San Francisco’s recycling center gets a upgrade in time for the holidays

Recology logoSan Francisco is known for many things, the Golden Gate Bridge among them. But its San Francisco’s recycling efforts that have brought this amazing city into the national spotlight.

In 2002, the City by the Bay passed legislation that set a goal of  diverting 75 percent of its waste from landfills by 2010 and achieving “zero waste” by 2020. And so began its composting and food waste collection program.

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Modified wood product aims to save hardwood forests from the axe

 

Australia's famed hardwood tree - the Eucalyptus obliqua - could be spared in favor of 3Wood

Australia’s famed hardwood tree – the Eucalyptus obliqua – could be spared in favor of 3Wood

Waste is a terrible thing, particularly when it comes to the use of hardwood trees. The World Wildlife Fund says that about 46-58 thousand square miles of forest are lost each year. That’s a huge amount of carbon released into the atmosphere from deforestation.

David Lewis, Australia’s Flinders Centre for NanoScale Science & Technology (CNST) Director and co-developer,  says “if you take a big tree, only a small percentage of that becomes hardwood; the rest is chipped and burned.”

But there’s hope on the horizon.

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Wind turbines on the Great Lakes? Not a great idea for the birds

Saw an interesting article today about how putting wind turbines on the Great Lakes could do serious harm to the birds around and migrating through the Great Lake region.

Traditional wind turbines create a horrendous level of bird kills. Endangered birds such as bald eagles, which are federally protected,  and bats – which are threatened by the white nose syndrome plague – are losing their lives in continually growing numbers due to strikes by wind turbines.

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100 percent recycled asphalt to be used for bike lanes

Bike path pic

The Netherlands has one-upped the rest of the world yet again. Previously it was with their solar powered bike path, which opened in 2014 in a suburb outside of Amsterdam. In a country where there are admittedly more bikes than people, the government’s commitment to sustainability and innovation is inspiring.

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5 Gyres works to help stop plastic pollution of microbeads

plastic microbeads

The issue of plastic in our oceans is huge – and growing! Even with encouraging news regarding Dutch engineering student Boyan Slat’s plan to clean up half the Pacific Garbage Patch in just 10 years, the issue of microbeads remains.

Plastic microbeads are in beauty products like toothpaste and facial scrubs in humongous amounts. One tube of exfoliating scrub can contain over 350,000 plastic microbeads! It’s estimated that 471 million microbeads are released into the San Francisco Bay every day.

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The future of commercial buildings – see-through solar powered windows

Mew Energy Technologies' new Solar Window™

Mew Energy Technologies’ new SolarWindow™

The growth of solar is exploding. As the technology continues to improve, the focus for commercial buildings is solar, but with a twist.

Not all commercial buildings can handle large solar arrays on their rooftops. Between the weight of the solar panels and the fixed angle of the buildings, standard solar panels aren’t a one-size-fits-all. Because of this, the new technology of smaller solar cells embedded in glass has become a race to see who will perfect and make this available first.

One of the leading contenders in the U.S. is New Energy Technologies, a building integrator photovoltaic (BIPV) developer in Maryland. Their chief focus – a product called SolarWindow™ – is a spray-on solution of solar cells that allows windows to generate electricity.First announced in 2010,/the idea of this solar film caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 2011. NET now has an exclusive world-wide licensing agreement with the University of South Florida, and a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with NREL to advance SolarWindow technology.

To learn more about this exciting new innovation, see the full article here.

Tomatoes as sustainable materials for vehicles?

Ford and Heinz work to create sustainable materials from tomato waste

Ford and Heinz work to create sustainable materials from tomato waste

You have to hand it to Ford Motor Company. They seem to be at the top when it comes to innovation and creative thinking.

Their latest venture has them  collaborating with Heinz, Coca-Cola, Nike and Procter & Gamble to further the development of a 100 percent plant-based plastic that can be used to make everything from fabric to packaging and with a lower environmental impact than petroleum-based packaging materials currently in use. And that’s where tomatoes come into play.

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