5 Things to Know Today: March 21, 2017

Liz Biscevic—5 Things to Know Today

In case you missed it, your tampons and diapers can be used to fuel power plants. Also, a court in Northern India gave two rivers the same rights as a human being, and a new clothing label wants you to stop over-washing your clothes.

1. The Guardian: Diapers, tampons, and pads could provide an alternative fuel source. 
PHS Group, a waste management company, just patented a process that turns diapers, incontinence pads, sanitary products, and other “absorbent hygiene products” into a power source. PHS Group says they get around 45,000 tons of hygiene waste each year, and now a plant is converting 15 percent of that waste into bales that will be burned to provide fuel for power stations. Until now, burning “absorbent hygiene products” has been too costly due to their dampness, and they take decades to degrade in a landfill.

2. Inc: How to make a billion dollars (and get on the Forbes Billionaires List).
Nearly 200 new people are on the Forbes Billionaires List this year, and three-quarters of them built their wealth from scratch by starting their own business. Few entrepreneurs will ever become that wealthy, but following the path of the world’s most successful people will up your chances—like learning to trust in people, accepting failure, give more than you get, accept loss, and keep your integrity.

3. BBC: A court in Northern India gave the sacred Ganges and Yamuna rivers the status of “living human entities.”  
The rivers are considered sacred in India, and this new status is meant to help protect and preserve them: polluting either river is now legally equated with harming a living person. Just a week ago, the Whanganui River in New Zealand became the first in the world to be given the same legal rights as a human.

4. Treehugger: A new clothing label wants you to stop over-washing your clothes. 
The Care Label Project, an “anti-fast fashion initiative” created a label that will initially be added to more than 18,000 pieces of clothing. The new label reads “Don’t Overwash” hoping to help preserve fabric and lessen the wearer’s carbon footprint by thinking more about whether that spin cycle is really necessary. Today, 25 percent of a garment’s carbon footprint comes from the way it’s cared for: Repeated washing, stain removal, and drying all impact how long an item lasts while also using up energy and releasing emissions into the atmosphere. This project is sponsored by AEG—a washing machine and dryer manufacturer so the Care Label recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt, but discouraging people from mindless laundry is still good advice.

5. NY Times: China responds to the growing problem of toilet paper theft. 
The Temple of Heaven Park had a problem: park visitors were stealing tons of toilet paper from public restrooms, and Beijing authorities finally got them in check with a new high-tech toilet paper dispenser that uses facial recognition software to allocate exactly two feet of toilet paper before you go. The machine won’t dispense another roll to the same person for nine minutes. Though some people are unhappy with the new machines, saying they were too costly an investment or complaining that the TP is too thin, others say that toilet paper is a public resource that shouldn’t be wasted, and authorities are hopeful this will encourage people to be more conscious of their toilet paper usage.