This California highway is now paved with plastic

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The technology mixes old plastic bottles with the existing asphalt to create a new road surface. Each mile uses 150,000 old bottles. A newly repaved stretch of highway in Oroville, California, looks like an ordinary road. But it’s the first highway in the country to be paved in part with recycled plastic—the equivalent of roughly 150,000 plastic bottles per mile of the three-lane road. Read Full Story

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Why Sprite is ditching green bottles

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A switch to clear plastic makes recycling easier. When Sprite hired an ad agency to work on the brand in the late 1960s, it created an identity with green labels to emphasize the green bottle—which the brand had used since it launched a few years earlier, and which had become a signature. But today, you’ll see Sprite in new clear bottles rolling out on shelves in California, Florida, and the Northeast. By 2022, all plastic Sprite bottles nationwide will be clear. Read Full Story

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Why this grocery chain is ditching single-use bottled water

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If you can get it from the tap, you can’t buy it in these Oregon and California supermarkets. If you walk down the drinks aisle inside one of New Seasons Market’s Portland, Oregon, grocery stores later this month, you’ll notice something missing: A shelf that used to hold bottled water will be mostly empty, with plastic and glass bottles replaced by a smaller number of reusable bottles. Another empty shelf below it will be covered with a sign boosting reuse. Read Full Story

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How far does plastic float when it gets tossed in the ocean?

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A scientist put tracking devices on 25 bottles and put them in one of the world’s most polluted river to learn more about how plastic trash moves around the planet. The answer: almost 2,000 miles. The idea of dropping a message in a bottle and having it end up on some distant beach seems largely like a myth. But we know that the plastic we put in the ocean does float far from where we dropped it. How far? After researchers put tracking tags in plastic bottles in the Ganges river, they found that the furthest bottle traveled more than 1,700 miles in about three months. Read Full Story

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This mutant enzyme eats old plastic and spits out the materials to make it new again

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Recycling plastic is very hard, but not for the enzymes found in bacteria from landfills. French startup Carbios has developed a mutated bacterial enzyme that can almost completely digest old plastic bottles in just a few hours—helping turn the material into the chemical building blocks to make new plastic . The company has been working with the enzyme in its factory, but now the idea of digesting plastic is getting a boost from the scientific community: A recent study published in Nature validates that the process works. Read Full Story

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The U.S. is one of the world’s worst ocean plastic polluters

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Though the U.S. made up around 4% of the global population in 2016, it produced 17% of the world’s plastic waste. Americans may have a distorted view about what happens to the incredible amount of plastic we use. Despite decades of discussion about the importance of recycling, only around half of Americans can leave their recyclables at the curb with the garbage. And even when old plastic bottles or packages do end up in recycling bins, they often aren’t recycled (though glass and aluminum are). Instead, they end up being shipped to other countries that don’t have adequate recycling infrastructure to handle the waste. Because of this, a new study calculates that the U.S. is one of the world’s largest contributors to ocean plastic pollution, ranking just behind Indonesia and India. Read Full Story

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This tech is bringing water to Navajo Nation by pulling it out of the air

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Zero Mass Water’s Source hydropanels use sunlight to absorb water vapor from the air. In the Navajo Nation, where running water is scarce and COVID-19 is surging, they’re providing a lifeline. In the Navajo Nation, sometimes a single spigot on an empty road is the only water source around for hundreds of residents. Others have to drive from their rural homes into towns miles away to buy all the water they need for cooking, drinking, cleaning, and livestock, because there’s no infrastructure to bring it through pipes. About 40% of households in the Navajo Nation live without running water. But now, at a few houses, panels positioned on the ground pull moisture from the air, connecting to a tap inside the home and providing up to 10 liters of water—or about 20 16-ounce bottles—a day, at no cost to the family. Read Full Story

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These refill stations now sell reusable aluminum bottles for the same price as single-use plastic

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FloWater wants to get people in the habit of not buying plastic. As water refill stations become more common, consumer habits of carrying reusable bottles haven’t necessarily kept up. That’s why FloWater, a company that makes refill stations, is now beginning to offer a new type of aluminum reusable bottle next to its equipment—for roughly the same cost as premium bottled water sold in single-use plastic. Read Full Story

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Evian’s new 100% recycled plastic bottle comes without a label

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The bottle, which has the brand name engraved onto the recycled plastic, is part of Evian’s effort to become fully circular by 2025. When a plastic bottle ends up in a recycling plant, the label attached to it usually isn’t recycled. That’s why a new bottle from Evian was designed to eliminate the label entirely, with the brand name and other details carved into the bottle itself. Read Full Story

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