Planning an accessible family vacation doesn’t have to mean sacrificing fun or your family’s budget. There are so many easy ways to save money while traveling with a family, and so many accessible options to make traveling with children who have special needs less stressful. So before you begin booking flights or searching for hotel rooms, think about using these budget-friendly tips to plan a stress-free vacation for your family.
Save Stress and Money By Renting a Vacation Home
Planning a staycation can be just as enjoyable and saves you more money than traveling out of state. Vacation rentals in Fort Myers can get you close to fun local attractions while providing many of the comforts of your own home. If you have baseball fans in your family, vacation rental homes near San Carlos Lakes or San Carlos Park will be your best bet, so you can have easy access to spring training fields for either the Boston Red Sox or the Minnesota Twins. Having the extra comforts of a vacation home can help all children feel more relaxed, but children with special needs can especially benefit from that home-like structure when dealing with the additional stresses of vacationing. Plus, if you are trying to save money, access to a kitchen will allow you to prepare budget-friendly meals, too.
Pack Daily Essentials to Avoid Any Added Expenses
Unexpected purchases, such as bottles of sunscreen or extra clothing, can put a damper on your vacation budget. To avoid the time, hassle, and expense of those extra shopping trips, parents should put together a packing list to make sure they have everything they need to keep little ones happy and healthy. For toddlers and babies, this means bringing a bag or backpack full of daily essentials, such as diapers, medicines, and perhaps even a change of clothing for each child and each adult. To make carrying all of these supplies more simple and stylish, think about picking up a cute diaper bag that you won’t mind carrying as your children get older. That way you will always be prepared with snacks and anything else your family needs during vacation activities, without racking up additional budget expenses.
Cut Costs When Shopping for Travel-Friendly Snacks
Every parent knows that bringing your own snacks and food on vacation can help save some serious money. With access to a kitchen in your vacation home, you can prepare healthy, low-cost meals, and you can use grocery-saving tips to keep those food costs even lower. Write out a vacation meal plan, include any special diet needs for your children, and be sure to stick to the items on your shopping list so you can stick to your travel budget. When filling those diaper bags and backpacks with snacks, look for healthy options that will satisfy the pickiest of eaters. Snack bars and pita chips are perfect for preventing hunger-related meltdowns and can easily fit into any family budget. If you do plan on dining out with your family during your travels, consider sharing your meals to save on costs.
Look for Accessible Family Fun That’s Also Affordable
Planning a vacation when your child has special needs can take some extra effort, especially when it comes to planning family-friendly activities. Providing your child with a quiet space to relax in after exciting vacation activities can definitely help, but if you need additional advice you can reach out to a special needs family vacation planning organization, such as Autism on the Sea, to book accessible family fun. If you are planning on staying in Florida, you are also in luck when it comes to finding accessible vacation activities and attractions. From coast to coast, there are countless parks and attractions with activities for children with special needs.
With a little patience and planning, you won’t have to stress out about taking a vacation with your children. For families that include children with special needs, finding budget-friendly travel options can be as simple as doing online searches to find special discounts and accomodations. Planning ahead of time will allow you to focus on having fun on your next family trip
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has voted to fund efforts to "enhance the border security" of Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia while moving to deny all funding to build walls, fencing or any other structures to enhance the border security of the United States.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants have their priorities. To them, borders on the other side of the world are more important than our own.
On June 19, the House approved a massive spending bill. In an act of legislative polygamy, it "married" the appropriations bill for the Department of Defense to the appropriations bills for the Department of State, the Department of Energy, and the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated this monstrosity would cost taxpayers $984.7 billion in fiscal 2020.
Yet there is one thing on which this bill would forbid the Trump administration from spending one penny to accomplish.
On page 304 (of 650), it says: "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act or any prior Department of Defense appropriations Acts may be used to construct a wall, fence, border barriers, or border security infrastructure along the southern land border of the United States."
A month later, the House Appropriations Committee sent the full House a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security.
This bill -- so far -- is unmarried and would cost taxpayers $63.8 billion.
President Trump had requested that it include $5 billion to use in constructing barriers at the border.
How much did the committee give him?
"No funding is provided in the bill for new physical barriers along the southwest border," said the committee report.
It also said, "The recommendation provides no funding for additional Border Patrol Agents."
