Researchers Turn Plastic Water Bottles Into Diesel and Jet Fuel

A research group led by Washington State University scientists has found a way to turn daily plastic waste products into jet fuel.

In a new paper published in the journal Applied Energy, WSU’s Hanwu Lei and colleagues melted plastic waste at high temperature with activated carbon, a processed carbon with increased surface area, to produce jet fuel.

“Waste plastic is a huge problem worldwide,” said Lei, an associate professor in WSU’s Department of Biological System Engineering. “This is a very good, and relatively simple, way to recycle these plastics.”

How it works

In the experiment, Lei and colleagues tested low-density polyethylene and mixed a variety of waste plastic products, like water bottles, milk bottles, and plastic bags, and ground them down to around three millimeters, or about the size of a grain of rice.

The plastic granules were then placed on top of activated carbon in a tube reactor at a high temperature, ranging from 430 degree Celsius to 571 degrees Celsius. That’s 806 to 1,060 Fahrenheit. The carbon is a catalyst, or a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction without being consumed by the reaction.

“Plastic is hard to break down,” Lei said. “You have to add a catalyst to help break the chemical bonds. There is a lot of hydrogen in plastics, which is a key component in fuel.”

Dr. Hanwu Lei and his research team in the lab, working to find a use for plastic waste. Credit: University of Washington

Once the carbon catalyst has done its work, it can be separated out and re-used on the next batch of waste plastic conversion. The catalyst can also be regenerated after losing its activity.

After testing several different catalysts at different temperatures, the best result they had produced a mixture of 85 percent jet fuel and 15 percent diesel fuel.

Environmental impact

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, landfills in the U.S. received 26 million tons of plastic in 2015, the most recent year statistics are available. China has recently stopped accepting plastic recycling from the U.S. and Canada. Conservative estimates by scientists say that at least 4.8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean each year worldwide.

Not only would this new process reduce that waste, very little of what is produced is wasted.

We can recover almost 100 percent of the energy from the plastic we tested,” Lei said. “The fuel is very good quality, and the byproduct gasses produced are high quality and useful as well.”

He also said the method for this process is easily scalable. It could work at a large facility or even on farms, where farmers could turn plastic waste into diesel.

“You have to separate the resulting product to get jet fuel,” Lei said. “If you don’t separate it, then it’s all diesel fuel.”

Article by University of Washington.

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A Philippines Cafe Makes Straws From Coconut Leaves As A Perfect Alternative To Plastic Straws

By Mayukh Saha

Neil Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.  Of course, he was talking about the Moon landing. But considering the present condition our society is in, it could very well apply to us. With the continuous influx of pollutants into our environment, it is high time we take teeny tiny steps ourselves to some solution. It might go a long way towards helping the environment.

And us.

According to a report in 2016, 40 kg of plastic is produced for each of the 7 billion humans every year. It’s no mystery that it will grow. And because of that hundreds and thousands of marine animals continue to fall victim to gruesome deaths.

Plastics are non-biodegradable substances which take centuries to decompose. They clog the throats of marine animals leading to them choking and dying. They also contain harmful chemicals that make the soil infertile for future cultivation.

While plastic straws are not the main contributors to plastic pollution, Americans still use around 500 million straws daily. And at least 8 billion plastic straws end up on beaches globally. Also, plastic straws do comprise 4% of the total plastic waste, which is not negligible.

And that’s why small changes tend to matter a lot.

In the Philippines, the manager of Café Editha in Surigao Del Norte, Sarah Tiu, has chosen to go down the non-plastic route. She never liked plastic anyway. At first, she tried using stainless straws and paper straws to replace plastic straws. Well – the customers weren’t fans of the alternatives. She had to find some other way.

When she went on a trip down to Corregidor Island, she found a way to transform her eco-friendly ideas into action, without causing dissatisfaction among customers. There she learned how to use natural products like cut lukay and fresh buko to make straws. Lukay is coconut fronds and leaves while buko is coconut juice.

Once she learned to make these ‘natural’ straws, her idea was to implement it in her cafe. And she did so. The customers loved it. They started sharing the news, along with pictures, on social media. These straws were biodegradable, but the best part, they did not make any sounds and were leakproof. Customer satisfaction guaranteed!

