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This tech recycles toilet water in Silicon Valley high-rises

This tech recycles toilet water in Silicon Valley high-rises

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementWithin a few weeks, when someone flushes a toilet in one of San Francisco’s new high-rises, the water won’t drain into the local sewer system. Instead, it will flow into a recently installed machine in the basement, designed to treat the water on-site. After the machine is turned on next month, recycled water will travel back up special pipes so it can be used for the next flush. The solid waste—that is, poop—is treated separately and becomes a product to add to garden soil.advertisementadvertisement“We’re taking wastewater,...

Mar 16
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This school teaches low-income students to renovate houses—and helps them become homeowners

This school teaches low-income students to renovate houses—and helps them become homeowners

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementWhen students graduate from a new kind of school in Birmingham, Alabama, at the age of 20 or 21, they could end up owning a house.advertisementadvertisementThe program, called , is unlike any other school in the country. Low-income ninth-graders enter to earn a high school diploma, and then an associate’s degree, while also training as construction workers through paid apprenticeships. They learn in part by remodeling houses in Ensley, the blighted neighborhood where they live. Later, they can move into the newly remodeled...

Mar 12
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This new Ulta Beauty platform sells beauty products in reusable packaging

This new Ulta Beauty platform sells beauty products in reusable packaging

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementAnyone who likes beauty products is familiar with the mountain of packaging waste they create, from tiny jars to shampoo bottles, mascara tubes, cellophane wrappers for face masks, compacts for blush or foundation, and pump bottles that once held lotion. By one estimate, the cosmetics industry makes more than every year. Much of it either can’t be recycled, or isn’t.advertisementA new online platform from offers an alternative: Everything on the site comes in reusable packaging. When customers place an order, they pay a...

Mar 3
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New York City is testing electric garbage trucks

New York City is testing electric garbage trucks

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementA new garbage truck making the rounds on Brooklyn streets might look similar to the thousands of other garbage trucks in New York City. But it’s nearly silent, and there isn’t a tailpipe belching diesel emissions. Huge letters on the side of the truck spell out the difference: “Fully Electric.”advertisement“This is an environmental justice issue and a quality-of-life issue,” says Joshua Goodman, a spokesperson for the New York City Department of Sanitation, explaining that moving to electric heavy equipment is a key way for...

September 28, 2020
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These buildings combine affordable housing and vertical farming

These buildings combine affordable housing and vertical farming

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementSome vertical farms grow greens in , former , or other sites set apart from the heart of cities. But a new series of projects will build multistory greenhouses directly inside affordable housing developments.advertisementadvertisement“Bringing the farm back to the city center can have a lot of benefits,” says Nona Yehia, CEO of , a company that will soon break ground on a new building in Westbrook, Maine, that combines a vertical farm with affordable housing. Similar developments will follow in Chicago and in Philadelphia,...

Feb 18
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This biotech startup is cleaning up laundry detergent

This biotech startup is cleaning up laundry detergent

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementWhen a typical laundry detergent washes down the drain, it carries chemicals such as 1,4-dioxane, a likely carcinogen that can’t be removed by standard water treatment plants and that can end up in drinking water. Other common ingredients, such as the somewhat unpronounceable methylisothiazolinone or benzisothiazolinone, can harm the environment. These chemicals have various purposes; methylisothiazolinone is a preservative, for example. Dioxane isn’t used in detergent intentionally but is a by-product of another process. A...

Feb 12
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Denmark is building an artificial island to house the world’s first clean energy hub

Denmark is building an artificial island to house the world’s first clean energy hub

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementTwo months ago, Denmark said that it would stop all new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and completely phase out fossil fuel production by 2050. The country is currently the largest oil producer in the European Union. Now it’s planning the next step in its transition: an artificial island that will serve as a clean energy hub and eventually make zero-carbon fuel using wind power.advertisementThe artificial island, which will be roughly the size of 20 football fields, will be surrounded by 200 to 600 massive wind...

Feb 8
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Inside one of the new, quick-build factories making the Moderna vaccine

Inside one of the new, quick-build factories making the Moderna vaccine

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementIn a mountain valley in the Swiss Alps, new production lines are spinning up to produce the key ingredient for hundreds of millions of doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, which the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. on December 18. This type of factory would normally take years to build. But Lonza, the manufacturer, used a new approach that made it possible to finish the work in months.advertisementadvertisementTwo years ago, the company invested in a new concept for pharma manufacturing: Instead of building a new...

Dec 21
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Reddit’s former CEO is now in the forest-planting business

Reddit’s former CEO is now in the forest-planting business

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementUntil recently, a remote corner of the Big Island of Hawaii was barren. The area was originally an ancient sandalwood forest, but hundreds of years ago, when the trees were cut down to sell the wood and cattle started grazing on the land, it became what is now essentially desert. Today, a startup is piloting a new system to bring the forest back on a 45-acre plot—and to demonstrate an approach to reforest the planet quickly enough to fight climate change.advertisementadvertisementTrees can play a key role in capturing carbon...

Jan 19
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This L.A. mall could be reinvented as housing and worker-owned co-ops

This L.A. mall could be reinvented as housing and worker-owned co-ops

advertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementThe Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall in Los Angeles’s Crenshaw neighborhood opened in 1947, one of the first of its kind in the country. Since then, it’s looked like a typical mall, with a sprawling parking lot. But community members in the surrounding majority-Black neighborhood now want to transform the 43-acre site into something different—mixed-income housing, community gardens, and new worker-owned cooperatives, all run by a nonprofit that can return proceeds to the community.advertisementadvertisementThe project, called...

Apr 8
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