Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
According to researchers the University of Michigan, “[w]aste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling” and at the same time, items that used to be deemed reusable have now been banned in order to reduce the potential that they will increase exposure to the virus. In the meantime, lobbyists for the plastic industry seem to have taken advantage of the situation and pushed to eliminate plastic bag bans altogether – also due to the infection risk they claim re-usable bags cause. Plus the grocery delivery services like Instacart do not use reusable bags. The U of M researchers who are working on recycling innovation are concerned about challenges facing the recycling sector and the increasing trends in the use of single-use goods, particularly plastic, and the lasting negative effects on the circular economy the pandemic could cause.
Electronics Piling Up Are an “Urban Mine”
Whether we think of it this way or not, e-waste is valuable — indeed, experts calculate that a ton of e-waste contains as many as 100 times more gold than a ton of gold ore and is estimated to be worth globally more than $62.5 billion annually. But we will continue to waste it unless we require more from manufacturers in terms of collection and recycling. In fact, the UN University predicts that if we continue to consume and discard at the current rate, we will add as much as 120 million tons in the next 30 years. E-waste is also dangerous when disposed of in landfills or incinerated. It contains toxic or hazardous substances, such as mercury and brominated flame retardants (BFR). Several studies have linked the unregulated recycling of e-waste to stillbirth and premature birth, damage to the human brain or nervous system, and even hearing and heart issues.
North Carolina Coastal Federation has a nature-based plan for dealing with heavy rainfall that captures and filters water instead. Green infrastructure includes solutions like rain gardens, restoring wetlands, and permeable pavement. The state plan calls for comprehensive incorporation of nature-based stormwater strategies across roadways, farmland, and in new building construction.
Why This Matters: It’s not just sea-level rise that causes increased flooding and infrastructure damage: heavy rains can be just as disruptive. Using plants, dirt, and other natural ways to handle excess water is often simpler and more cost-effective than their conventional counterparts.
The world is becoming more and more like The Matrix every day, at least in one particular way: scientists have figured out how to use the human body as a battery. No, your body can’t produce enough energy to create a global simulation, but it can produce enough heat to charge wearable devices like smartwatches and implants like pacemakers.
Why This Matters: Battery production and disposal have been problematic for decades. Mining for rare earth metals like such as cadmium, mercury, lead, and lithium threatens environments and communities across the globe.
by Erin Simon, Head of Plastic Waste and Business, World Wildlife Fund After a year of unprecedented devastation and loss, the arrival of 2021 has shown us at least a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Our top priority remains the immediate health and safety of our fellow citizens, but we […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.