Archives for category: pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice announced the $189,000 fine against Sims Metal Management on Thursday September 18th over allegations that it polluted the San Francisco Bay with toxic metal debris. The EPA charged the company with allowing toxic dust from metal to fall off a conveyor system and into a creek that feeds into the San Francisco Bay since at least the early 1990’s. As part of a settlement agreement, the recycling company will be required to pay the cost of cleanup in addition to the fine.

EPA Fines Sims Metal $189K for Polluting SF Bay Green Halo Waste TrackingSims Metal spokeswoman Jill Rodby said the company has implemented a number of best practices around the conveyor and agreed to the settlement without acknowledging any wrongdoing.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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clean_up_our_ocean

 

We told you about clean up #OurOcean2014 a little over a month ago but we figured that while the weather is still so nice out we would remind you that organizing a beach clean up is even easier by visiting this page: https://wastetracking.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/looking-for-a-good-weekend-activity-look-no-further-than-ourocean2014-and-giveback/

There’s information on what to do before and during a beach clean up, and adding #ourocean2014 to your social media posts while organizing this will help your event gain visibility. If you have any questions of want to invite us, please Tweet us @WasteTracking we can also help you spread the word!

 

 

Medical-membrane technology was used by Dr. Yuichi Mori to grow agricultural crops with minimized water and soil consumption which he presented at TEDx. Seeing this “hydromembrane”, a gel plastic wrap looking material interestingly enough supports plant growth so that they are safe for consumption.

plant and vegtable imec system is a revolution that allows more food to be produced and hunger to be reduced

A video of Dr. Mori with the Imec membrane and cress that grew from it can be seen here:

Source: http://www.mebiol.co.jp/en/product/

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The ZenRobotics Recycler currently separates Metal, Wood and Stone from mixed construction and demolition debris. The separator received the Global Cleantech Cluster Association’s Later Stage Award for Best in Waste Management at the end of 2013 and ZenRobotics Ltd. is working on increasing the features of this product. Separating mixed construction and demolition debris is important because currently people perform their arduous task and their labor could be use very effectively elsewhere in waste facilities. Not only does this take a dangerous and tedious task off of the hands of waste facility employees, but this robot even improves recovery rates and sorting efficiency.

Jaakko Särelä, CEO of ZenRobotics, says that ““It is already clear that clean technology will develop to a globally significant business sector. What is now needed is a national strategy for the development of environmental technology”. The minimum amount of reclaimed debris that the sorter can reclaim annually is 12,000 tons with the potential to sort up to 60,000 tons. In addition, the sorter little energy, and only costs $1.36/hour to operate.

 

Source: https://mygreenhalo.wordpress.com/

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Kornit launched two awesome products in 2005 and the reason that they are so noteworthy is because they were the first printers to offer a direct to garment printing in a much more eco-friendly way than traditional textile production.

There are initiatives from groups such as Greenpeace’s Detox which look into the environmental ethicacy of fabrics and their production process. Kornit manufactures their own textile printing ink which is 100% non-toxic, organic, vegan-friendly and safe for infants and young children. Kornit’s system doesn’t require any pre-treatment of the fabrics like cotton, satin, leather, synthetic leather, linen, microfiber, silk and other fabrics that their technology can print on.

waste tracking wastetracking system kornit digital print textile

The traditional method of dying fabrics using a lot of water that gets contaminated and wasted as a result. Kornit’s technology prints on fabric in a dry process so that less water is wasted.

In this video you can see for yourself how awesome their digital prints turnout and it is also easy to imagine how much safer this work environment is for employees too!

 

Source: http://jewishbusinessnews.com/2014/07/15/israels-kornit-offers-green-fabric-printing/

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wastetracking waste tracking system xeros washer less water chemicals and more efficient

It’s not news that certain parts of the world have drought emergencies right now but Xeros has an new invention that is helping reduce the travesty. Xeros came out with a polymer bead laundry system which comes with enormous savings and benefits that currently attracts mainly commercial locations. This new laundry system is currently impacting the hotel, gym, and hospital industries in a great ways.

By reducing consumption in commercial laundry, hotels can conserve valuable resources, gain competitive advantages, market themselves as green to increase their brand value and improve customer loyalty in addition to reducing costs.

