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The Breakdown: August 20th

A selection of notable publications on sustainability, climate change, organics recycling, and soil nutrition brought to you by Full Circle Environmental. As innovators in organics recycling, we want to help our friends and partners stay informed about the topics that motivate us every day. 

See the complicated landscape of plastic bans in the U.S. 

A battle over plastic—a material so prolific the UN calls the 90 percent of it that ends up as trash a pollution crisis—is under way in Florida.

Coral Gables, a small city of 51,000 people just south of Miami, wants to ban polystyrene from restaurants and grocery stores. The Florida Retail Federation does not, and an appeals court ruling delivered yesterday says they can keep the plastic product, in part thanks to a 2016 state rule that prevents cities from regulating how polystyrene is used.

The court battle demonstrates how cities and states are increasingly clashing over whether it’s legal to ban plastic.
 

California, New York, and hundreds of municipalities in the U.S. ban or fine the use of plastic in some way. Seventeen other states, however, say it’s illegal to ban plastic items, effectively placing a ban on a ban. This kind of legal maneuvering is booming. Four states created preemptions this year alone with two only narrowly failing in South Carolina and Alabama.


Often, efforts to preempt plastic bans are aided by the plastics industry, which wants to ensure its products remain widely used.

View map and continue reading on National Geographic

Plastic particles falling out of sky with snow in Arctic

Even in the Arctic, microscopic particles of plastic are falling out of the sky with snow, a study has found.

The scientists said they were shocked by the sheer number of particles they found: more than 10,000 of them per litre in the Arctic.

It means that even there, people are likely to be breathing in microplastics from the air - though the health implications remain unclear.

Continue reading on BBC.

How Portugal Became the Epicenter of Sustainability for the Wine Industry

While climate change is affecting every industry across the globe, the agricultural sector—wine in particular—is reeling from it. Wine growers constantly face new adversaries in the vineyard—such as hailstorms, heat waves, and disease pressure—that are unpredictable and destructive. Numerous regions are examining how they can mitigate these issues, but one country in particular is emerging as the leader of sustainability: Portugal.

In 2018, Porto-based winemaker Taylor Fladgate hosted the inaugural Climate Change Leadership Summit. With a keynote speech given by former President Barack Obama, this high-profile event illustrated the seriousness of the issue.

“I didn’t want to sponsor yet another conference telling people what the problem was,” says Adrian Bridge, CEO of The Fladgate Partnership. “What we really needed to do now is to focus on solutions.”

From this initial conference, and the subsequent event in 2019 that featured Al Gore as a headline speaker, the Porto Protocol was born. At its core, the Protocol is a pact that a winery makes with itself to improve its methodology and commit to making changes in its practices in order to mitigate climate change. On a broader scale, it connects the wine industry through an online think tank, where information and case studies can be shared on a global scale. “I wanted to have something that was a legacy and would become this platform where ideas and solutions could be essentially exchanged,” Bridge says.

Continue reading on Fortune

Veolia: Ban peat-based compost to help hit 'net zero'

The UK's horticultural industry must stop using peat in compost products if the country is to meet its 2050 net zero emissions goals, one of the country's largest resource management firms has declared.

Late last week Veolia warned 280,000 tonnes of UK peatland - a vital carbon sink - are being destroyed each year to fuel gardeners' demand for the nutrient-rich substance to use as a garden compost and fertiliser.

"Peatlands are currently being destroyed at breakneck speed in the UK," warned Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer at Veolia UK and Ireland. "At this rate a vital ecosystem along with its wildlife and broader environmental value will be lost. Peatlands are carbon sinks, no different to rainforests like the Amazon - and yet peat decimation is happening on British soil."

Continue reading on BusinessGreen

Kroger cut food waste 9% in 2018


Kroger reduced food waste by 9% last year through its Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative, according to a press release. The company also increased its landfill diversion rate for supermarket food waste by 13% and surpassed its goal of achieving 40% electric savings by 2020.

The company reduced the amount of plastic resin in its private label line by 9.1 million pounds in 2018, with the goal of reducing 10 million pounds by 2020.

Read more on Waste Dive.

Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change

Iceland has marked its first-ever loss of a glacier to climate change as scientists warn that hundreds of other ice sheets on the subarctic island risk the same fate.

As the world recently marked the warmest July ever on record, a bronze plaque was mounted on a bare rock in a ceremony on the barren terrain once covered by the Okjokull glacier in western Iceland.

Around 100 people walked up the mountain for the ceremony, including Iceland’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, former UN human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, and local reseachers and colleagues from the United States from who pioneered the commemoration project.

 

“I hope this ceremony will be an inspiration not only to us here in Iceland but also for the rest of the world, because what we are seeing here is just one face of the climate crisis,” Jakobsdottir said.

The plaque bears the inscription “A letter to the future”, and is intended to raise awareness about the decline of glaciers and the effects of climate change.

“In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it,” the plaque reads.

Continue reading on The Guardian.
About Full Circle Environmental, LLC:
At Full Circle, we're developing the future of composting. Our microbial inoculant powers an anaerobic fermentation process that's faster than traditional composting with simpler input management and greater nutrient retention in the resulting fertilizer. We see food waste as both a global challenge and massive opportunity and believe now is the time for action. 
Learn more at fullcircle.green
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