Thus, the Democrat-controlled House is advancing discretionary appropriations bills that would spend more than $1 trillion in one year but provide zero dollars to build physical barriers to stop illegal aliens, human traffickers and drug smugglers from crossing our southern border.
Yet that does not mean the Democrat-controlled House is not planning to spend some money to enhance border security.
It just depends where the border is.
In that 650-page spending bill that prohibits Defense Department money from being used to defend the southern border of the United States, there is a section that creates a $1.295 billion fund for use by the secretary of defense.
"For the 'Counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund', $1,295,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2021," says the bill. "Provided, That such funds shall be available to the secretary of defense in coordination with the Secretary of State, to provide assistance, including training; equipment; logistics support, supplies, and services; stipends; infrastructure repair and renovation; and sustainment, to foreign security forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals participating, or preparing to participate in activities to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and their affiliated or associated groups."
"Provided further," says the bill, "That these funds may be used in such amounts as the Secretary of Defense may determine to enhance the border security of nations adjacent to conflict areas including Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Tunisia resulting from actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria."
So, the secretary of defense could take a chunk of this $1.295 billion and give it to the government of Egypt to secure its border with post-Gadhafi Libya, where the Islamic State group, or ISIS, is active.
And he could give a chunk to Tunisia to secure its border with Libya.
Or he could give some American tax dollars to unnamed "irregular forces, groups, or individuals" who, someplace in this world, are "preparing to participate in activities" to counter ISIS, or at least groups that are "affiliated or associated" with ISIS.
But according to the House appropriations bills, President Trump cannot spend a penny to build structures at our own border to secure our own territory and our own people.
By contrast, the Republican-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a Homeland Security spending bill that does include $5 billion to build "pedestrian fencing" -- to stop people on foot and in vehicles from crossing our southern border. Also, that committee's defense spending bill does not prohibit the president from using defense money to build barriers to defend our own border.
It even includes a larger fund ($1.8 billion) than the House bill that, among other things, can be used "for enhanced border security" not only in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia but also in Oman.
We are now more than a month into fiscal 2020. The government is running on a continuing resolution that expires Nov. 21.
President Trump should deliver a simple message to Speaker Pelosi: He is not going to sign a spending bill that funds border security in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia but not California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
He should put America first -- even if Pelosi will shut down the government trying to stop him.
Who’s Obstructing Who??
I strongly recommend that the President direct Attorney General Bill Barr to subpoena Congressman Adam Schiff to a Federal Grand Jury so that the President can determine if Schiff is again fabricating, lying and Obstructing the President from carrying out his lawful duties(a felony) or is there evidence that rises to “High Crime or Misdemeanor” as the law requires. When Pelosi claims, as she will, the President is Obstructing Congress, then we can let the Supreme Court determine who’s Obstructing who!
Let’s Talk About Intent: Criminal Intent by a Congressman…
After she was elected to Congress but before she even took her oath of office, Rashida Tliab said, “I’m going to impeach the mother f**ker”, speaking of President Trump. When Congressman Schiff, said that he had personally seen evidence that the President committed “collusion” with Russia, to win the election, an impeachable offense, and that the evidence isn’t Direct Evidence or Indirect evidence but is “in between evidence” ( there is no such evidence, under our law), he out right lied to Congress, and the American people.
Both put their foot in their mouths when they made those public comments. What they did was to show a clear, predetermined intent to remove, interfere, and harass our duly elected President before and without ANY evidence. THAT is Criminal Intent to try to unseat a duly elected President without due cause! Schiff is so ignorant that he doesn’t know that collusion is not even a legal term used in the United States Code Book (USC)! Schiff then said the crime is obstruction, when he learned firing Comey was an Article 2 Presidential power he then turned to conspiracy. Again Schiff lives in a Fantasy Land World and gets his legal opinions from Tinker Bell, neither obstruction or conspiracy, are standalone crimes…there must be a substantive pending, prosecutorial investigation that was obstructed or conspired to violate. Again ignorant and intent on “getting” this President…but with no crime…no due cause. We heard more criminal intent evidence to illegally unseat a duly elected President by other members of the House and Senate…as reported on FOX, Schumer said he wants Trump impeached and reportedly said he doesn’t care if it’s legal or not, just get the ball rolling!
