News / global warming

Bee (a) savior

A recent report from the Swedish environmental protection agency states that the situation is urgent for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. In Sweden as many as one third of our 270 distinct wild bee species are endangered. The problem of bee decline is not unique to Sweden, it is a huge global problem.
Pesticides, lack of food and a changed landscape threaten our little wild gardeners. It means serious consequences for our future. We are totally dependent on the crucial work of bees and other insects. About a third of the food we humans eat is pollinated by them.

What can you and I do to help? The problem seems overwhelming but there are quite a few small things we can do as individuals to help. If you have a lawn, leave some of it to become a flowery meadow and plant bee friendly flowers. Build a bee hotel, it’s not so complicated, watch and learn from a Youtube clip. Plant bee and butterfly friendly flowers on your balcony. All different butterflies have a special host flower of plant where they deposit their eggs and the caterpillars eventually feed. Caterpillars are particular which host plant they will feed off, so you can choose which butterflies you would like to hopefully visit.
Choose and support organic food, skincare, clothes etc.
Don’t use pesticides in your garden or harsh chemical cleaning and washing detergents in your home. For your families health and the health of our planet.





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Green packaging , sustainable packaging

Here at True Organic of Sweden we look at the full picture when developing skin care products. For example All You Need Is Me has a tube made out of sugar cane. Here comes words from MJ Deschamps on why it is important!

By Mj Deschamps

Green packaging developments and demand are on the increase in the beauty industry MJ Deschamps discovers


With waste regulations becoming increasingly tight worldwide, and consumers’ environmental consciousness growing, the global personal care products industry has taken note of the lean towards ‘green’, and is starting to reduce packaging complexity.

This is despite leading organic products marketing research firm Organic Monitor recently releasing a not-so-optimistic report on sustainable packaging in the beauty sector – saying that although packaging has the highest environmental footprint within the realm of cosmetics products, it appears to be largely ignored when beauty companies look at sustainability. Indeed many cosmetics companies, both large and small, seem determined to disprove that claim.

Greater consumer awareness about waste disposal and more stringent government regulations will, according to market research group Global Industry Analysts (GIA), drive the global market for sustainable packaging to US$142.42bn in size by 2015. The GIA’s 2010 report, Sustainable (Green) Packaging: A Global Strategic Business Report, identifies the cosmetics and personal care industry as being a key driving force in growing sustainable packaging.

The report says that together Europe and the US account for more than 70% of the global sustainable packaging market and in the US alone recycled material accounts for the largest packaging category, contributing nearly 90% to the total demand.

Meanwhile another recent report from Colorado-based Pike Research goes further by suggesting that the sustainable packaging market is growing much faster than the general packaging industry. Its size is expected to double from $88bn last year to $170bn in 2014, says Pike. Market research firm Mintel has also identified that recycling and eco-friendly materials will play a major role within the beauty industry in 2011, having seen new skin care products with environmentally friendly packaging increase 5% last year, compared to 2009.

“In general terms, all cosmetics manufacturers are looking at packaging which is sustainable and has fewer environmental effects,” says Paul Crawford, head of regulatory and environmental services at the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) in the UK.


Recycled PET
One popular sustainable material being used in the green packaging sector today is recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET has been a favourite choice for personal care product packaging due to its similarities with glass, and because it is a 100% recyclable material.


Natural ranges need packaging sympatheic to the product message – Luxsit Organic Care chose M&H Plastics for its Naturligt Vis line
With a predicted CAGR of 6.5%, the PET packaging industry is tipped to be worth $42bn by 2015, according to Pira International, the worldwide authority on the packaging, paper and print industry supply chains.
The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) came out with a study in 2010 that provides lifecycle inventory (LCI) data for recycled PET and high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic resins. The study’s LCI report indicates that incorporating recycled PET resin in the manufacture of a package significantly reduces the environmental footprint of that package in terms of production energy required and greenhouse gas emissions.

The study also found that recycled PET actually requires less energy to produce than the equivalent tonnage of virgin PET resin. The corresponding saving in greenhouse gas emissions amounts to about 1.1 million tonnes of CO² equivalents, according to the study.


