This is pretty cool – “Researchers turn old toothpaste tubes into aluminum an fuel.” Read more about it here.
A great summary of the issues with plastics can be found here.
This article provides some details on alternate locations for organic waste, now that the facility in Delaware has shut down….
“[In November 2014] two Philadelphia City Council committees held a hearing on food waste composting, exploring how the city could get into the action… Food scraps are seen as the next frontier for waste reduction. Philadelphia’s curbside recycling rate for bottles, cans, paper, and similar materials has nearly topped out. Since food waste is about 24 percent of the household waste stream, that’s an obvious next step, many say.
The committee heard from operations small and large…Their message: It can be done. It also can create jobs and save the city money. For a city that aims to be the greenest in the nation, it would help the environment by reducing methane gas from landfills and by creating lush soils for city gardens.”
According to a 2013 report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (available here), globally 207 million tons of packaging (worth $384 billion) cover consumer goods annually.
In the introduction, the report’s authors write that “A new term has emerged in recent years to describe our modern era—the Anthropocene. It rightly implies that in this age humans became the dominant force shaping our physical environment. It is evident that an economy that extracts resources at increasing rates without consideration for the environment in which it operates, without consideration for our natural planetary boundaries, cannot continue indefinitely. In a world of soon to be 9 billion consumers who are actively buying manufactured goods, this approach will hamper companies and undermine economies. We need a new way of doing business.
The concept of a circular economy promises a way out. Here products do not quickly become waste, but are reused to extract their maximum value before safely and productively returning to the biosphere. Most importantly for business leaders, such an economy can deliver growth. Innovative product designers and business leaders are already venturing into this space.”
It is disappointing that the majority of voters yesterday could not see the importance of allowing the “plastic bag” conversation to advance to the next level. I think most people are scared by the idea that this could signify just another tax for the residents and not a real measure for curtailing the use of those disposable “single use bags”.
The reality is that we are delaying the conversation and allowing the problem to grow exponentially. We are letting our fears stop us from entering into a real dialogue with the merchants and manufacturers, and taking concrete steps to stop producing this wasteful product.
I can only conclude that voters yesterday allowed the scare of the “tax” word to influence their thinking, while the reality is that by not sending this clear message, we are in fact agreeing to continue to carry the higher expense of dealing with 8.8 billion of these bags polluting our streams, trees, parks, streets and homes every year. Let’s not ignore that it is us, the residents, through our existing taxes, donations, volunteer time and money, that actually carry the burden of cleaning out these bags, recycling them and dealing with the health consequences.
We need to continue this conversation. We need to continue to educate and further facilitate changes in behavior in our community. Sustainable Lawrence is committed to facilitating this process through effective community programs that aim to educate not only the intellect, but the underlying values upon which we base our actions. We are confident that when we understand the problem, we will take action to stop carrying and paying for the real burden of the waste these bags produce and the extended consequences of polluting our own habitat.
What do you think?
Mercer County municipalities join efforts to promote curbside organic program in panel discussion event. The event, titled “If it Grows, It Goes” will be hosted by Sustainable Jersey, sustainability organizations from Princeton, Lawrence, Hopewell, Ewing, West Windsor and The Mercer County Office of Economic Development and Sustainability, and it will take place at the Dempster Fire Academy Auditorium on October 28th.
The event aims to educate those who are interested in learning about organic waste recycling and community waste reduction programs. County Executive, Brian Hughes, will offer opening remarks. A panel of experts will explain what organic waste is, where it goes and what happens in the recycling process. Panelists will present local success stories and how you can bring this program to your town.
The Curbside Organics Program is already in place in Princeton and is currently under contract in Lawrence and Hopewell. Several other municipalities in Mercer are looking to join in the near future.
The event is Free and open to the public –
If it Grows, It Goes
October 28th 2014
7:00 pm, Doors open at 6:30 and refreshments will be served
Dempster Fire Training Academy, 350 Lawrence Station Road, Lawrence NJ 08648
Register at http://conta.cc/1xnGPja
Here are some facts you can share
Lawrence Township will be offering voluntary Organic Waste Recycling in the near future. In order to kick start the program, the vendor must have three hundred participants to initiate the collection program. For more details regarding this program click on the attached link. To sign up, interested residents should contact the Public Works Department at (609) 587-1894 or by email at email@example.com to be placed on a list for further instructions.
Organized by Sustainable Lawrence in partnership with the green teams from Lawrence, Ewing, Hopewell, and the Mercer County Office of Economic Development and Sustainability, will feature hands-on workshops, displays from 60-plus local businesses and non-profits, and the “Ask your Neighbor” table where visitors can hear how homeowners and businesses completed successful energy-efficient projects. Speakers will discuss a variety of sustainability issues ranging from local farms, school gardening & projects, to the future of transportation and recycling in Mercer County, and more.