From the Web: Breakthroughs in EPS, PE, PP Recycling

Only 2 percent of the 78 million tons of plastic used each year for packaging is actually recycled. The remaining 98 percent finds its way into landfills, incineration plants and the environment. New innovations and initiatives from across the U.S. and Canada, however, are offering new solutions to tackle the ever-growing plastics problem.

Part of the problem lies within product composition: Currently, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) — which comprise the majority of the world’s plastics — cannot be repurposed together. But Geoffrey Coates, professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Tisch University, and a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota may have found a solution.

Learn more (via Sustainable Brands) >>

From the Web: Startup Lets Small Businesses Buy Wind And Solar Power

When Google decided to shift to 100% renewable energy, it worked directly with wind and solar farms to sign deals. A new U.K.-based startup called Squeaky lets small businesses easily do the same thing at a smaller scale—business owners can choose a wind farm to support, and then start buying renewable electricity at the same price they were paying for energy from fossil fuels.

The rapid growth of independent renewable generators, driven by the falling cost of wind and solar, makes a platform like Squeaky possible.

Learn more (via Fast Company) >>

From the Web: UK carbon emissions at lowest level since the 19th century

The assessment suggests carbon emissions in 2016 were about 381m tonnes, putting the UK’s carbon pollution at its lowest level – apart from during coal mining disputes in the 1920s – since 1894.

Carbon emissions in 2016 are about 36% below the reference year of 1990, against which legal targets to cut climate pollution are measured.

Learn more (via The Guardian) >>

From the Web: Will Patagonia and North Face Save the World?

North Face and Patagonia are both wrestling with a consequential paradox, one that is central to contemporary consumerism: we want to feel morally good about the things we buy. And both companies have been phenomenally successful because they have crafted an image that is about more than just being ethical and environmentally friendly, but about nature, adventure, exploration – ideas more grandiose than simply selling you a jacket, taking your money and trying not to harm the earth too much along the way. But the paradox is that by presenting themselves this way, they are selling a lot more jackets. In other words, both companies are selling stuff in part by looking like they’re not trying too hard to sell stuff, which helps them sell more stuff – and fills the world with more and more stuff.

Learn more (via The Guardian) >>

 

From the Web: US Solar Grows 95% In 2016

Boom.

The latest US Solar Market Insight report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) was published today, revealing that 2016 blew all expectations away. 2015 itself had been a record-breaking year, with the US solar market installing 7.5 gigawatts (GW) of new solar capacity. But 2016 almost doubled that total, growing 95% in one year to install a total of 14,625 megawatts (MW), and becoming the leading source of new electric generating capacity installed through the year, with 39% of new capacity across all fields.

Learn more (via Clean Technical) >>

From the Web: Digital Marketplace Turns Rooftop Solar Into A Virtual Power Plant


When temperatures surged well over 100 degrees in Australia during a heat wave in February, the electric grid couldn’t handle the demand from air conditioners, and 90,000 people lost power. Normally, the government would fire up a backup gas power plant to meet surges in demand. But instead, new software could let rooftop solar power do the same thing.

The Decentralized Energy Exchange, or deX, is a new digital marketplace that links homeowners or businesses with solar panels and batteries to the grid, letting them trade power with neighbors or with utilities. At times of peak demand, someone with stored solar power can make extra money.

Learn more (via Fast Company) >>

The “SEMBAllers”: Winter 2017 CoRec B-League Broomball Legends

This post was written by Ted Carrick, SEMBA ’17

Broomball is a game of grace and athleticism removed. Remaining are only uncoordinated attempts to slap a mini soccer ball into a hockey net with a small plastic “broom,” on ice, in sneakers!

Some SEMBA students and other UVM undergrads formed a squad with the intention of enjoying a weekly moment of respite from their studies, a fun way to get some exercise, and have a few laughs. But the team did more than that. They broomed their way through the regular season 2-0-1!  With a no-loss regular season, the team’s confidence was high heading into the playoffs. The team had their eyes set on the prize: t-shirts branded with “SEMBAllers, 2017 Winter CoRec B-League Broomball Champions” across the chest.

Captain Brett Spusta, SEMBA ’17, sent out this inspirational email the day before their first playoff match:

“Hey team!

Big week! Playoff time! First game is tomorrow at 10pm, I know it is late, but we need to bring our A game. We are playing the Ball Sweepers, who we tied in the regular season. In play-offs, there are no ties; we will run some shoot out drills for warm up. Because it is so late, we have some time to run the tapes and do some strategy planning over a refreshing beverage before.

We need to carry big-mo with us from last week’s win. We are now in single elimination territory, if we lose we are done, if we win we play next Monday (2/27) at 9:15.   

“I know we have a test tomorrow, but broomball should be a priority.”

Remember: the champion team gets an intramural champion t-shirt! It is a coveted prize. I know we have a test tomorrow, but broomball should be a priority. LETS GET THE SHIRT! GET FIRED UP! We have come a long way; I am not ready to end our run now!

Stay hydrated, stay loose, and visualize yourself on the ice. Visualize yourself scoring the game winning shot, the high fives, the SEMBA pride. Wow: what a picture, what a story!  

 -Coach Brett

 P.S. Our name is officially SEMBAllers.”

What do the 2017 Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots, the 2004 World Series Boston Red Sox, and the 2017 SEMBAllers CoRec B-League broomball team have in common? Heart. Heart and grit. No, they were not all supreme champions of their sport, the SEMBAllers having lost in the first round of the playoffs to what proved to be insurmountable opposition. But the team nevertheless reveled in the joy of good natured competition, laughs, and friendship. They never gave up, and when it was over they high fived their opponents and congratulated each other on a game well played.

Hero’s get remembered, but legends never die: 2017 SEMBALLers CoRec B-League broomball team.

 

SEMBA, Women Leaders Gather to Work for Change

This post was written by Karen Barnett, SEMBA ‘17

To enact change, you need to know the actual problem. This statement is far from revolutionary, and perhaps it even sounds a bit boring. Yet not every organization dives deep to fully understand the issues it aims to address. Change the Story VT, however, is not one to fly past the diagnosing stage. Instead, the organization knows that data drives effective goals, without which meaningful change is impossible.

Tiffany Bluemle, Director of Change the Story VT, shared her inspiration last Thursday night at a gathering with SEMBA women and the Vermont Chapter of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), an organization that connects women leaders from all different fields to build better leadership for the future.

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