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Austin Bans Restaurants From Throwing Food Waste Into Landfills
This week, the city of Austin, Texas implemented a new rule that prevents restaurants from tossing wasted food straight into the trash.
Austin's Universal Recycling Ordinance, enacted on Monday, requires all food-permitted businesses to divert discarded organic material, including food scraps and soiled paper, from landfills, according to the city government's press release of the new policy.
Businesses have the option to donate extra food to feed people, send food scraps to local animal farms or ranches or compost.
Additionally, owners and managers of the establishment must provide regular education for employees, post informational signage and submit an annual "organic diversion plan" to the city government.
"The city is committed to helping companies, large and small, find cost-effective solutions and establish diversion programs to ensure food and other organics are put to best use while meeting ordinance requirements," said Sam Angoori, interim director of Austin Resource Recovery, in the press release.
The new policy is a key component in the city's goal to reach zero waste by 2040. About 40 percent of Austin's landfill trash is organic, meaning the material could have been donated or composted, the city said, citing data from its 2015 Diversion Study.
Each year, one third of all food produced globally is wasted, according to the Boston Consulting Group. The problem is expected to get worse. By 2030, food waste will increase to 2.1 billion tons, worth around $1.5 trillion, the group estimated.
As EcoWatch mentioned previously, confronting the problem is important both for fighting world hunger and climate change, especially as food waste makes up 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Resources Institute. And around 870 million people around the world are malnourished.
Austin's move is part of a larger sustainability movement among progressive cities. For instance, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver and New York have enacted various composting mandates in recent years. A growing number of municipalities, states and nations around the world have also legislated against disposable plastics such as grocery bags and drinking straws.
- As the City Strives for Zero Waste, Where Does Food Fit In? Bringing ... ›
- Wasted! The Story of Food Waste (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes ›
- Surprising Ways to Solve Food Waste ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."