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August 30, 2013

Environment Ministry to test-run forecasts of fine dust levels in Seoul area

The Environment Ministry said that it will test-run a fine dust forecasting service in Seoul and its adjacent areas starting this weekend before officially expanding the service nationwide early next year. The measure is aimed at preventing health issues from arising due to high-density air pollution by informing the people of the level of pollution before it affects the environment.

The dust report will provide information on air quality in a scale of five ? good, so-so, slightly bad, bad and very bad ? based on the average concentration of fine dust. Fine dust is defined as particles smaller than 10 micrometers, and if inhaled it can cause various respiratory diseases and undermine the body’s immunity.

The new system will be operating in the capital city area from Friday and be expanded to other parts of the country in November before the service can be implemented nationwide in February 2014.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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August 30, 2013

UK’s first cradle-to-cradle demonstration set for East London

East London businesses will have the opportunity to see how a truly circular economy could work, after planning permission for the UK’s first industrial scale “cradle-to-cradle” demonstration project was granted this week.

Cradle-to-cradle business models involve the collection of waste materials that might be otherwise go to landfill in order to make new products that can be recycled and reused themselves, saving resources, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing costs.

The project forms part of a pan European initiative called C2C BIZZ, which aims to accelerate the application of cradle-to-cradle (C2C) principles at business sites and in the wider built environment throughout North West Europe. According to the Institute for Sustainability, which secured planning permission for the new project, the pilot will be used to produce a toolkit for creating C2C business and innovation sites and provides guidance on finance models, operation best practices, and technical advice for future sites.

Read more at Business Green.

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August 28, 2013

Ameripen IDs Top 3 Packaging Recovery Practices

Unit-based pricing, also known as pay as you throw (PAYT), disposal bans, and recycling mandates are the three top strategies for increasing recovery rates and sustaining financing for collection and recovery in waste management systems, according to a white paper by the American Institute for Packaging and Environment (Ameripen).

The white paper, Ameripen Analysis of Strategies and Financial Platforms to Increase the Recovery of Used Packaging, says these three strategies can collectively help shift consumer practices away from waste disposal and towards recycling and other recovery strategies.

Despite the complexities of local solid waste management decisions, implementing pay as you throw collection systems can have significant impact on driving increased recovery and waste reduction. These programs are self-sustaining in that the cost of program implementations are born by the rate payers, the white paper says.

Both mandatory recycling and disposal bans have shown proven increase in material recovery, despite the challenges of enforcement. Redeployment of avoided landfill tipping fees and increased income from material recovery streams can provide financing to support infrastructure needs.

Read more at Environmental Leader.

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August 26, 2013

More resources to rise from ashes

Instead of ending up in the Semakau Landfill, more metals found in the incinerator ash will be recovered and given a new lease on life from the second half of next year. That is when a metal recovery facility for incinerator bottom ash (IBA) ? or ash collected in pits at incineration plants ? could be up and running in Tuas, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The agency recently called a t6ender to develop and operate the facility which will recover ferrous metals ? those with iron content and magnetic properties ? and non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum and copper, from bottom ash generated at the four incineration plants here. Over 1,500 tonnes of bottom ash are generated a day, and the NEA projects that the figure could rise to about 2,100 tonnes by 2023. Metals make up about 8 to 15 percent of the bottom ash by weight.

The facility is part of the government’s plan to put incinerated ash to greater use and prolong the lifespan of the Semakau Landfill beyond 2045. It is developing environmental standards and application guidelines for ash reuse over the next few years but is, in the meantime, “looking at initiatives to recover metal from IBA as part of resource recovery”, the NEA stated in its tender.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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August 21, 2013

Command Packaging to open agricultural plastic recycling center

Command Packaging is planning to turn part of the former Firestone plant outside Salinas, California, into a 124,500 square foot recycling facility for plastics from the agricultural industry. Encore recycling, as the new operation will be known, will eventually turn 100 million pounds of agricultural plastic each year into reusable plastic bags.

