Why Foam Bans Won’t Work–Recycle Instead!

The nation has clearly become divided when it comes to the issue of banning foam or not, as various cities around the country have started to ban polystyrene products, while other cities have instead decided to pursue recycling the material. There is a potential Arkansas foam ban floating around there in addition to a number of other states and cities.

The problem with polystyrene products is the fact that they last nearly five hundred years in landfills and they have started to accumulate in massive piles. The fact of the matter is there is a huge volume of this type of foam out there and too few areas are taking active measures to recycle the products. However, this has started to change in a variety of areas, which believe that they can recycle the foam, rather than simply banning the material altogether.

Many people want to ban foam, but the reality is it is not going to fix the problem. There are already huge landfills that have accumulated the materials and they are not going anywhere. However, if we developed ways to recycle these types of materials, we could then recycle the material that is occupying the landfills, which will be good for the environment and set us towards a better path.

Banning foam has a big impact on the community and businesses in general, due to the fact that a great deal of companies use these types of products. Every time you grab a cup of coffee or get a “to-go” box at a restaurant, you are eating out of a polystyrene based product.

The reason that this type of material is so desirable for businesses is due to the fact that it is incredibly cheap. Polystyrene is basically a material that is blown up to fill various molds that end up making all sorts of different products and you can truly get a massive amount of products for very cheap. This means that businesses save a lot of money going with polystyrene products, rather than some other material that is going to inevitably cost more money.

Some cities have made the bold move to focus a great deal of energy on developing recycling centers for polystyrene products and they are likely the pioneers that are going to inspire a lot of other cities to do the same thing. The state of Arkansas has been working hard to develop a foam recycling plan, but it has yet to take off with the majority of the population.

One of the most troubling things about the banning of foam is the fact that businesses are going to get slapped with much higher costs, which is inevitably going to trickle down to the customers, as they are going to have to pay higher prices as well. Arkansas has been doing many tests to recycle polystyrene products and have been working on plans to get the public excited about the process and so far they have been on the right path, but more work needs to still be done.

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The future of food and farming will look a lot like our past

From FarmandDairy.com:

As winter’s icy hands again strangle most of the country, I toss another log in the stove and grab the stack of old newspapers, aging magazines and new books that has grown tall during winter travels.

The newspapers take little time. No trick to reading a two-weeks-old daily newspaper: headline … headline … recycling bin.

The magazines are more of a meander; they take more time, more wood and more naps.

Finally, near the bottom of the pile are two books I had hoped to read earlier; one purchased late last year by daughter, Mary Grace, the other sent by its author, a friend, a month ago.

A couple of cold Saturdays of popcorn munching and sentence-crunching take me through both.

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The Green Side of Styrofoam Products

Foam cups, initially developed to minimize the spread of bacteria and food-borne pathogens, have many benefits. From better insulating a beverage to having less of an environmental impact than paper cups, foam cups serve an important role in most of our daily lives.

In addition to protecting either the carbonation of a soft drink or the warmth of a hot drink, the increased insulation of foam cups decreases the amount of waste. For example, consumers often use two paper cups at a time or the addition of a cardboard sleeve with a paper cup to protect their hands and keep their beverages warm where a single foam cup would be sufficient.

Using two paper cups at a time produces twice the amount of solid waste by volume than that of a single foam cup and five times as much by weight. Those restaurants and food service stores offering paper cups ultimately create double the amount of waste by not using foam cups.

In addition, from an environmental perspective, one should also consider the materials and energy used from producing paper cups versus foam cups. The emissions created from incinerating paper cups or disposing of them in landfills exceeds the environmental repercussions http://1800recycling.com/2010/03/styrofoam-paper-cups of both making and disposing of foam cups.

And lastly, when we compare foam-ware with a comparison to permanent-ware, consider the energy usage, water and amount of chemical detergent we must use to wash all the reusable ceramic, glass or plastic cups.

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South Dakota Officials Plan To Frame New Rule to Stop Spread of Invasive Species

From: AustrianTribune.com:

It has been found that officials in South Dakota are trying hard to make some moves in order to slow the spread of invasive species in the waterways. As of now, the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Commission has proposed several regulations to prevent introduction of the invasive species and also to slow the spread of existing populations.

As per one of the suggested proposals, the conservation officers will have to remove the vegetation and all aquatic invasive species from a boat and trailer. The officer will also have to require all drain plugs and related devices be opened or removed from boats when being transported.

In another part of the plan, the department secretary will place restrictions on a body of water when an invasive species is found.

It has been informed that the GFP commission will finalize the proposal on March 5 or 6 during its meeting in Pierre after taking comments.

The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission has said it wants a strong strategy developed for protection against aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels and quagga mussels spreading in South Dakota’s public waters.