The straws are easy to make and Tiu has shared pictures of these straws to encourage others to adopt them. She makes them with her workers’ assistance before the store opens in the morning.

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IMAGE CREDIT: Cafe Editha


Hey! Message me. I am Mayukh. I help people and websites with content, design and social media management. I am an avid traveler and want to go full digital nomadic by summer 2019. I am currently working on www.noetbook.com – a creative media company. You can reach out to me anytime: [email protected]com Read More stories by Mayukh Saha

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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“Blue Mind” Docuseries: May 23-26!

By Neenah Payne

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider.

Did you know that over 75% to 90% of all doctors’ visits are for health problems related to Red Mind? (Download the free 27-page ebook Do You Have Red Mind?)

Wallace Nichols Ph.D., called “Keeper of the Sea” by GQ Magazine and “a visionary” by Outside Magazine is an entrepreneurial scientist, movement maker, voracious idea explorer, New York Times best-selling author, international speaker, loving Dad, strategic advisor, and collaborator.

Dr. Nichols’ experiences as a field research scientist, government consultant, founder and director of numerous businesses and non-profit organizations, teacher, mentor, parent, and advisor all support his quest to build a stronger and more diverse Blue Movement to inspire a deeper connection with nature through the neuroscience of the human-water connection.

Dr. Nichols’ current focus is on what he refers to as Blue Mind, a powerful new universal story of water and a movement of global proportions.  He communicates the cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual benefits of healthy oceans and waterways.  By connecting neuroscientists and psychologists with aquatic experts and artists, his work is transforming many sectors, including water and food infrastructure; environment and conservation; technology and innovation; health and well-being; education and parenting; arts, architecture and design; real estate and planning; travel and tourism; as well as sports and recreation.

Dr. Nichols has authored more than 200 scientific papers, technical reports, book chapters, and popular publications; delivered over 300 presentations in more than 30 countries; and reached millions in print, web, radio, podcast, film and television media outlets including NPR, BBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, Elle, Vogue, Fast Company, Surfer Magazine, Scientific American, and New Scientist, among others.

His book Blue Mind: How Water Makes You Happier, More Connected and Better at What You Do quickly became a national bestseller, has been translated to over a dozen languages, and has inspired a wave of media attention and practical applications.

Now you can register for the Free 7-day Blue Mind docuseries at: https://bluemindhealth.com. See the trailer below:

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Blue Mind Movie Sizzle Reel from Working Pictures on Vimeo.

See the interview with Dr. Nichols below:


https://empoweringyouorganically.com/podcast/episode-31/

Blue Mind Health Series: May 23-26

Each episode airs for 24 hours.

Episode 1: Blue Mind Health: Water Is Medicine – May 23 at 12 AM EST — Nichols shows the remarkable human connection to water and the tremendous physiological, emotional, and mental changes that occur when you’re in, on, or around water. Blue Mind can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do.

Episode 2: Blue Mind: A Deep Dive – May 23 at 12 AM EST — Discover the incredible origins of the Blue Mind concept that has already changed lives and brought millions together in a common pursuit of #waterismedicine!

Episode 3: Get Your Blue Mind On: Blue Mind 101 – May 24 at 12 AM EST — Everything you need to know to achieve and apply Blue Mind in your own life right now!  You don’t want to miss this incredible conversation with Dr. Nichols!

Episode 4: A Healing Voyage – May 25 at 12 AM EST — Meet the amazing Special Operations combat veterans who were inspired to transform the health of our planet’s marine resources and use the power of water to heal their minds and bodies as they heal the environment.

Episode 5: A Healing Voyage – The Force Blue Team: Mission Therapy– May 25 at 12 AM EST — You loved the team in “A Healing Voyage”. Discover how Force Blue provides “mission therapy,” for these special men and women by retraining them from combat fighters to our ocean protectors. You won’t be able to get enough of the Force Blue Team!

Episode 6: Blue: 7 Ages of Water – May 26 at 12 AM EST — Discover how water directly influences every stage of your life from birth to death and how you can harness that natural power for better mental, emotional, and physical health right now!

