Narragansett Bay Estuary Program
Narragansett Bay Estuary Program’s mission is to protect and preserve Narragansett Bay and its watershed through partnerships that conserve and restore natural resources, enhance water quality and promote community involvement.
National Audubon Society
The mission of the National Audubon Society is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.
National Climate Ethics Campaign
The campaign will assist organizations, sectors and communities nationwide to continually insist that when making decisions about energy use, emission reductions, or climate preparedness and adaptation our moral obligations must hold equal or greater weight to economic or national self-interest.
National Farmers Union
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.
National Parks Conservation Association
The mission of the Association is to protect and enhance America’s National Parks for present and future generations.
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources and rural communities.
National Wildlife Federation
National Wildlife Federation gives voice to the wildlife conservation values that are part of our country’s heritage.
Natural Lands Trust
Natural Lands Trust protects the forests, fields, wetlands and streams that are essential to the sustainability and quality of life in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
Natural Resources Council of Maine
Natural Resources Council of Maine is a nonprofit membership organization protecting, restoring and conserving Maine’s environment, now and for future generations.
Natural Resources Defense Council
Natural Resources Defense Council uses law, science and the support of 1.3 million members and online activists to protect the planet’s wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things.
Nature Canada mission is to protect and conserve wildlife and habitats in Canada by engaging people and advocating on behalf of nature.
The Nature Conservancy
The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
Nature Consortium is a grassroots, community-based organization whose mission is to connect people, arts and nature.
Neighbors for Clean Air
Neighbors for Clean Air is a Portland-wide coalition seeking to make public health—with special consideration for children’s health—a priority in Oregon’s air quality standards and programs for toxic emissions.
Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability
Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability provides businesses and professionals who are serious about profitable sustainability with the connections, skills, tools, programs and resources that are vital for success in the green economy.
Network for Oil & Gas Accountability and Protection
Network for Oil & Gas Accountability and Protection is organized to educate, empower and advocate for the citizens of Ohio who are facing threats to health, safety and property rights posed by oil and gas development.
Nevada Wilderness Project
The Nevada Wilderness Project is a catalyst for wildlife habitat conservation, wilderness preservation and smart development of renewable energy.
New Energy Economy
New Energy Economy strives to create economic opportunity in New Mexico with less carbon pollution and more clean energy.
New Generation Energy
New Generation Energy’s mission is to make America’s communities healthier and more sustainable through the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
New Hampshire Rivers Council
The New Hampshire Rivers Council is committed to the conservation and ecologically sound management of New Hampshire’s rivers, watersheds and related natural resources.
New Haven Bioregional Group
The New Haven Bioregional Group sponsors walks, films, canoe trips, potlucks and other events to help residents of the Quinnipiac Bioregion connect with their natural and built environment, and to build community and local resilience.
New Mexico Acequia Association
The mission of the New Mexico Acequia Association is to sustain our way of life, protect water as a community resource, and strengthen the agricultural traditions of our families and communities.
New Mexico Environmental Law Center
New Mexico Environmental Law Center is a nonprofit, public interest law firm that provides free and low-cost legal services on environmental matters throughout New Mexico.
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is a nonprofit, grassroots, environmental organization dedicated to the protection, restoration and continued enjoyment of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas.
New Orleans Food & Farm Network
New Orleans Food & Farm Network is a food justice organization that sees food security as a basic human right and our primary goal is to ensure that everyone can live with enough food, regardless of economic constraints or social inequalities.
New Urban Farmers
The New Urban Farmers is a nonprofit organization that has set out to preserve and restore our environment by creating sustainable agricultural systems in the city.
New Yorkers Against Fracking
New Yorkers Against Fracking is a coalition of diverse organizations that support a fracking ban.
No Frack Ohio
The No Frack Ohio Coalition is composed of member organizations and individuals who signed on to a Statewide Moratorium letter in the Spring of 2011. Since the original sign-on campaign, these groups and individuals have worked across Ohio on outreach to elected officials at all levels of government, landowner education and mobilizing members for activism.
Noquemanon Trail Network
The Network’s mission is to develop and maintain an interconnected, year round, non-motorized land and water trail network in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
North Cascades Conservation Council
The mission of the Council is to protect and preserve the North Cascades’ scenic, scientific, recreational, educational and wilderness values.
North Cascades Institute
The Institute’s mission is to conserve and restore Northwest environments through education.
North Sound Baykeeper
North Sound Baykeeper is charged with protecting and restoring the marine and nearshore habitats of the northern Puget Sound region.
