Archive for October, 2012

What’s the world’s most widely used material? Water, of course. What’s the world’s second-most widely used material? It’s concrete. The composite of cement, water and aggregate — usually crushed limestone, granite or possibly sand – has been used for at least 3,000 years. Its relatively harmless contents don’t seem to make it a green villain — but it’s not the contents that pose the problem. It’s the energy intensity of the production of concrete, which is high in emissions. In fact, about 8 to 15 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions are attributed to concrete manufacturing.

About 8 billion cubic meters of concrete are manufactured each year, equaling a staggering one cubic meter for every person on Earth.

Waste concrete is everywhere — in every building demolition and replaced bridge and roadway — which is why interest in concrete recycling is rising. In years past, used concrete was simply dumped into landfills. Today, many construction projects have turned to concrete recycling not only to improve environmental conditions, but also to save money. Read more


When it comes to measuring progress in the world, economic measures just aren’t enough — measures such as sustainability, health, education and subjective well-being need to be taken into account, as well. That’s the conclusion reached at a four-day forum hosted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in New Delhi, India, Oct. 16-19. OECD gave the theme “Measuring Well-Being for Development and Policy Making” to its fourth World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy. Read more

Credit: Andrew Braithwaite

Plus: Dissolvable Electronics, a Real-Life Tractor Beam and the Worst Excuses for Calling in Sick. Read more


Credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, CC BY-ND 2.0

Is zero waste to landfill really just a pipe dream for manufacturers? It would be depressing to think so, since industrial facilities in the United States pack 7.6 billion tons of industrial waste into land disposal units annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Zero waste to landfill (also known as zero waste), the concept of turning normally discarded industrial waste materials into resources for others to use, according to the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA), involves designing and managing products and processes to find ways to render them still usable after their useful lives instead of being destined for the landfill heap. Read more


Economic activity expanded modestly in most U.S. regions through the end of summer and early fall, boosted by gains in sales and revenues in the manufacturing and retail sectors, as well as stronger performance in the automotive industry and housing, the Federal Reserve reports. Read more


The health of over 125 million people living in developing countries is at risk from industrial pollution and emissions, a problem that grows as manufacturing shifts to Third World nations, says a new report. “The World’s Worst Pollution Problems 2012: Assessing Health Risks at Hazardous Waste Sites,” by the Blacksmith Institute, in partnership with Green Cross Switzerland, also reveals the industries contributing the most to this burden. Read more

Credit: Fixr

Plus: Business Groups Challenge Conflict Minerals Regulation, China’s Slowing Economy Hurts U.S. Exporters, Concentrating at Work, New Magnesium Applications and 3-D Printing Bridges Tech and Manufacturing. Read more

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