NYC's Plastic "Oh No!" Ban Lifted, Whiskey Gives You Energy, Happy World Penguin Day
Just one word, Benjamin: In a major and long-awaited policy shift, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced yesterday that New York City will begin accepting hard plastics as part of its curbside recycling program, including all manner of things previously banned from the list: shampoo bottles, clothes hangers, yogurt containers, toys, and iced-coffee cups (assuming Hizzoner hasn't yet outlawed iced coffee). "Starting today, if it’s a rigid plastic -- any rigid plastic -- recycle it,” Bloomberg told those assembled at a press conference. The move is expected to keep 50,000 tons of waste a year out of landfills, and coincides with the Brooklyn opening (later this year) of the largest household recycling plant in North America. New York Times
Testing the waters (for poisoning them): Back in February, the conservative state government in Queensland, Australia, lifted a moratorium on shale oil drilling along its coast, just, y'know, because. Officials, in apparent awe of America's fracking boom, have decided that letting oil companies assess for themselves whether or not that boom could be replicated in Queensland would make for a nice Valentines Day gift for industry. One problem: Queensland's coast abuts the Great Barrier Reef, one of the most critically diverse marine ecosystems on the planet, and pretty much the acknowledged poster-reef for the very good cause of "Not Ruining By Drilling Beneath." Guardian
Can we maybe get a do-over on that one?: When the state of New York asked a consulting firm to provide an objective economic analysis of fracking's relative costs and benefits as part of a larger environmental impact report, perhaps it could have gone with a consulting firm that didn't have close ties to the oil and gas industry. Just sayin'. Bloomberg Businessweek
Once again, Scotch whiskey, we must thank you: A tiny Scottish village has a new power plant that runs on biomass left over from the whiskey-distilling process. The $93 million facility is in the town of Rothes, in Scotland's Speyside region, famous for its abundance of single-malt distilleries. (We here at OnEarth World Headquarters are partial to The Balvenie.) By fueling the station one wee dram at a time, the plant's owners say that they'll be able to provide power to 9,000 homes while keeping 46,000 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. But wait! Is it really possible that peat isn't a renewable resource? (We may need a drink.) BusinessGreen
Put on your tuxedos: Today is World Penguin Day -- but surely you already knew that, didn't you? Today at 11 a.m. EST, the Pew Charitable Trusts will be hosting a live Twitter chat with penguin experts.
Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)
Image: Adam Foster/Flickr