China bans Plastic waste imports
What does this means for Portland recycling?
exercpt from NPR
Like many Portland residents, Satish and Arlene Palshikar are serious recyclers. Their house is coated with recycled bluish-white paint. They recycle their rainwater, compost their food waste and carefully separate the paper and plastic they toss out. But recently, after loading up their Prius and driving to a sorting facility, they got a shock.
"The fellow said we don't take plastic anymore," Satish says. "It should go in the trash."
The facility had been shipping its plastic to China, but suddenly that was no longer possible.
"It just keeps coming and coming and coming," says Rogue employee Laura Leebrick. In the warehouse, she is dwarfed by stacks of orphaned recycling bales. Outside, employee parking spaces have been taken over by compressed cubes of sour cream containers, broken wine bottles and junk mail.
And what are recyclables with nowhere to go?
"Right now, by definition, that material out there is garbage," she says. "It has no value. There is no demand for it in the marketplace. It's garbage."
For now, Rogue Waste says it has no choice but to take all of this recycling to the local landfill. More than a dozen Oregon companies have asked regulators whether they can send recyclable materials to landfills, and that number may grow if they can't find someplace else that wants them.
At Pioneer Recycling in Portland, owner Steve Frank is shopping for new buyers outside of China.
"I've personally moved material to different countries in an effort to keep material flowing," he says.
Without Chinese buyers, Frank says U.S. recycling companies are playing a game of musical chairs, and the music stops when China's ban on waste imports fully kicks in.
"The rest of the world cannot make up that gap," he said. "That's where we have what I call a bit of chaos going on."
August is the first month of the "Beekeeping" Year
What you need to know -- info from an ORSBA beekeeper
August 12, 2017
Thanks to Mike Standing, a local ORSBA beekeeper, for sharing this info.
"As temps are on the increase, honey bees will swarm. Honey bees live in colonies. A swarm is a natural way that honey bees reproduce a new colony. When their current colony or home gets too small for them, they leave in a swarm to find a new place. What’s left in the old home is a brand new Queen and some younger workers to take care of the colony. The bees that left are now homeless! They are on the hunt for a new home. Sometimes they know where they are going. Most often they don’t quite know where their new home will be. While searching for their new home, sometimes they will land someplace to rest and regroup.
The kinds of places they might land could be a branch from a tree, an overhang from a house, a streetlight, the side of a building, basically anywhere! When the honey bees left their old home, they stocked up all the honey they could carry in their honey sacs. They need this honey to help them get started in their new home. When the Bees are in this state they are non-aggressive! To fear them is only natural. It can be scary to look up and see a cloud of bees flying overhead... but do not worry. This is not a frenzy of bees on the war path out to attack everyone and everything in its path!
The same goes if you are out for a walk and come upon a honey bee swarm that has landed someplace like a low hanging tree branch. Keep your distance; remember they are just resting until they can find a new home. Take all the pics you want, but don’t harass them! That’s a real good way to get stung!
So what do you do if you come across a swarm? If you are in a highly populated area, the best thing to do is contact a local beekeeper by City to come and rescue the swarm."
Natural Water Treatment in Western Washington County
Fernhill Wetlands engineered from the water channel to the ground, up
The restoration of Fernhill Wetlands has been a collaborative effort among the City of Forest Grove, Clean Water Services, and various engineering and design firms... built from the the water channel, up.
When Clean Water Services (CWS), an Oregon utility, wanted to restore three former sewage lagoons associated with the Forest Grove Wastewater Treatment facility, they turned to Biohabitats to lead the design team. Though the ponds were occasionally visited for wildlife viewing, they held untapped ecological and recreational potential. Biohabitats’ design transformed the lagoons into a rich, 90-acre mosaic of riparian wetlands that provide natural wastewater treatment while also enhancing ecological function and recreational and educational opportunities along the Tualatin River floodplain.
The restoration first involved draining the lagoons, drying more than 200,000 cubic yards of soil, and moving the soil to create precise contours and depths. Control structures were strategically placed to encourage the growth and establishment of 750,000 native wetland plants and 3.5 billion seeds that were planted for water quality and habitat. 180 logs and snags were anchored into place to provide wildlife habitat.
The diverse habitats created by the restoration include open water, mudflat, emergent marsh, scrub-shrub, and upland areas that support wildlife. The enhanced habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds, has helped make the wetlands an important stopover site in the Pacific Flyway. Birds and wildlife have taken to the site, and human visitors are flocking to enjoy trail improvements, new outdoor classroom areas and views of the emerging wetlands.
In terms of water quality, the wetlands reduce the temperature of the treated wastewater flowing into the Tualatin River, and serve to regenerate the complex systems of life and nutrients that exist in healthy waters. The treatment facility will treat 5-18 million gallons per day throughout the year. The project accommodates diurnal and seasonal variation in wetland system giving flexibility to provide important ecosystem functions. Wetland hydraulic control structures provide the CWS with the ability to manipulate water levels in the wetland cells to more closely mimic typical seasonal variations.
By creating a wetland system that provides benefits in water quality, wildlife habitat, recreation, and education, CWS and Biohabitats are making a long-term investment in the health and resilience of the Tualatin River.
This city is being designed to scrub the air of pollution
Liuzhou Forest City
China's approach to reversing climate change is firm and innovative.
Covering an area of approximately 175 hectares along the Liuzhou River, Forest City will have offices, houses, hotels, hospitals, and schools that will be entirely covered by a total of 40,000 trees and close to a million plants, including over 100 species. It will be connected to the main city of Liuzhou by a rail line with electrical train cars.
This will also be the first urban settlement in China that will be able to "generate its own renewable energy, increase biodiversity, and effectively reduce urban air pollution—which is a major challenge for present-day China."
Barberry and Ticks
You might not want this deceptively attractive plant in your yard if you have dogs or cats.
A study by University of Connecticut shows that areas with the presence of Berberis thunbergii are more likely to have Lyme disease-carrying ticks:
Williams recites the numbers. ”When we measure the presence of ticks carrying the Lyme spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi) we find 120 infected ticks where Barberry is not contained, 40 ticks per acre where Barberry is contained, and only 10 infected ticks where there is no Barberry.”
Climate change is real.
Economical tax savings from ecological home improvements
Use Energy Saver's reference list below to see if you are eligible for qualifying credits when filing IRS Tax Form 5695 with your taxes. Bonus points for having your receipts and manufacturer's certification statement on hand! Home Efficiency Improvements
First-time claimers of the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit can get as much as $500 back for qualifying installations in 2016. Follow the links below to review specific requirements for each product. Remember that to claim the credit, all products must have been placed in service by December 31, 2016.
Building Envelope Improvements
Heating, Cooling and Water-Heating Equipment
Home Renewable Energy Systems
Thanks to the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, you can get a tax credit of 30 percent for the cost of adding these renewable energy technologies to your house:
Material can turn sunlight, heat and movement Into electricity -- all at once
Extracting energy from multiple sources could help power wearable technology.
A perovskite solid-solution that exhibits tunable bandgaps in the visible light energy range is showing promising material for light absorption and conversion applications,(solar energy harvesting and light sensing).
Such a common ABO3–type perovskite structure, most widely used for ferroelectrics and piezoelectrics, enables the same solid-solution material to be used for the simultaneous harvesting or sensing of solar, kinetic, and thermal energies.
These results are considered to be a significant improvement compared to those of other compositions which could be used for the same applications. The results pave the way for the development of hybrid energy harvesters/sensors, which can convert multiple energy sources into electrical energy simultaneously in the same material.