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Articles from 2020 In November


Episode 86: Feet on the Street Atlanta—The Recycling Partnership’s Case Study on Citywide Contamination Reduction

Feet on the Street was originally launched as a pilot program by The Recycling Partnership (TRP) in part to answer China’s National Sword policies. It now serves as a foundational model for TRP’s contamination-fighting methods implemented in communities across the country.

Join the stakeholders involved in Feet on the Street (FOTS) – Atlanta and learn about the program’s inception, execution and success. Hear about their role in FOTS, challenges faced, lessons learned and initial results from the program’s first year. 

Speakers:

Kanika Greenlee, Executive Director, Keep Atlanta Beautiful Commission at City of Atlanta
Nicole Smith, Sustainable Packaging Program Director, Coca-Cola North America
Moses Tejuoso, Community Affairs Manager, Keep Atlanta Beautiful Commission at City of Atlanta

Moderator: 
Cecilia Shutters, Recycling Technical Advisor for Atlanta at The Recycling Partnership (TRP)

Need to Know

University of Wisconsin Green Bay Reduces Food Waste with New Composter

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The University of Wisconsin, Green Bay is solidifying their status as an Eco U University with the purchase of a new composter.

The college is collecting food waste from dining halls across campus and creating fertilizer by combining it with woodchips to be used in landscaping across campus. 

Read the original here.

Sustainability Talks

SharkNinja Accelerates Sustainability Plans with 95% Recyclable Packaging Materials

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NEEDHAM, Mass. -- SharkNinja, a leader in houseware innovation, announced today that 98% of products across the company's lineup now come with packaging made from 95% recyclable material – just one year after setting the ambitious goal of transitioning to complete recyclable materials. In rapid pace, SharkNinja made this initiative a top global priority by leveraging its broad footprint and scale to make immediate changes throughout the company as well as its supply chain.  

As part of the company's commitment to help protect, restore and replenish the environment's most important resources, SharkNinja met with internal stakeholders to develop a strategic vision on reducing environmental impact, while still relentlessly innovating for its consumers. The Company's long-term strategic vision will focus on three core pillars; 1) Packaging; 2) Climate & Energy; and 3) Waste Reduction.

"SharkNinja's commitment to sustainability permeates throughout our company, via both our internal actions and our associate's personal interests, to ensure we're doing good for the planet," Mark Barrocas, President, SharkNinja said. "We believe our greatest opportunities for impact and increased investment are in the way we design our products and leverage our supply chain – these opportunities are directly linked to our focus on manically eliminating inefficiencies and our innovation pipeline.  Ensuring our packaging is easily recyclable is just one of many opportunities we will have to make a meaningful difference in reducing waste and positively impact people's lives in every home around the world." 

Just in time for the busy holiday season, SharkNinja has adopted new sustainable packaging materials. This transition makes it simple for consumers to help create circular use of materials. Packaging changes include:

  • The use of recyclable pulp guards instead of Styrofoam
  • 95% post-consumer recycled and recyclable paperboard boxes
  • Non-petroleum-based ink (soy-based) on product packaging

In addition, SharkNinja is working toward replacing all plastic-based material with sustainable solutions, such as explorations of paper and biodegradable solutions.

Over the past year, SharkNinja has worked to shape its global sustainability strategy and implement important changes, such as planting 20,000 trees (18,000 in Peru and 2,000 in the UK), thereby achieving carbon neutrality in the United Kingdom. SharkNinja also works with partners to refurbish and resell previously owned models of their products, furthering their commitment to the circular economy. As the company looks to safely return to its headquarters following the pandemic, SharkNinja has also implemented a food waste composting scheme, as well as eliminated single-use coffee pods and water bottles.

More information about SharkNinja's sustainability practices will be available in the coming months at SharkNinja.com.

