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Sunday, February 16, 2020

from axios
Unable to absorb new costs, cities are killing recycling programs just as public concerns about climate change ratchet up, Kim Hart and Erica Pandey report.
  • China, the biggest buyer of U.S. recycled materials, has closed its doors. Before the ban, the U.S. was exporting around 70% of its waste to China.
  • Changing consumer behavior has made the trash-sorting process more complex and expensive.
What we're seeing: Axios paid a visit to a major recycling center in exurban D.C.
The plant — operated by Republic Services in Manassas, Va., in the heart of Prince William County — runs up to 22 hours a day to process the 550 tons of paper, plastic, aluminum and glass that are delivered daily.
  • Despite the heavy machinery and increased automation, the process is still extremely dependent on humans.
  • On each shift, 28 "sorters" sift through the material as it rolls down a series of fast-moving conveyer belts. The workers spot and pull out non-recyclable trash from the stream so fast that they look like blackjack dealers.
  • People throw surprising things — Christmas trees, old carpet, shoes, diapers and even cinder blocks — into their recycling bins.
Many cities are struggling to make recycling work.
  • About 60 cities have canceled their programs, according to Waste Dive.
  • Others have stopped accepting certain items. Alexandria, Va., and Katy, Tex., no longer collect glass. Baltimore County recently admitted it hasn't recycled the glass it collected for the past 7 years.
  • Costs are skyrocketing: Omaha, Neb., received a single bid for recycling services for $4 million, twice the city's budget.
What's needed: Cities have to renegotiate their recycling contracts, many of which are 30 years old, to find a viable business model.
  • That includes charging consumers for curbside pickup.
What's next: Researchers are developing robots to more accurately and efficiently complete tedious, dangerous recycling tasks like sorting.
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Sunday, January 19, 2020



BlackRock CEO Larry Fink's full interview on shifting strategy to focus on sustainability 

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2020/01/14/blackrock-ceo-larry-fink-investment-strategy-shift-sustainability.html

An excellent interview with Larry Fink. Some are linking BlackRock's shift towards sustainability with Tesla's skyrocketing stock price - some big actors with news of BlackRock's adjusted motivations may be gobbling up Tesla shares in anticipation of some huge upcoming investment by the firm.
There's a shorter video with excerpts from the interview and some chatter from the silly talking heads at CNBC, here:
I found the older CNBC commentator's behavior shocking. He wants "adults to stay in charge as long as they possibly can"... this in response to the manager of a 7 trillion dollar fund shifting his outlook to favor environmentally-sustainable businesses. The commentator pejoratively groups anyone who takes the climate crisis seriously with millennial investors. This is the kind of stupid old money shorting disruptive innovators like Tesla.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

2020 good news week 3


BlackRock, an investment fund that manages nearly $7 trillion, will "reshape" its strategy toward investments that support environmental sustainability, according to a letter to investors from its founder and Chief Executive Larry Fink, as The New York Times reported.




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Sunday, December 29, 2019

reviewing common sense green contributions from 2010s

april 2016 letter to the economist
* You rightly point out that there remains a substantial amount of work to do to make sustainability the new business norm. Disruptive innovations and standard business concerns to control risk and cost are breaking new ground and transforming business models. They are challenging the status quo of established industries—from fossil fuels to fashion. Given growing environmental and security threats, the private sector needs to accelerate inclusive growth and drive sustainability at far greater speed and scale. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a framework for business to do just that.

A major challenge is the trust deficit in society with regard to business, especially large multinationals and financial institutions. Recent political developments in Europe and America are widely seen as rebukes to economic elites and dramatic evidence of the dire lack of trust. The SDGs, therefore, have a second purpose: to serve as a roadmap for business to create the social license it needs to operate and thrive.

By pursuing the SDGs through sustainable and inclusive new business models, the private sector can rebuild bridges. The result could be that sustainability loses its “faddish” reputation entirely, and instead, becomes an enduring business must-have.

MARK MALLOCH-BROWN
Chair
Business & Sustainable Development Commission
London