California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. Here, mixed plastic items are seen at a recycling plant in Vernon, Calif., earlier this year.
The rendering industry likes to call itself the world's oldest recycling system. Nearly 100 percent of processed pigs will eventually get used — as meat and in uses as varied as medicine and pet food.
Five industrial wind turbines form part of the Gorona del Viento power plant on the island of El Hierro. By the end of this year, the power plant is set to generate 100 percent of the energy El Hierro needs, making it the world's first energy-independent island powered only by renewables.
Lauren Frayer for NPR