Go Green News

What is the National Sword?

By Kevin Pink, Program Specialist

What is the National Sword?

You may have heard the phrases “national sword” or “green sword” in the news lately. It is a policy in China that has banned the importation of certain types of solid waste, as well as set strict contamination limits on recyclable materials. This means that China will not accept shipments that are mixed with trash, the wrong type of recyclable, or low-quality recyclables like greasy paper goods. The policy was announced in July 2017, and the ban officially began January 1, 2018. In addition to the bans, China is reducing the number of import licenses, meaning that fewer businesses will be able to import waste.

Why does it matter?

China has been the world’s biggest importer of waste for decades. China has imported paper, plastic, and scrap metal from other nations and processed these materials for reuse in the products they produce for export. However, the implementation of National Sword has reduced the rate at which these materials are imported. This has created significant logjams in the international recycling system, resulting in recycled material piling up at materials recycling facilities (MRFs) or worse, into landfills. This is effecting recycling efforts in the United States and abroad.

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Learn How to Implement a Source Separation Program in Your School Cafeteria

The GREEN TEAM is a joint program of the Center for EcoTechnology and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) that empowers students and teachers to help the environment through waste reduction, recycling, composting, energy conservation, and pollution prevention.

The GREEN TEAM recently released an instructional video on source separation in school cafeterias. Source separation is a system by which organic material and recyclables are collected separately from the trash. This system makes recycling and diverting organic waste easier, which makes it more likely to be done. Recyclable material is then recycled and made into new products, and organic matter is composted, used to feed animals, or turned into energy through anaerobic digestion.

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Berkshire Community College Receives 2018 Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester Award for Community Environmental Leadership

BCC_AlanLauraAward

The Berkshire Community College (BCC) Green Team has received the 2018 Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester Award for Community Environmental Leadership from the Center for EcoTechnology.

The BCC Green Team was founded in 2008. They received the award Thursday, April 26, at the Earth Day forum. Laura Dubester and CET Associate Director Nancy Nylen were the presenters. The award is named after Silverstein and Dubester, a couple who served as co-directors of CET for 22 years until they retired in 2010. Dubester joined CET in 1977 and Silverstein in 1978. They became co-directors of the organization in 1988. Silverstein passed away in 2014.

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Announcing: Solar Access | Affordable Home Heating

Solar Access Massachusetts family

Paulina is a participant in the Solar Access program. Here she is with her children outside their home.

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new program: Solar Access! With support from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources, we are able to offer affordable, renewable energy for your community.

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Spring Clean Your House: Reuse and Recycle Your Old Furniture!

By Avery Cross, Green Business Fellow

trash heap

According to the EPA, approximately 8.5 million tons of furniture waste is sent to landfills each year, even though many of these items are still usable, either as parts or as a whole. With limited landfill capacity – that’s an incredible waste of space! Additionally, throwing out furniture for disposal demands more energy and resources as new furniture is produced and transported to replace it – emitting associated greenhouse gasses in the process. Rather than sending unwanted furniture to the landfill, we can reuse and recycle it.

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