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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
EPA Launches Finance Center to Improve Community Water Infrastructure and Resiliency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center to help communities across the country improve their wastewater, drinking water and stormwater systems, particularly through innovative financing and by building resilience to climate change. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/16/15

New conversion process turns biomass 'waste' into lucrative chemical products
A new catalytic process is able to convert what was once considered biomass waste into lucrative chemical products that can be used in fragrances, flavorings or to create high-octane fuel for racecars and jets. Source: Purdue University, 12/17/15

Green Chemistry Student Awards Deadline Approaching
Are you a student looking to be recognized for your efforts in green chemistry research? If so, there are two awards administered by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute to look into. Source: American Chemical Society, 1/20/15

Panel: To Cut CO2 Emissions, Make It Profitable
To get power plants and other large polluters to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that are driving climate change, make it financially attractive to them. Source: FutureStructure, 1/19/15

Second Nature Launches New Video Series Featuring Network Leaders
Starting in January 2015, Second Nature will be rolling out a new video series titled Sustainability Sit-Downs. The series, which consists of twelve interviews, features sustainability leaders from higher education, as well as non-profit and private sector organizations that work closely with colleges and universities. Source: Second Nature, 12/14/14

Obama to Call for Laws Covering Data Hacking and Student Privacy
WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Monday called for federal legislation intended to force American companies to be more forthcoming when credit card data and other consumer information are lost in an online breach like the kind that hit Sony, Target and Home Depot last year. The Personal Data Notification and Protection Act would demand a single, national standard requiring companies to inform their customers within 30 days of discovering their data has been hacked. The president also proposed the Student Data Privacy Act, which would prohibit technology firms from profiting from information collected in schools as teachers adopt tablets, online services and Internet-connected software. And he will announce voluntary agreements by companies to safeguard home energy data and to provide easy access to credit scores as an "early warning system" for identity theft. Source: The New York Times, 1/11/15

Nulife Glass to Start E-Waste Glass Recycling Unit in Virginia
Nulife Glass will establish a $5.9 million electronic waste glass recycling operation in Bristol, Va. The Manchester, England-based Nulife provides a recycling service for all types of cathode ray tube (CRT) glass. The new operation will create 46 jobs, according to a news release from the office of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Nulife collects and separates the CRT televisions and computer monitors. The company opened its first North American facility in 2013 near Buffalo, N.Y., which can process more than 200 million pounds of CRT glass annually in furnaces that can melt the equivalent of 10 tons of TVs daily. Source: Waste 360, 1/12/15

Illinois LED pioneers receive Draper Prize
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- A University of Illinois professor and two of his former students are among the five pioneers of LED technology honored with the 2015 Draper Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in engineering. Nick Holonyak Jr., a professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois and the inventor of the first visible-light LED, and Illinois alumni George Craford and Russell Dupuis, who studied under Holonyak, were among five innovators honored by the National Academy of Engineering, which administers the $500,000 prize sponsored by Draper Laboratory. Holonyak (pronounced huh-LON-yak) is credited with the development of the first practical light-emitting diode, or LED, in 1962. Source: University of Illinois News Bureau, 1/6/15

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Focusing on lasting legacy prompts environmental action
Prompting people to think about the legacy they want to leave for future generations can boost their desire and intention to take action on climate change, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Source: Science Daily, 1/8/15

Why Uncle Sam Should Support Stronger E-Waste Recycling Efforts
Scaling up recycling programs for electronic waste -- or, e-waste -- would protect more than just the environment. It could also protect the U.S. defense system from the potentially grave risks posed by failure-prone counterfeit electronic parts. Counterfeit parts have pervaded the U.S. defense supply chain, according to a report by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. Source: Forbes, 1/19/15

What Motivates People to Save Energy? Surprise--It's Not Money
When researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, asked participants at the beginning of an energy-use study what information would probably get them to cut their electricity consumption, the participants answered that it would be messages on how much money they were saving. They said environmental facts, such as how many trees it would take to absorb all the carbon dioxide their energy demand created, would be less persuasive. It turns out, though, that those reminded only that using less electricity would save them money didn't turn the lights off and the thermostat down, according to the study, which was published this week in the journal PNAS. But those participants who were told that saving energy would cut toxic air pollution curbed their electricity use an average of 8 percent. Households with children were even more motivated, slashing their use by 19 percent. Source: TakePart, 1/13/15

Friday, January 16, 2015
EPA Releases 2013 Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis
From 2012 to 2013, the amount of toxic chemicals managed as waste by the nation's industrial facilities increased by 4 percent. This increase includes the amount of chemicals recycled, treated, and burned for energy recovery, as well as the amount disposed of or otherwise released into the environment. In TRI, a "release" generally refers to a chemical that is emitted to the air, water, or placed in some type of land disposal. Most of these releases are subject to a variety of regulatory requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/14/15

4 ways to (really) get employees on board with a green office
New sustainability initiatives aren't always popular at the office. Here's how to get better employee buy-in. Source: GreenBiz, 1/16/15

Thursday, January 15, 2015
Call for Papers - ACS GCI Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference
Submit your abstract for presentation at the 19th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (GC&E) held this July 14-16, 2015 in the Washington DC metro area. Hosted by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute , this event is the premier conference on Green Chemistry and Engineering. Hundreds of participants come together every year to share research as well as educational and business strategies to ensure a greener and more sustainable future. Source: American Chemical Society, 1/15/15

Ensia's top 10 stories of 2014
A collection of Ensia's most read articles and commentaries from the past year Source: Ensia, 12/23/14

Visualizing the stories data can tell
Scientists and technologists are turning numbers about everything from condors to ocean-floor contours into visual representations of environmental issues. Source: Ensia, 12/15/14

When it comes to food packaging, what we don't know could hurt us
Recent analyses raise disturbing questions about the health and environmental effects of the stuff that encases our edibles. Source: Ensia, 10/13/14

Obama administration announces goal to rein in methane leaks
The Obama administration announced a plan to significantly cut methane emissions produced by gas and gas wells by the year 2025 through executive action. Judy Woodruff talks to Coral Davenport of The New York Times and Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University about President Obama's strategy in addressing climate change and how environmentalists and the industry are reacting to the proposal. Source: NPR, 1/14/15

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Less waste, more innovation: 5 food trends to watch in 2015
Last year, the movement toward a cleaner, more sustainable food supply gained traction, from school lunches with antibiotic-free chicken to a new rating system for produce that goes beyond organics to take energy, water use and other sustainability factors into account. This year could herald even more changes in the way we eat. Fresh, affordable, local produce and antibiotic-free meat will reach more people than ever before (a dynamic spurring companies -- startups and multinational corporations alike -- to take a shot at upending the business of food). In 2015, America is poised to figure out how to clamp down on shocking amounts of food waste. The FDA should recognize the latest science and get dangerous chemicals out of food packaging. Young farmers will embrace a new climate-conscious paradigm in farming that makes healthy soil a priority. Source: GreenBiz, 1/14/15

University combats food waste with compost, centralized kitchen
Slightly more than $56,000 worth of food was thrown away at Ohio University last year -- but that's actually a lot less than what was wasted compared to three years ago, data show. Source: The Post, 1/11/15

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