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Two Startups Seek to Grow Interest in Foam Glass Fill

Two companies in the Northeast are seeking to expand the market for a lightweight, insulating fill made from recycled glass that can take the place of stone aggregate in several residential applications, including subslab fill. AeroAggregates of Eddystone, Pennsylvania, announced this week it has  opened a second kiln as it increases production of the foamed glass aggregate it now sells in parts of the Northeast. The material is made of post-consumer recycled glass and a foaming agent and, according to the manufacturer, can act as both a drainage and insulating layer. In Vermont, Burlington-based Glavel is currently importing foamed glass…

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Creating a World-Class Recycling System

This post originally appeared at Ensia. In a large open space overlooking central Taipei, Arthur Huang hands me a translucent, honeycomb-shaped polyethylene panel. Named Polli-Brick, this colorless module made from old plastic bottles can be interlocked with others to build an incredible array of structures — such as the nine-story EcoARK pavilion, a sleek exhibition hall located a few blocks away in the heart of Taiwan’s capital. These bricks are among countless products that Huang and his team at the international upcycling company Miniwiz derive from post-consumer waste, turning objects like aluminum cans, shoe soles, and cigarette butts into building…

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What Is ‘Green’ Dry Cleaning?

The winter holidays are a busy time for many businesses, including retail stores, grocers, liquor stores — and dry cleaners. People pull out special-occasion clothes made of silk, satin, or other fabrics that don’t launder well in soap and water. Then there are all those specialty items, from stained tablecloths to ugly holiday sweaters. Few consumers know much about what happens to their goods once they hand them across the dry cleaner’s counter. In fact, dry cleaning isn’t dry at all. Most facilities soak items in a chemical called perchloroethylene, or perc for short. Exposure to perc is associated with a…

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2018 Was a Big Year for Natural Disasters

The Camp Fire in northern California was the single costliest natural disaster of 2018, according to an insurance report. Worldwide, insured losses from natural disasters were $80 billion last year. (Photo: Cal OES / CC BY-NC / Flickr) Insured losses from natural disasters totaled $80 billion worldwide last year, significantly higher than the 30-year average, a report from reinsurance giant Munich RE said. Earthquakes, floods, tropical cyclones, and two especially devastating wildfires in California all contributed to total economic losses of $160 billion, ranking it among the 10 costliest disaster years and the fourth most expensive for the industry since…

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The Fine Print on Energy Efficiency

Have you ever seen one of those big yellow cards on refrigerators, washing machines and other new appliances? These government-mandated notices indicate about how much energy the average U.S. consumer will save by replacing their older model at home with one of these shiny new things. Trouble is, different people use their appliances very differently — so most of us aren’t average consumers. When we researched how behavioral differences varied, we found that Americans use vastly different amounts of energy to light our homes, watch TV, and make toast. As a result, we determined that the money and carbon pollution…

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Construction Salaries On the Rise

Salaries for skilled trades were up in 2018, a new survey has found. The construction industry continues to wrestle with labor shortages. (Photo: Keith Ewing / CC BY-NC / Flickr) Average annual salaries for skilled construction workers were up in the three-year period between 2015 and 2018, with at least one job category showing a gain of 20%, a survey from the National Center for Construction Education and Research found. Salary information in 32 job categories was submitted by 132 organizations that represent 353,503 U.S. employees, NCCER said. For an industry that is facing an uphill battle in attracting young…

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