Omar, Presley, AOC and Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, also claimed the President must to be impeached…most recently, for “cover up”…but no crime is ever mentioned. Again there is NO Title 18 crime called the Cover-up Crime!
The common denominator with all these coconspirators in their obsession to unseat a duly elected President and NONE, not one single member of the House, Senate or Mueller team, after 2.5 years and 35 million dollars spent, can name a crime that comes close to an impeachable offense…no one…if you can…please cite Title and Section of USC!
The President, exercising his Article 2 powers of Administering his Foreign Policy and Chief Law Enforcement Officer, is NOT a crime as Mueller so eloquently stated ,when asked if the firing of Comey was obstruction…NO was the answer!
Finding out ,from Ukraine, if Joe Biden, as VP under Obama, threatened Poroshenko (as Biden admitted he did) is not only President Trumps responsibility, it is his Constitutional duty and the only person in the United States who is authorized to make such an inquiry…who else has that authority…John Kerry? !
Better yet, ask the respected Democrat, Constitutional, Law Professor Alan Dershowitz if anyone other than the President can administer Foreign Policy, besides the President and his designee!
The AG should subpoena Adam Schiff before a Federal Grand Jury to establish whether Schiff and Pelosi, et al are Criminally liable for threatening, harassing, interfering with a duly elected President without due cause. If they have a “high crime or misdemeanor” …spell it out under oath and to the GJ , if not then ask the GJ to return True Bills for Criminal Harassment, Treason, Espionage, Sedition, against the offenders!
They cannot impeach a dog catcher with the Fantasy Land, anonymous, non-testimony, Hearsay 2-3 times removed and Tinker Bell evidence. Schiff could not bring his whistle blower nonsense before Judge Judy in a small claims court for a $100.00 small claims case, she would throw it out! Ask Judge Judy, Schiff! Schiff plans to impeach this President with this “evidence”? Schiff and Pelosi will never impeach anyone with anonymous evidence!
If he can’t convince a GJ that he has impeachable high crimes or misdemeanors, ask them to vote for the crimes he/they actually did commit…Harassing the President with the intent to interfere with the Presidents’ ability to carry out the duties of his office.!!!
Schiff and Pelosi have stated that the Schiff lead, Intel Hearing is not an impeachment hearing but is a hearing to determine if impeachment is warranted. When they issued Subpoenas, in my opinion, they created a “criminal inquiry/hearing” where our Rule of Law and NOT special Fantasy Land, Schiff Impeachment rules apply. Therefore, due process was required and denied by Chairman Schiff. Due process requires that the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure be followed….you know, cross examination, subpoena power and attorney for the accused, who they say is the President, must apply…but was denied by Schiff. Another legal problem for Schiff that the President and his DOJ must look into.
You see, the ONLY “person” who can conduct a “legal investigation” with complete secrecy, no cross examination, no defense attorney, no defense subpoena power, sworn testimony” and then issue warrants for arrest and trial, is the President, his Executive branch, DOJ and the Grand Jury!
J.Gary DiLaura,FBI RED
Retired, Extremely Dangerous
Florida’s foray into developing hemp as a cash crop that will spur the creation of related processing and manufacturing industries in the state could get final federal approval in time for the 2020 growing season, officials say.
That timeline was firmed up Tuesday when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its Domestic Hemp Production Program rules.
With publication of the federal rules, states can now submit their proposed hemp regulatory plans to the USDA for endorsement and eligibility for a variety of new hemp programs.
“Today’s announcement by the USDA is welcome news to the many Florida farmers I have heard from who are excited to take advantage of this alternative crop,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a statement. “This keeps us on track for implementation of our state program ahead of the 2020 growing season.”
Congress approved hemp farming and product production in the 2018 Farm Bill, taking the plant off the federal Schedule 1 list of banned drugs. Hemp is a cannabis species with very low levels of the psychoactive ingredient THC found in marijuana.
After authorizing hemp pilot projects at the University of Florida and Florida A&M University in 2017, Florida lawmakers created the nascent state-sanctioned hemp program with the adoption of Senate Bill 1020 during the 2019 session.
Fried said the state’s draft rules under SB 1020 are finished and should be submitted to the federal government shortly after the public comment period ends Thursday.
She expects Florida’s hemp program to receive USDA approval no later then December, when her department will start processing applications so farmers can start getting seeds into the ground in time for the crop’s 2020 growing season.
