What goes with C&A’s “world’s most sustainable T-shirt”? The Belgium-based retailer’s “world’s most sustainable jeans,” of course. Like their upper-body counterpart, the jeans are the first retail offering to be certified on a Gold level by California’s non-profit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII). The accomplishment was no small feat: To qualify for a C2C certification, products must undergo a slew of tests for human and environmental health, material reutilization, renewable energy use, carbon management, water stewardship and social justice. Ratings are based on five levels: Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Though G-Star Raw partnered with Saitex and DyStar to concoct, from 100 percent organic cotton, the first-ever C2C Certified Gold denim, C&A opted for something with a bit more stretch. It worked with Arvind Limited to employ biocompatible elastane from Roica by Asahi Kasei and approved dyes from DyStar, but some components, such as the fabric lining of the waistband, required a complete overhaul. While polyester knit or non-woven interlinings are popularly employed for their versatility and affordability, they also often contain antimony, a chemical that is verboten under C2C guidelines. (Blends, for the same reason, are also a non-option.) An exclusively cotton interlining, one that proved durable enough for denim, had to be fabricated instead.
In late November 2018, together with its local partners in Lebanon, SCP/RAC, The Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production, has participated to The final capitalisation Seminar of the Pilot Project entitled “Wine Innovation for Sustainable Economies” in order to discuss its outcomes. The seminar has been preceded by a visit to the beneficiary of the project in the Beqaa valley namely Château Kefraya, to have more insights about the in situ composting process piloted on its premises. The seminar has witnessed the participation of many actors and has been an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas on the circular economy in Lebanon, beyond the winery sector.
Unilever is working toward a self-imposed goal to be, by 2025, using plastic packaging only if it is designed to be fully reusable, recyclable, or compostable. And since recyclables are only ever actually recycled if there’s a lucrative market for the resulting material, the multinational has also pledged to use 25% recycled material in its packaging by that same deadline. According to the media release, “Veolia will work with Unilever to implement used packaging collection solutions, add recycling capacity and develop new processes and business models through this partnership in various countries.” The partnership will begin with material collection projects in India and Indonesia. From there, presumably, the companies will build on their learnings and expand collection and recycling efforts accordingly. “The scale of the plastic waste issue is getting worse, not better, with the production of plastics expected to double over the next two decades,” acknowledges Marc Engel, Unilever’s chief supply chain officer. “We all have a lot more to do to address this critical issue and we hope that by partnering with Veolia, a world leader in waste management, we can take meaningful strides towards a circular economy.”
Read the full article at: www.cosmeticsdesign.com
After an 18-hour-long last negotiating meeting between the Council and the European Parliament an agreement to review the Waste Framework Directive, the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and the Landfill Directive has been found. Zero Waste Europe welcomes the new agreement which should deliver the promised benefits in jobs, economic savings and reduced environmental impact. However ZWE is concerned that the pace of ambition is too slow to address the challenges that Europe is facing today. The agreement keeps Europe in the right path but it mitigates the ambition brought by the European Parliament in March, and almost every single meaningful objective proposed by the Commission or the Parliament has been axed or delayed by the Council. New EU Waste law aims at recycling 65% of total municipal waste by 2035, later and lower than 70% by 2030 that the Parliament had proposed. The push for repair and reuse through a specific target of preparation for reuse proposed by the Parliament has disappeared along with the marine litter reduction target. ‘National governments have lost the chance of securing a quick and ambitious transition towards a circular economy’, Zero Waste Europe’s Policy Officer on Waste, Ferran Rosa said. Despite the low ambition in terms of objectives, the new directives have the potential to deliver substantial change and contain the relevant elements to move towards a zero waste circular economy, such as the separate collection of bio-waste and textiles that becomes compulsory by 2023 and 2025, respectively, and the call on the Commission to propose targets on waste prevention and food waste reduction. Additionally, the new text aims at mainstreaming economic incentives in an attempt to transform waste management policies and the design of products under producer responsibility schemes. According to Mr Rosa, ‘the text is a long list of good intentions, objectives and obligations, but only implementation will deliver substantial change’.
