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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.
On Monday, France hosted the One Planet Summit for biodiversity where the leaders of more than 50 nations launched the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People. The coalition aims to secure a global agreement to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030 when the Convention on Biological Diversity […]
Each January, the Eurasia Group, a management consultancy, looks at the biggest global political risks in the year to come. Climate change is perennially on the list — this year it ranks thirdbehind public doubt in the legitimacy of President-elect Biden’s election and the coronavirus.
Why This Matters: “In 2021, climate will go from a playground of global cooperation to an arena of global competition.”
When you leave your front door, what can you reach in 15 minutes by foot or bike? A grocery store? A school? A park? That’s the question that many urban planners are using to shape plans for how cities operate in the future. The 15-minute city means designing neighborhoods where everything people need, from housing to dining to cultural institutions, is within that 15-minute radius.
Why this Matters: It’s a good idea to create neighborhoods that fulfill people’s basic needs so that they won’t have to travel as far to manage their daily lives – especially post-pandemic when more people are likely to work from home.
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