The Xeros washer works by utilizing the hydrophilic properties of polymer beads. Scientists at the University of Leeds School of Textiles discovered that these beads, mixed with a small amount of water and a special detergent act as magnets for stains and dirt to clean laundry better and more gently than traditional methods. These reusable polymer beads also last for hundreds of washes before they need to be recycled and the Xeros polymer bead laundry system uses 80% less water, 50% less energy, about 50% less detergent and results in better cleaning results compared to traditional methods.

(Sources: http://www.waterworld.com/articles/iww/print/volume-14/issue-3/features/wiser-washing.html

And

http://mygreenhalo.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/what-uses-80-less-water-50-less-energy-about-50-less-detergent-and-results-in-better-cleaning-results-compared-to-traditional-methods/ )

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waste tracking green halo systems by greenhalo deforestation in indonesia

Between 2000 to 2012 in Indonesia 16m hectares (roughly the same area as Greece) experienced deforestation. Of that, 38% or 6m hectares was primary forest, the most valuable in terms of carbon and biodiversity.

Corrupt local politicians and army officers have been selling off forest land to be “cleared for palm-oil and paper-pulp plantations, illegal logging and much else”.

This land is usually cleared by burning the forests down, resulting in a thick and deadly haze cloud that travels across the lands which even caused Singapore and Malaysia to have the worst haze ever on record.

(Source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/07/indonesia-and-environment#sthash.tzQ5NgWv.dpbs

And

http://mygreenhalo.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/indonesia-had-16m-hectares-of-deforestation-from-2000-to-2012-and-more-from-the-economist/ )

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This infographic is paperless and shows us why we should stop drinking from plastic water bottles:

wastetracking_waste_tracking_infograph_bottle_water

Thanks to: http://www.naturalmat.co.uk/for providing this infographic!

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waste tracking wastetracking.com system apuan alps quarries mine marble carra

In Tuscany there is currently passionate dispute over land-use in the area that famously provided Michelangelo’s marble for David in a region known as the Apuan Alps. The 150 firms that run the quarries are eagerly waiting to see the outcome of the Tuscan regional government’s decision or its “final approval to the plan” this week.

waste tracking wastetracking.com system apuan alps quarries mine marble

The Apuan Alps quarries are from classical times and still have traces of the engineers that mined and the Roman artisans who sculpted. Unfortunately, these quarries left scars on the surrounding landscape and entire mountain peaks have been destroyed.

One of the quarry owners and operators was concerned that the Tuscan regional government’s plan is the first step towards closing these quarries. Shutting down the 48 will result in a direct loss of about 5,000 jobs. A spokeswoman for quarry employers said that about 150 employers have agreed to suspend all activity on Monday and Tuesday by barring workers from entering the quarries.

This lock out is being described as “anti-democratic and contemptuous of the rights of works” whereas the regional government is trying to be more responsible for their environmental impact and irreversible devastation.

 

(Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/30/tuscany-marble-quarries-shut-environment-dispute)

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Jeff Jungsten, President of Caletti Jungsten Construction, tells us how to choose a green contractor

By: Jenelle Feole

(MILL VALLEY, CA) – Jeff JungstenJeff Jungsten shared decades of green building industry experience earlier this week from his office in Mill Valley, CA. An avid biker and green builder, it’s obvious that Jeff cares about nature and his clients. Jeff is a game changer, a perfectionist when it comes to building people’s homes and he is deeply in tune to our planet’s needs and sustainability. He was on the Technical Advisory Committee which met weekly for over a year to devise a new green building ordinance for Marin County so that green building could be more simple and accessible to everybody.

Jeff is a Build it Green Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP) and he also holds the Green Home Retrofitting and Remodeling Advanced Certified Green Building Professional certification (GHRR Advanced CGBP) – it’s a rarity. In 1995 Jeff joined John Caletti’s general construction company and complemented the already high–end quality work with a bend towards sustainability. We discussed the bleeding-edge green building technologies that are developed on the West Coast and later used worldwide, what drives green building in other areas of the globe and much more:

1 What is the story behind Caletti Jungsten? Our story really was that, and has been, that we started as a small group doing really high definition work. Started in 1987 by John Caletti here in Marin, taking on some really nice general construction work. John and I met in the mid-90’s on a small project and then took on a really big project together, honed our skills together and figured out what we really wanted to do. We’ve taken that energy and expertise that we both carry and put it into really good people and culture, and we setup a good momentum for our community. So we are really into where we work, why we work, and who we work with.

