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Chinese Decree Alters Recycling Picture

A campaign targeting ‘foreign garbage’ will have far-reaching effects on the recycling industry

Posted on Dec 5 2017 by Scott Gibson

Recycling plastic, paper, and metal is fundamental to a sustainable lifestyle, and for years China has given U.S. consumers a helping hand by accepting millions of tons of waste plastic every year. That practice is about to end.

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Image Credits:

  1. MBEO via Flickr

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Paving Roads With Recycled Plastic

A Scottish company pioneers a method for using waste plastic to make tough, long-wearing roads

Posted on Jun 16 2017 by Scott Gibson

A Scottish startup company has developed a method for supplementing conventional bitumen asphalt with pellets of recycled plastic, producing a stronger and more durable pavement.

MacRebur describes MR6 as a high-performance asphalt binderGlue used in manufactured wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Some binders are made with formaldehyde. See urea-formaldehyde binder and methyl diisocyanate (MDI) binder. additive that reduces the amount of bitumen needed to make asphalt, simultaneously reducing the amount of oil going into pavement and finding a use for the millions of pounds of waste plastic that now go into landfills every year.

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Image Credits:

  1. MacRebur

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Recycling Rates Decline in California

For the first time since 2010, the state's recycling rate fell below 50%

Posted on Jul 12 2016 by Scott Gibson

Recycling rates have dropped in California, and for the first time since 2010 are below 50%.

Plastic News reports that the statewide recycling rate fell to 47% last year, a decline of 3 percentage points from the year before. The new data from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) suggest that the state has some catching up to do if it hopes to meet a recycling goal of 75% by 2020.


Image Credits:

  1. Peter Kaminski / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

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Are We Recycling Too Much of Our Trash?

Recycling up to 10% appears to reduce social costs, but any recycling over 10% costs the environment and the economy more than it helps

Posted on Nov 2 2015 by Thomas Kinnaman

A recent credible study suggests the amount of waste Americans dispose in landfills each year is over twice what the EPA had been estimating.

Although this news may not surprise the country’s disposal facilities (who already knew the quantity of waste they take in), the study may strike an old nerve for many Americans – that our society generates too much garbage. The answer, we have been repeatedly told, is to recycle our waste. In fact, plans for zero waste or 100% recycling have been hatched in places including Berkeley, California, and Indianapolis, Indiana.

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  1. via Flickr

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Beyond Recycling

Solving e-waste problems must include gadget designers as well as consumers

Posted on Jul 28 2015 by Josh Lepawsky

Agbogbloshie, Ghana, is in the news again. International media — including The Guardian, Al Jazeera, and The Washington Post — have helped turn this place into an infamous example of electronic waste (e-waste) dumping.

I study global flows of discarded electronics, and that research leads me to think that such images badly misrepresent Agbogbloshie, which has been called “the world’s biggest e-waste dumpsite.”

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Recycled PVC Raises Health Concerns

A report from the Healthy Building Network finds that levels of lead in vinyl flooring made with recycled plastics can be alarmingly high

Posted on Jun 24 2015 by Scott Gibson

Some new vinylCommon term for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In chemistry, vinyl refers to a carbon-and-hydrogen group (H2C=CH–) that attaches to another functional group, such as chlorine (vinyl chloride) or acetate (vinyl acetate). flooring tiles contain levels of lead and other contaminants that are far above recommended safety levels because the contents of recycled plastics used to manufacture them aren't carefully controlled or monitored, according to a study by the Healthy Building Network.

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Image Credits:

  1. Wikimedia Commons

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You May Like These Plastic Water Bottles

After use, these specially designed bottles are squashed flat and turned into roofing tiles

Posted on May 28 2015 by Scott Gibson

A Costa Rican businessman has developed a type of plastic water bottle that can be turned into a roofing tile when its empty instead of pitched in the trash or sent to a recycling center.

Donald Thomson worked for years to develop the idea after watching children squash plastic water bottles during a beach cleanup, an article in PlasticsNews said.

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Image Credits:

  1. Jim Johnson / PlasticNews

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Arizona Bans Ban on Bags

While some communities around the country mull bans on plastic grocery sacks, Arizona has new law prohibiting bans or extra fees

Posted on Apr 20 2015 by Scott Gibson

Arizona has become the first state in the country to prohibit taxes or prohibitions on plastic bags and other containers.

Republican Governor Douglas Ducey on April 13 signed legislation forbidding any Arizona company from regulating the "sale, use or disposition of auxiliary containers," including single-use plastic bags, foam containers, boxes, cans, and bottles, according to an article in Plastic News.

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Image Credits:

  1. Guaoguao via Wikimedia Commons

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Plastic Production Rises But Recycling Can’t Keep Up

Production continues its 50-year trend upward, but millions of pounds of plastics end up in landfills and the oceans

Posted on Feb 20 2015 by Scott Gibson

Plastics serve many purposes, but millions of tons of discarded plastics end up buried in landfills, floating in the world's oceans, and burned in poorly regulated incinerators, a report from the Worldwatch Institute says.

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Image Credits:

  1. Michal Manas/ Wikimedia Commons

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Curbside Recycling for Polystyrene Foam

A Nova Scotia community launches the province's first recycling program specifically for rigid foam

Posted on Dec 8 2014 by Scott Gibson

In a first for the province of Nova Scotia, a waste recycling agency has launched a curbside recycling program for expanded polystyrene (EPSExpanded polystyrene. Type of rigid foam insulation that, unlike extruded polystyrene (XPS), does not contain ozone-depleting HCFCs. EPS frequently has a high recycled content. Its vapor permeability is higher and its R-value lower than XPS insulation. EPS insulation is classified by type: Type I is lowest in density and strength and Type X is highest.) foam, turning waste foam into blocks of condensed material that can be sold to manufacturers and turned into new products.

Two years in the making, the program got off the ground in mid-November, according to an article in the The Kings County Advertiser and Register.

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