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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Behavioural tracking and neuroscience are tools for sustainable innovation
Let's ditch sustainability surveys which tell us consumers pay more for sustainability - they don't. New tools, used responsibly, can properly analyse behavioural patterns. Source: The Guardian, 7/25/14

The Surprising Role the Military Plays in Environmental Protection
The common perception of environmental protection and regulation is that the federal government creates the laws, and then targets businesses and consumers for enforcement. But Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Sarah E. Light says that's only part of the story -- that private businesses often enact policies that influence environmental practices far beyond their walls. In this interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Light also discusses related research that shows the military, which has increasingly been investing in areas such as renewable energy, also has a surprising and important role to play in encouraging environmental stewardship. Source: Knowledge@Wharton, 7/29/14

Air Force Academy Pilots Food Waste to Energy
The Academy looks to reduce energy use and cost at its wastewater treatment plant and convert food waste from its dining hall into energy. Source: FutureStructure, 7/19/14

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Rivals Walmart and Target make up over cosmetics
The mega-retailers' summit on personal care products is shrouded in secrecy. How could their alliance change the face of beauty? Source: The Guardian, 7/29/14

Tackling the food waste challenge with technology
Innovation in packaging and refrigeration can reduce waste -- as can changes in behavior. Source: The Guardian, 7/29/14

Five Questions for Jeffrey Sachs On Decarbonizing the Economy
Thirty scientific institutions from 15 countries last week released a report for the United Nations outlining how the world's major carbon dioxide-emitting nations can slash those emissions by mid-century. Called the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, the initiative aims to provide government leaders with a plan of action in advance of a UN climate summit in September and climate negotiations in Paris in late 2015. Yale Environment 360 asked Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and a key player in the decarbonization project, five questions about the initiative and the prospects for global action on the climate front. Source: Yale Environment360, 7/15/14

Counterfeit electronics briefing touches on e-scrap exports
During a recent Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., a panel of technology experts expressed support for the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (RERA). The session was held to discuss the problem of counterfeit electronics compromising American defense equipment, and according to a press release from the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER), the three panelists participating urged Congress to take steps to ensure more end-of-life electronics are processed domestically. Source: Resource Recycling, 7/17/14

Policy Group Asks FTC to Review 'Misleading' Green Claims About Biomass
A policy group is asking the Federal Trade Commission to scrutinize advertising claims by biomass plants that the energy produced is environmentally friendly. Source: WFPL, 7/29/14

How Your Cereal Causes Climate Change
General Mills, maker of Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Wheaties, said Monday that it will set a target to limit air pollution throughout its entire supply chain next summer. Source: National Journal, 7/28/14

Friday, July 25, 2014
EPA Kicks Off Third-Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is launching its third-annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a prize contest that engages college students in developing innovative green infrastructure systems to reduce stormwater pollution and build resilience to climate change. Source: U.S. EPA, 7/24/14

Thursday, July 24, 2014
State University of New York College at Oneonta (SUNY Oneonta) researcher patents green chemistry discovery
Dr. Jacqueline Bennett has invented a new chemical process that's safer, greener and more efficient than traditional methods used to make imines, a class of chemical compounds that has household and industrial applications. Chemical processes used to create essential materials often consume large quantities of relatively toxic compounds that are later disposed of as hazardous waste. Bennett's research focuses on finding more environmentally friendly ways to make imines, which are found in a wide range of products, from automotive rust inhibitors to antibiotics. Because traditional imine synthesis uses solvents that pose inhalation hazards, Bennett experimented with a benign alternative solvent called ethyl lactate, a naturally occurring, FDA-approved food additive that breaks down quickly and harmlessly in the environment. Unlike the established method, Dr. Bennett's process does not require heat, agitation, recrystallization or purification. Yet it forms imines more quickly, producing higher yields. Source: ACS Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog, 7/22/14

Federal study shows safety lapses in e-scrap processing
A just-released federal report sheds light on the numerous occupational health and safety dangers that likely exist at e-scrap firms throughout the country. The report, released this month by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), shares findings from a series of site visits conducted between 2012 and 2013 at the request of an undisclosed e-scrap firm in the U.S. NIOSH collected air, surface and blood samples and interviewed about a quarter of facility employees to identify necessary health and safety improvements. And, according to the report, a variety of shortcomings were found. Seven of 26 interviewed employees reported health concerns connected to CRT de-manufacturing, and NIOSH staffers found reason for worry on lead exposure. Source: E-scrap News, 7/24/14

Hacker Musician Turns E-Waste Into an Awesome Instrument
We tend to think of musical instruments in fixed terms: that's a guitar, this is a saxophone, that's a synthesizer. Colten Jackson, however, plays an instrument that's hard to classify. The Illinois musician hacked together what he calls the Hard Rock Guitar out of e-waste: six obsolete hard drives, and an old keyboard number pad, powered by an Arduino board. Jackson made the instrument at Makerspace Urbana. Source: Wired, 7/22/14

EPA Funds Environmental Health Research for Tribal Communities
To identify and reduce tribal health risks associated with climate change, indoor wood smoke exposure, environmental asthma, waterborne diseases, and other unique tribal concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding tribal environmental health research grants to six groups, including universities and tribes. Source: U.S. EPA, 7/23/14

LAUNCH System Challenge: Green Chemistry Seeks Innovations for Materials and Manufacturing
With this LAUNCH System Challenge: Green Chemistry, LAUNCH is seeking innovations that leverage or advance green chemistry to transform the system of materials and manufacturing to one that advances global economic growth, drives human prosperity and replenishes the planet's resources. When referring to green chemistry LAUNCH uses the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, the definition which the Environmental Protection Agency also uses, in order to provide a common framing. Source: The Nexus Blog, 7/22/14

Greener Roads: Arizona Chemical Makes Pine-based Performance Additive
Arizona Chemical Company, LLC, has a strong history of providing sustainable solutions from renewable resources. AZC drew on this background to specifically develop a pine-based performance additive to address the unique chemical and mechanical needs of pavement engineering utilizing recycled pavement. This SYLVAROAD™ RP 1000 performance additive bridges the technology gap and enables the use of high reclaimed content roads. Source: The Nexus Blog, 7/23/14

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
States, Cities Get Creative About Recycling Water
Reusing water is a possible solution as half the country experiences severe drought. Source: Stateline, 7/23/14

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