According to one commissioner, Gary Jensen of Rapid City, the response might go as far as to require roadside inspections at the state borders of trailer boats being pulled into South Dakota.

The species could have been mistakenly carried by vegetation and water in boats that have been present in the infected water bodies.

Jensen called for GFP’s fisheries staff to study the topic in greater depth, including analysis of other states’ programs. The commission has finally agreed Thursday to give staff the directions.

The commission has even agreed with the fisheries staff’s recommendations to propose new aquatic invasive species regulations.

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Environmentally Sound Drilling in Big Injun Sand Formation

Cunningham Energy, an independent, oil exploration and drilling company, has recently announced plans to expand on their horizontal drilling through the Lion Paws project. The company has determined to drill four new horizontal wells in West Virginia’s Clay County. These new wells will be aimed at the Big Injun Sand formation which is located in the Union district of the county.

Cunningham Energy, an energy company dedicated to efficient energy production, plans on using the effective and advanced components of horizontal drilling to tap into previously unused portions of the formation, while maintaining environmental conditions as well as promoting the proliferation and continuation of the economy in the area. Their dedication to improving the usage of the Big Injun Sand formation, without undo environmental disturbances, will assist in the continued growth of the United States gas and oil industry and ensure America holds its’ own in the specific field throughout the globe.

Horizontal drilling allows the company to not only hit the formation with minimal environmental effects, but also enables a high stimulation effect on the reserves which can encourage a higher output then that of vertical drilling. Areas within the Big Injun that have previously been unable to produce due to area, geology, or other issues; can easily be drawn with this advanced drilling technique. Not only is horizontal drilling an effective method, it also enables Cunningham Energy to reach a vast area of the formation by drilling from a single pad, thus creating a lesser effect on the environment while reaching maximum producing capacity. Through advances, drilling horizontally also allows rigs to have a higher production rate when dealing with low permeability products. This then allows everything to be used in the area, saving on time, money, as well as environmental effect.

Through their dedication to the environment as well as the production of energy efficient resources, Cunningham Energy is forging ahead of the pack. The Lions Paw project will assist in not only providing essential resources to the country, it is also an excellent example of modern advances and the positive effect they have on the production of essential day to day components. Cunningham Energy is an excellent example of a company who works to conserve and protect the natural environment while meeting the demands of the global economy, as well as a high standard of ethic and business moral.

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Drought Study in California

From ScienceRecorder.com:

A new NASA study found that 1934 hosted the driest and most widespread drought of the last 1,000 years in North America. The complete research findings appear in the Oct. 17 edition of Geophysical Research Letters.

The study used a reconstruction of North American drought history based on a tree-ring-based drought record from the years 1000 to 2005, in addition to modern records. Scientists from NASA and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory found the 1934 drought was 30 percent more severe than the runner-up drought in 1580, and extended across 71.6 percent of western North America. In comparison, the average extent of the 2012 drought was 59.7 percent.

“It was the worst by a large margin, falling pretty far outside the normal range of variability that we see in the record,” said climate scientist Ben Cook at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

The researchers found that two sets of conditions led to the severity and extent of the 1934 drought. First, a high-pressure system in winter sat over the west coast of the United States and turned away wet weather. This pattern is similar to that which occurred in the winter of 2013 to 2014. Second, the spring of 1934 hosted dust storms that suppressed rainfall.

“In combination then, these two different phenomena managed to bring almost the entire nation into a drought at that time,” said coauthor Richard Seager, professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in New York. “The fact that it was the worst of the millennium was probably in part because of the human role.”

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Why oil prices will be ‘robust’ long-term: Shell CEO

The decline in the price of oil has been one of the most prevalent stories in financial markets this year. But Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Shell, the world’s second-biggest listed energy company, is confident that oil will return to “very robust” pricing in the long-term.

He told CNBC: “We see prices being very robust over the longer term, for fundamental reasons of growth in prosperity and demand. It’s harder to find oil and more difficult to develop it, so I still see a very robust outlook.”

Oil prices on all main indices have been driven lower this year by concerns about slowing economic growth, a strong U.S. dollar and higher production than some expected. On Wednesday, the daily basket price for Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stood at $88.32 a barrel, down from 89.37 the previous day.

“In the short term, we have a trading strategy to inoculate ourselves from the swings,” van Buerden said.

Shell’s oil and gas business is also affected by sanctions against Gazprom, its partner in developing Russian shale oil, as part of Western penalties imposed on Russia over Ukraine. Last week, it suspended work on one of its joint ventures with the Russian energy giant.

