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With 2014 coming to a close, NAHMMA would like to wish its members, partners and other industry professionals a very safe and happy holiday season.
As we reflect on the past year, we would like to provide NAHMMA NewsWatch subscribers with a look at the most-read news stories.
Your regular news publication will resume on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015.
Why it's so important to define 'solid waste'
From April 10: Did you know that chemical companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers and the industrial waste industry are exempt from a law requiring companies handling hazardous waste to protect public health and the environment? The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act was enacted in 1976, but in 2008 the Bush Administration exempted these companies handling the most dangerous substances from complying. This new rule was called "The Definition of Solid Waste."
Treat sofas like electronic waste, say scientists
Planet Earth Online
From Aug. 14: Waste from soft furnishings like curtains, cushions and sofas should be discarded with the same caution as electronics, say scientists. Both types of waste contain brominated flame retardants, which have been shown to damage the environment and human health. In the U.K., at least two thirds of electronic waste — or e-waste — has to be treated before it can enter landfill. But furniture waste isn't currently regulated.
What about alkaline batteries?
From June 19: It's something you use every day: for flashlights, TV remotes, and kids toys - we're talking about alkaline batteries. If you've ever thought twice about throwing them in the trash, you might be right. For most of the country alkaline or household batteries are the orphans of the recycling world. These batteries used to contain mercury, but now they don't and federal regulators say what's in them is not hazardous so most local health departments don't want them.
New type of rock formed from plastic waste
New Delhi Television
From June 19: Researchers have discovered a new type of rock created by melted plastic trash on a beach in Hawaii. The new rock material dubbed plastiglomerate is the result of melted plastic trash on beaches mixing with sediment, basaltic lava fragments and organic debris, such as shells. Plastic does not break down easily and is estimated to persist in the environment for hundreds to thousands of years.
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Triclosan implicated in slower growth of male fetuses
From Sept. 11: Triclosan and other compounds widely used in cosmetics, toothpaste, soap and other consumer products may disrupt boys' growth during their fetal period and first years of life, according to a new study conducted by a consortium of U.S. and European agencies. Colgate toothpaste was widely criticized last month for continuing to use triclosan and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned in August that compounds used in antibacterial soap are dangerous to pregnant women and their unborn children.
Beyond BPAs: Other food packaging chemicals to look out for
From Oct. 23: There's a false sense of safety that comes with knowing just a little bit of information. For instance, if you've kept yourself somewhat informed, you know that BPA-laced food packaging is to be avoided. So, maybe you scan the shelves, notice a can with the "BPA-Free" label, pop it into your cart and move on to the nice item on your list. But while "BPA-Free" is certainly worth paying attention to, that's not all that needs to be watched out for.
50 million tons of e-waste generated every year — and it is increasing
From April 10: The developing world is becoming the west's digital dumping ground. Every year around 50 million tons of unwanted electronic devices make their way to vast e-waste dumps in Guiyu in China and Agbogbloshie in Ghana – often illegally. Some of them will be repaired and resold. Others will be broken into their components, at considerable expense to the environment and people's health, and sold as raw materials to manufacturers. Yet more will be left as piles of toxic litter.
Apple to take back their electronics and give you credit for it
From May 8: Starting April 22, Apple Stores began accepting any of the company’s products for recycling at no charge. Even better, if the items looked resalable, Apple would give the owner a store credit, a.k.a. an Apple gift card. CEO Tim Cook last month told shareholders the company wants to, “Leave the world better than we found it,” and this initiative is part of that. The move caps off an evolution from a few years ago when the company was criticized by some groups as contributing to electronic waste.
Scientists condemn new FDA study saying BPA is safe
From March 27: In February, a group of Food and Drug Administration scientists published a study finding that low-level exposure to the common plastic additive bisphenol A (BPA) is safe. The media, the chemical industry and FDA officials touted this as evidence that long-standing concerns about the health effects of BPA were unfounded. But, behind the scenes, a dozen leading academic scientists who had been working with the FDA on a related project were fuming over the study's release — partly because they believed the agency had bungled the experiment.
4,000 chemical containers removed from Seattle home
KING-TV via USA Today
From April 24: Federal investigators successfully removed 4,000 containers of hazardous chemicals from a home here in a cleanup that took almost 10 days, officials said. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inspected the house April 8, after firefighters discovered the stockpile of chemicals while helping an elderly resident walk down the steps of the home in the city's Green Lake neighborhood. Authorities immediately removed the owners, a brother and sister in their 90s, and called in hazardous-material teams to take out at least 40 varieties of chemicals they described as commercial and industrial grade.
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