Florida Cannabis Director Holly Bell has predicted the state will receive about 8,000 applications for cultivation permits with about 3,000 farm operations to qualify and start growing in January.
The state’s final draft rules approved Oct. 21 call for 12-month, non-transferable licenses. The rules place security measures on hemp as a “potentially invasive species” that could spread beyond where it's cultivated, and require growers to submit samples prior to harvest to check for THC concentration, which cannot exceed 0.3 percent. If it does, the state will require the entire hemp crop to be destroyed.
The draft hemp rules also require farmers to notify the state before harvests, and to ensure it is secure once cut. The transport of hemp products is also detailed.
Fried, a former cannabis corporation lobbyist, has been championing hemp as an alternate crop since she assumed office in January as the only statewide-elected Democrat in Florida.
In a speech to the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Future of Florida Forum in Orlando Monday, Fried reiterated her prediction that hemp would be a $30 billion industry in the state within a decade.
“I’ve compared it to the printing press, that that is the type of impact that it is going to have on our state,” she said. “It may take a couple of years. But I guarantee you, mark my words, that within 10 years that we are going to be known for hemp here in the state of Florida.”
Fried told the forum that for hemp to develop as a viable industry, it needs more than framers. Locally grown hemp, she said, could be a boon for entrepreneurs, manufacturers and processors of all types.
“Having industrial hemp here in our state is going to create a marketplace for products that we cannot only export to our neighbors in the rest of the United States but really create Florida-first, America-first products that we can export to other countries,” she said.
Despite Fried’s enthusiasm, all is not as rosy in the burgeoning hemp industry across the nation where harvest returns are not meeting forecasted profits.
According to Pennsylvania State University’s Southeast Agricultural Research & Extension Center, half of Pennsylvania’s hemp crop has no buyers, including 75 percent of the crop grown for CBD oil.
Hemp Industry Daily reported on Oct. 11 that half of North Carolina’s hemp farmers expect they’ll have to store harvested crops at great expense because it can’t be sold this season.
A September spot price index report by Hemp Benchmarks, a North American hemp market financial firm, indicated that some farmers selling 2019 crops are also trying “unload” 2018 harvests.
The Center Square
In my opinion, America will soon find out how corrupt the “previous” Presidential Administration actually was.
Barack Hussein Obama’s staff is doing what I predicted 8-10 years ago and several times since our current President took office…they are crumbling like cookies and “rolling over” to tell “the truth”. Comey did, McCabe did, Strzok did , Page did, AND NOW Clapper just did and there are many more to come!
I wrote numerous times, that Obama’s Administration was a Racketeering Organization, under the eyes of the law, and should be investigated, charged and tried as a RICO case by the DOJ. He directed his staff to break the law for power and wealth, and they complied…Clapper just said so!
McCabe and Strzok said so under oath to Congress. They said Comey told them to leak. Comey admitted he leaked, under oath, but denied he told anybody else to leak …who do you think told Comey to leak…the “leak fairy”?
Hussein’s castle is coming down and will bring him, Soros, Hillary, Valerie Jarret, Holder, Lynch , Comey, Rice, Brennan, Clapper and all those under them and more. ALL will roll facing Treason, Sedition, Espionage and a whole host of other very serious and life threatening charges! I predicted all of this in the Niagara Falls Reporter, sunbaypaper.com, Artvoice.com and here, in my The Right Side website!
I firmly believe, that our Rule of Law will RULE!
In my opinion, Obama directed Lois Lerner to weaponize the IRS against the Tea Party and other Conservatives and she did. He told Comey to “get” Trump before he won and then after. He “sicked” Clapper and Brennan on Judge Scalia, Carter Page (in order to get Trump), then Trump. Clapper ,Brennan, Comey together concocted the Russian phony Collusion FBI case using two dumb asses McCabe and Strzok…both of whom are too stupid to realized they’ve been used, abused, shit on and dumped. They should be pleading with the President and DOJ to allow them to tell all in return for a deal …before everyone else does and the free ride has passed and they are run over by the BUS and left for dead!
The actions of Hussein and his “dogs’, destroyed reputations of good people, resulted in illegal convictions of innocent people, bankrupted innocent people and is now trying to illegally remove our President!
