The Zero Waste Countdown Podcast
111. Nuclear Energy

111. Nuclear Energy

October 13, 2020



Paul Acchione is an engineer and management consultant in Ontario who has worked in the nuclear and fossil fuel industries for over 48 years and has a wealth of knowledge about how nuclear power works, how nuclear waste is stored here in Canada, and the benefits nuclear power brings to an electricity grid. 


Darlington Nuclear Power Station


We discuss how public opinion of nuclear energy has changed over time during his career, the current issues around renewables, and why it's unlikely we can save the Pickering nuclear station here in Ontario, which means one of the cleanest grids in the world is about to get a lot dirtier. 


110. Keeping Produce Fresh With Hazel Tech

110. Keeping Produce Fresh With Hazel Tech

October 5, 2020

According to Hazel Technologies, the U.S. wastes more than 25 billion pounds of post-harvest fruits and vegetables annually, which amounts to over $86B in wasted resources.      



Aidan Mouat is the CEO of Hazel Technologies, and they have developed small biodegradable packaging inserts that are dropped into boxes of avocados during shipping. By time-releasing temporary ethylene blockers, Hazel's tech slows the fruit's aging process. The USDA-supported solution is entirely atmospheric, does not touch the produce, and leaves no residue. Further, the technology has been tested by the country's top agricultural universities (UC Davis, Cornell, Oregon State).   


Hazel has more than 150 customers (across 12 countries) which include Zespri (the world's largest kiwi distributor, based in New Zealand), Oppy (Canada's largest produce distributor), and many more. Hazel's tech is projected to be used with 3.2 billion pounds of fresh produce in 2020, preventing more than 270 million pounds from going to waste.

109. Sharing During Covid

109. Sharing During Covid

October 4, 2020

The Olio sharing app from the UK is reporting record numbers of users sharing food and other items during the Covid pandemic. 

Tessa Clarke joins the Zero Waste Countdown to share food waste statistics and explain how her sharing app works with over 2 million users. 

108. How Our Grid Works

108. How Our Grid Works

September 21, 2020


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is emily_8126_web-final.jpg

Emily Thorn Cortha is founder & president of Thorn Associates, an energy and carbon management consulting corporation, and one of Canada’s top industrial energy efficiency experts. She joins the ZWC to discuss how our electricity grid works in Ontario - it's actually very clean!


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20190508-gbp-ospe-agm-257-2.jpg

Emily currently chairs the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers’ (OSPE’s) Energy Task Force and is a past elected director of the Board of OSPE. She is also co-founder and chair of the Board of Directors of StepUp, an organization dedicated to breakthrough energy management performance through improved gender equity, and past director of Energy Optimization and Management at Hatch Ltd., an international engineering consulting firm.


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dsc_8922.jpg


A laureate of the 2018 RelèveTO Young Professional Award and the 2020 International Energy Engineer of the Year Award, Emily has been a project manager, technical reviewer, and energy engineer for over 70 energy projects, resulting in over $100 million in implemented energy savings.


One of five Canadian instructors for the Certified Energy Manager course, and a Certified Measurement and Verification professional with a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Emily has been featured in a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) video, on Radio Canada and on multiple podcasts. She has published 10 articles in respected journals such as Chemical Engineering Progress and has been a keynote speaker at multiple energy conferences.

107. Rent a Romper for Kids

107. Rent a Romper for Kids

September 14, 2020

Lauren Gregor is the founder of Rent A Romper based in LA, which is a monthly clothing subscription service for young children who tend to grow out of their clothing extremely quickly.

Lauren joins the ZWC to talk about the environmental benefits of a clothing subscription model for kids, as well as the convenience for busy parents with growing children.

106. Zion Lights on Nuclear

106. Zion Lights on Nuclear

September 7, 2020


Zion Lights is the UK Director for a group called Environmental Progress, which is a research and policy organization fighting for clean power and energy justice to achieve nature and prosperity for all.



She was previously a spokesmen for Extinction Rebellion, and she’s the author of the book: The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting, she’s written for the Huffington Post, and you can find her Ted Talk on YouTube here



We discuss the value of nuclear power, and why it's important to talk with people you may not agree with. 

105. Plastic And Marine Life

105. Plastic And Marine Life

August 24, 2020

Denise Hardesty collecting trash.jpg

Dr. Denise Hardesty is a principal researcher at CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere in Hobart, Tasmania. She's done extensive research over the years on marine plastic debris by studying sea birds, sea turtles, and waste reduction campaigns.

Denise Hardesty - photo.jpg

We discuss what happens when certain marine animals digest plastic, whether it's safe for us to eat seafood that contains plastic, and what it's like to be a distinguished scientist in the field of marine debris research.

104. Turning Plastic Into Fuel

104. Turning Plastic Into Fuel

August 17, 2020


Bob Powell is the CEO of Brightmark, a disruptive and innovative company based in San Francisco who's turning plastic waste into Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), while also recycling all types of plastic. 

For this “Call for Plastic Waste” - Brightmark is working to procure 1,200,000 tons per year of ALL post-use plastic types 1 through 7 from the Eastern half of the United States for recycling at its existing and soon-to-be-built plastics renewal plants nationwide.  


Brightmark’s Ashley, Indiana plastics renewal facility, where the plastic will be processed and transformed, is the nation’s first commercial-scale plastics-to-fuel plant. The financing for the facility includes $185 million in Indiana green bonds, which were underwritten by Goldman Sachs. 

103. Beyond Plastic Awards

103. Beyond Plastic Awards

August 9, 2020

BEYONDPLASTIC has announced the 2020 award winners to those who have come up with viable alternatives to plastic pollution.


Ulrich Krzyminski is the founder of BEYONDPLASTIC and he joined the ZWC to tell us all about the award program and the 2020 winners.

The BEYONDPLASTIC Award honours the innovation and creativity in sustainable product and packaging design in four categories:

I. Most practical impact
II. Most innovative approach
III. Most beautiful solution
IV. Best Initiative

For each category there is a Gold, Silver and Bronze Award with trophies and cash prizes of more than 7,000 Euros in total.

BEYONDPLASTIC received over 100 entries in total from 30 countries around the world. Students, designers, charities and businesses all took part to create a world with less plastic. You can find out more about the 85 nominated entries by clicking here.

102. Toxins In Our Plastic Products

102. Toxins In Our Plastic Products

August 2, 2020

LZ_Interview lab_K3


Lisa Zimmerman is a Ph.D researcher in the Department Aquatic Ecotoxicology at Goethe University Frankfurt and  part of the PlastX Research Group.


LZ_ lab work extracts_K


She conducted a study called Benchmarking the in Vitro Toxicity and Chemical Composition of Plastic Consumer Products. Lisa and her team took 34 products from German supermarkets like food containers, a water bottle, and a shampoo bottle, and cut them into pieces, then used an organic solvent to determine the toxic chemicals in the plastic packaging.


LZ_ lab work extracts_2


Lisa discussed the findings of her study, how it was conducted, and provided us some insight into what we can do to avoid harmful substances that may be in contact with our food. We discuss bioplastics, and how they might not be as healthy as we think, and I got to ask Lisa if it's true that plastic can act as a sponge by absorbing toxins. 


LZ_Interview lab_K6


The Study:


Plastx Group:

Play this podcast on Podbean App