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Petrochemical companies are racing to make more plastic — and force poor countries to become landfills for it.

In a world that’s clogged and choking with a massive overdose of plastic trash, you’ll be heartened to learn that governments and industries are teaming up to respond forcefully to this planetary crisis. Unfortunately, their response has been to engage in a global race to make more plastic stuff — and to force poor countries to become dumping […]

January 8th

Why can’t we throw all our trash into a volcano and burn it up?

It’s true that lava is hot enough to burn up some of our trash. When Kilauea erupted on the Big island of Hawaii in 2018, the lava flows were hotter than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,100 Celsius). By Emily Johnson, US Geological Survey The Conversation That’s hotter than the surface of the planet Venus, and hot […]

January 4th

Packaging generates a lot of waste – now Maine and Oregon want manufacturers to foot the bill for getting rid of it

Most consumers don’t pay much attention to the packaging that their purchases come in, unless it’s hard to open or the item is really over-wrapped. But packaging accounts for about 28% of U.S. municipal solid waste. Only some 53% of it ends up in recycling bins, and even less is actually recycled: According to trade […]

September 13th

New report finds that in five major US cities, 64% of plastic collected is not recyclable

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) has released a report analyzing the challenges of recycling plastic in five major U.S. cities, closing out Plastic Free July. Today, solid waste disposal costs cities and residents – with their health and their pocketbooks. The cities in this study have the potential to be at the forefront of […]

July 30th

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

Would you drink beer made from recycled wastewater? (We did – and it tastes great!)

As the Earth’s population grows and approaches a projected 9.7 billion by 2050, the world’s freshwaters will face mounting pressure to supply the needs of population growth. Approximately 33 per cent of people do not have access to safe drinking water and a similar number do not have access to proper sanitation — numbers that […]

January 10th

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

Millions of face masks are being thrown away during COVID-19. Here’s how to choose the best one for the planet

Masks may help stop the spread of the coronavirus. But according to one estimate, if everyone in the United Kingdom used a single-use mask each day for a year, it would create 66,000 tonnes of contaminated waste and 57,000 tonnes of plastic packaging. By Mayuri Wijayasundara, Deakin University The Conversation Face masks are part of […]

October 16th

What happens to the plastic you recycle? Researchers lift the lid

The secretive way in which plastic recycling is handled in the UK carries the potential for the next big scandal. While the government’s statutory guidance is supposed to clarify who is responsible, our research suggests that what happens to plastics we believe to be recycled in the UK is in reality quite obscure. Regina Frei, […]

September 13th

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

Plastics could help build a sustainable future – here’s how

The disposal of plastics is a global problem. They are nearly indestructible in natural conditions but are discarded worldwide on a large scale. The world produces around 359 million metric tons of plastics each year. Nature cannot address the amount of their disposal at a speed fast enough to prevent harm to living beings. Sibele […]

August 13th

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