Obama , through Clapper, Brennan, Comey and Lynch corrupted our most secret court in the land…the FISA Court. Through their underlings they obtained illegal wiretaps on US Citizens, and a Presidential campaign.
Richard Nixon was “removed” /quit, run over for lying and covering up a failed attempt to burglarize a Democrat Campaign Office!
These lying, corrupt bastards from Obama on down committed Treason, Sedition, Espionage, Murder (Scalia died of Natural causes my ass!),violated RICO statures , Hobbs Act-Political Corruption, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, Fraud against The FISA Court and more… and ALMOST got away with it! How… because of the absolute failure of the Main Stream Media (MSM). Failure to report the truth instead of opinion!
Now that they all realize that Barr is serious with US Attorney Durham seating a Federal Grand Jury, the way it should have been done under Sessions, and hearing, under oath, with full subpoena powers, no defense attorney… why they did what they did. From what has been reported, Clapper already shed some light…he said he was told to do what he did. Next will be …Who told you and what exactly what did you do, Mr Clapper”? Then it’s Mr Brennan, and Ms Lerner, Hillary and etal. And when they “plead the 5th” and are then given “Use Immunity” and ordered to answer the questions under penalty of jail for refusing to answer, they will ALL squeal like stuck pigs! I said that years ago as well!
Impeach a duly elected sitting president?! All while some of our most corrupt politicians in our Nation’s history are standing, Scott-free…I don’t think so!
From your Constitution; “The President… of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”.
What’s the high crime, Schiff? Cover up is not a crime, nor is collusion or firing an employee or exercising Article 2 Foreign Policy with the Ukraine, Mr Schiff, as you will find out.
Also from your Constitution; Amendment VI…”In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and PUBLIC trial, by an IMPARTIAL jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the “nature and cause” of the accusation;” to be confronted with the witnesses against him”; to have “compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor”, and to have the” Assistance of Counsel for his defense”
I don’t see ANY place where it says, “Except in the case of the Impeachment of the President of the United States.” Do you? Worry not …no piece of “Schiff”…will get away with his Treasonous attempt to overthrow our Republic!
J. Gary DiLaura
Retired FBI Agent
The Beltway swamp is clogged with miserable crapweasels: smug incumbents, status quo lemmings, Constitution infringers of all flavors, Silicon Valley lackeys, jihad apologists, open borders freaks and, oh, that Trump-deranged lurker, Mitt "Pierre Delecto" Romney.
In a country of 325 million people, can't we just have one elected official on Capitol Hill with the guts to call out the rest of the swamp things?
This is why I support Laura Loomer for Congress. Last week, the fiery investigative journalist and activist based in Florida announced that her campaign had raised nearly $160,000 in just 60 days of fundraising.
More than 2,300 donors across all 50 states, with Florida leading the way, provided their financial support in the third quarter of the year for Loomer's upstart bid. The average contribution was $66.
By comparison, Loomer's campaign points out, socialista darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raised $59,000 in her first combined two quarters for her congressional campaign as a political newcomer in New York.
Meanwhile, Loomer's opponent, incumbent Democrat and Pelosi pal Rep. Lois Frankel only raised $107,000 in the same time period, and just one of Loomer's GOP rivals of the five candidates in the FL-21 field raised any money (less than $20,000). As a political newcomer, her campaign noted, Loomer outraised all of her opponents combined.
"I'm humbled at the outpouring of support for my campaign," Loomer told me. "This early showing puts career politician Lois Frankel and the do-nothing-Democrats in Congress on notice that no seat is safe, and that I'm running to win."
Any way you slice it, this is news. It's especially noteworthy because Loomer is the most banned woman on all of social media. Almost a full year ago, the 26-year-old independent reporter was suspended permanently from Twitter (where she had built up a formidable following of more than 250,000 users) during the crucial midterm election season. Loomer had lambasted Twitter for curating an Ilhan Omar tweet in its coveted "Twitter Moments" feature. "Ilhan is pro Sharia," Loomer wrote. "Under Sharia, homosexuals are oppressed & killed. Women are abused & forced to wear the hijab. Ilhan is anti Jewish."