Episode 7: A Flowed State of Calm: Depression and Blue Mind– May 26 at 12 AM EST — The depression epidemic is rocking the world and impacting the quality of life of millions every day. Find out how Blue Mind can help ease the symptoms, manage the disease, and give you back control of your life.



Through a deep and effervescent experience complimented by an e.e. cummings poem, Dr. Wallace Nichols inspires us to engage in a deeper relationship with nature. Using our oceans as the prime example of how insignificant humans can feel while also being unmistakably connected to the spirit of nature, Nichols urges us to embrace our natural surroundings to live robust and full lives.

Dr. Nichols defines “Blue Mind” as “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. It is inspired by water and elements associated with water, from the color blue to the words we use to describe the sensations associated with immersion.

He knows that inspiration comes sometimes through adventures, or simply by walking and talking — other times through writing, images, and art. Science and knowledge can also stoke our fires. But he also knows that what really moves people is feeling part of and touching something bigger than ourselves.

Force Blue Team’s Life-Saving Mission

The Force Blue Team is featured in the visually stunning and inspiring Episode 4 and Episode 5 of the Blue Mind Health docuseries. This will change everything you think you know about our mental well-being and how we take care of our lifeline: the ocean.

FORCE BLUE grew out of a dive trip Jim Ritterhoff and Rudy Reyes took to the Cayman Islands. In the summer of 2015, they traveled to meet their friend Keith Sahm, General Manager of Sunset House  which is the oldest continuously-operated dive resort in the Caribbean. For Ritterhoff and Sahm, experienced recreational divers who’d been reef diving for decades, this was just another week in paradise.

However, for Reyes, a former Recon Marine who had struggled with post-traumatic stress and depression since returning from multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, the experience was nothing short of life changing! “Here’s this trained combat diver,” Ritterhoff remembers. “One of the best, most highly-skilled individuals you’ll ever encounter underwater. Yet, he’d never seen a fish.” For Reyes, like most dive-trained veterans, diving meant hauling 200 lbs. of gear underwater to destroy potentially dangerous targets in the dead of night. What Cayman offered was transformative.

Reyes immediately proposed another trip so he could bring his recon brothers to experience what he had. However, after a few hours of discussion, the three men hatched a larger plan that included combat divers from all branches of service with marine scientists, conservationists, and journalists. “We saw it as an opportunity to do some good not only for our veterans, but for the planet as well. By starting a program that helps veterans and the marine environment, we’re uniting two worlds,” says Ritterhoff.

FORCE BLUE MISSION: To unite the community of Special Operations veterans with the world of marine conservation for the betterment of both. To sum it up: “We are so connected to water. If people don’t care about what they’re putting into the ocean, it’s crazy. It’s unsustainable. Every conservationist works hard to bring this to light. Unless you’re seeing it every day, you don’t fully appreciate how our actions have a consequence. We have to act as a team. We have to work locally, regionally, and globally if we’re going to have a positive effect. There really is no excuse anymore.”

Force Blue Saving Florida’s Coral Reefs!

Importance of coral reefs explains why coral reefs are SO vital – and are under SUCH great threat.

This video from the Force Blue Team website shows that the team is working to save Florida’s coral reefs from the disease that began about four years ago. With the help of the Force Blue Team, Florida may be able to save 2,000 corals instead of just 20 or 200. The reefs add over $7 billion to the state’s economy!



Unfortunately 27% of coral reefs are gone and this number could rise to 60% in the next 30 years.  Force Blue says its mission is to change that outcome. The rescue is an urgent task that requires innovation and collaboration between scientists and veterans that has never been seen before.

Sarah Frangman, the Superintendent of the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary says she would like Florida to become a model. She believes that the rescue of the Florida coral reefs can be an example of the kind of teamwork that can be used to save coral reefs elsewhere since this is a global problem.

Coral Reefs: Rainforests of the Ocean

Force Blue is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) initiative that unites the community of Special Operations veterans with the world of coral reef conservation for the betterment of both. FORCE BLUE gives former combat divers and SOF veterans the chance to experience and explore one of the most critically endangered ecosystems on the planet and to adapt their training and teamwork to aid in its protection.

