Solar recycling – a looming problem with a European solution

The price of solar panels continues to drop – down 86 percent since 2009! That means having solar is more affordable than ever and with solar leasing options growing and now California mandating all new construction must include solar, its use is set to explode.

But as I’ve noted before, every solution presents new problems which must be addressed. Solar panels have been rated for a 25-year lifespan. Although they will continue to function after that – many solar panels installed in the 1980’s still function close to their original levels – ultimately they will lose efficiency and at some point need to be replaced. The looming issue here is what to do with those solar panels?

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National Park Service rescinds ban on plastic water bottles – a bad and dangerous policy for wildlife

Plastic pollution – such as shown here in the Grand Canyon prior to the plastic water ban – will likely now become a common scene again.

In what is clearly bowing to pressure from both our infamous, uh, illustrious national leader and lobbying (as with beaucoup dollars thrown at them or the federal agency that oversees it) by plastic bottle manufacturers, the National Park Service has announced it’s lifting the 6-year ban on the sale of plastic water bottles within national parks.

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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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November 15th is America Recycles Day

RecyclingFor a large percentage of Americans, recycling is fast becoming a way of life.

More households are participating in home recycling and businesses are slowly making the shift as well. Even so, there are still communities – including the one I recently moved to – that still don’t have curbside recycling.

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States with the most Producer Responsibility laws

Extended Producer Responsibliity graphic

If you’re not familiar with the phrase Extended Producer Responsibility, it’s time to learn.

EPR is the larger picture of what’s necessary and what’s possible going well beyond recycling. It requires manufacturers to be accountable for the products they produce – its complete life cycle from beginning to its final and responsible disposal. It’s a way to dramatically reduce what goes into our landfills and increase the amount of waste that gets recycled and/or reused.

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Smaller countries like Costa Rica are leading the way to carbon neutrality

Wind turbines on the coastline

Are larger countries in the world at a disadvantage when it comes to embracing renewable energy? In the United States, for example, the monied oil lobby has made itself clear it will do whatever it can to put stumbling blocks in the way of renewable energy being fully adopted nationally.

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Corporations learning the real value of materials recycling

Reduce-Reuse-RecycleLarge corporations are beginning to get that recycling – the 2nd of the “3 R’s” – can really pay back. With the launch of the new National Materials Marketplace, more than 20 companies with U.S.-based operations are avoiding waste by turning it into raw materials for other companies’ use.

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