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Source: cnbc.com

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Opinions on Plastic Bag Bans

From NationalReview.com:

Yesterday, California became the first state to ban plastic grocery bags entirely. In a statement signing the ban into law, Governor Jerry Brown argued that “This bill is a step in the right direction — it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks, and even the vast ocean itself. . . . We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.” While the governor may unfortunately prove correct in his prediction of future statewide bans to come, he’s almost certainly wrong that they in any way help the environment. In a 2011 NRO article, I explained why plastic-bag taxes and bans can end up causing more environmental harm than good:

Unfortunately, study after study has shown that most of the supposed “benefits” of these bans and taxes have a negligible effect on the environment at best, and can actually have unintended consequences that cause greater environmental harm. Take Ireland[‘s plastic-bag tax], for example. When the New York Times reported the 94 percent decrease [in plastic-bag use], it neglected to specify that it was referring only to plastic grocery-bag use. Sales of non-grocery plastic bags (garbage bags, etc.) rose an astonishing 400 percent, amounting to a net increase of 10 percent in total plastic-bag consumption. In an interview with National Review Online, Patrick Gleason, state-affairs manager of Americans for Tax Reform, explains why.


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How Harvard has changed green technology

In our technology rich world today, it is more important than ever to acquire a college degree. When choosing a school to attend, there are many factors to take into account. Some of these factors are the history of the institution, successful alumni, and the school’s contribution to our efforts to preserve the earth. When considering all of these factors, the prestigious Ivy League college Harvard University is the perfect school to choose to attend.

Many notable people have attended this prestigious school such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, who became one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States. Holding 3 terms as commander in chief, he influenced the world for decades. Another alumnus from Harvard that was a native to New York was Maxwell Perkins. He was responsible for the discovery of such great literary works as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s manuscripts. Not to be outdone, another famous person coming from Harvard who was native to New York is John Lithgow. His impressive list of works and accreditations are a testament to the quality of the Harvard institution as well as supporting its popularity among the college seeking crowd. The owner of the Empire State Building Anthony Malkin, is also known to have graduated from Harvard.

Through the history of this school, there have been graduates of high public standing and profile. These alumni helped to make Harvard the prestigious school that young adults are preparing themselves all their lives to attend. The popularity of this college is due primarily because of the high quality of professors and classes offered to the students. Founded in 1636, Harvard is the oldest higher learning institution in the United States. By offering a wide variety of subjects that can be studied and the opening of the enrollment to a larger section of the public beyond the wealthy and privileged has increased its popularity. Throughout history the changing and evolving of Harvard continues to attract a large variety of students from all incomes and backgrounds, offering a varied mixture of knowledge to the school’s proven successful curriculum. One of the newest areas that this curriculum has focused on is the development of green technology for our environmental benefit.

Harvard students’ research and accomplishments that have directly affected the green technology of society include landscaping techniques for the conservation of water, and a community driven garden project which provides valuable growing research as well as supplying produce for the school and surrounding community. Research is in development on a battery that can store energy economically for use when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow. This technology uses the quinones that are found naturally in plants such as rhubarb, to store energy for long periods of time when other methods of energy storage are not effective. These are only a few of the examples of technological advancements that the green teams at Harvard are working on to make our world a more sustainable place to live.

Harvard University is the oldest and most trusted institution of higher learning in the United States. The list of honorable and award winning alumni is a tribute to the schools long-standing reputation as the finest of the Ivy League schools. Growing in popularity over the years, this school has evolved and embraced the need for technological advancements in sustainability practices that people can implement in everyday functioning of society.

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Coordinated Chemistry Yields Green Solutions for More Efficient Gas Storage

Metal Organic Frameworks (commonly called MOFs) are intricate crystal structures that can store or separate individual elements in a highly efficient manner. MOFs are materials made by linking inorganic and organic units together with strong bonds formed through coordination chemistry. MOFs are not only leading the way in providing clean technology solutions, but are actively being explored by the energy, transportation, and pharmaceutical industries to deliver new applications (for energy storage).

Since the technology was introduced, scientists have found applications for gas separation and storage as well as other promising applications within the green industry. Framergy™ is a company on the cutting edge of this industry. Their new class of MOFs has been built from the nano-level to more closely mimic nature thereby leveraging the attributes of MOFs to increase working capacity and stability.

Because MOFs have the highest surface area known to man, extreme amounts of a selected element, like methane, can be separated and stored within them opening up new energy solutions for gas storage at low pressure.

MOFs began as a solution for the hydrogen vehicle. In 2012, framergy’s Chief Scientific Advisor and founder, Hong-Cai “Joe” Zhou of Texas A&M University was awarded his second highly selective ARPA-E award to develop MOFs for low-pressure vehicle storage of natural gas.

Once thought of as impossible, in less than two years, these exclusively licensed materials have increased performance (the selection, storage, and applicability) of MOFs through rational design, while reducing costs 4,000 fold. In addition, framergy has developed water and ACID-stable MOFs for industrial performance.

Source: Enn.com

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