Force Blue’s mission is vital for the planet.

The Smithsonian Institution’s Corals and Coral Reefs site points out:

Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one-quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic when you consider that reefs cover just a tiny fraction (less than one percent) of the earth’s surface and less than two percent of the ocean bottom. Because they are so diverse, coral reefs are often called the rainforests of the sea.

Coral reefs are also very important to people. The value of coral reefs has been estimated at 30 billion U.S. dollars and perhaps as much as 172 billion U.S. dollars each year, providing food, protection of shorelines, jobs based on tourism, and even medicines. Unfortunately, people also pose the greatest threat to coral reefs. Overfishing and destructive fishing, pollution, warming, changing ocean chemistry, and invasive species are all taking a huge toll. In some places, reefs have been entirely destroyed, and in many places reefs today are a pale shadow of what they once were.

This CBS News video featuring Force Blue can be seen below:



Film: Mercy, Love, and Grace: The Story of Force Blue

Mercy, Love and Grace: The Story of Force Blue chronicles the nonprofit’s first deployment to the Cayman Islands. It is the story of seven (7) Special Operations combat veterans…two U.S. Reconnaissance Marines, one Air Force Pararescueman, a Navy SEAL, an Army Green Beret, a British Royal Marine and one Combat Medic….each struggling with his own transition back to civilian life, coming together on a mission to preserve the planet and restore themselves.

It is the story of the marine scientists, environmentalists, therapists, and filmmakers who came to instruct them for two weeks, but left having learned their own lessons about sacrifice and service. In the end, Mercy, Love and Grace: The Story of Force Blue is the story of passionate people healing across the divide – and the magic that can still be conjured, even in these partisan times, when we are willing to become one team with one fight.

The moving trailer can be seen below:



Blue Mind: Blue Marble: Our Water World

Dr. Nichols’ research and expeditions have taken him to coasts and waterways across North, Central, and South America, to Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe where he continually finds that the emotional connection to waters of all kinds – rather than force or financial gain – is what keeps his colleagues and collaborators working hard to understand and restore our blue planet.

In each of his talks, Dr. Nichols makes sure that every member of the audience receives a blue marble. At the end of the Organixx podcast, he explained that if the interview had been in person, he would have given each of the interviewers a blue marble.

It is a way to remind people that we live on a big blue marble and that our own health is intimately connected with the health of the oceans, rivers, lakes, bays, creeks, streams – as well as our tap water on which we depend every day for cleaning, flushing, bathing, drinking, and cooking. Our daily lives are TOTALLY dependent on our access to clean water!

Dr. Nichols points out that the waters of the world not only support us physically, but are key to our emotional and mental health – to our Blue Mind.

Credit: Pixabay

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This All-Natural Toothpaste That Comes in Tablet Form Can Help Reduce Plastic Waste

By Mayukh Saha

Oral hygiene – it’s something that has a major role in our life. All of us desire those pearly-whites. Plus, if you have ever had cavity in your tooth, you would know what an agonizing experience it can be. That’s why it is necessary to go to the dentist every six months. And to brush our teeth daily with proper toothpaste.

But is there a proper toothpaste out there? Well, most toothpastes are loaded with harmful chemicals that can have devastating effects on your body. Plus, if you are concerned about the planet and follow the developments, you’d know that over 1 billion toothpaste tubes go to landfills and is one of the chief products in landfills. As concerned individuals, we would do anything to drop toothpaste or go down any sustainable route – something that would not harm our body or planet, but keep our pearly-whites healthy.

Enter Lindsay McCormick and Bite Toothpaste – founded back in 2017. She has produced a tablet toothpaste which you just need to pop in your mouth and then use your toothbrush to foam it up. It acts just like any other toothpaste – but it does not have any kind of harmful chemicals in it like sodium lauryl sulphate and fluoride. But there’s more to it. The tablet is vegan and intentionally sold in glass bottles with cardboard refill packets. The bottles tackle the problem of landfills – these are recyclable for infinite number of times, unlike even recyclable plastics which tend to go through a couple of recycling processes before ending up in landfills again.

