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Heroes

See why a group of corporate giants want your empty cans and bottles.

In case you haven't noticed, recyclables are kinda badass.

From our curbsides, they’re launched into an odyssey of tumbles and churns along miles of conveyor belt.


Photo by U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons.

In the end, they emerge anew, transformed from crushed empty vessel to resilient post-consumer material. (A smart choice for the eco-conscious manufacturer!)

It's magical, I know.

Sadly, recycling is not the fate of the majority of our blue bin soldiers.

Two-thirds of our recyclables here in the U.S. never make that final turn in the loop. Instead, they meet early graves in earth, sea, and even air if they’re incinerated.

Image via OpenClipArt (altered).

It’s not for a lack of demand. Companies are fiending for green manufacturing alternatives.

“Big companies ... hoping to burnish their environmental credentials, can’t get their hands on enough of it,” wrote The New York Times.

The problem is we're not equipped to feed the beast. We need more advanced recycling infrastructure, but how do we pay for it?

Enter: Corporate America.

In 2014, Ron Gonen, New York's former deputy recycling czar, started the Closed Loop Fund, a $100 million venture capital — sorry, social impact — fund with its eyes on the green. Two greens, actually: sustainability and money.

The investors are a roster of companies we wouldn't usually deem friends of the Earth, including, among others, Walmart, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Keurig, and Goldman Sachs.

Maybe you're thinking, "Wait ... now corporations want to make money cleaning the messes they create?"

The answer is yes. Yes they do. (That's capitalism for ya.)

But it doesn't appear to be as vulturous an endeavor as we might imagine.


Gross. Image by J.J./Wikimedia Commons (altered).

Their game plan includes zero interest loans to cities and below market loans to private companies that want to build and modernize recycling facilities. That doesn't sound so bad — assuming they're not playing gotcha! with the fine print.

Their goal is simple: They want to prove recycling can be profitable.

Closed Loop Fund is investing in projects with the potential to divert massive tonnage of waste from landfills.

Their pilot investment was in a Baltimore-based facility that's getting harder-to-recycle plastics ready to sell in post-consumer plastics markets.


Photo by Kristian Bjornard/Flickr.

They're also funding upgrades to dated recycling plants in Ohio and Iowa, converting them into more efficient single-stream systems.

Gonen told The New York Times they're also looking to invest in a company that would turn mixed glass into paving and building materials.

Can we increase recycling without making wealthy corporations even wealthier?

Yup. And we needn't look any further than the largest investor of all: the government.

If private companies want to invest in recycling, they should be our guests. But protecting the environment is really all our responsibility. As voters and taxpayers, we should expect more public investments, too.

And it should start with a national recycling mandate which, believe it or not, does not currently exist.

Recycling rates have stagnated in recent years. But we can change that by making it a national priority and giving everyone the means to do it.

It might cost us on the front end, but hey — consider it an investment.

To learn more about how modern recycling facilities work (which is fascinating, by the way), check out this animated video by RE3.org:

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

AMC announced that it would be implementing a new three-tier ticketing system.

AMC Theaters, America’s largest movie theater chain, announced on Feb 6 that it will be adopting different ticket prices based on seat location.

Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



The company’s announcement was met with both criticism and approval. While some feel the move follows a well-established business model, others have found it to be taking away a valued aspect of the moviegoing experience.

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Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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via Pexels

A mother puts a fresh diaper on her baby.

Scientists at Penn State University have devised a “smart diaper” that alerts parents when their baby is wet. The diaper is made of paper, treated with sodium chloride (salt) and has a circuit board drawn with a pencil.

When the humidity level rises in the diaper, the graphite and the urine are absorbed by the paper and it turns on a sensor powered by a small lithium battery. The sensor then sets the alarm on an app that parents download onto their phones.

“The hydration sensor is highly sensitive to changes in humidity and provides accurate readings over a wide range of relative humidity levels, from 5.6% to 90%,” the researchers at Penn State said in a statement.

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Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry…"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up for a sweet acoustic version of "What About Us?"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

One song they sang together was Pink's "What About Us?" Pink previously described the song to The Sun in 2017: "The world in general is a really scary place full of beautiful people. Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful—like I said in the song—'billions of beautiful hearts' and there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Saturday Night Live/Youtube

"It's a me."

Pedro Pascal and HBO seem to be a match made in pop culture heaven. His role in the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” shot him to notoriety. He’s currently starring in “Last of Us,” which also boasts a massive viewership.

And now, thanks to one epic “Saturday Night Live” skit, fans are clamoring to see Pascal take on a new role—a brooding, hardened, princess smuggling Mario.

The faux trailer imagines the video game Mario Kart as a quintessential HBO drama. Mario (Pascal) has to use his driving skills to get Princess Peach (played by Chloe Fineman) through an apocalyptic Mushroom Kingdom.
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