Tags: garbage

Portland, OR implements plastic bag ban

As of summer 2011, the City of Portland, Oregon has placed a ban on single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags.  The City anticipates the ban will reduce use and subsequent landfilling of plastic bags by millions. The ban does not apply to all vendors in Portland; it is limited to stores grossing over $2 million annually or exceeding 10,000 square feet in size. 


At Sneak Peak: eat, shop and then play some more

Once you work up an appetite kayaking, biking and touring the site at Sneak Peak, make sure to stop by the food vendors for an assortment of tasty grub.  We will have the Vendy Award-winning King of Falafel and Shawarma, Carmelo’s Brick Oven Pizza, and Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn serving up savory fare as well as The Treats Truck, Staten Island Iceman, and Nonie Chu’s Pastries with sweet treats.


Recycle your e-waste at Sneak Peak

There will be plenty of activities and fun and gorgeous scenery at Sneak Peak this Sunday, but it’s important to remember that the Freshkills Park site is a landfill because of us–all of us, and our constant production of garbage.  And it’s important to take this site as an example to act more responsibly. 


How my junk mail turned into this NYC pizza box

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXABlDk4cYU&w=507&h=370]

A clip from 2008 History Channel program “The Works” features Staten Island’s Pratt Industries, where more than half of New York City’s paper is recycled.  This is a terrific clip that explains the infrastructure required for paper collection and processing as well as spelling out the steps of paper recycling. 


Developed nations like the US waste more food

A study conducted by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization finds that an average of 1.3 billion tons of food goes to waste per year.  The Organization identified a substantial disparity between developed and developing countries, with just 13-24 lbs of food wasted per person on a yearly basis in developing countries compared to 209-253 lbs in developed countries.


New NYC initiative targets textile recycling

re-fashioNYC  is a new, free program sponsored by the Department of Sanitation and Housing Works and focused on collecting, reusing and recylcing unwanted clothing, linens, shoes and clean rags.   Program goals include:

  • reducing the 200,000 tons of textile and apparel waste each year;
  • contributing to PlaNYC 2030‘s goal of diverting 75% of solid waste from landfills;
  • boosting the small fraction of textile recycling by American consumers.

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, June 14th

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues next Tuesday with a presentation by elementary school science teacher Howard Warren.  Out of sheer interest and commitment, Howard has become one of the City’s leading experts on the history and present condition of Barren Island and Dead Horse Bay, at the southeastern corner of Brooklyn. 


Everglades tree islands made from historic garbage

Maybe the earliest landfill-to-park precedent we’ve come across yet: archeological evidence in southwest Florida indicates that many of the “tree islands” of Everglades National Park—marsh islands supporting terrestrial vegetation—have developed from refuse piles from over 5,000 years ago. Credit for the early landfill operations is given to the now-extinct Calusa tribe, who deposited bones, shells, charcoal, and other ancient garbage in middens upon which they could settle, hunt or fish.


Robot reclaims recyclables from refuse

Finnish company ZenRobotics has developed a device which can autonomously detect and remove recyclable materials from trash, diverting waste from landfills. The currently-unnamed technology consists of a series of sensors which analyze the physical and material properties of garbage on a conveyor belt. 


The problem of large-scale food composting in NYC

The Wall Street Journal reports on the state of large-scale composting initiatives in New York City.  Though tons of food waste are funneled into citywide collection streams, there is no place in the City to process all those scraps.

GrowNYC, the nonprofit that oversees the city’s 54 Greenmarkets, recently started collecting kitchen scraps at seven locations to be turned into nutrient-rich compost. 


Japanese inventor turns plastics into fuel


Japanese inventor Akinori Ito has devised a way to revert post-consumer plastics, including the ubiquitous plastic bag, into petroleum-based fuel.  By heating up material in a small machine, capturing and cooling the vapors, and collecting the resulting liquid, Ito is able to turn two pounds of plastic into about a quart of oil, using a single kilowatt of power. 


Germany’s highly effective recycling program

Since 1996’s Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act, Germany has reduced its total net waste by more than 37.7 million tons by diverting garbage from landfills through recycling and recovery.  Its policy and programs hinge on a “polluter pays” model that starts with the manufacturer. 


‘Dirt’ exhibition at London’s Wellcome Collection

A new exhibition on the human relationship with hygiene opened last week at the Wellcome Collection in London—a “a free visitor destination for the incurably curious” which “explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future.” 


The state of the American landfill

Slate offers a brief history of American trash, its handling, delivery and final destinations.   Before 1931,  New York City’s trash was dumped into the Atlantic Ocean.  Later, it was hauled to a series of local dumps, and today, it is shipped over state lines to landfills down the Atlantic coast and into the midwest. 


Britain cracks down on excess packaging

The New York Times reports that the Lincolnshire, England County Council has sued a local supermarket chain for “excessive packaging” of particular cuts of beef, claiming that the packaging violates British law.

British regulations on excess packaging first took effect in 2003 in an effort to reduce waste, particularly items that cannot be recycled and go into a landfill.


Danish waste-to-energy plant will feature ski slope

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won an international competition to design a new waste-to-energy plant for Copenhagen, Denmark.  BIG’s winning entry—which will actually be built and will replace the existing Amagerforbraending plant—improbably caps the huge new facility with a public ski slope. 


Waste Management’s waste education resources

Waste services provider Waste Management‘s Think Green site is loaded with educational resources covering all kinds of garbage-related topics, from recycling basics to lesser-known protocols like mail-in recycling programs for batteries and light bulbs and proper disposal of e-waste


Freakonomics and Pay-As-You-Throw

The latest podcast on Freakonomics radio discusses the stigma, culture and psychology of trash.  In addition to short pieces on the strange journey of the Mobro 4000 garbage barge and Taipei’s  participatory curbside pick-up, host Stephen Dubner reports on the recent boom in “Pay-As-You-Throw” (PAYT) trash plans that charge households for garbage collection depending on how much they throw out. 


Italy institutes nationwide ban on plastic bags

As of January 1, Italy became the first country in Europe to ban the plastic bag outright. The motion stems from a global movement to curb excessive usage by prohibiting stores from providing customers with free and unlimited  polythene  bags.  According to Italy’s Environment League, Legambiente, citizens have been using more than 300 bags a year per capita; that’s nearly one fifth of Europe’s total usage.


Nestle CEO proposes alternative to state bottle bills

GreenBiz runs an opinion piece by Kim Jeffery, President and CEO of Nestle Waters North America, proposing that the US move beyond traditional “bottle bills” (which he argues are limited in scope) by redirecting responsibility for organized public recycling to private industry. 


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