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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, February 5, 2016
New database reveals which companies disclose carbon risks
A new online search tool allows users to find disclosures of carbon asset risks. Source: GreenBiz, 1/28/16

8 reasons to improve the climate impacts of your supply chain
CDP's Dexter Galvin explains how business can benefit by increasing their supply chain's commitment to sustainability Source: GreenBiz, 1/28/16

Thursday, February 4, 2016
Milking it: critics take aim at new environmental guidelines for dairy industry
The US dairy industry is outlining ways ranchers and producers can reduce their environmental impact. But do the new guidelines go far enough? Source: The Guardian, 2/3/16

Resources related to the Flint water crisis
Collection of posts from Environmental News Bits detailing different aspects of the water crisis in Flint, MI. Continuously updated. Source: Environmental News Bits, various dates

How we got Fairtrade certified gold in the Fairphone 2 supply chain
Smartphones contain dozens of minerals sourced from every corner of the globe, including gold, which is commonly used in printed circuit boards (PCBs) as well as other wiring and components due to its excellent conductivity. And of course, it's not only found in phones. Gold is an essential material in many of today's consumer electronics, and the electronics industry is the third largest consumer of gold worldwide, after the jewelry industry and financial sector. But the path that gold travels from the mine to your phone or other devices is often problematic, to put it mildly. To start, gold is one of the four conflict minerals identified by the Dodd-Frank Act. This means that gold has been known to finance rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Because tiny amounts of gold are extremely valuable, this mineral is also very prone to smuggling. Even outside of conflict and high-risk regions, gold mining poses a wide variety of social and environmental challenges, such as land disputes, sub-standard wages, unsafe working conditions, child labor and mercury pollution. However for many mining communities worldwide, it provides their main source of income and livelihood. For all of these reasons and more, Fairphone is extremely pleased to announce that it has reached a major milestone: Together with its partners, it has achieved the first-ever Fairtrade gold supply chain for the consumer electronics industry. Source: Fairphone Blog, 1/27/16

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
The Body Shop to turn greenhouse gases into plastic packaging
The Body Shop packaging could soon be made from greenhouse gases that would otherwise pollute the atmosphere, thanks to a new research partnership between the retailer and cleantech firm Newlight Technologies. California-based Newlight is the proprietor of AirCarbon -- a thermoplastic that behaves the same as normal plastics but uses methane and carbon dioxide as its foundation rather than oil. The 'development partnership' between the two firms will see The Body Shop become the first company to try and industrialise AirCarbon in the beauty industry. Aircarbon is currently used by Dell in its laptop packaging. Carbon emissions are captured from farms, landfills and energy facilities and then fed into a reactor, where the fumes are catalysed by enzymes and turned into a substance called AirCarbon. This is then cooled and sliced into plastic pellets which can be moulded into almost anything. Source:, 2/2/16

Why Best Buy Changed its E-Waste Recycling Program
Best Buy this week changed its in-store e-waste recycling program, charging customers $25 for each TV and computer monitor they recycle at its stores, because it is losing money on the program.In Illinois and Pennsylvania, Best Buy says it no longer recycles TVs and computer monitors because of state laws preventing the retailer from collecting fees to help run the recycling program. Best Buy says consumers can continue to recycle all other products -- such as batteries, ink cartridges, computers and printers -- for free at all of its stores. Source: Environmental Leader, 2/3/16

OH: Proposed Medina Waste Mall could rejuvenate recycling efforts in the county
Officials from Medina County's three cities are intrigued by a proposal that would turn the former Central Processing Facility into a one-stop shop for mixed-waste recycling and upcycling. The Optiva Group presented its plan to create the Medina Waste Mall at a joint meeting of the Medina, Brunswick and Wadsworth city councils at Medina City Hall last night. Edmund Kwiecien, president and CEO of Optiva, explained that the waste mall would take residential garbage and transform it into recyclable materials, energy and new products -- all at the former CPF site. Kwiecien said the waste mall would be the first of its kind in the United States. "The recycling market is volatile. And the handling of waste is expensive," he said. That's why Optiva wants to keep its operations all under one roof, so that it can move the waste once, process it, make useful products out of it, then sell those products. Source:, 2/2/16

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
The elephant in the room for corporate emissions goals
Supply chain energy emissions make up the vast majority of corporate carbon footprints -- an issue covered by just 6 percent of recent corporate climate targets. Source: GreenBiz, 2/2/16

The State of Green Business, 2016
The ninth annual assessment of corporate sustainability progress offers good news about progress in the post-Paris world. Source: GreenBiz, 2/2/16

Friday, January 29, 2016
IL: Burdened by electronics, St. Charles eyes ending recycling program
ST. CHARLES -- The last of the Tri-Cities is on the verge of ending its electronics recycling site for Kane County due to an inundation of materials, which staff said is not only creating a burden on employees but is also posing safety concerns. Source: Kane County Chronicle, 1/27/16

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