If you are worried about quality – Lindsay has you covered. She doesn’t take any shortcuts. While most multinational companies outsource manufacturing to cheaper countries, sometimes even getting involved with sweatshops, Bite Toothpaste comes with a difference. The bottles are manufactured in the US and the ingredients are also tested so that they are the highest quality. It could be easily cheapened by outsourcing but Lindsay is not going down that route.

Lindsay was struck with this idea when she was traveling and she had nothing to use but the mini-toothpaste tubes which she knew would be harmful for the planet. She wanted to bring about a change and Bite Toothpaste came to her. She started it in her home. She started making toothpaste powder and, then, she bought machines that could transform them into tablets. The first was a handheld press machine, but she had to really work a lot during that time – especially when the orders starting pouring in. She was also putting them in glass bottles. The entire process was really inefficient.

But the business grew and, eventually, Lindsay started a woman-run manufacturing company present in California powered by solar energy. As of now, the company has shipped approximately 12 million Toothpaste Bits in Canada, U.S. and Australia. You can get it either through subscriptions for refills or single packages too.

Lindsay is proud of her company and she hopes that it would inspire other young entrepreneurs to build something that is sustainable and good for the planet. While she knows that entrepreneurs are glamorized in the current world, she doesn’t think that’s a bad thing. If there are more people innovating for the planet – it will be amazing, not only for us, but for the planet as well.

Let’s hope the best for Lindsay and all the future entrepreneurs looking out for the planet.


Hey! Message me. I am Mayukh. I help people and websites with content, design and social media management. I am an avid traveler and want to go full digital nomadic by summer 2019. I am currently working on www.noetbook.com – a creative media company. You can reach out to me anytime: [email protected]com

Read More stories by Mayukh Saha

Images Source: Website

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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Scientists Find Cocaine And Ketamine In Freshwater Shrimp

By Mayukh Saha

We have been fighting a battle for our planet for quite some time now. While human activity has resulted in devastating effects all over the world in land, air and water, currently we are concerned about marine life. Corporations all over the world are trying to phase-out single-use plastic to bring a difference to the planet. So, when scientists discovered traces of drugs like cocaine and ketamine in shrimp, it gave them a surprise.

Researchers from King’s College in London, working in collaboration with the University of Suffolk (England), conducted certain experiments in 15 specific areas around Suffolk. The samples were collected from rivers Box, Alde, Gipping, Deben, and Waveney. What surprised the scientists was that the samples had traces of cocaine as well as traces of ketamine. Whether this issue is localised to the county of Suffolk or not is something that needs to be examined further. The testing has to be done all over the UK and even abroad if possible.

The world is already reeling under the pressure of microplastic pollution and climate change. This invisible chemical of drugs is a new addition that can potentially harass the wildlife of the country. This exposure of micropollutants on wildlife and organisms like the Gammarus pulex or freshwater shrimp has been documented in a study that has been published in Environment International. Along with the drugs, there were also the traces of banned pharmaceuticals and pesticides found in these shrimp. On the good side, the researchers believe that the potential harm of these substances on shrimp will be low.

However, according to a press release, the presence of these illicit drugs in these wildlife rich areas was really surprising for Dr Leon Barren. It is expected that such high content in wild- or marine life can be found more in urban areas than in rural areas. Another mystery remains, regarding the presence of banned pesticides in the shrimp. Traces of fenuron were also found, which is a pesticide that has been banned in the UK for a long time. The source remains unknown.

This is definitely an astonishing find. We just need to study more about it to find out the effect that it can have on wildlife. Hopefully, this does not turn out to be a tragic development like microplastics.

IMAGE CREDIT1: dolgachov

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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MSM Finally Admits Legal Hemp is the Answer to Dependency on Big Oil

By Matt Agorist

Because government is the antithesis to freedom, industrial hemp has been banned nationwide since 1937 ostensibly due to the plant’s similarities to marijuana. Many have speculated that this move was also due to the fact that cannabis is in direct competition with the pharmaceutical industry by providing far safer alternative treatments as well as directly competing with the petrochemical industry. However, all this changed in December after President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement act of 2018, legalizing industrial hemp on a national scale.

