A hermit crab walking along a pebble beach with a plastic cap adopted as its shell which is one of the main topics covered in this Eco-Friendly News Issue.
Feb 5, 2024
weekly eco news

Plastic Homes & Recycling Denim: Nature's Amazing Adaptations and Green Conservation Efforts - 13th issue

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Closing the Textile Loop One Pair of Jeans at a Time

Model wearing a light blue pair of jeans that can be recycled using the 'Blue Jeans Go Green' recycling program.

Launched nearly 20 years ago, the Blue Jeans Go Green program has diverted 2,630+ tons from the landfills by recycling over 5 million pieces of denim. Cotton, as a natural and sustainable fiber, can be returned to its natural state to live on in creative formats. 

Examples include cotton inserts for dog beds and insulation for buildings.

In 2023, the iconic Seal of Cotton celebrated its 50th anniversary as a symbol of trust in the textile world. The only requirement: the use of cotton. 

“Consumers love cotton,” said Kim Kitchings, Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing at Cotton Incorporated. “They trust it…They have an emotional connection with cotton that no other fiber can claim.”

Recycle your loved, cotton denim at a local retailer or event, mail in the used pieces, or even start your own denim drive. 

An Expansion of the Endangered Celtic Rainforest

A waterfall surrounded by trees in Celtic Rainforest.

With the help of numerous groups, the National Trust hopes to establish 123 acres of new Celtic rainforest across three sites, planting over 100,000 trees. Currently, these fragments only cover about 1% of Britain. Urgent action is needed to save the unique species within this enchanting, yet endangered environment.

Due to its damp climate, these temperate rainforests foster a variety of ferns, mosses, and lichens, as well as rare wildlife, like pine martens and stoats. 

“By planting on the edges of these existing woodlands," said John Deakin, the head of trees and woodlands at the National Trust, “we can ease the pressure caused to the existing delicate vegetation and instead help the woodlands evolve outward.”

The trees create a landscape that helps both nature and humans thrive by providing special habitats and essential services, such as water and air purification. 

Arizona Environmental Groups Advocate For Legislative Change

A body of water known as the Colorado river flowing the the Grand Canyon national park in Arizona.

To honor “Environmental Day” on Jan. 25, numerous environmental activists and legislators discussed the needs of Arizona’s nature, wildlife, and resources at the State Capital.

Under the theme of “Save Water, Save Life,” there were a handful of sustainable suggestions. Some of the champion organizations in attendance included the Sierra Club and Wild At Heart. 

“We advocate for the opening of wildlife passages so the migration corridors can continue,” said Borderlands Program Coordinator Erick Meza, under the Sierra Club. “These are ancestral migration corridors for species that are on the endangered species list, such as jaguars, Sonoran pronghorn.”

Wild At Heart focuses on birds of prey. Their representative, Greg Clark, pushed for more research on their migratory patterns to pinpoint areas in need. 

“A bird can’t just make one single trip from the north part of North America down through Mexico or Central America without stopping points,” Clark said. “We don’t know all of those stopping points.”

The Grand Canyon state continues to fight to protect its fragile environment.

Battery Recycling Startup Receives Federal Funds

The general EV battery recycling process adapted by Redwood Materials.
General Battery Recycling approach of Redwood Materials as displayed on 'www.redwoodmaterials.com'

To meet the growing EV demand, the Department of Energy (DOE) committed to a $2 billion loan for Redwood Materials to further build their EV battery recycling campus outside of Reno, Nevada. Previous Tesla top executive, JB Straubel, founded the company in 2017.

Their service will return end-of-life EV batteries into raw materials and components to make new cells. The U.S. is in a race with Asia to ramp up supply chains and manufacturing operations to satisfy the market. 

In a statement, Jigar Shah, the Director of the DOE’s Loan Programs Office, wrote: “By lowering the cost of the critical materials for lithium-ion batteries using recycled materials, electric vehicles can become more accessible to lower income communities.”

Tesla received its start with a similar loan program. It is now a partner of Redwood Materials. 

Hermit Crabs Adorn Plastic Trash for Shells

A hermit crab walking along a pebbly beach with its yellow plastic cap shell.

Hermit crabs across the planet have traded in their shells for plastic alternatives, based on the new research. This shocking discovery was formulated through photo analysis on social media and other internet platforms.

Though largely selecting plastic caps, the large amount of plastics in the marine environment provide many choices to the crabs.

These coastal crustaceans scavenge for their desired homes amid discarded snail shells. When limited, like now, these shelters can spur a fight. The increased competition could explain the search for artificial alternatives. This is a new global fashion statement.

Scientists are curious how this change in ‘shells’ could impact their evolution. It is not clear whether this transition is harmful or helpful for the crabs. The lighter plastic ‘shells’ have the potential to benefit weaker hermit crabs that struggle to move under the weight of the natural shells.

Plastic waste in the ocean is expected to rise without immediate action. Luckily, a global plastic treaty is on the horizon for 2024

Let’s take notes from these hermit crabs and reuse our plastic items.