Black Gold

Worms are converting trash to fertilizer in Terracycle's factory.

If Tom Szaky were a typical 25-year-old college-dropout CEO, he'd probably be running an internet start-up. Instead, he sells worm poop-an excellent fertilizer, as it turns out. TerraCycle, the company he founded in 2001, sold almost $2 million worth of the stuff last year.The company also boasts one of the most sustainable business models imaginable: they get paid to convert garbage into a consumer product. "What caught my eye was less the fertilizer nature of worm poop, although that was fantastic, but the fact that it started with garbage," Szaky says.Every day at TerraCycle's factory, millions of worms chomp through beer brewery jetsam or peels from a potato-chip factory and then answer nature's call. The "castings"-that's the technical term-are packaged in a variety of reclaimed soda bottles (which TerraCycle buys from thousands of enterprising "Bottle Brigades" across the country). The motley mix of bottles helps TerraCycle stand out on the shelves of Home Depot and Wal-Mart. That, and the words "worm poop" in huge letters on the labels.LEARN MORE
Szaky realized the effectiveness of worm poop when it significantly increased the yields of his friend's dorm-grown marijuana crop.
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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