Despite this move, law enforcement across the country continue to go after entirely legal businesses for selling this THC-free version of the cannabis plant. However, they are quickly being exposed for the tyrants that they are. Even the mainstream media—who have long suppressed and ignored the benefits of the hemp plant—are now forced to cover its benefits.

In an article out of Forbes this week, titled, “Industrial Hemp Is The Answer To Petrochemical Dependency,” the case is made for an environmentally friendly solution to the monopoly the petrochemical industry has had over fuel and plastics.

As Forbes reports, “our dependency on petrochemicals has proven hard to overcome, largely because these materials are as versatile as they are volatile. From fuel to plastics to textiles to paper to packaging to construction materials to cleaning supplies, petroleum-based products are critical to our industrial infrastructure and way of life.”

But all this is now changing. Thanks to the many states who chose to disobey hemp prohibition, the federal government was forced to legalize it nationally.

As Forbes points out:

The crop can be used to make everything from biodegradable plastic to construction materials like flooring, siding, drywall and insulation to paper to clothing to soap to biofuels made from hemp seeds and stalks. Porsche is even using hemp-based material in the body of its 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport track car to reduce the weight while maintaining rigidity and safety.

The shift from petrochemical dependency to a sustainable model of hemp production is not only going to help remove the world’s dependency on big oil, but it is an necessity if we are going to maintain a healthy planet.

Right now, one garbage truck of plastic is being dumped into the ocean every minute.

This disturbing reality is underscored by the recent discovery of another giant patch of plasticbigger than Mexico—floating in the South Pacific Sea. It was discovered by Captain Charles Moore, who found the North Pacific Garbage Patch in 1997.

One million seabirds die each year from ingesting plastic, and up to 90 percent have plastic in their guts. Microplastic (resulting from the breakdown of larger pieces by sunlight and waves) and microbeads (used in body washes and facial cleansers) are the ocean’s smog. They absorb toxins in the water and enter the food chain, from the smallest plankton to the largest whales, as well as humans.

Lawmakers unable to see past the act of scribbling on legal paper to solve problems have been suppressing the ability of humankind to free themselves from this problem with free market solutions like hemp. Instead of pushing to legalize hemp and help to cultivate infrastructure that would boost its production, states like California moved to make straws illegal. Nice work Cali.

Plastic in the ocean is a very real danger to the environment and all life on the planet. But, are waiters and straws responsible? Should they be thrown in jail for offering a customer a straw with their iced tea?

No, and anyone who supports such tyranny does more to hinder the progress of humanity than any waiter giving a customer a straw ever would. In fact, government created the plastics problem in the first place by banning hemp.

There are solutions—outside of the police state.

Hemp, one of the most useful plants on the planet, has thousands of applications, including making plastic that is biodegradable and non-toxic.

Fuel is an option as well. In fact, the first cars were initially built to run on ethanol, or alcohol, which could also be derived from hemp. Henry Ford even famously designed a car model that ran on hemp fuel and was partially built with hemp as well.

Because of government, however, alcohol and cannabis prohibition made it impossible for these types of engines to be on the market, so the industry turned to gas and oil, which has had devastating consequences for the environment in just the last century.

Now, it appears that this paradigm is shifting. It will, however, take some time.

As Forbes notes, because prohibition has been in place for so long, the infrastructure needed to make a revolutionary change to the market is simply not there yet.

This infrastructural vacuum has created challenges around everything from seed genetics to planting to irrigation to harvesting to processing to pricing to distribution.

***

While the trends favor hemp, they are unlikely to allow industrial hemp to outproduce or outcompete petrochemical products any time soon. Nevertheless, the growing understanding of, interest in and infrastructure for hemp will certainly allow it to have a permanent place in our economy, one that will contribute to a greener, healthier world.

And just like that, we see how less laws—not more—pave the way for sustainable innovation and environmental efficiency.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Minds.

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Scientists Found an Edible Mushroom That Eats Plastic, and It Could Clean Our Landfills

By Elias Marat

Whether we like it or not, our society has become completely reliant on plastic. From food preservation to water transportation, computer technology to healthcare and medicine, plastic can be found in nearly every facet of the human experience.