About SharkNinja
SharkNinja is an innovation leader in the housewares industry and creator of the familiar household brands Shark® and Ninja®. SharkNinja provides the latest in easy-to-use innovative technology with a growing line of solutions that consist of Shark® cleaning and home care products and Ninja® kitchen appliances. Products are sold at major retailers and through distributors around the world. Ninja and Shark are registered trademarks of SharkNinja Operating LLC. For more information, visit sharkninja.com.

SOURCE SharkNinja

Trivium and Hand in Hand Roll Out Aluminum Hand Soap Packaging

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Aggressive campaigns to slow the onslaught of single-use plastics have gained momentum for years, though the push has taken a backseat through COVID-19, with demand spiking for plastic packaging for carry out and sanitizers, among other products.

Amidst the disruption, consumer goods producer Hand in Hand has made a bold move to stay rooted on the anti-single-use plastic trail. With help from global supplier Trivium Packaging, Hand in Hand just rolled out a recyclable aluminum bottle for its hand soap. The Philadelphia, Pa.-based company plans to move all its liquid products to aluminum packaging by 2021.

Aluminum is infinitely recyclable. It requires only 5% of the energy to produce products from recycled aluminum than from virgin metals. And it doesn’t break down, unlike plastics that turn into microplastics that have entered the environment and sometimes the food chain.

Recyclers like aluminum because it does not have to be cleaned before it’s recycled (though clean material is ideal) and, depending on market conditions, they can sell it for a good profit.

Trivium has done well attracting brand owners looking to be good stewards.  But there’s more that interests them, says Michael Mapes, CEO of Trivium Packaging.

“Companies like Hand in Hand also select aluminum because it looks cool.  Consumers like the look and feel of metal, and it stands out in the sea of plastic containers on the shelf,” he says.

Trivium worked with the brand’s design team and marketing folks on a packaging design that meets the brand’s needs.

“There was a lot of ideation to come up with the design, shape and style. It’s not a one-size-fits-all for every packaging product,” says Mapes.

The technical process itself was fairly simple; raw aluminum or a slug is extruded, or pushed through an orifice into a die, to form it. The rust-proof bottle is decorated, and the top is threaded so that it can function as a dispenser.

Bill Glaab, co-founder of Hand in Hand Soap, says the company’s first priority is to make a packaging decision after taking a hard look at the supply chain.

“We try to look at the overall impact our brand is having on the environment via the supply chain to make sure we are being responsible.

Many of the ways to be sustainable have been challenging, but there are avenues as a brand if you want to go through the time, effort, and expense to do the right thing if possible,” he says.

Altogether avoiding plastic packaging is near impossible for consumer goods companies, but moving to an aluminum bottle was a step in the direction Hand in Hand has set its sights on.

“By going to an aluminum bottle, we made 10 million pieces that are not plastic. For us it was a big deal as only a small fraction of plastic gets recycled,” Glaab says.

The company started with its hand soap, one of several of its products, because it could move it at relatively high volumes.

“We still have to scale, and as a small company we needed to start with a product that would move through mass channels; not just through national grocery stores,” says Glaab.

Hand in Hand’s aluminum bottle-packaged soap is available through Whole Foods, North American wholesaler United Natural Foods, Target, CVS, and Walmart. For every unit sold, the company donates a bar of soap and a month of drinking water to kids in need.

It’s been received well since its May 2020 launch, having earned bronze recognition at Canmaker magazine’s 2020 Can of the Year Awards.

“I think people are excited and surprised to see hand soap in aluminum. I think it gets them thinking about what alternatives are out there,” surmises Glaab. He says customers routinely call and email saying they like the aluminum bottle concept, and he figures they may keep the dispenser around longer and refill it.

Trivium is also paying attention to consumers. A report the company released earlier this year, based on a survey of 15,000 respondents, found:

  • 67% identify as environmentally aware and “environmentally friendly;” recyclable packaging is important to more than two of three consumers;
  • 74% say they are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging; 
  • 59% say they are less likely to buy a product in packaging that is harmful to the environment.

