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Consumer electronics have changed a lot in 20 years – systems for managing e-waste aren’t keeping up

It’s hard to imagine navigating modern life without a mobile phone in hand. Computers, tablets and smartphones have transformed how we communicate, work, learn, share news and entertain ourselves. They became even more essential when the COVID-19 pandemic moved classes, meetings and social connections online. By Callie Babbitt, Rochester Institute of Technology and Shahana Althaf, […]

January 14th

Don’t stress about what kind of Christmas tree to buy, but reuse artificial trees and compost natural ones

Environmentally conscious consumers often ask me whether a real Christmas tree or an artificial one is the more sustainable choice. As a horticulture and forestry researcher, I know this question is also a concern for the Christmas tree industry, which is wary of losing market share to artificial trees. By Bert Cregg, Michigan State University […]

December 23rd

The revealing truth about waste-to-energy in EU and US

Despite extensive lobbying by the Waste-to-Energy (WTE) industry, environmental and economic concerns have led to a welcome movement away from WTE throughout Europe and North America. In the U.S., citizens have effectively organized in opposition to new WTE plants since 1996, with 400 such proposals defeated and only one new plant built. At the same time, existing […]

December 14th

Big oil has a plan to stay profitable: Inundate Africa with US plastics

Green groups responded with alarm to Sunday reporting by the New York Times and Unearthed that a U.S.-based trade group for major chemical and fossil fuel companies has lobbied the Trump administration during the Covid-19 pandemic to use a forthcoming trade agreement to flood the African continent with plastics. Faced with plunging profits and a #ClimateCrisis threatening fossil fuels […]

August 31st

E-waste is a growing problem – more, better recycling is needed NOW

Our lives rely on technology. We work on computers, watch our favorite shows on services like Netflix, monitor our health with smartwatches and stay in touch with friends and family around the globe on our cellphones. These devices make our lives easier. Unfortunately, we also live in an era of planned obsolescence — everything you buy will […]

August 26th

How to build a circular economy

We have a waste problem. The world threw away around 300 million tons of plastic in 2019, nearly equivalent to the weight of the human population. Scientists expect there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. One year’s electronic waste weighs in at more than 50 million tons. And while far too many people still go hungry, we […]

August 7th

Environmental justice: Ahmaud Arbery’s Georgia home town is now 96% white (the black folk got moved to a superfund site)

In the wake of the Feb. 23 killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery by white vigilantes on the outskirts of Brunswick, Georgia, the idyllic veil is being lifted off the state’s so-called “Golden Isles” that include St. Simons Island and Brunswick, revealing a history of systemic oppression and systematic racism. Once a haven for descendants of Africans who were enslaved there, St. Simons is now 96% […]

July 12th

COVID-19 is laying waste to many US recycling programs

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling. By Brian J. Love, University of Michigan and Julie Rieland, University of Michigan The Conversation Many items designated as reusable, communal or secondhand have been temporarily barred […]

June 24th

Stemming the tide of trash: 5 essential reads on recycling

A year after China upended global materials markets by banning imports of much solid waste, the effects are still rippling around the globe. Many U.S. recyclers are awash in materials they formerly sent to China for processing. Some cities with few options are burning recyclables in incinerators. What would it take to reduce U.S. waste management […]

June 16th