Omar, of course, is the first-term Somalia-born Democratic Muslim congresswoman from Minnesota, who has since been caught giggling about al-Qaida; downplaying the 9/11 terrorist attacks; apologizing for anti-Semitic comments and then doubling down on others; calling for a United Nations takeover of American borders; reportedly engaging in purported marriage, tax, immigration and campaign finance fraud related to a bizarre marital arrangement with two different men (one of them suspected to be her own brother); and reportedly larking around with her married campaign manager. Loomer was the first to directly and publicly confront Omar about the brusband marriage scandal before she was elected.
Loomer was also at the vanguard exposing what I call Silicon Valley Sharia. After being kicked off Twitter, she was ruthlessly expunged from Paypal, Instagram, TeeSpring, Facebook, Uber, Uber Eats, Lyft, Venmo, GoFundMe and Medium. She is suing Twitter and the speech-squelching grievance-mongers of the Council on American Islamic Relations to expose collusion against conservatives between the company and the unindicted co-conspirator of Islamic terrorist financing. She is also suing conservative speech-suppressing Google in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which recently rejected the social media giant's bid to have her lawsuit summarily dismissed.
Now, of course, pundits and politicians are falling all over themselves to jump in front of the parade against Silicon Valley censorship. But last fall, many of those same opportunists laughed at Loomer for disrupting a dog-and-pony House Energy and Commerce hearing with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. When he denied that the social media site discriminated against conservatives, Loomer roared: "You are a liar, Jack Dorsey!" and boldly charged him with "committing perjury." Instead of challenging Dorsey, Republican Rep. Billy Long mocked Loomer and drowned her out with an auctioneering chant. Virtue-signaling conservatives (even on Fox News) ridiculed Loomer instead of heeding her warnings about systematic de-platforming and partisan rigging of the social media playing field.
But here's the thing: Loomer's campaign is about far more than getting back a Twitter account. It's about giving Floridians (and the rest of us) a clarion voice against Beltway business as usual on everything from mass, uncontrolled immigration to antifa violence to political corruption enabled by Frankel's pal, Nancy Pelosi. Karen Giorno, Trump's 2016 Florida state director and chief strategist for the Loomer campaign, told me: "Laura is proving that she is a serious candidate and committed to flipping this seat."
Political analysts on both sides of the aisle should not underestimate this bellwether candidacy. Just look at the actions of those who fear Laura Loomer most: Mere hours after she announced her run in August, Twitter announced it was changing its verification policy for authenticating congressional candidates. Previously, announced candidates could receive a verified checkmark. The Loomer Rule now requires candidates to win their primaries first.
They keep throwing up obstacles, but the gonzo journalist/activist persists. She's made all the right enemies. Now, it's time for friends of the First Amendment to put their time and money where their mouths are. Help elect a one-woman Free Speech Squad to counter the anti-American congressional Brat Pack. Disruption, not deference, is the key to defeating the Democratic resistance.
Every minute around the world, almost one million plastic bottles are purchased. As the environmental impact of that plastic tide swells into a political issue, packaged goods sellers and retailers, pressured to stem the flow of single-use bottles and containers, are coming up with new ideas and technologies to solve the problem.
Plastic production has surged in the past 50 years, responding to the widespread demand for inexpensive, single-use disposable products that are devastating the environment. And, while images of plasticdebris-covered beaches and marine animals dead from eating plastic have triggered public outrage, it won’t stop anytime soon.
The oil industry is pouring billions into new facilities to produce more plastics, particularly in Asia, the biggest regional producer of plastic and plastic waste.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are commonly used for soft drinks and mineral water, but can also be used for other household or personal care products. Data from Euromonitor International shows that more than 480 billion of these bottles were sold last year alone – almost one million every minute.
Rosemarie Downey, global head of packaging research at market research company Euromonitor International, told Reuters that adopting circular design principles in packaging, which considers the entire lifecycle of a product, including use and reuse, is one way for brands to address surplus waste at the outset and can assist recovery, recycling, and reuse in order to reduce the damaging impact of plastic waste in the environment. “Ultimately, mindful consumption of plastic is a global duty of everyone,” Downey said. “Consumers have their part to play to help realize zero-litter, as do corporate players in their use and handling, and governments in providing the necessary, optimized waste management infrastructure.”
The European Union has voted to outlaw 10 single-use plastic items, including straws, forks and knives, by 2021. It has also set targets for all plastic packaging, the top source of plastic waste, to be recyclable by 2030.
