Plastic Waste Being Used to Make Roads

Day 345 – It seems like road construction season occurs all year round. Lane reductions, road closures and a constant state of traffic chaos occurs on a daily basis. In the end, a new road with fresh asphalt and no potholes makes it all worth it. Well, maybe not all of it, but definitely most of it.

What would make the whole process even more bearable, would be knowing that plastic waste destined for the landfill is being used to make the roads.

First appearing in India two decades ago, plastic roads are being tested and built in more and more countries as the world’s plastic pollution problem becomes more acutely felt. India has installed over 60,000 miles of these roads. The technology, meanwhile, is gaining ground in Britain, Europe, and Asia. Several countries—South Africa, Vietnam, Mexico, the Philippines, and the United States, among them—have built their first plastic roads only recently.” – Good News Network

The thought of plastic bottles, wrappers and bags being used to create roadways is absolute genius. Not only is it addressing the world’s waste problem, but it also appears that using these plastics is creating a better a roadway.

A growing number of studies say that roads containing waste plastic have the potential to perform as well or better than traditional roads. They can last longer, are stronger and more durable in respect to loads and rutting, can tolerate wide temperature swings, and are more resistant to water damage, cracking, and potholes.” – Good News Network

Combining an overall reduction in waste production with the practical reuse of the waste that is created, will lead to a cleaner and healthier planet.

Tomorrow, you do not need to keep up with the Joneses.

Green Apps Helping You Live an Eco-friendly Life

Day 344 – I tried writing this post a few times and ending up changing topics, because I couldn’t find a good number of helpful environmentally friendly apps. So, when I saw the post by Earth911, 10 Green Apps To Help You Live More Sustainably, I knew that this would be a good time to share the information. With a new year closely approaching, these apps can help your resolutions to being more eco-friendly, become a reality.

Here are five from the list:

  1. iRecycle – iRecycle is Earth911.com in your pocket, the premiere application for finding local convenient recycling opportunities when you are on the go or at home. iRecycle provides access to more than 1,600,000 ways to recycle over 350 materials in the United States. Our daily sustainable living articles, podcasts, and recycling how-to guides are available any time you need information.
  2. Too Good to Go – Join millions of food waste warriors by downloading Too Good To Go – the world’s number 1 app for fighting food waste. Pick up delicious meals and ingredients from local stores. Each year, 40% all edible food in the US is thrown away. At Too Good To Go we want to put an end to food waste by creating a world where food produced is food consumed.
  3. GreenChoice – We rate food products and curate the best options for you & the planet.
  4. ShareWaste – We connect people who wish to recycle their food scraps and other organics with their neighbors who are already composting, worm-farming or keep farm animals. Now you can divert organic material from landfill while getting to know the people around you!
  5. PaperKarma – PaperKarma provides the largest directory in the US for opting out of junk mail, including: Catalogs, Charity Donation Requests, Credit Card & Insurance Offers, Direct Marketers, Local Mailers, National Mailers, and Previous Resident /Occupants’ Junk Mail.

Making a positive impact on the planet is just an app away.

Tomorrow, plastic roads.

Elevate Packaging: Compostable Packaging Solutions

Day 343 – I have said it before and I will say it again, there is nothing better then finding an eco-friendly company and discovering that company is located in Chicago. I was thrilled when I found Meliora cleaning products and now I am elated to have found Elevate Packaging.

Elevate Packaging is the leading provider of compostable packaging and labels. Our exclusive PURE Labels™ are the first and only certified compostable label in North America. With our bags, pouches, and labels, we offer a complete one-stop compostable packaging solution for sustainable business.

Serving industries such as natural food, institutional food service, coffee, tea, cannabis, apparel, body care, and more, Elevate Packaging offers high quality compostable packaging solutions with excellent performance that will help your business eliminate landfill waste and build reputable eco brand value.” – Elevate Packaging

I recently purchased compostable bags to hold my photography prints. It feels so good to offer customers eco-friendly packaging.

If you need packaging for your business, using a compostable options shows your customers that you care about the planet.

Tomorrow, green apps.

Seaweed + Cows = Less Methane Emissions

Day 342 – Back on Day 303, I wrote about reducing methane emissions. In the post, I mentioned that a large contributor of methane emissions comes from livestock. Methane is a short-lived but powerful greenhouse gas and the second-largest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide.

