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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, November 17, 2016
Functional textiles clean pollutants from air and water
A stark and troubling reality helped spur Juan Hinestroza to what he hopes is an important discovery and a step toward cleaner manufacturing. Source: Cornell University, 11/9/16

New System Predicts Risk for Chemical Products
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill devised a computational approach by which they can increase accuracy in detecting toxins in chemical products to as much as 85 percent while also saving millions of dollars and years of development time for new drugs and other products, as well as improving safety. Source: R&D Magazine, 11/17/16

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
How Avery Dennison Helps Global Brands Shrink Their Environmental Footprint
Columbia Sportswear wanted an environmentally sustainable version of a clear plastic shipping bag for its new jacket. Avery Dennison had a renewable version of the poly bag, made from sugar cane instead of petroleum-based plastic, on the drawing board. Columbia approached the global packaging and label manufacturer for help and Avery Dennison went from prototype of the sugar-cane bag to finished product in six weeks. Source: Environmental Leader, 11/11/16

14 Charts from the EPA's Latest MSW Estimates
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual analysis of municipal solid waste (MSW) figures with its annual Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts Sheet. Source: Waste360, 11/15/16

Beyond reporting: 3 principles for weaving sustainability into communications
Try consistent, repetitive and strategic messaging instead of a "one and done" tactic. Source: GreenBiz, 11/16/16

Air pollution export map reveals where to target clean-up
Take any city in the UK, and you'll likely find that the skies are cleaner today than they were 40 years ago. Sophisticated scrubbers on power station chimneys, catalytic converters on vehicle exhausts and cleaner fuels have all helped to reduce the haze. But it isn't just cleaning up at home that has made our skies clearer; we've also been outsourcing much of our dirty work to other countries. For the first time, a study shows exactly how much air pollution each country is exporting, and where it is exporting it to. Source: EnvironmentalResearchWeb, 11/15/16

Kimberly-Clark Helps Universities Turn Gloves into Durable Goods
The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University have diverted almost six tons of waste from landfills through a recycling program that turns used lab gloves and garments into shelving, flowerpots and lawn and garden furniture. Source: Waste 360, 11/14/16

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
What Makes a Supply Chain Sustainable?
Supply chains may operate within legal and responsible guidelines, but still not be sustainable. New guidelines and collaborations are needed that assess supply chain performance in the context of societal and environmental limits. Source: MIT Sloan Management Review, 11/15/16

Want Green Infrastructure? First, Invest in Infrastructure
Throughout the election, one of the few points Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could agree on was the country's need for improved infrastructure -- transportation systems, energy, and so on. But tradeoffs between sustainability and economic growth make it unclear how exactly to proceed. Now, researchers argue that, to create environmentally sustainable infrastructure, we need to pay attention to what's keeping us from investing in infrastructure more broadly. Source: Pacific Standard, 11/15/16

Carbon is not the enemy
Design with the natural cycle in mind to ensure that carbon ends up in the right places, urges William McDonough Source: Nature, 11/14/16

Monday, November 14, 2016
Shoppers must use their purchasing power to lead green products revolution
It's easy to imagine the battle for greener chemistry as a titanic struggle between government and industry -- but it's consumers who really call the shots Source: The Guardian, 11/10/16

Pest control: Wicked weeds may be agricultural angels
Farmers looking to reduce reliance on pesticides, herbicides and other pest management tools may want to heed the advice of Cornell agricultural scientists: Let nature be nature -- to a degree. Source: Cornell University, 11/11/16

Managing Change in Environmental Reporting and Compliance
Compliance with a vast variety of environmental regulations is the reality for companies. Many of these regulations require the tracking and reporting of air emissions as well as solid waste and water pollution amounts. Companies must be able to effectively track environmental data. They also have to make estimates and perform calculations using this data.

Of course, once a company has figured out how to do all of this, things change. Regulations evolve, new calculations emerge, employees transition into and out of jobs. And sometimes previously reported environmental results must be re-reported because of mistakes in how data was collected or the way results were calculated.

Dealing with this flux ends up being extremely challenging for the environmental managers and professionals responsible for environmental reporting and compliance. Here are smart strategies for managing these major changes. Source: Environmental Leader, 11/14/16


There Is A Major Climate Issue Hiding In Your Closet: Fast Fashion
Disposable clothes, often made from oil, in factories powered by coal, and shipped around the world, mean that the apparel industry contributes 10% of global emissions. Source: Fast Company, 11/11/16

Thursday, November 10, 2016
Low-carbon aviation fuel soars onward
You may be surprised to learn that air travel is already efficient. In fact, a flight between New York and Los Angeles achieves the equivalent of about 80 miles per gallon per passenger.

Airplane manufacturers, such as Boeing and Airbus, prioritized reducing fuel consumption because jet fuel is the No. 1 expense for airlines, and they have achieved great success in doing so. Source: GreenBiz, 11/10/16


Replacing grass with water-wise landscapes may harm water quality
In many water-starved cities, homeowners are being encouraged to replace their lawns to conserve water. But how does this affect soil concentrations of nutrients such as nitrates? Now a team from the US has examined what happens to converted lawns in real homes. Source: EnvironmentalResearchWeb, 11/9/16

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