Pacebutler Top 10: Our choices for the Top 10 recycling and environment stories Dec 28 – Jan 3.
What do you do with your Christmas tree after the holidays? A plastic that dissolves in water, a cell phone that’s powered by nothing more than the user’s movements, a new climate bill that will pay cash to US residents – these are some of the stories included in this week’s Top 10 Recycling and Environment Stories (Dec.28 to January 3). Enjoy and happy new year to you and your family.
Recycle Your Christmas Tree!
Robyn Griggs Lawrence of Natural Home Magazine writes about a new sustainability study on Christmas trees by Ellipsos – turns out it’s greener to use a real Christmas tree than an artificial tree – as long as you recycle it. Ms. Lawrence outlines some steps on how you can dispose of your tree properly when “it’s time to undeck the halls.” Amanda Smith-Teutsch also has a good article on Christmas tree recycling over at Waste and Recycling News.
via: Huffington Post
The Plastic Bag That Dissolves In Water
When I think about the millions of tons of plastic waste now floating in the Pacific and the millions more that gets dumped in our landfills every year, I always thought it cool if someone could come up with an innovation like a dissoluble plastic. Well, this company in the UK called Cyberpac claims to have invented just that. So, as the guys at Enviro Graffiti asked, “why hasn’t anyone come up with this concept before?”
Weatherization heats up in 2010
If there’s one thing that the Obama administration is doing right, it’s the infusion of $5 billion to the Weatherization Assistance Program, the federal program started in 1976 to help low-income families properly insulate their homes, modernize heating, and be more energy efficient. As John Edwards at Reuters mentioned, “the Department of Energy estimates that for every dollar invested, weatherization returns $1.65 in energy-related benefits and $1.07 in other benefits like reducing pollution and unemployment.”
EPA Toughens Transboundary Hazardous Waste Shipment Regulations
Finally, the US Environmental Protection Agency has issued stricter regulations on the shipping and recycling of hazardous waste, including e-waste, between the US and other countries. Hopefully, the new set of guidelines would curtail the rampant smuggling of hazardous electronic waste from the US to countries like China, where these dangerous materials are processed for recycling in ill-equipped facilities. If anything, the new measures will make it harder for the smugglers as documentation, real-time tracking, and certification are now required from recycling companies who are shipping hazardous waste within the US and to other countries.
via: Environmental Leader
Wearable Cell Phones Powered By Kinetic Energy
We’ve included NTT DoCoMo’s Touchwood prototype cell phone in our list of the top 10 green cell phones of 2009, but the company envisions more green devices in their inventory by 2020. It’s flagship piece? An ultra-advanced cell phone that harvest energy from the movement of the user! At the rate that technology is developing, however, this concept may be old technology when 2020 comes rolling around.
via: Eco Friend
12 Predictions for Clean Technology in 2010
Our new year list of top stories wouldn’t be complete without a story on predictions for 2010. This Triple Pundit article claims to synthesize all predictions and projected trends into a list – a “trend of trends” – of the most talked-about predictions on clean technology for 2010. Would be interesting, as 2010 chugs along, to keep tabs on which ones hit the mark and which ones are duds.
via: Triple Pundit
Brazil Signs Into Law Bill to Cut CO2 Emissions 39%
Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made history last week by signing into law a bill that ambitiously aims to decrease the country’s greenhouse emissions by 39% in the year 2020. Although some progressive provisions didn’t make it in the final version of the bill, the National Policy on Climate Change is still a model legislation for other countries to follow, especially after the dismal results in Copenhagen. The measure hardened a self-imposed commitment announced by Brazil in the weeks going into the UN Summit last month.
via: Tree Hugger
New Senate Climate Bill Would Send You a Monthly Check
Ecopolitology reports about “Cap and Rebate,” an alternative climate bill introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) that aims to give back 75% of all revenues collected from the worst polluters (coal and oil) to US residents – approximately $100 every month for a family of four. It’s clearly a populist move that has already gained some bipartisan support, but we strongly doubt if it can pass in a chamber that seems determined (for the most part) on blocking any kind of meaningful reform legislation, much less a climate bill .
CO2 Levels in Water may Threaten Marine Species Communications
Last October, we wrote about the film Acid Test, featuring Sigourney Weaver, and how the increased level of CO2 being absorbed by the world’s oceans may one day kill off shelled organisms, which form the backbone of marine food webs. Now, scientists from the University of Hawaii and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute are saying that the increased ocean acidity may severely impact the communication and echolocation capabilities of marine mammals. Could this have a bearing on the reported death of 125 stranded pilot whales in New Zealand?
Environment 2010: Not Just About Climate
After the debacle in Copenhagen, BBC environment correspondent Richard Black questions the will or ability of governments to tackle on a UN-wide scale such problems as bio-diversity, whaling, and other pressing environmental concerns. The UN has declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity, but Mr.Black contends that the stunning defeat in Copenhagen will make environmental advocacy groups focus on dissecting the failure at the UN Summit and on crafting a response to their diminished lobbying clout.
Photo: Panoram Cristo Redentor by Mariordo at Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.