularly important for anti-fracking activists. Those on the frontlines of the oil and gas industry’s “shale boom” expansion know all too well that there is a lot of pollution coming off of those wells, compressor stations, pipelines, etc. They can’t avoid it. It’s in their homes. It’s giving them nosebleeds, asthma, rashes and a host of other health problems. Read more

Indonesia’s garbage pickers risk lives to earn a living

As negotiators in Paris thrash out a new climate agreement, developing countries like Indonesia struggle with the most basic of environmental measures.

In Jakarta, households do not separate their waste or recycle — so the garbage of 10 million people is dumped straight into one giant landfill.You smell Bantar Gebang before you see it.

The mountain of trash at Jakarta’s main landfill has to be one of the worst workplaces on the planet, but one of the workers here, 42-year-old Tarkidin, does not see it like that. Read more

Global Warming & Sea Turtles

The effects of global warming will have enormous impacts on sea turtles and other wildlife. The rate of global warming far exceeds the abilities of animals to adapt naturally to such dramatic environmental changes. These changes are predicted to cause the extinction of many species over the next few decades.

Sea level rise from the melting of polar ice is already contributing to the loss of beach and sea turtle nesting habitat. Weather extremes, also linked to climate change, mean more frequent and severe storms which alter nesting beaches, cause beach erosion, and inundate, or flood sea turtle nests. Read more