Key packaging attributes are not just that it’s aluminum, but that the container is a bottle rather than a can.

[Unlike with cans] “We can shape the aluminum in many ways and make amazingly cool bottles.  And because aluminum bottles are thicker than cans, they are sturdier,” says Mapes.

Trivium was formed over a year ago through the merger of Exal Corporation and Ardagh’s Food & Specialty business. Since the merger, in addition to its work for Hand in Hand, the company has made aluminum bottles for clients in the personal care, household care, and beverage spaces including Chateau St. Michelle, Gaze Wine, and Cutter.

Aluminum bottles are not a new concept, though the trend is accelerating, notes Mapes.

“We saw a move over a decade ago to the introduction of aluminum bottles for beer made by Anheuser-Busch. Over the last three to five years there have been new categories of products.   And there are more coming out that I can’t speak of now, but they are mega brands,” says Mapes.

The Exal and Ardagh Food & Specialty merger has created one of the largest metal packaging companies in the world, according to Trivium. Under this merger, Trivium, headquartered in the Netherlands, will operate more than 60 locations worldwide.

Need to Know

City of Tega Cay, SC Wants Residents to Go Through Neighbors' Trash

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The city of Tega Cay in South Carolina has asked residents to remain vigilant in spotting recycling contamination.

Officials have stated that they are considering canceling the city's recycling program because of "truckloads" of rejected residential recycling materials.

In fact, Tega Cay councilpersons are asking for volunteers to inspect what goes into residents' recycle bins in order to evaluate if the city should keep the program. If enough people are interested, a program will be launched next year that would allow designated volunteers to go through others' recyclables. Opponents are raising privacy concerns.

Read more here.

Need to Know

Researchers Develop Recyclable Wind Turbine Blade

Researchers Develop Recyclable Wind Turbine Blade

An affordable, recyclable wind turbine blade could be the catalyst for wind power.

Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have been working to develop a low-cost solution that could put wind energy a step above coal, nuclear or other sources.

However, some organizations are saying that making recyclable blades would not be beneficial. A new paper from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) states that "repurposing" blades is easier than recycling.

Traditional blades  are constructed from fiberglass, sheets of balsa wood and an epoxy thermoset resin. The new blade is similar, but the process of combining the raw materials involves using a thermoplastic resin that reclaimed.

Read more about this technology at the original article.

Need to Know

Canada's Product Care Enables In-Country Recycling for Holiday Lights

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Product Care Recycling enables recycling for leftover paint, household hazardous waste, lights and smoke/CO alarms. The Canadian company operates more than 150 free drop-off locations in British Columbia, and those materials are then recycled in-country.

The idea behind the locations is to divert holiday waste from landfills. The company is now asking residents to bring their used string lights to recycling points. Last year, Product Care saved1.6 million light bulbs from landfills.

Read the original article here.

Need to Know

Student Develops Windows that Turns Food Waste into Solar Energy

Student Develops Windows that Turns Food Waste into Solar Energy

A Philippines college student has invented solar windows that convert food waste into energy.

Carvey Maigue developed AuREUS as a way to bring energy to those in need and fight climate change. The Mapúa University student is the  Sustainability Winner of The James Dyson Award 2020 for his efforts.

A resin is derived from certain varieties of fruit and vegetables that re-emit the UV light to Photovoltaic (PV) solar cells and turn it into electricity.  The invention was one of 1800 entries from 27 different countries.

Read the entire article here.

How Cannabis Can! is Navigating Recycling in a Newly-Legal Industry

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The cannabis industry is forcing businesses in every sector from finance to waste to rapidly adapt to evolving state regulations while adhering to the federal government's stance on the plant.

The rush to open business doors as the United States progresses on the legalization front has left little time to set up the mechanisms needed for waste collection and recycling.

A former Cleveland Clinic practitioner with two decades of family and occupational medicine experience, Dr. Bridget Williams became discontented with the pharmaceutical approach of traditional medicine. She made a leap into the cannabis space with Green Harvest Health (GHH) and is determined to find a solution to the industry's waste dilemma. Cannabis was legalized in the state for medicinal use in 2016, and Ohio's first dispensary debuted in January 2019.