North Union Farmers Market
North Union Farmers Market champions the local foods of Northeast Ohio and promotes their environmental, economic and health benefits by connecting certified producers with consumers through a network of markets.
The Northcoast Environmental Center
The Northcoast Environmental Center's mission is to promote understanding of the relations between people and the biosphere and to conserve, protect, and celebrate terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems of northern California and southern Oregon.
Northeast Ohio Food Web
The Northeast Ohio Food Web is the information clearing house and virtual think tank for the Northeast Ohio Local Food Assessment and Plan, which has assessed the state of Northeast Ohio’s food system with specific recommendations on how to significantly “re-localize” over coming years.
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
The mission of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group is to build a more sustainable, healthy and equitable food system for the Northeast region.
Northern Virginia Conservation Trust
Northern Virginia Conservation Trust preserves open space by acquiring land and conservation easements, providing stewardship of protected lands, and building public support for conservation.
Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides
Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides works to protect community and environmental health and inspire the use of ecologically sound solutions to reduce the use of pesticides.
Northwest Energy Coalition
The Coalition promotes development of renewable energy and energy conservation, consumer protection, low-income energy assistance, and fish and wildlife restoration on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is a nonprofit organization working to maximize energy efficiency to meet our future energy needs.
Nourishing the Planet
The Nourishing the Planet project assesses the state of agricultural innovations—from cropping methods to irrigation technology to agricultural policy—with an emphasis on sustainability, diversity, and ecosystem health, as well as productivity.
Nuclear Energy Information Service
Nuclear Energy Information Service is a nonprofit organization committed to ending nuclear power.
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Nuclear Information and Resource Service is the information and networking center for citizens and environmental organizations concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation, and sustainable energy issues.
Nukewatch is a Wisconsin-based environmental and peace action group, dedicated to the abolition of nuclear power, weapons and continued radioactive waste production.
Ocean Conservancy works to protect our ocean and improve our lives.
Oceana North America
Oceana seeks to make our oceans as rich, healthy and abundant as they once were.
International action against genetic biohazards
The Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect, preserve and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin.
Ohio Citizen Action
Ohio Citizen Action is 80,000 members who have joined together to prevent pollution. Since 1975, the nonprofit and nonpartisan organization has pioneered winning campaigns across Ohio to protect public health and the environment.
Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association
The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association is a grassroots coalition of farmers, backyard gardeners, consumers, retailers, educators, researchers and others who share a desire to build a healthy food system that brings prosperity to family farmers, helps preserve farmland, offers food security for all Ohioans and creates economic opportunities for our rural communities.
Ohio Environmental Council
The mission of the Ohio Environmental Council is to secure healthy air, land and water for all who call Ohio home.
Ohio Environmental Law Center
The Ohio Environmental Law Center supports environmental advocacy and legal action, provides citizens with valuable tools and guidance through the legal system, and educates tomorrow’s environmental law professionals.
Ohio Fracktion is a network of individuals interested in supporting community battles against fracking in Ohio.
Ohio Interfaith Power and Light
An affiliate of The Regeneration Project’s national Interfaith Power and Light campaign. Their mission is to voice a religious response to climate change and to promote energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. They focus on tangible results in religious communities — putting faith to action.
Ohio Stormwater Association
The Ohio Stormwater Association is a group of public and private citizens dedicated to advancing the management of stormwater and related natural resources through education, leadership, watershed-based coordination and technical assistance in Ohio.
Ohio Watershed Network
Ohio Watershed Network provides information to community members and natural resources professionals who want to protect the resources in their watershed. The website focuses on community-based watershed management
Oil Change International
Oil Change International campaigns to expose the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitate the coming transition towards clean energy.
Oklahomans for New Transportation Alternatives Coalition
Oklahomans for New Transportation Alternatives Coalition is a not‑for-profit public interest organization whose mission is to ensure Oklahoma’s rail transit future for the citizens of Oklahoma.
OMB Watch exists to increase government transparency and accountability; to ensure sound, equitable regulatory and budgetary processes and policies; and to protect and promote active citizen participation in our democracy.
Open Space Council – St. Louis Region
The Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region is a nonprofit organization committed to conserving, protecting and sustaining land and water resources throughout the area, and is dedicated to ensuring their responsible and ethical use.
Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives.
Oregon Environmental Council
The Oregon Environmental Council advances innovative, collaborative solutions to Oregon’s environmental challenges for today and future generations.