But as we well know, plastic is a double-edged sword, with massive amounts of plastic waste not only piling up in landfills, but floating in the most remote depths of our oceans and water supplies. And despite our knowledge of plastic’s harmful effects on the environment, we’ve become so reliant on plastic that there seems to be no end in sight. In fact, plastic production is growing on a yearly basis–and posing a potentially mortal threat to us all.

However, a newly-discovered type of mushroom could not only play a crucial role in slashing plastic pollution, but could have myriad other uses in addressing the environmental crises the planet faces.

Discovered in 2012 by Yale University students, Pestalotiopsis microspora is a rare species of mushroom from the Amazon rainforest that’s capable of subsisting on a diet of pure plastic, or more accurately, the main ingredient in plastic–polyurethane–before converting the human-made ingredient into purely organic matter.

And not only can Pestalotiopsis microspora live off of our plastic waste, it can also live without oxygen–meaning that the rare breed of mushroom would make an ideal agent for landfill clean-up, literally from the bottom-up.

While the idea sounds fantastic, some scientists have expressed hope that the plastic-consuming fungi can form the basis of the community waste treatment centers of the future–replacing our current practice of dumping our trash into centralized, massive landfills with small, mushroom-centered community composting centers or even home recycling kits, according to Epoch Times.

And as it turns out, Pestalotiopsis microspora isn’t alone in the world of plastic-eating mushrooms–and some of its plastic-consuming kin are event perfectly safe for us humans to consume.

In a study led by Katharina Unger for Utrecht University in the Netherlands, oyster mushrooms and other types of mushrooms were placed in agar cups with plastic waste and held in a climate-controlled dome-shaped environment. After about a month, the roots of the mushroom consumed and transformed the plastic into an edible biomass–or food–that was completely free of any toxicity from the polyurethane.



Not only was the finished product completely free of plastic, but they also had an appealing taste, according to Unger, who described them as “sweet with the smell of anise or licorice.”

Yes, that’s right: for the very first time in history, plastic trash could be a part of our food chain–in a deliberate and surprisingly healthy way. Indeed, such a discovery–if refined–could be a part of a novel solution to food scarcity in a world brimming-over with plastic waste yet scarce on food for hundreds of millions of people.

“Our research partner [Utrecht University] expects that the digestion will go much quicker once processes are fully researched and optimized,” Unger told Dezeen magazine, adding that her team “imagined it as being used with a community or small farm setting.”

The benefits of plastic-eating mushrooms seem limitless. At the State of the World’s Fungi 2018 event in Kew Gardens, London, fungi that process polyurethane were also found to be suitable as “mushroom bricks,” or a durable and sustainable building material that could be suitable for building homes.

The management and elimination of plastic waste is among the greatest challenges we face in saving our environment. But if the natural rate of decomposition can be reduced from 400 years to a mere few months, then these fungi could soon be taking over the world.

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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After The Largest Beach Clean Up In History Baby Turtles Returned To The Beaches Of Mumbai

By Mayukh Saha

The Versova Beach in Mumbai was once a garbage dump. But it has undergone the world’s largest beach clean-up process and it was a massive success. No, not just by sight. The Versova beach was once home to Olive Ridley turtles. As soon as the clean-up process was over, to the delight of conservationists, roughly 80 baby turtles were spotted, trying to go across the Versova beach. An activist from Mumbai, Afroz Shah, had his eyes fill up with tears when he saw these babies walk in the direction of the ocean.

It must have been after a couple of decades that these turtles were spotted here. The beach was an important point of rest for these turtles when they migrated to the Arabian sea. Now, watching these turtles come back makes the entire clean-up process worth it. Shah started the drive back in October 2015. And it took about two whole years for the volunteers to clear this beach and to remove the heaps of trash present on the beach. It was almost five feet high and had clogged the beach in such a way that it barred the access point of the turtles. But now, the beach is clean and the turtles are free to roll in the sand as they used to do decades earlier.

Shah had been the person who gathered the volunteers and organized the clean-up process. They educated the locals to not use the beach like a landfill and cleaned up the river systems too. Shah also took the effort to clean up about 52 restrooms around the area and planted about 50 coconut trees along the beach. The entire clean-up process took about two years and they had collected 11 million pounds of garbage in the process. The entire team is also planning to plant mangrove trees which will help counter the excess flooding in the area and also improve the water quality.