All Waste Plastic Could Be Recreated as New Plastic
Faced with this difficult problem, scientists and corporate product designers alike have been searching for ways to keep single-use plastic items from proliferating in the environment.
The fact that plastics do not break down but accumulate in our ecosystems is a major environmental problem. But at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, a research group led by Professor Henrik Thunman, who heads the Division of Energy Technology at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment, sees the resilience of plastic as an asset.
The nondegradable character of plastic that makes it such an environmental disaster also makes it a candidate for circular usage, creating a true value for used plastic, and thus an economic incentive to collect it, Thunman explains.
“We should not forget that plastic is a fantastic material – it gives us products that we could otherwise only dream of,” Thunman said. “The problem is that it is manufactured at such low cost, that it has been cheaper to produce new plastics from oil and fossil gas than from reusing plastic waste.”
Now, through experimenting with chemical recovery via steam cracking of plastic, Thunman’s research group at Chalmers has developed an efficient process for breaking any type of plastic waste down to a molecular level. The resulting gases can then be transformed into new plastics of the same quality as the original plastic.
“Through finding the right temperature, which is around 850 degrees Celsius, and the right heating rate and residence time, we have been able to demonstrate the proposed method at a scale where we turn 200 kg of plastic waste an hour into a useful gas mixture. That can then be recycled at the molecular level to become new plastic materials of virgin quality,” says Thunman.
The new process could transform today’s plastic factories into recycling refineries, right within the framework of their existing infrastructure.
Coca-Cola Makes Bottles From Plastic Ocean Debris
On October 15, the Coca-Cola company unveiled the first sample bottle made using recovered and recycled marine plastics, demonstrating that plastic ocean debris can be used in recycled packaging for food and drinks.
The sample bottle is the result of a partnership between Ioniqa Technologies, Indorama Ventures, Mares Circulares (Circular Seas) and The Coca-Cola Company.
Although enhanced recycling is still in its infancy, the partners produced the sample marine plastic bottles as a proof of concept for what the technology may achieve in time.
About 300 sample bottles have been produced using 25 percent recycled marine plastic retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea and beaches.
Some countries are trying to control the plastic tide through legislation. The Canadian government led by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June announced a ban on single-use plastics by 2021, joining over two dozen countries that have made similar moves.
Although specific details have yet to be released, Canada’s announcement puts pressure on big companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo that sell billions of single-use plastic bottles.
Writing for “Corporate Knights,” a Canadian publication, Tim Nash said on June 17, “The massive amount of plastic waste in our water systems is becoming impossible to ignore. We know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, we’ve seen the large amounts of plastic being found in whales that wash up on shore, and we’ve heard about the latest study from WWF showing that the average person ingests a credit card’s worth of microplastics every single week.”
“Although specific details have yet to be released, Canada’s announcement puts pressure on big companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo that sell billions of single-use plastic bottles,” states Nash.
HP Constructs Computers With Ocean-Bound Plastics
Computer-maker HP Inc., a member of NextWave Plastics, on September 27 announced the launch of the HP Elite Dragonfly, the world’s first notebook manufactured with ocean-bound plastics.
The HP Elite Dragonfly is the world’s lightest, most compact business computer, weighing less than one kilogram (2.2 pounds). Its speaker enclosure component is made with 50 percent post-consumer recycled plastic, including five percent ocean-bound plastics.
The HP Elite Dragonfly is one of three HP products made with ocean-bound plastics.
To ensure their ocean-bound plastics efforts continue to scale, HP commits to including ocean-bound plastic material in all new HP Elite and HP Pro desktop and notebook computers launching in 2020.
In addition to protecting the oceans and the planet, HP’s ocean-bound plastic programs are also creating new opportunities for economic advancement and education in local communities. In Haiti, HP’s partnership with the First Mile Coalition has helped create more than 1,100 income opportunities for adults in the country and has provided 150 children with quality education, food, and medical assistance.
NextWave member companies are establishing ocean-bound plastics as a commodity to decrease the volume of plastic waste before it enters the ocean.
“Since joining NextWave Plastics last year, HP has been a standout partner, and we are thrilled to see the team continue to lead the way in scaling one of the most effective supply chains that is turning off the tap on ocean-bound plastics while improving the local community,” said Dune Ives, executive director of Lonely Whale, the convening entity for NextWave Plastics, a consortium of worldwide businesses committed to scaling the use of ocean-bound plastics.
