Surprising innovation is cleaning up the trash from Baltimore’s harbor

Water Wheel in Baltimore harbor

Like many of our nation’s waterways, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has become a plastic and styrofoam liquid litter box.Much of it sinks below the surface, sometimes posing hazards to ships navigating the area.

Healthy Harbor, an initiative of the nonprofit Waterfront Partnership, is determined to make the harbor swimmable and fishable again by 2020. They’re working to head off debris before it hits the harbor by raising public awareness of proper waste disposal, restricting the use of plastic bags and bottles, and engineering storm drains to catch trash. Continue reading

Quebec’s new “Living Wall” blends recycled materials and Nature indoors

Living garden quebec - The Currrents 1Living green walls are one of the most special methods that designers and architects have to bring Nature indoors for our enjoyment. They add beauty while helping to keep the air we breathe clean and fresh.

A few years ago I wrote about the amazing living green wall in Singapore’s Changi Airport, which stood at 45 feet tall. But a there’s a new claim to the title “World’s Tallest Living Wall”. Standing at 213 feet tall, this new installation called The Currents is housed in the Desjardins building in Lévis, Quebec. Continue reading

A growing national trend turns plastic bags into bedding for the homeless

An eighth grader shows how easy it is to turn plastic bags into cushy bed mats for the homeless

An eighth grader shows how easy it is to turn plastic bags into cushy bed mats for the homeless; photo by Debra Atlas

As cities around the country are banning or placing a tax on plastic bags, some people are turning lemons into lemonade. A growing number of church groups and students are turning single use plastic bags into bed mats for the homeless. Continue reading

Celebrate America Recycles Day today – don’t toss the recyclable stuff

America Recycles Day logoIn case you don’t know about it, today is America Recycles Day. This partnership between Keep America Beautiful and the Ad Council, it’s a day that serves to remind consumers of the importance of recycling and to raise awareness of the growing myriad of items that can be recycled.

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5th grader steps up to help eliminate plastic waste

Plastic ocean debrisEvery minute over one million plastic bags are used. In America alone, 100 billion are consumed each year.

A very determined 5th grader named Grace McCaull at Kenwood School in Northern California decided her class should do something about it.

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Potential Plastic bag ban fails in California

photo by Sascha W., flickr

photo by Sascha W., flickr

The story just broke. The California Senate has rejected a ban on single use plastic bags.

The usual arguments were made, particularly that jobs would disappear if the bill passed. The one ray of light here is that The bill will be allowed to be reconsidered, meaning it could be back before a Senate committee or the Senate floor. But given that the Senate has been the stumbling block in the past (the Assembly passed a similar bill last year), one wonders if it will have any chance the next time around.

You can read the details of the story here.

Colored plastic bags may contain lead

Colored plastic bags may have toxic chemicals in them

Colored plastic bags may have toxic chemicals in them

According to recent tests conducted by the Vermont-based nonprofit Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse, bright solid-colored plastic bags may contain high concentrations of lead.  This industry/public interest advisory group – formed in an effort to reduce the amount of heavy metals in packaging and packaging components that are sold or distributed throughout the U.S. – screened 125 single-use shopping and mailing bags for the presence of the four regulated metals: lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium in the inks used to print or color the bags.

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