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» Think your plastic is being recycled? Think again.

The US may have Save the Earth campaigns to thank for the embrace of recycling. But more likely, it was made possibly by China’s emergence as a manufacturing powerhouse. The more China made, the more it needed used plastics, eventually sucking up around two-thirds of the US’s plastic scrap each year, worth several billion dollars.

“[Plastics] 3-7 are absolutely going to a landfill—[China’s] not taking that any more… because of Green Fence,” David Kaplan, CEO of Maine Plastics, a post-industrial recycler, tells Quartz. “This will continue until we can do it in the United States economically.”

China controls a large portion of the recycling market, importing about 70% of the world’s 500m tonnes of electronic waste and 12m tonnes of plastic waste each year. Sudden Chinese policy changes therefore have a significant impact on the global recycling trade, which puts pressure on western countries to reconsider their reliance on the cost-effective practice of exporting waste, a habit that’s reinforced by a lack of domestic recycling infrastructure and a lower demand for secondary raw materials.

China’s Green Fence policy just might spur the U.S. government and recyclers into much-needed innovation..

dailykos, 18.09.13.

» In a Fashion-First, H&M Offers Clothing Recycling for Customers

While praised for retailing well designed, affordable apparel, H&M doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to sustainable business practices. In 2010, the clothing giant was accused of throwing away garments en masse that were never sold, and earlier this year they were accused of operating sweatshop-like conditions at one of their sub contractor’s factories in Cambodia.

Whether an effort to redeem their tarnished reputation, or just good marketing, the Swedish-based company has come up with a “Global Clothes Collecting Initiative.” The first fashion label to launch such a campaign, the idea is that customers can bring clothing from any brand, in any condition to one of their 48 stores around the world to recycle. The effort is intended to help consumers cut down on their own textile-waste. In exchange, H&M’s press release outlines, “the customer will receive a voucher for each bag brought. The collected clothes are then handled by H&M’s partner, I:Collect, which provides the infrastructure in which consumer goods are repeatedly reprocessed and made available for new use.

Long-term, H&M wants to reduce the environmental impact of garments throughout the lifecycle and create a closed loop for textile fibres.”, 06.12.12.

good effort, but the larger picture is that people gotta change their lifestyles. just stop buying so much clothing you don’t need! fast-fashion is such a trap. go spend your hard-earned money on quality (generally more pricey but) more durable goods. give old stuff away to goodwill or the salvation army, a local church or charity, or directly to some people on the street.

The City of Vancouver has set the lofty goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020 and, judging by their latest green innovation, they are thinking outside of the box to get there. To help up their green quotient, Vancouver has started paving its streets with recycled plastic. The city teamed up with GreenMantra of Toronto to melt together old plastic and asphalt to create a paving mixture that is much better for the environment than traditional asphalt.
Vancouver Becomes First City to Pave Their Streets With Recycled Plastic. inhabitat, 25.11.12.

Starbucks may not be synonymous with sustainability, but with plans in place to turn food waste from the Hong Kong stores into sustainable bioplastics, could that soon change?
» Bottle return: start to Finnish

Every collection day, Toronto blue bins overflow with soft-drink and water bottles. Instead of cramming some landfill in Michigan, these bottles will be melted down and the raw material recycled and put to another use. But before residents pat themselves on the back for their beloved blue bins, it is worth considering the further environmental benefits of using refillable bottles for our water and soft drinks.

Finland is one of the most environmentally conscious nations in the world. From protecting their forest resources to reducing fossil fuel waste, the environment is near the top of Finland’s social conscience. One pillar of their green society is the bottle return.

Since the 1970s, the Finnish system of reusable beverage containers has been protected by a federal tax system. Companies that have no plan for recovery of packaging waste are charged 0.67 euro per liter; for using recyclable materials, 0.17 euro per liter; and for using refillable containers, there is no tax. There have been several challenges to the tax by the beverage industry, but to no avail.

One huge factor is public support of the tax. A Gallup poll in 2001 found that 79 per cent of Finns preferred drinking out of refillable beer bottles, while an overwhelming 94 per cent preferred their soft drink bottles to be refillable…

thevarsity, 12.09.05.

via thegreenurbanist and motherjones: The Origins of Anti-Litter Campaigns. 22.05.06.

According to Heather Rogers’ Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage, the entire anti-litter movement was initiated by a consortium of industry groups who wanted to divert the nation’s attention away from even more radical legislation to control the amount of waste these companies were putting out. It’s a good story worth retelling.

photo from, 25.05.12. Kierrätysmuovipulloihin jo yli 500 juomalajia.

» You Can’t Eat Silica Gel, But You Can Reuse It

Silica gel is used as a desiccant, an odorless substance that naturally absorbs moisture to keep our purchases from spoiling, molding or degrading due to humidity.

Defogger Extraordinaire: Safety first! Place some silica gel packets on the dashboard of your car to help maintain a clear windshield in times of high humidity. This works just as well in the corners of your windowsills to dissipate condensation. You can also leave a packet in an eyeglass case.

more: earth911, 05.08.10.
via grist, 25.06.12

Why don’t Americans recycle more?
click to embiggen., 05.04.12.
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