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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.
Startups across the country are on a mission to provide sustainable food packaging options and close the plastic loop, especially prompted by the pandemic take-out boom. Over 70% of Americans order delivery one to three times a week, creating hundreds of billions of single-use bowls, bags, utensils, and more. But some innovative companies have […]
Five winners have been awarded £1 million each by Prince William’s Earthshot Prize in recognition for their sustainability and conservation efforts. The winners across five categories are: coral-growing and reef-restoring enterprise Coral Vita; the Republic of Costa Rica for its programs in forest restoration; the company Takachar whose technology can turn agricultural waste into sellable […]
To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, we’ll need action from every sector, but the gaming industry hasn’t been a prominent warrior for climate action. In fact, the gaming industry accounts for about 2.4% of residential electricity use in the US each year, and produces as much carbon dioxide as 5 million cars. Now, a new […]
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