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Posts Tagged "waste"

Guest Blog

Waste to Energy: A mountain of trash, or a pile of energy?

Collect trash, burn it, and then generate electricity. The technology is called Waste to Energy, and it uses our waste streams to produce electricity that can be cleaner than the average kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated in the United States today. A mountain of trash becomes a pile of energy. But, will this domestic renewable resource be [...]

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Observations

Toxic Burn Pits at U.S. Marine Base in Afghanistan Threaten Health

Burn pit at Camp Helmand

Open-air pits in which toxic materials are burned are still being used at bases in Afghanistan, new data suggests. A report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction warns that at one 13,500-person Marine base in Helmand province in Afghanistan U.S. military and civilian personnel are being exposed to smoke emissions from open-air burn [...]

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Observations

Recycling Reality: Humans Set to Trash Most Elements on the Periodic Table

metal-cycle

Almost all lead is recycled, among the only elements on the periodic table to earn that distinction. With good reason, mind you: the soft metal is a potent neurotoxic known to impact children’s brain development, among other nasty health effects. Today, nearly all lead is used in batteries (though it was once put into gasoline, [...]

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Observations

Do You Know What Happens to Your Cellphone When You’re Done with It?

DURBAN, South Africa—I rented a cellphone during my sojourn here to cover the recent climate change negotiations. A local number enabled me to keep in touch with home and office but also, perhaps more importantly, to make appointments on the fly with ever harried international negotiators. The Nokia 2330—which was dubbed, affectionately, my “hellphone” by [...]

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Plugged In

If Climate Change Was Not Real…

A Scarlet Ibis Water Bird in the once-receding Amazon rainforest. Courtesy: Brandon Hoover.

… there would be a lot of other environmental issues to deal with. This is no big revelation, but it’s a question I’ve been pondering recently: What is the state of the world, not counting climate change? Or rather, what if we managed to reduce CO2 emissions to necessary levels, what would our focus be on [...]

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Plugged In

Imagine There’s No Garbage. I Wonder If I Can.

In the U.S. we throw away about 70% more garbage per person than in Sweden.

In John Lennon’s iconic song “Imagine,” he paints a world without war, greed or hunger. I’d like to add garbage to his list. Yup, plain ol’ trash. It’s everywhere. It’s persistent, and as the name implies, it’s dirty. When scanning the globe to check out ways different countries address this problem, I pause at Sweden. [...]

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Plugged In

Summer of the Mosquito

I remember last summer as the summer of the mosquito. I wasn’t prepared. Those buzzing, itching, carbon dioxide-seeking missiles chased my family out of the backyard. The long anticipated lazy days laying in the backyard turned into short backdoor jaunts of necessity. No one wanted to take the chance. Mosquitoes were everywhere. So were warnings [...]

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Plugged In

Light on Landfills: Solar energy covers turn maxed-out landfills into solar farms

Hickory Ridge landfill outside of Atlanta, GA, is full. Like most landfills that reach capacity, it was capped to contain its noxious mix of debris that will slowly degrade over the decades and centuries to come. But unlike most, Hickory Ridge glistens on a sunny day due its over 7,000 thin-film photovoltaic solar panels plastered [...]

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Plugged In

Lighting up the Philippines – one liter at a time

A few days ago the BBC reported about a program in the Philippines is bringing indoor lighting to some of the country’s poorest residents. The program, Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light), installs water-filled soda bottles through a cutout in a roof. Chlorine is added to the water to prevent clouding, and the bottle [...]

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Plugged In

Maybe … a Half of a Cheer for Shale Gas? Maybe?

I had a whole post prepared about how the Geographic Information Services people helped in the response to the April tornados that devastated Raleigh, which seemed like a good way to introduce the infrastructure-plus-connectivity-plus-how-do-they-DO-that? applied science take I hope to bring to this blog, but then I came back from vacation and opened the newspapers [...]

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