Top 5 Happy Eco News – October 28-November 3, 2018
1) How Ikea and HP want to help keep plastic out of the ocean: make stuff from it
With the equivalent of a garbage truck sized load of garbage entering the world’s oceans every minute, the recent announcement of Ikea and HP to join NextWave Plastics, is a huge step in the right direction. Ikea, has already pledged to end single use plastics by 2020. China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, dump more plastic waste into the sea than the rest of the world combined therefore the projects focus is in these areas. Other companies and organizations that have experience using and handling beach-found plastic are sharing information on how to process and use reclaimed plastic from these countries which is often sandy and salty from the sea, unlike the recycled waste from America and Europe. Ultimately, the goal is to shift society’s view of plastic waste from cost liability to a resource that can be sold on an open market like any other and large consumer brands creating demand for this product is the first step in a new economic model.
2) This Spanish company found a way to produce a fuel that emits no CO2 — and it’s made of sewage
Spanish company Ingelia may have the key to reduction of the use of coal in traditional energy production. The process, which uses organic waste such as sewage or food waste, produces a product called Biochar. Production of Biochar emits no CO2, and when burned emits no CO2. Further, combustion of the product purportedly has vastly reduced amounts of other toxic emissions as well. Killing two birds with one stone – making clean fuel and turning waste into a valuable resource, make it a viable replacement for coal. In fact, the company is on track to replace 220,000 tons of coal by 2022 in EU countries, a number that will likely increase as the process gets cheaper and the more cities deploy the system.
3) Plastic producers pool US$90m to tackle ocean pollution
Beverage makers PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, consumer goods manufacturers Procter & Gamble and Unilever, food producer Danone, and chemical firm Dow have pooled $90 million to combat plastic pollution. The purpose of this fund is to help remove barriers to implementation of recycling of plastics. Financing is often a major hurdle to communities looking to invest in recycling facilities. Typically, the consumer products represented by these companies are sold in markets where recycling facilities do not exist. In the future, analysts believe the onus will be on the producer of plastic to ensure these facilities are in place. This “polluter pays” principal shifts the responsibility back to the manufacturer and will likely result in reduced packaging and ultimately, reduced plastic waste.
4) Climate change: Five cheap ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere
After the IPCC report that we have only 12 years to prevent catastrophic climate change, people began to wake up to the fact that reducing carbon emissions is simply not enough to make the needed changes. We need to pull carbon from the atmosphere in large quantities and we need to do it soon. The drain on resources that this entails will be huge but there is hope. Carbon capture technology is expensive but growing things is cheap. Plants such as trees and other food crops are an inexpensive and effective way to capture carbon. Simply managing existing forests to stop widespread destruction offers significant positive gains. Further, healthy forests provide food and habitat for not only humans, but also wild animals and birds.
5) Electrify America Signs Deal For “Interoperable” EV Charging
Electrify America announced today that it signed a deal that effectively creates a combined network of 12,500 interoperable electric car charging stations. Interoperable simply means uniting a large number of currently separate charging stations into one larger network that can be accessed by all EV drivers. Currently lack of charging infrastructure is often cited as adding to the range anxiety felt by many EV drivers. The ability to access any charging system at any time may help those who are on the fence about electric vehicles make the decision to buy one.
The new interconnected network of chargers located at shopping centers, convenience stores, and workplaces will come online on June 30, 2019.