Although there are recycling facilities in the area, Command general manager Aviv Halimi said none of them could handle the scale of plastic needed to be recycled by the agricultural industry. He also said many products used by growers are not accepted by recyclers, such as strawberry mulch, the massive plastic sheets which cover strawberry fields.

In a further nod to sustainability, water used at the facility will be in a 100 percent “closed loop,” meaning all water used in the wash will be reused.

Read more at Environmental Leader.

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August 17, 2013

Waste CO2 could be a source of power

Dutch scientists have thought up a new use for all the carbon dioxide that pours out from the chimneys of fossil fuel-burning power stations: harvest it for even more electricity. They make the claim in a journal called Environmental Science and Technology Letters, which is published by the American Chemical Society, and the claim rests on a 200-year-old technique pioneered by Sir Humphry Davy and Michael Faraday: electrolysis.

They could, they argue, pump the carbon dioxide through water or other liquids and produce a flow of electrons and therefore more electricity. Power-generating stations release 12 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year as they burn coal, oil or natural gas; home and commercial heating plants release another 11 billion tonnes. This would be enough to create 1,750 terawatt hours of extra electricity annually, all without adding extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Bert Hamelers of Westus, a center for water excellence in the Netherlands, and colleagues from Wageningen University report that they used porous electrodes and flushed carbon dioxide into water to get their flow of current. In their experiment, they found out that as they flushed their aqueous electrolyte with air, and alternately with CO2 between their porous electrodes, a supply of electricity began to build up. Since the air that comes from the chimneys of fossil fuel-burning power stations contains anything up to 20% of CO2, even the emissions represent a potential for more power.

Nobody of course has a way of harvesting this power directly, but an old-fashioned experiment with electrodes in a laboratory shows that huge quantities of potential power are being lost every day, in unexpected ways.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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August 16, 2013

CleanTech One officially opens in Singapore’s first eco-business park

Industrial estates developer JTC Corporation opened on Thursday the first property in Singapore’s first green business park. Called the CleanTech One, the six-storey two-towered building with over 37,000 square meters of space will house various local and international organizations to create a diverse hub for clean technology. The green ‘complex within a complex’ is part of a concerted effort between JTC and the national government to drive the clean technology industry in Singapore and encourage more business to embrace sustainability.

Ministry for Trade and Industry Mr. Lim Hng Kiang, who led the launch said, “The issue of environmental sustainability is increasingly a key concern of many governments and companies. This has spurred the growth of the global cleantech market, which now stands at around US$1 trillion annually.” Singapore has identified clean energy, water and environment industries as key growth areas. The expected GDP (gross domestic product) contribution of these industries is worth S$3.4 billion (or US$2.6 billion), he added.

CleanTech One is listed as a Green Mark Platinum building, which is the highest rating classification in Singapore’s green building certification scheme. According to JTC, the building, which cost $87 million to construct, has several environmental features. So far, 22 organizations have set up in CleanTech One, such as Danish water firm DHI Water and Environment, Sinomem Technology from China, semiconductor company Advantec, thermal systems firm Solid Asia, energy solutions company Diamond Energy, and Japanese carbon fiber producer Toray Industries.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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August 15, 2013

Electrolux Helps Consumers Monitor Water Use

Consumers have a new partner to help them track their daily water use thanks to appliance manufacturer Electrolux. The company recently launched a Facebook application, YourWaterMark, that promises to go a step further in water conservation by helping individuals assess their water use outside the home as well. Electrolux’s YourWaterMark app is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainable business practices.

Although online calculators are available to estimate a carbon footprint, the average consumer is likely not very familiar with their monthly or annual greenhouse gas emissions. The same assumption likely holds true when it comes to water use, which is something that Electrolux anticipates changing with YourWaterMark by raising general awareness about day-to-day water use.