Oregon League of Conservation Voters
The Oregon League of Conservation Voters passes laws that protect our natural legacy, elects pro-environment candidates, and holds all of our elected officials accountable.
Oregon Wild works to protect and restore Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife and waters as an enduring legacy for all Oregonians.
Orenda Land Trust
Orenda Wildlife Land Trust is a private nonprofit land trust working to preserve and protect open space for wildlife habitat on Cape Cod and throughout Massachusetts.
Organic Consumers Association
The Organic Consumers Association is an online and grassroots nonprofit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice and sustainability.
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association
The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) develops, protects and promotes the organic seed trade and its growers, and assures that the organic community has access to excellent quality organic seed, free of contaminants and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture.
Ozaukee Washington Land Trust
The mission of the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust is to protect and preserve the natural areas, open spaces and rural character of Ozaukee and Washington Counties.
By Matthew J. Landry and Heather Eicher-Miller
When university presidents were surveyed in spring of 2020 about what they felt were the most pressing concerns of COVID-19, college students going hungry didn't rank very high.
Why It Matters<p>This is not just a matter of growling stomachs. This is a straight-up education and health issue.</p><p>When students don't really know if they'll be able to get enough to eat, it can lead to a series of problems that make it harder to stay in school. For instance, it can affect <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1359105318783028" target="_blank">academic performance</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6943-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">sleep quality</a>. It can also lead to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105318783028" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">poor mental and physical health</a> outcomes for college students.</p><p>Food insecurity can also result in disrupted eating patterns if there is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627945/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">not enough food or the variety</a> or <a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-6943-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">quality of what someone eats</a> is low.</p>
Campus Food Pantries<p>Previous strategies by <a href="https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/696254.pdf" target="_blank">colleges and universities</a> to fight hunger in their student bodies have varied widely. They include campus food pantries, emergency cash assistance and nutrition education through noncredit classes or workshopse.</p><p>These strategies were put to the test during the spring 2020 semester, when nearly <a href="https://hope4college.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Hopecenter_RealCollegeDuringthePandemic.pdf" target="_blank">three in five students</a> said they had trouble meeting their own basic needs during the pandemic.</p><p>College food pantries saw <a href="https://www.utrgv.edu/newsroom/2020/05/01-utrgv-student-food-pantry-seeing-recent-increase-in-demand-during-covid-19.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">big increases</a> in demand. Others said they <a href="https://www.theprospectordaily.com/2020/09/22/uteps-food-pantry-is-running-out-of-food/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">were getting less donated food</a>. This made it even harder to meet the rising food needs of students.</p><p>Campus food pantries largely rely on local or regional food banks, which have been dealing with <a href="https://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/2020/10/04/indiana-food-banks-call-more-food-stamps-meet-publics-need/3523683001/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">greater demand</a> than they are able to meet during the pandemic.</p><p>The many students who are attending college remotely will, of course, have less access to campus resources like food pantries.</p>
Federal Help<p>Other potential ways to get more food are government programs like the <a href="https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/recipient/eligibility" target="_blank">Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program</a>, known as SNAP. Yet the majority of able-bodied students are not eligible. Long-standing restrictions, like the <a href="https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/students" target="_blank">college SNAP rule</a>, prevent full-time students from receiving these benefits.</p><p>Such regulatory hurdles were created under the assumption that most students can rely on their parents to get enough to eat. However, college students have vastly different levels of financial support. Some students can rely on their parents for everything and others cannot rely on their parents for anything.</p><p>Decreased reliance on parental financial support is <a href="https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jsfa/vol47/iss3/5/" target="_blank">especially common</a> for first-generation students and students of color, who now make up <a href="https://1xfsu31b52d33idlp13twtos-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Race-and-Ethnicity-in-Higher-Education.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">45% of enrolled college students</a>.</p><p>Under normal circumstances, many college students might rely on part-time jobs to pay for their food.</p>
Short-Term Solutions<p>Universities and colleges can make it a priority to ensure students are aware of all available campus resources and services. They can also potentially help students apply for federal assistance benefits.</p><p>Campus food pantries are not a fully effective and efficacious solution for the scale of college food insecurity, but they can be a good interim solution to increase access to food for students.</p><p>Campuses without food pantries can start one, making use of resources the <a href="https://cufba.org/resources/" target="_blank">College and University Food Bank Alliance</a> provides. Schools with food pantries can try to get them to <a href="https://www.swipehunger.org/5campuspantry/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reach more students</a>.</p><p>Universities and colleges can also lean on one another for support. The <a href="http://wp.auburn.edu/endchildhungeral/alabama-campus-coalition-for-basic-needs/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Alabama Campus Coalition for Basic Needs</a> is a great example of this. It brings together 10 universities across the state of Alabama collectively working to address student food insecurity.</p>
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Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.