“I opened up my own offices with cannabis and CBD and then tried incorporating holistic practices as well,” Williams explains. “I was interested in really supporting the community that has supported our efforts.”

Shortly after opening her clinic, Dr. Williams - along with Ally Reaves, founder, Midwest CannaWomen and Solomon Oyeyemi, owner, Green Ideas and Wellness - launched Cannabis Can!, a nonprofit that is, among other efforts, working to establish a sustainable recycling system for the state. In a recent conversation, Dr. Williams and Waste360 outlined how legalization is impacting waste collection efforts and what progress is being made to create a recycling model for cannabis in Ohio.

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Dr.Bridget Williams

Waste360: There are communities across Ohio that don't have any kind of recycling program. Coupled with the fact that cannabis is still banned on a federal level, the issue of what to do with the industry's waste presents a host of problems. Has there been any progress made since 2019 in terms of being able to recycle cannabis or take that waste and put it toward use?

Dr. Williams: In 2019, when we first got started, the number of plastics and packaging that's related to [cannabis] sales – and we're not talking about just even the cannabis flower, but all the processing units as well – that are sold, were about over a million just from the manufactured product and probably over almost 3 million units of cannabis packaging from the plant material. So, nearly 5 million units of packaging have been produced and it is growing every day from sales.

Cannabis Can! is a nonprofit project under GHH Community Foundation. We are a group of cannabis businesses as well as cannabis business supporters that want to work collectively and network to serve the communities that are serving us here in Ohio. And so, before the recycling program came up, we ran two different food collection campaigns, raising over $5,000 of money and then over a half-ton of food.

In the short time that we've been an organization, we realized that a big problem that we were facing was the recycling issue, that there are aspects of the packaging, which is recyclable, but a great deal of it is non-recyclable pieces, including batteries. We wanted to see if we could find a solution to this issue. So, we started doing our research, looking to see what our options were. When we realized how big of a problem that was, we really wanted to not just do a campaign but actually develop a program that could serve the entire state. So, we were looking for recycling organizations that helped not only recycle non-recyclables but also recycle cannabis-related industry recyclables because everyone doesn't do that as well. And that's how we got in touch with TerraCycle, which is out of New Jersey. And that's basically what they do. They have a huge program out in Canada, where they are recycling packaging for a large group of dispensaries out there, and they are really excited to get involved with us down here in Ohio. So, we approached the Board of Pharmacy, which is the governing body for a great deal of the cannabis industry here, and they're really interested in what we have suggested and presented to them. And we're in the midst of writing our final proposal to them to actually be able to get the program started, and then actually raise the money to be able to fund the program.

Waste360: What are the challenges and the opportunities that starting a recycling program from scratch presents?

Dr. Williams: This is going to be an incredible opportunity for all in the medical cannabis industry. I think Ohio is really trying to create a stellar program that is well maintained. We have a number of restrictions, but I think what our restrictions offer is a well-controlled program. So, we're excited to add this into what could be very beneficial for the state. So, some of our challenges are creating a program from scratch and looking at residuals or being able to make sure that we are avoiding any concerns about any illegal behavior that might be related to residuals in cannabis packaging. So, we have to make sure that everything's secure and safe. And then we're also raising the money to be able to fund the program itself. One of the benefits of this is that being a nonprofit, we're looking for small and large donations that will be able to fund the recycling program. And then it's also a tax write-off for these corporations being that it’s coming through a nonprofit organization.  

I'm working with a group that's outside of Ohio, and we're working with the [Drug Enforcement Administration] DEA to make sure that if we're transporting any material at all, but it's still considered legal. So these are some of the things that have come up, but that we're actually working through and getting some really positive feedback from the DEA, from the state and from TerraCycle as well. We're at the point that we're creating the proposal to then get the final word and then start creating our fundraising program. That's one of the other things that we're looking at - grants for recycling programs that would support such a large effort.