Read the full article at: zerowasteeurope.eu
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed what it describes as “an efficient synthetic biology toolbox for industry and research organisations.” The toolbox enables, in an unprecedented way, engineering of a diverse range of yeasts and fungi, says the group. VTT says it comprises DNA parts which can be easily combined to create new biological systems.
The SES (Synthetic Expression System) toolbox seemingly enables expression of genes in yeasts and fungi considerably more efficiently and with better control than has been possible with previous methods. The toolbox is based on DNA components with well-defined functions and the components can be combined “as if they were Lego bricks.” In this way, molecular machines can be built, for example, for improved control of yeast cell performance in industrial bioprocesses for production of polymer precursors, fuels and medical compounds. Because the components of the SES toolbox operate the same way in different species, they can be used to engineer species that have attractive properties, but which have due to lack of engineering tools not been studied or used in biotechnology applications in the past. The SES toolbox is expected to enable development of numerous novel microbial production processes for valorization of various waste materials to higher value compounds. In doing so, the SES toolbox provides important solutions for bio- and circular economy challenges. VTT has written an article about the opportunities opened up by the toolbox, which you can read here. You can also read an article recently published in Nucleic Acids Research here.
Read the full article at: envirotecmagazine.com
The major emissions reductions needed to achieve this heavy lift have been recognized. However, these emissions reductions often target the source of emissions. While this is a reasonable approach, additional mitigation opportunities exist beyond the point where emissions are created.Transformational ideas add new climate action possibilities to the table and increase the likelihood of staying under 1.5° C. One set of policy options, in particular, is the circular economy, offering promise for cutting the current emissions gap significantly. Circular economy policies go beyond the source of emissions to socioeconomic practices that create the demand for emissions in the first place. The strategy involves moving beyond the current linear economic models, which extract materials, produce goods, sell them for consumption, and then discard them. Undertaking circular economy strategies can be accomplished while improving livelihoods and economies, and are often attractive from a business perspective. Circular economy models have been embraced by some subnational actors, especially cities; however, they have not been examined in much detail by the international climate community.
Finally, I wanted to close by featuring a fashion show recently held at MIT, to transform trash into fashion, as The Tech reported in One designer’s trash is another’s treasure: With the fashion industry leaving one of the largest global footprints in the world, UA Sustainability seeks to raise awareness for environmental issues in its student body. And what better way than a fashion show? Last Friday, the seventh annual Trashion Show took place in Walker Memorial. It was organized and hosted by UA Sustainability to promote waste reduction and sustainability on the runway. The show featured the creative styles of 17 designers, and 19 models strutted down Morss Hall wearing trash and various plastics, metals, paper, and recyclable materials not usually associated with high couture. Sam Magee, Jessica Rosencrantz ’05, and Professor John Fernandez were judging to decide the top three designs and the “Next Top Model.” Rosencrantz ’05 was an undergraduate at MIT, majoring in biology and architecture, co-founded Nervous System, and is now working as a designer and artist. Sam Magee is manager of the student arts programs including the Arts Scholars, the Creative Arts Competition, the MIT START Studio, and the Grad Arts Forum. “It’s always a blast to judge this,” Magee said during the show. Finally, Fernandez is a professor in the Department of Architecture and Director of the Environmental Solutions Initiative. He discussed plans to highlight some of the Trashion Show designs during Earth Day Week. The elegant black mermaid dress (“Curtain Call”) was stunning, resembling a well-fitting dress despite being made from a reused trash bag, curtain, zipper, and snaps. I wasn’t alone in my opinion; the design won the Audience Choice Award that night. Takes me back to my undergrad years – peak Punk period – when women wore black trash bags, but not for ‘sustainable’ reasons.
