In partnership with Venture Metals +, Baker Hughes has saved over 125 million pounds of scrap metals from more than 50 of the company's locations around the world. Photo via

For three years, Baker Hughes has been working with a full-scale scrap processor partner to divert scrap metal waste from landfills as a part of the company's net-zero commitment by 2050.

In partnership with Venture Metals +, Baker Hughes has saved over 125 million pounds of scrap metals from more than 50 of the company's locations around the world.

Venture Metals + collects, recycles, and manages the full recycling process of scrap materials, providing recycling, reclamation, and investment recovery as a service to industrial, manufacturing, and service facilities.

“The relationship that has been formed between Baker Hughes and Venture Metals is the definition of a true partnership. Over the many years we have collaborated on significant projects and there has been a foundation of trust, transparency and investment on both sides,” Venture Metals’ Vice-Chairman of the Board Mark Chazanow says in a news release. “Together, we have been able to do our part to improve the environment by circular and sustainable recycling while also capturing substantial revenue gain. We look forward to growing the partnership and seeing a bright future ahead together.”

According to the release, Baker Hughes plans to grow the partnership to introduce similar programs at five key locations around the world. Venture Metals+ also set up Baker Hughes with customized containers to help separate titanium, stainless steel, Inconel, and other recyclable metals.

“Reducing our environmental footprint is a critical focus area for our sustainability strategy as we continue to reduce waste, minimize the resources we use and promote circularity,” Allyson Anderson Book, chief sustainability officer at Baker Hughes, adds. “Through partners like Venture Metals +, we are minimizing waste and reusing scrap materials as much as possible for more sustainable operations.”

The number one thing that consumers can remember when it comes to recycling is that thin, pliable plastic should be excluded from standard blue recycling bins. Photos by welcomia/Canva.

Yet another reason to loathe plastic bags

Guest column

As waste-to-energy gains a foothold in the energy transition, trash's more palatable cousin, recycling, sits just close enough for deeper inspection. Plastic, by and large, one of the most loved and loathed petroleum by-products, is often singled out as the most nefarious contributor to our declining climate.

With significant efforts underway to reduce the volume of single-use plastic while reusing or repurposing stronger plastics, let us turn attention to the third action in the timeless mantra–recycling.

Over the last few decades, we have embraced recycling globally, assured in our noble commitment to derive further utility out of items that no longer serve an immediate purpose from our unique perspective.

However, the act of recycling still closely resembles taking out the trash. We place items deemed worthy of secondary use into large, usually plastic, bins for carting far away from the rest of the things that still provide utility to our personal household or place of business.

For the most part, simply believing that there could or should be further utility of an item is criterion enough to warrant placement in the exalted blue bin. The small hit of dopamine elicited from the satisfaction that we are “doing our part” is just strong enough to reinforce the idea that we have also “done enough.”

But according to Vu Nguyen, director of corporate development and innovation, Waste Management, one of Houston’s leading trash, recycling, and environmental services companies, there remains one elusive challenge: the plastic bag.

The plastic bag proves problematic for a multitude of reasons, not least because of its role in ruining literally every.other.recyling.effort.ever. On the whole, we have been blissfully ignorant of the recycling process, and even more so of how much our good intentions to reuse and recycle are thwarting the same process for so many other reusable materials.

“The number one thing that consumers can remember when it comes to recycling is that thin, pliable plastic [like] bags and wrappers should be firmly excluded from standard blue recycling bins,” Nguyen shared at a Houston Tech Rodeo event earlier this spring.

After collection, simple but effective mechanisms sort items delivered to a recycling facility. Individuals pick through discarded materials placed on conveyor belts before the remaining items work their way through heavy magnets that extract useful metals while bursts of air pressure push lightweight items like paper away from heavier items like glass.

Plastic bags, including the lovely little blue ones so many of us like to purchase to fill our quaint non-standard recycling bins, tangle up in these conveyor belts, causing shutdowns to unravel them from materials otherwise well-suited for these sorting efforts. Downtime on the sorting line can get expensive, so much so that many recycling facilities often turn away entire trucks filled with potentially reusable items if even a single plastic bag is discovered inside.

Consider this the start of a public service announcement campaign to raise awareness of that simple fact.

Yasser Brenes, area president – south for Republic Services, echoes this sentiment as he shares a few tips and reminders with EnergyCapitalHTX.

  • Know What to Throw: Educate yourself on what can and cannot go inside your recycling bin. Focus on only recycling rigid plastic containers such as bottles, jugs and tubs, metal food and beverage containers, glass bottles and jars, paper and cardboard. Don’t be a wish-cycler, never throw items in your recycling bin if you are unsure if they can be recycled or not.
  • Empty, Clean, Dry: Recyclables should be rinsed free of residual food and liquid. If recyclables are not empty, clean and dry the residual food or liquid could contaminate other more fragile recyclables, like paper and cardboard, and require them to be thrown away.
  • Don’t Bag It: Recyclables should always be placed loose inside your recycling bin. Flexible plastics, such as grocery bags, wrap and tangle around the sorting equipment and should never be placed in your recycling bin.

That’s not to say that plastic bags and wrappers cannot be recycled at all; on the contrary, they absolutely can. The mechanisms for sorting them from other materials like paper, aluminum, glass, and heavy plastics just aren’t quite mature enough… yet.


