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Articles by Tia Ghose

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The New York Times has an interesting article up about recycled plastic products. They’re profiling a company called Recycline, which makes those bright green recycled plastic cutting boards, strawberry red colanders, and even toothbrushes.

According to the article:

Recycline’s products, sold under the Preserve brand, make new products out of things that would otherwise be likely to end up in landfills. The company uses mostly recycled polypropylene, much of it from yogurt and cottage-cheese containers, along with some sustainably forested wood and recycled paper.

On one hand, the idea of recycling plastic, rather than tossing it into a landfill, is über cool. And polypropylene isn’t (as far as we know) a carcinogen or an endocrine disruptor like BPA and PVC.

I’d like to see the idea taken one step further. This company is minimizing the waste in a system already in place. All those yogurt containers were designed without anyone seriously considering what happens after we polish off our yogurt. It would be great if people factored that in at the design stage.

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  • Soy, corn, and wheat prices puzzling economists

    Just in case you weren't worried about rising food prices, The New York Times has an article out that makes the food markets seem even more volatile. Apparently, identical bushels of corn, wheat, and soybeans are selling for two different prices on the derivatives and cash markets.

  • Green building may be quickest path to decreased emissions

    Reuters has the skinny on a new report on green building. The report concluded that building green would reduce greenhouse emissions more quickly than any other approach.

    According to the article:

    North America's buildings release more than 2,200 megatonnes, or about 35 percent of the continent's total, of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. If the construction market quickly adopted current and emerging energy-saving technologies, that number could be cut by 1,700 megatonnes by 2030, the report said.

    Alas, there are "obstacles" preventing the rapid adoption of green building techniques:

    One is the so-called split incentive policy, where those who construct environmentally-friendly buildings do not necessarily reap the benefits of using them.

    Also, governments and other institutions separate capital and operating budgets instead of budgeting for the lifetime of a construction project, creating a disincentive to build "green," the report found.

    Oh well, I guess I'll have to make do with a nice cozy place on the Street of Dreams until green building catches on. Uh, scratch that.

  • You feisty devils, you

    Check out this National Geographic video about Tasmanian devils (via The Slog):

  • Solar thermal plants make a comeback


    As part of the Back to the Future alternative energy series, The New York Times has an article today about the rising demand for solar thermal power plants, which use solar panels to heat water and operate a steam turbine.

    Among the advantages cited:

    On sunny afternoons, those 10 plants would produce as much electricity as three nuclear reactors, but they can be built in as little as two years, compared with a decade or longer for a nuclear plant. Some of the new plants will feature systems that allow them to store heat and generate electricity for hours after sunset.

    In addition, solar thermal can provide energy more reliably than wind can, and it provides the most energy during mid-day, when energy usage peaks.