Compatible Bioplastics
Although there is growing research in bioplastics packaging, there is still a challenge to creating these materials for the cosmetics industry, since high heat sensitivity and water permeability prevent such packaging being used for products such as creams, lotions and shampoos, according to Organic Monitor.

Several companies are paving the way though, including US-based Mirel, which is currently developing bioplastic materials to replace petroleum polymers such as polypropylene (PP), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate (PC). Another is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of packaging containers, Johnsen & Jorgensen, which recently entered into a distribution deal with Artenius PET Packaging UK to release an environmentally friendly range of recycled PET bottles for the cosmetics industry, which use 25% post-consumer recycled PET material. UK-based Neal’s Yard Remedies is also currently using ‘post-consumer regrind polyethylene’ (PCR) terephthalate bottles for a number of its natural and organic personal care products.

Also, US-based Banana Packaging, another worldwide supplier specialising in biodegradable cosmetics packaging, has recently introduced a new biodegradable product line called EcoBlendz, where packaging products are made from a special additive that when blended with many plastic-based resins such as PE, PET, PS, PP, PVC and PETG, renders them 100% biodegradable.

Brazil-based Braskem has also recently developed a sugarcane polyethylene packaging material that is garnering an increasingly high profile in the beauty industry on account of the fact that it is compatible with a variety of liquid formulations.The material is already being used by key Brazil cosmetics player Natura for a cream hand soap product, while Procter & Gamble (P&G) has included it as part of the packaging for products in its Pantene Pro V hair care range as well as its CoverGirl and Max Factor colour cosmetic ranges. True organic of Sweden uses this for their products.


DuPont sustainability study identifies packaging challenges
The need to package food, consumer and industrial products in a more sustainable and affordable way dominates the worldwide packaging industry, according to DuPont’s global survey of consumer packaged goods companies and packaging converters.
To identify the top issues facing the packaging industry, DuPont conducted an online survey of packaging professionals in March 2011. More than 500 packaging professionals were surveyed and over 40% cited sustainability as the toughest challenge while 33% named cost as a major factor.
“Sustainable, cost effective solutions that reduce packaging’s environmental footprint are a top goal across geographies,” said Bill Harvey, president, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers.
Meeting sustainability challenges requires multiple strategies. Of those respondents working on sustainable packaging:
65% say their efforts are focused on design for recyclability or use of recycled content
57% are focused on weight reduction
41% rely on renewable or biobased materials
25% say they are focused on compostable materials.
“These survey results confirm that there are many pathways to improving packaging sustainability,” said Harvey. “It starts with close collaboration throughout the value chain to spark innovation.”
In a bid to respond to requirements, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers says it offers customers a number of ways to enhance the sustainability of their products. For example, DuPont Fusabond resins are modified polymers that help bond dissimilar polymers to help facilitate recycling. The high-performance characteristics of the company’s Surlyn ionomer help reduce the total amount of material in packaging structures. And DuPont’s Biomax Strong modifier is designed to helps bio-based PLA (polylactic acid) products gain more widespread use by enhancing performance attributes that limit its acceptance. Meanwhile Biomax PTT resin, with up to 35% renewably sourced content, can replace petroleum-derived polyesters to help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and net emissions of greenhouse gases without compromising performance, according to the company.


Plant Fibres
Robert Richman is the chairman and manufacturing head at US company Be Green Packaging, whose packaging products are made up of blends of plant fibres and 100% compostable and recyclable materials. He says Be Green recently produced new packaging in the UK and Europe for Procter & Gamble’s Gillette Fusion ProGlide razors, and that the main green packaging innovations his company and others are currently moving towards incorporate plant fibres and eco-friendly coatings. “These [ProGlide] packages have a major reduction of PET and plastic resins,” said Richman. Be Green’s products are blends of plant fibres and are 100% compostable and recyclable.


