Recycling updates from TreeZero

U.S. Commerce Department reduces tariff on Canadian paper used by newspapers

The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday said it would make permanent, but also reduce, tariffs on Canadian paper used by the newspaper and publishing industry. The tariffs, which had been as high as 22.16 percent, will be capped at 16.88 percent, the Commerce Department said. The tariffs are intended to help U.S. paper mills compete against Canadian producers accused of receiving government subsidies and selling their paper at below-market prices to U.S. customers. Only one of the Canadian companies accused of selling their paper below cost in the U.S. will face the anti-dumping duty — Catalyst Paper Corp. — set at 16.88 percent. But all Canadian mills will be subject to a separate tariff of up to 9.81 percent for receiving unfair government subsidies, the Commerce Department said. The U.S. imposed the preliminary tariff in March on uncoated groundwood paper imported from Canadian mills and used as newsprint by the U.S. newspaper industry. The tariff was in response to a complaint from a single paper mill — North Pacific Paper Co. in Washington state. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that the department would also revise downward its preliminary ruling that Canada provides unfair subsidies of between 4.42 and 9.93 percent to its mills that produce the paper. The new rates will be between 0.82 and 9.81 percent.

Operation Warm is a national nonprofit that creates brand new, high-quality coats for children in need

Every child, regardless of their economic situation, deserves a brand new coat. We partner with compassionate individuals and organizations across North America to give a gift of warmth, confidence and hope to children in need. Operation Warm believes a brand new coat is more than a coat, promoting self-esteem, school attendance and outdoor play. By 2019, Operation Warm will serve its 3 millionth child. Each Green Guardian™ coat will keep the equivalent of 32 plastic bottles out of landfills and oceans. In 2018 alone, Operation Warm’s Green Guardian™ will save nearly 500,000 recycled plastic bottles.


Fast fashion: Inside the fight to end the silence on waste

By Kelly-Leigh Cooper

It is estimated that only 1% of our clothing is ultimately recycled into new garments – instead becoming items like insulation and cloths, which in turn may end up in landfill. Initiatives for change are happening – the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment was adopted by dozens of brands at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May 2017. By May 2018, 12.5% of the global fashion market had signed up to the 2020 targets – including big global names like Nike, Asos and Gap.


Plastic pollution: How one woman found a new source of warming gases hidden in waste

By Matt McGrath

Young researcher Sarah-Jeanne Royer set out to measure methane gas coming from biological activity in sea water. Instead, in a “happy accident” she found that the plastic bottles holding the samples were a bigger source of this powerful warming molecule than the bugs in the water. Now she’s published further details in a study into the potential warming impact of gases seeping from plastic waste. “Some members of the lab were experimenting with high density polyethylene bottles looking at methane biological production, but the concentrations were much higher than expected.” “So we realised that the emissions were not just coming from the biology but from the bottle that we were using for the experiment.” Dr Royer found that the most widely-used plastic, the stuff used to make shopping bags, is the one that produces the greatest amount of these warming gases. At the end of the study, after 212 days in the sun, this plastic emitted 176 times more methane than at the start of the experiment. Ironically, when plastics were exposed to air the amount of methane emitted was double the level from sea water. What’s causing these emissions? In short it’s the Sun. Solar radiation acts on the surface of plastic waste. As it breaks down, becomes cracked and pitted, these defects increase the surface area of plastic available to sunlight which accelerates gas production. Even in the dark, the gas continues to seep out.


These sandals replace petroleum with sugarcane

by Rob Verger 

Allbirds, the shoe brand known for stylish sneakers with a merino wool upper, have announced a line of flip-flops that swaps traditionally-manufactured soles for a material made with Brazilian sugarcane. A common component in footwear is a foam called EVA—or ethylene-vinyl acetate. Allbirds’ new Sugar Zeffer sandals replace part of that material, which usually comes from petroleum, with sugarcane. Here’s how it works, from field to flip-flop: Allbirds is using sugarcane grown in São Paulo state, in Brazil’s southeast. At a mill, “it’s kind of squished,” says Joey Zwillinger, one of Allbirds’ founders. One of the products of that sugarcane squishing is a liquid called molasses; added yeast feasts on that sugary substance and produces ethanol. The process continues from there, and eventually, the ethanol is made into ethylene—or the “E” in EVA foam. Allbirds adds other substances into the mix to produce what they’re calling SweetFoam. The ethylene from the sugarcane takes the place of ethylene from petroleum. “We’ve replaced the barrel of oil with a field of sugarcane,” Zwillinger says, although he concedes that there are still “minor components” in the new flip-flops that are petroleum-derived. He says this new sugarcane foam will eventually appear in other Allbirds kicks.


Dizzying array of recycling symbols ‘is confusing consumers’

by Rebecca Smithers

A confusing array of symbols on household packaging is leaving consumers in the dark about what can be recycled, research reveals. Nearly half of respondents to a survey carried out in the UK by consumer group Which? thought that products stamped with the so-called green dot (a circle of two intertwined arrows) were recyclable, when in fact it means only that a manufacturer has paid into a scheme that supports recyclable packaging and systems. By far the strongest recognition was of the familiar Mobius Loop (three separate arrows looped into a triangle), which means that something can be recycled. In the survey of 2,155 people, 73% knew it meant this was the case. It does not indicate that an object will be accepted in all recycling collection systems.