What does it take to be a green contractor? It takes a lot of energy, focus, drive, and understanding that there is a better way to do what we do. It takes a proactive approach, knowledge and energy around why you’re doing certain things.

3 How should one go about choosing a green builder? The best way to choose a green builder is to talk to as many people as you can who have investigated green building. There are township blogs, there are other groups like the Marin builders association. Most municipalities have a builders group of some sort. The people that are doing these things are known by great non-profits like build It Green or the USGBC. [Laughs] Google is a great way to find green builders in your area. They might be listed on the Build It Green or USGBC website of certified professionals. It’s usually just word of mouth but one of the things that we try to do is to get ourselves listed on as many boards as possible to just get the word out.

So people will research, or they will find out about you from word of mouth, and am I understanding you correctly that the credentials are really important? Would you say that being a GCBP is a must? It’s a must. The people that take the time to learn and study and take the energy to get themselves certified are the people that are at least trying to understand and stay current of sustainability. And, I would say that if you hire a company that has zero credentials as either a business or individuals and expect them to know more than the people who are studying it, it would be an odd choice. If you are going to hire a company that claims to be a green builder, they will have had to have had projects in that realm that are either published or known or researchable that you can look at and say: were they successful in what they sought out to do? Was is certifiable at a certain level with a certain group? What type of work have they done and where? Who have they worked with?

5 I see, so if they are not certified, one should look at work examples, but sometimes work examples are not impressive enough so take just the work examples with a grain of salt? It depends: one of our intentions was to set a relatively rigorous standard in Marin for a green building ordinance so that people would have to build better than a C- building as a norm. So even if you weren’t certified, you would have to build in a certain way that achieved a certain level of efficiency. The people who can achieve those levels of efficiency in every single building that they build and can prove it, that’s the type of thing to do your research for. To say: “What type of buildings have you built, and how have you proven them to meet the goals that you set up early on in the project?” Everybody can buy low VOC paint, find or buy recycled or reclaimed materials, and claim that they are green builders. But the people that know how to combine them in multiple ways for low cost, and who are out teaching other people or who are being involved in your community, are the people that are usually taking the biggest stride.

In 2010, the Marin Builder’s Association gave me the Leadership and Sustainability Award for being a pioneer in the community which was really cool. Similarly, a LEED Certified home, can’t be built without LEED a Certified team member, so there are certain projects which you cannot do without being certified.

Are you certified for LEED? I am not personally…for me I am kind of outside of that loop, and up higher in the policy programming, and the ordinance portion. The people that are actually manufacturing the product that we build are LEED Certified, Project Managers would be LEED Certified.

7 So it’s possible for people to build a LEED property through your company? Yes, absolutely. We did a LEED Gold residence here in Marin two years ago…it was in Camp Woodlands.

When it comes to green building, do you think that there’s an area that people are too focused on and they miss considering something else that is important? Most people say: “I want my home to be more energy efficient”. And I think that the indoor air quality part is the part that they might be missing the most. Probably the most toxic place to be is in a new home. It’s like a new car. You can have a really efficient home, seal it up really tight, and then it just develops a really bad problem where you don’t cycle the air enough. So I think that probably the one thing that people miss the most is how to make it healthy.

9 Is it more expensive to build green?

It can be upfront. It can cost more if you’re not going to be in your home for a long time. Low VOC paints and finishes and those things aren’t more expensive, but the other products, like a radiant heating system are more expensive than a forced air system. However a radiant heating system is more far more efficient and way healthier than blowing a bunch of air and dust around the house. So there’s where you have to start making your choices about what type of healthy environment and efficiency you want. Our goal is to get as many people doing these things as possible which makes them more cost effective for a normal consumer.