EcoBlendz by Banana Packaging has an additive that renders materials 100% biodegradable
In the same vein, US-based cosmetics company Urban Decay partnered with HCT Packaging to create the brand’s Sustainable Shadow Box, a compact made from bamboo. And America’s Tarte Cosmetics developed a reusable Spring Greening palette made from recyclable, sustainable straw. It also uses soy ink on its labels, which contains non-toxic soybean oil that can be easily stripped from paper during the de-inking and recycling process. Tarte has also created a system where consumers can even send their empty containers back to the company and get a discount off their next purchase.

In Italy, Leoplast, the country’s specialist in botanical-derived packaging for decorative cosmetics, recently decided to put together cardboard and bioplastics, two renewable raw materials, to design a line called Compostable Make Up. Cardboard is used for the base and cover while plant-derived plastic forms the internal mechanism and the cups containing the powders, resulting in a 100% plant-derived and biodegradable packaging.

“It is a unique combining solution for a sustainable pack from raw material made from vegetal and renewable origins,” says Marie-Laure Viellard, PR and communication manager at the Leoplast Group.



Twistub – let’s twist again
Twistub – created as a refillable environmentally friendly alternative to pump dispensers – has evolved, according to its makers. The original Twistub’s USP lay in its combining the financial and environmental benefits of a refill with the glamorous look and feel of traditional high-end packaging. Featuring a dispenser plus a refill pack, the system is operated by twisting the base to dispense a precise amount of cream or lotion. Once the product has been used, the consumer can buy a new refill and reuse the dispenser again and again.
Now, the team behind Twistub says it has improved the handling of the packaging by introducing a nozzle, meaning that the dispenser can be used for different types of cosmetic creams and lotions. The basics, however, remain the same, as do the main benefits, which include savings in both manufacturing costs and material usage when compared to traditional pump dispensers and airless systems.
“Eco-friendly retail is becoming increasingly cool, with consumers looking for different ways to play their part, while manufacturers are all facing unprecedented pressure to reduce plastic waste from their processes,” said Stephen Eldred, a founder of Twistub. “The latest developments for Twistub make it even more attractive to both customers and cosmetic companies. We are still keen to engage with as many cosmetic companies as possible now to give us the best chance of getting Twistub to where it belongs – on the shelf and in people’s homes.”


Economics & Innovation
Viellard admits that while companies are looking towards moving to green packaging it is not always easy, especially post-recession. “The interest is there and companies are trying to invest in R&D but it’s expensive,” she says. But Viellard adds that despite cost, Leoplast has been investigating green packaging solutions since 2004. “Global demand for [sustainable packaging] is driven by single use packaging building up in all of the world’s environments,” she says. “From plastic bags blowing in the wind to the huge garbage slicks in the oceans, package awareness is growing everywhere.”


From this summer, in western Europe, P&G will use sugar-based HDPE from Braskem to package its Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion hair care products
Be Green’s Richman agrees, adding that while recovery from the recession is now underway, rising prices in recycled materials are not of great concern to his company. “We are finding that business is better than ever as the world is now more aware of sustainable packaging,” he says. “[Be Green] is receiving many calls from new cosmetics companies all the time who want to move away from foam and plastics,” he says.

Viellard says that while prices for recycled materials are rising, the price of fossil plastics are rising as well. Because of this, companies are often actually getting more bang for their buck by developing bioplastics and recycled materials for their packaging, she explains.

UK company Curtis Packaging has recognised this and announced a boost to its R&D programme at the beginning of 2011 to concentrate on bringing the latest eco-friendly technology to beauty packaging while retaining consumer appeal.

“Last year, we installed a new system which reduced our waste collection – all for recycling – by 80%, as well as sophisticated systems through our sister company, 3D Creative – to create samples and trial runs which substantially cut the environmental impact, and indeed costs for many clients,” says Steve Mallet, sales director at Curtis.

A recent Curtis project was with UK designer Orla Kiely, who last year introduced a fragrance range. The product’s sustainable cartons were printed on the reverse of an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) accredited material, using vegetable-based ink and a water-based coating.

