Plastic Bottle Made From Plants Degrades in Just One Year
While some are trying to clean up the plastic pollution in the oceans, and others are removing it from beaches, one company is looking to end the need for plastic bottles that last hundreds of years and are rarely recycled. A Dutch company is looking to fight the plastic crisis with a plant-based alternative that degrades in one year, as The Guardian reported.
Avantium, a biochemical company in the Netherlands, is fundraising for a new project that will turn sustainably grown crops into a plant-based plastic. The technology has gained the attention of beer maker Carlsberg, beverage giant Coca-Cola and Danone. All three companies have signaled that they plant to use Avantium's technology in the future, according to Ubergizmo.
Carlsberg, for example, hopes to sell its pilsner in a cardboard bottle lined with an inner layer of plant plastic, according to The Guardian. Avantium posted a picture of Carlsberg's paper bottle on Instagram.
"It is a milestone in the development of high-value applications such as specialty bottles," said Marcel Lubben, Avantium's Managing Director, as LADbible reported. "The Paper Bottle shows how we, together with partners, can use innovation to help shape packaging for a circular and sustainable future."
The move towards a plant-based plastic from a sustainable source would mark a major step forward for Coca-Cola, which has consistently ranked as the world's worst plastic polluter, according to the advocacy-group Break Free From Plastic, as EcoWatch reported.
The millions of plastic products in the world are almost entirely derived from oils, which offer a complex arrangement of atoms that can be manipulated and rearranged to make plastics of varying strength, rigidity and opacity. They are cheap to produce, too, meaning it is often much more expensive to recycle them than it is to produce new ones. Of course, all that plastic made from oils takes hundreds of years to decompose, as CleanTechnica reported.
Beverage makers have been loath to leave behind profits, even if it means investing in a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-derived plastic. That may change with Avantium's new technology. The company says it "has found ways to start with plant sugars and transform them into a plastic capable of standing up to carbonated beverages like soda and beer but which will also break down in as little as a year in a composter or three years if left exposed to the elements," as CleanTechnica reported.
"This plastic has very attractive sustainability credentials because it uses no fossil fuels, and can be recycled – but would also degrade in nature much faster than normal plastics do," said Tom van Aken, Avantium's chief executive, to The Guardian.
Van Aken told The Guardian that he hopes to have a major investment in the bioplastics plant by the end of 2020. The project, which has continued and remains on track despite the coronavirus lockdown, will reveal partnerships with other food and drink companies later in the summer. The hope is to have the product on store shelves by 2023.
The initial project will make about 5,000 tons of plastic every year using sugars from corn, wheat or beets. It will assess how customers respond to the new bottles. Then, Avantium expects its production and scale to grow considerably as demand for the sustainable plastics increases, according to The Guardian.
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By Priyanka Jaisinghani
COVID-19, "stay-at-home" orders and enforced physical distancing has made us more dependent on digital when it comes to connection and communication at both a local and global level.
Civic Engagement Redefined<p>Long-lasting impact requires changes from the bottom up. Civic engagement means working to make a difference in our communities to promote quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.</p><p>We're seeing how, across multiple issues, young people are becoming active participants in driving dialogues with policy-makers, on a state and federal level. In addition, they are empowering the citizens of the communities in which they reside, taking an active role in shaping the future we hold.</p>
1. Racial Justice<p>Across the U.S., we saw the rise of the racial justice movement through Black Lives Matter. Hundreds of protestors came to the streets, from New York to Nevada, acknowledging, supporting and condemning the long-existing inequalities faced by the black community. We saw this movement propel beyond the streets, throughout social media, and to the polling stations.</p><p>Young activists were demanding not only awareness but also change. In this digital space, young people started sharing resources and information for others to educate themselves about the pressing need for racial justice. They were able to mobilize support to inform, educate and shape citizen action. They shared links to petitions, offered advice for safe protesting practices, created templates for emailing authorities, listed bail funds and black-owned restaurants and businesses in need of support. They used social media to support the various needs of this movement – and continue to do so.</p>
2. Climate Change<p>The youth-led climate change has become dominant online. Every Friday, young people lead a digital #ClimateStrike to raise awareness of important legislative initiatives and create tangible ways for individuals to get involved in the fight against climate change.</p><p>As a leading example, to commemorate this year's Earth Day, youth held a 72-hour, live-streamed "digital march" with protests, speeches, and more. This "digital march" was attended by more than 200,000 viewers. Young people are pivoting their strategies and applying them to a digital space. We know when the streets are safe again, they will continue their activism by marching to raise awareness both on the streets and digitally.</p>
3. Voting Rights<p>Voting is another pertinent issue coming to the fore. In <a href="https://news.gallup.com/poll/315761/lack-voting-information-hamper-youth-turnout.aspx" target="_blank">a Gallup poll</a>, four out of five (79%) young people say "the coronavirus pandemic has helped them realize how much political leaders' decisions impact their lives"; three in five say "they are part of a movement that will vote to express its views."</p><p>As a result of these changing attitudes, young people are having conversations with their families and finding ways to get politically active. They're donating funds to campaigns, volunteering their time to raise awareness around voting and creating social campaigns to try to influence other people to vote and register to vote.</p>
How social media is used in the U.S. for political issues. Statista<p>It's inspiring to see young people around the world deeply engaged in the digital space and continuing their activism. They have played a critical role in calling for change and transformation in society. From climate to health to politics, young people are the most affected. The only way to make progress is to build back better. They're building upon existing issues and movements, creating new alliances and driving conversations and action. This generation is also building upon the same values and ideas of those before them to change the status quo and find ways to enact change for a better future.</p>
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By Mike Gaworecki
Today we take a look at efforts to protect the Cross River gorilla, one of the world's rarest great ape subspecies, which include a radio program broadcast to nearly 4 million Nigerians that is helping to address the attitudes and knowledge gaps that lead to the human behaviors threatening the gorillas' survival.
Listen here:<iframe style="border: none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/16399115/height/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/3e5014/" height="90" width="100%" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>
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