Lifestyle

6 High-Tech Innovations That Could Solve Our Food-Waste Woes
January 20, 2017 04:54 PM - Chris Peak, Care2

These cutting-edge technologies are revolutionizing the notion of waste not, want not.

Americans can be a wasteful bunch. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service estimates that our country threw away 38 million tons of food, the equivalent of every person in the country junking two-thirds of a pound every day. We dumped milk that had spoiled, vegetables that had turned brown and hamburger patties we were too full to eat. Not only did this excess cost us a collective $161 billion, it caused unnecessary environmental strain. Food waste, after all, is the most common material in landfills and incinerators, constituting 21.6 percent of all solid waste, according to the U.S.D.A. To fix the problem, there are some easy strategies each household should adopt (hint: buy less, freeze more, compost). But there are also some high-tech innovations that could revamp the entire food supply. Below, the most promising efforts at reducing waste, from the time food is first harvested all the way to its final destination in a dumpster.

6 High-Tech Innovations That Could Solve Our Food-Waste Woes
January 20, 2017 04:54 PM - Chris Peak, Care2

These cutting-edge technologies are revolutionizing the notion of waste not, want not.

Americans can be a wasteful bunch. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service estimates that our country threw away 38 million tons of food, the equivalent of every person in the country junking two-thirds of a pound every day. We dumped milk that had spoiled, vegetables that had turned brown and hamburger patties we were too full to eat. Not only did this excess cost us a collective $161 billion, it caused unnecessary environmental strain. Food waste, after all, is the most common material in landfills and incinerators, constituting 21.6 percent of all solid waste, according to the U.S.D.A. To fix the problem, there are some easy strategies each household should adopt (hint: buy less, freeze more, compost). But there are also some high-tech innovations that could revamp the entire food supply. Below, the most promising efforts at reducing waste, from the time food is first harvested all the way to its final destination in a dumpster.

E-Waste in East and South-East Asia Jumps 63% in Five Years
January 15, 2017 03:33 PM - United Nations University

The volume of discarded electronics in East and South-East Asia jumped almost two-thirds between 2010 and 2015, and e-waste generation is growing fast in both total volume and per capita measures, new UNU research shows.

Driven by rising incomes and high demand for new gadgets and appliances, the average increase in e-waste across all 12 countries and areas analysed — Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Province of China, Thailand and Vietnam — was 63% in the five years ending in 2015 and totalled 12.3 million tonnes, a weight 2.4 times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Longitudinal Study Links Air Pollution with Cardiovascular Disease Risk
November 3, 2016 10:44 AM - Sarah Plumridge via Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

An increased concentration of air pollution within metropolitan areas is associated with progression in coronary calcification and with acceleration of atherosclerosis, according to a study published in The Lancet.

In the prospective, 10-year cohort study, Northwestern Medicine scientists and collaborators at other institutions repeatedly measured coronary artery calcium by CT scan in 6,795 participants aged 45 to 84 years, who were enrolled in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air) in six metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Move over, solar: The next big renewable energy source could be at our feet
October 20, 2016 02:56 PM - Will Cushman

Flooring can be made from any number of sustainable materials, making it, generally, an eco-friendly feature in homes and businesses alike.

Now, however, flooring could be even more “green,” thanks to an inexpensive, simple method developed by University of Wisconsin–Madison materials engineers that allows them to convert footsteps into usable electricity.

Potentially harmful chemicals widespread in household dust
September 30, 2016 11:02 AM - George Washington University via EurekAlert!

Household dust exposes people to a wide range of toxic chemicals from everyday products, according to a study led by researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University. The multi-institutional team conducted a first-of-a-kind meta-analysis, compiling data from dust samples collected throughout the United States to identify the top ten toxic chemicals commonly found in dust. They found that DEHP, a chemical belonging to a hazardous class called phthalates, was number one on that list. In addition, the researchers found that phthalates overall were found at the highest levels in dust followed by phenols and flame retardant chemicals.

Study shows most US roofs can support a solar system
April 14, 2016 07:40 AM - Sandia National Laboratories.

Most U.S. rooftops in good repair can take the weight of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. That’s the conclusion of a three-year study by a research team led by Sandia National Laboratories.

“There is a misperception in the building industry that existing residential rooftops lack the strength to carry the weight load of rooftop solar photovoltaic installations,” said Sandia structural engineer Steve Dwyer. “Most existing well-built wooden rooftops can support PV system loads.”

Sandia took on the job of analyzing rooftop structural strength to address concerns raised in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar America Cities program. The agency named 25 cities to promote adoption of solar technology at a comprehensive, local level through photovoltaics.

 

Better long-term outcomes for married cancer patients
April 11, 2016 11:51 AM - WILEY via EurekAlert

New research has uncovered a link between being married and living longer among cancer patients, with the beneficial effect of marriage differing by race/ethnicity and place of birth. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings have important public health implications, given the rising numbers of unmarried individuals in the United States in addition to the growing aging population. 

For the analysis, a team led by Scarlett Lin Gomez, PhD, of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, and María Elena Martínez, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, assessed information on nearly 800,000 adults in California who were diagnosed in 2000 to 2009 with invasive cancer and were followed through 2012. 

 

Reducing food waste could help mitigate climate change
April 11, 2016 07:33 AM - Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

About a tenth of overall global greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture could be traced back to food waste by mid-century, a new study shows. A team from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research for the first time provides comprehensive food loss projections for countries around the world while also calculating the associated emissions. Currently, one third of global food production never finds its way onto our plates. This share will increase drastically, if emerging countries like China and India adopt Western nutrition lifestyles, the analyses shows. Reducing food waste would offer the chance to ensure food security, which is well known. Yet at the same time it could help mitigate dangerous climate change.

Going vegetarian could save emissions and prevent 8 million deaths a year
March 31, 2016 06:51 PM - Marco Springmann, The Ecologist

Oxford researchers have quantified the benefits of the world becoming vegetarian, writes Marco Springmann. Their study shows that simple changes - like moving to diets low in meat and high in fruit and vegetables - could lead to significant reduction in mortality and health care costs, while cutting food sector greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds.

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