Is More CBD Really Better?<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU2ODQyNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMzYxMDMzN30.6B08i5QYW_Iq5bUf3qtm8oK8o6FKsRUZ74gdakgJ_TY/img.jpg?width=980" id="0ef5b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bac86abf3ce246742b18b0dc4052f4dd" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Plain Naturals offers a 5000mg CBD oil tincture in 30ml bottle for $99.99.<p>Consumers have gotten used to paying high prices for low amounts of cannabidiol. Plain Naturals is beginning to change that. There are myriad <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">studies</a> showing that low doses of CBD (less than 50mg per day) are ineffective for many users. And many clinical <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">studies</a> have shown effective dosages of 100 - 800mg per day to be effective for many conditions ranging from <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">anxiety and depression to Parkinson's disease and cancer</a>. And several <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">studies</a> published by the National Institutes of Health have shown up to 1500mg per day to be consistently "well-tolerated" by adults. </p><p>Now it is always recommended to begin with a lower dosage and increase until an effective dose has been reached. But the advantage of starting with a higher potency CBD oil is that it is much easier to use less to start with and increase over time than to buy very low dose CBD oil and ultimately end up buying more and more stronger products. To start at 50mg per dose of a 5000mg oil, you would simply use ⅓ dropper or about 10-12 drops.</p>
The Truth About CBD Product Potency<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU2ODMyNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDc2NTg1N30.OAm3iOTO_pKZLXi7KdJ7n0DGOFMdOmIYuG4ArGooFC4/img.jpg?width=980" id="d657c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ee016a81b29caa699b9185b64ce345d6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
CBD gummies from Plain Naturals are 100% vegan and sugar free.<p>Unlike most CBD brands which can be much smoke and mirrors when it comes to stating their product quality, potency and consistency, PlainNaturals.com has <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/product-information" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">lab tests</a> conducted by FDA/DEA approved laboratories and publishes their product lab test <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/product-information" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">reports</a> right on their website so customers know the quality of the product they are buying. </p><p>In a recent <a href="https://crnusa.org/sites/default/files/RAC%2520attachments/CBD/CBD%2520RTC%2520Final.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">report</a> published by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA tested 147 cbd oils and cbd products. They found that of the 102 products that indicated a specific amount of CBD, 18 products (18%) contained less than 80% of the amount of CBD indicated; 46 products (45%) contained within 20% of the amount of CBD indicated; 38 products (37%) contained more than 120% of the amount of CBD indicated and of those 147 products, the FDA also found nearly half contained levels of THC above the limit of 3.1 mg per serving (or .3%). </p><p>So there's a 70% chance that a CBD consumer is not getting what they pay for and a 50% chance that the product they are buying may not be legal.</p><p>When you buy CBD oil online from <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">PlainNaturals.com</a>, you also get an unconditional money back guarantee and the manufacturer's warranty of the product quality and potency.</p>
CBD and Hemp Creams offer high-benefit, low-cost options to consumers.<p>Plain Naturals has taken the uncertainty out of the online CBD store process. By offering detailed laboratory reports on all their products and offering a money back guarantee, PlainNaturals.com online CBD store puts control back in the hands of the consumer when it comes to making their decision about where to buy CBD online.</p><p>In all 50 states and at the federal level it is 100% legal to <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/cbd-oils" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">buy CBD oil online</a> from an online CBD store provided that the product meets the standards set forth in federal regulations, containing not more than 0.3% THC and manufactured from industrial hemp.</p><p><a href="https://plainnaturals.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">PlainNaturals.com</a> offers CBD (Cannabidiol) products like <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/cbd-oils" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">CBD Oils</a>, <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/cbd-gummies--edibles" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">CBD gummies and edibles</a>, <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/cbd-isolate-powder" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">CBD isolate powder</a>, wholesale CBD, <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/cbd--hemp-creams--lotions" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">CBD and hemp cream</a> and <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/essential-oils--aromatherapy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">essential oils</a>. <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">PlainNaturals.com</a> continues to be a top supplier of wholesale CBD products to retailers and has also opened a retailer online portal for stores and CBD dealers to buy CBD in bulk.</p><p>EcoWatch readers can take advantage of a special offer from <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">PlainNaturals.com</a> and save an additional 25% off any purchase of $99 or more through 10/31/20 with coupon code <strong>ecowatch25</strong>.</p>
By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie
Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?