10 Chain Restaurants That Are Working To Combat Food Waste

Tess Koman

A bunch of your favorite restaurants (Pizza Hut, Cheesecake Factory, and Chipotle, to name just a few) work behind the scenes with Food Donation Connection to ensure they are safely and properly donating food that’s never been served. In some cases, your faves are also donating everything from artwork and serveware to old kitchen appliances and uniforms.

Spinnova has found a way to spin any cellulose–wood, potato peels, even old T-shirts–into new, strong fiber

by Adele Peters 

In a new pilot factory in Jyväskylä, Finland–a city surrounded by forests and known in part for its lumber and paper industries–a startup will soon begin to turn wood pulp into something new: a type of fabric that could eventually compete with cotton. Making wood into fabric isn’t new, but older wood-based fabrics like rayon use harsh chemicals that can pollute water and poison workers. The new fabric, made by a startup called Spinnova, uses a mechanical process instead of chemicals; the only byproduct is evaporated water, which is reused in production. Unlike cotton, which uses massive amounts of water in areas often prone to droughts, it needs little water, no pesticides, and no farmland.

Ketchup Packets to Get Makeover in Kraft Heinz Recycling Push

Emily Chasan

The ketchup packet’s days could be numbered as Kraft Heinz Co. plans to overhaul its global packaging designs to find greener alternatives. The Chicago-based food giant said Tuesday it will make 100 percent of its packaging globally recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. Over the next seven years, the company will partner with experts, organizations and industry coalitions to develop alternative recycled materials in its packaging.

Lidl To Fight Food Waste With £1.50 ‘Too Good to Waste’ Veg Box

by Maria Chiorando

‘Too Good to Waste’ box, containing fruit and veg that is still good to eat – despite being past its best. The 5kg boxes, which will be assembled every morning by ‘freshness specialists’ have been rolled out across 122 stores for the trial. Lidl bosses hope the affordable price point will encourage customers to buy produce that they may otherwise have overlooked. If the trial rolls out, nationwide, it could help save 10,000 tonnes of surplus produce a year.


Indra Nooyi: Recycling Rates Are Declining. PepsiCo Has a Plan to Change That

PepsiCo is partnering with The Recycling Partnership on an initiative we’re calling “All In On Recycling” to reverse the decline in U.S. residential recycling rates over the next five years. Together we’re aiming to capture as many as 7 billion additional containers over that period, along with other recyclable materials from households across the United States. And we’re challenging others to join us by making their own commitment to go “All In On Recycling.” As part of the challenge, the PepsiCo Foundation is investing $10 million in what we hope will become a $25 million industry-wide fund. In addition to the contributions from our industry, the more than 2,800 communities that participate in the initiative will triple our collective investment, catalyzing roughly $75 million in municipal funding, and bringing the total amount of support to $100 million.

US EPA – Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2015 Fact Sheet

Assessing Trends in Material Generation, Recycling, Composting, Combustion with Energy Recovery and Landfill. Solid waste generation peaked at 4.74 pounds per person per day in 2000. However, the rate of 4.48 pounds per person per day in 2015 is slightly higher than the 2014 rate, which was 4.45 pounds per person per day (See Figure 1). The combined recycling and composting rate increased from less than 10 percent of generated MSW in 1980 to 34.7 percent in 2015 (See Figure 2). Without including composting, recycling alone rose from 14.5 million tons (9.6 percent of MSW) in 1980 to 67.8 million tons (25.8 percent) in 2015. Composting was negligible in 1980, and it rose to 23.4 million tons in 2015 (8.9 percent; see Figure 3 and Table 2 for details).

Cleveland to Begin Citing Residents for Improper Recycling

Residents could face small fines for mixing trash with recycling, excess waste outside of recycling bins, and setting bins out too early and failing to retrieve them after recycling pickup has passed. reports plastic bags and disposable coffee cups are some of the improper items most frequently placed in recycling bins. The news site says plastic polyethylene lining in the cups makes them hard to recycle.

Meet The American University Entrepreneur Fighting The Food Waste Epidemic

by Thomas Nugent

Maria Rose Belding developed Matching Excess and Need for Stability Database (MEANS) an online platform for any soup kitchen, homeless shelter, food bank, or folk in need, that connects them with restaurants and food retailers who have food to donate. It’s a free database that helps distribute the 133 billion pounds of food thrown away annually in the US to those in need. MEANS works in 49 states and Puerto Rico. “The beauty of a tech company,” Maria explains, “is that you don’t have to put boots on the ground to be effective!” So far, MEANS has found a home for 1.9 million tons of food. They also find homes for over 90% of the food donated on the website. The average amount of time for an item to find a home, Maria adds, is half an hour—even less in some places, and under 10 minutes in Rhode Island. Since the website was formally launched in early 2015, MEANS has brought on board over 3,000 partners, and it continues to grow. The venture now operates out of American University’s (AU) Center for Innovation. There are currently two executives in residence—William Bellows and Thomas White—who teach courses on entrepreneurship and business to MBA students, as well as offer mentorship to the entrepreneurs working in the Center for Innovation.