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NERC Blog

Green Standards Are Broken and They Need Some Repair

Tech companies are standing in the way of stronger green electronics standards in the US, according to a new report by Repair.org. It finds that device manufacturers have systematically blocked attempts to promote longer-lasting devices.Despite overwhelming consensus that extending product lifespans is better for the environment, tech companies have largely blocked efforts to award points for products that are easier to repair, easier to upgrade, and easier to disassemble for recycling.

We can't recycle our way to 'zero waste'

"...recycling sits fairly low down the waste hierarchy. When we say “it’s not waste if it gets recycled”, it makes it easier to avoid more important actions with greater potential impact. Similarly, when zero waste commitments are defined as “not going to landfill”, it’s too easy for companies or cities to set a diversion target and focus on recycling and recovery, rather than setting targets for the more complicated task of waste minimization. But while recycling (and recovery) is a great last line of defense, it’s nowhere near as effective as avoiding the waste in the first place."

A Beverage Container Recycling Leader

The Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association recently announced that in 2016 it achieved a 70% recovery rate of empty beverage containers sold in Manitoba, Canada. This allows the Province to now boast the continent’s fastest, continuously-growing beverage container recovery rate. Manitoba’s unique beverage container recycling model is quickly making a mark on the recycling landscape in Canada.

The Recycling Ethos

The relationship between culture and waste recycling is complex. Some cultures recycle more than others, some litter more than others. Such behavioral differences can be observed not just cross-culturally, but also within cultures. What contributes to the behavior of an individual who is not inclined to find their nearest waste bin, or separation facility if there is one? Studies have shown how easily influenced we are, and small details can produce big changes in attitude.

In with the New, Scrap the Old

History venerates the builders of great bridges, dams, and towers. But rare are commemorative plaques for the un-builders—those charged with the equally heroic task of dismantling those grand structures, once they become dowdy, obsolete, or downright dangerous. - Wired To dismantle a bridge requires careful planning. Different techniques are required to dismantle different materials. For concrete, demolition is done using explosives, jackhammers, and bursting (which involves applying pressure or injecting chemicals to break apart concrete). For steel bridges, like the I-91 bridge, it is done through dismantling. Dismantling steel is done through sawing, water jetting, or thermic lance. Demolition contractors who dismantle steel bridges frequently specialize in scrap metal demolition. Steel can be recycled repeatedly without losing its structural strength.

Growing Sustainable Business Leaders

Business leaders can no longer stand on the sidelines. Increasing numbers recognize this but the majority have yet to do so. True leadership does not kowtow to flawed and compromised beliefs that have shown themselves to be deficient and harmful to our long-term future. True leaders understand that the values of home and hearth transcend the insatiate demands of profit, growth, and personal ambition, and knowing this they move to action.

Cleaning the World in a Day, Keeping It Clean Together!

World Clean-up Day, 15 September 2018, is an event that deserves attention for its magnitude and ambition. It calls upon 5% of the world’s population to roll up their sleeves on one day. As the sun rises in Japan, we will see one of the largest and most positive civic cooperation efforts. We can show that, by working together, we can clear up the trash polluting our nature. By using mass appeal campaigns and smart technological solutions, 380 million people are expected to join the cleanup day. Find out more at www.letsdoitworld.org .

GreenEducation.US Announces First Graduating Class

GreenEducation.US (GreenEd), an online education portal for sustainability professionals, became the first organization to have its training program accredited in California by the National Standards Certification Board of the National Recycling Coalition. The certification program provides a 32-­‐hour online, web-­‐based, professional training program in Sustainable Resource Management and Zero Waste. The goal is to ensure that individuals working in solid waste, recycling, reuse and other related industries have a practical understanding of key policy and programs that affect the management of waste and recyclables.

Space Trash…the Final Frontier?

Space debris includes a multitude of objects: there are the smaller items, including nuts and bolts, tools, etc. on up to some 4,000 defunct satellites; and then there are rocket stages, which are as large as school buses. As with so many human-caused problems, space debris continues to grow. Who knows, maybe space can help usher in a new era of worldwide cooperation?

Free Tools for Boosting Recycling Performance

Brief fact sheets on local tools for increasing recycling have recently been developed by the Carton Council to help address recycling access gaps and boost materials recovery. These tools are facts-based, commodity neutral and remain unbranded – so NGOs, SROs, and state agencies can freely share them with local governments.

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