Looking for sustainable solutions to packaging certainly opens up the door for a lot of innovative, eco-friendly solutions. The Twistub, for example, uses a revolutionary and environmentally aware packaging/refill concept for cosmetic creams. The package comes in two parts, a dispenser and a refill pack. Twisting the base of the pot dispenses a precise amount of the cream through a small aperture in the top of the refill, and when empty, the Twispak can then be replaced and the dispenser reused again and again.


Companies great & small
US-based Burt’s Bees has long made a firm commitment to only use packaging made from recycled materials and recently pioneered the use of TerraSkin Wraps, an alternative to paper packaging for soaps that is a treeless and bleach-free paper alternative. TerraSkin is mineral-based, with 80% of its calcium carbonate base being derived from post-industrial building material waste such as limestone scraps.

Meanwhile, UK-based Lush pushes the envelope by delivering more than half of its products (55%) without any packaging at all. Lush saves nearly 6 million plastic bottles globally from selling shampoo bars alone; 90% of all packaging material the company does use is recycled.


Compostable Make Up by Leoplast uses 100% plant-derived and biodegradable packaging, while Curtis provided cartons from FSC accredited material for Orla Kiely and used vegetable-based inks and a water-based coating
Although every little bit helps with smaller cosmetics companies moving towards sustainable packaging, it is nice to know that some of the biggest market players have jumped on the environmental bandwagon too. Estée Lauder’s Aveda has reduced its carbon footprint by recycling an estimated 37 million polypropylene caps to ensure that all its packaging is now made up of at least 80% recycled materials. According to Organic Monitor, Aveda is the largest user of PCR plastic in the industry, and its new environmental push is predicted to save an estimated 1 million tons in virgin plastic every year.

Meanwhile Procter & Gamble recently announced a major shift to plant-derived packaging for some of its leading global cosmetic brands, and is using sugarcane-derived plastic from Brazil’s Braskem.

L’Oréal also recently helped reduce the environmental impact of its packaging by introducing two new assessment tools to its package design process: its ‘sustainable packaging scorecard’ (SPS) and ‘packaging impact quick evaluation tool’ (PIQET).


SPS is a proprietary assessment tool that the company developed and piloted in 2010, the purpose being to evaluate the environmental sustainability of the company’s product packaging and to assess each new product under several criteria to determine how environmentally friendly its packaging is.
PIQET is an online tool that identifies and reviews actions to reduce the environmental impact of packaging, particularly at the design development stage.

P&G has announced the first year results of its Environmental Sustainability Supplier Scorecard programme, designed to track and encourage improvement on key environmental sustainability measures in the company’s supply chain. The first year focused on assessing whether P&G would receive clear data to measure future improvements and jump-start innovation, and the company found that most suppliers could not only track the requested sustainability measures, but that the process of innovation sharing had begun.

Deployed last year to nearly 400 strategic suppliers, P&G’s scorecard is designed to measure performance in three areas: enhancing supply chain collaboration; improving key environmental indicators; and encouraging the sharing of ideas and capabilities to deliver more sustainable products and services to consumers.

“Working with our external partners is clearly critical to realising our long-term environmental vision as a company and this scorecard is a helpful tool to facilitate that collaboration,” commented Len Sauers, P&G’s vp for global sustainability.

Under the scheme, suppliers are evaluated and scored from 1-5. Those that show exceptional performance are rewarded, while for partners that score poorly, the scorecard forms the basis for joint sustainability improvement plans. The list of participating suppliers has been expanded to approximately 600 and an upgraded version of the scorecard has been introduced for 2011 (www.pgsupplier.com), with changes including a more transparent and consistent rating methodology.


Nano potential
Looking to the future, nanotechnology might bring significant advances, so long as concerns about the migration of nanoparticles can be dealt with. While the European Cosmetics Association Colipa lists nanomaterials as being present in much ‘intelligent’ food packaging, the technology has only really made its way thus far into the actual beauty products themselves and can be found in sunscreens, skin care and toothpaste.

This slow uptake in nanotech packaging might be due to the cost of developing the new technology, according to Viellard, who says that while companies are trying to invest in R&D, such research is “very expensive”.

Crawford says he is optimistic, however, that the technology will soon make its way into cosmetics packaging as further research into the arena is conducted.