“There are currently more than 86 million metric tons of plastic in our ocean, and each year, over eight million metric tons of additional plastic enters the ocean,” Ives said. “We are proud that our member companies continue to scale commercially viable and operational ocean-bound plastics supply chains – keeping plastic in the economy and out of the ocean.”
NextWave member companies are currently on track, in alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.1, to divert a minimum of 25,000 tonnes of plastics, the equivalent of 1.2 billion single-use plastic water bottles, from entering the ocean by the end of the year 2025.
Ellen Jackowski, global head of Sustainability Strategy & Innovation, HP Inc, said, “Our circular economy strategy is about shifting our production to eliminate waste and enable a system that can sustain our levels of consumption in harmony with nature and our singular planet Earth for generations to come.”
© Environment News Service (ENS) 2019. All rights reserved.
How much of the monetary gains from the Trump economic speedup have gone to the middle class? If you ask Democratic senators and presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, the answer to that question is ... almost none.
" (Donald) Trump's economy is great for billionaires, not for working people," Sanders likes to say. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi grouses that under the Trump agenda, "the rich get richer, and everyone else is stuck paying the bill."
Uh-huh. That's been the standard liberal riff for the last couple of years as they try to explain how a president who they said would create a second Great Depression has created boom times with the lowest inflation and unemployment in half a century.
But not a word of this is true, according to new Census Bureau data on the incomes of America's middle class. This study by former Census Bureau researchers and now statisticians at Sentier Research has found gigantic income gains for the middle class under Trump. The median or average-income family has seen a gain of $5,003 since Trump came into office. Median family income is now (August 2019) $65,976, up from about $61,000 when he entered office (January 2017).
Under George W. Bush, the household income gains were a little over $400 in eight years, and under Barack Obama the gains were $1,043. That was in eight years for each. Under Trump, in less than three years, the extra income is about three times larger.
These gains under Trump are so large in such a short period of time that I asked the Sentier Research team to triple-check the numbers. Sure enough, on each occasion, the income swing was $5,000.
This is a bonanza for the middle class, and the extra income in tens of millions of Americans' pockets is getting spent. Consumers are king in America today, and fatter wallets translate into more store sales.
Home Depot and Lowe's recently recorded huge sales surges.
The tax cut also added an additional $2,500 to a typical family of four's after-tax incomes. So after taking account of taxes owed, the income of most middle-class families is up closer to $6,000 in the Trump era.
Memo to Pelosi: That ain't crumbs.
Ronald Reagan used to talk about the importance of real take-home pay. He asked voters in 1980, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" (when Jimmy Carter was elected). Thanks to high taxes, high inflation and high unemployment in the late 1970s, the answer to that question was clearly no. Reagan won and Carter lost.
Trump should begin asking Americans if they are better off than they were four years ago. Today, the answer to that question is clearly yes. It's the economy, stupid. Everyone -- especially the middle class -- is sharing in the fruits of the Trump boom.
To the Editor,
Gotta love the ultra liberal ninth circuit Court. Banning students from wearing shirts with the US because it offends Mexicans.
For those who talk about flag code, though I agree in principle, it’s not law. Just a set of rules on how the flag should be treated and wearing one on a shirt is freedom of speech!
Also the flag code law applies to an actual flag being worn as clothing, not a design of it
Given that, any ruling that limits anyone’s rights based on anyone else’s opinion on how it makes them feel is wrong.
The right to free speech needs to be paramount in any decision.
also, I think people who burn flags are terrible unpatriotic people, but I’ll defend their right to do it.
To the Editors,
Keeping the American public in the dark and not releasing full transcripts of the interviews is a horrible optic for the Dems. I suspect that they want to see how they can spin whatever they learn.
And remember if they had anything that made their case a slam dunk, it would already be out.
We all know that this impeachment nonsense is just trying to distract/covering up for Barr's investigations into the origins of Russiagate? And to keep people from talking about Biden withholding aid money to force the firing of the Ukraine prosecutor and his son Hunter making a million dollars from an energy company's board of directors that meet once or twice a year without any experience to bring to the table.
Smoke and mirrors ... just smoke and mirrors