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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, December 8, 2017
The simple river-cleaning tactics that big farms ignore
In Iowa and elsewhere, runoff from fertilized fields pollutes drinking water and creates dead zones. Yet straightforward solutions exist. Source: Food & Environment Reporting Network, 12/7/17

Thursday, December 7, 2017
Sustainability Key for Medical Device Packaging Market
Medical device packaging manufacturers are realizing a need in their market for sustainable and cost-efficient packaging, a new research report from Future Market Insights shows. Source: Environmental Leader, 12/7/17

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Food Waste Reduction Strategies In K-12 Schools
The Iowa Waste Reduction Center's K-12 audits and training and the Environmental Research and Education Foundation's SCrAP program provide critical tools to reduce food waste. Source: Biocycle, November 2017

Sustainability measures key to long-lasting concrete pavements
Life-cycle analysis (LCA) is emerging as a leading method of determining the environmental impact at both a macro and micro level in transportation projects in context of sustainability. The concrete pavement industry in particular is pushing for the increased use of this approach. Source: Better Roads, 11/28/17

St. Louis pursues 100 percent clean energy, shrugs off coal opposition
St. Louis lawmakers are working on a plan to get the city off of coal-fired power and switch to 100 percent clean energy by 2035. Source: GreenBiz, 11/29/17

EPA Is Extending Public Comment Period for Submitting Use and Exposure Information on Five PBT Chemicals
EPA is extending until January 12, 2018, the public comment period to receive information on the five persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals subject to section 6(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The comments were previously due on or before December 9, 2017.

EPA is interested in information from the public about these chemicals, including uses, products containing these chemicals, exposed populations, and alternatives to these chemicals. Information should be submitted on or before January 12, 2018.

Please submit relevant information, identified by the docket identification (ID) number associated with the relevant chemical:

  • Decabromodiphenyl ethers docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0724
  • Hexachlorobutadiene, docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0738
  • Pentachlorothiophenol, docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0739
  • Phenol, isopropylated, phosphate (3:1), docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0730
  • 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl) phenol, docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0734
  • Source: U.S. EPA, 12/6/17

Antibiotics are accumulating in Minn. lakes, posing health risk
Antibiotics used in medicine are accumulating in the bottom of Minnesota lakes. That's the finding of a new study in which a group of scientists examined decades of sediment pulled from the bottom of lakes. Source: MPR, 12/1/17

Where Corn Is King, the Stirrings of a Renaissance in Small Grains
Breaking with the industrial model of growing corn and soybeans, a growing number of Iowa farmers are putting oats, rye, and other small grains into their crop rotation, a switch that is regenerating soils, cleaning up waters, and providing benefits to family farms. Source: Yale Environment 360, 11/28/17

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
More States Hatch Plans to Recycle Drugs Being Wasted in Nursing Homes
After reading ProPublica's story, lawmakers in Florida and New Hampshire say they plan to follow the example of an Iowa nonprofit that redistributes leftover medications to needy patients. Source: ProPublica, 12/1/17

TSCA Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements; Standards for Small Manufacturers and Processors; Final Determination
On December 15, 2016, EPA issued a notice in the Federal Register requesting public comment on whether revision to the current size standards for small manufacturers and processors, which are used in connection with reporting regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) section 8(a), is warranted. This document describes EPA's final determination that revision to the current size standards is warranted. Source: Federal Register, 11/30/17

EnviroMedia launches weekly social media campaign to push waste reduction
EnviroMedia, the original creators of America Recycles Day, recently launched a new consumer-facing social media campaign that encourages waste reduction and recycling. #WasteLessWednesday will target a different product or idea each week, according to CEO Valerie Salinas-Davis. Source: Waste Dive, 11/29/17

Friday, December 1, 2017
Quantifying carbon offsets in refurb and reuse
A Canadian ITAD firm has brought the concept of carbon credits into the refurbishment realm as a way of offsetting the carbon impact associated with purchasing new IT equipment. Compugen, a major IT service provider in Canada, launched a refurbishment arm a decade ago called Compugen Finance. It offers ITAD services to Compugen's customers, including large enterprise clients such as banks, insurance companies, law firms and more. Three months ago, Compugen Finance began offering carbon credits to companies supplying the ITAD division with retired assets. The idea is that there are carbon emissions associated with manufacturing new equipment, so by sending equipment to reuse and repair channels, a company helps cuts down on emissions in the future. Source: E-scrap News, 11/30/17

Going circular
Technology manufacturers are increasingly being encouraged to think about the circular economy -- the concept that materials and goods should be kept in circulation for longer rather than follow the traditional 'linear' model of make, sell, use, then dispose. Industrial design and better engineering are the keys to making this happen. But it is also fair to say that the sector is under increasing scrutiny as electronics continue to proliferate. NGOs, such as Greenpeace, ifixit and the Restart programme, as well as Government itself, are becoming increasingly vocal in expecting industry to respond positively to this agenda. Source: New Electronics, 11/16/17

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