“We continuously strive to educate our consumers on how to use our appliances in a smarter way, and with YourWaterMark, we hope to start a dialogue about daily water usage, and to share ways that individuals can save water through small, everyday actions,” said Henrik Sundstrom, Vice President Group Sustainability Affairs at Electrolux.

The calculations that underlie YourWaterMark were sourced and verified by Global Green USA, an affiliate of Green Cross International. According to an Electroclux news release about YourWaterMark, the Facebook app: “…assesses the amount of water individuals use on a daily basis ? not just when we shower or brush our teeth, but when we make decisions about what to eat, how to commute and more.” After users receive their scores from YourWaterMark, they are provided with information about the water shortage issue along with guidance for reducing their impact from Zem Joaquin, eco-expert and founder of EcoFabulous.com.

Read more at TriplePundit.

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August 13, 2013

Call2Recycle named first battery recycling plan approved by NY State

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has named Call2Recycle the first batter recycling plan under the New York State Rechargable Battery Act. Call2Recycle is a no-cost battery and cellphone collection program.

The act, signed into law in December of 2010, requires manufacturers of select rechargeable batteries to collect and recycle the batteries steatewide in a manufacturer-funded program that costs consumers nothing. On behalf of its more than 200 industry stewards, Call2Recycle submitted a battery management plan, which has been approved by New York State. The plan ensures complete compliance for all active Call2Recycle industry stewards.

Retailers that sell covered rechargeable batteries are required to accept used rechargeable batteries from consumers during normal business hours and must post signs informing consumers about these requirements. Retailers must accept up to ten batteries per day from any person regardless of whether such person purchases replacement batteries.

Read more at Environmental Leader.

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August 12, 2013

Coca-Cola offers savings to greenest customers

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) will launch this week a fresh campaign designed to help boost the UK’s recycling rates, by offering discounts to families who reuse or recycle their plastic bottles.

The ‘Don’t Waste. Create’ campaign will be launched on Wednesday, asking customers to submit recycling pledges to receive a 50 pence voucher off their next purchase of CCE bottled drinks, including Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and Dr. Pepper. The campaign website will also suggest ways of reusing old plastic bottles, such as turning them into bird feeders or self-watering plant pots, in a bid to raise awareness of plastic waste and keep children occupied during the summer holidays.

“By asking [customers] to reuse and then recycle the plastic bottles, ‘Don’t Waste. Create’ encourages families to think more sustainably while having fun, giving them a tangible way to help reduce their household waste,” said Nick Brown, associate director for recycling at CCE.

Read more at Business Green.

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August 9, 2013

Ford adds rice to F-150 truck mix

Rice is the latest sustainable ingredient to be added to Ford’s F-150 pick-up, the best-selling truck in America. The manufacturer announced this week that the 2014 Ford F-150 will use plastic reinforced with rice hulls, a by-product of rice grain, in the truck’s electrical harness. The hulls will replace a talc-based reinforcement in a polypropylene composite developed specifically for Ford.

The company said it will use at least 45,000 pounds (20,400 kg) of hulls in the first year of production, sourced from farms in Arkansas. The hulls add to the soybeans and the significant amount of recycled materials already in the F-150 series production process. More than 650,000 F-Series trucks are sold each year in the US, with the fleet pioneering a host of green materials.

The new F-150 will also offer a factory-installed package that allows the engine to operate on either natural gas or petrol, potentially reducing emissions of both CO2 and harmful particulates and gases.

“The 2014 F-Series exemplifies our continued efforts to use recycled content in our vehicles,” said John Viera, Ford global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters. “We can have greater impact in this case because of the size and sales volume of this product.”

Read more at Business Green.

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August 9, 2013

Korea tests electric road and buses

South Korean researchers have switched on a new bus route that charges itself. Thought to be the first of its kind, the Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) buses get their charge from buried points in the road, charging while stationary or in motion. The 12km (7.5 miles) route was developed by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and will initially run two buses from the train station in the town of Gumi, in the south of the country, to the In-dong district.