Waste360: What other states have you been researching that already have something established?

Dr. Williams: TerraCycle is in a number of different states on a smaller scale. Not as far as a statewide program, I think what we've looked at probably a little bit closer is what they're doing in Canada. They have a large group of dispensaries that are doing something similar where they are starting with batteries and in phases. Other aspects of recycling, including the residuals and a phased program makes sense, and phasing in is what we're able to do. So we're looking at the plastics, the biowaste, the metal, as the program grows. That's what we've looked at the closest. Based on the proposal, it's obviously going to be very detailed and thorough, just based on the legality and all the intricacies of the cannabis industry.

Waste360: How long do you think this phasing will take, and how is it going to be implemented?

Dr. Williams: That is really dependent on the state. It could possibly be six months to a year before we would implement the next phase. When you're talking about a recycling program, it's not just about putting out a bin and hoping people show up with their materials. There's a great marketing campaign that has to go with that so that people know where to go, what they can bring, what they can even recycle still at home and what they need to bring to the dispensary to be able to recycle. Our plan is to have a bin in every dispensary in Ohio, which is going to end up being about 54 to start.

Waste360: Do you see patients asking for this type of option for recyclable packaging options, or a move towards sustainability in general?

Dr. Williams: Absolutely. We did a survey of the cannabis patients as well as the industry business owners, and 80% believe if there was a recycling program with cannabis and CBD packaging that 95% were willing to support and participate in the recycling program for Ohio.

Waste360: What are the next steps for the organization?

Dr. Williams: We're really in the midst of making sure that this effort is successful. So, creating the proposal, the fundraising and getting this project off the ground is a huge, huge effort for the organization, and that's going to be a great deal of our focus. As we go on, we're building more and more of what we consider collaborative networking. Cannabis can be a very competitive space, but we have the most optimistic, friendly and wonderful people that work with us. And it's creating more projects that really support Ohio. That's where our focus is – on supporting the Earth with recycling and supporting our communities by doing food donations. We would love to do more community projects that support the people around us as well. As we move forward, I think we'll continue to have a lot of growth and continue to do more and more projects that support the community.

Need to Know

EPA and CJ Air, LLC Settle Illegal Pesticide Containers Waste Case

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and CJ Air, LLC, an aerial pesticide applicator based in Nezperce, ID, have reached a settlement over a pesticide container disposal case that occurred on the Nez Perce Reservation in July 2018. EPA alleges that the containers were not rinsed according to labeling instructions and still contained toxic pesticide residue at the time of disposal.

Pesticide product labels provide critical instructions about how to safely and legally handle and use pesticide products including proper disposal of containers. Unlike most other types of product labels, pesticide labels are legally enforceable. In other words, the label is the law. In this case, the label requires users to follow specific rinsing procedures prior to disposing of empty containers. Failure to properly rinse and dispose of pesticide containers – especially those containing “restricted use” pesticides – can cause environmental damage and harm people, pets and wildlife.

Restricted use pesticides are not available for purchase or use by the general public because they have the greatest potential to cause serious harm to the environment and injury to applicators or bystanders if used improperly. Availability and use of such products are restricted to applicators with special training and in some cases, those under their direct supervision.

An inspector with the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Pesticide Enforcement Circuit Rider Program responded to a complaint that pesticide containers had been improperly disposed of in two publicly accessible dumpsters on the Nez Perce Reservation. The unrinsed containers created a noticeable odor and some of them contained restricted use pesticide residue.

When made aware of the situation, CJ Air promptly retrieved the unrinsed containers and rinsed them according to label instructions. As part of the settlement, CJ Air agreed to pay a $5,400 penalty.

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For more information about how to properly dispose of used pesticide containers in Idaho, please visit: https://agri.idaho.gov/main/56-2/pesticides/pesticide-disposal/