In December 2016, the United Nations awarded Shah with the Champion of the Earth Award due to his clean-up efforts and the wonderful outcome of the return of Oliver Ridley turtles to Mumbai. The project was named ‘World’s largest beach clean-up effort’ back in July 2016.

Shah is an inspiration and we should follow his example to make changes in our environment too. We need to make it habitable for us and for the animals that share this planet with us.


Hey! Message me. I am Mayukh. I help people and websites with content, design and social media management. I am an avid traveler and want to go full digital nomadic by summer 2019. I am currently working on www.noetbook.com – a creative media company. You can reach out to me anytime: [email protected]com Read More stories by Mayukh Saha

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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Coca-Cola Admits It Produces 3.3 Million Tons of New Plastic Packaging Per Year

By Elias Marat

The world is literally swimming in the filth produced by private industry, with our oceans becoming a vast dumping-ground for waste as plastic manufacturers and petrochemical companies continue to rake in profits with little regard for the long-term cost of a growing plastic garbage crisis.

Thus it comes as a surprise that one of the biggest producers of plastic packaging, the Coca-Cola Company, has admitted that it produces a staggering 3.3 million tons of plastic packaging per year, the rough equivalent of 200,000 bottles every minute.

The company had previously refused to release the mind-boggling figure, but finally disclosed the information to The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity that has been campaigning alongside UN Environment to convince governments and the world’s largest plastic producing corporations to commit to reduce and ultimately eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging by 2025.

The charity released a report that also includes data from over 30 other companies – including Mars, The Kellogg Company and conglomerates Unilever and Nestlé – who agreed to disclose their annual plastic packaging volumes, a move hailed by the foundation as “an important step toward greater transparency.”  According to the report, the companies collectively produce eight million tons of plastic packaging on an annual basis.

The exact figures of the plastic usage isn’t broken down in the report, but according to The Guardian, Coca-Cola’s reported volume is equal to 108 polyethylene terephthalate or PET plastic bottles per year – over a fifth of the global PET bottle output, which stands at about 500 billion per year.

About 150 companies have agreed to commit to the foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative, but many of the top-tier corporations – including, L’Oreal, Pepsico, H&M, Walmart, and others – continue to refuse to own up to how much plastic packaging they produce.

The foundation’s commitment also calls to innovate to ensure that 100 percent of all plastic packaging can be easily recycled, reused or composted by 2025, and for a circular economy to be created that boosts the volume of plastic that is reused or recycled into new packaging.

Airlines, food chains and hotels have abstained from the commitment, as have most raw material plastic producers – with the exception of two companies: Indorama and Borealis.

The leader of the initiative, Sander Defruyt, has chided industry leaders for not moving with the urgency required to tackle a growing plastic waste crisis, telling The Guardian:

They are still far from truly matching the scale of the problem, particularly when it comes to elimination of unnecessary items and innovation towards reuse models.

Ambition levels must continue to rise to make real strides in addressing global plastic pollution by 2025, and moving from commitment to action is crucial.

The use of plastic is key to the workings of the global economy, and while it causes huge harm to the environment, its usage has also paved the way to spectacular advances in modern society in the fields of medicine, food preservation, water transportation, hygiene, high technology and a range of other applications.

However, in an economy that places the greatest incentive on short-term profit and a culture that revolves around mass consumerism and convenience, plastics have also become a curse – with a “throwaway” mentality displacing durable, reusable, and washable products in favor of single-use disposables.

Plastics and microplastics have inundated the world’s oceans and water supplies, leaching carcinogenic toxins and chemicals into the marine environment, with plastic drink containers trapping and confining – and ultimately killing – small marine organisms and small fish.

According to a report prepared for the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, by 2050 it is estimated that the plastic waste in the ocean will outweigh all fish.

And as fracked natural gas supplies increase in the United States and across the world, the cost of producing and exporting plastics has become cheaper, making the plastic market hugely profitable once again for the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries.

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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