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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
What's in all that e-cig vapor?
While many users perceive e-cigs as safer than traditional cigarettes, some of the flavorings that make them so enticing may have their own toxic consequences. Source: Washington Post, 8/31/15

Want your energy efficiency program to succeed? Aim it at poor people
A researcher looked at data from California's 20/20 program and discovered that poor people are most likely to take advantage of economic incentives to reduce energy use. Source: Grist, 9/1/15

Craft Breweries Support Sustainability
Despite the lure of the corporate dollar, thousands of craft breweries around the nation hold out and continue independently contributing to sustainable local economies. Source: Triple Pundit, 8/28/15

General Mills brings supply chain into emissions goal
Taking bolder responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions by its supply chain of farmers and mills and packagers than is typical, General Mills announced a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions across its entire business -- "from farm to fork to landfill" -- by 28 percent within 10 years. Source: GreenBiz, 9/1/15

EPA Proposes Rules to Improve Hazardous Waste Management and Better Protect our Waterways
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing two new hazardous waste rules to strengthen environmental protection while reducing regulatory burden on businesses. One of the proposed rules will protect waterways, including drinking and surface water, by preventing the flushing of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals and simplify the requirements for healthcare workers. The other rule will provide greater flexibility to industry while requiring new safeguards to protect the public from mismanagement of hazardous waste. Source: U.S. EPA, 8/31/15

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Why Your Sustainability Strategy Can Be Pivotal to Employee Engagement
The business case for implementing sustainable practices is clear, and regardless of what industry you're in, the strain on natural resources is rising as a result of population growth and climate change. Today, many companies are shifting to a sustainable business model to protect the ecosystem, realize associated cost-savings and support future business growth because a healthier, more vibrant society makes for a healthy economy. To achieve this vision, a business cannot only adopt purpose into its operations, opportunities, solutions and profit, but the notion of purpose must be embedded within its culture. Source: Triple Pundit, 8/17/15

Apple, Microsoft, Motorola wring new revenue out of e-waste
What do Apple, Microsoft and Motorola have in common? All of these high-profile technology companies are harvesting new revenue out of discarded and end-of-life gadgets, rather than looking at them just as liabilities that require responsible recycling. What's more, all three are among the roughly 100 organizations using Hong Kong's Li Tong Group (aka LTG) to get the job done. LTG, a specialist in reverse logistics, operates a network of 21 facilities in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. You can think of it as a contract "un-manufacturer" -- an organization authorized to take apart smartphones, computer networking equipment and other electronics devices. LTG handles items that are traded in, returned or unsold. Source: GreenBiz, 8/27/15

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
How the circular economy is taking off in the US
Laptops made of plastic from old laptops. Aluminium car body parts made from old cars. Chemicals leased out, recovered, and leased again. These are just a few examples of how the circular economy, once seen as a Scandinavian speciality, is starting to spin in the United States. Source: The Guardian, 8/26/15

The circular economy's missing ingredient: Local
The latest P2 Impact column has been published over at GreenBiz. John Mulrow, Interim Director at Plant Chicago, writes about an often-overlooked aspect of the material reuse craze. Source:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
U. of I. to lead center for power optimization in mobile electronics
Heat is the enemy for people designing cars, construction machinery, aircraft and mobile electronics. When electrical systems do more work, they get hotter. When they get too hot, they operate inefficiently, fail or even melt. A new, $18.5 million Engineering Research Center led by the U. of I. is out to pack more power into less space for electrical systems. The center is funded by the National Science Foundation. Source: University of Illinois News Bureau, Inside Illinois, 8/20/15

Monday, August 24, 2015
Illini Gadget Garage will provide a space to repair electronics on campus
The goal of the Gadget Garage project -- part of the Sustainable Electronics Initiative at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center -- is to extend the useful life of electronic products and reduce electronic waste. Source: University of Illinois, 8/24/15

Helping Cities Navigate a Climate-Changed Future
A Q&A with Anu Ramaswami, an urban sustainability expert at the University of Minnesota, about a new program to make cities sustainable. Source: Inside Climate News, 8/21//15

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