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  2. 20 recyclable objects that might surprise you:

    1. Sex toys
    The first step in recycling your toy is to send it to a specialty processing plant, where it’s sterilized and sorted. There, all “mechanical devices” are salvaged, refurbished, and resold. Silicone and rubber toys, on the other hand, are “ground up, mixed with a binding agent, and remolded into new toys.” Metals, plastics, and other leftovers retire from the sex toy life and are recycled into conventional products. As one company puts it, “Love yourself. Love the planet.”

    2. Soap
    Not all hotels throw out that half-used soap you left in the shower. Some actually recycle it, sending it to Clean the World. There, soap is soaked in a sanitizing solution, treated to a steam bath, and then tested for infections. Once deemed safe, the soap is distributed to less fortunate people across the globe. So stop stealing soap from hotels. You may be stealing from charity.

    3. Holiday lights
    Got burnt out holiday lights? The folks at HolidayLEDs will gladly take your old lights, shred them, and sort the remaining PVC, glass, and copper. Those raw materials are taken to another recycling center and resurrected as something new. In 2011, the State of Minnesota collected and recycled around 100 tons of dead lights.

    More here

    PHOTO: ThinkStock/Stockbyte 

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  3. New laundry detergent makes your clothes remove pollution from the air

    In an unusual collaboration of form and function, scientists from the University of Sheffield and designers from the London College of Fashion have teamed up to create a liquid laundry additive, CatClo (Catalytic Clothing), that turns your clothes into pollution magnets using the magic of nanotechnology. 

    The laundry additive coats your clothes with minuscule particles of titanium dioxide, which, when exposed to daylight, attract nitrogen oxides — a major source of pollution — from the air. You only have to use CatClo once per clothing item, the developers say, as “nanoparticles of titanium dioxide grip onto fabrics very tightly.” The additive can remove 5 grams of nitrogen dioxide a day — the same amount as emitted daily by an average family car, says the University of Sheffield’s Tony Ryan — and the pollutants wash off your clothes the next time you do the laundry. “Not a bad haul for simply getting dressed in the morning,” says Clay Dillow at PopSci.

    Keep reading…

     

  4. The grocery cart that suggests better food choices

    The Lambet Shopping Trolley Handle is equipped with a barcode sensor and can clip onto any cart. It uses a 16-LED multicolor display to give would-be buyers a quick idea of the product they’re buying, including allergen information and calories. ”One color pattern might indicate that a product is organic, and another might tell you if it’s local" by flashing the words low, medium, or high, to indicate the food miles the product traveled to get to your store, says Ariel Schwartz at Fast Co. Exist.

    Users can compare two competing products with the scanner, which tells you which item is the better buy with a smiley face, and steers you away from less healthy options with a neutral or frowny face. The system is “appealing because of its simplicity,” says Walter Frick at BostInno.

    Keep reading

     

  5. A potential breakthrough in cleaning up oil spills comes in the form of magnetic soap. British researchers have found a way to imbue soap with magnetic properties, making it easier to gather up and remove from the water once it’s broken up the oil. “The goal is to create a soap… that can then be picked up out of the environment,” says Stephanie Pappas at Live Science, “not just rinsed away.” Check it out.

     

  6. The capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship is sitting in the middle of the largest marine sanctuary in Italy. The ship is carrying more than 2,400 tons of fuel in 17 tanks, and will take three to four weeks to empty. In the mean time, the ship remains an “ecological time bomb.”

     

  7. A Chinese sustainable-building firm built this entire 30-story hotel in 15 days. That’s a mere 360 hours. The Ark hotel was built at a fraction of normal Chinese construction costs, with no worker injuries. And the building isn’t flimsy: It is built to withstand a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, and energy-efficient to boot. Watch the time-lapse video of the hotel’s construction.

     

  8. Global carbon output is higher than ever. New figures released by the Global Carbon Project show that 2012 saw a record jump in emissions from fossil-fuel burning, thanks mostly to unprecedented leaps from developing nations. Here, some numbers from the report:

    • 510 million
      Extra tons of CO2 pumped into the air in 2010, “almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003,” says Justin Gillis at The New York Times.
    • 9.14 billion
      Total tons of CO2 pumped into the air in 2010
    • 1
      Average percent that global emissions of CO2 rose each year during the 1990s
    • 3
      Average percent that global emissions of CO2 rose each year during the 2000s

    More numbers

     

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  10. realcleverscience:

    I’ve written before about the Keystone TarSands XL Pipeline, and about the massive grassroots protest which just took place next to the White House with people from all types of backgrounds sitting outside to make the point clear: We don’t want dirty TarSands oil!

    Did you know that over 1,200 people were arrested? Just for voicing their concerns about the environment, just for reminding Obama of his green promises in ‘08.

    There’ve been reports attempted to discourage and play down the movement, like one which said that Obama wasn’t even aware of the protesters {wtfrack  Obama?!}, but meanwhile the movement is alive - and growing. TarSandsAction.org has been followed by some other notable organizations in raising awareness, obtaining signatures for petitions, in letters, calls, and emails to political representatives, and more.

    And those awesome people fighting to save our planet and America have an announcement: This Isn’t Over.

    It’s not too late to join this historical and urgently important cause. Check out TarSandsActions.org to see what one minute of your time can do to help!

    (via speakerforthetrees)

     

  11. sustainable-sam:

    kateoplis:

    The Johnson Family’s zero-waste home, produces only two handfuls of trash annually.

    There is a hefty compost bin and a teeny recycling bin—one that Béa Johnson is embarrassed exists at all. “So much recycling really goes to waste, so you need to try to reduce that too.”

    A few examples of how they do it:

    • Taking their own jars to the store and buying items in bulk. Even cheese and meat go into jars.
    • Freezing loaves of breads, after carrying them in pillowcases.
    • Mixing her own multi-purpose cleaner: 11/2 tsp. castile soap, 3 tsp. white vinegar, and 4 cups water. 
    • Using compostable toothbrushes.

    You can read more on Béa’s blog, The Zero Waste Home.

    Go Kate! Thanks for shedding some light on this family and their zero waste home. So inspiring!

    (via speakerforthetrees)

     


  12. The American people want less government intrusion into their lives, not more, and that includes staying out of their personal light-bulb choices.
    — 

    Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

    GOP lawmakers are trying to repeal an energy bill mandating that light bulbs use 25 to 30 percent less energy starting in 2012, and 65 percent less energy by 2020. Some say the new standards would effectively ban traditional incandescent bulbs (or at least phase them out) in favor of compact-fluorescent (CFL) and LED bulbs, potentially saving billions in energy consumption.

     

  13. Forget lawnmowers. A Pennsylvania school district has found a rather old-fashioned way to save some green: Employ hungry sheep. Workers for the Carlisle Area School District used to spend six hours a week mowing a field filled with solar panels at Wilson Middle School, but woolly mammals now handle those duties, saving the district as much as $15,000!

    *It was revealed to us during yesterday’s editorial meeting that one of The Week staff members had a lawn-mowing goat while growing up. Genius!

    Photo: CC BY Eoin Gardiner