Security is important. That much is obvious, right? And despite all the over-the-top, hilariously sensational headlines suggesting the contrary, the most realistic security threats on Android aren’t from the big, bad malware monster lurking in the shadows and waiting to steal your darkest secrets whilst drinking all of your cocoa. Nope — the biggest risk to your security on Android is (drumroll, please…) you. The likelihood that you’ll at some point provide personal information to an ill-intending person or fail to properly secure an account in some way is without a doubt the most realistic threat to your virtual wellbeing. Malware? Meh. That’s rarely scary in anything more than a theoretical sense. [ Keep up on the latest thought leadership, insights, how-to, and analysis on IT through Computerworld’s newsletters. ] And guess what? The best way to protect yourself, aside from that always-advisable juicy dollop of common sense, is to secure every account possible with both a strong, unique password and the extra layer of protection that’s two-factor authentication. That’s especially important for your Google account, but the same steps are advisable for any account where two-factor auth is an option. The one problem with two-factor authentication, or 2FA for short, is that it can be a bit of a pain in the patootie (to use the technical term) in practice. The whole point of 2FA is that it requires a second step to sign into any account where it’s active. In many cases, that step is a single-use code that’s generated by a special app and then entered into the sign-in screen. And that typically means you have to stop what you’re doing, go back to your home screen, open your app drawer, and then open your 2FA code-generating app to get the necessary code and copy it over into whatever form you’re facing. [Want even more advanced Android knowledge? Check out my free Android Shortcut Supercourse to learn tons of time-saving tricks for your phone.] That’s a hassle, to say the least. But hang on, my efficiency-adoring amigo, for there is a better way.
Read the full article at: www.computerworld.com
Circular economy has gained attention as a key solution for mitigating the increasing generation of solid waste and resource scarcity. As opposed to the linear economy, the concept describes how to develop closed-loop technical and biological cycles by either recycling materials indefinitely with no degradation of their properties (the technical cycle) or returning materials to the natural ecosystem with no harm to the environment (the biological cycle) . Although circular economy practices (such as material recycling) are widely embraced as a sustainability strategy, it is important to consistently assess their net environmental benefits and possible drawbacks  and develop methods and indicators that are suitable for assessing circular economy concepts . The term “circular economy” is frequently applied to suggest increased sustainability. However, it tends to focus on an increased quantity of reused and recycled resources and overlook the quality of resource flows re-entering to the product cycle . This can pose a risk of augmenting unwanted recirculation of micro-pollutants [5,6,7,8], if disregarding the material quality, particularly in the transition period from linear to circular systems. In 2015, 241 million tonnes of municipal solid waste were generated in the EU . Of this waste, 40–60% was organic waste , representing a great challenge in terms of its management. However, at the same time, organic waste also constitutes a valuable resource as a component in the circular bioeconomy [11,12]. Biowaste-based biorefineries, producing high value products such as enzymes, bioplastic and biofertilizer from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste, is an emerging technology field whose environmental performance should be addressed to ensure a beneficial implementation . This study refers to such circular economy systems related to management of municipal biowaste as circular biowaste management systems (CBWMS). Several decision support tools (DSTs) based on life cycle assessment (LCA) are currently available to assess the sustainability of waste management systems (WMS). These WMS-DSTs are specifically developed to analyse the performance of integrated WMSs from collection, treatment and final disposal. Winkler and Bilitewski  and Jain et al.  showed large discrepancies in the results obtained when modelling specific scenarios across different WMS-DSTs. Gentil et al.  analysed the technical assumptions that caused the difference in the results obtained with various WMS-DST; e.g., time horizon for landfill emissions and calculation of long-term carbon balance when applying biowaste derived compost on soil .
Read the full article at: www.mdpi.com
The potential of oil & gas exporters to contribute to global decarbonization is vastly underappreciated. In the article linked below, I summarize our recent peer-reviewed paper showing how Norway (as an energy exporter) can help Germany (as an energy importer) to decarbonize rapidly, practically, and economically while maintaining attractive profit margins. The key is to develop a local CCS industry (basically just oil & gas extraction in reverse) using the vast pool of relevant local expertise, and export a diversified mix of decarbonized energy products. Electricity and hydrogen can be exported to neighbouring countries, and a wide range of other easily tradeable and storable industrial products (exemplified by steel in our study) can access global markets, reducing risks from uneconomical green technology-forcing policies in neighbouring countries.