About 70% of agricultural methane comes from enteric fermentation – chemical reactions in the stomachs of cows and other grazing animals as they break down plants. The animals burp out most of this methane and pass the rest as flatulence. There are roughly 1 billion cattle around the world, so reducing enteric methane is an effective way to reduce overall methane emissions. But most options for doing so, such as changing cows’ diets to more digestible feed or adding more fat, are not cost-effective.” – World Economic Forum

A recent study shows that using red seaweed as a feed supplement can reduce methane emissions and feed costs without affecting meat quality. The seaweed supplement reduced methane emissions by up to 67%. The hope is that this supplement can be scaled up and used throughout the cattle industry.

Commercializing seaweed as a cattle feed additive would involve many steps. First, scientists would need to develop aquaculture techniques for producing seaweed on a large scale, either in the ocean or in tanks on land. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would have to approve using seaweed as a feed supplement for commercial cattle. Farmers and ranchers could also earn money for reducing their cattle’s emissions. Climate scientists would have to provide guidance on quantifying, monitoring and verifying methane emission reductions from cattle. Such rules could allow cattle farmers to earn credits from carbon offset programs around the world.”World Economic Forum

The idea of feeding cattle seaweed is a strange one. However, a world without less methane emissions is a no brainer.

Tomorrow, compostable bags.

Reusable Mailers: Helping Reduce Waste

Day 341 – I recently placed an order with Toad & Co. and was given the option to choose a reusable mailer. There was no charge for choosing this option, but I was going to have to be responsible for sending the reusable mailer back to the company. I of course chose to use the reusable mailer. Dropping it off at the UPS store with the provided prepaid postage was a very easy task.

When you consider global e-commerce sales are expected to hit $4.2 trillion this year and around 76 percent of U.S. adults shop online, there is no doubt there is a lot of packaging involved. Mailers being just one of the many shipping options. Many of these mailers can be recycled. Some can be recycled with your cardboard boxes. While others can be recycled with plastic film (#4). Some mailers can even be reused. Unfortunately, many people choose to discard these mailers in the trash.

This time of year, the number of mailers ending up in the trash increases tenfold. It’s a hectic time for many and the idea of separating the increased packaging coming through the door seems like a daunting task. More companies need to have the option of sending your newly purchased items in a reusable mailer. The consumer needs it and more importantly the planet needs it.

If you’re ever given the opportunity to use a reusable mailer, make sure you take it. And more importantly, make sure you send it back!

Tomorrow, feeding cows seaweed.

From Garbage Island to Recycling Success Story

Day 340 – In the 90s, Taiwan was only collecting about 70 percent of its trash and very little of that was being recycled. Their landfills were reaching capacity. After many protests and the call from residents to improve the situation, the government drafted a new waste management framework encouraging citizens and manufacturers to adopt practices to reduce the amount of waste produced.

Companies play an active role either by handling their own garbage or by paying a waste fee subsidizing a government-run fund for waste infrastructure. Taiwanese citizens must put their mixed waste into government-approved blue bags they purchase. By contrast, recyclable materials like glass, aluminum and paper can be placed in any kind of bag. Classical music piped from trucks alert local residents that it’s time to go outside with bags containing the recyclables and mixed waste. A bright yellow pickup truck collects general trash, while a smaller white truck behind it has a set of bins into which people can throw recyclable materials, from raw food to cardboard.” – Smithsonian Magazine

Taiwan has gone from not recycling much of their waste, to reclaiming 55 percent from households and 77 percent from industries. Many factors go into Taiwan’s successful recycling initiative. However, two stand out as being integral to the program.

  1. Taiwan has created a recycling booth, where residents can bring their recyclables if they happen to miss the truck. By bringing these items to the recycle booth, value is added to their transit card.
  2. Taiwan has companies that are researching ways to take recyclables and various other waste streams and create building materials and other useful products. Arthur Huang and his team at Miniwiz have experimented on over 1,200 different waste materials to figure out their mechanical properties, in hopes to create new products for reuse.

Taiwan is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when you have the cooperation from the government, the business sector and residents.

Tomorrow, reusable mailers helping keep trash out of the landfill.

Keeping Soil Healthy is Key to a Healthy Planet

Day 339World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on December 5, as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.”United Nations

One way to keep soil healthy is the use of regenerative agriculture practices. There doesn’t seem to be a very specific definition to describe this practice. However, there are certain methods that can be seen as “regenerative”.

  • Incorporating crop rotation and cover cropping
  • Increasing plant and crop diversity
  • Practicing conservative tillage to prevent erosion and increase soil health
  • Animal integration, managed grazing and pasturing
  • Composting and waste reduction
  • and more

Whether regenerative agriculture ends up being a scientifically-proven way to fight climate change or not, its methods still offer many benefits to the ecosystem, producers and consumers alike.” – Sustainable America

Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. In addition to erosion, soil quality is affected by other aspects of agriculture. The need for farming practices that will address these issues is critical to a healthy planet.

