Last week in the news, we heard about some interesting reuses for plastic bottles. This week, those ubiquitous water bottles are making headlines yet again—this time for a massive jump in the recycling rate. According to new data from the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), plastic water bottle recycling in the United States jumped nearly 20 percent since 2010. While that’s certainly a vast improvement over the years, NAPCOR’s data also showed that more could be done.
From black and gold to green, pianomakers Steinway & Sons’ “ethic of continuous improvement” has earned it a place as a leader and innovator in corporate sustainability. The roof of the company’s 100-year-old factory was equipped with the world’s largest parabolic solar installation in 2009. The 38 solar troughs collect sunlight for converting into a system that cools and dehumidifies the factory—factors incredibly important for the specialized piano manufacturing process. A recently released project update quotes cost reductions that will achieve ROI within five years.
Switching from manmade to naturally occurring global sustainability issues, Japan is using the aftermath of nature’s fury to increase its building of smart, sustainable cities. After the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the country has been actively supporting smart city projects—those designed to encourage sustainable growth and healthy economic activities that reduce the burden on the environment while improving the quality of life. To read the project’s mission statement, visit the Japan Smart City Portal.
We can also thank Mother Nature in part for issues facing the energy market. Electricity prices in New England have been the subject of public concern as cold, snowy weather continue to hit the Northeast. The spike in electricity demand created by the frigid temps has caused prices to increase four to eight times higher than average for the region. The New York Times cites a reliance on natural gas and the shuttering of plants as contributing parts of the problem. Read more about the issue here.