10 How do you calculate the payback period for green building? The client will inherently have to make choices about upfront costs vs. lifecycle and costs. Part of what any good general contractor will do is help guide a client through those value oriented decisions. Some things just don’t make sense for some clients, and it’s responsible to say: “it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on this, it will never pay off for you”. If a certain budgetary condition is installed in the relationship and things can’t be achieved, then our job is to maximize their budget in as many value-oriented places as possible. And we do that, so we have a deep preconstruction activity upfront before the job that integrates as many sustainable features as possible, using the budget as widely as possible. And not only do we do that, but we have consultants that we bring in that work with the clients directly and work with us directly…these people are experts in facilitating the conversation before it even makes it to us, so these people are incredibly valuable.

11 The architecture firm plays a big role in this too, so where does the construction company come into play and how do you add value? Some architecture firms are getting it and they are understanding that sustainability is not an overlay, it’s a design principle. We come in hopefully as early as possible and I think any general contractor that studies this deeply wants to incorporate these systems at the earliest stages of design. Even as early as the sighting of the building to help integrate these systems into the plan if possible. That’s what the good architects are doing, they are bringing in people like us…

12 So a lot of the awesome homes on your website, you’re working with architects in the early stages of development? Absolutely. Way upfront. As early as the design phase.

13 How do you collaborate with architects and the client? Once we get through the design phase, we define everybody’s role and once the project is running, everybody plays a role in that. We all just collaborate as deeply as possible, as openly as possible, with as much humility as possible. We have a project right now where we are working incredibly closely with the architect, the client, the designer, and the engineers. It’s one of the most amazing homes that we’ve ever seen and it’s really all about being as collaborative and open as possible. Everything’s open for discussion. In the sustainability world, it’s kind of mandatory. There used to be a very closed loop between 2 parties and then a 3rd party would come in- the builder, and it would be a sort of odd scenario. Our goal is to just open up that whole relationship and be as collaborative and proactive as possible with everybody and have everyone do the same. If we’re talking about money, we have to talk about money openly. If we are talking about schedules, we have to talk about schedules openly. If we are talking about systems, we have to talk about systems openly. So that’s what happening in our world, a deeper level of relationship, more client–centric and certainly more proactive for time and money.

14 What inspires you? Everything!!!! Everything! I think if I really break it down into the smallest common denominator, it’s creating beautifully healthy homes for families, structures that- people get to grow up in, get married in, and have kids in. When somebody trusts us to build their home, that’s what we focus on. You know, perfect is close enough for us. We don’t want to just take the lowest common denominator and do that, it’s easy. What inspires us is to learn our craft a little bit deeper than most and then provide that value to people and see it happen. We just love the idea of building an inspired home with more energy and care. I honestly feel that it’s noticeable…and if we do our jobs right, and we care enough, then it’s obviated.

15 I looked at your Green Halo Systems account, I see that you’ve diverted over 255 tons from the landfill, which is a carbon footprint equivalent of 26,000 gallons of gasoline. What types of insights come to your mind when you see these statistics and numbers? One of the things about Green Halo that I really enjoy is that it’s similar to this program called “Cool the Earth”, which we work with here locally. It’s a great grass roots program that’s spreading nationally. Their idea is to train kids to focus on things that they can change…show them that when they turn the lights off and then they see the energy bill at the end of the month, then they will start to see that the small things they do actually have a result. And that’s what I like about Green Halo is that we have the ability to account for the material, see the results of what we are doing, and then change our behavior and modify how we work to then enhance that savings even higher. When I saw what we have diverted since using Green Halo, I turned it into a personal conversation about how: in my smart car, that’s 3,750 fill ups or the equivalent of about a million miles driven. I’ve taken an entire life time of driving off of the planet’s carbon footprint just in this short amount of time that we’ve been using Green Halo! And if we can measure it, we can change it, and that’s what Green Halo allows us to do. They’ve done a really good job making it useful, efficient, scalable, and the best tool for the job. Individual companies like myself can use it, municipalities can use it to collect information from people like me and then they put their stats out as a county. So we use the system as much as possible, and we review it monthly, and everybody always enjoys seeing what’s happened to the material or how much we are diverting or how we can do it differently.

 

Check out http://www.calettijungsten.com/

 

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