“The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself”​ – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tomorrow, a look at what Taiwan is doing.

Indoor Vertical Crops, the Future of Farming

Day 338 – Traditional farming takes can take up a great deal of space and require a lot of water. Sadly, our planet is running out of space and fresh water. To help alleviate the problem, companies are creating vertical farms. One such company is Plenty, located in San Francisco, California.

Vertical farms provide numerous advantages over traditional farming.

  1. A perfect environment is offered, avoiding the unpredictability of changing climates.
  2. No bleach or pesticides used on plants. No GMOs.
  3. Crop yields are increased over 350x compared to traditional farming.
  4. Hundreds of acres of farmland are compacted into the size of a big box retail store.

Plenty offers a variety of different greens.

There is no denying that the planet is changing and that climates around the globe will begin to undergo major changes. Many have already started the transformation. Vertical gardens will be key in providing people with fresh produce.

Tomorrow, celebrating World Soil Day.

Give an Upcycled Gift this Holiday Season

Day 337 – Back on Day 240, I wrote about Looptworks. They take material destined for the landfill and create items for reuse. They have bags of every kind, aprons, clothes and face masks. I thought I would share even more suggestion for upcycled gifts.

Nowhere Collective – This gift guide lists numerous artists using recycled materials to create their upcycled items. Amazing one-of-a-kind gifts to give to friends and family.

Upcycle It Now – A mother-daughter company that has a three-pronged mission: give materials a second life, create useful and beautiful goods, and provide skilled jobs for their community.

Upcycled – Based in Missoula, Montana, this shop features arts and crafts from local Montana artisans. 

Upcycle That – Not only do they sell upcycled items, but also give a wide range of ideas and tutorials for upcycling different materials and making unique items.

Etsy – There is a plethora of artists on Etsy selling their upcycled gifts.

Uncommon Goods – They are known for their unique gifts, but they also have numerous upcycled gifts, as well.

Rareform – Bags made from billboard signs.

A few other great posts to check out:

23 Practical Upcycled Gift Ideas For Him & Her

21 Upcycled Gift Ideas

Give the gift of something old becoming something new this holiday season.

Tomorrow, indoor vertical farms.

Consider a Donation this Holiday Season

Day 336 – Finding the perfect gift during the holiday season can be a challenging task. Being able to help a worthy cause would make a great gift. Here are some amazing organizations in the world that will take your donation dollars and do the most good.

Here is a list of 10 organizations, along with their Charity Navigator rating and mission statement.

  1. The Conservation Fund (90.94/100) – The Conservation Fund, working with public, private and nonprofit partners, protects America’s legacy of land and water resources through land acquisition, sustainable community and economic development, and leadership training, emphasizing the integration of economic and environmental goals.
  2. Waterkeeper Alliance (92.61/100) – Waterkeeper Alliance holds polluters accountable. We’re the largest and fastest-growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water. We preserve and protect water by connecting and mobilizing more than 300 local Waterkeeper groups worldwide.
  3. Ocean Conservancy (94.13/100) – Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.
  4. Amazon Conservation Association (95.14/100) – Our Mission is to unite science, innovation, and people to protect the western Amazon – the greatest wild forest on Earth.
  5. Wildlife Conservation Society (94.50/100) – WCS uses science to discover and understand the natural world. This knowledge helps us engage and inspire decision-makers, communities, and millions of supporters to take action with us to protect the wildlife and wild places we all care about.
  6. American Bird Conservancy (94.26/100) – American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.
  7. Natural Resource Defense Council (96.11/100) – We combine the power of more than three million members and online activists with the expertise of some 700 scientists, lawyers, and policy advocates across the globe to ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild.
  8. The Sierra Club Foundation (95.87/100) – The Sierra Club Foundation promotes climate solutions, conservation, and movement building through a powerful combination of strategic philanthropy and grassroots advocacy. The Foundation is the independent fiscal sponsor of Sierra Club’s charitable environmental programs.
  9. Environmental Defense Fund (86.78/100) – We take on climate change and other grave threats by identifying what’s most urgent and where we can make the most difference.
  10. National Park Conservation Association (85.62/100) – We’re protecting and enhancing America’s National Park System for present and future generations.

So many options to give a gift that helps the planet.

Tomorrow. ideas for upcycled gifts.