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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, August 17, 2018
Can talking trash actually make sports more sustainable?
Kelsey Hallowell is a professional trash talker. She plies that unusual trade for Reduction In Motion, a forward-leaning waste reduction consultancy in Baltimore. One of Kelsey's clients is the Maryland Stadium Authority which, among other things, owns Camden Yards (home of baseball's Orioles) and M&T Bank Stadium (home of the NFL's Ravens). GreenBiz talked to Kelsey, whose official title is communications and outreach coordinator, about the unique aspects of working with sports venues. And talking trash. Source: GreenBiz, 8/17/18

Full Harvest Closes on Investment to Tackle Food Waste Problem
While the food industry struggles to meet increasing global production demands, more food reaches U.S. landfills and incinerators than any other waste, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In an effort to help solve this problem, Full Harvest, a marketplace for excess produce that would otherwise go to waste, announced it has closed an $8.5 million Series A round of financing led by Spark Capital. Source: Waste360, 8/17/18

Chemical attraction: How cosmetics can damage the planet
The damaging effect of cosmetics on the environment was brought into the public eye by the UK ban on microbeads. But what about those less visible, chemical ingredients? Kate Dickinson explores the steps being taken to regulate the European cosmetics industry. Source: Resource, 5/16/18

Could Chemical Recycling Help Solve Plastic Trash Problem?
Only 9 percent of plastic material in the U.S. gets recovered and put into new products. But several companies are developing ways to chemically break down plastic to its basic building blocks, called monomers. Source: Bloomberg, 8/10/18

Chefs Serve Hospital Food That's Better for Patients, Employees -- and the Planet
While chefs have been a driving force behind the movement to improve school food for a long time, now they're also stepping in to transform hospital kitchens, bringing with them expertise in menu planning, fresh food sourcing, and making healthy food delicious. Source: FoodTank, August 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
World's strongest biomaterial now comes from a tree?
Spider silk has long been considered the strongest biological material in the world and has inspired generations of materials scientists to understand and mimic its properties. However, new findings knock spider silk off its pedestal, reporting that engineered cellulose fibers, derived from plant cell walls, are the strongest biobased material (ACS Nano 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.8b01084). The material is more than 20% stronger than and eight times as stiff as spider silk. It could eventually be used in lightweight biobased composites for cars, bikes, and medical devices, the researchers say. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 6/19/18

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Sustainability: How Food Companies Are Turning Over a New Leaf
In response to consumer demands for greater transparency about the health, environmental, and ethical implications of the food they buy, food companies are stepping up their sustainability efforts, collaborating with their suppliers, and fine-tuning their business models. Source: Food Technology, August 2018

Scientists create biodegradable paper-based biobatteries
The proposed design is easy to produce, low-cost, flexible and more efficient than previously proposed paper-based batteries.
Source: Binghampton University, 6/29/18

Ghost peppers are saving U.S. grasslands -- by scaring off hungry mice
Conservationists trying to restore the United States's grasslands kept running into a problem: As soon as they planted the seeds meant to bring back native flora, hungry mice would gobble them up. In an effort to deter the rodents, biologists tried coating the seeds with capsaicin, the active ingredient that gives chili peppers their signature fiery taste. It worked: Dusting the seeds with chili powder reduced the number of seeds consumed by deer mice by 86%, researchers report in Restoration Ecology. Source: Science, 8./3/18

The climate impact of the food in the back of your fridge
Many of us have had the experience of opening the refrigerator door, reaching to the back and pulling out the remains of a dinner spoiled and gone to waste. No one likes to waste food, and the negative emotions we feel when we do stem from a variety of sources. What may not come immediately to mind, however, is food waste's impact on the climate. Source: Washington Post, 7/31/18

Friday, August 10, 2018
This new edible packaging is grown from kombucha
Scoby looks like a dried pig bladder. It's actually the product of fermentation, and it could let farmers grow their own packaging. Source: Fast Company, 5/16/18

Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Inside Levi's ambitious plan to cut its carbon footprint
In an unprecedented and impressive move, by 2025, the company plans to cut emissions in its supply chain by 40%. Source: Fast Company, 7/31/18

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