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“Nanotechnology is regarded as having the potential for enormous innovation across many industrial and scientific sectors,” says Crawford. “It should not automatically be regarded with suspicion or as not being green. New sustainable technologies depend on scientific innovation and nanotechnology may be able to play a role.”



Eco tube – a vision in green
A US-based biodegradable packaging specialist is currently seeking licensees across the globe for its eco friendly packaging solution for lip balms and other cosmetics formulated for packaging in a tube. Eco Vision’s Eco Tube is made from 100% certified post-consumer waste paper, biodegradable adhesives and coating, and may be printed with soy inks.
Eco Vision was recently issued a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for the Eco Tube – formally named ‘Paper Tube Packaging with Open End and Coated Cap’ – and received a Green Packy Award at 2010’s Natural Foods Expo for the product.

 

 All You Need Is Me has a tube made out of sugar cane, have you tried it?
At true organic of Sweden we are committed to sustainable, green packaging.

Love your skin, love our planet

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Climate change


As global temperatures rise, the organic matter in forests appears to break down more quickly, which is accelerating the release of carbon into the atmosphere, according to new research.

A new study by a team researchers including U of T Scarborough Professor Myrna Simpson reveals that as global temperatures rise the organic matter in forests appear to be breaking down more quickly, accelerating the release of carbon into the atmosphere.
Credit: U of T Scarborough
Forests can store as much as 45 percent of the world's terrestrial carbon, making them a critical part of the process of regulating climate change.

As global temperatures rise, though, the organic matter in forests appears to break down more quickly, accelerating the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

This surprising conclusion comes out of a long-term study that was intended to find means to mitigate global warming, not exacerbate it.

"Our question was, 'How much carbon can the soil hold?'" says UTSC professor of environmental chemistry, Myrna Simpson. "But in our experiments, we found that soil was not the limiting factor. We couldn't even get to the carbon saturation point."

Since 1990, a team of international scientists have been running experiments in Harvard Forest in Massachusetts, testing the effect of adding (or removing) varying amounts and types of "litter" -- leaves, twigs, seeds, roots and other organic material -- above and below ground. Simpson joined this work in 2010. She contributed specialized expertise in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to the mix. NMR allows researchers to scan every type of organic material in soil, molecule by molecule.

"The scientific community widely accepts that soil organic matter chemistry is tied to inputs," she says. "But we were surprised to see that all of our litter manipulation resulted in accelerated breakdown of organic matter."

Climate change could lead to "more productive" forests -- bigger trees and more vegetation. This productivity would naturally increase the amount of litter, and therefore the amount of carbon sinking into the soil in the form of organic matter.

But in a paper published recently in the journal Biogeochemistry, Simpson and her co-authors describe how they simulated this change by doubling the amount of litter in sections of the forest in the hope that the soil could absorb more carbon. Instead, the increased litter stimulated bacterial and fungal activity. Organic matter broke down more quickly, eliminating any carbon storage benefit and releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere.

"Altering the litter did more harm than good," Simpson says. "Ours was a human manipulation, but it could as easily be altered through climate change."

Simpson's experiments continue both at the Harvard Forest and at other experimental forests around the world in collaboration with a large network of ecologists and soil scientists. In each case, local plant species, climate and other factors might lead to different results. Also, litter is just one consideration in how long carbon stays sunk in a forest -- Simpson is testing the effects of nitrogen and other variables that could affect forests' abilities to store carbon.

Soil breakdown is further complicated because plants create many products -- from cellulose to lignin -- each of which is affected differently by changes in soil content and environmental conditions. What accelerates one form of decomposition might slow down another.

"I want to emphasize that this was just one forest. We don't know if this is a global phenomenon," she says. "We're looking now to see how vegetation, temperature, moisture in different regions affects the process. These results just suggest that for forests like the Harvard Forest, adding extra litter is not a way to mitigate climate change and enhance carbon storage."