Lindsey Ferrell is a contributing writer to EnergyCapitalHTX and founder of Guerrella & Co.

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Houston innovation leaders secure SBA funding to start equitability-focused energy lab

trying for DEI

A group of Houston's innovation and energy leaders teamed up to establish an initiative supporting equitability in the energy transition.

Impact Hub Houston, a nonprofit incubator and ecosystem builder, partnered with Energy Tech Nexus to establish the Equitable Energy Transition Alliance and Lab to accelerate startup pilots for underserved communities. The initiative announced that it's won the 2024 U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, or GAFC, Stage One award.

"We are incredibly honored to be recognized by the SBA alongside our esteemed partners at Energy Tech Nexus," Grace Rodriguez, co-founder and executive director of Impact Hub Houston, says in a news release. "This award validates our shared commitment to building a robust innovation ecosystem in Houston, especially for solutions that advance the Sustainable Development Goals at the critical intersections of industry, innovation, sustainability, and reducing inequality."

The GAFC award, which honors and supports small business research and development, provides $50,000 prize to its winners. The Houston collaboration aligns with the program's theme area of Sustainability and Biotechnology.

“This award offers us a great opportunity to amplify the innovations of Houston’s clean energy and decarbonization pioneers,” adds Juliana Garaizar, founding partner of the Energy Tech Nexus. “By combining Impact Hub Houston’s entrepreneurial resources with Energy Tech Nexus’ deep industry expertise, we can create a truly transformative force for positive change.”

Per the release, Impact Hub Houston and Energy Tech Nexus will use the funding to recruit new partners, strengthen existing alliances, and host impactful events and programs to help sustainable startups access pilots, contracts, and capital to grow.

"SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Stage One winners join the SBA’s incredible network of entrepreneurial support organizations contributing to America’s innovative startup ecosystem, ensuring the next generation of science and technology-based innovations scale into thriving businesses," says U.S. SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman.


This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

Texas-based Tesla gets China's initial approval of self-driving software

global greenlight

Shares of Tesla stock rallied Monday after the electric vehicle maker's CEO, Elon Musk, paid a surprise visit to Beijing over the weekend and reportedly won tentative approval for its driving software.

Musk met with a senior government official in the Chinese capital Sunday, just as the nation’s carmakers are showing off their latest electric vehicle models at the Beijing auto show.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Chinese officials told Tesla that Beijing has tentatively approved the automaker's plan to launch its “Full Self-Driving,” or FSD, software feature in the country.

Although it's called FSD, the software still requires human supervision. On Friday the U.S. government’s auto safety agency said it is investigating whether last year’s recall of Tesla’s Autopilot driving system did enough to make sure drivers pay attention to the road. Tesla has reported 20 more crashes involving Autopilot since the recall, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In afternoon trading, shares in Tesla Inc., which is based in Austin, Texas, surged to end Monday up more than 15% — its biggest one-day jump since February 2020. For the year to date, shares are still down 22%.

Tesla has been contending with its stock slide and slowing production. Last week, the company said its first-quarter net income plunged by more than half, but it touted a newer, cheaper car and a fully autonomous robotaxi as catalysts for future growth.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called the news about the Chinese approval a “home run” for Tesla and maintained his “Outperform” rating on the stock.

“We note Tesla has stored all data collected by its Chinese fleet in Shanghai since 2021 as required by regulators in Beijing,” Ives wrote in a note to investors. “If Musk is able to obtain approval from Beijing to transfer data collected in China abroad this would be pivotal around the acceleration of training its algorithms for its autonomous technology globally.”

Houston organization celebrates zero waste goal

earth day win

Discovery Green celebrated Earth Day with a major milestone this year — achieving it’s Zero Waste goal.

The nonprofit, along with Citizens’ Environmental Coalition and Houston Public Works, are announced that the 2024 Green Mountain Energy Earth Day, which generated more than 3,800 pounds of garbage, diverted the majority of that waste from landfills. "Zero Waste," as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, is successfully diverting at least 90 percent of waste from the landfill.

On Earth Day, Discovery Green composted 2,200 pounds of waste and recycled 1,300 pounds of trash.

“Part of Discovery Green Conservancy’s mission is to serve as a village green for our city and be a source of health and happiness for all. Our goal is to sustain an exceptional environment for nature and people,” Discover Green President Kathryn Lott says in a news release. “We are beyond thrilled to have achieved Zero Waste certification.”

The achievement was made possible by volunteers from the University of Houston – Downtown.

Steve Stelzer, president of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition’s board of directors, acknowledged how rare the achievement is in a public space in a major city like Houston.

“Discovery Green Conservancy stepped up and made a commitment to weigh, measure and record everything. They should be congratulated to have done this at this scale,” Stelzer adds. “The Conservancy said they were going to do it and they did. It’s an amazing accomplishment.”

The 2024 event included:

  • 31,000 visitors in attendance
  • 60 + exhibitors
  • 100 + volunteers
  • 12 artists
    • 9 chalk artists
    • Donkeeboy and Donkeemom
    • Mark Bradford
  • 25 Mark Bradford artworks made of scrap presented in partnership with Houston First
  • 4 short films shown
  • 3,836.7 pounds of waste collected during Green Mountain Energy Earth Day