The OLEV receives power wirelessly through the application of Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR) technology developed by KAIST to transfer electricity wirelessly from the road surface to electric vehicles while moving. Power comes from the electrical cables buried under the surface of the road that create magnetic fields while a receiving device is installed on the underbelly of the OLEV that converts the fields into electricity. Power strips need to be embedded in 5-to-15 percent of the road length, so only a few sections of the road would have to be rebuilt to enable the use of OLEV.

According to Dong-Ho Cho, a professor of the electrical engineering and the director of the Center for Wireless Power Transfer Technology Business Development at KAIST, “It’s quite remarkable that we succeeded with the OLEV project so that buses are offering public transportation services to passengers. This is certainly a turning point for OLEV to become more commercialized and widely accepted for mass transportation in our daily living.”

Read more at CleanBiz Asia.

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August 8, 2013

Walmart, Fox Campaign Promotes Eco-Brands

Walmart and Twentieth Century Fox have partnered to promote eco-friendly brands including Brita, Burt’s Bees, Glad, Green Works and Clorox ? and the studio’s home-video launch of “Epic,” an environmentally themed animated film. The partners say the green-marketing effort is intended to encourage kids and families to purchase more sustainable household, grocery, health and beauty products.

Walmart launched its Epic Green Warriors campaign ? each product, such as Glad compostable trash bags and Brita water bottles and filters, has an Epic Warrior sticker ? at 2,800 stores to help boost pre-orders for the kids movie, which will become available on DVD and Blu-ray on Aug. 20, Variety reports.

Walmart plans to use its Sustainability Index to influence the design of its US private-brand products starting in 2013, and says it is on track with that goal, according to the company’s most recent sustainability report. It has started evaluating the index’s result in high-volume private brand categories, to find the products with the best opportunities for design improvements.

Advertisers, hoping to capitalize on growing public interest in sustainability, have put more resources into “green” advertising aimed at attracting consumers with claims of improved environmental impact of products, according to a Worldwatch Institute report published in March.

Read more at Environmental Leader.

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August 8, 2013

Tom’s of Maine eyes potatoes for biodegradable packaging

Tom’s of Maine is studying the viability of using non-GMO potatoes that otherwise would be tossed in the garbage as feedstock for biodegradable packaging. The research is part of a partnership that includes the University of Maine and the Sustainable Bioplastics Council of Maine, which are seeking ways of recapturing local agricultural waste.

Potato starch can be used to form polylactic acid (PLA), a plastic resin that could be used for mouthwash bottles or deodorant canisters, two products initially targeted under the company’s initiative. Potatoes are the biggest commodity in the state’s $1.2 billion annual agricultural industry. The potatoes that Tom’s of Maine proposes on using normally would be destined for landfills.

“One interesting finding from our research is that for the initial plant, we don’t need to take potatoes away from use as food to meet the needs for bioplastic production,” said Kate Dickerson, a researcher with the University of Maine.

Read more at GreenBiz.

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August 7, 2013

Toilet technology recycles water, produces waste heat

ReAqua Systems’ toilet technology recycles wastewater from baths, showers and some sinks for use in flushing toilets ? and can extract heat from the greywater, feeding it back into the central heating system. The reAqua and reAqua+ units, available in the UK, both reduce water consumption by a third, while the latter (which has the optional heat recovery from greywater) also enables a two-fold reduction in CO2 emissions.

The two products can be used in retrofits and new buildings. A revised plumbing setup takes all wastewater form baths and showers, redirecting it through a compact reAqua filtration unit where it is treated with a disinfectant. This treated water is collected in a tank and piped on, as required, to supply all the flushing water needs for multiple toilets.

End users can expect savings on metered water bills between £200 and £500 a year, with a typical payback time of three to seven years, the company says. Fitting a reAqua+ system typically offers a projected lifetime saving between £4,000 and £10,000 per unit.

Read more at Environmental Leader.

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