San Jose Passes Polystyrene Ban

After a debate which has spanned a number of years, San Jose has approved a ban on polystyrene today which will vastly restrict the presence of the plastic foam in the environment. According to an article in the Mercury News by John Woolfolk, the San Jose city council voted 9-2 in favor of passing a bill which would ban polystyrene food containers. The bill would take effect next year beginning with large, chain restaurants, and extending to smaller businesses the following year. According to Woolfolk:


San Diego Faces Recycling Crisis

The Southern California town of San Diego is facing a growing challenge according to Deborah Sullivan Brennan of UT Times, who reports that recycling bins in the city are overflowing as San Diego's waste management program is unable to keep up with waste produced. Recycling is collected in two week intervals in San Diego, and recently, residents of the city have noticed the blue bins designated for recyclables are overflowing, while the black general waste bins have extra space inside.

European Commission Announces Green Paper to Target Plastic Waste

In a bid to halt the progression of waste and pollution cluttering the planet, the European Commission has announced the publication of a Green Paper focusing on a "European strategy on plastic waste in the environment", according to a press release from the Commission earlier this month. The paper was announced at the "Zero Waste Conference" held by the European Parliament.

Disappearing Packaging Could Save 70 Million Tons of Waste a Year

An article on has shared the story of a new development that may prove promising for the efforts currently being made to reduce packaging in consumer products. The article, written by contributor Sarah Miller, shares the news of an art and design school graduate who has created dissolving packaging out of non-toxic paper materials to reduce excess waste. According to the article:

Landfillharmonic Teaser Trailer

A trailer for a documentary film project about kids from Catuera, Paraguay and the orchestra they participate in, in which the instruments are created from recycled landfill trash. 

Bag Levy Should Help Fund Greener Bags, Hong Kong Experts Say

In an article on the Hong Kong Standard on Friday, Candy Chan writes that researchers feel that the bag levy issued on single use plastic bags should contribute to funding the creation of what they say are greener, more sustainable bags. The proposed technology that would be used to create the bags is called oxo-degradable plastic, developed in Canada about a decade ago, and uses the presence of microorganisms to help degrade the plastic. According to the article:

Hawaii First State to Ban Plastic Bags at Checkout

In an article published on MSNBC today, contributor Miguel Llanos reports that [USA's] Hawaii has become the first state to completely ban plastic bags at store checkouts with legislation passed on Thursday. Llanos writes that this legislation makes Hawaii the only state in America in which every county within the state has instituted a ban. According to the article:

Difference Engine: Talking Trash

In an article from the Economist's blog, "Babbage" last week, a very detailled discussion of the waste habits of the United States helped shed light on what becomes of garbage when it reaches the landfill. The article also discusses the fact that manufacturers in the US are not held accountable for the packaging they wrap their products in, effectively leaving the issue in the hands of the consumer to resolve. According to the article:

For Many in India, Landfill is a Livelihood and a Home

In a shocking story from the Los Angeles Times today, Mark Magnier reports on what is referred to as the "Trash Mountain" of India, the 70 acre landfill of Ghazipur, New Dehli -- a place in which poor "rag pickers" live and scavenge for garbage which they can use to make a living. According to Magnier,

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