Triangle of Mistruths<p>The myth created around plastic recycling has been one of simplicity. We look for the familiar triangle arrows, then pop the waste in the recycling bin so it can be reused.</p><p>But the true purpose of those triangles has been misunderstood by the general public ever since their invention in the 1980s.</p><p>These triangles were actually created by the plastics industry and, according to a report provided to them in July 1993, <a href="https://www.npr.org/transcripts/912150085" target="_blank">were creating "unrealistic expectations"</a> about what could be recycled. But they decided to keep using the codes.</p><p>Which is why many people still believe that these triangular symbols (also known as a <a href="https://sustainablepackaging.org/101-resin-identification-codes/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">resin identifier code</a> or RIC) means something is recyclable.</p><p>But according to the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) – which controls the RIC system – the numbered triangles "<a href="https://www.astm.org/Standards/D7611.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">are not recycle codes</a>." In fact, they weren't created for the general public at all. They were made for the post-consumer plastic industry.</p><p>In other words, the symbols make it easier to sort the different types of plastics, some of which cannot be recycled – <a href="https://www.ecobin.com.au/understand-recycling-codes/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">depending on the recycling facility</a>.</p><p>"Unfortunately, just placing your plastic into the recycling bin doesn't mean it will get recycled," says Lara Camilla Pinho. She is an architect and lecturer at the UWA School of Design who is researching novel uses of plastic waste.</p><p>"The recycling system is complicated and often dictated by market demand. Not all plastic is recyclable. We cannot recycle plastic bags or straws for example."</p>
Behind the Scenes<p>So, what makes recycling plastics so difficult?</p><p>"Essentially, there are two types of plastics – thermoplastics and thermosets. While thermoplastics can be re-melted and re-molded, thermosets contain cross-linked polymers that cannot be separated meaning they cannot be recycled," says Lara.</p><p>"Even thermoplastics have a limit to the amount of times we can recycle them, as each time they are recycled they downgrade in quality."</p><p>Even when plastics are recyclable, it is <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/13/war-on-plastic-waste-faces-setback-as-cost-of-recycled-material-soars" target="_blank">often more costly</a> than simply making new plastics.</p>
Sugar, Seaweed and Mushrooms<p>If the conventional recycling system isn't working, what else can we do with all the plastic we've created?</p><p>Lara is looking for ways to add value to recycled plastics such as using it in the design and development of architectural products. She hopes to use these architectural products to help underserved communities that are disproportionately affected by plastic waste.</p><p>In addition to recycling, we also need to find ways to reduce our use of virgin petroleum-based plastics.</p><p>Bioplastic is one such product that has been getting a lot of hype over the last few years. And although they're better than petroleum-based plastics, bioplastics also come with their own <a href="https://phys.org/news/2017-12-truth-bioplastics.html" target="_blank">set of challenges</a>.</p><p>"There are already a lot of bio-based alternatives to plastic, such as bagasse – a byproduct of sugar cane processing," says Lara.</p><p><a href="https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-mycelium-revolution-is-upon-us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mycelium</a>, a type of fungi we most often associate with mushrooms, are also providing an interesting plastic alternative.</p><p>"In the field of architecture, mycelium is starting to be used as an alternative to plastic insulation, but also as compostable packaging and bricks," says Lara.</p><p>"The bricks take around five days to make and are strong, durable, water resistant and compostable at the end of their use."</p><p><a href="https://www.arup.com/news-and-events/hyfi-reinvents-the-brick" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hy-Fi Tower</a>, created by <a href="http://www.thelivingnewyork.com/living_about.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Living</a>, is an example of a building made from these bricks.</p><p>And finally, there's seaweed.</p><p>"[Seaweed is] cheap and can reproduce itself quickly without fertilizers. In architecture, there is use for seaweed as an alternative to plastic insulation but also as cladding," says Lara.</p>
More Money, More Problems<p>While all these alternatives are great, the main cause of our plastic dilemma is not scientific or technological, but economic.</p><p>As long as it remains <a href="https://engineering.mit.edu/engage/ask-an-engineer/why-is-it-cheaper-to-make-new-plastic-bottles-than-to-recycle-old-ones/" target="_blank">cheaper to create new plastics</a> from fossil fuels rather than from bioplastics or from recycling, we're going to be stuck with plastic garbage islands floating in our oceans.</p><p>The true cost to our health and our environment has yet to be included in the equation. But once it is, maybe that is when the real shift will happen.</p>
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