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and lenght.
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organic for the planet


ORGANIC SKIN CARE PRESERVES YOUR HEALTH
Mass market skin care products are full of artificial and chemical ingredients whose long-term effects on our bodies are mostly unknown. While there is no direct link between illness and the chemical products we put on our skins every day, using organic skin care products ensures that you won’t be getting of these questionable ingredients on your body.

Organic skin care products are also chock-full of beneficial antioxidants and moisturizers, all from natural sources. There is no beauty like natural beauty!

ORGANIC SKIN CARE PRESERVES THE EARTH
Don’t you think we’ve destroyed enough of our fragile environment simply to make ourselves richer, more comfortable and prettier? Organic skin care products begin with organic ingredients, grown and produced sustainably using the most advanced practices.

When you use organic skin care products, you not only feel more beautiful, but also better about doing something good for the planet!

ORGANIC SKIN CARE SIMPLY WORKS BETTER
If you don’t think that better health and a better environment are worth paying organic skin care prices for, then maybe this last argument will convince you: organic skin care products work better than their artificial counterparts.

How? A lot of chemical ingredients, used for cheap filling and a quick fix, actually do more harm than good. Sure, your skin might look brighter for a few weeks, but in the long run, synthetic ingredients can cause irritation, sun sensibility and can even lead to cancer. Why would you want to hurt your body in the pursuit of beauty?

Organic skin care may look like it’s not working as fast, but it’s changing your skin from the inside out, rather just on the outside. It benefits your overall health as well as the health of the planet.

first published on spamagnolia.com

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Here is why bees are dying

By Tim McDonnel

Motherjones.com

Jeremy Kerr/Science


Bees are having a really hard time right now. For about a decade, they've been dying off at an unprecedented rate—up to 30 percent per year, with a total loss of domesticated honeybee hives in the United States worth an estimated $2 billion.

At first, no one knew why. But as my colleague Tom Philpott has reported extensively, in the last few years scientists have accumulated a compelling pile of evidence pointing to a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids. These chemicals are widely used in commercial agriculture but can have lethal effects on bees. Other pesticides are also adding to the toll. So are invasive parasites and a general decline in the quality of bees' diets.

Clearly, that combination of factors poses a pretty serious problem for anyone who likes to eat, since bees—both the domesticated kind and their wild bumblebee cousins, both of which are in decline—are the main pollinators of many major fruit and nut crops. The problem is so severe that this spring President Barack Obama unveiled the first-ever national strategy for improving the health of bees and other key pollinators.

Bees "are in serious and immediate risk from human-caused climate change."
Now, it appears that lurking in the background behind the ag-industry-related problems is an even more insidious threat: climate change. According to new research published in the journal Science, dozens of bumblebee species began losing habitat as early as the 1970s—well before neonicotinoids were as widespread as they are today. Since then, largely as a result of global warming, bees have lost nearly 200 miles off the southern end of their historic wild range in both the US and in Europe, a trend that is continuing at a rate of about five miles every year.

As temperatures increase (the US is about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer today, on average, than in 1900), many plant and animal species in the Northern Hemisphere are shifting their range north. But by analyzing a vast archive of bee distribution records reaching back more than a century, ecologists at the University of Ottawa showed that bees are not joining that trend. Instead of shifting north like many other species, the bees' range is only compressing in from the south, leaving less and less available habitat. That finding is illustrated in the chart below (and explained in more detail in the video at the bottom of this post, produced by Science).


Kerr et al, Science 2015
In a call with reporters, lead scientist Jeremy Kerr stressed that although pesticide use is a critical cause of bee mortality at local levels, it doesn't explain the continent-wide habitat shrinkage that stands out in the bee data. But temperature trends do.

"They are in serious and immediate risk from human-caused climate change," Kerr said. "The impacts are large and they are underway."

The question of why bees aren't pushing northward is a bit trickier, and it isn't resolved in this paper. But Kerr said he suspects the answer could be the relatively long time it takes for bees to reach a critical mass of population that can be sustained in new places.





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TIM MCDONNELL
Tim McDonnell is Climate Desk's associate producer. For more of his stories, click here. Follow him on Twitter or send him an email at tmcdonnell [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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