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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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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NFL Tackles Waste at Super Bowl LII!

By Kevin Pink, Marketing & Development Specialist

This Sunday, the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will square off in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Players have been training for months, preparing to give it their best effort on the NFL’s biggest stage. But away from the cameras, another competition will rage. The NFL’s Rush2Recycle program will be taking on stadium waste. Its goal? To recover at least 90% of waste generated during the big game- over

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Celebrate America Recycles Day with CET

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing and High Performance Building EcoFellowAmerica Recycles DayToday is America Recycles Day! According to the EPA the United States recycles at a rate of around 34.3%, and with your help we can raise that even more! Recycling and composting are growing industries accounting for 757,000 jobs and $36.6 billion in wages, as well as an additional $6.7 billion in tax revenue. That is roughly 1.57 jobs for every 1,000 tons of material recycled! By increasing the amount we recycle we can conserve natural resources, while strengthening our economy!

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Wasted Food Reduction Across the Hierarchy at UMass Amherst

By Kevin Pink, Marketing & Development Assistant

EPA Food Recovery HierarchyIt’s no secret that wasted food is a big issue in America. According to the USDA, 30- 40% of food produced in this country goes uneaten every year. In 2010, this amounted to 133 billion pounds of food, worth $161 billion. This wasted food doesn’t go to the American households classified as food insecure (12.3% of American households in 2016), but instead often ends up in landfills, where it creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Colleges and universities serve thousands of meals daily, and thus have the potential to produce a significant amount of wasted food. UMass Dining Services is the largest college dining services operation in the nation, serving 45,000 meals daily or 5.5 million meals per year. UMass takes a concerted approach to reducing wasted food along the guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Hierarchy.

So how is UMass addressing the Food Recovery Hierarchy? Here are a few examples!

Source Reduction: Reduce the volume of surplus food generated.

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