It’s low cost, easy to do and fun to create new items from your at-home plastics recycling center. Is it pretty? Uh, no. Is it kind of terrific? Uh, yup.

Created by Dave Hakkens, “Precious Plastic” has four machines with different functions. You can build them yourself – there are tutorials – and they’re easy to put together.

Amaze your family, friends and neighbors with new items made from your own plastic water, detergent, shampoo bottles and more.

All right, maybe they won’t be amazed, but you get five stars for making this simple, easy, low-cost green choice.

Easy-to-build machines let you recycle plastic right in your home

These machines help recycle plastic and keep it out of landfills.

Posted by In The Know Innovation on Friday, April 27, 2018

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Steven_J._SchleiderBy Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

All you foodies and “greenies” out there – here’s a great PR idea that will help cut down on plastic and position you – and your company – as savvy and eco-friendly.

Following in the long-time tradition of Asian countries, particularly India, a German company is now producing strong, waterproof, biodegradeable plates made of stitched leaves. The leaves are sourced in India because it’s the only leaf that stays a vibrant green after being pressed. After use, it will take about four weeks for them to biodegrade.

It’s one of the interesting things we thought you should know.

Eco-friendly plates are made out of leaves

These disposable plates are saving the Earth 🍃 leaf republic

Posted by In The Know Innovation on Sunday, May 6, 2018

Steven_J._SchleiderBy Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

The subject of ocean pollution and the damage it does to the ecosystem requires a book. A very large, dense book. At present, it’s a disturbing read.

Every year, 1.4 billion pounds of trash enters the ocean. It consists of run-off pesticides, herbicides, detergents, oils, chemical fertilizers and untreated sewage. The latter is primarily plastic which erodes into micro-plastics and can be found on most of the world’s beaches including the one in front of the $20,000 a month house you just rented in the Hamptons.

According to the National Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce), 80% of marine pollution comes from the land and includes anything purposely discarded or that flows into the ocean from sources like roads, farmland, industrial facilities, residential and commercial buildings through run-off.

New York City suffers from such a problem. During high rain and snowstorms, sewers become flooded by runoff. They, in turn, overcome the capacity of treatment plants, adding untreated waste water to storm water, with that overflow depositing pollutants directly into our waterways.

We’ve been a huge proponent of green roofs in the city, whether they are simply covered in native grasses, decorative or worked as urban farms, because they absorb storm water that would otherwise flood the streets and sewers.

The Atlantic Ocean (north and south) has a garbage patch with a density of 200,000 pieces of marine debris per square kilometer. Estimates are that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific contains 18 trillion pieces of plastic and 80,000 tons of garbage. 99% of it is plastic.

It doesn’t look like 18 trillion single use plastic bags and soft drink bottles because the plastic has been reduced to microscopic, suspended particles. But it’s there and doing extreme damage:

* An abundance of pollution creates ocean dead zones where marine life cannot survive. There are currently approximately 500 ocean dead zones.

* Because birds and sea mammals mistake plastic for food or unavoidably eat microscopic marine debris, according to UNESCO, “plastic debris causes the death of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. “

* Because debris requires oxygen to decompose, the levels of oxygen in the ocean declines, affecting marine animals ranging from sharks to turtles and penguins.

* Because pollution affects the food chain, humans who eat fish and other marine life can be exposed to health problems that include cancer and birth defects. (All those feel good/eat good/be healthy websites that promote fish protein either don’t know, or don’t tell you, that there’s a down side.)

We’ve written this before, but it’s worth writing again:

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
– Inspirational speaker and one of the world’s greatest explorers, Robert Swan

Thus, Part Two of this series will explore the many organizations that are fighting pollution and the innovative ways they’re doing it.

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Steven_J._SchleiderBy Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services